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Ranking the Contenders

Mercury Morris and the rest of the ’72 Dolphins can sleep easy for another season, as they still remain the only undefeated team in NFL history. Hopefully this gives Morris enough time to get a life. He must realize that if he doesn’t remind us that he was on that great Dolphin team, no one else will. An undefeated season would have been a special accomplishment, but only if it was capped with a Super Bowl victory, so it’s time to move on to what counts. Take away the implications of the Colts fighting for perfection; the Colts lost a meaningless game to a team that desperately needed a win. Most teams in the Colts’ position on Sunday lose that game. On the good side, it may have gotten that uncharacteristicly poor performance by Peyton Manning, you know the one he usually saves for the playoffs, out of the way. The audible he called on 4th and 1 to go with a bootleg was only outdone by him going for a pass play towards the end of the game on the San Diego 23. That play resulted in a 12 yard sack and took them out of range for a game winning field goal. Peyton Manning likely won’t make those types of mistakes again, which is a bad thing for the rest of the AFC, most of which has a little bit more confidence of beating them in the dome now.


A couple of side notes;


Did anyone see that Mike Tice was upset with Viking fans for scalping tickets to Sunday’s game to Steeler fans? Didn’t he get fined for doing the same thing?


The Jets are banning alcohol sales from the Monday Night game versus the Patriots because of safety concerns. Can you really watch this Jets team without drinking?



1.     Indianapolis Colts (13-1):  So what, they lost a game, so has everyone else. They still are the best team in the NFL.


2.     Seattle Seahawks (12-2):  The Seahawks now have the longest current win streak in football at 10 games. Shawn Alexander should win the MVP as he leads the NFL in rushing yards and TDs.


3.     Cincinnati Bengals (11-3): The Bengals won their first division title since 1990 because of Carson Palmer’s play. But the key for them in the post season will be controlling the clock with Rudi Johnson to keep their defense off the field, it’s not that good.


4.     Denver Broncos (11-3): The Bronco’s are sputtering a bit on offense, but keep winning anyway. The secondary is a concern, but anyone beating them at home will be an upset.


5.     New England Patriots (9-5):  The Patriots look a lot like the team that won 3 of the last 4 Super Bowls, which makes them deserving of this high of a ranking despite a worse record and defeats to teams below them.


6.     Chicago Bears (10-3): The Bears may be the best example of how much better the AFC is. The Bears have beat some of the best in the NFC (Carolina, Tampa and Atlanta), but are 1-3 versus AFC opponents.


7.     Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4): The Jaguars seem to do just enough to win games against almost everyone but the best teams.


8.     Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5): Like the Patriots, they are playing their best football as they progress to the playoffs.


9.     NY Giants (10-4): Tiki Barber still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for being one of the league’s best backs. He has the ability to dominate games and lead the Giants to an NFC Championship.


10. San Diego Chargers (9-5): I would really like to rank them higher, especially after Sunday’s big win. But they almost gave this game away like they have done so many times this year. Great teams don’t do that.


11. Carolina Panthers (10-4): It’s been a good season for the Panthers, especially for Steve Smith who is a lock for come back player of the year. But they look like a one and done playoff team despite being a division winner.


12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5): Was it the cold weather? Was it the Pats defense and Tom Brady? Either way, they just didn’t look good on offense or defense. But they have been playing well down the stretch and one more win gets them a playoff berth.


13. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6):  Consecutive road losses mean that they will not only need to win two tough games at home, but also need Pittsburgh to lose as well to get in the playoffs.


14. Washington Redskins (8-6): They are proof that no team is truly as good as they seem on their best day, or as bad on their worst.  But they could legitimately beat the Giants and have a shot at the NFC East crown.


15. Atlanta Falcons (8-6): They have lost 4 of their last 6 and have yet to beat a quality opponent. They could very easily finish the season with a .500 record, and the blame should go on Vick who has been mediocre.


16. Minnesota Vikings (8-6):  The Vikings are still in the playoff hunt, as well as the division race. Mike Tice’s job is probably safe for another year, and he deserves credit for the team’s recent success as he took most of the blame for its early season failures.


17. Dallas Cowboys (8-6): The Boys have lost 3 out of 4 primarily because of Bledsoe’s 7 picks in those loses. They still have a shot at the playoffs, but Drew has to look more like he did against KC for that to happen.


18. Miami Dolphins (7-7):  “The futures so bright, I got to wear shades” is the new theme song in Miami. Not only is it one of the great songs from the 80’s but it fits this Dolphins team perfectly. Nick Saban took this team from being a disaster to a .500 team in a year even with Gus Frerotte at the helm.


19. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8): Don’t feel too bad for the Eagles, as they very well could be back to being the best team in the NFC next year. Ryan Moats is the inside presence they need to bring balance to their offense.


20. Cleveland Browns (5-9):  If anyone from the Pittsburgh Steelers reads this, the Browns will show up to play this week. They do every week, so they shouldn’t be overlooked, especially by a team needing a win to stay in the playoffs.


21. Baltimore Ravens (5-9): Kyle Boller had his best game as a pro as he dismantled the Green Bay Packers. That may not be a good thing, because it sure seemed like the Ravens would go a different direction, and this could mean another year of questions at QB.


22. Oakland Raiders (4-10): Oakland has to find a QB to make the talent they do have worth while, and Kerry Collins isn’t it.


23. Arizona Cardinals (4-10): 17 players have out rushed the Cardinals this year, and they may not even get to 1000 yards as a team. Here is a team that should be trying to move up for Reggie Bush.


24. Tennessee Titans (4-10): Steve McNair looked like a guy they could rebuild around on Sunday, but it is hard to believe that he has 2 more years left in him.


25. St Louis Rams (5-9):  Even though the Rams are a shell of the team dubbed “The greatest show on turf”, they used to still be able to win at home. That is no longer the case even against bad teams.


26. Buffalo Bills (4-10):  The future was certainly not on display Sunday, because Kelly Holcomb and Eric Moulds aren’t it and were the only ones that did much.


27. Detroit Lions (4-10):  The Detroit Lion fans have some of the most loyal fans in the league, and they deserve better than what the Ford family has given them on and off the field.


28. New York Jets (3-11):  I’m sure dreams of Reggie Bush are running through their heads, but a QB is what they really need. Chad Pennington can’t be relied on to stay healthy.


29. New Orleans Saints (3-11):  How about this scenario, the Saints announce they are moving to San Antonio, Texas the same day that Vince Young announces he is going pro.


30. Green Bay Packers (3-11):  You can only feel so bad for Brett Favre, nobody his forcing him to make those horrific throws.


31. San Francisco 49er’s (2-11):  At least Frank Gore looked good against a solid defense front.


32. Houston Texans (2-11): Don’t be fooled by the win that was just to show the league that maybe they aren’t losing on purpose. They know as well as us the loser of the week 17 match up with the 49er’s is the real winner.



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