TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

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It is hard to remember a year when so much of the seeding could be shakenup in the final two weeks, and I know there has never been a year when one division has been so putrid…

1. New England Patriots (12-2) – Bill Belichick won’t let them take the foot off the gas in the final two weeks, as they face the basement dwellers of the AFC East.

2. Atlanta Falcons (12-2) – A quiet 12-2. Let’s see how they handle New Orleans this Monday Night, but either way they have all but locked up home field advantage.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) – Players like Mike Vick and Desean Jackson mean the Eagles are never out of a game.

4. Baltimore Ravens (10-4) – Impressive win over the defending champs kept their NFC North title hopes alive.

5. Chicago Bears (10-4) – How many people picked them to win the NFC North?

6. New York Jets (10-4) – The best way to shoot up in the power rankings is by beating a quality opponent in their building. Can they do it two weeks in a row?

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) – Their offense has been inconsistent and their defense isn’t anywhere near the same without Troy Polamalu in the line-up.

8. New Orleans Saints (10-4) – They can be happy with likely playing the NFC West winner in the first round of the playoffs.

9. New York Giants (9-5) – Went from a potential number two seed to playing for their playoff lives in Lambeau this Sunday.

10. San Diego Chargers (8-6) – They’ll win out, but will they get the help needed to win the AFC West?

11. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) – The Chiefs should be able to handle business to become the surprise winners of the AFC West.

12. Green Bay Packers (8-6) – Do or die against the Giants at home this week.

13. Indianapolis Colts (8-6) – One of the weaker Colts teams in recent memory but they will still be hosting a home playoff game, unless something strange happens.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6) – It was only a matter of time until the Colts caught them. Who wanted to watch Jacksonville host a playoff game anyway?

15. Tampa Bay Bucs (8-6) – Nothing for this young team to hang their head about, if they fall short of the playoffs this year.

16. Oakland Raiders (7-7) – The Colts will have their hands full with the Raiders in Oakland this Sunday.

17. Dallas Cowboys (5-9) – They have played very good football since Jason Garrett has taken over.

18. Miami Dolphins (7-7) – Another mediocre season for the Dolphins, who have some major questions to answer this off-season.

19. Tennessee Titans (6-8) – Took a few weeks too long to wake up out of their mid-season funk.

20. Houston Texans (5-9) – Are you really surprised the Texans were a “disappointment” this year?

21. St. Louis Rams (6-8) – The only team in the NFC West that I have a small amount of respect for.

22. Buffalo Bills (4-10) – Way too high? I don’t think so. They play with heart and remain competitive every single week.

I have to be honest…I can’t even rank beyond this point. It is just a pile of crap, that doesn’t deserve to be sorted through. It feels like the Seahawks lose by 30 every week and yet they could still host a playoff game. The 49ers are four games under .500 and could still host a playoff game. The Vikings have clearly quit. The Browns appear to have quit. The Bengals are a disaster. The Lions…well hey, they won a road game. The Cardinals and Panthers are unwatchably awful, and of course are both playing prime-time games this week.

TOJ’s Favorite Moments Of Week 15…

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

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The Jets are falling down these power rankings faster than Mark Sanchez’s quarterback rating…

1. New England Patriots (11-2) – For the first time this season, there is a clear cut best team in the NFL. The Patriots are looking like they will roll to a 14-2 record and homefield throughout in the playoffs.

2. Atlanta Falcons (11-2) – There is no reason the Falcons shouldn’t be able to at least win 2 of their last 3 and wrap up the #1 seed in the NFC.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) – Their defense must be licking their chops after watching Mark Sanchez’s game tapes from the past three weeks.

4. New Orleans Saints (10-3) – Funny enough, they might have to go on the road to beat the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the playoffs after smacking them around this past week.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) – They can basically wrap up a NFC East title with a win on the road over the Giants this Sunday.

6. New York Giants (9-4) – They are back to running the football and playing superior defense, which makes them tough to beat.

7. Baltimore Ravens (9-4) – They are far from a dominant team but will still be dangerous in January.

8. Chicago Bears (9-4) – Embarrassment to the Patriots doesn’t hurt as much because of the Packers loss.

9. Green Bay Packers (8-5) – Bad timing to finally lose to the Lions, even worse timing to have Aaron Rodgers banged up with a trip to New England on the schedule.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5) – The Jaguars can clinch the AFC South by beating Peyton Manning in his own building this Sunday.

11. Tampa Bay Bucs (8-5) – With Detroit and Seattle coming up on the schedule, there is no reason the young Bucs shouldn’t be playing for a playoff spot in week 17.

