Biggest Winner: Denver Broncos (+7)
Biggest Loser: Arizona Cardinals (-5)
1. Indianapolis Colts (6-3, +3): Yeah, back at number 1 I guess. It wasn't pretty, but they still won against the Bengals, overcoming all of their injuries. While they did take advantage of a bunch of Bengals miscues, hey, that's just about how any team beats the Bungles. I'm still impressed by the depth of this team. Jacob Tamme is doing a good job of replacing Dallas Clark, the duo of Donald Brown and Javarris James is making the Joseph Addai loss look less significant, and all of the receiving corps is coming together to counter key losses in that department. And when all else fails, the defense makes big plays to keep them in games. Will it last? Maybe not. But I like everything this team represents.
2. Baltimore Ravens (6-3, +0): You know, I don't fault the Ravens too much for their loss at Atlanta. Not only is Atlanta an extremely hard dome to go into and win at, but the Ravens did play pretty well and only fell to a last-minute drive. Joe Flacco started off slow, but was able to warm up as the game went on. Still, I worry about this defense as they keep giving up big drives to lose games. They just aren't the great dominant defense they have been in recent years due to the absence of Rex Ryan.
3. New York Giants (6-3, -2): Wow, and wow again. Did they just sleep on the struggling 'Boys or is Garrett really on to something? I don't know, but this really hurts my impression of the Giants. Still, every team will have let-downs in a season and most of them come against division rivals. They weren't great this week. Eli Manning left a lot to be desired with his play. But the Giants are a well-coached team. They ought to be able to turn it around before its too late.
4. Atlanta Falcons (7-2, +1): Was a great game between the Falcons and Ravens on Thursday night - Matt Ryan and Roddy White put together a stellar game. The defense was able to get pressure on Joe Flacco and get some turnovers, and hold Baltimore's actually good offense when they needed to hold them. They're an absolute beast at home, but play in a tough division. Will they be able to hold on? I'm a believer.
5. New York Jets (7-2, +1): Well, they survived the Browns. Barely. Granted, the Browns this season have not been the Browns of previous seasons, but I am surprised still the game was so close. I mean this game was literally less than a minute away from a tie, which would've been hilarious. Wonder if there will be any penalties for Nick Folk for his three misses that almost cost them a victory?
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3, -3): I suppose we really shouldn't underestimate the presence of Hines Ward, the offense looked absolutely lost without him. Otherwise, I don't know what to say about this game. Pittsburgh's defense came out flat, and their offense could not get it going against a New England defense that has been "bad" in all facets of the game all season long. They need to bounce back. Otherwise, the Ravens will take advantage in that division.
7. New England Patriots (7-2, +2): They looked great against the Steelers, but is this the real Patriots or was it the Patriots against the Browns last week? We won't be sure until later in the season, but they're now 7-2. Bill Bellichick had a chance to make an impact, I suppose. Tom Brady is getting back on track with his reinvisioned receiving corp, and the defense actually played like a defense. Now for a crucial showdown against the Colts...
8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-3, +3): Now THIS is the Eagles team at its finest, the explosive offense and defense that makes big plays. Michael Vick came back with a vengeance, scoring a total of SIX TOUCHDOWNS, four with his arm and two with his leg, against those Redskins on Monday night as the Eagles bamboozled the Redskins 59-28. If they can bring this explosiveness on every gameday, they'll be legitimate challengers to the Giants for the NFC East.
9. New Orleans Saints (6-3, -2): They would've liked to see Tampa Bay and Atlanta lose to strengthen their claim on the division during the bye, but didn't get those wishes. Still, the past champs are in good shape. If not for the NFC South, but a wildcard. They should be able to strengthen their position further as they get a nice matchup against Seattle, who is coming into town.
10. Green Bay Packers (6-3, -2): Another Green Bay-Minnesota matchup coming up, and it will be key for this NFC North. The Vikings already fell to the Bears so if the Packers want to keep up with the Bears, they will want to sweep the Vikings. But they haven't done that in quote awhile and the Metrodome is never an easy location to win. But I think they can do it. This Packers team is full of character.
