Home for Non-Generic Sports Opinion
1. Pittsburgh (6-2)
Skinny The Steelers (not the Patriots as I said last week) are the most complete team in the NFL.
What’s Next? A chance to defend the top spot at home against New England.
2. New England (6-2)
Skinny They were embarrassed by Cleveland, but this is still a top unit and don’t expect the Pats to be blown out like that again this year.
What’s Next? A win this weekend at Heinz Field will put them back on top.
3. Baltimore (6-2)
Skinny Bounced back nicely after narrowly beating Buffalo in OT. Joe Flacco hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 4.
What’s Next? A win this Thursday at Atlanta should solidify them as the number 2 team in the NFL.
4. NY Jets (6-2)
Skinny This team looked so much better three weeks ago. They should have never been in a dog fight with Detroit, but you have to give credit for a comeback win on the road.
What’s Next? It will be interesting to see how they fair on the road against a suddenly hot Cleveland team this week.
5. Indianapolis (5-3)
Skinny The Colts ran into a buzz saw that was Mike Vick and they still only lost by two points. I don’t know of any team that would have been able to stop Vick Sunday.
What’s Next? The Colts may not finish 13-3 or 12-4 this year, but they are still one of the scariest teams to play. A home contest against Cincinnati should get them back on track.
6. NY Giants (6-2)
Skinny The good news is they’ve won five straight and are the hottest team in the NFL. The bad news is the five games were against teams in the back half of the power rankings.
What’s Next? Probably win number six in a row as they host Dallas.
7. Green Bay (6-3)
Skinny After an ugly OT loss at home to Miami in Week 6, the Pack have won three straight. Nobody could figure this team out three weeks ago, but now they look like the team many were predicting would win the NFC.
What’s Next? Green Bay heads into the Bye week with a ton of momentum. They will need the extra week to get ready for Favre and the Vikings in the Dome.
8. Atlanta (6-2)
Skinny The Falcons are a solid team. Right now they are lacking that signature win that would put them up with the big boys.
What’s Next? That signature win could come Thursday night against the Ravens.
9. New Orleans (6-3)
Skinny The Saints could be 7-2 if it wasn’t for a Garrett Hartley shank in Week 3 against the Falcons. Two ugly losses to Arizona and Cleveland don’t help their cause.
What’s Next? After a great win over Pittsburgh and a thrashing of the Panthers, the Saints get a much needed Bye. The return of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas is looming.
10. Tennessee (5-3)
Skinny Tennessee is a very well coached unit. If you can find a way to be this solid with Vince Young and/or Kerry Collins, you are doing something right. I don’t envision Randy Moss hurting their chances.
What’s Next? The rest of the schedule sets up nicely for Tennessee. Two games with the Colts could pose a problem. The Titans are just 3-7 against Indy over the last five years.
11. Philadelphia (5-3)
Skinny Mike Vick is playing the best football of his career. It is nice to see him utilize the ability to scramble and make the late throw instead of just pulling it down to run when he gets into trouble.
What’s Next? The Eagles need to beat Washington on Monday night to erase the memory of the first meeting between the two teams.
12. Oakland (5-4)
Skinny Great scene in Oakland Sunday. The place went absolutely nuts when Jacoby Ford made that great catch to set up the Janikowski game winner.
What’s Next? The Raiders head into the Bye week winners of three straight. It will be tough to keep up this level of play, however. The last seven games of their schedule are brutal.
13. Kansas City (5-3)
Skinny The Black Hole has been an extremely tough place to play as of late. That being said, the Chiefs had the lead with 6 minutes to play. Perhaps they have learned a lesson in finishing games.
What’s Next? The next four weeks are the key for Kansas City. They have to win the games they are supposed to win. After that, the last quarter of the schedule becomes difficult.
14. Tampa Bay (5-3)
Skinny I’m not high on Tampa Bay, but I’ll give them some credit. I thought they would get waxed by Atlanta and they were able to make it a game. Josh Freeman is quickly becoming a big time leader for this team.
What’s Next? They should win the next two against Carolina and then at San Francisco. The Bucs should continue to make the NFC South race interesting.
15. Miami (4-4)
Skinny All four of their losses have been to the four best teams in the league. It seems like you know what you’re going to get from Miami every week. With the exception of the New England debacle, they always seem to be in the game with a chance to win.
What’s Next? It doesn’t get any easier for the Fins. They will have a tough time catching up in the AFC.
16. San Diego (4-5)
Skinny Philip Rivers has become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He is on fire right now and doing it with even less than Peyton Manning.
What’s Next? The Bye week comes at a great time for Antonio Gates, who sat out last game with injuries to both feet. San Diego has a very manageable schedule the rest of the way.
17. Jacksonville (4-4)
Skinny They aren’t particularly great at anything, but they are solid enough to win games they are supposed to win. That being said, the AFC is way too challenging for them to make a run.
What’s Next? Like many teams in the AFC, their schedule is very tough the rest of the way. Back-to-back home games against Cleveland and Houston are must wins.
