Senior Writer

NFL Power Rankings: Forecast so far is mostly cloudy


Updated Sept. 14

True story. In the days before my visit with the St. Louis Rams during camp, the sun was out and temperatures were close to record highs.

The day of my visit, the clouds came out and it cooled.

Ted Crews, the Rams' crack PR man, said it was so appropriate.

"It was nice and sunny until you got here," he said. "Now it's all dark."

Same thing happened when I visited with the Atlanta Falcons, which led me to tell the story of my Rams visit to Reggie Roberts, the Falcons PR man.

"Positive Pete brings the clouds," he said, laughing.

After one week, the teams who were at the top of my CBS Power Rankings have to feel the same way. I'm almost afraid to pick teams to win any more or, god forbid, to make the playoffs.

I'm almost starting to get a complex. You mean I'm not Mr. Sunshine?

My top three teams, and four of the top five, from the first Power Rankings lost the opening weekend. The Indianapolis Colts were run over by the Houston Texans, the Dallas Cowboys Alex Barron-ed a game (new football lingo for a player costing his team a game) and the Atlanta Falcons lost in overtime to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The San Diego Chargers, who were in the fifth spot, lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

I still think all three of those teams will be playoff teams, but for now they fall down the rankings. The top spot now belongs to the New Orleans Saints, who won their opener 14-9 over the Minnesota Vikings.

That is a great sign for the Saints. There won't be many games when that offense is limited to 14 points. It's too good, the play-caller and quarterback as good a combo as there is in football. So to play defense the way they did serves notice to the entire league. The champs won't go down without a strong fight.

Then there's the Oakland Raiders. Some idiot picked the Raiders to go to the playoffs. He said they would be a surprise team and that Jason Campbell and the young talent would emerge as a good football team.

I was that idiot.

But this time, I'm not going take the blame for the Raiders getting dominated at Tennessee. I'm not the cause for the cloud that hangs over that team. Al Davis is that reason. Doesn't it always seem gloomy around them?

Look out, New Orleans, San Diego and Green Bay this week. Mr. Sunshine has you in the top three spots this week.

Better hope the clouds stay away.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.

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