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Tag:Vikings
Posted on: January 4, 2010 3:07 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 17

1.) San Diego (13-3) [+2]
 Is there any doubt that San Diego is the most prepared team in the AFC, as well as the best right now?  There shouldn't be.  Not only did they go out on top, they did so on an 11-game winning streak.  Better to finish strong than limp into the playoffs like Indy and New Orleans, I think.  Philip Rivers may merit MVP consideration, but after seeing the tumble that the aforementioned teams took without their star QB's, I think it may only strengthen their cases to onlookers.

2.) Minnesota (12-4) [+4]
 It appears that the Vikings did what they had to in order to stifle the dismay of fans and others everywhere with their win at home against the Giants.  It's a good thing they won, too, since they lost last Monday in an OT game that should have been theirs.  Favre and co. are off next week since they're the #2 seed in the NFC.  That's probably a good thing, but we'll see how it turns out.

3.) Dallas (11-5) [+2]
 The Cowboys didn't swoon in 2009 (though 2-2 in December is hardly cause for celebration), and started 2010 off quite well with their second consecutive shutout of a division rival.  They can make it three-in-a-row next week, same Bat time, same Bat channel.  I don't like their chances of shutting out Philly again, but I don't see any reason why they can't beat them for a third time this season.

4.) Green Bay (11-5) [+5]
 Green Bay made a big jump since I didn't have rankings out last week.  Plus, they won both their games rather convincingly, especially this week's romp in Arizona.  They have to go there again next week, and here's hoping they bring that same game.

5.) Indianapolis (14-2) [-4]
 One of the more disappointing teams the last couple of weeks has been the Colts.  They pulled their starters out of what could have been a fairly easy win, and then failed to show up yesterday in Buffalo.  True, I wouldn't have wanted to show up either, considering how bad the weather was.  But honestly, that's no excuse for professionals of any stripe.  I highly doubt that they'll show up well in the playoffs, considering that they have yet another week off and will likely face a feisty team looking to make a name for themselves by knocking off the #1 seed in the AFC.

6.) New Orleans (13-3) [-4]
 The Saints came off starting 13-0 by losing the next three games.  In addition to hardly showing up for any of those, they have another week off since they're the #1 seed in the NFC.  Trouble looming ahead for NOLA?  Perhaps.  My gut tells me that they're in the same boat as the Colts; they won't be able to turn it back on and will lose their first playoff game.  Even if they don't do that, they won't make it to the Super Bowl, thus casting a pallor on what could have been fabulously great seasons.

7.) Philadelphia (11-4) [-3]
 I'm not sure how much I can blame Philly for essentially not showing up yesterday.  After all, my Cowboys did the same thing last year in the final game of the season.  Also, the Eagles come back to Dallas next week with significantly more on the line than a division title.  On the whole, a much better season than I expected from them, the shellacking by New Orleans notwithstanding.

8.) New England (10-6) [-1]
 The Pats lost Wes Welker and eventually lost a very winnable game to the Texans, giving them and their fans a few hours of false hope.  Thankfully, the Jets also won, which keeps the Texans out of the playoffs.  But I digress.... Tom Brady and co. aren't on their best legs going into the playoffs, especially with the loss of Welker and the continuing malaise that has surrounded them almost all season.  They might win a game in the playoffs, but an extended run seems very unlikely.

9.) Arizona (10-6) [-1]
 This offseason might be a good time to address that backup QB situation the Cardinals have.  Kurt Warner won't be around forever, and this week's game was proof positive that Matt Leinart is NOT ready to take over the starting job any time soon.  I don't really like their chances in the playoffs either, since they just got shellacked by the opponent they'll be facing next week.  Plus, it's not like the Packers defense will be any less great against Warner than they were against Leinart.  Warner has trouble getting the ball to his best receivers on a good day; with Clay Matthews et al bearing down on him, it's hard to see how he gets the ball out successfully.