12. San Diego Chargers (7-6) – There is no reason they shouldn’t run the table with their remaining schedule, but will it be enough for a division title?

13. Kansas City Cheifs (8-5) – They need Matt Cassel back as soon as possible because playing in St. Louis won’t be a gimme with Brodie Croyle under center.

14. Indianapolis Colts (7-6) – Do or die this week against the Jags.

15. New York Jets (9-4) – It is hard to see 9-4 not turning into 9-6 very quickly with road games upcoming against the Steelers and Bears.

16. Miami Dolphins (7-6) – They need to run the table and get major help for a shot at the playoffs.

17. Oakland Raiders (6-7) – The Raiders should at least be a .500 team this year, which is a major step in the right direction.

18. Dallas Cowboys (4-9) – Too bad they aren’t in the NFC West.

19. Houston Texans (5-8) – Still have no clue on how to win close games. It is shame because they wasted a great comeback last night.

20. St. Louis Rams (6-7) – Tough day at the office for Sam Bradford but he is going to dominate the NFC West for years to come.

21. San Francisco 49ers (5-8) – If they can upset the Chargers on Thursday, they will be in pretty good shape to steal a division title.

22. Washington Redskins (5-8) – Botched extra point snap only added to a miserable season for the Redskins.

23. Tennessee Titans (5-8) – It feels like it has been 5 years since the Titans have won a game.

24. Minnesota Vikings (5-8) – Didn’t show any heart in competing against the Giants on Monday Night Football.

25. Cleveland Browns (5-8) – Eric Mangini might need to win out to save his job.

26. Buffalo Bills (3-10) – Ryan Fitzpatrick has put together a very good year for the Bills under center.

27. Seattle Seahawks (6-7) – Yes, I am saying I think the Bills would beat the Seahawks right now.

28. Detroit Lions (3-10) – Nice to see them finally beat Green Bay.

29. Cincinnati Bengals (2-11) – Starting to become impossible to picture Carson Palmer under center for them in 2011.

30. Arizona Cardinals (4-9) – Larry Fitzgerald is still counting the seconds until this season is over.

31. Denver Broncos (3-10) – Why not give Tim Tebow a look?

32. Carolina Panthers (1-12) – Not really a positive thing you can say about this team right now.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

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Another week in the books, another set of Power Rankings for you to disagree with…an interesting note, the #1 and #2 team play each other this week, and the #3 and #4 team play each other next week.

1. Atlanta Falcons (8-2) – The Dirty Birds have been handling their business, especially at home. They get a major test this week when the red hot Green Bay Packers come to town.

2. Green Bay Packers (7-3) – Maybe I just really enjoyed the way they throttled Brett Favre and the Vikings this past week but the Packers have been rolling in their past four games.

3. New York Jets (8-2) – They are so lucky…yada, yada, yada…how about some talk about how Mark Sanchez is becoming one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL?

4. New England Patriots (8-2) – Heading on a crash course with the Jets in week 13, on Monday Night Football.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) – The Mike Vick show could run away with the NFC East as the battered Giants are fading fast.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) – Very impressive win over Oakland at home. Now they have to avoid looking past the feisty Bills with a huge game against Baltimore the following week.

7. Baltimore Ravens (7-3) – They handled business against Carolina and now get a dangerous Bucs team in their building.

8. New Orleans Saints (7-3) – A nice chance for the defending champs to get revenge on the Cowboys for ruining their perfect season last year.

9. Tampa Bay Bucs (7-3) – Let’s see how this young team handles a trip into Baltimore.

10. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (6-4) – A tough loss but don’t be fooled into thinking they aren’t still in a great position to win the AFC South.

11. San Diego Chargers (5-5) – Is there even any doubt at this point about San Diego winning the AFC West?

12. New York Giants (6-4) – All of that talk about the Giants being the best in the NFL has quieted down real quick the past two weeks. They are in big trouble if they can’t handle the Jaguars at home this Sunday.

13. Chicago Bears (7-3) – They will get respect if they find a way to beat the Eagles at home this week.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4) – Somehow they find themselves on top of the AFC South through 10 games.

15. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) – It doesn’t feel like they are good enough to hold the Chargers off.

16. Oakland Raiders (5-5) – A harsh trip back to reality by getting beat down in Pittsburgh. How will they respond at home against Miami?

17. Tennessee Titans (5-5) – I wonder how much of Rusty Smith era Randy Moss will stay calm for?

18. Miami Dolphins (5-5) – Another season heading nowhere for the Dolphins…and yes, I enjoy that very much.

19. Washington Redskins (5-5) – It sure doesn’t seem like they are still in the mix as a playoff contender.

20. Houston Texans (4-6) – Thank you so much for signing Jason Allen just before the Jets game. He is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

21. Cleveland Browns (3-7) – A disappointing loss to Jacksonville and even worse is that Colt McCoy may now miss time with an ankle injury.

