We’re halfway to the playoffs and it’s still hard to figure out half of these teams. So much of the league is up and down every week, you can’t tell if a team is on the verge of finding themselves or moving to the Pac 10. There’s really only a small handful of teams that are locks to make the playoffs. I can only see one team having a legitimate chance of winning it all. Anyone else who happens to go all the way is purely on luck.
Here’s my take on where all the teams stand. Going best to worst.
1. Patriots – Based partially on their credentials the past few years. They’ve got the best QB in the league, best coach in the league, one of the best defenses, a very good running back duo and unlike the Colts, they don’t choke.
2. Bears – Great defense, great offensive line, Thomas Jones is way better than people give him credit for… Rex Grossman is still the shaky part of the team. When December comes around he’ll face a ton of pressure and that Cover 2 will see a lot of abuse. I can’t see them getting past the NFC championship game, but for now they are better than anyone else in the NFC.
3. Colts – Peyton Manning is really really good. Wayne and Harrison are wonderful receivers. The rest of the team is going to hold them back in the playoffs. That and the fact that Manning can’t win when it matters.
4. Broncos – They could be the best team in the league if they could just figure out the post-Elway QB thing. One of these years… I think it’s time to open up the offense and let Plummer see what he can do.
5. Giants – I just can’t trust a team led by a Manning… especially Eli. They are flying high right now, but this is the same team that was ready to string up their coach in week 3. These guys are one bad loss away from going bonkers again.
6. Chargers – This team should be great. They’ve got all the talent in the world and no real nutjobs screwing things up for them. So what’s the problem? Oh yeah, Marty. It’s like George Karl when he had insanely good Sonics teams. They just couldn’t win because crazy Karl would rather play a 67 year old Nate McMillan than put in a rookie. Shaky coaching can ruin the best of talent.
7. Saints – I said back in week 1 that I wish the Packers had signed Payton as their new head coach. That guy, along with some very good moves in free agency and the draft, has made these guys the envy of the league overnight. People say that with higher salary caps that the days of extreme parody are coming to an end… those folks need to look at the Saints.
8. Seahawks – They are really hurting right now… but I’ve still got a little faith in these guys. Hasselbeck and Alexander will be coming back. Their 2nd half schedule is pretty easy. There’s plenty of time to turn it around. They just need to get a proper QB back on the field.
9. Vikings – Very good defense, even though the Pats lit them up. The offense has potential, if they could just get some healthy receivers in there. I think they are trying to set a single season record for concussions among starting wideouts.
10. Rams – They’ll be a good team all year, but just not good enough. It’s like the Rams are just trying to string it out as long as they can before officially rebuilding.
11. Falcons – Don’t even bother talking about Vick as a passer. We hear the same crap about this time every year. He’ll blow it. Maybe it will be agains the Lions, maybe a week or so later. Either way, he’ll blow it and go back to a run-first QB before long.
12. Eagles – I feel bad ranking them this high… after the bye they play one “easy” team in the Titans and the rest of the schedule is pretty tough. The trendy pick in the East might very well finish under 500. My bet would be they have more turnovers than touchdowns from here out. You laugh, but just wait.
13. Bengals – Carson Palmer still isn’t healthy… glad he came back so quickly. However, he’s getting better and getting his receivers back. These guys are going to start putting up a lot of points as the year goes on. Not many teams can keep up. The only thing really against them is a brutal schedule.
14. Ravens – I don’t care about their defense. They have Steve McNair starting. End of story.
15. Panthers – Why don’t these guys score more points? Steve Smith should have 200 yards receiving every week. He’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched the guy his whole career and still can’t explain how he gets open, the catches he makes… it’s out of this world. Get him the ball!
16. Cowboys – They coudl’ve kept Keyshawn and maybe signed a guy like Randal El to make it interesting. Or hell, Branch was an option, Burleson was out there. You could trade for Javon Walker fairly cheaply. If you want to blow a lot of cash, you could even have Joey Porter. Instead, they spent all their money on TO. Not only that, but the plan was in place to start Romo from day one. Instead, we go with Bledsoe. Now there’s a big mess in big D.
17. Jaguars – Another team that needs to figure out the QB thing. Leftwich has never been the answer… but they will probably live and die by his arm (or lack of). At least they beat up on the Eagles.
18. Jets – These guys are like watching a college team that keeps sneaking into an NFL stadium each Sunday. The talent is terrible all around. Yet, they make enough plays, pull enough tricks and play easy enough teams, where they have a chance at a wildcard spot. Scary.
19. Chifs – Trent Green is just about healthy. I think he gets the starting job as soon as he’s 100%. Huard has actually played decent, so the Chiefs have the luxury of waiting until he is absolutely ready to play. Even though the offensive line is shaky and the defense is up and down, the LJ factor will keep them in every game.
