Each week, we compare all 32 NFL teams using our Football Relativity comparison. On the comparison, the 10 level is reserved for the best teams, and the 1 level for the worst. We’ll note throughout where teams have moved up or down from last week.
10 – Green Bay Packers – The Packers avoided a potential land mine in Carolina with a comeback victory over Cam Newton and company. It was a solid, composed performance that proves how good they are. But they Packers lost S Nick Collins for the season, which means someone will have to step up as so many players did in 2010.
9 – New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles – The Patriots moved to 2-0 with a nice win over the Chargers. That’s important in setting the AFC pecking order. The Eagles lost in Atlanta after Michael Vick was knocked out of the game. We’ll have to see if they can rebound against the Giants to show that they’re the beasts of the NFC East.
8 – Atlanta Falcons (UP A LEVEL), Baltimore Ravens (DOWN A LEVEL), Houston Texans (UP A LEVEL), Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers – We covered the Texans’ ascent in Rise/Sink/Float. The Falcons got a big home win against the Eagles, rallying from a late 10-point deficit to do it. That’s a statement, but now Atlanta must validate it in Tampa Bay this week. The Ravens followed a huge win against the Steelers with a road loss in Tennessee. It was a disappointing let-down from them. The Steelers, meanwhile, rebounded with a shutout win over the sad-sack Seahawks to stabilize things. The Chargers shot themselves in the foot in New England, but we can’t penalize them too much for a road loss to the Pats.
7 – Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – We discussed the Buccaneers in Rise/Sink/Float. The Saints may be too low after dominating the Bears, but we’ll wait to see how New Orleans does against Houston next week before moving them. The Jets blew out the Jaguars to move to 2-0. The Bears fell to 1-1, but to avoid overreaction we’ll leave them on the same level. But they face a big home test against the Packers this week.
6 – Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins – This is the last level that contains teams we currently see as legitimate playoff contenders. The Cowboys proved to be clutch with a comeback win in San Francisco. The 2-0 Redskins at home next week will be an interesting test for Dallas. The Lions blew out the Chiefs to move to 2-0, while the Redskins eked by the Cardinals. Both teams are on the right track, although the Lions may be on a faster one.
5 -Buffalo Bills (UP A LEVEL), Jacksonville Jaguars (DOWN A LEVEL), New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams (DOWN A LEVEL) – This level marks teams that we believe can beat just about anyone on a given day but who aren’t consistent enough to get beyond .500. The Bills moved to 2-0 with a victory over the Raiders, in a game that shows that both teams have plenty of pop on offense. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bills fare against the Patriots this week. The Jaguars got blown out in New York by the Jets, and now it appears the Blaine Gabbert era will begin. While the Jags still aren’t good enough to overcome turnovers and big plays, they do have a solid recipe for winning thanks to their ground game. The Giants beat the Rams on Monday night, but the performance didn’t leave us enthused about either team all that much. Still, the 0-2 Rams have a shot at the playoffs in a weak NFC West.
4 – Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins (DOWN TWO LEVELS) – The Cardinals nearly pulled off a win in Washington, and they may deserve to be a level higher. But we’ll leave them here for now because we’re not sure they can make a run to .500. The Dolphins fell to 0-2 at home, and while we like some of their pieces, the whole isn’t equalling the parts right now.
3 – Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts (DOWN A LEVEL), Kansas City Chiefs (DOWN THREE LEVELS) – The Bengals, Browns, and Broncos each have wins, but all are against teams on this level. So it’s hard to know how legitimate those teams are, although we see signs of hope for both Ohio squads. The Colts and Chiefs are in free fall, and it’s hard to say just how far down they’ll go. Still, both teams have a little talent left from 2010 playoff squads, so we won’t give up completely. We covered the Chiefs’ unprecedented fall in Rise/Sink/Float as well.
2 – Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans (UP A LEVEL) – All four of these teams have been competitive, and the Titans and 49ers have each squeezed out a win, but ultimately these are teams we see as 4-5 win clubs. We have covered the Panthers extensively this week, including in this post. The Titans beat the Ravens at home, but we’re going to need to see a follow up before we believe. The 49ers choked up a home lead against the Cowboys to fall to 1-1. The Vikings also choked away a lead, losing to the Buccaneers after leading 17-0.
1 – Seattle Seahawks – Few teams have less hope than the Seahawks, who were shut out in Pittsburgh. It’s becoming all too clear that Tarvaris Jackson is not the answer.