1. Baltimore (6-2). As many famous players as the Ravens have, and as many good ones, Ray Rice very often looks like the most important one. He sure did Sunday in the victory over Miami.
2. Pittsburgh (5-2). Mike Zimmer, the Cincinnati defensive coordinator, and the Bengals defense have Ben Roethlisberger a little spooked. That's why tonight in Cincinnati's no gimme.
3. New York Giants (6-2). You've got to give the Giants their due. They've been an offensive powerhouse like no other team in the league in the past month. Last four games: 144 points. That's 36 points a game, with three of the games (Houston, Dallas and Seattle) played on the road.
4. New York Jets (6-2). Well, they survived in Detroit, but that offense really worries me.
5. New England (6-2). No good team played a worse game Sunday. And it's not even close.
6. Green Bay (6-3). But I don't know how much stock to place in a rout of the Dallas Cowboys. You?
7. Atlanta (6-2). You should be able to enjoy a clutch late win over your upstart division rivals for a while. "No 24-hour rule this week,'' coach Mike Smith announced after the game. "Two hours.'' Falcons host the first Thursday night game of the year (not including the Saints-Vikes opener) against Baltimore, and the Falcons coaches had to get to work Sunday night on the game plan.
8. Oakland (5-4). When's the last time you could say the Raiders showed real poise in a big game when they appeared to get jobbed by an official's call late, and hung in to make two long drives to tie and then to win?
9. Philadelphia (5-3). Eagles 12-0 after the bye under Andy Reid (Overused Stat of the Years Dept.) ... and they'd be 11-1 if not for the laser arm of Mike Vick finding DeSean Jackson in the end zone.
10. New Orleans (6-3). So much for the catastrophic Drew Brees knee injury. A 34-3 road win solves a lot of what ails you.
11. Indianapolis (5-3). I think the Colts are better than this, obviously. But maybe just not this version of the Colts, with another key player dropping Sunday at Philly. Austin Collie (concussion) is the latest man to go down.
12. Tennessee (5-3). Here's a stat for you, Titans fans: Teams that have employed Randy Moss this season are 4-4 with him, 5-3 without him. Moss arrived in Nashville on a private plane Sunday night, and he made the first smart decision of his Tennessee tenure: He wasn't required to speak to the media, so he didn't.
13. Kansas City (5-3). Small consolation, but the touchdown from Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe to give the Chiefs the lead in the fourth quarter is what Scott Pioli paid all that money for last year.
14. San Diego (4-5). Really impressed with a team so beat up and playing so valiantly on the road.
15. Tampa Bay (5-3). I would have run LeGarrette Blount for that yard at the end too.
"A guy just spit in my face! I don't give a damn about Karlos pulling somebody's facemask. Like they didn't see Chad Henne get hit twice when he slid. Yeah, a little Stevie Wonder and Anne Frank ... Is that the blind girl? Helen Keller ... I don't know who the ---- Anne Frank is. I'm mad right now. I'm not as swift as I usually am.''
-- Miami linebacker Channing Crowder, angry at some calls in the Baltimore-Miami game that went against the Dolphins -- and angry that no one saw what he claimed was Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain spitting in his face during the game.
"I think that's always been something that people have said because L.A. wasn't too far from San Diego. I have done some TV stuff and I do enjoy doing it but, bottom line, I love playing football. Once people try to let that go and not forget that I'm going to put on that helmet and play 110 percent and lay it out on the line. It doesn't matter how bright the lights get.''
-- Shawne Merriman, in his introductory news conference Saturday as a member of the Buffalo Bills, speaking about the impression in football circles that he was as interested in being a Hollywood player as he was in being a football player. The Bills claimed Merriman on waivers even though he has not had a good season rushing the passer since 2007. They'll give him a chance to resurrect his career beginning next Sunday against Detroit at home.
"I don't think he's the type quarterback at this stage that Shanahan wants to move forward with. Shanahan wants someone that is a little more accurate passer as well as not carrying as many injuries from over the years, the extra baggage. You get beaten up over a period of time and McNabb today certainly doesn't move around as well as he used to and his accuracy hasn't improved as a passer.''
-- Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, on Donovan McNabb and coach Mike Shanahan's controversial week-old benching of the player thought to be his franchise quarterback.
"I want to apologize to the Indianapolis Colts for really embarrassing and making a bad name for them. We are an elite group of men who pride ourselves on being good citizens. In this situation, I put myself in a horrible situation, I did a really dumb thing and I messed up. I've paid my price and will continue to do so. Now it's my time to earn trust back, from my teammates, my family most importantly, and the city of Indianapolis and the Colts organization in particular.''
-- Colts punter Pat McAfee, reinstated after a one-game suspension for getting drunk and going for a 4:30 a.m. swim in an Indianapolis canal during the Colts' bye week -- when the temperature was 39 degrees.
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