Each Monday, we’ll look at 3 teams that are rising, sinking, and floating in our Football Relativity comparison. We’ll update the full comparison tomorrow.
Rise – Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals keep bouncing between 6 and 7 on our comparison, which is ping-pong between those teams that should make the playoffs and those teams that could make the playoffs but have fatal flaws. The Cardinals still are flawed, but they have shown the ability to go on the road and win. And that means, despite their failings at home, they’re going to be tough to beat in the NFC West. Their 41-21 victory in Chicago was an impressive bounce back from last week’s home meltdown against the revenge-minded Panthers.
Sink – Baltimore Ravens – After losing to the Bengals 17-7 (and for the second time this season), we can no longer assert that the Ravens are true contenders in the AFC North. The defense, which played without stud DE Haloti Ngata in this game, just isn’t the same this year, and that makes the Ravens susceptible even with an improving offense. And the Bengals, like the Steelers, are just as physical as Baltimore (if not moreso), which takes away the big advantage the Ravens have had over much of this decade. Baltimore could still make the playoffs, but they’ll have to hope for a wild card to do so, and it will be an uphill climb along the way.
Float – Houston Texans – The Texans missed an opportunity in a 20-17 loss in Indianapolis, but there’s still no shame in losing a road game to the Colts. Houston is a playoff contender, but at 5-4 they’ll need a few breaks along the way. Still, they can go into their bye week knowing that they’ve had a good enough first half to make the second half of the season matter.