10.) Cincinnati (10-6) [no change]
 The worst game of the day was undoubtedly Cincinnati's lay down lack of effort against the Jets last night.  Why they bothered traveling to New Jersey, I won't know.  And let's make one thing clear: Carson Palmer is not and will never be an elite QB in this league or any other.  Cedric Benson is what makes this team go, and if their opponents stop him, there's nothing Palmer can do to win a game.  The Bengals will be extremely lucky to win a game in the playoffs, and if they have to face San Diego, there's no way they're moving on.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 15, 2009 1:10 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 14

1.) New Orleans (13-0) [no change]
 It's possible that the Saints are just making things exciting for themselves.  Either that, or something is up with them as they've had more than a few close shaves in recent weeks.  It might be something to worry about if they were playing a good team this coming Saturday.  Instead, they have the Cowboys in full swoon.  If it's as competitive as New Orleans' recent games have been, I'll be pleased.

2.) Indianapolis (13-0) [no change]
 Peyton Manning threw 3 INT's and won.  Does that say more about him and his team, or the team they were facing (at home)?  At this point it might be saying more about Denver, though they certainly were trying hard.  Indy pulled out another win, though, and stay in second place where they've been for quite awhile.  They take on the Jaguars on Thursday in a game where some starters will get rested.  I'm not sure where I come down in that debate; obviously, I've seen what happens to teams that rested and I saw what happened two years ago when the Patriots went for broke and failed.  I'm not certain that momentum really means anything, especially when you have Manning running the offense.  As long as he's right, the Colts will continue to win.  Even when he throws two or three picks, the Colts STILL win.

3.) San Diego (10-3) [no change]
 The Chargers are the third-best team, despite being down in the standings to Minnesota.  Sure, they had a couple bad losses (and a bad win in Oakland the first Monday night of the season), but they've won eight in a row and are well-prepared for their playoff push.  It has to be AFC Championship or bust for the Chargers, especially with Cincinnati looking beatable.  The Chargers also have favorable recent history with the Colts; I'm not a complete believer in San Diego just yet.  Nor am I going to go out on a limb and say that the Chargers would definitely beat the Colts in Indianapolis.  Let's just say that the odds are on San Diego's side, and the Colts might want to hope for someone else knocking them off before they head to Indy.

4.) Minnesota (11-2) [+5]
 Adrian Peterson produced one of those games that fantasy owners go nuts for.  Brett Favre was back to his efficient form of every game besides the one in Arizona, and the defense was tough as usual.  I figured Cincinnati would put up a better fight, but Minnesota was prepared in every way to take them out.  They likely won't catch the Saints for home-field, but they've got the #2 seed locked up for the playoffs unless something really bad happens.

5.) Green Bay (9-4) [no change]
 Somehow, the Packers have maneuvered themselves into a very favorable position for the playoffs.  Of course, they won't win their division, which means they have to go on the road, but they're still doing better than most other teams in the NFC.  Aaron Rodgers had a mediocre game in Chicago, and outside of Ryan Grant the rest of the offense was pretty moribund.  The Packers still have Pittsburgh and Arizona on their schedule, which could mean two more tough tests (though with the way both teams have played lately, it's a toss-up).

6.) Philadelphia (9-4) [no change]
 Philadelphia leads the NFC East with their win and Dallas' loss.  But the division title isn't theirs just yet.  They still have to go to Dallas in the final week of the season (and Dallas fans know how having the last game be against the Eagles doesn't really work out).  I think the one thing the Eagles' win says is that the Giants are all but eliminated as playoff contenders.  Dallas and Philly showed that their defense still isn't where it needs to be.  And the Eagles won thanks to big plays and a long 4th quarter drive that was made out of grit and efficiency.  The Eagles' defense might not be the best, but with their offense, it's hard to see how they don't make the NFC Championship Game.

7.) Cincinnati (9-4) [-3]
 The Bengals were one of the bigger disappointments in Week 14.  They couldn't get it going on offense and were fairly abysmal on defense.  Dirty little secret: When they're not playing the AFC North, they're not very good.  They swept their division, but are 3-4 in games outside of it.  Cincy has also been pretty inconsistent too.  Despite that, they're in decent shape, as they'll be hosting a Wild Card game with an excellent chance of advancing.  The teams below them aren't much better than the Bengals, if at all.  They'll likely be in a position where one or two playoff wins is expected, and a first-round loss is indefensible.