22. Seattle Seahawks (5-5) – And finally we reach a NFC West team. It is sad that one of their teams has to make the playoffs this year.

23. St. Louis Rams (4-6) – They haven’t won a road game yet. Bad news…next three are on the road.

24. Dallas Cowboys (3-7) – Too bad for them they don’t play in the NFC West or they’d be very much alive.

25. Buffalo Bills (2-8) – A dangerous team for playoff contenders to face down the stretch.

26. Denver Broncos (3-7) – Didn’t even put up a fight on Monday Night with a chance to keep their season interesting into December.

27. Cincinnati Bengals (2-8) – Things are just getting uglier by the week.

28. Minnesota Vikings (3-7) – Too little, too late with the Childress firing. Their season is long over.

29. Detroit Lions (2-8) – How about an upset over the Patriots on Thanksgiving?

30. San Francisco 49ers (3-7) – Can we black out their upcoming Monday night game against the Cardinals?

31. Arizona Cardinals (3-7) – See above.

32. Carolina Panthers (1-9) – How could they not go 1-15?

If They Playoffs Started Today…

AFC

  1. New York Jets (8-2)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
  5. New England Patriots (8-2)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)

NFC

  1. Atlanta Falcons (8-2)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3)
  3. Chicago Bears (7-3)
  4. Seattle Seahawks (5-5)
  5. Green Bay Packers (7-3)
  6. New Orleans Saints (7-3)

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

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It’s that time of the week again, as always feel free to express your feelings on my stupidity:

1. Atlanta Falcons (7-2) – An impressive win for Atlanta over Baltimore. Matt Ryan and Roddy White are playing at a high enough level to be considered the favorite in the NFC…for this week.

2. New York Jets (7-2) – How could you have them over New England after the Patriots just handled the Steelers in Pittsburgh, you homer? Here is how: the Jets beat New England by 14 and a week after Cleveland beat the Patriots by 23, the Jets went into Cleveland and beat them, and if you look at the stats, you saw that the Jets actually dominated Cleveland.

3. New England Patriots (7-2) – I don’t know what is going on with that hair but you have to respect the fire Tom Brady was playing with Sunday night. The annual classic between him and Peyton Manning is up next.

4. The Mike Vick Show (6-3) – Overreaction? Nobody is beating the Eagles in the NFC if Mike Vick keeps playing at this level.

5. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) – They can take out all their anger on the Panthers this weekend.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) – It looks like they are back to abandoning the running game too soon and having more struggles than expected on defense.

7. New Orleans Saints (6-3) – It will be interesting to see if the Saints can regain their Super Bowl form entirely out of the bye week.

8. Green Bay Packers (6-3) – Time to send Brett Favre into retirement.

9. Indiannapolis Peyton Mannings (6-3) – It will be beyond impressive if Peyton Manning can lead this group of Colts to a victory in New England.

10. New York Giants (6-3) – A swift punch back to reality for the Giants, who are banged up and can’t protect the football. Good luck defending Vick in Philadelphia this weekend if you can’t stop Jon Kitna.

11. Oakland Raiders (5-4) – They can make quite a statement with a victory over the Steeleers this weekend.

12. Tampa Bay Bucs (6-3) – They win the games they are supposed to, which is saying alot in the NFL this season.

13. Chicago Bears (6-3) – Do us a favor and take care of the Dolphins and their third string quarterback this Thursday night.

14. Miami Dolphins (5-4) – I can’t see them sticking around the playoff race much longer with Tyler Thigpen under center.

15. Tennessee Titans (5-4) – Randy Moss…all he does is lose.

16. San Diego Chargers (4-5) – The AFC West is there for the taking and they have to be the favorite with the way Phillip Rivers is playing.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4) – I just don’t know how this team is 5-4…oh wait, they won a game on a hail mary and a 59 yard field goal

18. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4) – It looks like things are starting to fade fast for one of the surprise teams in the first half of the season.

19. Seattle Seahawks (5-4) – Well, they can beat the other crappy teams in their division.

20. Houston Texans (4-5) – Oh, you are surprised everybody overrated Houston this pre-season and they can’t meet expectations?