20. Steelers – After the Oakland game, I want to put them lower. Big Ben needs to take a few weeks off. Everyone needs to stop calling Big Ben Big Ben. The run game is really good and so is the defense, if they could just get a guy taking snaps who doesn’t thow the ball away, the season might not look so bleak.
21. Packers – As long as the running game is going well, the horrible defense can’t cause too much harm. As long as the running game can give them a lead, Favre can’t screw much up. That probably won’t last.
22. Redskins – Another overpriced failure.
23. Titans – If these guys could just figure out how to avoid giving up 50 points a game, they might actually have something to build on for next year. The offense has actually done alright. Vince Young might almost be smart enough to put his socks on by himself.
24. Bucs – Didn’t a lot of people have high hopes for these guys? I know that Simms was a big blow, but he certainly isn’t responsible for the offense line being bad all year, the defense looking older than dirt and no running back looking like they have any idea which way the endzone is.
25. Texans – Man they are bad. Well, everyone at this point is. David Carr has had about the year David Carr should be having. He’s a halfway decent quarterback. He just doesn’t have a run game or a defense to support him.
26. Lions – They can score a lot of points and move the ball great… but they can’t stop a pee-wee team with their defense. Early on it looked like the defense might almost be okay. The Lions are a terrible team though… Its time for the Fords to give it up. Sure Martz is an idiot and the GM is not even worth mentioning, but this one all goes back to the top of the chain.
27. Bills – No defense and they have JP Lossman taking snaps. Next.
28. 49ers – Alex Smith has looked better this year. Frank Gore has been pretty amazing. I think the offense would be better if Vernon Davis had not gotten hurt. It’s a shame that defense is so incredibly bad.
29. Raiders – Yep, I’m actually putting the Raiders ahead of a few teams. Their defense is halfway decent. Everything else is an abomination.
30. Browns – How do you fire your offense coordinator mid season? Any time a major coaching position gets terminated mid-year, you can write the team off.
31. Dolphins – Their season rests in the hands of Joey Harrington. Those poor folks in Miami are STILL trying to figure out what to do after Dan Marino. Broncos fans should take close note of this.
32. Cardinals – Not many people would have believed that an offense with Matt Leinart, Edge James, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald could be so bad, but it’s true. The entire team is a disgrace. It’s good to know that you can always count on the Cardinals to stink. Kind of like the ducks flying south this time of year.
On to Week 9 picks:
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â At St. LouisÂ Â Â -2.5Â Â Â Kansas City
Vegas wants you to bet on Kansas City in this gameâ€¦ so why not?
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â At BaltimoreÂ Â Â -3Â Â Â Cincinnati
Cincy with their top 3 wideouts back on the field is tough.
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â At NY GiantsÂ Â Â -13Â Â Â Houston
Maybe Tiki will finally score?
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â At JacksonvilleÂ Â Â -9.5Â Â Â Tennessee
Looks like Jacksonville has a QB controversy on the horizon.
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â DallasÂ Â Â -3Â Â Â At Washington
The folks here in Wisconsin love their boy Romo.Â The folks down in Dallas love anyone but Bledsoe.
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â At BuffaloÂ Â Â -3Â Â Â Green Bay
Packers will run and run and run to a win.
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â New OrleansÂ Â Â -1Â Â Â At Tampa Bay
Why are the Saints not a bigger favorite?
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â AtlantaÂ Â Â -5.5Â Â Â At Detroit
I don’t care what anyone says, Vick is not a great passer, he isn’t becoming one, he will never be one.
11/5 1:00 ETÂ Â Â At ChicagoÂ Â Â -13.5Â Â Â Miami
11/5 4:05 ETÂ Â Â MinnesotaÂ Â Â -5Â Â Â At San Francisco
No better way to get your offense rolling than to play the 49ers.
11/5 4:15 ETÂ Â Â At San DiegoÂ Â Â -12.5Â Â Â Cleveland
If Cleveland needs someone to call plays, I’ve got nothing better going this weekend.
11/5 4:15 ETÂ Â Â At PittsburghÂ Â Â -3Â Â Â Denver
Steelers are indeed worse than I thought.
11/5 8:15 ETÂ Â Â At New EnglandÂ Â Â -3Â Â Â Indianapolis
Indy can’t run and can’t stop the run.Â Recipe for disaster.
11/6 8:30 ETÂ Â Â At SeattleÂ Â Â -7.5Â Â Â Oakland
I think the Hawks will sneek byâ€¦ barely.
last week – 4-9
Overall – 29-23