Here is our Football Relativity comparison after Week 10. We’ve noted where we have moved teams up or down from the Week 9 comparison.
10 – Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints – Both of the league’s undefeated teams had close shaves this week, with the Colts rallying to win an epic matchup over New England and the Saints holding off the Rams. Neither team is perfect, but they both keep getting it done.
9 – Cincinnati Bengals (UP A LEVEL), Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers – The Bengals took control of the AFC North by winning in Pittsburgh and show that they are for real. The Steelers shouldn’t be penalized harshly for losing to this good of a team. The Vikings took care of business against the Lions and are cruising to a first-round bye. The Pats blew a chance in Indy, which should cost them a playoff bye week, but they are still a very scary team to face.
8 – San Diego Chargers – The Bolts took over first place in the AFC West, and they are in full stride now. Considering how much better the Chargers usually play in the second half of the season, they are really emerging as an AFC threat. The defense is showing signs of life, and Philip Rivers is a top-5 quarterback in the league now.
7 – Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons (DOWN A LEVEL), Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys (DOWN A LEVEL), Denver Broncos (DOWN A LEVEL), Houston Texans, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles – The Texans and Giants both took their byes with 5-4 records. Arizona had a solid home win against the Seahawks, thus firming up their hold on the NFC West. Denver had a bad loss in Washington and now has major questions both on defense and at quarterback with Kyle Orton ailing. Dallas looked awful at Green Bay, which is troubling because the Cowboys so often collapse down the stretch. Atlanta lost at Carolina, continuing the Falcons’ rep as a team that can’t win on the road. Philly lost at San Diego, which is no shame but does say that the Eagles aren’t a special team. Baltimore looked awful but got the job done in Cleveland to stay in the playoff hunt.
6 – Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins – The Packers got a much needed home win against Dallas, which restarts their playoff push. Miami narrowly avoided disaster at home against the Bucs. Miami isn’t a great team, but they are tough and could still make some trouble for contenders down the road.
5 – Carolina Panthers (UP A LEVEL), Chicago Bears (DOWN A LEVEL), Jacksonville Jaguars (UP A LEVEL), New York Jets (DOWN A LEVEL), San Francisco 49ers (UP A LEVEL) – The Jags won at the Jets in a battle to stay above .500. Jacksonville is inconsistent, but at their best they can be playoff-caliber. The Jets, meanwhile, are in a downward spiral to the point that the playoffs look more and more unrealistic for them. San Fran beat Chicago, leaving both teams 4-5. The Niners have a supertough defense, but the offense struggles to score points. That’s going to end up being the Niners’ fatal flaw. Chicago hasn’t gotten a complete game from the offense and defense in quite a while. The Bears have sons talent, but not enough to overcome the mistakes they’ve been making on both sides of the ball. Carolina has fought back to 4-5, and even though they can’t really throw the ball they are a dangerous opponent. The playoffs are still a long shot, but Carolina has brought a postseason berth back within the realm of possibility.
4 – Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans – Vince Young moved to 3-0 as a starting QB in the Titans’ win over Buffalo. More importantly, Tennessee has gotten healthy enough on defense to at least be representative. Seattle lost at Arizona, showing once again that while they are better than a bad team, they aren’t good enough to overcome quality opponents.
3 – Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins (UP A LEVEL) – It was no surprise the Bills lost in Tennessee. Buffalo just isn’t good enough to beat a halfway decent team, especially on the road. The Redskins showed signs of life by beating Denver at home. Washington has a decent defense, and Jason Campbell has been playing better since Sherman Lewis took over as play caller. There might be a glimmer of hope in this situation after all.
2 – Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams (UP A LEVEL), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (UP A LEVEL) – The Lions lost at Minnesota. Now this week’s home game vs. Cleveland shapes up as Detroit’s best chance for a second win in 2009. K.C. got revenge by winning in Oakland, but they must now return home without Dwayne Bowe, their biggest offensive threat. St. Louis lost to New Orleans, but the Rams move up as they become competitive more consistently. Tampa has looked much better in rookie QB Josh Freeman’s two starts, which is a positive sign for the future.
1 – Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders – Cleveland has the league’s worst offense, so even when the Browns play OK defensively as they did against Baltimore, they have no chance. The Raiders blew a home game vs. Kansas City and look basically hopeless as well.