8.) New England (8-5)
 Speaking of disappointments...oh wait, the Patriots won this week.  It wasn't the best game for Brady and co., but I'm sure they'll take it.  In fact, it might provide some needed motivation for the coming weeks.  The AFC East looks more wide open than it did a couple weeks ago, with the Pats sliding and the Dolphins and Jets coming on, for the most part.  I would still pick the Pats to win the division, though; they have the better team, and more importantly the best QB of the contenders.  If their defense shapes up even slightly, they could be in a comparable position to Philadelphia in the NFC.

9.) Denver (8-5) [-2]
 The Broncos had a tough matchup going in, so it's not surprising that they lost.  What may have been surprising was the emphasis they put on the passing game, and how well Kyle Orton dealt with the increased workload.  He and Brandon Marshall have some chemistry, to be sure, as Marshall set an NFL record for receptions in a single game that was previously held by Terrell Owens.  I wasn't expecting that kind of performance from Orton or Marshall, to be honest.  The loss does hurt, but the rapport between QB and WR bodes well for the future; during the Broncos' midseason swoon, their offense was worse than moribund, particularly in the passing game.  So if Orton can keep it up, their chances of taking one in the playoffs go way up.  I wouldn't put any money on it, but it wouldn't surprise me either.

10.) Arizona (8-5) [-2]
 Finally this week we have the once again disappointing Arizona Cardinals, who couldn't stand their own prosperity (again, it must be said) and laid an egg in San Francisco.  Division rivalry aside, that was a game that Arizona should have won, and they should have won it by about 20-25 points.  I guess that because it is a rivalry, SF was ready for them and had the proper motivation to run their gameplan.  Whatever the case may be, Arizona stunk, and look like near-total frauds after convincingly making Minnesota their pinata last week.  I think Arizona wins the toothless NFC West, but I'm not all that sure.  The schedule is not terribly difficult; they play Detroit, St. Louis, and Green Bay.  So they should be 11-5 when all is said and done (though Green Bay might be up for their game), and 10-6 at worst.  Of course, that assumes that they don't do anything mind numbingly stupid against the two bad opponents remaining.  After yesterday's game, who knows what will happen.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 1, 2009 2:38 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 12

1.) New Orleans (11-0) [no change]
 They just dismantled the Patriots and have a couple more games before their next big showdown with Dallas.  As a Cowboys fan, I have a bad feeling about that game.
2.) Indianapolis (11-0) [no change]
 Keep on trucking, Peyton Manning.  The Colts let nothing faze them.  They aren't as dominant as New Orleans, but they get it done when it counts, close and late.  Or far behind and late.  Just not early, most of the time.
3.) Minnesota (10-1) [no change]
 Speaking of dismantling; Brett Favre is still the pick du jour for MVP, but I have to give it to Manning.
4.) San Diego (8-3) [+1]
 The Chargers continue to win, even if they're picking off lollipops.
5.) Dallas (8-3) [+1]
 Dallas had an easy win on Thanksgiving, plus a whole bunch of time off to think about it.  How they respond is key, as usual.
6.) Cincinnati (8-3) [+4]
 Not exactly a riotous comeback win for the Bengals, but I'm sure they'll take it.  Having swept their division means they're pretty much a lock for the playoffs.
7.) Green Bay (7-4) [+1]
 The Packers had an impressive win on Thanksgiving in Detroit.  Yeah, I know, it was Detroit they beat; with a QB who had a bum shoulder, no less.  Still, they're rounding into form at the right time and have a tough matchup on Monday with the Ravens.
8.) Philadelphia (7-4) [+1]
 They looked unimpressive against the Redskins, but the Eagles got the win nonetheless.  I get the feeling they're holding on until January 3, when they come down to Dallas.
9.) Denver (7-4)
 After beating the lackluster (to put it mildly) Giants, the Broncos make a roaring comeback to the Rankings.  Honestly, the only reason they're REALLY in is because they won and Arizona didn't.  Whoops.
10.) New England (7-4) [-3]
 Most teams that take a beating like that on Monday night don't make it back into the Rankings.  New England is lucky, and damn good.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves in proclaiming anything about New England.  They'll be fine.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 24, 2009 1:52 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 11