21. Cleveland Browns (3-6) – If they were in the NFC West, they might be 6-3.

22. St. Louis Rams (4-5) – It will be interesting to see how this young team hangs with Atlanta at home this weekend.

23. San Francisco 49ers (3-6) – The NFC West…where 3-6 and Troy Smith make you a legitimate contender for the playoffs.

24. Washington Redskins (4-5) – Nothing like allowing the old 59 spot at home to drop down the rankings.

25. Denver Broncos (3-6) – Where did that beat-down come from?

26. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7) – Carson Palmer couldn’t be any further from a franchise quarterback right now, unless he was Derek Anderson.

27. Arizona Cardinals (3-6) – Larry Fitzgerald must be counting the seconds until he can get the hell out of Arizona.

28. Dallas Cowboys (2-7) – Amazing what happens when you put a little effort forward.

29. Minnesota Vikings (3-6)  – I can’t take much more of Brett Favre asking himself questions and then answering them in his press conferences.

30. Buffalo Bills (1-8) – Got one!

31. Detroit Lions (2-7) – I guess we can stop with the talk that Detroit is better than their record. They are just another crappy Lions team.

32. Carolina Panthers (1-8) – It could get out of hand versus Baltimore by the time they step off the bus.

Plays of the Week

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

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Ranking teams in the NFL is becoming a more difficult process with each passing week, especially since my top two teams (Patriots and Colts) lost last week. Regardless, here is what TOJ is thinking heading into week 10…feel free to express your feelings about my stupidity:

1. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) – An impressive win over the Miami Dolphins can’t be enjoyed long as they travel to Atlanta on Thursday night to face arguably the NFC’s best team.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) – They have a nice chance to flex their muscle as an elite team by taking down the New England Patriots at home this Sunday night.

3. New York Giants (6-2) – They are rolling right now but before we crown them, keep in mind some of the quarterbacks they have beaten this year (Matt Moore, Charlie Whitehurst, Shaun Hill).

4. Green Bay Packers (6-3) – Despite all of the injuries, they are heading into the bye week right around where we expected them to be.

5. New York Jets (6-2) – This team (and their quarterback) knows how to win close games…something you can’t frequently say about the Jets. However, they still haven’t played a complete game since week 4.

6. New Orleans Saints (6-3) – They could hit their stride out of the bye week, especially when Reggie Bush gets back in action.

7. Atlanta Falcons (6-2) – If Atlanta wants to show they are an elite team in the NFL, they can start by beating the Ravens at home in two days…who else is pumped about Thursday Night Football?

8. New England Patriots (6-2) – Well we can pump the brakes on the Patriots love fest for now.

9. Tennessee Titans (5-3) – Welcome to town Randy Moss…the Titans can bury another wild-card contender by beating the Dolphins on the road this week.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) – The Eagles still have two games against the Giants to grab control of the NFC East and with Mike Vick straight balling right now, it is certainly possible.

11. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (5-3) – They just might be a little too beat up this year. Fortunately for them, they get to play Cincinnati this week.

12. Oakland Raiders (5-4) – The atmosphere for the Raiders overtime win ovet the Chiefs was simply awesome. They get a bye week to prep for a huge test against the Steelers.

13. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) – Tough way to lose in Oakland but their second half schedule still makes them the favorite in win the AFC West.

14. Tampa Bay Buccanners (5-3) – The Bucs are going to be around the rest of the season as a legitimate playoff contender.

15. San Diego Chargers (4-5) – Phillip Rivers has been the MVP so far in 2010.

16. Cleveland Browns (3-5) – I can’t remember the last time I have been more worried about the Jets playing a team with a record 3 games worse than them.

17. Washington Redskins (4-4) – They need a victory at home against the Eagles this week to show they will remain a contender in the NFC.

18. Houston Texans (4-4) – 8-8 here we come…yet again.

19. Miami Dolphins (4-4) – 7-9 here we come. Sorry, I will still take Mark Sanchez over Chad Henne any day of the week for the next 10 years. Henne comes up small in every big spot he has been given.

20. Chicago Bears (5-3) – I’d be stunned if they finish .500 or better.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) – See directly above.

22. St. Louis Rams (4-4) – Ladies and gentleman, your first place team in the NFC West. They can put a nail in the 49ers coffin this week.

23. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) – If they beat Chicago this week, which they should, they are very much alive in the second half of the season.

24. Detroit Lions (2-6) – Thanks for throwing that pass on third down with the immortal Drew Stanton.

25. Seattle Seahawks (4-4) – Just about as terrible as a .500 team can get.

26. Arizona Cardinals (3-5) – A brutal loss to the Vikings but they are still one game out of first place.

27. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) – Well at least, Terrell Owens is happy.

28. San Francisco 49ers (2-6) – Somehow they can pull within a game of first place with a win this week.

29. Denver Broncos (2-6) – Renaldo Hill’s pass interference will be remembered as what started them towards a 4-12 season.

