Monday, 11 December 2006

NFL Power Rankings

I gave my top 10 a couple weeks ago, and it's time to bring it back again this week because, well, I can. So here's my NFL top 10 after week 14.

1. San Diego Chargers - I don't even really need to explain this. LaDainian Tomlinson is pretty good, in case you haven't noticed.

2. Baltimore Ravens - I still have a couple of doubts about Steve McNair, but he's erasing more and more of them every week. As long as McNair can avoid stupid mistakes they can use the same formula they've used in the past... play great defense, control the clock, make plays late. So far that formula has worked for a 10-3 record.

3. Indianapolis Colts - I know, I know. 375 yards rushing allowed. But still, Peyon Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, etc. If they can just stop the run a little they'll still a Super Bowl contender. But at this point you definitely have to put them behind San Diego and Baltimore, but no one else really jumps out at me as being ahead of them (unless Rex Grossman can find consistency).

4. New Orleans Saints - That performance at Dallas was just extremely impressive to me. They may have the best and most diverse offense in the NFL... they can just hurt you in so many different ways and Drew Brees is so good right now. But they also displayed a surprisingly solid and opportunistic defense. These guys will be hard to beat, especially if they can get a 2nd round playoff game in the Superdome.

5. Chicago Bears - Much better, Rex Grossman. If I was more convinced he can play that solidly (no turnovers!) the Bears would move up to #3 for me. But I'm not, not yet. Of course, with Devin Hester and the Bears defense he doesn't have to be that good. Devin Hester: Rookie of the Year? I'm not so sure any other rookie's been as valuable as he has.

6. Cincinnati Bengals - I contemplated putting them higher but they wind up at #6. Their defense is playing very well right now (granted it's been against weaker competition) and Carson Palmer is getting more comfortable on that knee every week. Rudi could have a big day against the Colts D next week that as mentioned is a little porous against the run. Cincy at Indianapolis next Monday night should tell us a lot about both teams.

7. Dallas Cowboys - Last week everyone (including me) was saying they could be the best team in the NFC, but things have quieted after Tony Romo showed he was, in fact, very human. But still, they've got a balanced offense and the defense is not as bad as it looked against New Orleans. They're still going to be a very tough out come playoff time.

8. New England Patriots - Their record indicates they should be higher up on this list, but I just don't see it. I love Bill Belicheck, I love Tom Brady, but I don't love the rest of the team. In a game against Miami that had them still in the running for a first-round bye they put up less than 200 yards of offense including 66 net yards passing. I just don't know at this point that they'll be able to sustain drives long enough to be a real force come playoff time.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Hard to go against them after the dismantling of the Colts. But still, they won't be able to run like that every week and David Garrard's numbers were pretty pedestrian. And I still can't get out of my mind the fact that they lost twice to Houston and once to Tennessee. There's just no real telling what these guys will do from week to week.

10. Miami Dolphins - They won't be going to the playoffs, but once again they're finishing strong. I'm still not a big Joey Harrington guy, but he's been ok. But the defense has been superb. Jason Taylor had another sack and Forced Fumble in the shutout of the Pats, and really has been the best defensive player in the NFL so far this year.

Who are your top teams?