1.) New Orleans (10-0) [no change]
 The Saints kept it rolling against Tampa Bay.  Next Monday could be the Game of the Year as New England comes to town.
2.) Indianapolis (10-0) [no change]
 Indianapolis made another great escape in Baltimore.  Oh, the irony.  Next, they come down to my stomping grounds in Houston.
3.) Minnesota (9-1) [no change]
 Favre for MVP?  It's not completely ridiculous, even if I wouldn't vote for him.
4.) Arizona (7-3) [+1]
 Kurt Warner bowed out after he felt "not perfect".  How he bounces back will undoubtedly affect the Cardinals' postseason chances; with him, they win the division.  Without him, who knows?  Matt Leinart isn't ready for prime time, still.
5.) San Diego (7-3) [+1]
 Talk about beating down a division rival.  San Diego crushed Denver, likely killing whatever playoff chance the Broncos had.
6.) Dallas (7-3) [+2]
 A win is a win, but these guys can do much better.  I really shouldn't even move them up.
7.) New England (7-3) [+2]
 The Patriots proved once again that they're mentally tough, despite whatever happens in previous games.
8.) Green Bay (6-4) [+2]
 They followed a dominant win with a somewhat fluky win.  Obviously, they're not catching Minnesota, but a Wild Card isn't out of the question yet.
9.) Philadelphia (6-4)
 Donovan McNabb and LeSean McCoy came up big when the Eagles needed it.  There was also a Michael Vick sighting, and it was a nice run too.
10.) Cincinnati (7-3) [-6]
 Most disappointing team of the week?  It's either these idiots or the Steelers, who aren't even in the Rankings this week (I'd still have them in, but Philly won, and I like to keep winners in).
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 17, 2009 2:04 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 10

1.) New Orleans (9-0) [no change]
 Another week, another win for the Saints.  Some might wonder when they'll get it back in gear...I say that happens when New England comes to town in a couple weeks.
2.) Indianapolis (9-0) [no change]
 The Colts keep their spot based on their narrow defeat of the Patriots.  That had to be the Game of the Year so far.
3.) Minnesota (8-1) [no change]
 Maybe not the offensive explosion some were expecting, but the Vikings handily defeated the Lions anyway.
4.) Cincinnati (7-2) [+2]
 One of the surprise teams of the season, they're still rolling after beating Pittsburgh for the second time this season.
5.) Arizona (6-3) [+3]
 Arizona looks like they're rounding into form now.  Maybe.
6.) San Diego (6-3)
 The Chargers held serve at home against another NFC East team.  After last week's trip to NYC, I wasn't sure they'd pull out another one.  But they did, and they get props for that by appearing here.
7.) Pittsburgh (6-3) [-3]
 Oh, they are so lucky that there are only about six good teams right now.  The Steelers' offense gagged the entire game.
8.) Dallas (6-3) [-1]
 Speaking of lucky...wow, are the Cowboys lucky there are only six good teams.  They were worse than Pittsburgh by many, many lengths, and I wonder why they even bothered showing up in Lambeau.
9.) New England (6-3) [-3]
 Losing to the Colts is no shame.  Losing the way they did, on the other hand....
10.) Green Bay (5-4)
 The Packers get in solely based on their win over Dallas.  They're not a good team at all, no matter how dominant they were on Sunday.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 3, 2009 1:11 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 8

