Back again with our week five power rankings. Some teams have moved up, some down, so you can see for yourself where your team may stand.
NFC Top 5
1. NY Giants (1) – The champs continue to beat upon lesser teams around the NFL, as Sunday they trounced the 1-win Seahawks in a game that was like watching a college team beat a JV high school squad. Eli Manning didn’t even have to finish the game, and even David Carr scored. The thing to see is what happens when the Giants play some of the better teams. Plax is back as well, and we’ll see if he can behave.
2. Dallas (2) – While again they didn’t make it easy, the offense bailed out the defense in a home win over the game Bengals. T.O. is still talking about wanting the ball more, but this past week they re-found Felix Jones and the running game, which in the end will be more important than getting the ball to Owens. You’d still like to see Tony Romo protect the ball a little more as things in the East heat up.
3. Washington (5) – Time to start taking this team seriously, as the Redskins are a team to deal with. Jason Campbell is turning into a solid QB, Clinton Portis is running the ball as well as ever, and the defense is playing well and not giving up many big plays. Of course special teams needs a little work, but let’s be honest – did anyone think the Redskins would be 4-1 after their opening night loss to the Giants? Me neither.
4. Carolina (4) – The Panthers continue to play well on both sides of the ball, and had a complete game Sunday against the overmatched Chiefs in a 34-0 win. Jake Delhomme and the running game shined, and the defense laid a beating on the Chiefs that will have other teams taking notice. A big matchup with the Bucs await, and with the way they are playing, they should come out on top.
5. Chicago (-) – Sunday’s beating of the Lions in Detroit was not totally unexpected, but right now the Bears are playing with a lot of confidence, and Sunday’s game vs the Falcons in Atlanta will be a tough test. They are going through growing pains, trying to get the best players on the field at the right time, and still have a ways to go to be in the top 2-3 in the conference, but they are getting better.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Detroit (2) – After seeing the dissary in person, I can say that the Lions could be the worst team in the league. They are in totaly chaos on offense, have no defense, and the coaches have no answers. Right now you can kiss Rod Marinelli gone after 08, and this team is going to have to undergo a major overhaul over all the issues that they have faced with Matt Millen and that regime over the past 7 years.
2. St.Louis (1) – For one week (hey it was their bye week) the Rams are not the worst in the NFC. They may get back to that point next week after they play at Washington, but we’ll give new coach Jim Haslett and company a one week stretch to get this team somewhat back on track. Look for them to play a little better, but the Skins are going to outclass them in the end Sunday.
3. Seattle (-) – That window that was open for all those years they were winning the NFC West is over. This team is getting old, has a lack of talent is some key spots, and has been blasted with major injuries on both sides of the ball. They looked so disinterested Sunday vs the Giants it was not even funny. They return home this week vs the Pack, and hopefully for their sakes they can get on track.
AFC Top 5
1. Tennessee (1) – This team continues to play the type of smash mouth football that it’s going to take to get the job done come December. Their 13-10 win over the Ravens was not pretty, but they went into a tough place to play, fell behind, and had enough to rally on both sides of the ball to get it done. They have a solid four week stretch of games coming up against some tough teams, so we’ll see at 5-0 if they can keep it up.
2. Pittsburgh (3) – Pittsburgh took their battered team on the road Sunday night to Jacksonville, a place where they have struggled historically. Instead of coming out and just trying to hang in there with the improving Jags, they took it right to them, holding the ball for long stretches, and eventually were able to pull out a huge 26-21 win. At 4-1, they get a week off to rest their guys and will get some back in two weeks, including Willie Parker. They are in firm control of the AFC North after one month.
3. Denver (-) – The Broncos are back after they rebounded at home vs a game Bucs team. The defense for the first time in 08 stood up against the Bucs, and made sure that 16 points from the offense was going to be enough. Give Jay Cutler and the offense credit for getting enough points, but for this week, the props go to the defense, which finally showed that they have players that can get the job done.
4. New England (4) – Here’s an idea – throw the ball to Randy Moss! The message got over loud and clear, and Sunday in San Fran vs the Niners, Moss had over 100 yards and a score, and the Pats won. This team is not going to go 15-1, and they are going to have to struggle just to win the East over the tough Bills, the Brett Favre led Jets, and the improving Fins. For now, they are still a team to be dealt with.
5. Buffalo (2) – The Bills got a dose of reality on Sunday when they traveled to Arizona and lost their QB, and then got spanked by Kurt Warner and the Cards 41-17. We knew that the Bills were going to fall at some point, but this was a bit of a letdown by a team that had played so well in going 4-0. They get a bye this week to get Trent Edwards back, and then the tough Chargers come to town for a big game on 10/19.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Cincinnati (1) – For the second time in three weeks, the Bengals hung in with an NFC East power, but again, their D let them down as the Cowboys were able to close them out with a late score. There are still plenty of issues all over the place with this team, but at least it appears that the Carson Palmer elbow injury is well enough for him to play. For now, the Bengals need to play well at New York vs the Jets just to gain some confidence.
2. Houston (2) – A crushing home loss to the Colts Sunday has this team reeling. They were up big late, then Sage Rosenfels, who shouldn’t have been playing anyway, put the ball on the ground a couple times and the next thing you know – the Colts were up and heading towards a win. They host an improving Dolphins team this week at home, and had better not just assume a win right now.
3. Oakland (-) – The maddness of the week is over for the Raiders, and it’s time for them to try and put everything behind them and get back to work. I have little faith in Tom Cable to be able to get this team to play much better than they were when they blew a couple of leads, but they will have that opportunity to come out Sunday at New Orleans and see if they are going to try and get some wins this season.