1. Minnesota Vikings – THE GOOD – Vikings look like the most complete team right now which is why they’re at the #1 spot for the first time this year. Their only loss came to the Steelers, where they looked like the better team. D-line is tenacious, Favre is playing great, run game looks great. Secondary is playing well. Vikes run defense is great. THE BAD – The biggest question mark remains unanswered – Will Favre hold up through the long haul? Defense still has lapses where they don’t look great. CONTENDER? Yep.
2. New Orleans Saints – THE GOOD – Another week, another win. The Saints fall to #2 for the first time this year. The reason? Too many close games and come from behind victories against inferior opponents recently. Brees is playing great, although he had a below average game against the Rams. Offense is guaranteed to score over 20 points in virtually every game. THE BAD – Defense still gives up yards and points, the team barely beat a bad Rams team. Defense is starting to show some leaks, the Rams had over 400 yards of offense. CONTENDER? Yes.
3. New England Patriots – THE GOOD – Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. Offense is really coming on strong. Defense plays bend but don’t break better than just about any other defense right now. Gameplanning is excellentThe team leaps over the Colts in the rankings even though they lost. The reason? Simply because they looked like a better team for most of the game. THE BAD – Defense definitely isn’t dominant (it may not have to be, though). Belichick outsmarted himself and Sunday and it cost the Pats a win. CONTENDER? Yep, frankly they look like the team to beat in the AFC right now, even though the Colts will probably get the #1 seed.
4. Indianapolis Colts – THE GOOD – Manning continues to be the Colts offense and is doing a good job at carrying the load so far. Defense is playing well at times. THE BAD – The Colts and their defense showed some serious weaknesses against the Pats, even they beat New England they fall in the rankings. No one can convince me that at this point the Colts are a better team than the Pats after Sunday’s game. Run game is still meek. Run defense is still a problem. With the Pats focusing on Dallas Clark, the Colts offense struggled at times. CONTENDER? Yep.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – THE GOOD – Bengals fans have to be loving this season so far with the Bengals sweeping the Ravens and Steelers. Defense is playing lights out right now. Offense is buying into the new ball-control style of running the ball and throwing it here and there. THE BAD – This team is relying heavily on their defense, the offense doesn’t score a lot of points and isn’t that explosive. CONTENDER? Yep, although the offense needs to improve if the Bengals are going to go deep into the playoffs.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers – THE GOOD – After a close, tough loss to the Bengals, the Steelers fall in the rankings. O-line is still playing well. Defense is keeping opponents to low scores. THE BAD – The coaching on this team is a real question mark outside of DC Dick Lebeau. Offense isn’t consistent, gameplanning is suspect. Defense isn’t as dominant as last year. CONTENDER? Yep.
7. San Diego Chargers – THE GOOD – Don’t look now but here comes everyone’s favorite AFC underachievers, the Chargers. Rivers is playing great, LT seems to be coming on all the sudden. Defense is playing well at times. THE BAD – Defense was shredded by McNabb on Sunday. Defense, and secondary in particular, doesn’t really look that good right now. Norv Turner is still the head coach. CONTENDER? Doubtful, defense has too many holes and Turner is the head coach.
8. Arizona Cardinals – THE GOOD – Kurt Warner continues to up put great numbers when playing well. Offense can be explosive. Defense continues to play well AT TIMES. There’s talent here and there. THE BAD – The defense looked very spotty against an average Seahawks offense. Questionable coaching at times. CONTENDER? Same as last week, who the hell knows, I don’t even think the Cardinals know. It’s hard picturing them getting past the Saints or Vikes to get to the Super Bowl, though.
9. Green Bay Packers – THE GOOD – Packers have been playing better of late. Rodgers continues to put up solid numbers. Defense is looking really good at times. CB Charles Woodson is playing great. Running game is looking good. THE BAD – O-line might be slightly improved but still doesn’t look that great. Defense still has some weaknesses. CONTENDER? Doubtful, but with an relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, the Packers could use the big win against the Cowboys as momentum going into the 2nd half of the season.
10. Dallas Cowboys – THE GOOD – Even though the Cowboys lost, Romo put up decent numbers. Defense continues to play well for the most part. THE BAD – Romo reverted back to his choker moniker status by having a couple very costly turnovers against the Packers. Coaching continues to be a huge question mark. For most of the game, the Cowboys were either tied or down only by 3 points on Sunday but only ran the ball a total of 11 times not counting the 3 scrambles by Romo. That made no sense at all. CONTENDER? Not yet, and they probably won’t be until they get a new head coach (and maybe QB).