30. Buffalo Bills (0-8) – They are still a tough team to play every week.

31. Carolina Panthers (1-7) – It is hard to see them winning another game in 2010.

32. Dallas Cowboys (1-7) – Their whole team deserves to be fired along with Wade Phillips.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

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A tricky week to put together power rankings, after the NFC finally stepped up and grabbed a few victories from the AFC. The NFL just keeps getting more and more confusing each week, regardless here is what I am thinking heading into week 9, which can’t get here fast enough for Jets fans:

1. New England Patriots (6-1) – They just win football games, despite a young defense and an inconsistent running game. Beyond that, I am pretty sure Bill Belichick has acquired 102 draft picks for next season.

2. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (5-2) – I am pretty confident you could throw me in the slot for the Colts and they’d still put up 30 points a game.

3. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – They watched two of their top competitors in the AFC lose to NFC teams during their bye week.

4. New York Giants (5-2) – Seattle has always been a house of horrors for them. However if they can get a win, their schedule is very manageable the rest of the way.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) – The defending champs were desperate and made a few more plays than Pittsburgh, not a terrible loss for them.

6. Green Bay Packers (5-3) – Two straight impressive wins for Green Bay, who showed they could win a defensive struggle and take advantage of wide receivers who can’t catch the football.

7. New York Jets (5-2) – Too steep of a fall? I don’t think so. Great teams don’t get shut out at home by defenses of Green Bay’s caliber.

8. Atlanta Falcons (5-2) – They had a bye week to prepare for a huge game against the second place Bucs…who would have thought?

9. New Orleans Saints (5-3) – Did they get their swagger back with a big win over the Steelers?

10. Tennessee Titans (5-3) – Tough loss to San Diego and it won’t be easy to keep pace with the Colts, unless they get more consistent.

11. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) – They could give themselves a nice mid-season cushion in first place by beating Oakland.

12. Tampa Bay Bucs (5-2) – Let’s see how legit they are against the Falcons this week, after they failed two of their other big tests miserably.

13. Miami Dolphins (4-3) – Chance for a statement win this week in Baltimore.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) – Can Mike Vick keep the Eagles on pace with the Giants for a NFC East title?

15. Houston Texans (4-3) – Feeling like another 8-8 year for the Texans.

16. Oakland Raiders (4-4) – Oakland actually has a big game in November.

17. San Diego Chargers (3-5) – Are they ready to make their annual mid-season run?

18. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) – They just lost by 30 to Oakland and still might be the NFC West’s best team…yuck.

19. Washington Redskins (4-4) – Rex Grossman is never the answer.

20. Chicago Bears (4-3) – The crappiest team in the NFL over .500

21. St. Louis Rams (4-4) – A very impressive season so far for this young team.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) – The crappiest team in the NFL that is at least .500.

23. Arizona Cardinals (3-4) – You think they miss Kurt Warner?

24. Detroit Lions (2-5) – Yes I am beyond worried about the Jets traveling to Detroit this week.

25. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5) – Playing out the string with their cast of characters should just be a joy.

26. Cleveland Browns (2-5) – Come on Mangini, let’s get that upset over New England this week.

27. Denver Broncos (2-6) – Is it time for Tim Tebow yet?

28. San Francisco 49ers (2-6) – Sadly alive in the NFC West.

29. Minnesota Vikings (2-5) – The most talked about 2-5 team in NFL history.

30. Carolina Panthers (1-6) – I’d be shocked if they won more than 3 games this year.

31. Buffalo Bills (0-7) – At least they put up a fight every week.

32. Dallas Cowboys (1-6) – No heart, no effort. I’d be more scared of the Jets playing Buffalo or Carolina right now than Dallas.

Trying To Make Sense Out Of A Senseless NFL

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Parity is a beautiful thing in the NFL. It helps makes the slate of games every week unpredictable and always throw you an “are you ‘effing kid me” game or two each weekend. It is a large part of why a Jaguars/Titans turd fest on Monday Night Football, featuring Trent Edwards at quarterback could easily get higher rating than the Yankees and Rangers in the ALCS. I do know that through seven weeks, it is nearly impossible to see where this season is headed, particularly in the NFC.

You get a team like the Giants who look ready for 6-10 and a coaching change after back to back early losses and now they are the consensus top team in the NFC. Dallas, Green Bay, and New Orleans were easily the top three picks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl heading into season, yet could anybody pick any of those three teams with any type of confidence now? Dallas could end up with the first pick in the draft the way they are headed. The Saints can’t even keep it close against the Cleveland Browns in their own building.