11. Miami Dolphins (5-4, +1): I suppose this whole Quarterback controversy didn't matter after all. The Chad Pennington didn't last long, nor did Chad Henne's return. However, when you win 29-17 with four different players playing snaps at Quarterback, you must be a pretty good team. We'll see just how good against the Bears, in which we will get to likely see some increased Wildcat action from Ronnie Brown and former 3rd-stringer Tyler Thingpen.
12. San Diego Chargers (4-5, +1): The Chargers liked to see the Chiefs lose, and the season doesn't look so bleak anymore. They may still have a losing record, but they have the best defense and Quarterback in that division. Barring anymore Special Teams blunders, the Chargers are primed to make a late-season run. Again.
13. Tennessee Titans (5-4, -3): And so the Randy Moss pickup didn't help them much after all. The offense just looked bad, no matter which Quarterback started. Part of it may be a good gameplan by Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, but Chris Johnson could not really get going and once they were down, they were forced to pass. Randy Moss caught only a single catch - but I suppose that was a better game than the first one against the Fins. I'm sure he's not happy to find himself on a losing team using him as a diversion, again.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3, +1): Just about any team with their schedule would be 6-3, so I'm not greatly impressed by the Buccaneers, who defeated the Panthers on Sunday, but they are certainly a contender for a wildcard in the NFC. They get (another) losing team to play against in the 49ers next Sunday, but away. May be gut-check time for the Bucs, who should not sleep on the rejuvenated Niners.
15. Oakland Raiders (5-4, +1): And with a Chiefs loss to the Broncos, the Raiders are #1 in the AFC West!! Keep an eye on them against Pittsburgh - Oakland has historically played very well against the Steelers in recent years and now they are playing to defend their AFC North title. I'm not saying they will win, but this team has to be more inspired after recent events.
16. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4, -2): After dropping two straight division games, they are in danger of fading in a season that they started strong. They were sleeping early, and Matt Cassel could not bring them back in despite throwing for 469 yards and four touchdowns... well at least we found out they can air it out if they need to. Now they need to get back to the sound football that was winning them games early in this season.
17. Chicago Bears (6-3, +3): Defiantly the best offense outing for Jay Cutler and the Bears last Sunday, taking care of business against the Vikings. Now, that's still kind of sad since Cutler got picked off twice, but still. The offensive line did not look completely inept - opening some running lanes and only allowing Cutler to be sacked once. Now they face a harder challenge in the Dolphins defense at Miami with a short week - can they continue their impressive offensive play? Or will the Bears offense we all know and love resurface?
18. Houston Texans (4-5, -1): Poor Texans. They just can't catch a break, can they? I really thought this may have been their year, but it looks like I was sadly mistaken, they are now below .500. Maybe God just hates the Texans. Only that can explain how the prayer thrown by David Garrard was actually caught by a Jaguars receiver on the last play of the game. I'm speechless.
19. Minnesota Vikings (3-6, -1): And there goes the season (and possibly Brett Favre). It's anyone's guess weather or not the matchup against the Bears was Favre's last game (probably not though, he'll play until he dies), but the Vikings season is now officially over. If I were them, I may just fire Childress now and bring in a guy who can help Tarvaris Jackson develop. He may be the future of this franchise.
20. Washington Redskins (4-5, -1): Wow. The Redskins defense came out looking completely unprepared to face the Eagles. They allowed score after score after score while Donovan McNabb and the Redskins offense came out looking flat and well, bad. I bet they regret their impulsive decision to extend McNabb for a ridiculous 5 years for $78 million dollars now.
21. Denver Broncos (3-6, +7): After blowing out the Chiefs by an outrageous score of 49-29 coming off their bye, the season doesn't look so bad anymore. Both Denver Quarterbacks, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow, played well. While the defense left a lot to be desired, this offense is explosive enough to hang around with anybody. And hey - crazier things have happened. Maybe Josh McDaniels is a pretty good coach after all. Or maybe not. Who knows.
22. Detroit Lions (2-7, -1): Having your starting Quarterback or not, it is never a good thing to give a winless team its first victory. The Lions leave a lot to be desired coming off their seventh loss. While they are a lot better and battling quite a few injuries, they still have a lot of work to do. Still, they have a good coaching staff and cast of players. They just need another year or two to pull it all together.
