Wednesday - Jan 27, 2021
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Ranking the Contenders

Another week and it’s become even more clear that the Colts are very good team, but that’s been apparent for awhile. Yes they are on the top of the power poll for the 2nd week in a row, but doesn’t anyone else want to see them play another good team?  Baltimore has no offense to speak of, Jacksonville is not without flaws standing at 2-2 and Tennessee and Cleveland are clearly bottom feeders of the NFL. It’s not that I’m trying to diminish what they have done, but they have been beating mediocre and bad teams almost effortlessly for 2 years. This is clearly a better version than the past 2 years which should draw excitement; but unfortunately it’s a month away before they get to tough competition. But they are still a step ahead of the other undefeated teams (Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Washington) who have faced even less stellar schedules.


On the other side of the coin it was the Patriots turn to get beat up…..again. The top teams are taking their turns pounding each other, Atlanta beat Philly, Philly beat KC, KC beat Denver, Denver beat San Diego, San Diego beat New England, and New England beat Pittsburgh.  All those teams have been beat and all may be better or just as good as the unbeaten teams, but it goes to show how chaotic the NFL is.  In the NFL, your record only tells how many games you have won, not necessarily how good a team they are.


After Sunday how many people believe that Tampa Bay or Washington is better than San Diego?


Is Oakland really as bad as their 0-3 start, or was their win more reflective of a team that faced tough teams the first 3 weeks?


Are the Patriots really a .500 team or just a product of the schedule and injuries?


Sure we all have opinions on the answers to these questions, but only time will tell. And as the old saying goes…..that’s why we watch the games.



1.      Indianapolis Colts 4-0 (1): The 2004 Colts offense finally showed up and the 2005 D seems to be sticking around. They are the undisputed best team in football  and it will be another month before they face a real test.


2.      Philadelphia Eagles 3-1 (4): You have to be impressed by what Donavan McNabb is doing despite his injuries, but with a pass/run ratio of 184/79 you have to wonder if McNabb will last.


3.      Cincinnati Bengals 4-0 (3): Struggling at home versus Houston isn’t a good sign, but finding a way to come out with a win is in clear contrast to what the Bengals once where. Jacksonville will be a good gauge of how good they are.


4.      Pittsburgh Steelers 3-1 (5): They needed a week off after being beat up at home by the Pats, but with Bettis and Staley healthy to back up Willie Parker, Pittsburgh will be even tougher to play against.


5.      Atlanta Falcons 3-1 (7):  With Warrick Dunn and a defense that has 17 sacks in 4 games, Michael Vick is a luxury not a necessity to win.


6.      San Diego Chargers 2-2 (15): The last 2 weeks (86 pts) tells a lot more about this team than a loss to Dallas without Antonio Gates and a loss at Denver.


7.      Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-0 (6): Being undefeated is good and all, but their opponents are a combined 3-12. They won and slide 2 spots, but they don’t face a really good team till week 11.


8.      NY Giants 3-1 (16): What a way to rebound after a tough road loss. Eli had his best game of the season and the NFL is proposing a Manning Cloning Bill to Congress.


9.      Denver Bronco’s 3-1 (12):  Let’s repeat, less of Jake Plummer is more. The Defense has shut down LaDainian Tomlinson, Priest Holmes / Larry Johnson and Fred Taylor in consecutive weeks, that is impressive.


10.  New England Patriots 2-2 (2): It looks as if injuries and a tough start to their schedule caught up to them. But things look much easier after the bye week, even though they start off against Indy.


11.  Washington Redskins 3-0 (9): The defense is very good, but does anyone else feel all warm and fuzzy about Mark Brunell? Keeping it close in Denver will be a big statement.


12.  Miami Dolphins 2-1 (14): It took all of 4 weeks for Nick Saban to bring back the AFC East lead to Miami, and with an extra week is there any doubt they won’t be 3-1 next week?


13.  Carolina Panthers 2-2 (18):  Letting Green Bay back in the game is a little unsettling, but it was a much needed win. One thing is for certain, they won’t win much with Steve Smith only catching 2 balls.


14.  Jacksonville Jaguars 2-2 (8): The Jags have to find a way to beat good teams to get to the next level. And Cincy and Pitt the next 2 weeks will give them a shot.


15.  Seattle Seahawks 2-2 (10):   They are much better at home than on the road, and they are much better when the offense goes through Shaun Alexander. He should have seen the ball more against Washington.


16.  Dallas Cowboys 2-2 (11): Last week the D let San Fran stick around, this week they let Lamont Jordan run all over them, the Cowboys are still a work in progress.


17.  Kansas City Chiefs 2-2 (13): Trent Green is not the same QB, which is affecting him getting the ball to Tony Gonzalez, which is killing them against good teams. The D isn’t has good as it looked through 2 weeks.


18.  New Orleans Saints 2-2 (25): They have some weapons and will look very good some weeks, but are not a well coached or well disciplined team to win regularly against good teams.


19.  St Louis Rams 2-2 (17): The whole “We don’t care about turnovers” philosophy should get Mike Martz fired tomorrow. Teams who turnover the ball and can’t play defense have no shot at winning.


20.  Oakland Raiders 1-3 (20): Maybe Lamont Jordan isn’t a bust after all. Getting him the ball should be the emphasis, because throwing to Moss is just a given at this point.


21.  Baltimore Ravens 1-2 (26): The defense can certainly play but man is their offense bad. Jamal Lewis barely resembles the 2000 yard rusher from 2 years ago.


22.  NY Jets 1-3 (22):  Vinny Testerverde might be exactly what they need to get Curtis Martin going. The defense is still good enough to stay competitive.


23.  Cleveland Browns 1-2 (23): I’m curious to see how Romeo Crennel and his Browns improve over the bye week because Chicago is a reasonable test for them.


24.  Tennessee Titans 1-3 (24): It’s going to be a tough time for the leagues youngest team led by the leagues most battered QB.


25.  Chicago Bears 1-2 (27): Thomas Jones is on one of his hot streaks, enjoy it while it lasts, but luckily for them they have another option in Cedric Benson when it ends. However the Bears are still the best team in the NFC North.


26.  Minnesota Vikings 1-3 (19): Something is wrong with Culpepper, but that excuse should not save Mike Tice’s job, which should of ended Sunday but didn’t.


27.  Buffalo Bills 1-3 (21):  I’m all for young QB’s getting experience and taking their lumps like Eli Manning did, but Losman doesn’t look capable of leading a team in Madden 2005.


28.  Arizona Cardinals 1-3 (30): Don’t get 2 excited about Luke McNown’s performance; it was against San Fran’s backup secondary. This is the same guy they wanted to replace with Warner.


29.  San Francisco 49ers 1-3 (29): Rattay can have a big game now and then, but San Fran isn’t going anywhere and Alex Smith should get a look much like Eli did last year, and we know how that is going.


30.  Detroit Lions 1-2 (28): Harrington says he is sick of losing, well I think Detroit fans are sick of him not being very good.


31.  Houston Texans 0-3 (32):   David Carr isn’t fairing much better than his draft class mate Joey Harrington, but Carr may not fair as well for long being hit as much as is.


32.  Green Bay Packers 0-4 (31): It’s hard to watch Brett Favre lose because everyone knows how much he hates it and how much he has meant to football, but it’s still fun to watch him play……thank you Brett Favre.


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