That was a pretty damn good week of football, huh? The Bills successfully squished the fish, the Patsies lost (to the Jets, unfortunately), and good times were had by all. True, we’re now facing the two hardest games for the remainder of our schedule (the Saints, and then the Chiefs), but after that our schedule gets significantly softer. With E.J. projected to return to us after our Bye week, who knows how this season could close out? I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think a 10-6 season is out of reach. Maybe even 11-5 if we can grab at least one upset in the next couple weeks.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (+1): And then there was one. This is the kind of team you see winning the Super Bowl (not to get ahead of myself). They do a lot of things well, and they do nothing poorly. That defense, though… Monstrous.
2. Denver Broncos (-1): Peyton loses one game, and all of a sudden he sucks? Not buying that. This is still Peyton’s team. He just needs to get a lot more from his defense so he can win games consistently. That said, Peyton didn’t play his best on Sunday night. Even legends don’t play every game perfectly, though.
3. New Orleans Saints (same): The Saints are coming off the bye to face our Bills in New Orleans. All we can hope for is that they underestimate us. The scary part is that the Saints have been thinking about that loss to the Patriots all week.
4. Seattle Seahawks (same): No surprise they beat the Cardinals on Thursday night. They get another primetime game this week, with Monday Night Football against the Rams, who they’re catching at the right time.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (same): These Bengals can hang. While they couldn’t do much to stop Megatron this week (with his 155 yards and 2 TDs), Andy Dalton proved he can do some gunslinging of his own, throwing for 372 yards and 3 TDs. Let’s all cheer them on against the Jets.
6. Green Bay Packers (same): The Packers handled business against the Browns, as expected. The only thing the Packers need to be scared of is their constantly dwindling offense. Thank goodness for Eddie Lacy, who is really doing work for them. At this point, though, even Aaron Rodgers is looking hesitant with his depleted receiving corps.
7. San Francisco 49ers (same): The Niners have successfully transitioned from Kaepernick’s explosive read-option to a traditional run-first offense. It’s working, too. Kaepernick didn’t throw for a single touchdown against the Titans, but he didn’t have to. Frank Gore makes things happen.
8. Indianapolis Colts (+2): SO MUCH is being made of Andrew Luck slaying the master, but people are quick to forget that Andrew Luck has also had some piss-poor performances this year. He is not better than Peyton Manning. Not by a longshot. He could be. Not right now, though. The Colts lost to the Dolphins and the Chargers. Don’t forget that.
9. New England Patriots (-1): Does anyone else hear angels singing when Tom Brady throws a Pick-6? I do. Anything to keep this division competitive. With the way the rest of the AFC is looking, I’m starting to believe only one team in the AFC East is going to the post-season. Our chances likely rest on upsetting the division and coming out on top. The Patsies look vulnerable enough. This division is up for grabs.
10. Detroit Lions (+2): Yes, they lost to the Bengals. This is clearly a top-ten team, though. This is a high-powered offense when Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush are both available. The rise of Fauria is helping them as well. I think their tilt with the Cowboys is one of the most intriguing games this week.
11. San Diego Chargers (+2): Not much effort was required to go into this Bye week with a win over the Jaguars. Still, the Chargers will cruise into the second half of the season with a winning record, and that’s impressive considering the company they share in the AFC West.
12. Dallas Cowboys (+2): Two wins in a row, both against divisional opponents. I guess it’s time for me to ease up on the criticism for the Cowboys. The offense has actually been consistent for three weeks in a row now (if you include the shootout loss against Denver). Beating the Lions would prove they’re more than just the “least-crappy team” in the NFC East.
13: Baltimore Ravens (-2): Questions abound for the Ravens entering the Bye. Losing to the Steelers suddenly puts them below .500 and wondering if they’ll even compete for a Wild Card spot at this point. With the Bengals flying high, the Ravens hopes of a repeat are fading.
14. Chicago Bears (-5): Losing Jay Cutler is HUGE. Josh McCown and Matt Forte deserve credit for keeping things interesting against the Redskins, but they weren’t enough to compensate for a miserable defensive performance by the Bears. Without the typically turnover-happy defense of last year, the Bears lose a lot of their competitive edge. Cutler was able to overcome that. McCown can’t.
15. Cleveland Browns (same): With the switch to Jason Campbell, I’m gonna give the Browns a week of respite, despite the loss to the Packers (which I think we all expected). Campbell has shown some ability in the past. He may be an upgrade over Weeden. Of course, they play the Chiefs in Arrowhead this week… so there’s that.
