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Posted: Wednesday October 8, 2008 11:44AM; Updated: Thursday October 9, 2008 1:51PM
Dr. Z Dr. Z >
NFL POWER RANKINGS

NFL Power Rankings, Week 6

Story Highlights

6 Trends: 1. Giants are No. 1 for second straight week; 2. No change in bottom 7

3. Broncos hop back into the top 10; 4. After loss, Bills drop five spots

5. Huge falls for Chargers and Packers; 6. Surprising Dolphins crack top 15

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A word of warning. Those of you who like rational thought and expect some semblance of same from your faithful narrator might not like what's coming in this weekly vale of tears. I have decided to take a clear-eyed look at the cluster of "should be" teams that decorate the rankings. You know, they should be better, so I think I'll just keep them up there where they don't belong, based on the won-lost.

Therefore, nota bene Chargers and you, too, Packers. You've been up in never-never land too long. This week you'll be living with the other 2-3's.

"How about your beloved Super Bowl Eagles?" says my hard-eyed mistress of misery with the red hair. "Aren't they 2-3 as well?" Easy there, sport. Even cruelty has its limits. (Send comments to siwriters@simail.com)

NFL Power Rankings
1New York Giants
Last Week: 1
It looks as if crusty Tom Coughlin has his team fully behind him in the Plaxico Burress thing. He suspends the guy, the team turns in its best performance of the year against the Seahawks. Curious fella, Tom. He's like the neighbor who calls the cops because your radio is too loud. I mean he might be correct...but. No knock, though. As long as the guys wearing the numbers buy into it.
 
2Washington Redskins
Last Week: 3
Ta daaaa, and up and over we go, over the unbeaten Titans, who won Sunday, into the silver medal spot. They beat a finesse team, the Cowboys, and they out-toughed the hardnosed Eagles. Jim Zorn's got them flying around like maniacs...and don't forget, he's doing it with assistants who already were in place when he got the job.
 
3Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 2
Yes, I am aware of the fact that they came up with the win and dropped a spot. I think even rabid, or at least mildly aroused, Titans fans will agree that Washington's victory over the Iggles was a firmer achievement than Tennessee's victory over Baltimore. You won't agree? Well, I 'm very sorry but this is my game, my rules.
 
4Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 4
I didn't see this myself but I am told that in the third quarter, Jerry Jones paid a brief visit to T.O. 's spot on the bench to reassure his superstar the world still loves him. Owens had only one 10-yard catch up to this point. I wonder if this item made the rounds of the Giants' locker room, and what kind of reaction it drew.
 
5Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 5
It's games like the Sunday nighter against the Jaguars that make you rub old aches to see if they still hurt. I mean brutal. Big Ben, sore shoulder and all, keeps the winning drive alive, feeding one to Hines Ward, on the money, as he's being dropped. I mean I love the Steelers -- my son Mike's favorite all time team in any sport -- but they're gonna have to figure out an easier way of doing things.
 
6New England Patriots
Last Week: 7
The jury's still out. Don't forget that the Niners, with J.T. O'Sullivan looking like a highly functional NFL quarterback on one play and Ichabod Crane on the next one, were down by only six with 10:22 left. OK, the Pats closed it out, but if you asked me which team on the field showed more fire and spirit, I'd have to say San Francisco.
 
7Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 8
This is what a No. 7 team should look like. The Panthers administered a nice, sensible thrashing to a desperate team which was coming off an amazing victory, ran the ball 48 times, amassed 205 yards on the ground, had a nice dinner, swallowed the usual painkillers and got ready for the next skirmish.
 
8Denver Broncos
Last Week: 14
Headline in USA Today: "Bronco Defense Back on Track." Only one word bothers me. Back. Back to when? The Orange Crush days? Tommy Jackson and Lyle Alzado? No, it's going to take more than a victory over the Bucs to show me they're back to anything.
 
9Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 9
Same spot as last week, and maybe they're not a top 10 team, but why punish them for a game in which they lost their QB and still hung in tough all day, in one of the worst places for a visiting team. I'm talking about Denver's Mile High, with that rabid air and thin fans...or do I have them confused?
 
10Chicago Bears
Last Week: 10
Headlines I don't understand: "Make Kyle Orton One of Your Fantasy Options." I don't know anything about Fantasy Football Land and I don't want to know, but I assume this assumes he can figure out a way to play against the Lions every week.
 
11Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 6
Everyone's ready to tell you how quickly the Miracle of the North has come apart. Not so fast. Bye week comes at the right time for their quarterback's concussion. Then they get the Chargers, coming off a game against the Patriots. Keep the faith up there, as the weather gets cold, colder and coldest.
 
12Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 11
I close my eyes and see a 14-0 lead that came so very quickly against the Skins. Too quickly. Then the drive for the missed field goal. Then the frost settled in. Four straight three-and-outs, while the Skins were punishing them with Portis and running plays, more and more of them, until finally, when the Eagles, down by six, had to muster a stop to get the ball back for a final, winning surge, there was nothing left in the tank. Washington ran off the final 7:18 against an exhausted team that had been on the field for 75 snaps, while their own guys ran off only 47. How much of this carries over for a week? How effective will Brian Westbrook be with two broken ribs? Who knows? Seems like I can't forecast anything for beans this year.
 
