After a few subpar weeks in the NFL in my opinion, Week Eight did not disappoint. We had TD passes by two non-quarterbacks, an NFL record two touchdowns of 100 yards or more by one player, two winless teams notch W’s, and Brett Favre booed at Lambeau. Indeed it was a great week of NFL football.
Week Nine could be even better; only one of the six teams on bye has a winning record.
Teams previous record in ( ).
1. New Orleans Saints (1): Are you starting to get the feeling this team is a lock for the Super Bowl? They do whatever they need to do to win. If they need offense, it comes through. If they need defense, it comes through. QB Drew Brees is my midseason MVP by a hair. Is it too early to start thinking undefeated season?
2. Indianapolis Colts (3): They struggled at home against the 49ers but nonetheless they remained undefeated. They play a big divisional game this week against the Texans; a win likely wraps up the division, a loss makes things very interesting.
3. Minnesota Vikings (5): 84 points their defense has given up the last three weeks. A large portion of that in the second half of those games. Am I the only one hoping the Packers nail a wild card spot so we can potentially see a third game between these two teams?
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (4): Coming off a bye, they have their hands full with a road game against the Broncos.
5. Denver Broncos (2): They finally lost a game I predicted they would lose. I think they make it two in a row this week. Either way, they already have more wins than I thought they would finish with.
6. New England Patriots (6): Coming off their bye, they have the task of stopping the wildcat offense of the Dolphins. They should still come out on top, setting them up for a showdown with the Colts.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (7): Two enormous games in a row for the Bengals coming up. One at home against the Ravens and one on the road against the Steelers.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (9): Scoring 40 points against the Giants is impressive. However putting up nine points against the Raiders is frightening. Assuming that Raider defeat was an aberration, this team could be a force come playoff time.
9. Baltimore Ravens (11): They beat down the Broncos like I expected most teams to do. The Ravens are only 4-3 but don’t be fooled, they are one of the best overall teams in the league.
10. Atlanta Falcons (10): A hard-fought battle on Monday night against the Saints. They are a legitimate wild card contender that can play with any team in the league.
11. Dallas Cowboys (15): QB Tony Romo is playing great football and WR Miles Austin has emerged as a top wideout. With the Giants struggling, the division is suddenly up for grabs.
12. San Diego Chargers (13): Well they let the Raiders hang in with them again. On the bright side, LB Shawne Merriman was finally able to bust out his "lights out" dance.
13. New York Giants (8): Three straight losses and the Giants drop 13 slots and are lucky it’s not more. Suddenly the Giants seem like your average run-of-the-mill team.
14. Houston Texans (17): Houston is 5-3 and could possibly sniff a division title if they can manage to take down the unbeaten Colts this week. Backup RB Ryan Moats replaced starter Steve Slaton and became the first Texan to score three TDs in one game.
15. Green Bay Packers (14): Green Bay is 1-2 against teams with a winning record. However, they are 3-1 against teams with a losing record. Their second-half performance against the Vikings was very impressive and that’s how they are going to need to play if they want to make the playoffs because four of their final five games are against teams with winning records.
16. New York Jets (12): The Jets have a bye in week nine and you can be sure their main objective will be to work on special teams.
17. San Francisco 49ers (18): The 49ers lost a tough one against the Colts this week. I have to admit, despite their record, they are a far better team than I ever though. They are very close to being a 6-1 football team.
18. Chicago Bears (19): The Bears took care of business against the Browns after an embarrassing performance against the Bengals. Four tough games in a row will make or break Chicago’s season.
19. Arizona Cardinals (16): The Cardinals are 3-0 on the road and 1-3 at home. This team is too hard to figure out. They need to sit WR Anquan Boldin out for a couple weeks and get him healthy.
20. Miami Dolphins (20): The Dolphins only put up nine points on offense but scored three defensive/special teams touchdowns and that was enough to beat the Jets. Is Ted Ginn the new Dante Hall of the NFL?
21. Carolina Panthers (25): Carolina went into Arizona bound and determined to avenge their pitiful playoff performance from a season ago. RB DeAngelo Williams had his third straight productive game and it appears QB Jake Delhomme’s starting job is safe. For now.
22. Seattle Seahawks (21): I thought once this team had healthy wide receivers they could be a legitimate team in the NFC West but it appears it’s a two team race between the Cards and 49ers.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (22): It’s only the midway point of the season, but it appears RB Maurice Jones-Drew has proved me wrong. He seems more than capable of handling the full load.
24. Buffalo Bills (23): I guess Thanksgiving has come early. We can all give thanks that the Bills are off in Week Nine and we don’t have to watch that offense take the field.
25. Tennessee Titans (28): The Titans finally got their first win behind QB Vince Young. However, RB Chris Johnson deserves most of the credit, as he ran wild against the Jags.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (26): The Chiefs are fresh off a bye and face an up and down Jaguar team. QB Matt Cassel must play better if they have a chance to win.
27. Detroit Lions (24): Losing to the Rams is not a step in the right direction but nonetheless the Lions are improved over last season. Getting WR Calvin Johnson back will be big.
28. Oakland Raiders (27): Apparently Christmas has also come early because we do not have to watch the Raiders this week either. One has to wonder though, with the allegations against him, how long is Coach Tom Cable’s job safe?
29. Washington Redskins (29): The ‘Skins are rested after having a bye in week eight. However I don’t see that being enough for them to beat the Falcons this week.
30. St. Louis Rams (32): RB Steven Jackson finally found the end zone last week. The way he handles himself on such a bad team is something more athletes should take notice of.
31. Cleveland Browns (31): I’m running out of holidays to celebrate early. Either way, the NFL has blessed us with a week nine that not only excludes the Bills and Raiders from playing, but also the hapless Browns. Cleveland has scored six points or less in five of their eight games so far this year.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30): I’m not sure they are worse than the Browns, but until they get a win they will find themselves ranked dead last. I wouldn’t be surprised if they give the Packers a tough battle this week, but I believe they have a very good chance of going winless.