So this is what parity looks like. We’re eleven weeks into the season and every team has played ten games. Seventeen of the thirty-two teams have a record somewhere between 6-4 and 4-6, meaning seventeen teams are either a two game winning or losing streak away from having the same record. While an argument can be made that the highest quality football is not being played, it should be an entertaining final six weeks of the season and I wouldn’t be surprised if by the final week there are something like seven playoff spots left to be determined.
1. Tennessee Titans (10-0) (-): Over the last 20 seasons a 10-0 start has led to only a 50-50 chance of a Super Bowl victory (Denver 98, Washington 91 and New York Giants 90 all won, New England 08 lost in Super Bowl, Indianapolis 05 lost in first round, San Francisco 90 lost in NFC Championship)
2. New York Giants (9-1) (-): Finally got revenge for the franchise’s only Super Bowl loss.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) (4): If you had heard there was a game ending in a 11-10 score for the first time in NFL history, wouldn’t you have kind of assumed that the Steelers were somehow involved in that contest.
4. Carolina Panthers (8-2) (3): Have truly played to the level of their opponents the last two weeks, those opponents being the Lions and Raiders.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) (-): Their quarterback is a short older guy who has bounced around the league and wasn’t exactly wanted by his coach, two of his top receiving targets include guys who have been suspended for drunk driving incidents. Add a voodoo worshipping defensive lineman and you basically have the characters for a football remake of Major League.
6. New York Jets (7-3) (11): I’ve been reluctant to jump on the Jets bandwagon, hence this week’s large jump, but they now control their own destiny in a tough division.
7. New England Patriots (6-4) (-): Was it just me or did Matt Cassell look Bradyesque in the final drive of the fourth quarter?
8. Arizona Cardinals (7-3) (-): A certain reader of mine claimed they were too highly ranked last time, they can prove doubters wrong by succeeding against upcoming quality opponents such as the Patriots, Eagles, Vikings and this week’s guest, the New York Giants.
9. Washington Redskins (6-4) (5): Their offense seems to lose something in primetime, they’ve scored only 23 points in their three night games this season and have an 0-3 record.
10. Indianapolis Colts (6-4) (14): Not dominating teams like in the past, but have won three in a row and are eyeing a wild-card spot. Have a chance to avenge playoff loss to San Diego this week.
11. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) (10): For those keeping tabs, Michael Turner has out rushed LaDanian Tomlinson by 285 yards so far this year.
12. Baltimore Ravens (6-4) (9): Way to tell the Ravens lost by merely looking at stats of the Giants game: Joe Flacco gained more rushing yards than Willis McGahee, Ray Rice and Le’Ron McLain combined.
13. Dallas Cowboys (6-4) (15): At least for this Sunday Terrence Newman’s return meant more to the team’s success than Tony Romo’s.
14. Miami Dolphins (6-4) (16): That Ted Ginn draft selection isn’t looking so bad now is it, Dolphins’ fans?
15. Denver Broncos (6-4) (19): Bad news: offense is not scoring as much points as earlier in the season. Good news: defense not allowing as many points per game as earlier in the season.
16. Green Bay Packers (5-5) (20): Sunday’s display against Bears is what this offense is capable of, they only need consistency.
17. Chicago Bears (5-5) (12): Uncertain Bears fan were heard chanting last week: “Put in Grossman! Put in Grossman! Put in Grossman? Uh, perhaps? Wait, let’s think about this.”
18. Minnesota Vikings (5-5) (17): Someone finally discovered how to slow down the Vikings defense: Jared Allen, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams all are facing three game suspensions for banned substance usage.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4-1) (13): Donovan McNabb was very excited to try out some penalty kicks.
20. New Orleans Saints (5-5) (22): Reason the Saints are only .500 at this point: this was only the second game in the last six weeks that the defense did not allow their opponents to score 30 or more points.
21. San Diego Chargers (4-6) (-): Time is starting to run out on their chance for a late season playoff rallying win streak.
22. Cleveland Browns (4-6) (24): Despite not having the greatest individual game, the Browns are playing better with Brady Quinn in the lineup.
23. Buffalo Bills (5-5) (18): After throwing three interceptions in the first quarter, the Bills were lucky to have almost won Monday night’s game.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) (23): Played the Titans tough for the first half before losing which is indicative of their year thus far, they haven’t really gave a complete game effort at all.
25. Houston Texans (3-7) (-): A streaky team: Lost first four games, won next three, lost last three games.
26. San Francisco 49ers (3-7) (27): We’re number two in the NFC West; if this was the Pac 10 we’d be eligible for the Emerald Bowl!
27. Seattle Seahawks (2-8) (26): Mike Holmgren repeatedly says he wants to take a year off before deciding to return to football in an executive position. Uh, doesn’t this year count?
28. Cincinnati Bengals (1-8-1) (30): Last three weeks results: Win-Bye Week-Tie, making this the best three week span for the team in years.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-9) (-): Their strong efforts are not resulting in wins, but in Tyler Thigpen and Dwayne Bowe they may have the nucleus for an offensive revival in the years ahead.
30. St. Louis Rams (2-8) (28): The good news: have outscored opponents 16-7 in the second half last two weeks. The bad news: they were outscored 75-3 in the first half of those games.
31. Oakland Raiders (2-8) (-): Have not scored an offensive touchdown in over three weeks, my teenaged self can sympathize with the whole not scoring part.
32. Detroit Lions (0-10) (-): Folks we are one week away from a possible Thanksgiving match up between an 11-0 and a 0-11 team. Titans, Lions: make this happen.