Back again with another edition of the NFL Weekly Power rankings. This week the rankings shifted somewhat, with the Broncos and Saints losing in their home games, and some teams got back in the mix with huge wins. With that said, let’s take a look at this weeks rankings. If the team was ranked last week, the number of their ranking appears next to the team name.
NFC Top 5
1. Chicago (1) – Coming off the bye the Bears barely broke a sweat in an easy 41-10 thrasing of the 49’ers. The team is still in line for hosting the playoffs at Solider Field, which should be their total focus. I can’t see this team losing in the playoffs at home, but then again, I said the same thing last year about the Colts. Should be another rather easy win this week as the Monsters of the Midway host the lackluster Dolphins.
2. New York Giants (2) – Another big win for the Giants at home, and now with a four game winning streak they lead the division by one game over Dallas. The team stepped it up with some pretty big injuries on defense, and with Eli Manning and Plax Burress playing pitch and catch, the offense looked good as well in tough winds. They host the Texans this week, before a huge showdown next Sunday at home vs the Bears.
3. Atlanta (-) – The Falcons jump back in the ranks after impressive wins vs the Steelers and on the road at Cincy. Michael Vick is playing All-Pro ball right now, and the team is tied for first in the NFC South. The running game has done well most of the season, and now that Vick is throwing well, the team is becoming more complete. Games vs the Lions and Browns are up next before a big showdown on the road at the Ravens.
4. New Orleans (3) – The Saints played giveaway on Sunday, and it cost them a home game vs the Ravens. It was their worst outing of the season, and cost them sole possession of first in the division. The biggest concern might be the ankle injury to Reggie Bush, but the team is saying its nothing to be concerned about. The next four games – at Tampa Bay, at Pittsburgh, vs Cincy and at Atlanta will define this teams season.
5. Dallas (-) – All the questions about the QB situation aside now, the Cowboys can focus on getting back to playing football once again. Sunday was a statement game as they did an excellent job taking down the Panthers in a place that it is not easy get a win at. Now with Tony Romo showing the world that he can get it done in a tough enviorment, the pressure will be on again this week as the team plays at rival Washington.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Arizona (1) – So much promise, so little results. That’s about all you can say about the Cardinals, who dropped their 7th straight on Sunday at Green Bay to fall to 1-7. The heat is on Denny Green and the rest of the coaches to at least make the second half of the season look competitive, or else they will all be fishing next season. They simply have to run the ball better if they are going to win some games.
2. Detroit (2) – The Lions at 1-6 got a week to lick their wounds and rest before tackling a tough opponent this Sunday in the Atlanta Falcons. Hopefully this team worked hard over the bye on getting better against both the run and the pass, as right now allowing 350 yards per game and 27 points just plain awful. A rare win could be coming in two weeks at home vs the 49’ers.
3. San Francisco (-) – When playing good teams, you can easily see how far the 9’ers are away from becoming even a medicore team again in the NFC. This past week they were just embaressed in the first half against the Bears, and were down 24-0 then 41-0 before they really knew what hit them. They have some talent in the skill positions in Alex Smith, Frank Gore and Antonio Bryant, but are still easily two years away from even being a .500 team.
AFC Top 5
1. Indianapolis (1) – The win over the Broncos showed some serious spunk, as the team used their “other” wide out in Reggie Wayne to put up huge numbers instead of Marvin Harrison. The Colts are again deep on offense, and the defense has played better since getting DE Anthony McFarland before the trade deadline. A win on the road this week vs the Pats and you can book two playoff games at the RCA Dome in January.
2. New England (3) – Boy was I ever wrong in taking the Vikings at home Monday Night! I don’t think anyone would have guessed that New England would have went to the MetroDome and won by 24, but they did, and made it look easy. They clearly are getting better as the weeks go by, and this weeks showdown vs the Colts is more than just a big game between two good teams – its also a grudge match for last years pounding the Pats took at home on a Monday night. It’ll be tough to bet against Brady and the Pats this time around.
3. San Diego (4) – The Chargers got back to their winning ways at home this past week vs the Rams, and finally got L.T. on track with 183 yards rushing and two TD’s. Shawne Merriman will likely drop his appeal and miss the next four games, but it might be better to get it over with now and have him back for the stretch run. The team has an interesting next four games – vs Cleveland, at Cincy, at Denver and vs Oakland. They have to win 3 of 4 to keep pace in the division.
4. Denver (2) – The Broncos defense finally cracked against the Colts Sunday, and with it went the teams 13-game regular season home winning streak. The offense finally got on track with 396 yards, 136 off the running of Mike Bell. The questions about Jake Plummer will continue, but right now the ship must be righted on both sides of the ball before they are looking up at the Chargers. A classic trap game this week in an AFC Championship Game rematch with the Steelers in Pittsburgh awaits them.
5. Baltimore (-) – How about those Ravens, getting back into the rankings and back into first in the AFC North? 35 points on the road at New Orleans thanks to some generous gifts from the Saints, and the Ravens are right back on track from where they were before the two straight losses before the bye. Steve McNair showed no ill effects from the concussion, and the running game finally showed some life with Jamal Lewis going off for 109 yards. A huge game this week for the Ravens at home vs the rival Bengals.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Miami (3) – The Dolphins have a bye and drop two spots to being the worst team in the Conference? Yep. That’s what happens when the two teams ahead of you score wins, and with a showdown in Chicago this week, you can almost for sure mark the fish at 1-7. It’s amazing to think back to the summer when people were making the Dolphins one of the top 2-3 AFC teams to make it to the Super Bowl. Now all they have to look forward to is trying to finish with 5 or more wins.
2. Oakland (1) – I know Raider Nation – how could the Raiders be the second worst team in the Conference with a win over the Super Bowl Champion Steelers?! Easy – look at the fact the team only managed 98 yards of offense, 17 passing and 9 first downs, and you can see my reasons why. This team is still one of the worst in the league, and I would not be surprised to see them not win another game this season. They should send Ben Roethlisberger a Christmas Card thanking him for the best gift they’ve gotten in a long time.
3. Houston (-) The Texans are back in the fold after a pretty poor showing against the Titans on Sunday. They have now lost 11 in a row on the road, and with road games at the Giants and Jags in the next two weeks, better make that 13. They fell behind 21-3 in Tennessee, before making a game of it late. The defense, one week after shutting down the Jags, still has a long, long way to go.