By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s NFL Power Rankings: Week #7
PHILADELPHIA — Just when we think that “separation” is coming within NFL teams, the parity laden league comes back together like the New Kids on the Block.
With only one lonely unbeaten team left in the Tennessee Titans, NFL standings are wide open to almost every team to make a move.
Divisions are jumbled (the NFC South and NFC North currently both boast 3-way ties for first place) and every divisional race is within one to two games.
With at least one big upset it seems every weekend in the NFL, no team should take their opposition lightly as every team is playing with pride even the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. It is going to be a great second half of the season and who know where the wackiness of the NFL will lead.
Now on to the rankings for this week
1. Titans (5-0) – I am sure head coach Jeff Fisher is preaching to his time to watch out for a letdown coming off their bye week. With visions of the “Skins surprising loss to the Rams in their mind, the NFL’s last undefeated team travels to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in front of their sea of red-clad fans.
2. Steelers (4-1) – I am not sure the bye week was enough to heal their plethora of injuries, but now it is back to business for the AFC North leaders. You have to wonder if a trap game awaits as the Steelers play at winless, but dangerous division rival the Bengals.
3. Giants (4-1) - The expected Monday Night Football massacre never occurred as the Browns dominated the ’07 champs send them to their first loss. Look out reeling Niners as the G-Men will be primed and angry to flex their muscles this week in the Meadowlands.
4. Redskins (4-2) – In an improbable turn of events, the NFL’s surprise team of 2008 was surprised by the previously winless Rams in week 6. The Rams led by fiery interim head coach Jim Haslett kept fighting to the end as they got their first “W”. In a second straight home game against a supposed also-ran, the ‘Skins better be ready as the Browns looked like a new team on MNF.
5. Cowboys (4-2) – The NFL’s marquee franchise had probably the craziest week ever and it isn’t even over. First they stumbled to the Cardinals then Tony Romo breaks his finger expecting to miss 4 to 5 weeks after that more Pacman drama ensued as the malcontent was suspended again this time indefinitely and finally owner Jerry Jones added another commodity to his portfolio in trading for former Lions WR Roy Williams. With veteran 40-year old Brad Johnson at quarterback position, the Cowboys will play at St. Louis in a dangerous trap game.
6. Colts (3-2) - Lucas Oil Stadium finally saw its first win and the Colts finally started to look like the same team that has won 12 games for five straight years in a blowout of the Ravens. An interesting battle awaits the Colts as Peyton Manning and his crew will play at historic Lambeau Field against a tough Packers team.
7. Bills (4-1) – It was a bye week for the AFC East division leaders, but is their quarterback healthly and did they learn from their first loss of the season to the Cardinals. The Bills will be hosting a hungry Chargers team that is looking to get over .500 wants to catch the Broncos.
8. Buccaneers (4-2) – Right now you have to put the crown of the NFC South on the head of the Bucs after they dismantled the Panthers. With veteran Jeff “no respect” Garcia back as the starter, the Bucs look to win their second straight game at home against a reeling Seahawks team.
9. Chargers (3-3) The Bolts got their semi-revenge as they badly beat their nemisis the Patriots on SNF, but we will have to see what happens in the playoffs if these two meet again. In a game that could have huge AFC playoff implications, the Chargers travel over 3,000 miles to face the rested AFC East leading Bills.
10. Patriots (3-2) – Sunday Night Football was an ugly affair for Matt Cassell and the Pats as they had no answers for the hungry Chargers. This week on ESPN Monday Night Football, the Patriots will look to re-group at home in a “statement” against a confounding Broncos squad.
11. Cardinals (4-2) – Maybe it is time for skeptics like yours truly to finally believe in the Cards, especially after they surprised the glamour Cowboys in an overtime thriiller that had a strange ending. Ken Whisenhunt and his team will have a bye week to crow about their big win and the perch they currently hold in the NFC West division.
12. Jaguars (3-3) – In a must-win situation against the Denver Broncos, the Jags stepped up and started looking like the conterders everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the season. Now that they are back to .500 the Jags can heal up their many injuries and focus on the second half of the season during a much-needed bye.
13. Panthers (4-2) – In a total 180 from the previous week, the Panther were destroyed by Jeff Garcia and the Bucs. In a highly anticipated playoff type NFC South battle, John Fox’s team tries to get back on track at home against a rising Saints team.
14. Broncos (4-2) – Lost again this time to the physical Jags in a loss that makes you ask, “Are they a contender or a pretender?”. It will be up to Mike Shanahan to get his team up for a huge playoff type game as the Broncos play the Patriots on ESPN Monday Night Football in Foxborough.
15. Falcons (4-2) - Maybe now rookie quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons will get some respect after they got another win in a statement game this time over the NFC North leading Bears via a walkoff field goal. With two big wins heading into the bye, the Falcons will rest some but I am sure they are thinking about staying at the top of the NFC South.
