And the NFL just continues to keep us guessing. Besides the Packers, there were a lot of losses at the top of the rankings this weekend. How did everything shake out? Keep reading to find out.
Last Week: 1
Green Bay Packers (6-0)The fact that they won handily over the Rams and didn’t even look like they were trying is bad news for the rest of the league. The first time we’ll have big news to report on the Packers will be either a loss or an injury. An undefeated season is realistic for Aaron Rodgers and the Pack.
Last Week: 4
New England Patriots (5-1)They only played well on offense for two minutes and still pulled out the big win over Dallas on Sunday. The much maligned defense has held its own in the red zone, though, limiting their last three opponents to less than 19 points per game. With Tom Brady running the show on offense, that will be plenty of defensive support to keep racking up the wins.
Last Week: 5
Baltimore Ravens (4-1)With a Week 1 win over the Steelers already in their back pocket, the Ravens just need to keep going about their business and beating the teams they’re supposed to. The AFC North is theirs to lose this year.
Last Week: 7
San Francisco 49ers (5-1)We’ve already discussed the post-game handshake fireworks, so let’s talk about what really matters: the Niners play on the field. San Francisco knows how to pound the ball on offense (third in the NFC in rushing yards per game) and stuff the ball on defense (they’re second in the NFL in both rushing yards and points allowed).
Last Week: 8
San Diego Chargers (4-1)The bye week came early for the Chargers, and that’s a good thing. Hopefully that means the return of Antonio Gates. Philip Rivers hasn’t been the same this season and the return of his All-Pro tight end would help re-ignite the Chargers passing game.
Last Week: 9
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)They didn’t score any second half points against a lousy Jaguars team but the defense is still up to task. For all the talk about the Steelers lack of a run defense, Pittsburgh is still fourth in the league in points allowed, at 17 a contest.
Last Week: 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2)Now THAT’S how you rebound from a 45-point blowout. A week after getting embarrassed on the road against San Francisco, the Bucs returned home to beat the Saints for the third time in their last four meetings to grab first place in the NFC South. Then again, after seeing how they reacted to travelling across the country to San Francisco, I’m scared to see what happens when they actually LEAVE the country this week to play the Bears in the NFL’s annual London game.
Last Week: 2
New Orleans Saints (4-2)What’s up with Drew Brees? In the first nine years of his career, he never had more than 18 interceptions in a season. Then all of the sudden, the accurate Brees had 22 picks last season and now he’s on another cold streak, with 8 interceptions in his last four games.
Last Week: 3
Detroit Lions (5-1)Bad week for Detroit. First they lose their first game of the season at home. Then their trade for running back Ronnie Brown gets nixed because Jerome Harrison has health issues. Now the Lions are stuck with a concussed Jahvid Best and a dinged up Jerome Harrison, with all signs pointing to Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams getting the majority of the carries this weekend.
Last Week: 15
New York Giants (4-2)The Giants needed that home win against in-state rival Buffalo, but what they really needed was their bye week. With a week off, the Giants could be returning up to five impact players for their next game, including guys like defensive end Justin Tuck, guard Chris Snee and running back Brandon Jacobs.
Last Week: 6
Buffalo Bills (4-2)The big-play offense gets all the attention in Buffalo, but it really comes down to turnovers for the Bills. In their four wins, the Bills are plus-9 in the turnover margin. In their two losses, they’re even.
Last Week: 12
Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)With winnable road games coming up against the Seahawks and Titans, is it possible that Cincy can head into their Week 10 match-up with Pittsburgh at 6-2?
Last Week: 10
Oakland Raiders (4-2)It’s time to see what Carson Palmer has left in the gas tank. The QB, who said he’d rather retire than play anymore with the Bengals, got traded to Oakland before the trade deadline and looks like the Raiders starting QB this week. Palmer has a lot of rust to shake off – he hasn’t played in an NFL game since January – if he wants to lead the Raiders to the playoff spot he was brought in to deliver.
Last Week: 16
New York Jets (3-3)I know the Jets won, but there are still a lot of problems with this team. Problem #1: where is the running game? The Jets are second to last in the AFC, producing barely 80 yards per game on the ground.
Last Week: 18
Atlanta Falcons (3-3)That was a season-saving division win at home for Matt Ryan and company. Now the Falcons have to ride that momentum to their first winning streak of the season.
Last Week: 19
Chicago Bears (3-3)The Bears handled their business against an inferior opponent on Sunday night. Now the real test: the 4-2 Bucs in London. So far, Chicago’s three wins have come against teams with a combined 5-13 record, while their three losses have come against teams with a combined 15-3 record.
