Five weeks now complete in the National Football League, and as we do each and every Tuesday, it’s time again to look at the best, and worst teams in the NFL. Some movement this week, and with that, if you and if the team was ranked last week, their ranking will be next to their name.
NFC Top 5
1. Dallas (1) – While the scoreboard reads 25-24 Cowboys, they sure did have a dogfight on their hands Monday night in Western New York against the pesky Bills. Let’s just say they were lucky in this one, and with as many injuries as Buffalo had and the fact that the country has already placed Dallas in the Super Bowl as the NFC rep, it was probably hard for them not to look ahead at their next contest – their statement game of the season vs the best team in the league in the New England Patriots. Let’s just say if Tony Romo throws five picks vs New England the Cowboys will be undefeated no more.
2. Green Bay (2) – Packer fans should be mad today, as their team gave away what should have been a win Sunday night against the Bears at home. They were able to run the ball, finally, yet committed foolish turnovers and mistakes that allowed Chicago to hang around long enough to finally take the lead and eventually win the contest. Being such a young team, it may be good for them to be grounded a bit with that loss, and a home game vs the tough Redskins this week could be a chance for them to get back on track.
3. Washington (-) – The remaining three teams in our ranking last week played so poorly, the Redskins with a dominant home outing vs the Lions sneak into our rankings this week. 34-3 vs the Lions in a game that saw their defense basically destroy the Lions passing attack and make things very tough on QB Jon Kitna. The offense looked solid as QB Jason Campbell played his best game as a pro, and is getting better. They have a chance to make a big statement this week in their game at Green Bay.
4. New York Giants (-) – Another team that sneaks into our top five, the Giants are starting to play well on both sides of the ball, and that is scary to other teams around the league. Sunday vs the Jets the offense picked up the defense, and the emergence of Aaron Ross with two picks and the steady play of Eli Manning was enough to get a big win. WR Plaxico Burress may be the best at his position right now in the NFC, and he’s playing on a bad ankle. They can’t afford a letdown in Atlanta on Monday night.
5. Seattle (3) – Why? Why not. Despite getting shutout in Pittsburgh and basically being beat up by the Steelers, the Hawks are still a quality football team and will bounce back against a winless Saints team Sunday night. What was so upsetting about the Steelers game was the lack of intensity they brought to the table against a team that was missing its two starting wide outs, starting safety and starting nose tackle. You have to really wonder how much the cast on Shaun Alexander’s hand is bothering him at this point.
NFC Bottom 3
1. St.Louis (1) – A gutsy effort at home vs the Cardinals, and they showed they can score and move the football. The biggest issue with the Rams on the field is the simple mistakes they make week in and week out, along with the turnovers that continue to hurt them. I am convinced though that the Rams will win a game, or two, in 2007, and that’s based on their effort this past Sunday vs Arizona. We’ll see if they bring that same effort this week in a tough place to play in Baltimore.
2. New Orleans (2) – It’s not getting much better for the Saints, who fell to the Panthers at home this past week 16-13. The offense was able to move the ball and the numbers dictate that they should have won the game, but still found a way to lose to David Carr and the Panthers in the end. They head to Seattle on Sunday night this week, which is always a tough place to play.
3. Atlanta (-) – A sloppy game in Tennessee earns the Falcons the third spot back in our rankings this week. After two decent games by Joey Harrington, he was back to his old self with an awful outing vs the Titans. The running game is just not there, and the defense, which played okay, does not have enough to bail out a bad offense week after week. We’ll see what type of effort they roll out with Monday night at home vs the Giants.
AFC Top 5
1. New England (1) – There were some chinks in the armor of the Pats this past week, as they allowed the Browns to get to 20-10 in the third quarter before they drove down the field and put the game away. This team has yet to be really challenged, but that will all change this week when they travel to Dallas to play in the hype bowl vs the Cowboys. Sammy Morris has done a great job for the injured Laurence Maroney at running back.
2. Indianapolis (2) – An emotional win this past week for Tony Dungy and the Colts, as they beat Dungy’s old team – Tampa Bay, with a bunch of players hurt. They took it to the tough Bucs defense right away, and didn’t take the foot off the pedal all afternoon. Already people are talking about their week nine matchup at the RCA Dome against the Pats, but there are still three games left before that.
3. Pittsburgh (3) – You have to credit the Steelers, who beat the Seahakws without blinking Sunday despite not having two starting wide outs, their safety and nose tackle. All they did was hold the ball for 41 minutes, run all over the Hawks defense, and pitch a shutout on offense. How bad was it? The Hawks ran three offensive plays in the third quarter, and Mike Holmgren pulled starting QB Matt Hassleback with just over seven minutes left in the game. This team has earned a week off.
4. Jacksonville (5) – The Jags jump a spot based on their stud defensive performance this past week on the road against the Chiefs. Their defense missed a shutout by one play, and held Larry Johnson to 12 yards rushing. It looks as if Jack Del Rio was right on dumping Byron Leftwich, as David Garrard has done an excellent job for the Jags, not throwing a pick in his first four games as starter. This has the makings of a 10-12 win team.
5. Tennessee (4) – A sloppy outing at home vs the Falcons Sunday drops the Titans a spot, but at least they got the win and learned something in the process. They were flat coming out of the bye, turning the ball over and just not playing as well as they had two weeks ago in New Orleans. This weeks game at Tampa Bay could show just where the Titans may or may not be headed in the 2007 season.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Miami (1) – The Dolphins are awful, and unlike the Rams who have tons of injuries, this team does not quite have that excuse. Sure Trent Green is hurt and out for awhile, but it’s not like they were winning with him in there. The only real bright spot is running back Ronnie Brown, who ran for over 100 yards again this week in a loss to the Texans. They hung in with Houston, but were unable to stop them at the end. This team will not win more than 4 games.
2. New York Jets (2) – Another AFC East team, and one that needs to make a major switch at QB – now. Chad Pennington is not playing well, and his three picks this past week were a main reason the team was unable to hold a 10-point lead vs the Giants. Eric Mangini has to give Kellen Clemans a shot at QB, as Pennington is killing the Jets right now, and at 1-4 some desperate measures must be taken to get them turned around.
3. Denver (-) – It looks as if the Broncos may be in deep trouble for a team that talked a lot about making the playoffs in 2007. They can’t stop the run, have a running back that is more concerned about suing the league over drug tets, and their QB is going backwards in his first full season as a starter. It all adds up to a team that is starting to scramble a bit. This last week’s loss was their worst home loss since 1966, and with the Steelers in town after the bye it could get worse before it gets better.