Discount double check!
We're officially past the midway point of the 2011 NFL regular season, and it's time for me to chime in with some power rankings.
The Packers and their MVP frontrunner Aaron Rodgers have been unstoppable, Michael Vick's Eagles have been the most disappointing team, and the Peyton Manning-less Colts have been nothing short of an embarrassment.
Now it's time to see where everyone else stands...
"My high school team was better than this."
Their offense is clearly in shambles without Peyton Manning, but the Colts' ultimate weakness is their completely hopeless defense.
Their pass rush is admirable from time to time, but the rest of their defensive unit is a downright disaster. There's no hope for this team this year.
Rashean is Old Reliable on the outside.
I like Jack Del Rio's tough, relentless, physical defense, but his offense hasn't been able to get going under rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Gabbert has a nice arm but is struggling with his footwork and release timing. RB Maurice Jones-Drew is the lone shining star of this offensive group.
Every team has at least one superstar, right?
How good can a team possibly be if they might be better off with John Skelton as their starting quarterback?
QB1 Kevin Kolb is batting injury and hasn't been effective when healthy either. RB Beanie Wells can never seem to stay healthy, and this offense doesn't have a viable receiving option beyond franchise player Larry Fitzgerald.
Loved the trade for Brandon Lloyd.
Last season's taxing workload has harmed Hillis this year.
The Madden Curse strikes again.
Cover boy Peyton Hillis has been unable to stay healthy this season, and his back-up Montario Hardesty can say the same for himself.
The Browns offense is currently weaponless, and the only thing they have going for them is a scrappy, hard-nosed defensive unit.
Can a rookie save this offense?
Man, this offense is hard to watch right now.
No Santana Moss, no Tim Hightower, no Chris Cooley...ouch.
If those injuries aren't enough to make Redskins fans cringe, QB John Beck is probably the worst starter in the league right now.
Like the Browns at 28 and the Jaguars at 31, the Redskins can only have pride in their defense at the moment.
Reggie has been rushing with more physicality of late.
This is likely the best 1-7 team I've ever seen. Kind of a back-handed compliment, but I'm sure Dolphins fans will take anything at this point.
QB Matt Moore has performed surprisingly well since taking over for the injured Chad Henne. RB Reggie Bush looks better than ever and Miami still boasts plus players in WR Brandon Marshall, S Yeremiah Bell and DE Cameron Wake.
TE Anthony Fasano may be breaking out, as well.
Marshawn looked fresh against the Cowboys.
Pete Carroll's boys play tough defense (especially at home), and they have offensive talent in wide receivers Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin, and veteran RB Marshawn Lynch.
This team could hover around the .500 mark if they could get more consistent play from QB Tarvaris Jackson.
It ain't pretty, but he finds a way.
Isn't anyone else tired of talking about this team with a losing record? They get so much coverage you would think they're Super Bowl contenders.
Superman in the making.
Rookie Cam Newton's incredible all-around quarterback play is certainly one of the top stories of the season, but the Panthers can't seem to find a way to win in tight ballgames.
WR Steve Smith is having an outstanding renaissance year, but there's no way to overlook the fact that this team generally loses.
Arguably the best player in the game.
The Vikings are a perfect reminder of the pecking order in the NFL: Quarterbacks rule, and everyone else follows.
Why do I say that? Because Minnesota has one of the top 10 players in the world in Adrian Peterson, and yet they aren't a consistent playoff team because of quarterback play.
That's why, when I posted my NFL Top 100 Players slideshow at the end of last season, the top seven players were all quarterbacks.
Since replacing broken-down, veteran QB Donovan McNabb with poised, talented rookie Christian Ponder, things have been looking up for the Vikings and their faithful. The future is bright here.
That looks about right.
Will this overpaid RB ever get it going?
I respect this team's collective effort after losing WR1 Kenny Britt for the season. I didn't think they'd win more than two games without their best player, but they've represented themselves well in his absence.
The Chris Johnson debacle is another shame, but at least the rest of the Titans can say that they don't back down or quit.
Flowers is one of my favorite defensive players in the league.
Two devastating, season-ending injuries for this team—RB Jamaal Charles and S Eric Berry, but (like the preceding Titans) they haven't stopped competing by any stretch of the imagination.
