Unlike Reggie Wayne and the Colts, I failed to come through. Thus, no full recap this week. Instead of writing, my nieces took me apple picking for my birthday and bought me fresh cut fries and home made donuts. Fat kids don’t pass that up. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Someone take them to Chick-fil-A (NFL’s top 5)
1. Texans – The Jets will undoubtedly throw everything they have at Houston on Monday night (how much that is, who knows). Losing to the lowly Jets in front of a national audience won’t do much for the Texans street cred or their ranking. Let’s hope they win tonight because A. No one likes the Jets and B. Another loss means we’re one step closer to Tebow Time!
2. 49ers – I was ridiculed last week for having the Packers so high on this list and ahead of the 49ers, a team they lost to to open the season. Obviously, the ridiculer was right and I was wrong. The 49ers have C R U S H E D opponents by a combined score of 79-3 since being embarrassed by the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago.
3. Falcons – Still undefeated, so still ranked in the top five. Considering they play in perhaps the worst division in football, it’s likely the Falcons finish 13-3 or better and position themselves for their annual January collapse.
4. Patriots – New England leapfrogged Baltimore after an impressive, dominating victory over Denver. Outside of Houston and San Fran, the Patriots have played elite level football more consistently than the other 29 teams in the NFL.
5. Ravens – Struggling on the road against the lousy Chiefs was no surprise. The Ravens are known for the occasional no-show against lackluster opponents. Right now, I’d pick the Patriots to beat the Ravens 7 out of 10 times.
(Last Week: HOU, GB, ATL, AZ, BAL/NE.)
Hardly Ramen Noodle worthy (NFL’s bottom 5)
28. Panthers – Their Super Bowl hopes were pretty much dashed after Week 1. Their division title hopes sunk after a drubbing in Week 3. On Sunday, it was Carolina’s playoff hopes that went up in flames. For all that money the Panthers have invested in their backfield, they can’t run the football. At all.
29. Bills – The Bills have surrendered 97 points in the last two weeks. If you’re wondering, ten NFL teams have surrendered less than that through five games, including the ENTIRE NFC West.
30. Browns – The Browns looked good for a quarter before the wheels came off. On the positive side, Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden continue to improve each week.
31. Titans – Christian Ponder threw two interceptions against the Titans and could have thrown five if the Tennessee secondary could catch. I picked the Titans to compete for a Wildcard berth before the season began. What I meant to say was they’d compete for a top five pick.
32. Jaguars – The Jaguars are 0-3 at home in 2012. Bad teams can still draw crowds if they can compete at home, but getting outscored 95-20 in those three home losses isn’t competing. Blaine Gabbert continues to be a bigger part of the problem than the solution.
(Last Week: DET, TB, CLE, JAC, TENN.)
Stock rising (but not in top 5, yet)
Bears – I’m in on the Bears. Chicago’s defense may be underrated, but it’s every bit as fierce as Baltimore’s and every bit as talented as Houston’s. The addition of Brandon Marshall has also given the Bears offense a legitimate outside threat. Jay Cutler and the running game have benefited tremendously.
Saints – It’s only one win, but the Saints at least proved they won’t be the laughingstock of the NFL in 2012. With the toughest part of their schedule still to come, I can’t see the Saints making the playoffs, but they’ll certainly wreak havoc along the way.
Colts – We’re only five weeks in, so this next statement isn’t as significant as it would be in say, 10 weeks, but it’s still a nice thought nonetheless: Assuming the Jets lose Monday night to Houston, the Indianapolis Colts would be the AFC’s 6th seed.
Stock falling (but not in bottom 5, yet)
Packers – I’m the biggest Aaron Rodgers guy around, but he deserves a large sum of the blame for Sunday’s defeat. Rodgers must learn he can’t hold onto the football as long as he does, at least until his offensive line improves. Too many of the sacks Rodgers took on Sunday could have been avoided. Even worse, Rodgers didn’t get the offense set in time with eight seconds left in the 4th quarter and was forced to use Green Bay’s final timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty. Instead of getting Mason Crosby a few more yards, Rodgers forced the Packers to settle for a 52 yard field goal.
Cardinals – It’s never a good idea to overreact to just one loss. However, Arizona’s loss to St. Louis on Thursday was telling. The Cardinals couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t protect the quarterback, and are down to their 3rd and 4th string running backs after Ryan Williams went down for the season.
Redskins – As long as Robert Griffin III was under center, the Redskins were watchable, interesting, and even competitive. If Griffin’s concussion keeps him out for multiple weeks, or even a game, Washington will suffer on so many levels. Considering the Redskins next three are against Minnesota, at New York (Giants) and at Pittsburgh, it’s safe to say the Redskins stand no chance without RG3.