1 New York Giants: The New York Giants cruised passed the bye to remain 3-0 atop the NFC East. Putting them number one is a simple math equation. The NFC East is the best division in football (arguably, but c’mon it is). The undefeated Giants beat the Redskins who just beat the Cowboys who everyone thought was the best team. Plus, they’re last year’s Super Bowl champs. That equals Giants. Next is a home game against the Seattle Seahawks.
2 Buffalo Bills: The Bills struggled a little in the first half against the NFC West power St. Louis Rams. But Scott Linehan couldn’t think of anything to keep his job. The Bills scored 25 straight points and completely dominated the second half on their way to a 31-14 victory. Second-year quarterback Trent Edwards (Stanford) seems to be coming along pretty nicely. And he has that successful quarterback name. Trent! As in…Trent Dilfer, champion of Super Bowl XXXV, which was played in Tampa. This year’s Super Bowl is also being played in Tampa. Maybe there’s something about Trent’s playing in Tampa?
3 Tennessee Titans: The Titans are 4-0 atop the AFC South. Their average margin of victory is two touchdowns with two extra points. That’s 14 points on my abacus, which is very impressive. SI.com says that Vince Young should begin practicing this week, but when you have Kerry Collins sippin’ on Budweisers and throwing touchdown after touchdown after…alright, he only has two, but he’s not making mistakes. I love Tennessee’s defense. They make big plays. 15 sacks, eight forced fumbles, and eight interceptions with one of them being returned 99 yards for a touchdown. With that kind of production Kerry Collins can play a six-pack deep.
4 Washington Redskins: The ‘Skins have three straight wins after losing the season opener to the New York Giants. This past weekend they defeated the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium. Jason Campbell (Auburn) has looked very impressive throwing for six touchdowns and zero interceptions. Santana Moss had two previous seasons over 1,100 yards and it looks like he is on his way to a third. I like this team. After this weekend they will have played everyone in their division on the road. A win in Philly would make it a very successful road trip.
5 Dallas Cowboys: They were the team to beat. Then they got beat. I think everyone can agree that the Cowboys are still a very good team, I just don’t think everyone knew how good the Redskins were.
When asked if he got enough reps in the Redskins game, Terrell Owens responded, “I would say no. I’m a competitor, and I want the ball.” He continued, “Everybody recognized that I wasn’t really getting the ball in the first half. I’m pretty sure everybody watching the game recognized it, people in the stands recognized it. I think my team recognized it.”
Gotta love T.O. Stay tuned.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers: A win is a win. Pittsburgh played a tough Baltimore Ravens team that is better than anyone could have predicted before the season started. The Steelers offense looked flat again in the first half, but Ben Roethlisberger came out after halftime with the no-huddle and finally moved the ball. Santonio Holmes scored his first touchdown of the season and Jeff Reed hit a 46-yard field goal in sudden-death overtime. The Baltimore Ravens were then lined up in the middle of the field and shot. Pittsburgh (3-1) is in first place atop the NFC North, but you have to wonder how many more hits Roethlisberger can take. He’s a tough guy, but the Steelers’ depleted offensive line is hanging him out to dry.
7 San Diego Chargers: The Chargers had a tough time with the Oakland Raiders this past weekend, until they were able to score 25 points in the fourth quarter on their way to a 28-18 victory. They are 2-2 after starting the season 0-2 and with a game against Miami this weekend they look to go over .500 for the first time all season. Last year they started 1-3, so they are already ahead of schedule. Fantasy owners are breathing a little bit easier now that LT is starting to get in the endzone after starting the season a little shaky. Philip Rivers had his first sub-par game of the season, but he was still able to get it done in the fourth quarter and that’s what you want your quarterback to do.
8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I was watching the games at my local tavern with my brother-in-law, who is a Redskins fan. Next to us at the bar was an Oakland Raider fan and a Buccaneer fan rounding off a nice mixture of NFL fans in the Philadelphia-area tavern. My bro-in-law (let’s call him John because that’s his name) and I thought it was funny to yell “Keyshawn” every time Ike Hilliard had the ball thrown to him. Ike wears the same number 19 that Keyshawn wore. Then we started wondering if Ike and Keyshawn were teammates because years start to overlap after so many black and tans. Who trumps who for the number 19? But Mr. Buccaneer fan informed us that Ike was on the New York Giants when Keyshawn played for the Bucs. We knew that.
9 Carolina Panthers: In the offseason Muhsin Muhammad said “Chicago is where receivers go to die.” After three average years in Chi-town, Moose has risen from the dead, resurrecting his career with the team he started with in 1996. He caught eight passes for 147 yards and a score in their win last weekend against the Atlanta Falcons 24-9. It’s probably not as dramatic as I just made that sound, but Moose is playing well again. Carolina should beat the Chiefs this weekend which will set the stage for a winner-take-all battle against the Bucs on October 12th. Again, probably a little too dramatic with the winner-take-all reference, but they will be playing for first place in the NFC South.
10 Denver Broncos: Yuck. They lost to the Kansas City Chiefs. Defense is still a major issue with this team. They gave up 213 yards on the ground, including 198 to Larry Johnson. The four turnovers on offense didn’t help either. Losses like this will happen to this Bronco team if their offense can’t put up points. They don’t have a defense that can win games for them. Is anyone else getting tired of Shanahans’ Shenanigans at running back? Why can’t he pick one back to carry the load? This Selvin Young-Andre Hall-Michael Pittman alternating backfield is getting old. I know he does this just to piss off fantasy owners.
11 Jacksonville Jaguars: Two wins in a row, including this past weekend’s overtime thriller against the Houston Texans, has the Jags back to .500. However, the schedule gets very tough with their next two games against Pittsburgh and Denver before they head to the bye week. Besides the game against the Colts, the Jags haven’t been able to get their running attack going. Furthermore, David Garrard has already thrown one more interception than he did all of last year. It doesn’t seem this is the same intimidating Jaguar team as last year and they have no wide receiver threat. Matt Jones is only a threat to finish an eight ball. I will not grow tired of Matt Jones jokes.
12 Philadelphia Eagles: They won’t make the playoffs if they can’t keep up with the other teams in their division, so this Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins is a must-win game. The game against the Chicago Bears was very very frustrating on so many levels. The decision to make Tony Hunt the fullback this year has cost the Philadelphia Eagles one win so far. He is not capable of blocking against the pass or run. Sorry Penn Staters, but Tony Hunt should not have made this Philadelphia Eagles team.