23. Seattle Seahawks (5-4, +0): How their inept offense scored 36 points against an Arizona defense I thought was pretty solid playing at home is beyond me, but I can't write it off as "lucky". The fact of the matter is, as bad as the Seahawks likely are, they are still probably the best team in that division. Will they win it? Maybe, maybe not. Looks like their big trade still is not bearing any fruit - Justin Forsett looked great at Arizona. Marshawn Lynch, not so much.
24. Cleveland Browns (3-6, +1): All right, so they were unable to get another upset win against the Jets, but they were able to force it to the last minutes of Overtime. For a few minutes there, it really looked like it was going to be a tie. Peyton Hillis is an absolute beast. And although I really suspect Eric Mangini still, this team seems to be playing with a fire like I've never seen the Browns play with before. He surely has this team motivated, if nothing else. And a motivated Browns team is frightening.
25. St. Louis Rams (4-5, -3): And so, their division lead lasted for all of one game. The Rams are much improved, but they do not have the talent on either side of the ball to really compete (well, at least if they weren't in the NFC West). I know I'm saying this about a lot of teams this season - but they are simply a few years away from being a real contender.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4, +1): Damn, someone up there really loves Jack Del Rio. That was one of the worst Hail Marys I've ever seen, but somehow, someway, the Houston defender was inept enough to bat the ball right in the arms of Mike Thomas. Still, a winning record for the Jags. Still, I'm not sold on them. I still don't think they're better than the Texans, and they are defiantly not going to compete with the Colts or Titans.
27. San Francisco 49ers (3-6, -1): Nice job taking out the division-rival Rams to keep them in the hunt. This team may have the most talent in the NFC West - but can they play catchup after a poor start? Well, I don't think they are quite that talented. Still, Troy Smith is playing well and when you have Frank Gore and a weak division, I mean, anything can really happen I think.
28. Dallas Cowboys (2-7, +2): I don't get it. Where was all this effort for Wade Phillips? I mean, was Wade Phillips such a bad coach that he couldn't get even 10% of the effort the Cowboys gave for Jason Garrett? This team looked completely different! In every facet! Since when can their defense make big plays? Since when does Jon Kitna resemble a Quarterback? And since when can any team run on the Giants? I'm seriously about to write this off as a Giants blunder rather than a Cowboys success but... this team can do anything if they stay as motivated as they are now... except reach the playoffs, that is.
29. Arizona Cardinals (3-6, -5): The Cardinals have a large array of problems besides their Quarterback situation, and showed them against the Seahawks. This team is just two years separated from a Superbowl appearance, but are playing like the Cardinals of old now here. They'll have a lot of work to do in the offseason.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7, -1): And the Bengals lose again. And once again, they had a chance but it was really their own fault that they lost. Last year was a fluke. They are still the Bungles. Marvin Lewis is one of the worst coaches in the NFL. Yes, I said it. And until they make a change, they will continue to be a the laughing stalk of the NFL. And I'm convinced of that.
31. Buffalo Bills (1-8, +0):And the Bills have finally won a game! It wasn't pretty, and Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't light up the scoreboard, but it was a good win and all of Buffalo can let out a sigh of relief now that they can avoid all of the 0-16 talk from the dumb sports analysts. Anyway, this team is still legitimately bad - but maybe this Chan Gailey will be a good coach for them (if he has enough time there).
32. Carolina Panthers (1-8, +0): Well, they keep getting blanketed and for good reason. They stink, easily the worst team in the league. While one may argue John Fox has nothing to work with, half of the problem is his fault, starting bad veterans for years instead of developing the young talent he's had on his football team. He'll be gone at the end of the season. If not sooner.
Predictions for Next Week
Prediction accuracy for Week 6: 8-6 (57.1%)
Overall prediction accuracy: 47-35 (57.3%)
|So now the Fins are down to their 3rd QB, Tyler Thigpen.|
Buffalo (1-8) @ Cincinnati (2-7): Cincinnati by 7. I think Buffalo will get back to its losing ways, but I may be wrong. Would be a perfect opportunity for them here to start stringing together some wins and mid-season momentum. Still, this is the Bengals' game to lose. But we don't call them the Bungles for nothing.
Arizona (3-6) @ Kansas City (5-4): Kansas City by 7. The Chiefs are dying, and they will look to stop the bleeding against a struggling Cardinals team this Sunday. Away from home at Arrowhead stadium, I believe in this Chiefs team. Will be an interesting battle in the AFC West this year - every team is in it.
