I just can't believe how unbalanced the league seems to be this year. There have never been 3 undefeated teams at this point in the season before, and the bottom of the league is worse than we've ever seen it before. I originally thought that critics were over-scrutinizing the parity in the league, but it definitely seems like there is a massive gap between the good and the bad. Here we go...
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32). Way to embarrass yourself overseas. Couldn't the NFL have given the Brits a better game? They certainly paid enough for it. It kind of feels like the Buccaneers have nothing going for them, so they might as well start as many young guys as possible. If Cadillac Williams can stay healthy and produce throughout the season, they'll at least have something to look forward to next year.
31) St. Louis Rams (30). Steven Jackson is the only player on this team that could start on the Colts. The fact that they held Peyton Manning to under 300 yards is extremely misleading, because the Colts didn't even have to pass the ball. If they want to win a game this year, it might have to come next week against the Lions.
30) Tennessee Titans (31). Hopefully their bye week gave them a chance to focus on a very important game against the Jaguars. They still have a decent amount of talent, and could probably string together 6 or 7 wins if they get in a rhythm. It has got to be time to start Vince Young in order to see if his talent has developed. If he plays well over the next 10 games, maybe their future is intact.
29) Oakland Raiders (28). Just when the win a game against a good team, they put up a goose egg. That was just terrible. JaMarcus Russell doesn't take responsibility for his poor play, yet Tom Cable still wants to start him. McFadden might be back this week, but will it help them?
28) Washington Redskins (29). Take away the dumb turnovers, the Redskins could have easily won this game. Their defense gave up two big plays, which were the difference in the game. The playcalling was only a bit better without Jim Zorn calling it, and their offense was once again inept. Their main problem is their offensive line, which will hopefully be fixed in the offseason.
27) Cleveland Browns (26). They need a good quarterback, and a good draft. That's why they should have traded Brady Quinn, because he's rotting on the bench right now. Many people will point to Eric Mangini, but he was given absolutely nothing to work with in his first season with the Browns. Two years down the road, we'll see how good of a job he really does.
26) Detroit Lions (27). They could easily pick up their second win of the season at home against the Rams. If they lose, however, they will be back at the very bottom of the league. Hopefully Matt Stafford will be able to play, because they seem like a better team when he's in.
25) Kansas City Chiefs (24). They had a chance to win against a reeling Chargers team, but they completely faltered. I had decent expectations for this team for the rest of the year, especially with Matt Cassel playing well. One good thing is that with LJ's inappropriate comments, they can give Jamaal Charles a chance to show that he should be their feature running back.
24) Jacksonville Jaguars (23). With a loss to the Titans this week, they could completely lose relavance in Jacksonville. Their fans are already apathetic enough.
23) Carolina Panthers (20). What I hate the most about that loss is the playcalling. Why would you pass the ball that much if your quarterback has bad accuracy issues, and a stellar one-two punch with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart? That shouldn't happen again.
22) Buffalo Bills (25). With back-to-back wins against decent teams, is it possible they put up a game against the Texans? I personally don't think so, but it will be interesting to watch. Their defense is good despite their injuries, and Fitzpatrick is 2-0. This would be a great win going into their bye week.
21) Seattle Seahawks (22). What can we expect from this team coming off their bye, playing a revamped Cowboys team? Their offensive line MUST play better than they did against the Cardinals, or else they're putting Hasselbeck in danger of being injured again. They need a win to stay in contention with the Cards and 49ers.
20) San Francisco 49ers (15). This was a tough one, because the level of talent significantly increases after the 21 spot. Their defense gave up too many points, but they can be optimistic with the second half play of Alex Smith. Plus, Crabtree made a somewhat significant impact on their offense, and didn't look rusty. It's going to be a tough game against the Colts next week though.
19) San Diego Chargers (19). That game could have almost been considered a bye week. It's clear that they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but they can't seem to put together good games against good teams. Rivers is too fiery to let his team get too far behind the Broncos, and they have the Raiders to play next week.
18) New York Jets (18). It's very hard to gauge how good a team really is after they blowout the Raiders. Will they put up a fight against the wildcat next week? They'll have to prepare better than they did last time.