1.) New Orleans (7-0) [no change]
 Atlanta played tough to the end, but the Saints held on and got an impressive win.  They'll be on the lookout for Coy Wire the next time they play.
2.) Indianapolis (7-0) [no change]
 No TD's for Peyton Manning, and the winning score is thrown from Joseph Addai to Reggie Wayne.  A weird week for the Colts, but they'll take the win anyway.
3.) Minnesota (7-1) [+4]
 Brett Favre went back to Lambeau and played well in another win against his former team.
4.) Pittsburgh (5-2) [no change]
 The Steelers maintain their position thanks to the bye week.
5.) New England (5-2) [no change]
 The Patriots got the bye at the perfect time after their London excursion.
6.) Cincinnati (5-2) [no change]
 The Bengals are also well-rested after a week off.
7.) Dallas (5-2) [+2]
 Dallas took advantage of their schedule, beating a bad team and setting up an important game against Philadelphia next week.
8.) Denver (6-1) [-5]
 Despite losing to the Ravens, the Broncos aren't out of the Rankings just yet.  Truth be told, they're still one of the best teams in the league...they just had to slide after the loss.
9.) Philadelphia (5-2)
 The Eagles return to the Rankings after a strong showing against division rival NY Giants.  As stated above, they have another important division game next week.
10.) Houston (5-3)
 The Texans enter the Rankings for the first time (possibly ever, as far as mine are concerned) after an impressive display against Buffalo.  Ryan Moats could be the go-to guy for the next couple weeks if Steve Slaton doesn't learn the Tiki Barber ball protection method.

A Look at Week 8:
Week 8 was a bit odd and unpredictable.  Good teams lost, teams we thought were good but maybe aren't lost, and plenty of bad teams played as badly as we figured they would.  As far as the Rankings go, Arizona's loss was a big one.  Not only are they 4-3, but they have a problem with winning at home.  The expectation after last week was that they were ready to take off and go on a long run of winning.  Obviously, that didn't happen, as they lost to Carolina.  It's really an inexcusable loss.  And the way they lost it was particularly bad: the run defense that had served them so well in previous weeks crumbled.  Other than Arizona, Green Bay and Atlanta losing meant that a three-loss team had to go into the Rankings for the first time.  I'm never really a fan of that until it's completely necessary.  This year it's been necessary in a couple weeks to do things that I don't really care for as far as the Rankings are concerned.  It goes hand-in-hand with how I do them, though, so I got no one to blame but myself for being too stubborn to change.  Of course, I can always blame teams for losing....

Spotlit:
A further recap of Week 8's best.

Denver (3) at Baltimore (unranked):
 Well, what do you know.  The consensus was right, for once.  The desperate team that had just lost three in a row got it done, even without a Herculean effort from Joe Flacco.

San Francisco (unranked) at Indianapolis (2):
 I was concerned about this game for good reason, as it turns out.  The offense was mostly Matt Stover kicking FG's for the Colts, which surprised the hell out of me.  Peyton Manning threw for almost 350 yards, but no TD's.  As big a surprise as anything that happened in Week 8, easily.

Minnesota (7) at Green Bay (10):
 Aaron Rodgers couldn't complete the comeback, again, but both QB's played well in this one.  I do have to say that Rodgers must be frustrating the hell out of fantasy owners who have his top two receivers, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.  While Rodgers is throwing TD's to no-names like John Kuhn, Spencer Havner, and James Jones, Jennings and Driver are languishing.  And don't even get me started on Ryan Grant.

Atlanta (unranked) at New Orleans (1):
 New Orleans overcame a late fumble and an inexcusable muff of an onside kick to win.  That right there sums up a #1 team.  Yes, it's terrible that they fumbled and screwed up the onside kick recovery, but the fact that both those things happened and the Saints still won anyway speaks volumes about their greatness.

Spotlight:
The best games coming up next week.

Baltimore (unranked) at Cincinnati (6):
 I really do hope Cincinnati is well-rested, because this return match is going to be killer.

Miami (unranked) at New England (5):
 The Wildcat vs. Tom Brady's right arm.  Miami is already 3-0 vs. the AFC East, but they haven't played the Patriots yet.

Houston (10) at Indianapolis (2):
 Houston's run defense had been the major bugaboo for them until the last couple weeks.  Now they don't have to worry about it much, since they get Peyton Manning and the Colts.  I'm sure Manning will be raring to throw some TD's.  Like, five or six.
Carolina (unranked) at New Orleans (1):
 This game begins the easy stretch of New Orleans schedule before they play New England at home.  Good luck.

Dallas (7) at Philadelphia (9):
 First place in the NFC East, anybody?  Bring it!

