''Winning Ugly'' Drops The Saints To #2 This Week. No Surprise At #1, Though. [NFL Power Rankings]
1. Colts, 9-0, Last week: 2
They played better than anyone in the NFL on Sunday in their comeback win against the Patriots. They took a lot of punches, but kept fighting back.
2. Saints, 9-0, Last week: 1
Their last few games have been incredibly sloppy, and a 5-point win over the Rams is enough for them to drop from the #1 spot. They're better than that... they need to play like it.
3. Bengals, 7-2, Last week: 4
The Bengals made a statement with their season sweep of the Steelers. They're not the whipping boys anymore. This team is legit, and they're ready to compete in the playoffs.
4. Vikings, 8-1, Last week: 3
They're a solid team, but there's no doubt that they've benefited from an incredibly easy schedule. They're one of the best in the NFC, but I think the Bengals are outplaying them right now.
5. Patriots, 6-3, Last week: 6
They could have (and should have) beaten the Colts, if it were not for some questionable play calling my Bill Belichick. The good news for the Patriots is that if they are in that same position in the playoffs, Belichick will make all the right calls, and Peyton Manning will choke.
6. Steelers, 6-3, Last week: 5
They are not longer invincible, as the Bengals proved. Ben Roethlisberger and the offense were kept out of the end zone, and once again, Jeff Reed embarrassed himself on kickoff return coverage.
7. Chargers, 6-3, Last week: 9
The AFC West once again goes through San Diego. After 4 straight wins, they're tied with the reeling Broncos. They'll get a chance to play for the outright lead on Sunday.
8. Cardinals, 6-3, Last week: 11
The Cardinals are starting to play like they're a playoff team again, and it looks like they've got the NFC West in the bag. Beanie Wells can clearly be productive, when healthy.
9. Ravens, 5-4, Last week: 14
The Ravens looked pretty bad offensively in the first half against the Browns, but they eventually made some noise. Their defense was just ridiculously good though, as we expected.
10. Cowboys, 6-3, Last week: 8
This Packers game will have to be their "mulligan". A lot of things went wrong, but I think everyone knows this team should be a little better than that.
11. Broncos, 6-3, Last week: 7
They are who we thought they were? How much of the Broncos' 6-0 start was an aberration? How different would their season be if it weren't for the Stokley miracle in week one?
12. Atlanta, 5-4, Last week: 12
The Falcons have a great offense, but they need to beat teams like the Panthers if they want to make the playoffs. They'll be there at the end.
13. Jaguars, 5-4, Last week: 21
After a rough start, the Jaguars are rebounding nicely, and positioning themselves for a playoff run. If Maurice Jones-Drew continues to run all over everyone at will, they'll be fine.
14. Eagles, 5-4, Last week: 10
There's nothing to be ashamed of when you lose to the Chargers on the road, but the Eagles really have to bear down for the rest of the season, or they could be on the outside looking in.
15. 49ers, 4-5, Last week: 17
They finally snapped their 4-game losing streak with an ugly win over the Bears. I could see this team going either way at this point. Playoffs or an Alex Smith implosion are equally possible.
16. Texans, 5-4, Last week: 13
This week will actually be a tough test, as they'll take on a surging Titans team. Was it a bit harsh to drop them 3 spots after a bye? Perhaps, but it felt right.
17. Giants, 5-4, Last week: 15
Eli Manning desperately needs to right the ship this week, or their season could be perilously close to the edge. This team might end up 9-7, which would be a huge disappointment.
18. Packers, 5-4, Last week: 19
They somehow beat the Cowboys, after losing to the Buccaneers. I can't explain it, and I don't understand it, but it's clear that this team has multiple personalities.
19. Dolphins, 4-5, Last week: 20
The problem this year with the Dolphins is that they simply can't beat good teams. Unfortunately, they have at least 4 of them remaining on their schedule.
20. Panthers, 4-5, Last week: 24
They managed to beat the Falcons, but I refuse to believe in a team that features Jake Delhomme. He's the poor man's Ben Roethlisberger, with less talent around him.
21. Titans, 3-6, Last week: 23
The Titans are actually playing well, now that they've remembered that they're a running team. For the record, the answer was not Vince Young. The answer was abandoning the passing game.
22. Jets, 4-5, Last week: 18
The Mark Sanchez/Rex Ryan tandem is looking rough right now. The honeymoon is over, and they'll need to prove that they're legit against a very angry Patriots team next week. Not going to happen.
23. Bears, 4-5, Last week: 16
Jay Cutler is embarrassing himself right now. It's clear that he would be better off back in Denver right now, and I think Chicago fans might agree as well.
24. Seahawks, 3-6, Last week: 22
This team has too many injury issues and not enough talent. That's pretty much the story with them. The might win 6 games, but it's time to start looking for Matt Hasselbeck's long-term replacement.
25. Bills, 3-6, Last week: 25
The Bills are an awful team to watch. Terrell Owens is back at it again, yelling at coaches and teammates and still underperforming. Where's he going next?
26. Chiefs, 2-7, Last week: 28
Without Larry Johnson, they might actually be able to focus on football and win a game here and there. Jamal Charles actually looked pretty good in his place.
27. Redskins, 3-6, Last week: 27
Fans are outraged, the team is awful, and they're in a tough division. Their insanely easy early schedule is over, and so is their season.
28. Raiders, 2-7, Last week: 26
I can't wait for the 2010 NFL Draft, so I can see which bust the Raiders will draft with their top-10 pick. This organization is embarrassing.
29. Rams, 1-8, Last week: 31
The Rams are in a tough stretch right now. They can hardly beat anyone at all, but it's not helping that they're playing the Saints and Cardinals in consecutive weeks.
30. Buccaneers, 1-8, Last week: 30
If the Buccaneers win another game this year, I'll be shocked. They have 2 games each against the Falcons and Saints, and the Seahawks at home are probably their most "winnable" game.
31. Lions, 1-8, Last week: 29
The Lions are on their way to 2 seasons with 1 combined win. That's pure awesomeness right there. For the record, no matter how Matt Stafford turns out, that was a terrible pick.
32. Browns, 1-8, Last week: 32
I love watching Eric Mangini fail. Fortunately, it happens quite often. I don't care what anyone tries to say to defend him, he's a joke, and the Browns need to cut ties.
Leave your thoughts below. Let me know how smart (or stupid) I am.