1. PATRIOTS (9-0):
The Patriots* stay on top with a big win over the Colts.
Chalk another one up for the bad guys.
2. COLTS (7-1): Hopefully WR Marvin Harrison and LT Tony Ugoh will be healthy and the Colts will get a different result in the AFC Championship Game, just donít bet on that happening in January at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, or whatever they call that den of iniquity nowadays.
3. COWBOYS (7-1): After easily dispatching of the Eagles at Philly (38-17), this week itís off to the Meadowlands where they will seek to sweep the season series verses a hot Giants team riding a six game winning streak. If Dallas wins this one they will open up the equivalent of a 2.5 Game lead with the first tie-breaker (head-to-head) well in hand, and if not the NFC EAST will have a dead heat after nine games.
4. PACKERS (7-1): Iíve heard people say they are tired of all the attention Brett Favre receives, but I say enjoy it while it lasts because you are watching a first ballot hall of fame QB, an all-time great, a classic gunslinger, and an all around Good-time Charlie (has anyone ever looked like they are having more fun playing football?) who has somehow recaptured the magic.
5. STEELERS (6-2): Just watched Pittsburgh dismantle the Ravens 38-7 and it could have been a lot worse if Belichick was calling the shots and trying to score 60.
6. GIANTS (6-2): I credit the Giants for winning six in a row, thatís an accomplishment worthy of respect, but if they want to win a division title they would be well advised to make it seven in a row verses Dallas.
7. LIONS (6-2): We already knew the Lions could play offense with a slew of playmakers at the skill positions, but if the Lions play defense like they have the past few weeks this is going to be a dangerous football team the rest of the way, and that probably includes January. Having said that, watch them surrender 40 Points at Arizona this week just to make me look dumb.
8. TITANS (6-2): I have to give these guys a little more respect than I have heretofore, however reluctantly. Soft schedule or no soft schedule, whether or not Iím down on their offense, they are playing stout defense and they are winning games, and that is the bottom line.
9. BROWNS (5-3): Donít be surprised if Brady Quinn is dealt in the off-season if the Browns can recoup that first round pick. Derek Anderson has been THAT GOOD and if this continues there is no future for Brady Quinn in Cleveland beyond carrying the clip-board. Romeo Crennel would have a mutiny on his hands with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow Jr. (i.e. the main beneficiaries of Derek Anderson) leading the lynch-mob.
10. SAINTS (4-4): Only one team in NFL history has made the playoffs in the Super Bowl era after losing their first four games. The Saints are frantically trying to make it two and theyíre only one game out of first place, one game behind the Bucs, and thatís not the same as being one game behind New England.
11. CHARGERS (4-4): This is the one team I mentioned above (1992), but that has no baring on 2007 and last week they set another NFL record, the kind you donít ever want to be associated with as they became the first and only team in league history to allow 296 Yards Rushing by one RB on one afternoon or evening.
12. REDSKINS (5-3): This week theyíll have an opportunity to finish the Eagles and stay within striking distance in the NFC EAST should the Giants beat Dallas.
13. JAGUARS (5-3): Got smoked at New Orleans (41-24) and this week theyíll try to right the ship verses the feisty Titans at Tennessee.
14. BUCCANEERS (5-4): Squeaked by the Cardinals to stop a two game slide, but Iím still not impressed and I expect the Saints to catch (and pass) them.
15. VIKINGS (3-5): A STAR IS BORN and his name is Adrian Peterson. A few weeks ago he marched into Soldier Field and gashed the Bears defense for 224 yards rushing, but that paled in comparison to his encore performance verses another very stout Chargers defense. 296, a new single game record, and now heís on pace to make a run at Eric Dickersonís single season record as well, and this despite the fact that head coach Brad Childress has given him less than 13 Carries in six games this year. If that continues somebody needs to have Brad Childress drug tested, because he must have been sniffing glue. As for the ranking, itís a little high because they donít have a QB, but they do have a good defense and they obviously have a terrific running game with an all-world rookie talent and an outstanding offensive line to run behind.
