15.Atlanta Falcons (Previously New York Giants)
The Falcons are moving on up. They were firing on a lot of cylinders on Sunday. Seattle is a tough place to play, but they came out and beat them up pretty good for awhile. They were too cautious at the end of the game though and the Falcons made it much closer than it should be. They are not yet in their groove, but I’m seeing signs of them getting there soon.
14. New York Giants (previously Oakland Raiders)
The New York Giants sit at 3-1 and I’m not sure how. Based on how I read the rule about giving yourself up, the referees made the right call on the Victor Cruz play, But with that being said they have to play smarter. Even though the Giants reputation of being a smart, careful, disciplined football team they make a lot of knuckle-head plays. The Giants defense looks pretty bad every week in certain areas. Beanie Wells ran all over them and they couldn’t stop Larry Fitzgerald. They have to play better if they want to keep winning. The only game they actually played well was probably the game vs the Eagles.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (previously Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
This ranking is completely reliant on my stead-fast belief that Mike Tomlin can figure this thing out. The Steelers have all the talent to be a competitive playoff team. They just have looked awful early this season. The Steelers look really poor against the run and that just doesn’t sit right. Their pass game has also been brutal (has a Big Ben fantasy QB member, trust me I know) and they are pretty beat up. Still, this team always competes. I’ll give them one more week in playoff contention. If they lose next week they might have to move down some more.
12. Buffalo Bills (Previously Washington Redskins)
One more week for Buffalo in the top 10. I fully expect them to fade a little bit and miss the playoffs, but right now can’t I dream? Living in Rochester, NY and being subjected to the Buffalo Bills games the past few seasons has really piqued my interest in the team. I just want them to be a quality team. It’s brutal watching a bad Bills game every week (my wife’s a Bills fan). I was excited when they beat the Patriots last week and was looking forward to them starting 4-0, but the Bengals ruined those plays. With games the next three weeks vs the Eagles, Giants, and Redskins: their feel good story might soon be coming to an end. The the Bills play the Jets and Cowboys. So a lot of “easting” going on over the next month and a half for the Bills.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Previously the New York Jets)
The Buccaneers are now now 3-1 and gelling. The team is young and hungry (“youngry”). And even though Freeman hasn’t quite had the breakout year the Buccaneers had hoped he’s playing well enough. The Buccaneers defensive front seven is very talented, they can run the ball and they will be competing with the Falcons, Lions, and the second best N.F.C. East team whoever that happens to be for one of the final playoff spots. They don’t always win pretty, but Freeman knows how to win the game when it’s all on the line.
10. Tennessee Titans (Previously Houston Texans)
Matt Hasselbeck looks rejuvenated. Chris Johnson hasn’t even gotten started yet. Well six teams have to make the playoffs int eh A.FC. Right now. It’s the Ravens, Chargers, Patriots, Texans, and then who knows. The Steelers and Jets don’t look great right now which gives the Titans an opportunity to move into the top 10. I’m not sure I expect this to last, but if Hasselbeck keeps playing the way he’s been playing all year, it ust might.
9. Washington Redskins (Previously San Fran 49ers)
Is it possible that Rex Grossman was on to something. I want to keep knocking them, but they keep winning. So at some point I’m going to just have to accept that they might really compete for a playoff spot this year. The NFC East looks down this year. The Cowboys can’t get out of their own way. The Eagles look awful (but they still are dangerous), and the Giants have played a soft schedule.
8. San Fran 49ers (Previously Dallas Cowboys)
They don’t have a franchise quarterback, but they do have an excellent chance to make the playoffs. Their defense is awesome against the run. They kept Shady McCoy to 18 yards on 9 carries. McCoy is one of the most impressive running backs int the league. They play in a weak division and have a very good running back. The 49ers might join the Lions in the playoffs this year, which would be nice to see. Though no one will confuse these 49ers with those dominant Joe Montana teams.
7. New Orleans Saints (Previously New Orleans Saints)
Through four weeks we have learned nothing we didn’t know already about the Saints. They are awesome on offense. They have lit up two top defenses from last year: the Packers and the Bears. And the number one ranked defense (statistically) heading into week three the Houston Texans. They dominated the Jaguars in week four. The Saints are vying with the Falcons and Buccaneers for the top spot in their division, but right now are the best team in that division.
6.Detroit Lions (Previously Pittsburgh Steelers)
I’d like to see them play a good first half again. But a win is a win. The Lions are not the same old Lions. They had a huge comeback win for the second week in a row. The Lions are really improving. I still question a lot of their depth though at many positions. Their Linebackers are light years better than they were last year. They could use more talent in the secondary, and their offensive line hasn’t played great. If Stafford stays healthy though, they have the inside track into the playoffs for the wildcard. That’s a long ways away though.
5. Houston Texans (Previously Detroit Lions)
Wow, big game by the Texans, who put on a clinic vs the Steelers. The Texans ran all over the Steelers and really dominated them at the line of scrimmage on defense. The Texans biggest competition for the playoffs is going to the surprisingly good Tennessee Titans who are being rejuvenated under Matt Hasselbeck. The Texans , though may have lost Andre Johnson for awhile with a leg injury. That could be bad. He is a force on offense.
4. San Diego Chargers (Previously Baltimore Ravens)
1s, second, third, fourth, fifth? Who cares. As long as you’re one of the six that are in the playoffs in each conference you’re golden. The Raiders still don’t have the Quarterbacking to get them to the playoffs which is lucky for the Chargers because then they might have real competition in the division. As long as the Chargers don’t screw it up they should waltz into the playoffs this year, most likely with a bye.
3. Baltimore Ravens (Previously San Diego Chargers)
I’m switching the Ravens and Chargers only because of the manner in which they both won. The Ravens took it to the New York Jets, especially on defense where they were again a turnover machine. The Ravens did the same thing to the Steelers early in the year. The Ravens settled the game down late in the third quarter when they decided to run the ball right at the Jets. That’s where their strength is. Good defense, feed the ball to Ray Rice and Ricky Williams.
Flacco looked awful passing the ball tonight. He’s still too inconsistent. Torrey Smith though was targeted a lot deep and had some steps. He’s going to be a pretty good player for the Ravens.
2. New England Patriots (Previously New England Patriots)
The Patriots are remarkable and Brady is a genius. It doesn’t matter who he’s throwing the ball to, they will make plays and the Patriots keep chugging along. Their young defense is really struggling. They need more work on defense, especially their pass defense. The Patriots will be fine though, and are still the favorite to represent the A.F.C. in the Superbowl at this time.
I actually thought that the Raiders would give them a good game today, but they took advantage of a few terrible plays by Jason Campbell and beat the Raiders pretty soundly. You have to worry about both he Packers and Patriots defenses.
1. Green Bay Packers (previously Packers)
Until they are unseated they remain King. Their pass defense has looked poor though early in the season and that bears watching as the season progresses. But when you have Aaron Rodgers, their offensive weapons, and a bright offensive minded coach you can win a lot of games by out scoring people.
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