After getting off to a horrific start, Todd Haley's bunch has a chance to win the AFC West, though I expect the Chargers to squeak out the division title.
Blount is the Bucs' top offensive player.
An average team with an average quarterback (Josh Freeman) and an average record.
Where have you been, DeSean Jackson?
With Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek, the Eagles explosive offense is always fun to watch.
However, former WR1 DeSean Jackson has been a ghost, leaving Vick a weapon short in critical situations.
Andy Reid's offense has struggled at times, but everyone knows their defense is ultimately to blame for the club's losing record.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha is likely the most overrated defensive player in the NFL, and Philly's linebackers are notably sub-par.
I feel like he's confused far too often.
Tony Romo's arm looks weaker than ever, Miles Austin is injured, Dez Bryant needs to start running crisper routes and Jason Witten looks slower than Ted Washington after a defensive fumble recovery.
With the exception of emerging rookie RB DeMarco Murray, Jason Garrett's offense does not impress me.
The Cowboys defense has been respectable this year, but I don't see them as an overall contender.
Interception on the way...
Philip Rivers has never blown me away with his arm strength but damn, what the hell is going on lately?
Rivers is struggling like never before, but I expect Norv Turner's group to take care of business at home against the Raiders this weekend. As I mentioned earlier, I also expect them to win the division.
Julio made the catch of the year against the lowly Colts.
This is a difficult team to assess. Matt Ryan definitely doesn't look like an elite quarterback this season, but he has an outstanding supporting cast in Michael Turner, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.
Five-and-three seems like the right record for them at this point. I'm not at all impressed by their defense, so I don't believe they'll sneak into the playoffs as an NFC wild card team.
Along with Cam Newton and Jimmy Graham, F-Jax is one of the top surprises.
I like this team, but they got exposed against my Jets in Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled mightily to move the ball against the suffocating Jets D, and the Bills defense broke down in the second half.
I think the Jets will win the division and the Patriots will finish second with a wild card spot, so there's no room for Fred Jackson and Co.
AJ is likely Cincy's best player but...hit the weights, rookie!
The Jets are my favorite team, but my favorite teams of this particular season are the Chiefs and these tough, never-say-die Bengals.
Two of their top offensive players (QB Andy Dalton and WR1 AJ Green) are rookies, and Marvin Lewis' defense is sprinkled with young talent, as well.
But make no mistake about it, this is not flashy, young talent; this is gritty, strong-minded, team-oriented young talent.
Every coach would love to have that.
The best all-around back in the game.
This is another team that has really impressed me.
Their defense hasn't folded up the tent since losing Mario Williams, and the offense continues to hold its own in the absence of superstar WR Andre Johnson.
With Johnson on the sidelines, Gary Kubiak's offense has revolved around the rushing attack of Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
Foster does it all—runs well inside, outside and receives the ball beautifully.
With Johnson at 90 percent or better, this is probably a top 10 team.
Open your eyes, Tom, things are bad right now.
The air of invincibility is long gone.
Their defense is one of the absolute worst in the league, their running game is inconsistent and they lack a big, prototypical redzone wide receiver.
This is barely a playoff team.
This gunslinger is really fun to watch, even when he struggles.
This is a solid, fundamentally sound two-way football team.
Defensively, they stop the run and gameplan well for opposing star players.
Offensively, they have a physical rushing attack with Matt Forte and Marion Barber, and Jay Cutler spreads the ball around to acceptable options like Earl Bennett, Roy Williams, Devin Hester and Johnny Knox.
This team is settling into its identity thanks to Lovie Smith and Mike Martz.
Perhaps the most fearsome player in the NFL.
Jim Schwartz has developed a strong all-around football team that has the ability to pull out a victory on either side of the ball.
WR Calvin Johnson is the best player at his position, QB Matthew Stafford is a rising star and TE Brandon Pettigrew is an extremely reliable target.
Defensively, DT Ndamukong Suh is a freak of nature and LB Stephen Tulloch is a very solid, under-appreciated performer.
I like this team. They could do some damage.
Willis is widely considered the best LB in the league.
