Another topsy-turvy week in the NFL... once you get down past the top two teams. I reward the Steelers for their dominant win, and punish the Cowboys despite their 4th-quarter heroics on Monday night. And the Chargers and Bears are back from the dead...
1. (1) New England Patriots (4-0). They win. They win big. Even when they sleepwalk through it, they win big.
2. (2) Indianapolis Colts (4-0). You couldn't tell by the scoreboard but that was a decent Tampa squad the Colts bitch-slapped into oblivion on Sunday.3. (4) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1). I could talk about this or that, but the Steelers simply dominated a Seahawks team that has pretentions of adequacy.
4. (3) Dallas Cowboys (4-0). Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.
5. (6) Tennessee Titans (3-1). Are they this good? Top five good? Absolutely not. This is a season of weirdness and injuries. As badly as they played against a bad team, they won, and they're here because they've got a winning habit.
7. (10) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1). I'm sure this is a mistake, but I'm beginning to believe in them. No doubt they'll punish me for this sin.
8. (9) Arizona Cardinals (3-2). Lost in the fact that they won their second straight game is the fact that they struggled to beat a beat-up, crappy team and lost their 1A quarterback. Now 1B gets the full-time job, and I worry: Are we about to find out why two QBs were better than one in Phoenix?
9. (11) New York Giants (3-2). The defense wasn't dominant this week, but it was good enough, and so was their balanced offense.
10. (12) Baltimore Ravens (3-2). They beat a struggling, inept 49ers team on the road. Barely. The offense... just isn't good.
11. (17) San Diego Chargers (2-3). No, they're not that good, but that was more like it.
12. (18) Houston Texans (3-2). They just keep winning, and Matt Schaub just keeps maturing.13. (13) Tampa Bay Bucs (3-2). You know what? They were closer to the Colts than it showed on the scoreboard. It's just that the Colts wear you down. And this offense is good.
14. (22) Washington Redskins (3-1). Here's another team I spent the off-season slagging, and they're playing strong football in October.15. (7) Seattle Seahawks (3-2). Horrible. Weak. Terrible. They were in a position to establish themselves as an NFC power, and instead they looked like a schoolyard bully who is revealled as a lousy punk when faced with a real opponent.
16. (8) Detroit Lions (3-2). Good. Bad. Good. Bad again. Does this mean they'll be good again after their bye week?
17. (23) Chicago Bears (2-3). How important was it to get back Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs back? Tillman punched out two fumbles, and Briggs recorded 16 tackles. Wanna know why the Bears won? That's why.
18. (14) Oakland Raiders (2-2). QB Luke McCown isn't going to answer the bell in Week 6, and I'm not convinced they're as good without him.
19. (19) Philadelphia Eagles (1-2). The bye week gave us a break from the Eagles soap opera. I still don't what to make of them.
20. (15) Denver Broncos (2-3).
Can you believe they were actually the favorite on Sunday? I think everybody understands that this is a team with defensive deficiencies now.
21. (20) Cleveland Browns (2-4). I think they did OK given their opponent.
22. (21) Cincinnati Bengals (1-2). The RB and the WRs are all hobbled, and I don't know about these guys, either. The defensive situation isn't tollerable.
23. (24) Carolina Panthers (3-2). Yes, that was a big win for them, but David Carr is a big step down from Jake Delhomme, and he's gone for the season now. I watched them, and they still didn't look tough.
24. (26) Buffalo Bills (1-4). It would be easy to give them a big boost, but I'm not biting. They rode an emotional high to the best game of their season, and I think Trent Edwards has a future. But they'll be hard pressed to build a campaign on it. That was an any-given-Sunday game... on Monday.
25. (16) Kansas City Chiefs (2-3). Why did they fall apart like that? Why couldn't they run? And now they get Croyle at QB?
26. (25) New York Jets (1-4). Mangenius? Not this year.
28. (29) New Orleans Saints (0-4). The Saints went marching out, their season done almost before it began.
29. (28) San Francisco 49ers (2-3).
Three straight losses, and still a few more weeks before they get Alex Smith back. For the record, Smith wasn't playing very well before he got hurt.
30. (30) Atlanta Falcons (1-4). Congrats to the Falcons on their win. Savor it, Falcons fans.
31. (30) St. Louis Rams (0-5). Gus Ferrotte gave them a big boost, but that's not enough when you've got this many problems.32. (31) Miami Dolphins (0-5). They used to be good on defense, anyway.