NOT A GOOD WEEK. Not only did Brandon Weeden beat us, but we lost our QB for a few weeks and the Jets won, and everybody is talking like Geno Smith doesn’t actually suck! Grrrr. Oh well. We persevere. Time to get fully behind Thad Lewis and hope he’s a temporary answer for us while E.J. works on getting healthy. The analysts didn’t give us a chance against the Ravens, and we saw what happened there. Who says we can’t shock the world again against the Bengals?
1. Denver Broncos (same): The offense is as strong as ever, but they MIGHT want to look into what happened on defense. Of course, they play the Jags this week, so the defense may not NEED to be that good. Oh, and after that Von Miller comes back.
2. New Orleans Saints (+1): The Saints are taking on big opponents and walking away unscathed. This is the week that they remove any doubt that they’re contenders. If they beat the Patriots at Foxboro, I will dance.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (+2): Rounding out the undefeated teams are the Chiefs. Amazingly, they haven’t played a single divisional game yet. That changes this week as they take on the Raiders, who are looking to upset.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (+5): Thank you, Bengals! This might be too high to rank a 3-2 team that lost to the Browns a couple weeks ago, but this is where I see them. They just need to address consistency issues and they could be nearly unstoppable. I’ll go ahead and hope they DON’T address those issues this week. GO BILLS!
5. Seattle Seahawks (-3): I can’t drop Seattle too far, since they are still clearly the cream of the crop in the NFC. They’re back home (where they never lose) against the Titans this week.
6. Green Bay Packers (same): Their win over the Lions effectively justified their spot here. 2-2 is not where they want to be, however, and they will likely bring everything against the Ravens this week. I’m sure Aaron Rodgers is glad to see James Jones returning to his TD-scoring ways.
7. San Francisco 49ers (+1): That was a pretty convincing beatdown of the Texans as the Niners defense led the way. Amazingly, the Cardinals are coming to town with a matching 3-2 record and more passing yardage on the year. Those Niners better avoid the trap.
8. Indianapolis Colts (+4): I think a lot of people expected the Colts to rise higher for beating the Seahawks, but I’m not quite there yet with the Colts. They rank 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed, for example. Their Monday night game against the Chargers will be tougher than many think, with Philip Rivers playing some of his best football.
9. New England Patriots (-5): HA HA! That game couldn’t have gone much better for us Bills fans. Even with Amendola back in the lineup, the Patriots couldn’t do anything on offense and looked more like the Jaguars than themselves. PLEASE let them lose to the Saints and make it 2 in a row!
10. Chicago Bears (-3): The Bears are probably happy with the fact that they have a much better offense than they did last year, including someone OTHER THAN Brandon Marshall catching passes. That defense hasn’t looked quite as stifling of late, though. They should regain some confidence against the floundering Giants on Thursday night.
11. Baltimore Ravens (+4): Nice to see the Ravens get a win over the Dolphins, but this team still has a long way to go. We knew that Joe Flacco wasn’t amazing, but the big story has been the disappearance of Ray Rice. He needs to show up HUGE if the Ravens want a chance against the Packers.
12. Houston Texans (-2): Oh man, the Texans have a problem. They have a good QB who is having a TERRIBLE start to the season. Kudos to Gary Kubiak for sticking with Schaub for one more week. It’s easy to fall into the “what have you done for me lately” trap, but the season isn’t over for the Texans, and Schaub is the best they have. They need to ride him through this slump until he’s out of it. The Rams weak secondary provides the perfect opportunity to get better.
13: Detroit Lions (-2): Man, without Calvin Johnson that team is BAD. As long as both Megatron and Reggie Bush are healthy, however, the Lions seem like they have a shot at beating anybody. Both have had injury troubles this year, though. Both should be available against the Browns.
14. Cleveland Browns (+6): Speaking of, the Browns get a brief boost in the rankings for playing well against us on Thursday. The loss of Brian Hoyer was huge (which seems very strange to write). That defense is scrappy, though, so I’ll give Brandon Weeden a week to try and prove his performance wasn’t a fluke.
15. Dallas Cowboys (+6): This has got to be the biggest boost I’ve ever given a losing team. The Cowboys receive no points for defense (but no one else has had much success stopping the Broncos). They get a LOT of credit for their offensive production, however, against a beastly Denver defense. Who knows what this will do to the up-and-down performance of this team? This was their “good” week. Do they lay an egg against the Redskins, or will they be propelled by this loss?
