Posted: Monday September 25, 2006 10:31AM; Updated: Monday September 25, 2006 6:16PM
The Fine Fifteen
Matt Hasselbeck completed 24 of 33 passes with five touchdowns in the Seahawks' 42-30 win over the Giants.
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
1. Chicago (3-0). Rex Grossman is growing up as a quarterback. His winning touchdown pass at a very tough place to play, the Metrodome, came when he stared the safety into staying left, then threw right to Rashied Davis, single-covered by a cornerback he'd beaten. Great play by a rising star.
2. Indianapolis (3-0). How can you not love the Colts? Only one reason: the run defense. You can't win the Super Bowl by allowing 191 rushing yards, as Indy did against Jacksonville.
3. Seattle (3-0). Big game this Sunday night at Chicago. Very big, for early October. But as much as you've got to be excited about the Seahawks' passing game right now, ShaunAlexander's early struggles -- including a 20-carry, 47-yard performance on Sunday -- means Matt Hasselbeck has to be huge to beat the Bears.
4. San Diego (2-0). We'll start to find out what the Chargers are really made of Sunday at 1 p.m. in Baltimore.
5. Baltimore (3-0). Gritty, gutty, good win in Cleveland. But that passing game ... watch tape of Steve McNair in the first half, and you'd think he was Spergon Wynn.
6. Cincinnati (3-0). I asked Chad Johnson after the 28-20 win in Pittsburgh if he hated the Steelers. "Nah,'' he said. "Not at all. It's all just football.'' Somehow, I can't see him getting a brewski with Joey Porter in the offseason.
7. Atlanta (2-0). Wouldn't the injury to ChrisSimms worry you if you were MikeVick, with the battering he takes?
8. Philadelphia (2-1). For now, I'm prepared to call the last two periods of the Week 2 meltdown to the Giants a fluke. For 80 percent of this season, the Eagles have looked like the best team in the NFC East.
9. Jacksonville (2-1). At about 2 p.m. on Sunday, I'm sitting there thinking, This might be the best team in football. Then I watched their aerial show and kicking game for the next two hours. Not good. That's why they lost, and that's why they're ranked here.
10. Denver (2-1). Not sure they can score enough to be really dangerous, but any team that holds foes touchdown-less for 11 straight quarters is going to be in every game all season.
11. Minnesota (2-1). I know they lost, but they're growing a very good defense up there in Minnesota.
12. Dallas (1-1). The bye came at a lousy time, because this team isn't beat up right now and could have better used the breather later. By the way, PhilipRivers' QB rating is 39.4 points higher than DrewBledsoe's. Just thought you'd like to know.
13. Pittsburgh (1-2). I'll tell you this much: If Ben Roethlisberger keeps playing like he has the last two games, it's going to be a rotten, playoff-less season in Pittsburgh.
14. New York Jets (2-1). Don't laugh. I trust them a lot more than I trust the Patriots right now.
15. New England (2-1). I though John Madden said it best Sunday night on NBC when he said you have to play this game with passion, and the Patriots weren't doing it. They looked like they were sleepwalking.