1. New England Patriots (5-3)
Most dynamic offense in the league – maybe the history of the game – and they just brought in a highly talented corner, Aqib Talib. You don’t need an elite defense when you can put up 45 on anyone.
2. San Fransisco 49ers (6-2)
World-class talent on both sides of the ball, with the ability to stop every team in the league save one. Still don’t trust Alex Smith to lead a Drive if needed.
3. Chicago Bears (7-1)
The talking heads on TV need to quit bashing Chicago’s offense. They have two legitimate freaks on offense; how many other teams can say that?
4. Denver Broncos (5-3)
I’ll take Peyton Manning. You can have anyone else — ever.
5. Houston Texans (7-1)
Efficient killers. But take away Arian, and they’re in trouble.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
Outside of Peyton (OK and Brady), I’d take Big Ben over anyone right now. Lots of weapons + Dick LeBeau = Playoffs.
7. Atlanta Falcons (8-0)
Could you imagine this offense with a running back that could actually move? Yikes. Remains to be seen if Ryan can succeed under pressure deep in playoffs.
8. New York Football Giants (6-3)
Talents at the right spots: QB, front four, WR, coach. Championship pedigree.
9. Green Bay Packers (6-3)
Even depleted at key positions, the Pack can put up 38 on you. And you’re never out of it with A-Rog at the helm.
10. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Their game plan looks a lot like a Chinese menu: Rice, Rice and more Rice. Too much talent to not win 10+ games, but too little talent to win it all.
11. Tampa Bay Bucaneers (4-4)
Freeman is playing like we’ve been expecting him to the last couple of years, and they have dangerous weapons elsewhere. Can this defense keep good teams out of the endzone?
12. Seattle Seahawks (5-4)
Strong defense, stronger home-field advantage. Rookie Wilson has impressed.
13. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
Freeney is getting healthy (scary) and Luck is getting better each week (scarier). Not a fun team to play in Indy.
14. Miami Dolphins (4-4)
One cornerback and one receiver away from being a really good team, but those are two big pieces. Soft second-half schedule.
15. Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
A healthy Percy Harvin jumps the Vikes over Indy and Miami, but a gimpy Percy means bad news. Consistency from Ponder would mean the world to this team.
16. San Diego Super Chargers (4-4)
Really quite mediocre. But at least they have a defense, unlike…
17. New Orleans Saints (3-5)
Despite the crummy defense, Drew Brees always gives his team a chance to win, unlike…
18. Dallas Cowboys (3-5)
Sure, they have talent, but do they have heart, do they have determination, do they have the will to succeed!?!??? Well, no.
Tigers Lions (4-4)
Joique Bell, ladies and gentlemen, Joique Bell. Taco’s shitty cousin.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5)
Just enough talent, grit and determination to lose more than they win.
21. Washington Redskins (3-6)
RGIII and VI looks great, but his team’s defense does not. Meanwhile, Mike Shanahan, there is now a product on the market called “sunscreen.”
22. New York Jets (3-5)
On their way to a good house cleaning in the offseason, and I couldn’t be happier. Biased? Me!?!
23. St. Louis Rams (3-5)
Just a few
light years away from being a good team. Seriously though, they need to invest in linemen of both sides, and they’ll be better instantly.
24. Oakland Raiders (3-5)
The Miami Dolphins have traded Matt Moore to the Oakland Raiders for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 1st-round picks and three bags of Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips.
25. Carolina Panthers (2-6)
When does Ryan Kalil have to publicly apologize and/or commit hara-kiri for his Super Bowl promise?
26. Arizona Cardinals (4-5)
Is there any doubt that Larry Fitzgerald is simultaneously catching footballs and throwing darts at a Ken Whisenhunt-face dartboard as I write this?
27. Tennessee Titans (3-6)
Third in the rankings for Nashville’s Finest behind Gregg Allman and Pancake Pantry.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)
When your games are readily compared to public executions, you have a problem.
29. Buffalo Bills (3-5)
Even Chris Berman has given up on them. Meanwhile my fantasy over-draft of the year, good guy Fred Jackson, would look nice in aqua and orange. Weather’s warm down here, Fred!
30. Cleveland Browns (2-7)
I can picture it now: The London Browns! Nice ring to it.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7)
Just finished reading Michael Holly’s War Room which, among other things, is about Scott Pioli’s move to KC and his changing the culture there, improving the team and adding some much-needed stability to the franchise. Turns out the book’s a novel.
Los Angeles Jacksonville Jaguars
Bring in Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden, pay them BIG bucks, and let them do EVERYTHING. This is the only way, Jacksonville. The only way.
For more NFL, football and sports thoughts, follow me on Twitter @BenMarkus1985