Another week of NFL Action is behind us, and its time once again to take a glance at the Power Rankings around the league. The previous weeks ranking, if they were ranked, is next to the team.
NFC Top 5
1. Chicago (1) – A whitewash at home against the Bills makes this bunch the hottest team in the league. At 5-0, the teams biggest concern is if they have peaked too soon, which was the first question asked to Lovie Smith after the game on Sunday. I don’t know how much better this team can get when it comes to playing at Soldier Field. They should continue to roll this week with a Sunday night game in Arizona.
2. Philadelphia (2) – Donovan McNabb is right now my vote for MVP. His play has been stellar this season, and he is doing everything right. This last win over Dallas has the Eagles sitting pretty at 4-1, two full games up on the Giants and Dallas. This week they will have a tough test in New Orleans against Deuce, Reggie and the Saints.
3. Seattle (3) – The Hawks will be without Shaun Alexander again this week as they come off the bye, which is not good news as they head into St.Louis. Until last season, the Edward Jones Dome was the Hawks Haunted House, a place where they just couldn’t seem to get it done. Now with the Rams playing well again and sitting at 4-1, this game suddenly doesn’t look so easy.
4. Atlanta (4) – The Falcons had a bye to rest their weary legs, which between Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn and co. are putting up 234 yards a game, best in the league. The next two weeks will show just how good this team is, as they play host to the Giants and then Steelers. They may be forced to put the ball up more to get past these two teams.
5. St.Louis (-) – First time this year we’ve seen this team in the rankings, but at 4-1, why not? Marc Bulger is enjoying a solid season with 1259 yards and 7 TD’s. The offense is putting up 22 points per game, and despite the early season soft schedule, it looks as if the Rams have reestablishes themselves as a force in the NFC. A win over the Seahakws this week will really turn some heads.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Detroit (2) – Up 17-3 in the 4th quarter in Minnesota only to lose 26-17 has earned this team the ranking of worst in the NFC. Rod Marinelli has stated that discipline is a key reason this team is 0-5, I think it has to do with Jon Kitna, who is just not very good behind center. Kitna fumbled a TD on Sunday then threw a pick that sealed the Lions loss in Minnesota. The Lions D is just awful as well, allowing 28.2 points per game.
2. Tampa Bay (3) – A gutsy effort in New Orleans but it was not enough to garner their first win of the season. At least they can’t blame new QB Bruce Gradowski, who looked poised and solid in his first NFL start, going 22-for-37 for 245 yards and two TD’s. Carnell Williams went over 100 yards, another good sign. They have a shot this week to play spoiler as they host the Bengals Sunday.
3. San Francisco (1) – You have to be impressed with the progress Alex Smith has made at quarterback in his second season. The #1 pick has thrown for 1071 yards and 6 TD’s with 3 interceptions. He is also making much better decisions with the ball this year. The task will be much tougher this week as instead of the inept Raiders, they host the red hot Chargers.
AFC Top 5
1. Indianapolis (1) – Good teams find a way to win, and the last two weeks the Colts have had to comeback in the 4th quarter against the Jets and Titans to move to 5-0. Only thing I don’t like is those should be teams that they should dominate, not have to comeback against. This latest comeback was somewhat alarming, as the Titans outplayed the Colts for 3 and a 1/2 quarters before allowing two TD’s to blow the lead. The Colts have the bye, which could give them some time to look at some of the things they might not be doing so well.
2. Denver (2) – Got their first three picks of the year Monday night in a 13-3 defensive battle against the Ravens at Invesco. Tatum Bell gave the Broncos a lift on the ground with 92 yards against the tough Ravens D. With wins over the Pats and Ravens, the Broncos have beaten two solid teams. With Oakland and Cleveland up next, they should easily be 5-1 heading into a showdown in three weeks with the Colts.
3. New England (4) – The Pats continue to defy the odds and are now sitting real pretty in the AFC East with a 4-1 mark. They are two full games up on the Jets and Bills, and three on the disappointing Dolphins, who they beat 20-10 Sunday. While the offense is not having to throw the ball as much, the running attack of Maroney and Dillon have done a nice job taking the pressure off of Tom Brady. The defense has also been solid, allowing 14.8 points per game.
4. San Diego (5) – It was a tale of two halves for the Chargers Sunday night vs the Steelers, as they trailed 10-0 and 13-3, only to put up 20 straight to beat the Steelers 23-13. Phillip Rivers grew up a lot Sunday, and played the best game of his short NFL career. The defense gave up some early drives, but then buckled down and only allowed the Steelers 52 yards on 18 plays. They should have an easier game this week with the 49’ers before an interesting game at KC in two weeks.
5. Baltimore (2) – They had a golden opportunity Monday night in Denver, but the offense finally ran out of gas. Steve McNair’s bubble also burst, as he had his worst game in purple with three picks. While the defense is still very good, the offense will be the downfall of this team in the long run. Don’t look now, but they have the red hot Panthers coming to town on a short week.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Oakland (1) – I can’t imagine this ranking changing anytime soon after watching them lose by 14 to the 49’ers on Sunday. Look for them to come out fired up against the Broncos on Monday night, but like usual, fade and end up short. The defense is awful, allowing 28.3 points per game, and the offense is still only putting up 11.8 per contest. They host the Cardinals in two weeks, another possible first win of the season.
2. Miami (3) – This ranking is just mind boggling considering the Dolphins were a lot of experts pick to win the AFC East. The “injury” to Daunte Culpepper is only the start to this teams problems, and now they have stated that Joey Harrington will start again Sunday vs the Jets. While a trip to New York is looming, their second win of the season may be next week vs the Packers.
3. Tennessee (2) – The Titans showed resolve and some signs of life this past week with a near upset of the undefeated Colts. Jeff Fisher said he wanted Vince Young to run more, and the former Texas QB did just that, running for 43 yards and his first NFL TD. The defense held Peyton Manning to 166 yards, and will need another effort like that to have a shot at upsetting the Redskins this week.