16. San Diego Chargers (-2): Maybe the late night got to the Chargers? I still can’t push them too low for an uncharacteristic loss to the Raiders. Philip Rivers is still much improved over last year. If they couldn’t handle Terrelle Pryor, though, how are they gonna manage Andrew Luck?
17. Miami Dolphins (-1): How the mighty have fallen! The “amazing” 3-0 Dolphins have dropped two straight and go into the Bye week with a lot of questions to answer.
18. New York Jets (+4): ARG, stupid Jets. Just when I thought we’d see EVERY AFC East team lose, the Jets had to upset the Falcons. Now everyone’s forgotten Geno Smith’s terrible start, and now he’s the freaking player of the week. GARBAGE. Please let the Jets get blown out by the Steelers so we can start talking about how the Jets suck again.
19. Arizona Cardinals (+4): Yeah, if anyone told me at the start of the season that the Cardinals and Niners would meet at Week 6 with the SAME record, I would’ve laughed. Here we are, though. The 3-2 Cardinals (yes, 3-2) have beaten the Lions, Panthers, and Bucs, which isn’t all that incredible. I can’t put them in the same class as the 49ers… not even close.
20. Atlanta Falcons (-7): I don’t think I would have dropped them this far, but then it was determined that Julio Jones was out for the season, and now the Falcons are in real trouble. Roddy White has already been absent, and now Matt Ryan has lost almost every weapon he has. Tony Gonzalez is the only one left, and he can’t win the games on his own.
21. Tennessee Titans (-4): It was nice to see Fitz doing his thing again, but he wasn’t quite enough to upset the Chiefs. He did perform pretty well, though, and I’m sure he’s looking forward to the Titans next opponent… OH IT’S THE SEAHAWKS CRAP.
22. Buffalo Bills (-4): Blah. Our position on this list is really gonna be dependent on the play of Thad Lewis (at least for the near future). The prospect of a lot of returning players from injury is what keeps us from dropping too far. The Bengals are a scary proposition this week, but they’re vulnerable. They don’t really know what to expect out of Lewis, and they don’t know how we’ll use him. I hope Marrone and Hackett have a few tricks up their sleeves.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (+1): Pretty good win with Nick Foles, but he’s a stop-gap. The danger is that Foles wins a few more games and folks get fooled into wanting to bench Vick when he’s healthy again. They play the Bucs this week, which should be cake.
24. Oakland Raiders (+4): WOW. The Raiders may have their starter. Tough luck to be stuck in a division with the Broncos and Chiefs. If they could shock the Chargers, however, who knows what they could do at Arrowhead?
25. St. Louis Rams (same): I’m almost tempted to drop them a few more spots, but they DID win (even if it was against the lowly Jags). Zac Stacy is showing potential, which may be just what Sam Bradford needs to help him raise his game.
26. Carolina Panthers (-7): So much for the Bye week exorcising demons in Carolina. Cam Newton is still as whiny as ever, and Steve Smith is showing his age. They get a good shot at a rebound against the Vikings this week, who are still seeing how the Matt Cassel experiment works out for them.
27. Washington Redskins (-1): With the rise of the Raiders, the Redskins slide a bit. There is one thing that the Redskins can be happy about, though: This division is WIDE open. EVERY team in the NFC East has a losing record entering Week 6. That’s gotta be rare. The Redskins get the chance to play the Cowboys this week, the current division leader. This means that after going 0-4 to start the season, the Redskins could be in FIRST PLACE after this week.
28. Minnesota Vikings (-1): Well, they got Josh Freeman… but I don’t know how happy they should be in Minnesota. Clearly Freeman wants to be the starter. Period. If Matt Cassel hangs around and wins some games, Freeman might start freaking out again and looking for a way out. DRAMA.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (+1): Of all the winless teams, this one just seems like the most likely to win first. That may be because I want them to slaughter the Jets, but I think it’s more than that. Big Ben is not a bad QB. He’s just got a bad team around him. Maybe the Bye gave them time to improve.
30. New York Giants (-1): I still don’t have the heart to drop the Giants any further than this. Their 0-5 start has been SO ugly, but the talent on this team deserves to get some wins on the board. I doubt the Bears will give one away easily on Thursday night at Soldier Field.
31. Tampa Bay Bucanneers (same): Fresh off the bye, I could actually see them getting their first win against the Eagles. Nick Foles vs. Mike Glennon isn’t exactly the type of headliner you’d want to watch, though.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (same): The bright side: their offense had their best performance all season! The not-so-bright side: Still only 20 points. And now they play the Broncos.