Upsets across the board this week in the NFL, and for sure some shifting in our Power Rankings for the week. Below is our top and bottom in both conferences, and if the team was ranked the week before, their ranking is next to their team name.
NFC Top 5
1. NY Giants (2) – The Super Bowl champs enjoyed the week off, and likely enjoyed watching their rivals in the Cowboys drop a home game to Washington. They come back at home this week with the Seahawks, who are not very good on the road, and one challenge is they will have to do it without suspended WR Plaxico Burress.
2. Dallas (1) – A home loss to the Redskins has people wondering if the Cowboys are a team that can’t get up for games week in and week out. The team totally got away from running the football, and on defense couldn’t stop Clinton Portis and an improving Jason Campbell. The Bengals are up next, and they are a team that the Cowboys are clearly better than. Then again, that’s what we thought about the Skins.
3. Tampa Bay (5) – The Bucs are 3-0 with Brian Griese at QB, so expect him to stay in that role long term. As for their defense, they did a good job shutting down Aaron Rodgers and the Pack. You have to feel for kicker Matt Bryant, who took tragedy and played anyway, kicking three field goals in the win. A well deserved week off for a team that is playing well.
4. Carolina (-) – You have to love what the Panthers are doing. They have an offense that can run and pass, and a defense that boats good pass rushers, a solid run defense and a secondary that can shut down wide outs. Jake Delhomme has got to get some consideration for comeback player of the year, as he’s throwing well and making good decisions.
5. Washington (-) – The Skins have played three good games, topping the Saints, Cards and Cowboys, three very possible playoff teams in the NFC. Jason Campbell is playing well, Clinton Portis is running hard, and the defense is holding up their end, even without Jason Taylor. Let’s see if success goes to their heads, or if they can keep it in stride with a tough road game this week in Philly.
NFC Bottom 3
1. St.Louis (1) – The poor Rams are going nowhere fast. They finally cut the cord with Scott Linehan, and now will try and get things turned around with Jim Haslett. This is a team that has talent, but for whatever reason they simply have been unable to get the offense turned around, and the defense isn’t much better. We’ll see if a coaching change helps at all.
2. Detroit (2) – Another team with major issues, the Lions did the right thing by finally firing Matt Millen last week. Now they will shuffle the backfield with fomrer Bengal Rudi Johnson as the starter. Jon Kitna took a shot at the offense this past week, which isn’t good, but for a team that needs some fire, maybe that will motivate them.
3. Minnesota (-) – There has to be some concern about this team not being able to turn it around. The play of the QB is in question, and the defense, which was supposed to be the teams strong point, has not played up to its potential. They made way too many mistakes vs the Titans, and have done that week in and week out, which is whey they are 1-3.
AFC Top 5
1. Tennessee (2) – This is a dangerous team, as the Jags and Colts are finding out as they are looking up at them in the AFC South. Kerry Collins has brought stability to the QB spot, and the defense is getting to the QB, stopping the run, and getting turnovers. They have a Monday night game vs the Colts up in a few weeks, and that will be a true test to see where this team is headed.
2. Buffalo (3) – The beat goes on for the 4-0 Bills, who also are playing with a ton of confidence. Despite falling behind last week to the Rams, they had no problems sticking to the game plan, and eventually were able to get it turned around with a huge second half that led them to the win. Another team with more tests ahead, but no reaso to think they can’t win 10-11 games at least.
3. Pittsburgh (-) – The Steelers re-enter the rankings after overcoming a lot to top the Ravens 23-20 on Monday night football in OT. Yes, they still have major issues in the running game due to injuries and the O-line, but their defense is good enough to stop a lot of teams, and they seem to have a fire to get the job done in the clutch. Their Sunday nighter vs the Jags should be a classic.
4. New England (5) – Still have to see what this team can do after a loss, as they will have that shot this Sunday vs the 49’ers. Can Randy Moss and the offense get on track? How long can Bill Belichick stay with Matt Cassel if he struggles? The Niners have a good enough defense to give this team a tough test, and they will need to rebound to get a big road win in San Fran.
5. Denver (1) – They fall from 1 to 5 after they were shell shocked by the Chiefs. Now with a loss, they have to answer some questions about that defense, and what they can do after a loss. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall can only do so much, but at the same time, they have to take better care of the ball, and play better on the road, where they can’t take anything for granted.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Cincinnati (3) – The Bungles are in big trouble if Carson Palmer is going to miss any sort of time. Ryan Fitzpatrick fell over his own feet on the second snap from scrimmage, and that was just the beginning. They haven’t gotten enough from the run game, and while the defense played well enough to win Sunday, they can’t seem to buy a break right now, and seem destined for a 11-12 loss season.
2. Houston (-) – A game effort in Jacksonville was not enough, as the Texans were not able to keep a late lead, and then couldn’t stop the Jags and David Garrard in OT in a loss. They have not had the pleasure of playing at home yet, but should get a spark from that Sunday when they host the Colts. Matt Schaub at least looked like the QB the team needs instead of a player the team is going to have to worry about replacing.
3. Oakland (-) – Now that Lane Kiffin is officially gone, we’ll have to see what the future holds for this team. Again, they have talent, but how it plays for the new coach and if they can start to show what they can do on the defensive side is going to be key. Kiffin will get another shot someday, and he deserves it.