What an exciting weekend of NFL football. FROM START TO FINISH. The 4 or 5 great teams are separating themselves from the rest of the pack. The worst teams in the NFL are pretty much determined and the 15 or 16 teams that aren’t going anywhere are evident and identical at this point. I love the 1/4 mark of the season. Things become clearer:
1. New York Giants.
Again. I say it every week, but Best Offensive Line + Best Defense + Best Running Game + Top 5 QB = Best Team in the NFL. 4-0, regardless of opponents, lands them #1 until they are unseated. And yes, the next two teams are extremely close.
2. Minnesota Vikings.
They are solid all around. Favre is playing well FOR NOW. We know that won’t last all season. Adrian Peterson is the best RB in the NFL. Their defense is a bit overrated, however. They get it done with Kevin Williams (Pat is overrated — just fat), Jared Allen is a machine at RE (Edwards is nothing to speak of at LE) and Antione Winfield is the most underrated CB in the NFL — has been for years. HOWEVER, their pass defense is poor and susceptible to big plays. That is probably the sole reason (apart from Favre’s inevitable killer INTs) why they can’t be #1.
3. Indianapolis Colts.
Man oh man, Peyton continues to prove why he is the best QB in the NFL (his brother and Drew Brees are the only ones playing at his level as of Week 5 in 2009). Whoever the Colts trot out there at WR, Peyton makes them look good (Garçon, for instance). The running game has not been explosive, but it gets the job done. The Colts are opportunistic on defense. They win. That’s all that matters.
4. New Orleans Saints.
Explosive as all hell on offense. They fly around and are opportunistic on defense. However, they have tons of holes on both sides of the ball. Their defense can be scored upon by great QBs and their offense appears to be one-dimensional with no-names at running back. BUT, they win.
8. New England Patriots.
Whatever. They should be 1-3. Buffalo had them beat and with the aide of two of the most BOGUS roughing the passer penalties I’ve seen this decade, they managed to “win” in Week 4.
9. New York Jets.
Nothing to hang their heads for. Actually shut down a vaunted Saints’ offence. Only Sanchez’ rookie mistakes, which will happen, were the difference. They played the Saints neck and neck otherwise.
10. Houston Texans.
Texans’ MO: Score a ton against good teams. Give up a ton to good teams. Score a ton on bad teams. Give up nothing against bad teams. That simple formula yields 2/3 percentages. .667 is a good winning percentage in the NFL and if they manage that this year, it would be the Texans’ best season and a Wild Card berth, since the Colts are going to win that division.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers.
They miss Polamalu, but otherwise, they are fine.
13. Philadelphia Eagles.
We will be waiting all season for this supposedly “unstoppable” offense. Yes, on paper, those names look great and if they’re healthy, yes, they are formidable. Their defense has more holes than ever. They can’t win it all with that defense. They are the Saints North.
16. Atlanta Falcons.
Nothing special here. They don’t kill themselves, but they’re not a good road team and that will land them in this precise spot when the season ends (i.e. last team in the playoff wild card in the NFC).
18. Arizona Cardinals.
The OTHER underachieving team of the year with San Diego. You have two STUDS at WR and the best slot WR in the NFC and you can’t score against average defenses?
19. Miami Dolphins.
Blew out the Bills — in MY face.
24. Buffalo Bills.
Edwards just can’t cut it. He looked good in the preseason, but there’s no excuse for this with his weapons. Dick Jauron sucks as a coach, though. Owens won’t blow up like everyone predicts, however.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
When you suck like Tampa does, you have to play to win the game. Coach Morris doesn’t appear to have a set of brass ones, as evidenced by his decisions late in the Redskins game Week 4.
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