I know 49ers fans are going to be pissed about this ranking, and at 7-1, I completely understand their agitation.
Nonetheless, I will try to provide my side of the story.
The 49ers were 6-10 last season, 8-8 the year before, 7-9, 5-11, 7-9, 4-12, 2-14 and 7-9. They haven't had a winning season since 2001.
Obviously, the past doesn't have to have anything to do with the present, but the 49ers key players this season (Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Justin and Alex Smith) have been here in the past and have no history of success.
Meaning, I'd like to see this team finish the season strong before I put them ahead of similarly structured, proven teams like the Steelers, Ravens and Jets.
The 49ers play hard, relentless defense and try to protect the ball offensively, and the Steelers and Ravens have been doing that successfully for awhile now.
Revis is the best defensive player in a long, long time.
The Buffalo Bills were averaging over 30 points per game before they hosted the Jets on Sunday, but Gang Green's incredible defense made them look like a team that averaged half that—at best.
Rex Ryan's defense is easily one of the top three in the NFL, and his Jets are the only team to reach the conference championship in each of the past two seasons.
QB Mark Sanchez still occasionally makes head-scratching throws, but, collectively, the Jets offense is improving thanks to Plaxico Burress' awakening, Shonn Greene's power running and the return of all-world center Nick Mangold.
I believe the Jets are again a Super Bowl contender this season.
"Go crazy folks...go crazy!"
I suspected they would keep it close, but I'm still pretty surprised that Tom Coughlin's Giants found a way to beat Belichick's Patriots, at Foxborough, without both Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks.
Many deserved credit for the Giants' dramatic victory, but QB Eli Manning and TE Jake Ballard stood tall above the rest. Manning was calm and collected while engineering a clutch, game-winning drive and Ballard was on the receiving end of the two biggest plays of the game.
Obviously, I love Big Blue's pass rush, and I think Corey Webster deserves more national attention at the cornerback position.
If not for the injuries to Bradshaw and Nicks, this is a top four all-around club.
Joins Brady and Rodgers in "The Untouchables."
Any team that loses to the lowly Rams cannot qualify for my top three.
I don't think they can win another Super Bowl with this defense either.
Wallace is one of the most explosive receivers I've seen in awhile.
I apologize if this doesn't make any sense: I think the Steelers are the second-best team in the NFL, and I'm ranking them third.
To be honest, I'm really just trying to be fair to the Ravens. In the long run I think the Steelers are better suited for a Super Bowl run (mostly because of the superiority of Ben Roethlisberger and his receiving corps), but the Ravens have already swept the season series.
At this point, it still feels like a Steelers/Packers rematch this season.
Flacco the unflappable...sometimes.
Beat the Steelers, suffer an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars on Monday Night Football, nearly lose to the lowly Cardinals and beat the Steelers again.
How can we possibly evaluate this team?
To be frank, I don't like their receiving corps beyond Anquan Boldin. Torrey Smith has made a few plays this year, but he's essentially a streak-runner. He runs fly patterns and has no value over the middle.
Ray Rice is a good, solid two-way back, but I don't consider him one of the top five at his position.
Defensively, I have nothing but positive things to say: DE Terrell Suggs, DT Haloti Ngata, FS Ed Reed and LB Ray Lewis are four of the top 15 defensive players in the world.
LB Jameel McClain continues to improve, and DBs Lardarius Webb, Chris Carr and Cary Williams do a nice job in coverage.
John Harbaugh is one of the game's elite head coaches.
Getting older, but still the most active cornerback in the business.
Led by heavy MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers, this is one of the best offensive teams I've ever had the joy to witness.
Rodgers spreads the ball around to strong wide receivers in Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, and TE Jermichael Finley is a dynamic and explosive option.
Their rushing attack (James Starks and Ryan Grant) leaves something to be desired, but it doesn't seem to matter because no opposing defense can stop Rodgers.
Rodgers has an absolute cannon, outstanding mechanics, excellent judgment and the mobility necessary to avoid the rush and make impact plays on the move.
Mike McCarthy's defense hasn't been spectacular, but they do have a propensity for forcing turnovers that lead to defensive scores.
If opposing defenses don't find a way to contain this offense, these Packers may very well go undefeated.