A quarter of the NFL Season is in the books, and there sure were plenty of upsets to go around this latest NFL weekend. We are now down to four unbeaten teams, two in the AFC and two in the NFC. Here is our weekly rankings around the NFL, and if the team was ranked last week, their ranking will be next to their name.
NFC Top 5
1. Dallas (1) – Yeah, there pretty good. Just when you thought maybe, just maybe, the Rams were going to make a game of it vs the Cowpokes on Sunday, Tony Romo and the offense woke up and it was 35-7 before it was all over. “We have a good team right now. We’re playing well overall, and certainly have some talented players that have made plays for us,” Wade Phillips said Monday. Yeah Wade, ya think? A Monday night beating of the Bills is up next for Dallas.
2. Green Bay (2) – Brett Favre for MVP? It’s not as far fetched as you might think, as Favre is having his best season since 1996 when he threw 39 TD’s and 13 picks. He has 8 TD’s and just two interceptions, showing that he has totally brought into the offense of Mike McCarthy. The defense is playing lights out, but the biggest concern with the cheese heads is the running game. The Packers are averaging 54 yards rushing a game and 2.7 yards per attempt, and that is not going to win you many games in bad weather in December and January.
3. Seattle (3) – The Seahawks quietly won a very impressive game Sunday in San Francisco, pounding the 49’ers 23-3. Shaun Alexander does not appear to be struggling with the cast on his wrist, and this team was a bad snap in Arizona of being 4-0. The defense has been impressive, allowing just 13.3 points per game. A Super Bowl XL rematch in Pittsburgh this weekend might be the game of the week.
4. Tampa Bay (5) – All the Bucs are doing right now is winning, and with a victory this weekend (a very tough game in Indy) they will have matched their win total of last season at four. I don’t know how long they can hang on though, as now starting RB Cadillac Williams and starting left tackle Luke Petitgout are both out for the season with injuries. Nevertheless, their defense (allowing just 11 points per game) along with gutsy QB Jeff Garcia will have to carry them the remaining 3/4’s of the season.
5. Detroit (-) – 34 points in the 4th quarter against a good, albeit banged up Bears defense has moved the Lions in the top 5 of the NFC. They have allowed more points than scored, but are 3-1 and a game back of the Pack in the suddenly much better NFC North. The offense, which most of us knew is pretty good, is putting up 28.5 points per game in the first four weeks, and close to 400 yards per game. This weeks game at Washington is a solid test for this young team.
NFC Bottom 3
1. St.Louis (1) – You have to feel for the Rams, who were hanging with the very good Cowboys Sunday before they imploded. This team might be lucky at this point to win four games, as they are still snake bitten with injuires, and their offense is putting up just 9.8 points per game. The defense can’t hang with the better offenses’ and this weeks home game vs the Cardinals might be another long day for the beat up Rams who many thought would challenge the Seahawks in the NFC West.
2. New Orleans (3) – A bye week and a win by the Falcons push the Saints to two this week. They have been outscored 103-38 in their first three games, and now have no Deuce McCallister for the rest of the 2007 season. Two of the next three are at home, so maybe vs the bad Panthers they can get on track this week.
3. Chicago (-) – We’d like to welcome in the defending NFC Champs to the bottom of the NFC. Things really went from bad to worse for the Bears this week, as they gave up an NFL record 34 points in the 4th quarter in a loss to the Lions at Ford Field. Now at 1-3 with Brian Griese shouldering the load, the Bears have one more shot to really turn their season around. And it’s at Green Bay, a place they have played well over the past few years. Lose here and drop to 1-4 while the Pack moves to 5-0? Season over.
AFC Top 5
1. New England (1) – Should we just end the season now or what? There is no doubt that week in and week out the Pats are by far the best team in the league, and they showed it again last night in Cincy. Let’s see – 37 points per game, 431 yards of offense, 12 points allowed on defense, and just 69.8 yards per game allowed on the ground?! Yeah, there pretty good. No question if the rings were handed out four games into the season, this squad would have them.
2. Indianapolis (2) – For as good as the Pats have been, the Colts have almost slid under the radar going 4-0. They as well have been unstoppable on offense, at 32.8 points per game and 403 yards per game. Their undoing right now is the injury bug, which hit them hard on Sunday in beating the Broncos. Marvin Harrison, Rob Morris, Joesph Addai, and some others all suffered hurts and could miss this Sunday’s game vs the Bucs at home.
3. Pittsburgh (3) – The Steelers looked more like the 06 team Sunday in their first loss of the season at Arizona. They allowed a punt return for a score, the O-line couldn’t pass block and were poor in run blocking as well, and they suffered key penalites at key times. Nevertheless, at 3-1 they will have to learn from this loss and move on, and a key game awaits them at home this week vs the Seahawks. 4-1 at their bye week would look awfully good.
4. Tennessee (4) – Titans got a week off after their impressive win over the Saints a week ago Monday, and now host the Falcons at home this week. Atlanta actually played pretty well vs the Texans, so the Titans cannot afford to be sleep walking through this one. They have a great shot to be at 4-1 after this week and can’t look ahead to road games at Tampa Bay and at Houston in weeks 6 and 7.
5. Jacksonville (-) – At 2-1 with the bye this past week the Jags sneak into our top 5 for the first time in 2007. They have not scored much (46 points), but also have played solid defense (34) points and were impressive in running the ball for the first time in 2007 vs the Broncos on the road two weeks ago. They have to duplicate that type of effort of two weeks ago on the road against a suddenly hot KC Chiefs team this week.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Miami (1) – We all thought a home game vs the Raiders might be their shot this past week, but instead they laid another egg and lost badly 35-17. Ronnie Brown went over 200 total yards and was a bright spot, but the defense is bad right now, and Trent Green is showing considerable age and is making killer mistakes that is costing the team dearly. Back to back road games at Houston and at Cleveland could have them easily at 0-6. Oh, and then it’s at home for the Pats. Ouch.
2. New York Jets (-) – A new entry to our bottom three, the Jets could not take advantage of a beat up Bills unit on Sunday in Buffalo, and now at 1-3 it looks like a long season coming in New York. The defense allowed a rookie QB to throw all over the place, while the offense puts up numbers but cannot seem to get in the end zone. Look for QB Kellen Clemens to get a lot of playing time later this season.
3. San Diego Chargers (-) – How the mighty have fallen. The Chargers are in deep trouble, and while many think they will suddenly flip the switch, I’m not so sure. They just seem out of sync on both sides of the ball, and in allowing 351 yards per game seem to have lost what they had on defense a year ago. Plus L.T. is averaging just 65.5 yards per game and Phillip Rivers is struggling. It all added up with chants of “Marty” on Sunday in their loss to the Chiefs.