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Ranking the Contenders

The Indianapolis and Houston game sure made one thing clear, and that is that the Colts are still the team to beat in the NFL and the Texans are the team everyone should beat. The problem is filling out the 30 teams in between. Take a look at the bottom half of the rankings and try to decide which team is worse.  The top half isn’t much easier as teams. Atlanta can’t throw, Denver can’t put a team away and the Bengals can’t beat a winning team.  Teams can look like champions one week and chumps the next week, but that is the modern day NFL and parity rules.


1.      Indianapolis Colts 7-0 (1):  They go into the bye undefeated, but the next 4 games include match ups with New England, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will show how good their defense really is.


2.      Pittsburgh Steelers 4-2 (7): Showed the Bengals that the division still goes through them. The Steelers just operate better with Roethlisberger at the helm even when his performance isn’t perfect.


3.       Atlanta Falcons 5-2 (4):  Defense and a great running game go along way, but a championship team needs to pass and the Falcons have to find a way to get more out of Michael Vick in that department if a Championship can become a reality.


4.      Denver Broncos 5-2 (2): After both the Redskins and Patriots attempted fourth quarter come backs that fell short, young Manning finally pulled it off against them. The Broncos have to find a way to put teams away for good.


5.      Washington Redskins 4-2 (9):  Mark Brunell’s resurgence is finally making this look like a Joe Gibbs type of team. And the return of LaVar Arrington to the starting lineup made a very good defense even better, watch out NFC.


6.      Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-1 (6): Fantasy fans rejoice, Carnell Williams looks like he’ll return this week after a week off. But can Chris Simms or Tim Rattay keep the Buc’s winning ways going?


7.      Seattle Seahawks 5-2 (5): The Seahawks found themselves on the right side of a game where it game down to a big play and clutch performance. Mike Holmgren may finally have the team that he was brought to Seattle to assemble.


8.      Philadelphia Eagles 4-2 (13): They stole a win at home from the Chargers by returning a blocked field goal for the game winning score. But holding LaDainian Tomlinson to 7 yards is impressive.


9.      Jacksonville Jaguars 4-2 (8): After this weeks game versus the Rams, they have 5 very winnable games versus losing teams before a rematch with the Colts that could be the key to winning the division.


10.  Cincinnati Bengals 5-2 (3):  The Bengals hit a snag as they faced a team with a winning record again and lost. They are improved, but not good enough to beat other good teams.


11.  NY Giants 4-2 (15): The comeback versus the Broncos with 5 seconds left to win was the second time in 2 weeks he threw a TD pass with under 20 seconds to go to tie or win a game. The Eli legend has begun.


12.  Kansas City Chiefs 4-2 (16):  The Chiefs had to cancel practice and travel on short notice to get to Miami once the game was pushed up to Friday. They sure didn’t look unprepared.


13.  Carolina Panthers 4-2 (12):  Getting healthy over the bye week should allow them to keep the three game win streak going against the Vikings.


14.  Dallas Cowboys 4-3 (10): The loss was frustrating enough and Jose Cortez took much of the heat and got an all expense ticket out of town. Parcells seems to be losing faith in his often injured running back, Julius Jones, which may make Marion Barber more appealing.


15.  New England Patriots 3-3 (14): Their injury situation will certainly be improved with the week off, but will it be enough? Lucky for them the AFC East is not what it use to be.


16.  San Diego Chargers 3-4 (11): Good teams losing in tough eventful ways seems to be a trademark of Marty Schottenheimer teams, no wonder why he is known as just a good coach rather than a great one.


17.  Chicago Bears 3-3 (20): It took 6 years and 3 teams, but Thomas Jones is finally the running back people thought he could be when he was the 7th pick in the 2000 draft.  Jones and a very good defense could be enough to win the NFC North.


18.  St Louis Rams 3-4 (21):  Mike Martz tried to call in a play from home that he thought would work against the Saints; he was denied by team president John Shaw.  Maybe Mike Martz already knows his days with the Rams are over with.


19.  Buffalo Bills 3-4 (17):  The Bills once stout defense is getting run all over, and unlike the QB situation, a capable backup plan isn’t right on the bench.


20.  Detroit Lions 3-3 (26): Garcia was not spectacular, but still an improvement over Joey Harrington. And the defense is playing well and will get a chance to redeem themselves against the Bears.


21.  Oakland Raiders 2-4 (28):  With Randy Moss gone, they concentrated on getting the ball to LaMont Jordan and it worked. If they can continue to do so, they’ll have much more success.


22.  Cleveland Browns 2-4 (18):  We have seen both sides of Trent Dilfer this year, and Sunday we saw the really bad side. But Romeo Crennel may not be so quick to rush Charlie Frye into a bad situation.



23.  Arizona Cardinals 2-4 (29): It’s going to be hard for Denny Green to stick with Josh McCown after some games, but the team will be better off he does. But he did win and is 2-1 as the starter.


24.  Minnesota Vikings 2-4 (30): It may have taken one good half of football to beat the battered Packers, but it will take a lot more than that to make me a believer. The team has major issues and will face much better teams than Green Bay.


25.  Miami Dolphins 2-4 (19): Having a game pushed up 2 days is supposed to help the home team. If that was the case, I’d hate to see what the Chiefs would of done to them if they played on Sunday.


26.  New Orleans Saints 2-5 (27): The Saints had played 7 solid quarters of football up till the final quarter this Sunday and have 2 loses to show for it. They have overcome a lot, and now face rumors of never playing again in New Orleans.


27.  Tennessee Titans 2-5 (23):  Billy Volek always seems to put up stats, but the Titans need Steve McNair to put up wins.


28.  NY Jets 2-5 (24):  Injuries have killed the Jets and a week off won’t be enough to fix that. They have already started to look at QB’s for next year.


29.  Baltimore Ravens 2-4 (22):  Kyle Boller can’t get back quick enough, and that says a lot about the state of the Ravens offense. At some point Chester Taylor has to get more carries.


30.  Green Bay Packers 1-5 (25):  Ahman Green will join Javon Walker on the IR, and Robert Ferguson will be lost for at least a month. But FredEx may be coming to town. And Brett Favre thought at 1-5 things couldn’t get worse.


31.  San Francisco 49ers 1-5 (31):  Eight for sixteen for 92 yards with one interception is an improvement for Alex Smith. Things don’t get easier with Tampa Bay coming to town


32.  Houston Texans 0-6 (32): It has gotten so bad in Houston they only let David Carr throw the ball nine times in a loss.

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