16. New York Jets (+7): I hate to do this, but yeah, the Jets just beat the Patriots and they’re 4-3. I guess we have to deal with the fact that the Jets aren’t as laughably bad as we thought they would be this year. That said, Geno Smith is hardly the superstar that the media is ready to crown him as. Sure, some games he’s pretty good. Other games he takes a metaphorical dump on the field.
17. Buffalo Bills (+7): I’ll admit, this is a generous spot for a 3-4 team, but I’m standing by it. We won on the road with a back-up QB against a divisional opponent. These aren’t last year’s Bills. Looking back, every loss of ours has been insanely close. We are literally a few plays away from being 7-0 this year. With players getting healthy, we’re only going to improve. If we can get ONE WIN out of the next two games (Saints, Chiefs), I’ll feel AMAZING.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (-1): It sounds like Michael Vick may be coming back this week against the Giants, and that’s pretty good timing. Assuming Vick can take over and remain healthy, all is not lost for the Eagles, who fell on their faces against the Cowboys.
19. Arizona Cardinals (same): They lost to the Seahawks. About what you’d expect. Beating the Falcons this week, however, could really get their fanbase going.
20. Houston Texans (same): Good for Case Keenum performing a lot better than most expected against a stifling Chiefs defense. Arian Foster’s production is now vital, though, and he barely did anything on Sunday. They get a Bye week to get healthy, but will it be enough to climb out of the hole they’re in at 2-5?
21. Atlanta Falcons (same): The Falcons got their second win! Yay! Against the Bucs! Yeah, big whoop. Matt Ryan deserves credit for rising to the occasion with most of his receivers (and Steven Jackson) gone. Until they beat a solid team, though, I won’t be convinced that the Falcons have a chance this season.
22. Miami Dolphins (-6): The Dolphins’ three-game losing streak is a thing of beauty. Clearly Ryan Tannehill is NOT going to have the breakout year everyone predicted. He is still raw at points, even with his improved group of receivers. I’ll root for them this week against the Patriots, but I don’t expect them to win in Foxborough.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers (+4): With two wins in a row, the Steelers are thinking comeback. Let’s not forget, though… They lost to the Vikings in London. This week, though, they get a chance to pad their record against the Raiders.
24. Carolina Panthers (+1): The Panthers are another team recovering from a rough start, though beating the train-wreck-Rams isn’t an astounding accomplishment. Beating the Bucs on Thursday night would put them above .500, though, and in the running for a Wild Card spot.
25. Tennessee Titans (-3): The Titans enter the Bye with a dose of reality. Getting stomped by the Niners showed that these Titans are not true contenders in the league. Not yet. Their QB situation feels a lot like how ours was for the last several years.
26. Washington Redskins (+2): That Redskins offense finally decided to show up for a whole game! Too bad their defense didn’t decide to follow suit, allowing 41 points to a depleted Bears offense. Don’t get too excited for them. They get the Broncos this week.
27. St. Louis Rams (-9): Things just got ugly in St. Louis. With the loss of Sam Bradford, this team really has nothing but desperation remaining. With rumors that they’re contacting Tim Tebow and Brett Favre, I’m left shaking my head. No worries, Rams fans! Your next game is only the Seahawks on Monday Night Football! Woo!
28. Oakland Raiders (-2): The Raiders spent the Bye watching bad teams start to look better, so they slide down the list a bit. Admittedly, Terrelle Pryor being healthy is the X-Factor in the approaching game against the Steelers. If Pryor can have one of his good days, the Raiders could at least spoil the comeback hopes of fans in Pittsburgh.
29. New York Giants (+1): That was easily one of the worst MNF games in the last 10 years. Still, the Giants nabbed their first win, and had a rare, incredible performance by their defense. Adrian Peterson running for 28 yards and no TDs is mind-boggling. Can they keep it up against the Eagles?
30. Minnesota Vikings (-1): Josh Freeman? Not the answer. Word from Minnesota is that they’re already moving back to Christian Ponder against the Packers this week. And for the love of all that is holy, give Adrian Peterson the ball.
31. Tampa Bay Bucanneers (same): The only surprise here was that the Bucs lost to the Falcons by only 8 points… Technically a one-score game. A loss is a loss, however, and those Bucs get to show how bad they are in prime time for Thursday Night Football this week.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (same): *Insert joke here*