Last Week: 22
Philadelphia Eagles (2-4)There’s never been a scarier 2-4 team in the NFL. The Eagles get a week off before another shot at a division rival in the Cowboys. Looks like the talent may finally be coming together in Philly.
Last Week: 20
Dallas Cowboys (2-3)Can someone please throw Dez Bryant the ball? I know the dynamic receiver has been on and off the field a lot with injuries, but when he’s out there, the Cowboys hardly throw him the rock. In the three games he’s finished, the Cowboys have only targeted their most explosive receiver 6 times in the fourth quarter.
Last Week: 13
Houston Texans (3-3)The injuries are starting to pile up in Houston. Already down Mario Williams and Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub is battling a hip issue now. This weekend’s game in Tennessee is a must win for the Texans if they’re to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Last Week: 11
Washington Redskins (3-2)As a Bears fan, and someone who’s been through the pain of watching Rex Grossman throw the ball to the wrong team over and over again, let me express my condolences to Redskins fans. After Rex’s four interception explosion, the ‘Skins are looking to John Beck to keep them in the NFC East race. A trip to Carolina and their 28th ranked scoring defense will soften Beck’s first start, but after that, it’s the turnover-happy Bills and the punishing 49ers.
Last Week: 17
Tennessee Titans (3-2)It’s now or never for the Titans. The Texans are banged up, the Jaguars are developing a rookie quarterback and the Colts have fallen off the face of the earth without Peyton Manning. The Titans have back-to-back home division games against the Texans and Colts to get a firm grip on the AFC South.
Last Week: 21
Seattle Seahawks (2-3)It looks like Charlie Whitehurst will be taking the snaps for the Seahawks when they return from their bye against Cleveland. Whitehurst will look to keep up his efficient, winning ways after spelling Tarvaris Jackson in the Seahawks Week 5 win over the Giants.
Last Week: 23
Kansas City Chiefs (2-3)Coming off their bye week, the Chiefs have a chance to pounce on their division foe in disarray. The Chiefs travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders, who may be starting a quarterback who hasn’t played in nearly ten months.
Last Week: 24
Cleveland Browns (2-3)Peyton Hillis is slowly succumbing to the Madden curse. The running back was on the cover of this year’s football video game and has barely played, averaging only 3.5 yards per carry and finding the end zone only twice all year. Now it looks like Hillis won’t even suit up against the Seahawks.
Last Week: 25
Carolina Panthers (1-5)The close losses are adding up in Carolina. Yes, this team is fighting to the finish in each game, but a season that started out looking like a stepping stone to better things is quickly entering the danger zone. At 1-5, the Panthers need to take advantage of their upcoming three-game homestand if they want to have a meaningful season.
Last Week: 26
Denver Broncos (1-4)The time has come for Tebow to show us what he’s got. Luckily for him, his first start of the season is against the rudderless Dolphins in Florida, a state where Tebow has had his most successful football moments.
Last Week: 27
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)I’m giving Jaguars superback Maurice Jones-Drew a special shoutout here. This season has not been pretty in Jacksonville as quarterback Blaine Gabbert is learning the ropes as a pro, yet Jones-Drew continues to churn out the yards.
Last Week: 29
Arizona Cardinals (1-4)The Cardinals come off their bye week trying to snap their four-game losing streak. Step one could be to get Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald on the same page to ignite the passing game. Unfortunately, they’re going up against Pittsburgh this weekend, who allow the fewest passing yards per game in the league.
Last Week: 30
Indianapolis Colts (0-6)The Colts take on the Saints this weekend and my oh my how things have changed since then. It was only 20 months ago that the Colts were driving on the Saints with a chance to tie the game late in Super Bowl XLIV. Now a year and a half later and the Colts aren’t hoping to win The Big Game, they’re just trying to win any game.
Last Week: 31
St. Louis Rams (0-5)Rarely does a team get blown out by three touchdowns and move up a spot in the rankings, but these Rams showed some spark on offense. St. Louis marched up and down the field to the tune of over 400 yards against the Pack…unfortunately they couldn’t get into the end zone. Still, that much yardage on offense amounts to progress when you’re winless.
Last Week: 28
Minnesota Vikings (1-5)The Christian Ponder Era begins on Sunday. In other words, this might be the first time in NFL history that a team hands the ball off on every single offensive play of the game.
Last Week: 32
Miami Dolphins (0-5)Andrew Luck is right there for the taking. All the ‘Fins need to do is lose 11 more games. Think they have it in them?