Detroit beats Denver, but loses to Arizona. San Diego loses to Kansas City, but beats Indianapolis. New Orleans beats Jacksonville but loses to St. Louis. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any crazier, it does. Forget New England’s domination, this season is anybody’s.
1. New England Patriots (9-0) (Previous rank: 1): No change; bye week.
2. Dallas Cowboys (8-1) (Previous rank: 3): The combo of T.O. and T-Ro just can’t be stopped. This was a big win for a big team. They are continuing to make a statement in the NFC; one that says, “See you in Arizona.”
3. Green Bay Packers (8-1) (Previous rank: 4): Seriously? Seriously? Where did this Green Bay team come from? They not only demolished the Vikings but, surprise, surprise, they also found their running game. Brett Favre is making a case for MVP.
4. Indianapolis Colts (7-2) (Previous rank: 2): Peyton Manning threw six interceptions and Adam Vinatieri missed a game winning 29 yard field goal. Obviously, this isn’t the team we are used to seeing. Despite their horrid play, they still had a chance. Don’t worry Colts fans, they’ll be back.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) (Previous rank: 6): Talk about momentum: to come from behind against a division rival the way Pittsburgh did has to leave the Steelers feeling like gold. They continue to make a case for acknowledgment.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) (Previous rank: 12): The Jags had to win, and win they did. They got it done on the ground and their defense, particularly against the run, was awesome. This was a big win against a potential Wild Card rival.
7. San Diego (5-4) (Previous rank: 14): Wow. This was an ugly game on all sides. San Diego is lucky that their special teams are indeed special. It was a big victory against the Colts, but their offense is still struggling. When the game is in Phillip Rivers' hands, the Bolts need to worry.
8. New York Giants (6-3) (Previous rank: 5): Yes, it was a tough day for the Manning boys. Eli just can’t seem to get it together when he really needs to. This is the factor that keeps him being a good quarterback instead of a great one.
9. Detroit Lions (6-3) (Previous rank: 7): They destroy the Broncos, and lose to the Cardinals. Just another week in the crazy NFL. The Lions are still sitting pretty at 6-3, but they have to win these kinds of games if they are going to make the playoffs.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-3) (Previous rank: 8): Their defense chocked against the Jaguars and their offense couldn’t keep up. This was a tough loss for this team. As they travel to Invesco Field next Monday night to play against a Broncos team fighting for their playoffs lives, it’s not going to get much easier.
11. Cleveland Browns (5-4) (Previous rank: 9): Ouchie. This game has got to sting. The Browns made the Steelers blue for about three quarters and a half. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t close the deal. This win sure would have been nice to take home to the Dog Pound.
12. Seattle Seahawks (5-4) (Previous rank: 15): They routed the 49ers on Monday night. A team that has disappointed thus far in the season may now be trying to make a statement. We’ll see if someone shuts them up.
13. Tampa Bay (5-4) (Previous rank: 13): No change; bye week.
14. Buffalo Bills (5-4) (Previous rank: 16): It wasn’t pretty, but it was a victory. Don’t look now, but the Bills have a winning record. They squeaked by Miami in what was one of the most offensive offensive showings this year. They have a huge game next week against New England. Many might no agree, but I’m picking the Bills to pull it off.
15. Arizona Cardinals (4-5) (Previous rank: 23): Normally, a bird wouldn’t stand a chance against the king of beasts, but in the NFL, cardinals trump lions. Their defense was incredible and Kurt Warner continues to prove that Brett Favre isn’t the only old man who can still play.
16. Denver Broncos (4-5) (Previous rank: 24): The Broncos can’t win at home, but they can win in Arrowhead. What? The Denver Broncos said last week that they were going to be a new team, and on Sunday, they proved it. In what was their most dominating performance thus far, Denver left the Chiefs with a lot of reservations.
17. Washington Redskins (5-4) (Previous rank: 10): Their defense is to blame for this one: where was the secondary? When a team scores 33 points on you, you’re not going to win many games. The once winning Redskins are now a loss away from mediocrity.
18. Houston Texans (4-5) (Previous rank: 18): No change; bye week.
19. Chicago Bears (4-5) (Previous rank: 22): Rex Grossman? To the rescue? Don’t adjust your computer screens, it’s true. Now, he didn’t perform any miracles, but he didn’t need to. It only took seventeen points to beat the lifeless Raiders.
20. New Orleans Saints (4-5) (Previous rank: 11): How many people lost money in Vegas on this one? Just when they were getting hot, their flame was extinguished by a winless team. Their defense was pathetic and their offense got going when the game was already over.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) (Previous rank: 25): Motown Philly back again. The Eagles went from boys to men in this game. Donovan McNabb came to life and Brian Westbrook ran all over Washington. This was a huge win, and one that might just get them in the thick of the race.
22. Carolina Panthers (4-5) (Previous rank: 13): Their season is practically done, not because of their record, but because they can’t move the ball on offense. Their defense isn’t bad, but their offense is just bad enough to make their defensive efforts futile.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) (Previous rank: 19): They really turned it over in this game. Simply, they have no quarterback. Their defense didn’t do them many favors and neither did their running game. Priest Holmes isn’t what he once was.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) (Previous rank: 27): They still have a long way to go, but this was a big win over the Ravens. Their defense, and their kicker, deserve all the credit.
25. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) (Previous rank: 20): Did their defense decide to take the season off? Did their offense? This team can’t get it done on either side of the ball. They aren’t dominating anyone this year.
26. Atlanta Falcons (3-6) (Previous rank: 26): They aren’t contenders quite yet, but this season, anything can happen. Their defense was solid and their offense did just enough. Joey Harrington isn’t going to win any MVPs, but he tends to deliver when he needs to.
27. Minnesota Vikings (3-6) (Previous rank: 21): When they can’t run the ball, they won’t win. Heck, they won’t even score. Their lack of a passing game is getting more apparent every week. This was a horrible, horrible day to be a Vikings fan.
28. Oakland Raiders (2-7) (Previous rank: 28): They are the only team not in the race in the AFC West. Why is this, you ask? Simply, their offense is awful. Six points was all they could squeak out. Their defense didn’t perform well either. All and all, this team is bad.
29. San Francisco (2-7) (Previous rank: 29): Their offense is about as good as Baltimore’s. This was supposed to be an up and coming team. They are in a downward spiral.
30. New York Jets (1-8) (Previous rank: 30): No change; bye week.
31. St Louis Rams (1-8) (Previous rank: 31): Well, we now know the Rams aren’t going to go 0-16. Their offense was unstoppable on Sunday, scoring 37 points against the Saints. They aren’t going to make the playoffs, but they might have a good time bringing others down with them.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-9) (Previous rank: 32): Poor, poor Miami. It just isn’t their year. This game was theirs, and they let it slip through their fins. Their offense didn’t do much, but their defense was solid…until the end, that is.