Pittsburgh (4) at Denver (8):
 Game of the Week?  Possibly.  The Steelers are a tougher nut to crack than Baltimore, and we already saw what happened when Denver took them on.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 20, 2009 1:51 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 6

1.) New Orleans (5-0) [+1]
 They beat the best team, so the Saints are now #1 in my Rankings.  Drew Brees played fabulously, but the defense is something to be reckoned with too.
2.) Minnesota (6-0) [+1]
 The Vikings were both very good and very lucky.  They were very good on their last drive, and very lucky that Steven Hauschka botched a short FG.
3.) Denver (6-0) [+2]
 A solid win yesterday propelled the Broncos above the bye-week Colts.  The defense could have been better.
4.) Indianapolis (5-0) [no change]
 Bye-week for the Colts means no movement up or down.  Good thing, too, since there weren't a ton of good teams after this week.
5.) Atlanta (4-1)
 Matt Ryan led the game-winning drive again for the Falcons.  He's for real, and so is Atlanta.  I'd wager that it's because of Ryan that Atlanta is for real, though he had some help from Michael Turner as well.
6.) Pittsburgh (4-2) [+4]
 After a rough start to the season, the Steelers are starting to round into form.  It helps that their schedule hasn't been too tough so far.
7.) New England (4-2)
 What else can I say but amazing?  In snowy Foxboro the Patriots shut out the Titans and put up 59 points on them at the same time.  Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss all had fantastic performances.
8.) NY Giants (5-1) [-7]
 No shame in losing to New Orleans, but it means the Giants take a fall.  They're down, but certainly not out.
9.) Cincinnati (4-2) [-3]
 The Bengals had the look of an elite team until they got brushed back by the Texans.  Ouch.
10.) Arizona (3-2)
 The best team remaining that won this week.  Ouch for me.

A Look at Week 6:
There was a lot of good football in Week 6, but a lot of absolutely terrible football too.  The Patriots/Titans game was a good example of that, as the Patriots were awesome, and the Titans couldn't have been worse.  Tom Brady looked like he was playing Madden 2010 rather than an actual NFL game.  Philadelphia is one of the biggest offenders also, since they lost to Oakland.  They were looking like a good team, one that would challenge the Giants, Vikings, and Saints.  Instead, they're bounced out of the top ten and have a very bad loss on their resume.  Good thing there are no polls or BCS standings in the NFL, because the Eagles just dealt themselves a critical blow.  Not that there's no time to recover, of course.  It's still pretty early in the season, but Philadelphia's schedule is pretty unkind down the stretch.  Cincinnati is the other big offender this week, losing a winnable game at home to the Texans.  The Jets also lost a winnable game at home against Buffalo, with Mark Sanchez throwing FIVE INT's.  Terrible.

Spotlit:
A further recap of Week 6's best.

Baltimore (unranked) at Minnesota (3):
 No defense to be seen here.  Adrian Peterson did run all over Baltimore, but didn't score.  Neither did Sidney Rice, despite having 176 yards receiving.  Hauschka's missed FG was the difference.

NY Giants (1) at New Orleans (2):
 New Orleans was ready for this game.  The Giants, not so much.  They did score 27, which is a good day against most teams.  Against the Saints, it wasn't nearly enough.

Chicago (8) at Atlanta (9):
 I guess the Bears just weren't ready for Matt Ryan.  They didn't play too badly, but errors in the red zone late hurt a ton.

Denver (5) at San Diego (unranked):
 So much for the desperate team winning.  The AFC West was just won by Denver, barring an utter miracle.

Spotlight:
The best games coming up next week.

Minnesota (2) at Pittsburgh (6):
 The schedule continues to get tougher for Minnesota.  Big Ben's arm and Rashard Mendenhall's legs provide ample threat to the Vikings' winning streak.

Atlanta (5) at Dallas (unranked):
 The Cowboys host one of the hotter teams in the league.  It's time for Tony Romo to shine.  It wouldn't hurt if the defense showed up, too.

