And down the stretch we come, 2/3 of the season completed and only a 1/3 to go. Teams continue to jockey for playoff positions, while others may be jockeying for future draft picks. My ratings are based on how good I think the teams are as opposed to a ranking of records. So here we go. The videos don't have much to do with the rankings, I just thought they were funny.
1. New Orleans Saints - The Monday Night domination was very impressive. Maybe even more impressive than Brees and the offense was the play of the defense and how they shut down Tom Brady. Everybody talks about how great Drew Brees is, but he has never won a meaningful playoff game, he will definitely get his chance this year.
2. Minnesota Vikings - Will Favre break down in the second half? That is the major question. Whether it be AP, the passing attack, or the overall defense, the Vikings are clicking on all cylinders, and it looks like a Super Bowl-esque potential NFC Championship Game.
3. Indianapolis Colts - I'm really starting to hate this team and their miracle 4th quarter comebacks. The defense is pretty shaky in my opinion. I can see the Colts being 15-1 or 14-2 and losing their first playoff game. Peyton Manning just doesn't always show up in big games.
4. New England Patriots - They should have beat Indy and then looked terrible against New Orleans. It's tough to get a good read on them. Definitely not as good as the 2007 squad, but would you want to play these guys in the playoffs?
5. Dallas Cowboys - Same thing every year. A great start in the first half of the regular season, but what happens next? Do you trust these softies in a meaningful January game?
6. San Diego Chargers - The super-Chargers are so hot right now that I thought of putting them higher, but I just can't forget how bad they looked against the Steelers a few weeks back. Norv Turner is such an awful coach, but the Chargers definitely have the ability and the playmakers to make a serious Super Bowl run.
7. Philadelphia Eagles - Another team that's tough to read. It seems like it's either a quick strike or nothing for these guys. I probably trust them more than Dallas in the playoffs, but it will be an uphill battle for the Eagles to dethrone either New Orleans or Minnesota.
8. Cincinnati Bengals - Sweeping both the Steelers and Ravens is quite impressive, but do you think these guys want to see Pittsburgh again in the playoffs? Like Indy, they will probably be one and done come January.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers - Injuries, injuries, and more injuries, not to mention some very poor fourth quarter play. The defense is certainly weaker than last year, but they have been without Polamalu. The offense has been upgraded from a year ago. Ben improves yearly, the offensive line is better, Mendenhall is an upgrade from Parker, and Mike Wallace has been an adequate replacement, if not a better player, than Nate Washington. If the Steelers gather it together and close strong, they could have another deep playoff run. If they have another Kansas City hiccup, they could be on the outside looking in.
10. Arizona Cardinals - The other 2008 Super Bowl participant. The offense might be better than a year ago with an improved running game, and they gained a lot of experience after last year's magical run. Can they repeat it? Like Philly, the pieces seem to be in place, but the teams at the top, NO and Minn, seem so strong.
11. Baltimore Ravens - Definitely not as good as last year. Ray Rice is a future star, but the defense is certainly aging. Probably good enough to make the playoffs, but the schedule makers have done them no favors.
12. New York Giants - What happened to this team? They seemed so strong early with great line play and some solid playmakers. Do they miss Plaxico? Is Eli Manning even that good? Probably on the outside looking in, in terms of the NFC Playoffs.
13. Green Bay Packers - A very solid team with good playmakers on both sides of the ball. The NFC playoffs looks stacked, and I'll be surprised if they even win a game in January.
14. Atlanta Falcons - A solid team that was due for a step back to the mean after last year's surprise. The Falcons are a team that nobody really wants to play, but probably a squad that will miss the playoffs.
15. Denver Broncos - I wasn't a believer, then I was, then I wasn't, now what? They have positioned themselves well for a playoff spot but will certainly be a one and done postseason participant.
16. Tennessee Titans - Everybody talks about Vince Young, but it's all about Chris Johnson and a healthy defense. 0-6 is probably too big of a hole to come back from since another loss pretty much eliminates you, but nobody wants to play this team right now.
17. Miami Dolphins - The Chad Pennington injury was blessing since Chad Henne is probably better. The Dolphins are a good solid 500 type team that probably has zero chance for a playoff spot.
18. Houston Texans - What a joke, this team is always hyped up. What do you expect from a team with no defense, a terrible coach, and a quarterback that has won jack?
19. Carolina Panthers - Speaking of awful quarterback play. Does Bill Cowher coach here next year? If you match up a solid QB with this running game and that defense, the Panthers would be pretty strong.
20. Washington Redskins - The laughing stock of the league. They have actually played ok recently. The defense is pretty solid. I feel bad for Jason Campbell, as he has some promise but his offensive line is terrible and his playmakers are old washed-up has-beens like Antwan Randle-El, Santana Moss, and Clinton Portis.
21. San Francisco 49ers - I guess they are moving in the right direction. But it seems like the Niners are a few years away from serious contention.
22. Chicago Bears - I think Jay Cutler is getting a bad rap. The defense has always been overrated and just plain out sucks this year. What happened to the "great" Matt Forte? Lovie Smith is a terrible coach who just looks clueless on the sidelines. Jay Cutler has not done much in this league, but the potential is there. The expectations were just way too high this year.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars - How is this team still in the playoff race? David Garrard is "ok" at best and the defensive glory days are long gone. Elimination type game this weekend with Houston.
24. New York Jets - Darrelle Revis is awesome and one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, but I just despise Rex Ryan and love seeing these guys lose. With him at the helm, the Jets will be doing a lot of that.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Has this team ever recovered from their Super Bowl loss to the Steelers? I think Matt Hasselback is underrated, but Jim Mora Jr. is just a dreadful coach.
26. Buffalo Bills - Ever since the early-1990s, it has been easy for me to root for the Bills. A blue-collar type small market team, but since those early 90s glory days, they just lose and lose.
27. Kansas City Chiefs - How did this team beat the Steelers. The defense is horrendous and wasn't Matt Cassel a backup in college? Isn't Todd Haley gay as well?
28. Oakland Raiders - It's easy to root for Brad Gradkowski, but that's about it. If the Steelers lose to these bums, that won't be good.
29. St. Louis Rams - Steven Jackson, that's about all they have going for them.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I'm glad they canned Jon Gruden, because he is definitely an upgrade from Tony Kornheiser on MNF. The Buccaneers probably want him back though.
31. Detroit Lions - Beating the Browns on the last play of the game, at home, is not a great thing.
32. Cleveland Browns - Their best player this year, Shaun Rogers, is now out for the season. Who do they draft next year? A quarterback? Sam Bradford? Jimmy Clausen? Another position? What direction is this car going in? It should probably just drive off a cliff.