|NFL Power Rankings|
Arizona Cardinals (7-8)Sorry, but an OT victory over Atlanta gets them raised zero positions. I know that a lot of Cardinal fans who are still awake at this point in the column will be upset. Please send all negative responses to either Andrew Perloff, Paul Forrester or your state senator who takes such things seriously.
Detroit Lions (7-8)Now Kevin Jones is lost with a torn ACL, his return not expected until training camp is underway. So where do you go heading into the draft? A runner? O-lineman? Certainly not another wideout, for God's sake! How about a DB? The Lions are not really high enough in the draft to go for a franchise quarterback, especially since that overworked term is meaningless, referring to this nebulous position. This thing about building a team -- again -- isn't easy, is it?
Chicago Bears (6-9)Not excited about their quarterback, are you? You know how many QB's the Bears have had in the Pro Bowl in the last 50 years? Two. Jim McMahon in the '85 season, Billy Wade in '63. Both years, you might recall, ended in championships.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-9)If someone would have told me that Cincy was going to upset Cleveland, I'd have figured the score to be something like 34-31, and I'd have 320 or so yards for Carson Palmer. Not likely. Browns QB Derek Anderson's four picks gave them the game, and Palmer still can't buy a good day, statistically, unless you call 11-for-21 for 115 yards and two INTs good.
San Francisco 49ers (5-10)An old Niners fan I've known since my Stanford days said that after two straight wins this team is really coming on. "Ready to make its move," he said. He said it over the phone because where he is they don't allow him sharp writing implements nor computer-type appliances.
New York Jets (3-12)Chad Pennington against the Titans looked smoother than Kellen Clemens, but, unfortunately, both interceptions were the result of something Chad can't control -- lack of velocity on the ball.
Oakland Raiders (4-11)JaMarcus Russell finally earned a start. His relief action against Jacksonville (7-for-23 with three picks and a two-yard TD six seconds before the final whistle) gets him the nod against San Diego. Right now he's got a shot at the all-time record for lowest passer rating points by a $61 million player.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-11)Eight straight losses. Jared Allen, another two sacks. He makes all-pro picking a pleasure, also easy.
Baltimore Ravens (4-11)Casualty reports are now in, following the loss to Seattle. Both cornerbacks, still out. Ditto both tight ends. Ray Lewis, out. New casualty: Willis McGahee with two broken ribs. It's time for Sgt. Markoff, played by Brian Donlevy, to send another legionnaire up to the tower. Come on, you old timers, what movie? Take a few minutes. Right! Beau Geste. "My God, that's 100 years old," says The Flaming Redhead. Be fair, honey, it's only 68 years. A mere blip in the chronicle of mankind.
St. Louis Rams (3-12)I watched their game against the Steelers to get a look at what could be a U.S. (Ultimate Sleeper) all-pro, FS Oshio Atogwe. The week before, against the Packers, he came up with two picks and showed a remarkable break to the ball, from centerfield to sideline, on one of them. He also jumped a short crossing pattern, missed, and allowed a 44-yard TD. Hmmm. Against the Steelers, my slate on him was a blank. Never involved in much of anything. I've got earlier games I haven't studied yet. Will St. Louis vs. Arizona tell me anything? I guess so. I guess I'll watch it. I guess this season is wearing me out.
Atlanta Falcons (3-12)Their stirring OT battle against the Cards got them out of the cellar. And I'm moving on, before I find anything to spoil this good news.
Miami Dolphins (1-14)In the next world, they'll upset the Patriots and halt New England's unbeaten streak. That'll be right after I watch Jack Johnson outpoint Muhammad Ali in my Greatest Next World Fights series.