The Colts have more holes than ever around Peyton Manning and keep dropping like flies. The Broncos go toe to toe with the Jets and then make the Raiders look like a a juggernaut by allowing a 59 spot to them. The Bengals and Chargers have been major disappointments.

Here is what I am thinking moving forward –

Despite the Chiefs and Seahawks looking capable of pulling away with their division, every team is alive in the AFC and NFC West with the exception of the teams in the London Bowl this week. The 49ers are completely incapable of winning a close game and are delusional with their perception of their team’s talent level and I don’t think Denver can recover from the whooping they took last week.

As much as it feels like time to bury Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings (and trust me I’d love to), they are far from out of it. The Bears are probably the worst 4-3 team I have ever seen in my life. They aren’t going to be in the mix for a playoff spot when it comes down to it. Green Bay isn’t healthy or consistent enough to pull away. In the NFC South, I do think Atlanta has the ability to pull away from the Saints if they don’t get their heads on straight now. Tampa Bay is a tough, young team who will stay around .500 and will probably amazingly stay in the wild-card race.

There are three teams across the entire NFC, I would feel confident saying are playoff teams right now: Atlanta, the Giants, and the Eagles. Yes, I saw Philadelphia lose to Tennessee last week but I think when Vick gets back and gets rolling again, they will be right there with the Giants for the NFC East title. Everything else is a crap shoot, in a conference filled with mediocrity.

Back in the AFC where things are a little clearer, the Patriots and Jets are going down to the wire for the division title and are both playoff teams. Miami is nothing more than a 8-8 team. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are going down to the wire for their division title and are both playoff teams. Cincinnati is a 6-10 team. I don’t trust the Texans and think the South will come down to the Titans and Colts, with the other team battling it out for the Ravens for that last wild card spot.

Jets New DL Jarron Gilbert

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

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Your NFL Power Rankings heading into week 8…feel free to argue, criticize, and call me names

1. New York Jets (5-1) – A healthy Darrelle Revis could push their defense closer to their 2009 production, which means their winning streak could extend well beyond 5 if you look at their upcoming schedule.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1) – They didn’t play their best game and received a little help from the referees but ultimately gutted out a nice road win against Miami.

3. New England Patriots (5-1) – They keep finding ways to win. This past week they were benefited by San Diego’s complete incompetence at winning big games or coming up with a play in a big spot. Their secondary needs to gear up for Randy Moss, who will likely have one of his “I wanna play” days in New England.

4. Tennessee Titans (5-2) – They were more impressive in knocking off the Eagles than the Ravens were in squeaking one out at home against the pitiful Bills.

5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – What happened to that defense? Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like Peyton Manning carving them up.

6. Indianapolis Colts (4-2) – Why can’t anybody on this team stay healthy? Fortunately, they still have their only player that matters and now they have a chance to avenge their week 1 loss to the Texans.

7. New York Giants (5-2) – Don’t cry Giants fans, you lost to both the Titans and Colts hence you are behind them. However, the G-Men have established themselves as the NFC’s top team at least for now.

8. Atlanta Falcons (5-2) – In the AFC, they’d be struggling to make the playoffs. In the NFC, they could looking at a bye week.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) – The Chiefs are looking more and more like they will roll to a AFC West crown. Glad to see Thomas Jones still getting the job done, as always.

10. Houston Texans (4-2) – A win in Indianapolis this week would go a long way to cementing them as a legit contender in 2010.

11. Seattle Seahawks (4-2) – Big win over the Cardinals as Seattle looking capable of running away with arguably the worst division in football.

12. Green Bay Packers (4-3) – Impressive win over the Vikings but let’s see how they compete against the Jets on the road.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) – Mike Vick has his job back now and has the ability to avoid the Giants lethal pass rush in their two huge remaining games.

14. Miami Dolphins (3-3) – You kind of need to win a home game at some point to be considered a contender in a top heavy AFC.

15. Washington Redskins (4-3) – That was an ugly, ugly win over Chicago.

16. New Orleans Saints (4-3) – What a humbling loss at home to rookie quarterback Colt McCoy and the Cleveland Browns.

17. Tampa Bay Bucs (4-2) – The Bucs are finding a way to beat the inferior teams on their schedule but you’d like to see them at least compete against the better teams on their schedule.

18. Oakland Raiders (3-4) – That was the Raiders most impressive win…since, well I can’t remember when.

19. Chicago Bears (4-3) – I don’t care that they are a game better than Oakland. The Bears have looked awful the past few weeks.

20. Arizona Cardinals (3-3) – Max Hall came back to reality in a harsh way this past week. The Cardinals will likely stay in the mix for the NFC West crown though.

