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INSIDER WEEK 4 POWER RANKINGS

By Glenn Bernardi
Jets Insider.com Contributing Writer
October 3rd, 2006
Da Bears are still #1.
Da Bears are still #1.
1. CHICAGO BEARS {4-0}
So did anyone get the license plate number of that truck that ran over the Seahawks? This team has an offense now, a legit NFL offense, complete with a running game {which they always had}, a quality young QB in Grossman, a downfield threat in Berrian, and a big possession WR in Muhammad. Complimenting the best defense in football that is a deadly combination.

2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS {3-1}
As I warned last week, and as the Bengals learned much to their chagrin, these guys are the Rasputin's of the league. No matter how many players they lose you just can't kill them, and I'll tell you why, because old dynasties die hard.

3. BALTIMORE RAVENS {4-0} If McNair stays healthy this team will remain a tough out, because he gives them just enough offense to make that ferocious defense matter.

4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS {4-0} Nothing new to report here, they've had the most prolific offense in the league for quite some time and they've always been regular season champs, but I still don't believe they're built to win in January and nothing I saw verses the Jets changed my mind in that regard. If anything it only re-enforced that opinion.

5. DENVER BRONCOS {2-1}
Prior to their bye week they beat the Patriots in New England, and that is a very impressive notch on their belt. Combined with the Seahawks and Bengals getting pummeled this week, that's all the justification I need for this ranking.

6. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS {3-1}
There's no shame in getting routed @ Chicago without your best player {Alexander}, not that he would have mattered. But they'll have lots of company before this season ends. They won't be the last team to get savaged at Soldier Field.

7. CINCINNATI BENGALS {3-1}
Coming off a big divisional win verses Pittsburgh they laid an egg at home verses the Patriots. This was a step back for the Bengals, a mark of their immaturity as a team. In order to take that next step you have to learn how to deal with prosperity, which at times can be as daunting a task as dealing with adversity.

8. CAROLINA PANTHERS {2-2}
They're still not clicking on all cylinders, but Steve Smith is back and they've won two in a row. Don't be fooled by their slow start, this is a bona-fide contender and I believe they are just gearing up to hit stride.

9. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS {2-1}
They put up a heck of a fight at Baltimore, in a brutally physical game, but they came up a little short at the end. That's no reason to knock them out of the TOP 10.

10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES {3-1}
I like this team, but all three of their wins came against the dregs of the league, Houston, Frisco and the Packers. This week they get a chance to make a real statement at home verses Dallas. We'll see?

11. DALLAS COWBOYS {2-1}
They did what a contender is supposed to do verses Tennessee and a rookie QB making his first NFL start, obliterated them, but they've already beaten the Skins and now comes a chance to establish NFC East dominance @ Philly. We'll see?

12. PITTSBURGH STEELERS {1-2}
Until now I've given the Steelers a bit of a mulligan because they have dealt with so much adversity with their QB, and they are the defending champs, but they've had their bye week and BIG BEN has had ample opportunity to get well, so now its time to sink or swim. That starts with a tough one @ San Diego this week.

13. WASHINGTON REDSKINS {2-2}
Very impressive win over the Jags. I don't believe they're better than Jacksonville, but they beat them fair & square, and they lit-up a very strong defense.

14. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS {2-2}
I still believe this is a TOP 10 caliber team despite their back-to-back losses following back-to-back wins, but you have to prove it on the field, that talent has to translate into W's, and you can't lose to the Skins, a team you're supposed to beat.

15. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS {3-1}
In my view the Saints almost solidified themselves as contenders with their loss at Carolina. The Panthers are an elite team, they were home, desperate for a win, and the Saints still took them right down to the wire.

16. ATLANTA FALCONS {3-1}
Nice bounce-back win for the Falcons after the loss down in Nawleans. Granted it was the Cardinals, and they're already falling apart at the seams, but they did what they were supposed to do and dismantled Arizona.

