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Power Rankings

Let's get right to it.

From a reader we'll call C.S. is my favorite site, and I enjoy your column every week. I mean, you're no Chase Stuart because he's the greatest guy who ever lived…but you're not too shabby. Unfortunately, you accidentally ranked the Bengals as the 2nd best team in the NFL. Cincinnati beat Cleveland (#28 on your list), Houston (#32), Minnesota (#22) and Chicago (#25). Now I think the Bengals are improved, and I like the Cincinnati D -- but #2? The Steelers are the class of that division, and I don't expect the Bengals to make the playoffs. On the other hand, good call not ranking the Jets in the high 20s like other sites. They still have an excellent defense, and the offense will come around. They were only a few plays away from being 3-1.

Well, as it turned out Cincinnati dropped the Sunday night affair in Jacksonville so their ranking has been adjusted accordingly. Still much like your Jets were a few plays from being 3-1, the Bengals were a relatively easy score away from being 5-0. I understand they beat up on lesser competition, but that in no way diminishes what they've done to this point. You can only beat who you play, right? As for Pittsburgh being the class of the division, time will certainly tell on that one. I loved Cincinnati coming into the season, and until this week, hadn't seen a valid reason to drop them.

As for the Jets, I'm a little confused why I'm being congratulated on not having them in the high 20s. After all, I had them at 21. Last I checked, 21 was in the high-20s. I'm guessing you aren't too good at math (wink, wink). Still, I'll accept praise whenever I can get it because my ego, like Corey Simon, needs to be fed on a regular basis.

From a reader named Paul G
Cincinnati #2? What color is the sky in your world? Are the Bengals playing well? Yes. Are they a much-improved team? Yes. Should they be ranked higher than Atlanta or Philly? NO WAY! The Bengals have played absolutely no one and struggled to beat the Texans. Top-five teams dismantle the weak teams in the league; they don't squeak by! Denver is 3-1, their opponents average rank is 12, and their only loss came to a team you have rated as #9 - explain to me how Cincinnati can be ranked ahead of Denver?

The other top-5 teams in the rankings last week include three teams who now have two losses to Cincinnati's one. I understand your point about wanting the top teams to beat up on the inferior ones. But isn't it better to barely squeak by and still win, rather than blow out inferior teams and then lose to middle-of-the-road ones?

As for the Denver question, I admittedly was slow to warm to them. I didn't quite know what to make of them at the outset, because they got blown out by a Miami team that I had expected would stink. So, naturally, I took awhile to justify that that loss was simply a normal loss to a relatively good team. I was biasing Denver's wins due to what I felt was a terrible loss. With Miami now showing they are a quality opponent, that loss doesn't look so bad. Therefore, you'll see that Denver received a well-deserved significant boost in this week's rankings. The fact that Cincinnati is still rated ahead of Denver this week is because of several factors. One, I loved Cincinnati coming into the season as an AFC Championship Game contender, and I've seen nothing to change my mind on that. And two, Miami went out and laid an egg against Buffalo this week. If Miami reverts to the form that I had expected from them (about a 6-10 season), then Denver losing to them will not look good. Still, as long as the Broncos keep winning, they'll keep elevating.

And finally, the e-mail of the week, coming to us courtesy of a reader named Steven M. The subject of the e-mail was "How did you get your job?" I expected it'd be some fresh-out-of-college kid asking how he could go about working for a fantasy site. I thought, 'Cool, just a few years ago I was the one writing to fantasy sites asking how I could go about working for one of them, and now I can help this guy out'. Then I read the e-mail.

As poor as yor inglish are, ah wonder how ewe even rite eny colum. EVER RE-READ ANY? You should be embarrassed, much less tell anyone, anything. Or am I falling for the joke? Also, even deciphering, you must be somebody's homer, though it may take a while to determine who. Honestly, has your editor seen this? Ar duz he think uts a gud rite? If Michael Campbell was your only worthy e-mail.... well that speaks for itself.

Fine, I admit it! Michael Campbell isn't real, OK? He's a figment of my imagination! I judge how good of a job I'm doing based on how much e-mail I receive each week. There were no e-mails last week, and I was so embarrassed that I made one up.

But yeah, I'm actually a Chargers fan. Not a homer, because I live in Jersey. But yeah, I'm a fan of the Bolts…out of the closet and everything. I try not to let that play into my rankings, and to this point I've never been accused of moving them too far up in the rankings. If anything, I force myself to keep them lower than maybe they should be, for fear that I'll overestimate them.

As for my writing style, I'm with you that it's pretty rambling and wordy and my sentences are sometimes run-ons because I just start writing and don't really feel like stopping so all of my thoughts seem to run together into one long paragraph that seemingly has no end so by the time you're finished reading even one sentence it feels like you just got through a book. But basically, I write the way I speak…if it's too confusing to follow along, I apologize. In any event, thanks for reading!

Any other comments/questions/complaints/death threats should be e-mailed to me at the following address: If selected, your e-mail will appear in this space next week.