13Indianapolis Colts
Last Week: 17
OK, I can read your minds. How could you raise them four spots after a fluke of a win over winless Houston? I didn't. It was more of a matter of reshuffling the deck and moving San Diego and Green Bay and others of that ilk down where they belong.
 
14Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 21
This is a very difficult part of the chart. It always is. They've lost to the Jets and Cardinals, both below them. Yet they've beaten the Patriots and, well, the Chargers, and had the ingenuity to torment people with their Wildcat Offense...and I will challenge you to a duel, name the weapon, if you call it the single wing. Very difficult. Actually I hate this part of the batting order.
 
15Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 20
They're dysfunctional, but they still won a big one in the Superdome on Monday night. The QB's marginal. The receivers are catch-one, drop-one, at least Berrian, their top guy, is. Jared Allen is not the pass rushing demon they figured he'd be. I see him taking an outside rush and continuing on his own track, after the train has left the station. Their special teams got destroyed. And yet, they're up five spots. OK, you emailers, let's hear it. And you'll have the pleasure of hearing me whine about how I had to adjust some other teams.
 
16New Orleans Saints
Last Week: 15
I think it's a mistake running Reggie Bush between the tackles. He doesn't have the instinct for it. I think he should be strictly a space player, a return man, obviously, and in the offense, a guy who does his work slotted or flanked. Remember Rocket Ismail? One of the great collegiate kick returners in history, but was that his M.O. in the big leagues? It was not. They kept trying to make a receiver out of him. He should have been a return man, period.
 
17New York Jets
Last Week: 18
Ugh. The rankings again. Up one place after a bye. Laugh your laughs now, all you fans. Someday you'll miss me when I'm gone.
 
18Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 22
I know. I seem to have a strange prejudice against them. Maybe it's because I believe the Warner house of cards will collapse one day. Maybe it's because they're so erratic. Maybe it's because the Redhead is from Phoenix, and in some twisted way I'm trying to get her to...ah, forget that. I will be monitoring their Dallas contest very closely. All I ask for is a game performance.
 
19Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 19
It bothers me they've sent it all in on David Garrard, who has real talent, but they're so lax in providing him with wideouts. A one-dimensional team. Stop the run and they're in trouble. Matt Jones, with 80 receiving yards in the opener, was their only pass catcher to come close to grabbing 100 yards worth of passes -- until Mike Walker came off the bench and went for 106 against the Steelers.
 
20Baltimore Ravens
Last Week: 16
You know why I have trouble watching Ravens' games? Because I know I'll always be in for one of those Ray Lewis production numbers sometime during the thing. You know, the chest smacking and the grim visage and the "Dominate! This is our house!" The only part I like is when he gets a few players together for that motivational stuff, and half of them are looking embarrassed. I mean it's a far cry from the All Blacks doing one of their Maori chants before an international match.
 
21Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 25
I hate to admit it but this is one of the four teams I have yet to see in an entire game. Chicago at home on Sunday? Yeah, that's the one to see.
 
22Green Bay Packers
Last Week: 12
We tend to speak casually about a shoulder injury, even a separation, although I doubt that Aaron Rodgers really has one. A full separation is an awful, debilitating, highly painful injury, and frankly, I don't see how anyone could play with one, even loaded up wth pain killers.
 
23San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 13
Where's the offense gone? Two sub-300-yard performances against the Raiders and Dolphins. Philip Rivers, 46 percent completions in his last outing. They can get back in the hunt by beating the Patriots at home Sunday night. That will be an interesting game for me to try to handicap Thursday. I can hardly wait.
 
24San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 23
Even when it was close, it didn't look close. Too much time on the field for the defense. Too many soft zones against a Patriots offense that will eat them up.
 
25Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 24
We have now officially left the land of the living. Ho hum. Another loss. No outrage. What's the deal here, anyway? They were in the Super Bowl a few years ago.
 
26Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 26
Is Tom Cable still the coach? Sorry for asking, but you never know.
 
27Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 27
Larry Johnson: 28 carries, 198 yards against the Broncos; seven carries, two yards against Carolina. He ought to be working on the stock market.
 
28Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 28
Bye week. No change. We don't like to disturb them down here.
 
29Houston Texans
Last Week: 29
The sad thing is that Sage Rosenfels has talent, and he was getting to make a serious move on Matt Schaub's job when things went kaboom against the Colts. I wonder how tough it is to come back from a meltdown such as this.
 
30Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 30
They were 17-point dogs, yet they took the Cowboys down to the wire. Naturally, Dallas minus the points was one of my blue ribbon, formula special selections last weekend.
 
31Detroit Lions
Last Week: 31
After the Bears blew 'em out, 34-7, their Executive VP, Tom Lewand, said, "It's an organizational loss." Ah, took the very words out of my mouth, after I miscalculated by recommending taking the Lions, getting 3 points. It's an organizational loss-the selection of a totally disorganized person.
 
32St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 32
Through clash of arms,
Mid fire and din,
We cannot lose,
Nor can we win.

It might not serve
Our hopes so high,
But blessed week,
It's called the bye.

 
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