Each week, we highlight three NFL teams and preview where they’ll go in the upcoming Football Relativity comparison. We’ll identify one team that’s rising, one that’s sinking, and one that’s floating at the same level. The full comparison with analysis of all 32 teams comes out Tuesday.
Rise – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Don’t look now, but the trend of worst to first in the NFC South isn’t the crazy thought it was a few weeks ago. Tampa is off to a 2-0 start, and second-year QB Josh Freeman built off last week’s come-from-behind victory with a two-touchdown day against the Panthers in a 20-7 road win. Even better, the Bucs’ rebuilt defense handled the Panthers. Tampa Bay looks like it could be a dangerous team on a weekly basis, and maybe – just maybe – a run at a playoff berth is possible.
Sink – Minnesota Vikings – Losing at New Orleans in the opener was forgivable, but blowing a home game, even against a quality team like the Dolphins, is a danger sign. So we’re officially registering our concern after the Vikings 14-10 loss. Minnesota has totaled just 19 points in two weeks, so even though they’ve played pretty good defense, they’re losing games. Plus, Green Bay is a juggernaut, and the Bears are off to a good start, leaving the Vikes two games behind both teams in the NFC North. The Vikings look like a borderline playoff team, nothing more, and that’s not what they planned to be when the season opened.
Float – Atlanta Falcons – We didn’t move the Falcons down after last week’s loss to the Steelers, and we’re not moving them up after a 41-7 blowout win over the Cardinals. It’s a good sign that the Falcons could destroy a lesser team, and a better sign that Michael Turner’s groin injury isn’t serious, but we’re not ready to move the Falcons into the league’s elite because of it. Atlanta needs to show some consistency before we know who the Falcons really are.