Almost at the halfway point of the 2008 season, and as usual, there are more questions than answers. There are some pretty big changes, so away we go with our week seven power rankings around the NFL.
NFC Top 5
1. NY Giants (1) – The Champs came back after their first loss with a solid win over the 49’ers at home. Eli Manning and the offense played better, but it was the defense that laid the final blow on a Niners team that was game. Now they head to Pittsburgh for a game vs a very good 5-1 Steelers team. They will need everything and maybe more to make it to 6-1. Good thing is Dallas keeps losing.
2. Washington (3) – With the Cowboys losing again, the Skins move up to two with a 14-11 home win over the Browns. While it wasn’t pretty, they will take it. Clinton Portis had another big day, and the defense came back after allowing a stunning last drive to the Rams to play well and hold the Browns in the end. They need to keep winning to keep pace with the Giants in the NFC East.
3. Carolina (-) – The Panthers are back in our rankings after a week out. They were mighty impressive with their 30-7 win at home over the Saints, and have a good shot to move to 6-2 this week as they play the Cardinals at home. Jake Delhomme and the running game continue to do a nice job, while the defense deserves a lot of credit for laying the smack down on Drew Brees and the Saints.
4. Tampa Bay (4) – Tampa Bay stays right where they are after a 20-10 home win against the very bad Seahawks. Jeff Garcia again played well, and the D had little problems with the Hawks lackluster attack. They need to keep running the ball like they have, and should get even better on offense when they get Joey Galloway back. The D also should continue to play with a passion.
5. Arizona (-) – Their matchup with the Panthers this week is going to be a good test for the Cards. They need to make a statement like last week against the Cowboys. Give them credit for keeping a strangle hold on the NFC West, but they have a lot more tests in this division before they can start talking about the postseason.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Detroit (1) – They had another competitive effort on the road against the Texans, but the problem is they just keep coming up short. They also were again down 21-0 before they were able to make it a game. The coaching staff swears the team is playing hard in practice, but at the same time, if they were making strides, would they have not won a game by now?
2. Seattle (2) – At this point this 1-5 team may want to think about sitting QB Matt Hasselbeck for the rest of the season. They want to get him back to see what they can do, but they were not winning with him, so I don’t see it changing all that much. The Hawks are a shadow of the past few seasons, and it would be a miracle for them to be able to turn this around.
3. San Francisco (3) – The Mike Nolan era is over, and we’ll see if Mike Singletary can somehow turn this team around. They have lost four in a row after a 2-1 start, and one thing that “Iron Mike” may want to do is tell Mike Martz to get his choice at QB – J.T. O’Sullivan, back on track, or Shaun Hill is going to get some playing time soon.
AFC Top 5
1. Tennessee (1) – The combo of LenDale White and Chris Johnson ran all over the awful Chiefs on Sunday, piling up over 300 yards rushing. Their defense is still playing top notch ball, and if that running game can keep this going, this team is going to be awfully tough to beat. Their showdown with the Colts Monday night could be a measuring stick to show them how far they have gone.
2. Pittsburgh (2) – A 38-10 romp in the Queen City is nothing new to the Steelers, who have not lost there since 2001. Mewelde Moore has had quite a past two weeks, and against Cincy had 120 yards with two TD’s. The defense continues to lay down the pain on opponents, and this week vs the Giants at home they will have a great shot to move to 6-1 with an impressive effort before a Monday night game at Washington.
3. Buffalo (3) – Despite power being out at Ralph Wilson on Sunday, the Bills did what they had to do, which is go out and take care of business 23-14 over the Chargers. They roll to Miami on Sunday to take on the Dolphins, who have been struggling with a good shot to move to 6-1 themselves. Good to see Trent Edwards return and play well vs SD.
4. New England (-) – What a Monday night showing against the Broncos at home. The Pats may not win the division or go to the Super Bowl (but don’t tell them that), but no matter what they won’t go out without a fight. What was most impressive about the Denver win was not only the offense, but how about that big outing from the defense? An interesting game vs an improving Rams team Sunday.
5. Denver (4) – Nothing went right Monday night for the Broncos, and this has all the makings of a team that has maybe played its best ball of the season. The defense has been bad, and the offense with Jay Cutler getting knocked around didn’t play well either. Who knows what lies ahead for this team. One thing is clear, if both units don’t start playing better, they will have a hard time making it to January football.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Cincinnati (1) – Why the media is not starting to talk about Marvin Lewis’ job security is beyond me. The team is 0-7, and they have shown little on both sides of the ball. Lewis has clearly worn out his welcome in Cincy, and the team is headed for a top three pick in the 09 draft. They will be hard pressed to win three games in the final 9.
2. Kansas City (3) – Hey, at least they scored this week! No, that is not going to make it any better for this team that again looks like they just want to play out the stretch. Allowing over 300 yards rushing to the Titans at home is not a way to sell tickets. We’ve seen enough of Brodie Croyle, time to go out and get a QB that can change this franchise.
3. Miami (-) – The Fins make the rankings based on two bad losses, the latest to a Ravens team that they felt they could have beaten. They didn’t show much, and both units have started to show some wear. Tony Sparano needs to get these guys playing like they were just a few weeks ago when they beat the Pats and Chargers.