21. St. Louis Rams (3-4) – Tough last second loss for a gutsy young team. They are headed in the right direction.

22. Cincinnati Bengals (2-4) – Plenty of big names and potential with no results and on field discipline.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) – It looks like things are about to get ugly in a hurry for Jack Del Rio and the Jags.

24. Minnesota Vikings (2-4) – When you watch that video of Brett Favre singing “Pants on the Ground” from last year’s playoffs, you can’t help but laugh at the irony.

25. Cleveland Browns (2-5) – Eric Mangini is always good for an upset or two every year. Unfortunately that means his teams are usually way under .500.

26. San Diego Chargers (2-5) – They have no idea how to win and are beyond banged up.

27. Denver Broncos (2-5) – I guess they were still hungover from their last second loss to the Jets.

28. Detroit Lions (1-5) – At 1-5 and down to their third string quarterback, at least the Lions play with heart.

29. Dallas Cowboys (1-5) – At 1-5, the Cowboys play with no heart and are an embarrassment to themselves.

30. Carolina Panthers (1-5) – They will play hard for John Fox the rest of the season.

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-6) – Looking forward to when the 49ers are 1-10 and people around their team are still talking about making the playoffs.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-6) – Great effort from Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills last week

TOJ Week 7 NFL Picks and Ramblings

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How about 8-4 last week? Let’s see if TOJ can keep rolling…

Lines From BetUS

Pittsburgh (-3.5) vs. Miami – I firmly believe Pittsburgh is either the best or second best team in the NFL, while Miami is en route to a 7-9 or 8-8 record. Big Ben is going to have a big day against a suspect Miami secondary, while Chad Henne is due for a few bad interceptions after a solid performance last week.

Atlanta (-3) vs.Cincinnati – Atlanta had a major let down last week, but the Bengals just aren’t a very good football team right now. What ever happened to Carson Palmer?

Kansas City (-9) vs. Jacksonville – Todd Bouman? The Jaguars have to be the worst 3-3 team in NFL history, right?

Tennessee (-3) vs. Philadelphia – I am taking the better conference in what should a hard fought, physical game.

Washington (+2.5) vs. Chicago – Sadly, these are both serious playoff contenders in the NFC.

Cleveland (+13.5) vs. New Orleans – You have to like what Colt McCoy showed in his first start. They will keep this one interesting.

Baltimore (-14) vs. Buffalo – Oh boy.

Carolina (+3.5) vs. San Francisco – As bad of a game this is, it would still get better ratings than the World Series.

Seattle (-6.5) vs. Arizona – Max Hall isn’t ready to play in Seattle just yet.

New England (+1.5) vs. San Diego – Why the hell is New England an underdog?

Denver (-8.5) vs. Oakland – Denver is a much better 2-4 than Oakland.

Minnesota (+2) vs. Green Bay – Making the NFC North even more confusing.

New York Giants (+3) vs. Dallas – Goodnight Dallas.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

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TOJ’s week 7 edition of the NFL Power Rankings, followed by some general NFL observations…as always feel free to comment on my stupidity

The Top Two

1. New York Jets (5-1) – I am giving them the leap to number one because I believe if they played their best game against Pittsburgh’s best game right now, they’d win in a close one.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) – They should really get rolling now with Ben Rothlisberger under center but didn’t look as dominant as I expected against the Browns who were giving a rookie quarterback his first start.

Just A Cut Below

3. New England Patriots (4-1) – Impressive win against the Baltimore Ravens, who never put them away. Yet if I read one more story about how happy Deion Branch is to be back in New England and how everybody there loves him, I’m going to throw up.

4. Baltimore Ravens (4-2) – You can’t be blowing 20-10 leads that late in the game. Fortunately for them, they have a bye week this week aka they are playing Buffalo.

5. Indiannapolis Colts (4-2) – As long as Peyton Manning is under center, they are the favorite in the AFC South. Austin Collie is having one hell of a year too by the way.

Best Of NFC…I Guess

6. New Orleans Saints (4-2) – If you had to bet on one NFC team going to the Super Bowl right now, it’d probably have to be New Orleans especially if they continue to run the ball like they did last week.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) – The Eagles have a problem that many teams in the NFL wouldn’t mind having. Let’s get see if they can beat a physical Tennessee team to get some momentum going.

8. Atlanta Falcons (4-2) – Laid a complete egg against the Eagles on the road.

9. New York Giants (4-2) – They have a golden opportunity to completely bury the Dallas Cowboys this Monday night.

Looking Like A Playoff Contender

10. Tennessee Titans (4-2) – A physical (dirty) team that can play defense, run the football, and has some weapons in the passing game.

