1. New Orleans (1-0). It's been 11 days since the Saints played. Doubt that will mean much tonight at San Francisco, but it'll be a talking point if the offense looks stale again.
2. Pittsburgh (2-0). Amazing how much Troy Polamalu means to this team. His value approximates Ben Roethlisberger's.
3. Green Bay (2-0). Jermichael Finley (four catches, 103 yards) continues to emerge as one of the game's best tight ends.
4. Houston (2-0). I'm so impressed with so many Texans, including the play-making Kevin Walter (11 catches, 144 yards), who gave the Redskins fits. "I love watching him make plays,'' Schaub said. "He's always where he's supposed to be.''
5. Indianapolis (1-1). Wow. The Colts can run it.
6. Miami (2-0). Karlos Dansby earned his free-agent contract on one play Sunday in Minnesota, when he stoned Adrian Peterson on fourth-and-goal, two feet shy of the goal line.
7. Chicago (2-0). Pretty hard to believe Jay Cutler is standing, never mind playing well behind that line. But he is, and he is. That was a mature quarterback who didn't blow his stack when he was getting the tar knocked out of him in the first half at Dallas.
8. Atlanta (1-1). The Falcons will be the beneficiary of the NFL schedule this week when they play at New Orleans on Sunday. While the Atlanta coaches have a normal game plan Monday and Tuesday this week, New Orleans plays in San Francisco tonight, and the Saints will get back to Louisiana around 4 a.m. Tuesday. That'll be the Saints' players "day off, while bleary-eyed coaches will cram in the game plan that day. Atlanta will be fresh Wednesday, when the practice week begins, while the Saints will have every right to be tired.
9. Baltimore (1-1). There's a four-pack of teams here, from 9 to 12. Ravens, Jets, Pats and Bengals. You could put them in any order, practically, because the Pats own a big win over the Bengals, the Bengals own a narrow win over the Ravens, the Jets own a big win over the Pats ... ahhh, I give up. It's only Week 2. Let's not overreact.
10. New York Jets (1-1). Good for Mark Sanchez, who threw three touchdown passes in the best individual performance of his young career. With the weight of the city on his shoulders, he outdueled Brady and showed the Jets' quarterback situation is in better hands than many of us thought.
11. New England (1-1). "It's going to be a long week,'' said Brady. Sure will be. Foxboro won't be a fun place to work this week.
12. Cincinnati (1-1). The Bengals have beaten the Ravens at Baltimore's own defensive game three times in a row, by 17-14, 17-7 and 15-10.
13. Kansas City (2-0). The Chiefs, 30th in team defense last year, have allowed 28 points in eight quarters -- and scored one defensive touchdown, on Brandon Flowers' interception return for a touchdown. That's progress.
14. San Diego (1-1). Tight end's a rich position right now. No tight end is scarier and harder to stop than Antonio Gates, who has started the year hot, with three touchdowns.
15. Tampa Bay (2-0). Of all the surprises in the NFL after two weeks, nothing is weirder to me than the Bucs being 2-0. Boy, was I wrong about them.
"We just sucked.''
-- New England quarterback Tom Brady, after the Patriots' 28-14 loss to the Jets.
"Tell Peter King we already got our two wins.''
-- Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber, in the victorious Buccaneers locker room at Carolina Sunday, after the Bucs beat the Panthers 20-7. Tampa Bay is 2-0. I picked the Bucs to be 2-14 in the SI NFL Preview Issue.
"We will not try to stop Drew Brees. We will stop Drew Brees. Next question.''
-- San Francisco coach Mike Singletary, in a feisty interview with Dennis O'Donnell of KPIX-TV in San Francisco that, within two days of airing, was removed from the station's Web site.
Too late, KPIX. And the context won't matter. That little ditty, I'm certain, was a part of Sean Payton's chat at the Saints' hotel in the Bay Area last night as they got jacked up for tonight's game.
-- Washington left tackle Trent Williams, asked what he felt when he injured his left knee and a toe in the fourth quarter of the 30-27 overtime loss to Houston. This loss was devastating in and of itself, but it'll be much worse if Williams is lost for a few weeks.
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