An odd week in the NFL, to be sure, punctuated by Baltimore's stunning loss Monday. That was one of the worst games I've seen recently; the one good thing Baltimore can take from that is that it wasn't a playoff game, or else they'd have to live with it for months. Thankfully, they have another should-be gimme on their hands.
Here are the standings for Week 7:
Obviously, a number of teams let us down this week, notably Baltimore, but also Tennessee, Detroit, Tampa Bay, and San Diego. I know this stuff happens at least once a season, it's still somewhat surprising to me when it happens.
Here are the Rankings for Week 7:
1.) Green Bay (7-0) [no change]
Despite Christian Ponder's best effort, the defending champs continued their march. Where are they headed? Not sure yet, but they're looking quite good. They have a bye in Week 8, so that's another week at the top.
2.) New England (5-1) [no change]
Coming off a bye, the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh for what should be one of the better games of Week 8. I sense that the media will be more into Tom Brady this week, what with Aaron Rodgers being on a bye. We'll see what happens.
3.) San Francisco (5-1) [+1]
It's always a little odd to have to move a team on a bye up. But when you see a week of football like the one we just saw, there aren't as many good teams afterward as there were before. The 49ers get a home game against Cleveland in Week 8, and I feel pretty confident in Jim Harbaugh, something I can't really say about his brother at this point.
4.) New Orleans (5-2) [+4]
I know, they were playing a bad Colts team that's been reeling the entire season, but that victory (and that score!) was very, very impressive. As a result, the Saints jump back up into the upper half and look like a team to beat in the NFC again. Drew Brees and co. go to St. Louis this Sunday, which should be another easy win. At least, if Brees doesn't turn into Joe Flacco.
5.) Pittsburgh (5-2) [-]
The Steelers come roaring back into the Rankings after taking out Arizona. They have a tough matchup coming up against the Patriots, which could knock them right back out for a week or two, but it's looking like they're for real again. It's hard to imagine after Week 1's demolition by Baltimore (who look significantly less "real" than they did back then), but the Steelers have just about rebounded.
6.) Cincinnati (4-2) [+1]
Another team on a bye that moved up because of poor performance by other teams, Cincinnati goes into Seattle in Week 8 and could begin to solidify their hold on a Wild Card spot. Of course, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have to keep up their fantastic performance level that they've had thus far. With a couple of rookies at such important positions, it's hard to project where Cincinnati will end up. The early results have been good, obviously.
7.) Detroit (5-2) [-2]
Two straight losses for the Lions, and they're on a precipitous slide. They also look less "real" than they did after Week 5. I think they can get back into the groove they were in when they won 5 in a row, but it's going to take some work.
8.) Baltimore (4-2) [-5]
It's hard to know just what to say about the Ravens following one of the worst losses I've seen from them in a while. Joe Flacco was abysmal. Whatever adjective to indicate terrible performance you can think of, Flacco embodied it. Ray Rice had a badly-timed fumble, and the offense was awful throughout most of the game. The one thing they can take comfort in is that their defense is still top-flight. But if they can't score more than 12 points against a terrible team like Jacksonville, they can't go far in 2011.
9.) Buffalo (4-2) [no change]
The Bills remain where they are just because. I guess I really could have moved them up ahead of Baltimore, but I don't have the confidence in them that I did before. With such an easy schedule as Buffalo has had, they really ought to be undefeated still. Alas, they're not the kind of team that Green Bay is.
10.) San Diego (4-2) [-4]
Another very disappointing loss by the Chargers leaves them at the bottom of the Rankings this week. Philip Rivers (and by extension the Chargers' offense) hasn't looked good all season and threw a couple of inexcusably bad INT's against the Jets. If there's a question as to whether he's an elite QB (and there may not be, as people seem to automatically give him a pass to "elite" stature), I'll gladly cast a nay vote. I've never really been convinced of Rivers' supposed greatness; with Drew Brees moving on to New Orleans and winning a Super Bowl, it certainly makes Chargers GM A.J. Smith look bad. There are many other factors, obviously, and I don't want to oversimplify it any more than that. But suffice it to say that I don't think of Rivers as an elite QB, whereas Drew Brees most definitely is.
That's all for this week. Sorry that it was a bit more abbreviated and scattershot than usual. See you next week!