I now have sympathy for BCS voters.
I really couldn’t decide if the Titans should automatically move to the top spot this week after their win and the Giants loss. Or should I cut the Giants some slack since they have had by far the more difficult schedule of the two, for example, their last six games were all victories against teams with winning records versus the Titans who have only played five teams with a winning record this whole season.
I also considered that the Titans latest victory came against the Browns who beat the Giants. But even that is misleading since the Browns team the Giants faced still had their opening week starting quarterback, were not eliminated from the playoffs and Romeo Crennel had yet to become a lame duck coach.
With the strength of schedule argument in play and considering both the distracting week that the Giants had off the field involving their star wide receiver and linebacker and the fact that inner-division games are usually competitive, I decided the hell with it…a tie for first place.
At least in the NFL the actual teams decide the championship.
1. (tie) Tennessee Titans (12-1) (2): Have clinched division and bye week, but homefield advantage probably won’t be decided until their week 16 contest versus the Steelers.
1. (tie) New York Giants (11-2) (1): A week after I praised Domenik Hixson’s special team play he drops a certain touchdown pass. In other news, aren’t the Miami Dolphins (the team the 49ers play this week) wonderful and completely error-free?
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) (-): Expect a brutal smashmouth match-up this week between the Steelers and Ravens, who openly hate one another, with the AFC North championship on the line.
4. Carolina Panthers (10-3) (8): Their running attack has really blossomed of late, if they win their last three games (which includes a match-up against the Giants), they will have homefield advantage in the playoffs.
5. Indianapolis Colts (9-4) (7): Their victory over the Bengals this week was the only game in their current six week win streak that they won by more than a touchdown. Should make it two this week when they host the Lions.
6. Baltimore Ravens (9-4) (9): You can’t tell by the way he’s playing that Ed Reed is bothered by a lingering neck injury.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-4) (4): Time to ponder if the cumulative age of the Bucs will lead to another late season flame out.
8. Atlanta Falcons (8-5) (6): Their major Achilles heel is that they have not beat a division rival on the road this year.
9. Minnesota Vikings (8-5) (11): For the second time this year, they squeak by the Detroit Lions.
10. Dallas Cowboys (8-5) (5): Championship teams usually are able to hold onto a 10 point lead with less than six minutes left in a game. Hell, even the 49ers did it on Sunday.
11. New England Patriots (8-5) (12): If Mike Singletary doesn’t get anointed the full time coach of the 49ers, the Patriots are interested in him. Not as a coach, as their third linebacker!
12. Miami Dolphins (8-5) (13): Has a team ever went from 1-15 to division champs in a year? The Dolphins have a shot at it.
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-5) (15): Officially won their first division in over thirty years and will host first ever playoff game in Arizona. Still, they could use some momentum to convince doubters they are for real, a victory over the Vikings this week would help.
14. New Orleans Saints (7-6) (17): I guess if there was going to be a NFL player with the name of Pierre to find success in the league, New Orleans would be the place.
15. Denver Broncos (8-5) (16): A win or a San Diego loss away from clinching AFC West and a first round playoff loss to the Colts or Ravens.
16. New York Jets (8-5) (10): And they were feeling so good about themselves after beating the Titans.
17. Chicago Bears (7-6) (18): Looks like the loser of this week's Bears-Saints game will be pretty much eliminated from the playoffs.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (7-5-1) (19): Hard to get a read on this team, tied one of the worst teams three weeks ago, have beat the only two NFC division clinching teams the last two weeks.
19. Washington Redskins (7-6) (14): Note to rookie coach Jim Zorn: Benching your strongest offensive player is probably not the best way to inspire better offensive performance.
20. Houston Texans (6-7) (21): Continuing their annual "look good the last few weeks of the season after we are eliminated from the playoffs so people think we will be good next year" thing.
21. San Diego Chargers (5-8) (23): It's good to have consistency in an unpredictable world, the Chargers have that in the form of a win over the Raiders.
22. Green Bay Packers (5-8) (20): Their defense has been....wait for it...offensive! Hey-o!
23. San Francisco 49ers (5-8) (24): Mike Singletary accomplished something that Mike Nolan, Steve Mariucci and even George Seifert never did, he coached a 49er team to a victory over a Brett Favre led team in the regular season.
24. Buffalo Bills (6-7) (22): J.P. Losman? More like J.P. Loseman. Hey, I'll be here all week!
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) (-): In accordance with the Jags performance, I will quit writing about them.
26. Cleveland Browns (4-9) (-): They've had three different starting quarterbacks in the last three games, but in solidarity none have led the team to an offensive touchdown in any of those games.
27. Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) (-): Just like Tyler Thigpen in last week's final drive, the Chiefs have been just a few yards shy of victory this entire season.
28. Oakland Raiders (3-10) (-): Let's hear it for consistency! The Raiders have had at least 10 loses the last six seasons.
29. Seattle Seahawks (2-11) (-): A couple of weeks ago, I said that the Seahawks should give some playoff bound teams a scare, they did just that against the Pats.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (1-12-1) (-): Mike Nolan followed Marvin Lewis as the Ravens defensive coordinator, this year, Lewis will follow Nolan to the firing line at the end of the season.
31. St. Louis Rams (2-10) (-): Perhaps the Rams could use a strong veteran QB like that guy the Cardinals have.
32. Detroit Lions (0-12) (-): Came dangerously close to actually winning a game.