Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tripodi's Top Teams: Week 10

1(2). Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) - They had a big lead against Cincinnati only to watch it nearly evaporate in the second half. The fact that the first sentence I write about this week's top team is negative proves that this spot is likely to be a revolving door all season long.

2(4). Baltimore Ravens (6-2) - After a too-close-for-comfort victory against the Bills, the Ravens came back and shut down a decent Dolphins team that I've been overrating all season. Tonight's matchup with Atlanta will be a good barometer to measure both teams.

3(6). New York Giants (6-2) - For the second straight week the Giants destroy a terrible team and jump a team that was ahead of them and also won. They've won five games in a row and many are arguing they are the league's top team right now. I'm not ready to go there until I see them beat somebody (best win: 4-4 Houston) but this team is clicking on both sides of the ball.

4(5). New York Jets (6-2) - The Lions were the better team through three quarters but, like the bad team they still are, gift-wrapped the game for the Jets. But like the good team they still are, the Jets took advantage and Mark Sanchez took what could be a big step forward with an impressive fourth-quarter comeback. I would still like to see them move the ball better before moving them any higher than this.

5(7). Atlanta Falcons (6-2) - Atlanta took care of business against an up-and-coming division rival and breaks into this week's top five for the first time all season. I didn't think I'd see the day this season when two NFC teams were in the top five, but here we are.

6(1). New England Patriots (6-2) - They were at the top solely because they were the only one-loss team. Now that they aren't, they drop to last out of the 6-2 clubs. The Browns are improved this season but you can't allow 200 yards on the ground if you want to win, especially with a very average offense.

7(8). New Orleans Saints (6-3) - The Saints have been inconsistent this season but they showed that they can still run up the score on a listless opponent and dominate in multiple facets of the game. They've allowed just 36 points in their last four games, including three games holding opponents to 10 points or less.

8(3). Indianapolis Colts (5-3) - It seems harsh to drop the Colts five spots after losing to a good football team on the road but they were a little too high last week to begin with. Peyton Manning is not going to be happy with anything but a dismantling of the Bengals this weekend.

9(11). Green Bay Packers (6-3) - Green Bay did what teams are supposed to do against Dallas this season: win by 30-plus points. They head into their bye on a three-game winning streak and will get a chance to essentially end Minnesota's season in Week 11, but a loss could shrink their division lead to just one game.

10(10). Tennessee Titans (5-3) - The Eagles were close to taking this spot but it's hard to justify dropping a team that's fresh off a bye and just picked up some guy named Randy Moss. Not to mention they crushed the Eagles less than three weeks ago, albeit without Michael Vick. I'm curious to see if Moss can make an instant impact this week; he usually does in his first game with a new team.

11(13). Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) - Michael Vick's return almost catapulted this team back into the top 10 and it only took a week. Say what you want about him but he's a winning NFL quarterback; he's proven it before and he's doing it again now. I can't wait for Sunday Night Football in Week 11 (Eagles-Giants) but first things first; Philly needs to take care of business against a fading Redskins team this weekend.

12(9). Miami Dolphins (4-4) - Pennington will replace Henne as the team's starting Chad but this team is better than their record says; their four losses have come to four top-10 teams (New York, New England, Pittsburgh and Baltimore). That proves they aren't elite but with only three games left against top-10 teams, this team could make a run at 9-10 wins. It just may not be enough in the AFC this season.

13(18). Oakland Raiders (5-4) - Despite sitting a half-game behind the Chiefs, it's hard for me not to put them above Kansas City after their victory this weekend. Their only two wins of consequence have come against K.C. and San Diego, but those are two wins the Chiefs' resume doesn't include. If Jason Campbell keeps winning, I see no reason why he shouldn't keep the starting gig even when Bruce Gradkowski is healthy.

14(12). Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) - The Chiefs still can't beat a decent team and really need a road win against the Broncos this week to avoid falling into a tie at the top of the AFC West with the Raiders (and the Raiders own the tie-breaker). Good thing for them Denver doesn't qualify as decent.

15(NR). San Diego Chargers (4-5) - Three straight teams from the AFC West huh? As inconsistent as the Chargers have been, they have two straight wins over Tennessee and Houston and a quarterback playing like an MVP. Coming out of their bye they should have Antonio Gates closer to full strength, not to mention the return of Vincent Jackson in Week 12. If this team can shore up their issues on special teams, I think they should be the favorite to win the West. With one game left against both Oakland and Kansas City, they essentially control their own destiny.

16(15). Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3) - Raheem Morris admitted that the Bucs were no longer the NFC's best team after losing to Atlanta. Sorry Raheem, you never were. I love Josh Freeman, Mike Williams and the other young talent on this team but they just aren't there yet. Watch out next season though because these Bucs will be ready to make noise.

17(14). Houston Texans (4-4) - You can't lose at home to a battered 3-5 football team if you want to be considered a contender. A trip to Jacksonville could cure what's been ailing this passing attack but if they don't fix their own issues in the secondary, it's going to be a long week/season.

18(17). Chicago Bears (5-3) - The Bears barely hung on in Buffalo as Jay Cutler avoided mistakes against a defense that only has one interception this season. With Minnesota, Miami and Philadelphia on tap in the next three weeks, this team better get going or they're going to drop quickly out of the playoff hunt.

19(16). Washington Redskins (4-4) - How do you drop three spots without losing? You have quarterback issues, that's how. With upcoming games against the Eagles, Titans, Vikings and Giants it's now or never if Washington wants to stay in the NFC playoff picture. I think they end up 5-7 in four weeks and in the market for Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett, since I don't see Andrew Luck falling to whatever draft pick they get. I hate to say it, but it looks like the Eagles traded McNabb at just the right time.

20(19). St. Louis Rams (4-4) - Another team that fell after a bye week; how do these rankings work anyway? I have a feeling the Rams might be the only NFC West team to crack my top 20 for the rest of the season and if they somehow lose to the 49ers this week, the division won't have a representative in Week 11. Sam Bradford is hands-down the best quarterback in this division and he's only played eight career games.

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