16. BILLS (4-4): These guys donít use injuries for an excuse and they continue to bring it every week.
17. SEAHAWKS (4-4): Ran into the surging Browns and paid the price.
18. CHIEFS (4-4): Rumor has it Larry Johnson might be lost for a few games. If true they better hope Priest Holmes still has something left in the tank, because they donít exactly have John Unitas at Quarterback to save them.
19. RAVENS (4-4): For weeks Iíve been telling you this team is over-rated. Monday night the Steelers drove that point home with a proper @$$ kicking.
20. PANTHERS (4-4): Three weeks ago I told you the Panthers will only go as far as Steve Smith can take them, but Wide Receivers are Quarterback dependant and this team has no-one to get him the ball. I said I expect Steve Smithís production to slip and that spells bad news for Carolina (and more importantly, my fantasy team). Steve Smithís numbers the past two weeks combined? 5 Receptions for 33 Yards with no touchdowns (Ouch!) Ö and yes, they lost both games as well.
21. TEXANS (4-5): These guys are dealing with a lot of injuries and itís been a rough go, but they still had enough to take care of the lowly Raiders.
22. BEARS (3-5): I still feel like the Bears can get on a roll and make some noise in the NFC wild card race, and this week they have the perfect punching bags (Raiders) to get the second half of their season kick-started. Needless to say if they donít beat the Raiders theyíre done!
23. EAGLES (3-5): When I look at Andyís Reidís situation I see only tragedy and my heart goes out to Coach and Mrs. Reid. Too many parents (yes, even good parents) have seen their children fall prey to drugs and my heart goes out to all of them
24. CARDINALS (3-5): The Cardinals have a bad football team, so what else is new? They havenít been able to figure this thing out since Jim Hart was playing Quarterback, and thatís probably before some of you were even born. I donít understand how any franchise can be this bad for this long, I really donít.
25. BRONCOS (3-5): That loud thud you heard emanating from Detroit was the sound of Denverís season going up in flames as the Lions beat them to a bloody pulp.
26. BENGALS (2-6): You know what usually happens to coaches when their teams fall apart to this extent despite having a legit franchise QB (that most GMís would kill for) in his prime, especially when it happens two years in a row? Somebody else is coaching them the following year.
27. RAIDERS (2-6): Itís hard to believe there are actually five teams that might be worse than the Raiders, but thatís the way I see it.
28. NY JETS (1-8): When you find yourself behind the Raiders, all I can say is welcome to the Darren McFadden lottery. By the way, I can understand Justin McCareins sabotaging Kellen Clemens debut by dropping some critical passes, you almost expect that from McCareins, I can even excuse that from the neophyte Brad Smith, but Et Tu Jerricho? Very surprising coming from such a sure-handed receiver and one of our best players in my view. Nothing has changed in that regard, I still love him and I know that had to be killing him (because he cares deeply), and I know heíll make a ton of plays for this team in his career and that drop in OT will be long forgotten, but it hurts to think Kellen had a chance to win both games he started, he made the throws in crunch-time, but he was denied the glory. One last thing, this defense stinks, and I mean atrocious, and the run defense is especially galling. With the exception of David Harris (a rookie) who has been spectacular, this front seven is stealing money. Okay I lied, I have one more comment to add, this O-line better not get Kellen Clemens (our future) killed or there should be hell to pay. Do you hear me Mangini, HELL TO PAY!! I hope he makes that crystal clear to these clowns. They better protect this kid like the hope diamond, because thatís what he represents to this franchise going forward.
29. FALCONS (2-6): How did this team win two games? The 49ers and Texans should bury their heads in shame.
30. 49ERS (2-6): After these knuckleheads found a way to lose to the Falcons, a franchise in complete disarray, let me be blunt lest there be any misunderstanding. Itís bad enough that I have to watch my Jets hit the skids. Itís even worse that I may have to watch the Patriots run the table and/or win another Super Bowl. But if these jokers even dare to lose more games than the Jets with the Pats owning their first round pick, I will officially be on 24 hour suicide watch and I will hate this team for the rest of my life, which may last around five minutes if I have to suffer that indignity on top of all this pain and misery. If the Pats are selecting ahead of the Jets in the draft, after running the table and/or winning another Super Bowl, I just might stick my head in an oven and light the match.
31. RAMS (0-8): This is what they call ROCK Ö
32. DOLPHINS (0-8): BOTTOM