Green Bay (6-3) @ Minnesota (3-6): Green Bay by 7. This pick actually scares me - Packers and Vikings games are always intense, and its not like the Packers blew them out last time. It is also very hard to win in the Metrodome. Still, I will pick the better team because I believe the Packers are the best team in this division. Good defense, good offense, good all-around team.
|Will Moss's struggles as a Titan continue?|
Cleveland (3-6) @ Jacksonville (5-4): Cleveland by 7. Upset alert! The Browns are a very physical team and the Jaguars are a team who are worse than their record. I like the Browns in this matchup. Look for them to run Peyton Hillis early and often and even Colt McCoy could find easy receptions in this Jacksonville secondary. What makes it worse for the Jags is that Aaron Kampman is out for the season.
Houston (4-5) @ New York J (7-2): New York J by 10. For the first time this season, I really believe Mark Sanchez is going to go beast-mode. This Houston secondary can't stop anything. And the Jets defense will stop a Houston attack enough, no matter how dynamic this offense is. Should be an easy victory for the Jets. Should be.
Baltimore (6-3) @ Carolina (1-8): Baltimore by 14. Is there any surprise to this pick? I don't even feel the need to justify it.
Detroit (2-7) @ Dallas (2-7): Dallas by 3. You know, a week ago, I would've never made this pick. I was really high on the Lions and really not on the Cowboys. And I just know I'm going to regret it. Still, I will go against my gut and go with the Cowboys at home against the Lions. Although I swear - if the Cowboys lose, I'm not picking them for the rest of the season. Period.
Oakland (5-4) @ Pittsburgh (6-3): Oakland by 3. Upset alert! The Raiders have played very well against the Steelers in recent years, and will be struggling to keep a hold of a very competitive AFC West. While the Steelers will be motivated to win this game too, not wanting to drop another game in a row at home, I just don't know if this offense has enough firepower after their last game. Especially if Hines Ward is out again.
Atlanta (7-2) @ St. Louis (4-5): Atlanta by 10. The Rams are just not good enough to hang in there with the Falcons, who are coming off an impressive victory against the Ravens. I expect the Falcons offense to dominate.
Tampa Bay (6-3) @ San Francisco (3-6): San Francisco by 3. Upset alert! Gut check here and big game for both teams. For the Niners, the season is about survival. They need any win they can get to keep in the race. For Tampa Bay, they want to keep up with their division rivals and stay competitive for an NFC wildcard spot. I don't know why, but I think the Niners will win this game. They are playing passionate, and Tampa Bay may look over the Niners.
Seattle (5-4) @ New Orleans (6-3): New Orleans by 10. Should be an easy game for the reigning Super Bowl champs. The defense should not allow the Seahawks to score much, while the Saints offense has looked great in recent weeks.
|The showdown resumes...|
New York G (6-3) @ Philadelphia (6-3): Philadelphia by 3. Slight upset alert, I suppose, but after how they played against the Redskins on Monday night, this Eagles team is explosive. Although part of me believes the Giants will come in angry after being embarrassed by the Cowboys. Once again, could go either way and a good matchup here.
Denver (3-6) @ San Diego (4-5): San Diego by 7. San Diego's late-season run will have to start here, and I think it will. Denver's defense has looked awful in recent weeks. Good news for Philip Rivers, who is having a career year. Although the Chargers defense will have to make sure they look more like the Raiders than the Chiefs against an actually very good Denver offense.
Results of Last Week's Poll
Last week, I asked my readers "Who was the worst head coach during this 2010 - 2011 season?" between Marvin Lewis, Wade Phillips, John Fox, Brad Childress, Josh McDaniels or Mike Singletary?
First place in this poll you wouldn't want to be first place in goes to Brad Childress with 50% of the vote for his multiple blunders this season and after dropping another one to the Bears. He begged Favre to come back, traded for Randy Moss, and still leads a 3-6 squad. He's going to get his ass fired. Dishonorable mentions go to Wade Phillips with 37% and Marvin Lewis with 12%.
This week's poll is "Who will win the NFC South?" between New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, or Tampa Bay Buccaneers (and no, the Carolina Panthers are not an acceptable answer)?
Vote on the right-sidebar of my blog!