Arizona (10) at NY Giants (8):
 Offense vs. Offense, Warner vs. Manning.  Should be a hell of a game, and high-scoring too.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 13, 2009 1:23 pm
 

2009 NFL Power Rankings, Week 5

1.) NY Giants (5-0) [no change]
 Though he only played the first half, Eli Manning helped the Giants roll again.  Next week is the biggest game of the year so far, when they go down to New Orleans.
2.) New Orleans (4-0) [no change]
 The Saints were also on a bye this week.
3.) Minnesota (5-0) [no change]
 Is it just me, or is Favre the icing on the cake?  Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson were great as usual.
4.) Indianapolis (5-0) [no change]
 Peyton Manning and the Colts won another game and look to cruise to the AFC South title.  Where's the competition?
5.) Denver (5-0) [no change]
 Apparently, the Broncos are no fluke.  I didn't get the memo until yesterday, though.
6.) Cincinnati (4-1) [+4]
 Now leading the AFC North, the Bengals have the look of an elite team.
7.) Philadelphia (3-1) [+2]
 Donovan McNabb returned and made an immediate impact, throwing a long TD to Jeremy Maclin.
8.) Chicago (3-1) [no change]
 The Bears had a bye in Week 5, and thus stay where they were.
9.) Atlanta (3-1)
 Coming off a bye, the Falcons went on the road and knocked San Francisco out.  Incredible games by Roddy White and Michael Turner.
10.) Pittsburgh (3-2)
 The Steelers make it in by the skin of their teeth, being the dubious last good team this week.

A Look at Week 5:
If Week 5 proved anything (and I'm not sure it did, really), it proved that the middle and bottom of the league are getting full, and the top is sparsely populated at best.  There were only a few good matchups; Baltimore's offense failed to show up for the first time this season, and the defense failed them late, something I didn't expect to see.  New England went to overtime in Denver and lost as the Broncos continue to prove their worth.  If they're not considered an elite team by now, something's wrong.  In the AFC West, there are the Broncos and Chargers; the other two teams are perennial bottom-feeders.  Still, I think the Wild Card is coming out of the AFC East, even though both of the heavy hitters in that division lost in Week 5; the Jets were on the road in Miami and lost on a TD by Ronnie Brown with :06 left on the clock.  Ouch.  That was definitely a great game though, and one that I didn't expect.  The other good matchup was Atlanta and San Francisco; thanks to Roddy White and Michael Turner, that one turned into a beatdown quickly.  Where San Francisco's defense (and offense) went during that game, who knows.
Other than that, the teams at the top delivered beatdowns to weak opponents.  Dallas bucked that trend by going to OT in Kansas City, though.  Miles Austin had the game of the week with 10 catches and 250 yards.  His two TD's were crucial as well.

Spotlit:
A further recap of Week 5's best.

Cincinnati (10) @ Baltimore (unranked):
 Cincinnati won it late thanks to Carson Palmer and three bad penalties on the Ravens' defense.  Good win for Cincinnati and its DC Mike Zimmer.

Oakland (unranked) @ NY Giants (1):

 As expected, it was a beatdown of epic proportions.  Eli Manning only played the first half and it was over.

Atlanta (unranked) @ San Francisco (7):

 That bye really did work wonders for Atlanta.  After starting out fast, San Francisco might be fading.

New England (6) @ Denver (5):

 Tom Brady is now 7-1 in overtime games.  Not too bad.

Indianapolis (4) @ Tennessee (unranked):

 Five games, five 300+ yard performances for Peyton Manning.  The guy just doesn't quit.

Spotlight:
The best games coming up next week.

Baltimore (unranked) @ Minnesota (3):
 Defensive struggle?  Or will Adrian Peterson run all over Baltimore like Cedric Benson just did?

NY Giants (1) @ New Orleans (2):
 Game of the Week, easily.  The two best teams in the NFC face off with an early conference lead on the line.

Chicago (8) @ Atlanta (9):
 Both teams are looking to prove they're no fluke.  Both are trying to keep up with better teams in their own division, too.

Denver (5) @ San Diego (unranked):
 If Denver wins, the AFC West race is practically over.  If San Diego wins, there's quite a bit of doubt.
Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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