Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Powerlines: Week 7 NFL Power Rankings

What better analogy for the NFL season can there be than a dog with tiger stripes? Okay, there are probably a lot of better analogies, but I like this picture, so deal with it.

So, here we are six games through the year, and it appears we have ourselves a horse race. It feels like there are ten or eleven teams with a shot to win the title this year and clearly no one is running away with the thing. It's kind of fun to be watching an any given Sunday league*. For your information, the numbers in parentheses are the team's record and plus/minus rating.

*Any given Sunday is not a guarantee of competitiveness, and does not necessarily apply to the Buffalo Bills.

1. Steelers (4-1 +54) - This team became much harder to cheer for once Ben Roethlisberger returned to the fold. The NFL is deep in the middle of a season of ultra parity, but if any team is going to be dominant this year, it feels like the Steelers have the best chance.

2. Jets (5-1 +58) - Got lucky in Denver, but this Broncos fan finally admits that it was okay for the ref to throw the pass interference flag in the fourth quarter. I still think he should have let it go, and that is an awful way for a game to be decided, but I must admit, the Jets are a good team.

3. Patriots (4-1 +38) - Tom Brady talking smack to the Ravens might be more intimidating if he didn't look like a 16 year old pop music star while he was doing it. Still, "They talk a lot for beating us once in nine years." is a glorious quote.

4. Ravens (4-2 +17) - I think Tom Brady better watch out if the Ravens meet up with the Patriots in the postseason. I have a feeling the Ravens will get their second win in the past 9 years against New England if that happens.

5. Colts (4-2 +38) – It seems like the Colts are winning on muscle memory. They appear to often be very average, and yet they get it done more often than they don’t. I think this season is the beginning of the end for Indy, though. They’ve had a very nice run, though.

6. Eagles (4-2 +33) – It’s a rare luxury to have two quarterbacks that you can trust, and the Eagles appear to be in that luxurious situation. The Browns, Cardinals and Panthers are exceptionally jealous. Also, how much better is the AFC than the NFC? We don’t get our first NFC team until number six, and even then I am hard pressed to say who the best team in that lesser conference is.

7. Saints (4-2 +22) – New Orleans stomped out the Buccaneers, but questions remain if this team is back or if that result was an anomaly.

8. Giants (4-2 +16) – Getting themselves on a roll, but I’m still wary of New York after the way the were rolled in back to back weeks by the Colts and Titans.

9. Falcons (4-2 +29) – The week that everyone anoints them the class of the NFC is the week they get throttled by Philly. The NFL is unpredictable.

10. Texans (4-2 -14) - If the Texans are legit, it's time to prove it, they have the Jets, Chargers and Colts as three of their next four opponents.

11. Chiefs (3-2 +16) - I still have my doubts about the legitimacy of the Chiefs, but if they are actually a good team, they need to pound the Jaguars. Good teams destroy Jacksonville.

12. Bears (4-2 +15) - The Bears have yet to beat a team that currently sports a winning record. Their 4-2 record feels a bit inflated.

13. Packers (3-3 +27) - What happened here? We knew the game against Favre and the Vikings was a big one, but it may be one the Packers have to get if they want to turn their season around.

14. Titans (4-2 +64) - How did this team lose to my Broncos? I saw it happen, and I still am confused by it.

15. Redskins (3-3 -6) - Donovan McNabb...meh. The Redskins are at .500 now, and feel like they will be at .500 ten games from now.

16. Vikings (2-3 -1) - Beating Dallas either set this team on the path back to relevance or was a last gasp of the Favrian Empire. I'm hoping it's the latter.

17. Dolphins (3-2 -23) - NFC North teams should fear when the Dolphins come calling, they have gone into Green Bay and Minnesota and came back with surprising wins.

18. Bengals (2-3 -2) - How can a team lose to the Browns and the Bucs, but beat the Ravens? Weird team, these Bengals of Cincinnati.

19. Seahawks (3-2 +1) - I'm wondering if the Hawks will keep alternating wins and losses all year? If so, this next Sunday is a loss against the Cards.

20. Rams (3-3 -10) - After being hopeless last season, this team is quickly rising to the level of mediocrity. They may be a contender in a year or two.

21. Cowboys (1-4 -9) - Team Dumpster Fire. You want to look away, but you can't help but stop and smell the burning garbage.

22. Jaguars (3-3 -57) - It's hard to rally your fans when there are only six of them, and your rally cry is, "Let's wear Teal."

23. Chargers (2-4 +31) - The curse of Norval is finally reeking it's vengeance on the Bolts. He is not a good coach, but this team should be better than they are thus far. It's a total Jekyll and Hyde team. They are gangbusters at home and a disaster on the road thus far. They have outscored their opponents 79-23 at home, and have been outscored 78-103 on the road.

24. Broncos (2-4 -16) - My boys aren't very good, but they at least put up a good struggle and fight hard...except when they go to Baltimore. Other than that, this is a lovable, if horribly flawed team. It was nice to see them actually have a running game against the Jets for a change.

25. Cardinals (3-2 -50) - This team has a winning record, but I refuse to believe that they are a good team. There is just no way. Unless you believe in Max Hall. Let's look at their rankings in the NFL: Offensive Passing 30th, Offensive Rushing 29th, Defensive Passing 26th, Defensive rushing 29th. Can you look at that and explain to me how they have won more than they have lost?

26. Buccaneers (3-2 -31) - Another of those bad teams masquerading as a winning team. Bucs are not as good as their record would indicate.

27. Raiders (2-4 -31) - Every year the Raiders get sleeper buzz, every year they don't deserve it. As an avid Raider hater, I enjoy this cycle. Can we please keep this lather, rinse, repeat cycle going?

28. 49ers (1-5 -46) - I love the denial in the 49ers camp. You have to love an owner staring at an 0-5 record and honestly believing he is going to still make the playoffs.

29. Lions (1-5 +6) - How can a team have only won one game in six tries and STILL have a positive plus minus?

30. Browns (1-5 -37) - The Browns can take solace in knowing that they are still much better than Carolina or Buffalo.

31. Panthers (0-5 -58) - The fanbase is excited...but only because college basketball season is starting before too long.

32. Bills (0-5 -74) - If you can't say something nice about a football team, you're probably talking about the Buffalo Bills.

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