1. New Orleans Saints
Last Week: 2
The Saints put on a show on Sunday, making the Giants look silly and making themselves the favorites in the NFC in the process. Of course, whether or not Brees and company can keep this up is another thing.
2. Indianapolis Colts
Last Week: 3
The Colts took a week off to rest and heal up. Now it’s into the fire this week, when they throw for 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns against the Rams.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 4
Disguising Karl Paymah as Antoine Winfield didn’t work quite how the Vikings hoped. The defense got torched in the second half, and they were lucky to win. Still, Brett Favre seems to have a lot of luck left in him.
4. New York Giants
Last Week: 1
They looked like a bunch of college kids playing against the Saints, but the Giants are still going to be contenders at year’s end. It’s just too bad the Saints exposed their secondary a week before they play Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.
5. Denver Broncos
Last Week: 6
The AFL throwbacks are leading a charmed life. First they shut down New England, then they get San Diego. I just can’t wait until 50 years from now, when the Oklahoma City Tuskers can say the same thing during the UFL celebration.
6. New England Patriots
Last Week: 13
The game was laughable. Nobody can prepare for a good old-fashioned slaughter like Bill Belichick. The only problem for the Patriots? Not every team they face this year has an offense and defense sputtering so badly as the Titans.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 7
Troy Polamalu is back, the Steelers are on a roll, and suddenly they’re back in first place in the AFC North. This might just be the team that can stop the Vikings’ run. I mean there’s no doubt Jeff Reed is a better kicker drunk than Steve Hauschka is sober.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 10
Even at 4-1, the Falcons have a pretty massive hill to climb chasing the Saints. But they looked solid against the Bears, and they have Tony Gonzalez thinking Super Bowl. Then again, considering some of the Chiefs teams he was on, one win would have him thinking Super Bowl.
9. Chicago Bears
Last Week: 9
Welcome to the Jay Cutler Experience. One game he’s great and carries you to victory, the next? He makes you wish you could have Kyle Orton back.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 8
I like the Bengals, but they didn’t have a good week this week. Their secondary is going to be a weak spot all season, and I don’t know if Ochocinco can afford to keep buying out their home games (though I’m sure he’ll try).
11. Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 5
It’s hard enough losing to the Raiders, but doing it a week after it looked like they’d all gotten on the same page is especially rough. This is a young team that’s going to have a lot of ups and downs this year, and ultimately might play itself out of contention.
12. Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 14
Tony Romo raised a lot of eyebrows during the bye, suggesting that the Cowboys were the team to beat in the NFC East. He then went on to compliment ex Jessica Simpson on her wildly successful country career.
13. Baltimore Ravens
Last Week: 16
Another loss, but they played like winners. Joe Flacco took advantage of Antoine Winfield’s injury to slice up the Vikings defense, putting them in position to lose the game in heartbreaking fashion...which is better than how they used to lose games.
14. New York Jets
Last Week: 6
After starting the season off hot, Mark Sanchez is starting to look like a rookie QB who has barely started any games, and the Jets are looking like the team that collapsed down the stretch last year. Still, they’re the only real contenders to the Patriots for the AFC East.
15. San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 15
Help is on the way! After a week’s worth of practice, Michael Crabtree has been declared ready to start for the Niners this week. Of course, I heard that from MC Hammer, so take it with a grain of salt.
16. Green Bay Packers
Last Week: 19
They finally started rushing the passer, which is a good thing, but the offensive line still looks listless, and Ryan Grant couldn’t find a hole with a map and a compass. Actually, he’s hitting holes so slowly, maybe he’s spending too much time looking at his map and compass.
17. Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 20
Defying all expectations, the Cardinals actually played a little defense on Sunday. Now, however, they face the biggest test of their season: trying to stop what should be a very angry Giants team.
18. Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 17
Following the successful business model of Planet Hollywood and the All-Star Café, Celebrities are flocking to buy a little piece of the Dolphins. Hell, even Balloon Boy owns 5 percent of the team.
19. Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 14
A week ago, they would be kings. Then they remembered that they’re playing with half an offensive line, a defense on one leg (collectively) and a quarterback who is a few ribs short of a special at Chili's. Tada! It’s the Seahawks’ season!
20. Houston Texans
Last Week: 21
There’s no doubt that Matt Schaub can be dangerous...if he can stay healthy for more than two games at a time. The question has always been whether he can score as many points as the Texans give up.
21. San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 18
Case in Point: Phillip Rivers is a dangerous quarterback, but it doesn’t do him any good because the Chargers couldn’t stop a flag football team. Not to mention that his offensive line looks like it’s manned by the other half of Seattle’s line.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 22
The good news is that after the bye this week, they get to take on the Titans. The bad news is, that’s their last game against the Titans this year.
23. Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 23
Nobody cares about the Raiders defense coming around or JaMarcus Russell finally looking like a quality emergency quarterback. Nope. All anybody cares about is the Special Teams Pigeon, whom Al Davis is writing a 4 year/$25 million contract to right now.
24. Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 27
A lot of trade talk revolved around Steve Smith this week, probably because nobody trusts Jake Delhomme to throw the ball anymore. I would’ve liked to see him go to the Giants, just to really screw with Fantasy Football note makers.
25. Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 26
Two wins? Seriously? The Bills have two wins? Huh. Now it’s time to ride the Ryan Fitzpatrick train to…wherever that thing derails at. Carolina, probably.
26. Detroit Lions
Last Week: 25
Speaking of which, do you suppose the Lions coaching staff was standing on the sidelines this week just saying to themselves, “You know who we don’t have enough recent film on? Drew Stanton.”
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 29
The Chiefs finally won a game and, in celebration, promptly put their whole team on the trading block. However, due to a league rule, they were only able to trade players with the initials “TT” this season.
28. Washington Redskins
Last Week: 28
In the most hilarious turn of events since Special Teams Pigeon, Redskins head coach Jim Zorn was rewarded for his “Making Sure Every Team Has at Least One Win” tour by being stripped of everything but his title and salary.
So now he gets to watch TV and play Peggle while Sherman Lewis tries to figure out how to call “I-24” and “B-11” on offense.
29. Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 24
30. Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 30
On the one hand, they lost leading tackler D’Qwell Jackson for the season. On the other, at least they know that, in a pinch, Josh Cribbs can play quarterback just as ineffectively as Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn.
31. St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 31
Just hours after linebacker Will Witherspoon said that he felt the Rams were finally on the verge of breaking out of their 14-game slump, he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. They won’t have any of that positive attitude around here, mister.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 25
Let’s put it this way: They might be able to catch the Patriots a little jet lagged and groggy playing in front of a London crowd that will probably prefer bumbling pirates to the very embodiment of Revolutionary America. So, cross your fingers, they’d only lose by 30.