11. Houston Texans (4-2) – They are a finesse (soft) team but can put up some points and have found a way to win close games this season.

12. Kansas City Chiefs (3-2) – They lost a couple of tough games in a row but still remain 1 1/2 games up in the AFC West, where nobody wants to win a game.

13. Washington Redskins (3-3) – You would have liked to see Donovan McNabb handle business on that final drive at home against the Colts.

14. Miam Dolphins (3-2) – Never easy to win in Green Bay. We’ll see how legitimate they are this week against the Steelers.

Not As Good As Their Record

15. Seattle Seahawks (3-2) – They actually won a road game. Perhaps with Marshawn Lynch on the roster and Mike Williams playing like he did at USC at receiver, they could find some consistency on offense.

16.. Chicago Bears (4-2) – Never a good sign when you can’t beat a mediocre Seattle team at home.

17. Green Bay Packers (3-3) – A little low? Maybe, but I am not sure they can overcome the mass of injuries they sustained. They are also playing sloppy, inconsistent football.

18. Arizona Cardinals (3-2) – They are right in the thick of things in the NFC West, then again so are the 1-5 49ers.

19. Tampa Bays Bucs (3-2) – As bad as a 3-2 team gets.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) – As bad as a 3-3 team gets.

Frisky

21. St. Louis Rams (3-3) – Impressive win against San Diego considering how they lost to Detroit the week before.

22. Minnesota Vikings (2-3) – Amazing how much they could be in it, if they can take care of Green Bay this week.

The AFC West Is Brutal…Bengals Aren’t Much Better

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) – A team supposed to built around their defense, that can’t stop anybody and a team that is supposed to have a high power passing attack that has a suddenly crappy quarterback.

24. Denver Broncos (2-4) – Thank you Renaldo Hill.

25. Oakland Raiders (2-4) – Just when you thought you could go an entire season without watching Kyle Boller play.

26. San Diego Chargers (2-4) – Thank you for destroying my three team tease this past weekend…and for LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie.

Bad Football Teams, Still Competitive

27. Dallas Cowboys (1-4) – They always find a way to lose.

28. San Francisco 49ers (1-5) – Still alive in the NFC West, where 7-9 just might equal a division title and home playoff game.

29. Detriot Lions (1-5) – As far as 1-5 teams go, they aren’t half bad.

30. Cleveland Browns (1-5) – Colt McCoy showed there might be hope for the future.

Cover Your Eyes

31. Carolina Panthers (0-5) – Doesn’t matter if Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen are throwing interceptions and getting sacked.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-5) – They can’t win more than 2 games this season, can they?

PhotobucketAFC East – I think the Jets are going to have a tough time pulling away from the Patriots. The December 6th match-up between the two teams is going to go a long way to determining the division winner. Prior to the season I thought Miami would be the Jets main competition, however I think they are going to catch a beat down from Pittsburgh this week and be a .500 team the rest of the season.

NFC East  – This division couldn’t be anymore wide open. The Giants always beat Dallas and will likely bury them for good this Monday night, leaving them to battle with Philadelphia and Washington. The Eagles seem like the favorite right now, with either Vick or Kolb under center but you’d like to see more consistency on both sides of the ball from them and particularly their offensive line.

AFC North  – It will be fun to watch the Steelers and Ravens slug it out for the division title down the stretch, while the other team will likely land a wild-card. I can’t take the Bengals seriously as a contender because of how bad Carson Palmer has played.  I wonder if Eric Mangini will still be the Browns coach when the Jets come into town.

NFC North – Another wide open division. It feels like the Bears will eventually fall out of it, which leaves the Packers and Vikings to fight it out. 9-7 might be good enough to take this division title.

AFC South – I am more sold on the Titans as the Colts primary competitor for a division title. Houston just isn’t physical enough to win big games in November and December.

NFC South – The Saints and Falcons will be a division race that goes right down to the wire. Tampa Bay isn’t sticking around as a competitor for the division title but could be in the wild-card mix, since you could see a 8-8 team making the playoffs in the NFC.

AFC West – Everybody is still involved in the divisional race here. I wouldn’t be shocked if Denver ended up taking it as a 9-7 team, considering they weathered the tough part of their schedule.

NFC West – Just a bunch of inconsistent, mediocre teams with questions at quarterback. At least the Rams have their franchise guy under center, but he is a rookie so it remains to be seen how he plays down the stretch.

As of right now, it really is a shame that the NFC and AFC West have to send a team to the playoffs. I am having nightmares of a wild card weekend featuring the 8-8 Bears at the 7-9 Rams, followed by the 8-8 Chiefs hosting a playoff game.