16. Eagles (3-3) - I am sure everyone in Philly is too wrapped up in the Phillies’ Penant run to worry about the Eagles… yeah right. But it took a monumental 4th quarter efffort to possibly save their season as the Birds got a win on West Coast against a reeling Niners team. During the bye week, the Eagles will try to find their running game and get their many injured players including All-league running back Brian Westbrook (ribs) back to good health.
17. Jets (3-2) - Still sporting their T-I-T-A-N-S throwbacks, the J-E-T-S gained ground on the resting Bills with a professional style win over the lowly Bengals. Brett Favre and the Jets continue their tour of the NFL’s lower tier as this week they travel to Oakland to face the downtrodden Raiders.
18. Bears (3-3) – In a total letdown game, the Bears took the young and hungry Falcons lightly as the upstarts pinned a “L” on them in a game that wasn’t decided until the final play. A very important black-and-blue NFC North battle for the top position awaits this week as the Vikings head to Chicago looking to make a statement against the Bears.
19. Vikings (3-3) – It was an ugly win over the lowly Detroit Lions, but it was a win and the standings don’t care about beauty only substance. The Vikings will need to show more as they travel to Chi-town to face the Bears in a classic Midwest rivalry game.
20. Saints (3-3) – Sean Payton’s team was focused and it showed as they dismantled the dysfunctional Raiders. Now will find out if the Saints are contenders or pretenders as they travel to Carolina with a chance to jump back to the top of the NFC South.
21. Packers (3-3) – In a win that still makes you wonder what direct they are headed in, the Pack took down a Seahawks team that looks close to have quit on retiring after the season head coach Mike Holmgren. In a game that will clearly show us if the Packers are truly contenders, Mike McCarthy’s bunch will try to corral the Colts in Green Bay.
22. Browns (2-3) – I guess the burial of the Browns was a bit premature as the Dawgs showed their resilency as they handed the previously undefeated New York Giants their first “L” on ESPN Monday Night Football. There is still much work left to do as the Browns try to get back to .500 in a tough road game versus the angry Washington Redskins.
23. Dolphins (2-3) – The ‘Phins must be kicking themselves as they let a lead slip away and eventually lost to the formerly winless Texans on the last play of the game. In a game where both teams want to get to .500 so they can stay in the playoff hunt, the Dolphins host the defensive heavy Ravens.
24. Ravens (2-3) - I guess it will be another year without getting back the Charm City’s honor as Colts dismantled the Ravens in Indy. In a statement game that has desperation written all over it, the Ravens will travel South to face the Dolphins and their famous “Wildcat” offense.
25. Texans (1-4) – It took until the last play of the game, but in the end it was the Texans getting their first victory of the season over the surprised Dolphins. In a battle of two of the NFL’s lower tier teams, the Texans host the winless Lions in a possible trap game.
26. 49ers (2-4) – Niners showed their true colors as they let a 4th quarter lead slip away with the Eagles stormingd past them. The road doesn’t get any easier as the Niners must now travel across the country face an angry New York Giants team.
27. Seahawks (1-4) – Head Coach Mike Holmgren must be wishing that he already retired as his team just doesn’t have it right now. The Seahawks looked like they were planning for the off-season early as the Packers did a number on them. If they have any aspirations of catching the Cardinals, the Seahawks must first get a win this week in Tampa Bay.
28. Rams (1-4)- Fiery head coach Jim Haslett made a difference as the Rams fought and clawed their way to their first win of the season over a surprised Redskins team. The Rams will look to make it two in a row as they host the “Young and Restless” Cowboys.
29. Raiders (1-4) - Head Coach Tom Cable’s debut was not a good one as the Saints pounded the Raiders, making you wondering if Al Davis has seen enough after one game. The Brett “the Jet” Favre roadshow pulls into Oakland this week and I am sure it will be ugly very quickly for the Raiders and their fans.
30. Chiefs (1-4) – I don’t know if a bye week can fix the multitude of the problems that the Chiefs have including an unhappy Tony Gonzalez still on the team and Larry Johnson’s recent legal issues. In an interesting game it may be time for “option football” as the rushing based Tennessee Titans bring their vaunted running game to town to face a Chiefs team that also runs early and often.
31. Bengals (0-6) - Another week with another heartbreaking loss for the Bengals and their beleaguered head coach Marvin Lewis. This time it was the Jets and quarterback Brett Favre who supplied the boot to the Bengals’ butt. Maybe hosting a rivalry game against the hated NFC North leading Steelers can get the Bengals back on track. But without star quarterback Carson Palmer that maybe too tall of a task.
32. Lions (0-5) - The Leos hung tough for awhile, but in the end the Vikings knew how to finish the job as they squeaked out a win. The NFL’s worst team can only hope to go up as they travel to Houston to face a Texans squad who is looking for their second straight win.