17) Chicago Bears (12). What a turnaround. They got clobbered by the Bengals, and Jay Culter has not looked very good. Is there any hope in the division? Not much, considering their upcoming schedule is difficult (besides the Browns).
16) Miami Dolphins (14). They couldn't keep a lead, largely due to their poor playcalling. When you're up by that much, why don't you continue to run the ball with the wildcat, and eat up more clock? If you give the Saints too much time, they'll beat you, plain and simple.
15) Dallas Cowboys (21). They really needed that win against a good Falcons team. They still in the thick of the NFC East, and have found a lot of talent in their young receiver, Miles Austin. Tony Romo looks very comfortable throwing to him, and their defense looked better.
14) Houston Texans (16). Could this be the year? Their recent offensive performances have indicated so. They face the Bills next week, which they need to win because their next game is in Indianapolis. If Slaton can stop fumbling, they'll find themselves at 5-3.
13) Atlanta Falcons (8). What happened here? I thought they were one of the most complete teams in the NFL, but they couldn't keep up with Miles Austin and the Cowboys. Turner has underperformed, and Matt Ryan looked average. They need to win against the Saints if they want to keep pace in the division.
12) Arizona Cardinals (17). Their defense is significantly better than last year, which gives them a great chance to win the division, and a decent chance to make a run at the NFC Conference Championship game. They confused what used to be a good Giants offense, and managed to score against their blitz packages.
11) Philadelphia Eagles (13). It wasn't all too pretty, but their defense showed up against the Redskins, leaving them tied for the division lead. If they can fix their offensive line issues, they'll be a front-runner for the NFC East or Wild Card spot.
10) Baltimore Ravens (10). Can they bounce back after losing 3 straight? It will be hard against the undefeated Broncos. Their aged defense needs to stop making dumb mistakes and getting stupid 15-yard penalties.
9) New York Giants (6). Their injuries are killing them right now, and the absence of Kenny Phillips has revealed large gaps in their depth. CC Brown is just terrible. They're tied for the division lead, and coincidentally play their rival Eagles next Sunday. A loss on Sunday could direct them towards the Wild Card route.
8) Green Bay Packers (11). This may be a bit of an overreaction, since they've only beaten the Lions and Browns recently, but I really didn't know who else to put here. If they can beat the Vikings, they'll earn this spot. That offense is just too good. If their offensive line shows up, they'll be 5-2.
7) Cincinnati Bengals (9). That was a statement game against the Bears. Many people (like me) were quickly jumping off the Bengals bandwagon after their loss to the Texans, but they've showed us they're still very much in the running for the AFC North. After their bye, they have two huge division games in a row.
6) New England Patriots (7). They've demolished two horrible teams, so it's somewhat hard to gauge how good the Patriots are. With a week to rest, they should have plenty of time to prepare for a huge game against the Dolphins. If they can escape their next 5 games with 3 wins, they should be set in the AFC East.
5) Minnesota Vikings (3). Despite the loss, they're still a very good all-around team. Their offensive line didn't play very well at the end of the game. The turnovers by Favre weren't his fault, but he still needs to be a little more accurate in the 4th quarter. A win in Lambeau will all but wrap up the division.
4) Pittsburgh Steelers (5). They're back! What a fantastic defensive effort against a great Vikings offense. Even though Big Ben and Mendenhall weren't clicking as well as usual, their defense made up for it. Two defensive touchdowns sealed the game, but they're still keeping opponents in the game. Hopefully they'll work on that in the bye week.
3) Denver Broncos (4). They continue to sneak their way up everyone's rankings, and face a very tough conference matchup against the Ravens next week. If Kyle Orton stays consistent (only one interception so far this season!) and their defense continues to shut down opposing teams, they'll easily reach 7-0.
2) New Orleans Saints (2). What a stellar comeback against the Dolphins. They continue to find different ways to win, and they're definitely the team to beat in the NFC. They have to keep the ball rolling against the Falcons on Monday Night, which could be a trip-up game. If they win, they'll be even bigger favorites to win the division.
1) Indianapolis Colts (1). They didn't miss a step during their bye week, and schooled another sub-par team. This will be a very interesting game against the 49ers, and we'll see if the dynamic Colts offense can keep the pace it's been setting. With Alex Smith starting, putting pressure on the QB is crucial. That's why they have Dwight Freeney!