Rk - Team Name - Record (Last week)

  1. Indianapolis Colts 5-0 (1)
    No reason to change anything at the top.
  2. New England Patriots 3-2 (5)
    Back in the second spot after an impressive offensive display against the powerful Falcons.
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers 3-1 (6)
    The Bus is back = Good news for Steelers, Bad news for FWP.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals 4-1 (2)
    If not for their MVP candidate fumbling the ball on that last drive, does anyone think they weren't going to score the game-winning touchdown?
  5. Atlanta Falcons 3-2 (3)
    Losing two defensive starters and nearly being guaranteed a banged-up Vick on a weekly basis are not good recipes for success.
  6. Philadelphia Eagles 3-2 (4)
    Try not to look, but I think the city of Philadelphia just collectively threw up.
  7. Denver Broncos 4-1 (10)
    It's about time they got their due. While some undoubtedly feel this is way too late in coming, they should be in the top-10 for quite some time.
  8. Washington Redskins 3-1 (7)
    They were right there against another quality opponent, and were really done in by very isolated plays…just like they beat Dallas because of isolated plays. So in other words, those cancel out and now they're simply a solid 3-1 football team.
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-2 (12)
    I guess Hyde stayed on the bench this week.
  10. Dallas Cowboys 3-2 (13)
    Not that they had no shot to win, but wow did I not see that coming, or what!
  11. San Diego Chargers 2-3 (11)
    Tough home loss to one of the AFC's stud teams won't drop you too far down. But good teams find a way to pull those games out.
  12. Seattle Seahawks 3-2 (14)
    They should get to 4-2 heading into Week 7 and that might just about wrap up the horrid NFC West.
  13. Miami Dolphins 2-2 (9)
    They had two weeks to prepare, and THAT was the showing? Hmmm, could this top-10 stay be a very brief one?
  14. Carolina Panthers 3-2 (15)
    400 yards to Josh McCown huh? Yup, it's pretty obvious that we've all overestimated this D.
  15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-1 (8)
    Normally, one bad loss wouldn't drop a team like a rock, but I've had a bad feeling about the undefeated start since…well, since it started.
  16. New York Giants 3-1 (16)
    Good thing the Giants locked up Jeremy Shockey to a long-term deal. I mean, where would they be without his calming presence, professional demeanor, and dynamite hands?

    In other news, Happy Opposite Day everybody!

  17. Kansas City Chiefs 2-2 (17)
    The key to one of my fantasy teams this year rests in the health of a 320-pound man named Willie. Incidentally, the Chiefs' hopes rest on that same man.
  18. Saint Louis Rams 2-3 (18)
    Mike Martz probably developed heart trouble from watching himself coach.
  19. Oakland Raiders 1-3 (19)
    After seeing what Pittsburgh did to the Chargers' secondary last week, you can bet that Randy Moss and co. are salivating over this one.
  20. New York Jets 2-3 (21)
    With the remaining schedule, 9-7 is not out of the question. Right, I know - not really what Jet fans are dying to hear.
  21. Minnesota Vikings 1-3 (22)
    If you (I) drafted the Vikings defense in any of your (my) leagues, then this is about the only week for you (me) to use them.
  22. Buffalo Bills 2-3 (24)
    Wow, incredible things happen when your QB can actually throw the football.
  23. Detroit Lions 2-2 (26)
    Alright, finally! We Kevin Jones owners can start gearing up for our impending league championships now.
  24. Cleveland Browns 2-2 (28)
    Expect this team to show continued improvement throughout the season, and a top-20 finish is a possibility.
  25. Tennessee Titans 1-3 (27)
    I just went to check out the Titans' remaining schedule on Yahoo, and there is a Victoria's Secret ad featuring Tyra Banks right next to the schedule listing. And I'd like to take this opportunity to say that her TV show stunt was about the most sexless, pointless, waste of a good idea that I've ever seen.
  26. Baltimore Ravens 1-3 (20)
    Twenty-one penalties? TWENTY-ONE?!? I'm sorry, but if I'm Brian Billick, I'm getting my resume together. He's going to need it ready in about 11-12 weeks.
  27. Chicago Bears 1-3 (25)
    Even a stellar defense is going to crack every now and then. And when the passing offense can do NOT A SINGLE THING…
  28. Arizona Cardinals 1-4 (29)
    No, they don't deserve a bump up after a loss. But when the 23rd ranked team loses to the 30th ranked team by 49 points, they get a more significant drop. Cards move up by process of elimination.
  29. Green Bay Packers 1-4 (30)
    You know what that win proved? That Green Bay is much better than the Saints - that's it.
  30. New Orleans Saints 2-3 (23)
    If ever there was a right time to use the word "traveshamockery"…
  31. San Francisco 49ers 1-4 (31)
    Well, at least they're assured that they won't lose this week.
  32. Houston Texans 0-4 (32)
    It's gonna take some time to dig their way out of the back-end.

Super Shufflers Of the Week (+)

  1. Cleveland Browns +4…I have a feeling this won't be the last jump they'll make. I know the talent isn't necessarily there, but Romeo Crennel sure has this team overachieving.
  2. New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions (tie) +3…Six teams got a sizable bump, all for similar reasons. They beat quality teams, and/or the teams just ahead of them lost.

Plungers Of the Week (-)

  1. Tampa Bay Bucs and New Orleans Saints (tie) -7…The Bucs drop because I'm getting the feeling I overestimated them after 4-0. I didn't want to move them up and wasn't particularly impressed with their wins, so I wanted to rectify that. The Saints drop is for obvious reasons, and if you don't know why then you just haven't watched football this year.
  2. Baltimore Ravens -6…Only reason they didn't drop any further is because they were already incredibly low to begin with.
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