Each week, we compare all 32 NFL teams using our Football Relativity tool. There are some significant shifts this week as we now have three weeks of results with which to evaluate teams. We’ll indicate as we go which teams are moving up and down from the Week 6 comparison.
10 – Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers caught a break but still ended up beating a tough Dolphins team 23-22 on the road. That’s another statement of just how good the Steelers are. The Jets were on bye, and we discussed why the Ravens maintained their spot at the top level in Rise/Sink/Float.
9 – Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New York Giants (UP A LEVEL) – The Patriots jumped out to a big lead in San Diego and then held on to get a 23-20 road win. Their offense seems to be clicking along just fine without Randy Moss. The Giants fell behind early on Monday night, but came back to win 41-35 against the Cowboys. The Giants’ defense is talented, and when they get their passing game going, they’re tough to beat. The Colts were on bye.
8 – Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints (DOWN A LEVEL), Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans (UP A LEVEL) – We discussed the Falcons’ credentials in this week’s game thoughts. The Packers are incredibly banged up, but they still pulled out a 28-24 win at home against the Vikings. With the Bears and Vikings imploding, the Packers still have a shot to take the NFC Central, which would be an accomplishment with so many players out for the year. The Saints suffered a devastating home loss to the Browns 30-17, and they are really starting to struggle. They need to turn things around lest they fall too far behind the Falcons and even the (gasp) Buccaneers in the NFC south. The Titans continued their strong play by riding a 27-point fourth quarter to a 37-19 win over the Eagles. We won’t dock the Eagles too much for losing on the road, because the Titans are one of the most impressive teams in the league right now, whether Vince Young or Kerry Collins is under center. The Texans were on bye.
7 – Kansas City Chiefs (UP A LEVEL), Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins (UP A LEVEL) – We discussed the Redskins in Rise/Sink/Float. The Chiefs took care of business against the Jaguars, and with a home game against the Bills this week, K.C. could move to 5-2 and really take control of their playoff destiny. The Dolphins fell to 0-3 at home, although their home schedule has been a murderer’s row this season. Miami is 3-3 despite a tough opening slate, and they’re a quality team that will be dangerous moving forward.
6 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (UP A LEVEL) – The Bucs may not be the NFC’s best team as head coach Raheem Morris claimed, but Tampa has shown an incredible propensity to rally late behind second-year QB Josh Freeman. That led us to make this conclusion via Twitter.
5 – Chicago Bears (DOWN A LEVEL), Dallas Cowboys (DOWN A LEVEL), Minnesota Vikings (DOWN A LEVEL), Seattle Seahawks – The Bears blew a golden chance against the Redskins, throwing four interceptions and losing 17-14 at home. The Bears are 4-3, but they haven’t played nearly as good as that record. The Cowboys not only lost a lead at home against the Giants; they lost Tony Romo to a broken collarbone. They’re now 1-5 with a backup quarterback, and that’s basically the end of their 2010 hopes. The Vikings fell to 2-4 in a close loss at Green Bay, and whether or not Brett Favre plays, they’re not performing well enough righ tnow to be contenders. A weak division means they have a chance, but that circumstance doesn’t change their shoddy performance. The Seahawks continued to ride their home field advantage in a 22-10 win over the Cardinals. If they can continue to win at home all year, they’ll win the NFC West over the Rams.
4 – Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals (DOWN A LEVEL), Denver Broncos (DOWN A LEVEL), Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers (DOWN A LEVEL), St. Louis Rams – The Cardinals lost in Seattle, and they look pretty punchless offensively, whether Max Hall or Derek Anderson is at quarterback. The Bengals rallied from one deficit vs. the Falcons but then lost their brief lead. The defense that carried them last year isn’t nearly the same this year. The Broncos can throw the ball, but they laid the biggest egg of the 2010 NFL season at home against the Raiders. That abysmal performance calls into question whether the Broncos care enough to rally out of their current hole. The Jaguars fought gamely against the Chiefs with a third-string quarterback, but ultimately they fell to a good team. The Chargers tried to rally against the Patriots but fell short when a game-tying kick clanked off the upright in the final seconds. The Chargers keep making mistakes that kill them each and every week. The Rams lost a 14-point lead against the Buccaneers. The Rams’ next step is to step up on the road, but the good news is that they’re moving in the right direction despite this loss.
3 – Cleveland Browns (UP A LEVEL), Oakland Raiders (UP A LEVEL) – Both of these teams move up after impressive road wins. The Browns used two interception returns by David Bowens and a crazy kicker to win in New Orleans, while the Raiders ran it down the Broncos’ throats en route to a 59-point outburst. How these teams build on these wins will determine how much further they rise.
2 – Carolina Panthers (UP A LEVEL), Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers (DOWN A LEVEL) – The Panthers got their first win thanks to a comeback against the 49ers that resulted in a 23-20 win. If Matt Moore can continue to perform well, the Panthers may add a few wins the rest of the season. The 49ers, meanwhile, keep dropping games and now must find some way to reverse momentum. The Lions were on bye.
1 – Buffalo Bills – The Bills performed well offensively against the Ravens, but they ultimately lost in overtime. You have to admire the Bills’ feistiness, but they just don’t have enough, especially defensively, to overcome quality teams.