Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams.
Rise – Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals took care of business in Seattle, taking an early lead and then getting two return touchdowns to run away with a 34-12 win. That’s an impressive victory, given the travel, Seattle’s rabid home crowd, and the Bengals’ reputation. At 5-2, the Bengals are a legitimate playoff contender, and if they can steal a game from the Ravens or Steelers, they’ll suddenly be in the thick of the AFC North race.
Sink – New Orleans Saints – After a dominating 62-7 home victory over the Colts in Week 7, the Saints fell behind the Rams in St. Louis and couldn’t mount a comeback. The 31-21 loss exposes the biggest problems with the Saints – the defense. Coordinator Gregg Williams’ attacking style is great when you’re playing with a lead, but it leaves you vulnerable in a way that doesn’t work as well when you’re trying to climb out of a hole. That’s the reason we didn’t bank on the Saints as a legitimate Super Bowl contender before the season; it’ll be interesting if this problem turns its ugly head again.
Float – Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens trailed the Cardinals at home 24-3 late in the first half, but rallied to take a 30-27 win. That wasn’t a great performance, especially the week after a stinker in Jacksonville. But it keeps the Ravens in position leading up to a key Week 9 game in Pittsburgh. If the Ravens can win this week and sweep the Steelers, they’ll be in pole position for not only the division title but a bye.