There’s the NFL, then there’s the Patriots and the Colts. Seemingly in a league of their own, at least they both can’t go 16-0. On the other side, the Rams and the Dolphins just might go entirely winless.
1. New England Patriots (7-0) (Previous rank: 1): If Tom Brady ran for President, he’d be elected; right now, he can’t lose. New England has a real chance at going undefeated.
2. Indianapolis Colts (6-0) (Previous rank: 2): Everyone thought it’d be a pretty close game against Jacksonville. Well, not exactly. The Colts are staying right on the heels of the Pats. The game between them on November 4th is going to be huge.
3. Dallas Cowboys (6-1) (Previous rank: 3): Still the best in the NFC, the Cowboys are getting it done on all sides of the ball. Marion Barber is coming into his own.
4. New York Giants (5-2) (Previous rank: 8):Their solid play continues. The more confidence Eli Manning gets, the more he will start to look like his big brother. This team just might be the sleeper of the NFC.
5. Green Bay Packers (5-1) (Previous rank: 5): No change; Bye Week.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) (Previous rank: 4): Their defense couldn't stop the Broncos offense and Ben Roethlisberger had some costly turnovers. They made it interesting by coming from behind, but a loss is still a loss. They won’t catch up with the Colts or Pats unless they win these kinds of games.
7. Tennessee Titans (4-2) (Previous rank: 11): They won a game without their star quarterback: that’s the sign of a good team. Now, if they could just keep their opponents from fourth quarter miracle comebacks.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-2) (Previous rank: 6): Their defense was manhandled by Indy: those Colts ain’t horsin’ around. Still, Jacksonville should be more concerned about their quarterback situation: how hurt is David Garrard?
9. Carolina Panthers (4-2) (Previous rank: 9): No change; bye week.
10. Washington Redskins (4-2) (Previous rank: 14): Their offense was a little too quiet on Sunday and – in truth – they were outplayed and outgained by the Cardinals. But, they got the turnovers when they needed them. Now, Washington is sitting pretty at 4-2.
11. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) (Previous rank: 13): They are getting it done on defense and special teams. Their offense is still struggling. If it doesn’t get going, they won’t be going far in the NFC.
12. San Diego (3-3) (Previous rank: 12): No change; bye week.
13. Detroit Lions (4-2) (Previous rank: 16):Their offense looked a little lion-tamed, but their defense got the turnovers they needed to win. This far in the season, and Detroit is still good. Who would have thought?
14. Baltimore Ravens (4-3) (Previous rank: 7): Talk about a hard game to lose. They won’t get to the playoffs by blowing games like this to the Bills. The Ravens learned one thing on Sunday: their offense is awful.
15. Cleveland Browns (3-3) (Previous rank: 15): No change; bye week.
16. Tampa Bay (4-3) (Previous rank: 10): Their failure to protect the football cost them this game. Still, they are better than people expected. If they can keep some momentum, they might find themselves in first place. Next week is a big game for this team.
17. Denver Broncos (3-3) (Previous rank: 19): They almost let this one slip away, but they won when they had to. This victory probably saved their season. They don't look like the same group that was destroyed by San Diego. Jason Elam is the team MVP.
18. Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) (Previous rank: 20): With this victory, the Chiefs find themselves at the head of the AFC West. Their defense had a stellar day and Larry Johnson had a few huge runs. We still can't help but cringe every time Priest Holmes has the ball. With the injury he sustained, retirement would have been the wisest option.
19. Arizona Cardinals (3-4) (Previous rank: 17): Typical Cardinals. They make a great last minute surge only to lose it by a foot or two. On the bright side, they showed they could come from behind and Kurt Warner proved he's gotten better with age.
20. Chicago Bears (3-4) (Previous rank: 23): Dare I say it? Do the Bears actually have a quarterback? Brian Griese was the man on Sunday against the Eagles. If this continues, the Bears might find themselves where they thought they'd be: contending. The season ain't over yet.
21. Houston Texans (3-4) (Previous rank: 18): This is turning into a 4th quarter team. Unfortunately, they were just a few points short. These kinds of games are harder to lose than blowouts.
22. Buffalo Bills (2-4) (Previous rank: 26): This was a huge win and it belongs to their defense. Buffalo might not make the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean they won’t keep some other teams out as well.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-4) (Previous rank: 25): Coming back from a near two-touchdown deficit might give the Bengals the spark they need. Now, if they could just beat teams that aren’t 1-6.
24. San Francisco (2-4) (Previous rank: 21): The first few weeks of the season seems very, very far away. They aren’t doing enough on offense: they need to protect their quarterback and they need to find the end zone. Fifteen points isn’t going to cut it.
25. New Orleans Saints (2-4) (Previous rank: 28): With a two-game winning streak, the Saints are marching back in. They still need to play better on defense, but their offense is finally looking like it used to.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) (Previous rank: 22): The Eagles are a few more losses away from seeing their season end prematurely. This was a game they should have won. Their defense really is to blame for letting Brian Griese engineer a game winning 97-yard drive. Who does he think he is? John Elway?
27. Oakland Raiders (2-4) (Previous rank: 24): Their defense is pretty good, but their offense is pretty bad. This makes for a less than mediocre team. Their running game was awful on Sunday and Dante Culpepper just can't get it going. If he was the Culpepper from five years ago, they might be contenders.
28. Minnesota Vikings (2-4) (Previous rank: 27): This would have been nice, but it wasn’t meant to be. Their passing game – or lack there of – is absolutely killing them. They won’t make the playoffs if they can’t pass the ball.
29. Atlanta Falcons (1-6) (Previous rank: 29): They played great in the first half, but unfortunately, the game was two halves long. They won’t win many games if they don’t learn to go in for the kill shot.
30. New York Jets (1-6) (Previous rank: 30): Too bad this game wasn’t only two quarters long. The New York Jets season is probably over. Not much to do now but wait till 2008.
31. St Louis Rams (0-7) (Previous rank: 32): They are bad, really bad. Getting Marc Bulger back made no difference. Even if Steven Jackson was healthy, this game still wouldn’t have gone their way.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-7) (Previous rank: 31): Losing Ronnie Brown might be the straw that breaks the Dolphins’ back. This team could go 0-16, becoming the antithesis of their 1972 selves.