NFC Top 5
1. NY Giants (1) – The G-Men showed the big bad Ravens how they play football in the NFC East on Sunday at the Meadowlands. They ran for over 200 yards on them, and beat them up physically on each and every play. Eli Manning did what he was asked, and overall it was a complete win. This team right now would be letdown with anything other than a second straight trip to the Super Bowl.
2. Arizona (3) – The Cards took on a team that had usually given them nightmares over the years, the Seahawks, and built a big lead and got a big INT at the end to hold on. Kurt Warner is going to get a lot of votes for MVP, and it’s amazing to think that at some point they were going to give the QB job to Matt Leniart.
3. Carolina (2) – The Panthers ground game led them to a big win at home over the Lions, a team that played like it had nothing to lose and had an early lead. Now they have their biggest test of the year, a road game at Atlanta to basically lock up the NFC South with a win as they will have the tie-breaker. They still have Tampa Bay as well, another big game on the docket later this year.
4. Tampa Bay (4) – They did exactly what they had to do at home vs a Vikings team that can mix it up with anyone on defense. Jeff Garcia and the offense played well enough, and the defense got to Gus Frerotte, which was key. They have to keep up the top play on defense to make up for some of the injuries and short comings on offense.
5. Dallas (-) – I know, I’m getting over my head just because this team won one game. Well, it was one big win, and a win that for all intensive purposes saved their season. The team got a boost with a big return of Tony Romo, but in the end, the game was won with a great ground game led by Marion Barber and a defense that didn’t give up much. We’ll see how they respond down the stretch.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Detroit (1) -What else can coach Rod Marinelli do at this point than just keep playing hard and going out there week after week and try his and the teams best? They played hard vs the Panthers, but couldn’t stop the run, and in the end that was their big undoing. They are starting to feel the pressure of not wining a game, and it shows.
2. Seattle (2) – The Hawks played hard at home vs the Cards, but in the end, they got behind too fast and just couldn’t overcome a last minute pick by Matt Hasselbeck. The gutsy QB took a beating, but should have kept his mouth shut and just given the Cards credit for being the best team in the division.
3. St.Louis (-) – The Jim Haslett honeymoon is over, and now this team is about as bad as it was back in weeks one to four of the regular season when they were just getting beat up. Worse part is they don’t have a Steven Jackson to look forward to getting back, and it looks as if with a mad Bears team coming to town it’s going to be another tough week.
AFC Top 5
1. Tennessee (1) – Another week where they didn’t play great, but they again showed another side to their game, getting down 14-3 and coming back to win by 10 in Jacksonvill. This is a complete team, no doubt about it, and a meeting with the Giants in the big game, no matter if they are undefeated or not, is almost too good to be true.
2. Pittsburgh (4) – I still have my big issues with this team, but they are so talented on defense, and it is a shame to watch them struggle so much with a porus O-line. This week is going to be an interesting test vs a Bengals team playing better, but they should handle them and then have a bigger game next Sunday at New England before they host the Cowboys.
3. New York Jets (5) – If the Jets would have blown the game Thursday in New England, it would have been a total disaster. Instead, they won a big game in OT, and now have control of the division, at least until they play at Tennesse this weekend. Brett Favre and the offense is playing well, but it’s the defense that is getting the job done, this despite allowing 400+ yards to Matt Cassel.
4. New England (3) – Matt Cassel made himself a lot of money Thursday with a 400+ yard outing vs the Jets, but that is not the concern of this team. They trail the Jets by a game, but could be tied at the end of Sunday with a game at Miami and the Titans playing the Jets. We’ll see if Cassel can keep up the momentum he and the offense built. By the way, what happened to the running game?
5. Denver (-) – The defense made enough plays, and Jay Cutler and the offense scored enough to get a huge road win vs the Falcons. Atlanta had not lost at home, and many thought that would continue Sunday. It was not to be, as the Broncos look like a team that can now win the West with the Chargers playing so poorly and the rest of the division being an afterthought.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Oakland (1) – They played hard and had a shot to win in Miami, but allowed Chad Pennington and the Find to go right through the defense in the last minutes to set up a chip shot field goal for another loss for Tom Cable. Jim Fassel sent Al Davis a letter asking to be the teams next coach. Is he nuts?
2. Kansas City (2) – Another team that continues to fight, but just does not have the horses or depth to hang with a team like the Saints. Dwayne Bowe is the best WR you’ve never heard of, and the team may have found a QB in Tyler Thigpen. I can see this team winning at home vs the Bills Sunday.
3. Cincinnati (3) -They played well enough on defense to earn a tie vs the Eagles on Sunday at home. Now on a short week they will go to Pittsburgh to play a team that beat them up earlier in the season. The Steelers D is the best in the game, so going four weeks without a loss is going to be a tall order indeed.