18. Chicago (5-3)
Skinny The Bears should probably be 3-5, yet they could easily be 7-1. A laughably easy schedule, along with an extraordinarily inconsistent offense places them as the worst 5-3 team. Jay Cutler was not, and never will be the answer.
What’s Next? The last half of the season will be very tough for Chicago. A 6-10 finish is most definitely not out of the question.
19. Houston (4-4)
Skinny The Texans have slowly fallen back to earth since the season opening shocker over Indianapolis. Arian Foster, however, has been consistent all year. He has picked up the slack for a rather disappointing Andre Johnson (for Andre Johnson standards).
What’s Next? This franchise has made eight and nine win seasons the norm of late. With the AFC this strong, that is not likely to change.
20. Cleveland (3-5)
Skinny Give Mangini and the Browns a lot of credit. They come to play every week and are not afraid to hit you in the mouth. Peyton Hillis has become something of a break out star at running back. At 240 pounds, I don’t think many defenders look forward to tackling him.
What’s Next? Can they keep up this string of excellent play against the Jets? The Dog Pound sure looked like a tough, rowdy environment Sunday.
21. Washington (4-4)
Skinny What is going on in Washington? I’m not the biggest McNabb fan, but I prefer just about anyone over Rex Grossman. I’m sure McNabb will be back in the lineup this weekend against Philadelphia.
What’s Next? The Redskins better be ready for the Eagles this weekend. With a healthy Mike Vick, Philly will be eager to atone for the earlier season loss to Washington.
22. Minnesota (3-5)
Skinny Vikings fans shouldn’t be too excited over the come from behind win last weekend. The Vikings have way too much talent to barely beat Arizona in the Metrodome.
What’s Next? Two division games against Chicago and Green Bay. Sidney Rice may play this week. What kind of impact will he make going forward?
23. St. Louis (4-4)
Skinny The Rams are in excellent position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Sam Bradford has been getting all of the attention for this club, but don’t overlook the defense. Take away the Detroit game, and the most points they have allowed this year is 18.
What’s Next? St. Louis is 4-1 at Edward Jones Dome, but they are 0-fer on the road. Five of the last eight games are away from home. They will have to cure their road woes to compete.
24. Seattle (4-4)
Skinny They have been blown out in two straight games against two quality opponents. They need Hasselbeck healthy to have any shot at winning the NFC West.
What’s Next? Two games on the road in tough environments. The Cardinals are a much better team at home. Good luck in the Big Easy against the Saints in two weeks.
25. Detroit (2-6)
Skinny I must admit that Matt Stafford played a lot better than I thought he would against the Jets. Unfortunately for him, another injury may have finished him for the rest of the campaign. You could do a lot worse than Shaun Hill who will start this weekend.
What’s Next? A trip to Buffalo awaits the Lions as they look to avoid becoming the Bills first W.
26. Arizona (3-5)
Skinny Derek Anderson played okay against the Vikings, but he probably isn’t going to win this team any games by himself. The Cards rank near the bottom of the league in total offense and defense.
What’s Next? A very winnable home contest against a reeling Seahawks team. Arizona plays five of their remaining games at home.
27. Denver (2-6)
Skinny They haven’t won since they surprised Tennessee in Week 4. Back then it didn’t look like much of a shocker, but now it looks like an anomaly. Denver still has a top-5 passing offense, but they are dead last in rushing.
What’s Next? The Broncos return to Invesco for the first time since they were embarrassed by Oakland. Will the extra week to prepare help them upset Kansas City?
28. Cincinnati (2-6)
Skinny At least they made it interesting Monday night against the Steelers. Terrell Owens had double the targets as Ochocinco. #85 has only four catches in the last two games. Maybe he isn’t so thrilled with that signing after all.
What’s Next? A trip to Indianapolis. No opposing teams have beaten Indy at Lucas Oil Stadium this year.
29. San Francisco (2-6)
Skinny Troy Smith remains the starter for San Francisco. He played pretty well two weeks ago, albeit against a bad Denver defense. Who still thinks the ‘Niners can make the playoffs?
What’s Next? Back home against an equally rested St. Louis team. The Rams defense should be a little more formidable than the Broncos. It will be interesting to see how Smith handles it.
30. Buffalo (0-8)
Skinny Just because you’re winless doesn’t mean you’re the worst team in my book. Losing Roscoe Parrish will be a big hit to the passing game, however.
What’s Next? Who has more pressure on them, the Bills or the Lions? If the Bills fail this week, they have a good shot next week at Cincinnati.
31. Dallas (1-7)
Skinny Good and bad news for Dallas. The good news is Wade Phillips is finally gone. The bad news is that Tony Romo is still out (and they’re still 1-7).
What’s Next? I can’t decide if they will be the same old Cowboys under Jason Garrett. A small part of me thinks they will actually come to play this weekend.
32. Carolina (1-7)
Skinny Jimmy Clausen is back after Matt Moore has been placed on IR. This team is the epitome of terrible. They can’t run, they can’t pass, and coincidentally they can’t score.
What’s Next? They travel to Tampa Bay where they will be beaten by the Bucs. If Jimmy Clausen struggles like usual, I’d like to see what Tony Pike can do.