17. SAINT LOUIS RAMS {3-1}
Last week I said the Rams were winning with defense, but assured our readers its an aberration, they'll be back to playing 38-31 Games very soon. So they went out and made me look like a prophet, beating Detroit 41-34.

18. NEW YORK JETS {2-2}
Yes, the Jets are to be commended for playing the Colts down to the wire, but when your defense inherits two 4 Point leads down the stretch, not one but two, meaning they only have to keep the opposition out of the endzone {not out of FG range, but out of the endzone} to close the deal, and they go 0 for 2 with the game on the line, its a tough loss to swallow any way you slice it, even if it is the prolific Colts offense.

19. BUFFALO BILLS {2-2}
This team has played consistently well through four games. This week they knocked off the Vikings at home, but with a little luck they could be 3-1 or even 4-0.

20. NEW YORK GIANTS {1-2} This team has played consistantly awful through four games. This week they had a bye, but they could easily be 0-3 minus a ton of luck down in Philly. I suspect they'll be better following the bye, but I wouldn't bet on it.

21. MINNESOTA VIKINGS {2-2}
The bloom is definitely coming off the rose. They haven't been bad in their two losses following two wins to open the season, but they're kind of a bland team with an old QB. I could be wrong, but their absolute ceiling looks like .500 too me.

22. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS {1-2}
That was about right, it was right on schedule, week four and Herm's team finally decided to play football, and man did they ever take out their frustration on the lowly 49ers, to the tune of 41 to Zip!

23. HOUSTON TEXANS {1-3}
Granted it was the woeful Miami Dolphins, but when you're the Texans any win is a big win.

24. ARIZONA CARDINALS {1-3}
I took one look at those wideouts, Boldin & FitzG, and I drafted Kurt Warner in my fantasy football league. Drafted him late and considered it a steal. You see, I can make fun of myself too.

25. DETROIT LIONS {0-4}
Don't look now but Mike Martz is starting to pay some dividends on the scoreboard, 58 Points over their last two ball-games, but the Lions remain winless. They'll win a few shootouts if they keep this up.

26. CLEVELAND BROWNS {1-3}
Beating the Raiders is like beating a pee-wee football team, but they're one of the few bottom feeders who actually got a win this week so I'll reward them with a slight rise in the rankings. But don't expect it to last very long, this week its on to Carolina where they will get beaten to a bloody pulp.

27. GREEN BAY PACKERS {1-3}
Its always sad to see a hall of famer end his career on a miserable team. I still believe Brett Favre can be a winning QB in this league and I wish the Packers would trade him to a contender. Right now this poor guy is in the football version of hell.

28. MIAMI DOLPHINS {1-3}
They lost to the Houston Texans. Think about that, THE TEXANS!! So I guess those Super Bowl predictions were just a tad misguided, huh?

29. TAMPA BAY BUCS {0-3} I know, I should have ranked them ahead of Miami, I feel guilty about that too.

30. SAN FRANSISCO 49ERS {1-3}
They would have leaped Miami too, if not for that 41-0 thrashing at the hands of a Herm Edwards coached team, which is just unacceptable.

31. TENNESSEE TITANS {0-4}
They can't play football, but Albert Haynesworth throws a mean drop-kick. But credit Jeff Fisher for handling that situation like the class act that he is. I said it last week and I'll say it again, give Fisher time to rebuild this team and he'll get it done.

32. OAKLAND RAIDERS {0-3}
Last week we aptly labeled Browns Vs Raiders the seasons first #1 Overall Pick Bowl, and now we know the answer ...

THE OAKLAND RAIDERS ARE ON THE CLOCK!!

MARK CANNIZZARO FAN CHAT THIS THURSDAY: Be sure to check out a Fan Chat with NY Post/JI writer Mark Cannizzaro this Thursday (10/5) at 8PM in the Jets Insider Chatroom.

Mark will be giving all the latest info on all the happenings at Weeb Ewbank Hall including reaction to the Colts game and news leading up to the Jags game.

The is open to the public, you just need to register on the JI messageboard to participate.

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