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Power Rankings

This week's rankings come at you a bit differently. Rather than commentary on the state of each team heading forward, I'm revisiting some things I've said about them throughout the season - both right and wrong statements. And by statements, I mean blatant contradictions, sometimes mere weeks apart! Also, I've included where I had the team pegged to open the year with the Opening Rank just below each team name so you can sort of "grade" me based upon how I've done. It probably won't be pretty. In fact, based upon expectations for the Broncos, Seahawks, Bears, Bucs, Dolphins, Falcons, Vikings, and Jets, I'm certain it isn't. There were some solid right calls sprinkled in there as well, before you go on thinking (knowing?) I'm a fool.

It's been a fun year - thanks to all of who you took the time to write in to complain or to lend the rare words of encouragement. This will be back sometime in late spring. Until then, try and find a way to get by.

Any comments/questions/complaints/death threats should be e-mailed to me at the following address: brown@footballguys.com.

Rk - Team Name - Record (Last week)

  1. Indianapolis Colts 14-2 (1)
    Opening Rank: 2
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Just keep on rolling, with Manning and the rest of the offense doing very little. Scary proposition for the rest of the AFC (9/21)
    -I can't shake the feeling they're getting bounced before the Super Bowl (12/1)
    -I'm man enough to admit it - I think they have a better-than-average shot of winning the Super Bowl (12/15)
  2. Denver Broncos 13-3 (2)
    Opening Rank: 16
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -The quest for a first round playoff loss is in full swing in Denver once again (9/29)
    -I see four very losable games over the last eight (11/4)
    -Great, so now Tatum Bell is going to blow up over the last few weeks of the season and ruin his value for 2006 drafts (12/15)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals 11-5 (3)
    Opening Rank: 5
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -This is the year that Palmer-to-Johnson becomes Aikman-to-Irvin. Except better for fantasy (9/8)
    -Yeah, those Aikman-to-Irvin comparisons don't seem so far-fetched now, do they? (9/21)
    -Now what was it you guys were saying about how I had overrated the Bengals so much? (12/22)
  4. Seattle Seahawks 13-3 (4)
    Opening Rank: 23
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Have they stopped looking dead yet? Geez, Mike Holmgren must be more untouchable than Paris Hilton (9/8)
    -I'm suddenly on board for the Seahawks. I think they're being underestimated because of their history, and they're actually pretty good! (10/27)
    -This week marks the beginning of the second half run to 12-4. Mark it down, and don't forget to congratulate me when I'm right (11/4)
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars 12-4 (5)
    Opening Rank: 13
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -The Jaguars should, yes SHOULD, go 12-4 (10/27)
    -It's about time I started realizing they haven't been a disappointment at all. (11/17)
    -Those are the types of games that worry me about this team. Giving Arizona a chance to tie late in the game? Good teams don't do that (12/1)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5 (6)
    Opening Rank: 6
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -The Bus is back = Good news for Steelers, Bad news for FWP (10/13)
    -The Steeler offense minus Ben Roethlisberger = Jessica Simpson if she got a breast reduction (10/20)
    -Congratulations Steelers. You're once again the second-best team in the AFC (10/27)
  7. Chicago Bears 11-5 (7)
    Opening Rank: 31
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -It's a shame that their offense isn't better. Because you know what? This defense is terrific (9/21)
    -It seems like the consensus is that teams will line up to play them in the postseason, and that may not be a good thing (11/17)
    -So, has Kyle Orton pretty much wrapped up the rookie of the year by now, or what? (12/1)
  8. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 (8)
    Opening Rank: 10
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -I'm man enough to admit it - I was wrong about this defense. It's pretty decent already (9/21)
    -I DARE you to come up with a valid argument that Priest Holmes is more talented than Larry Johnson right now (10/20)
    -Let's just make a prediction here: The Chiefs will be nowhere near the top-10 of my teams by season's end (12/1)
  9. San Diego Chargers 9-7 (9)
    Opening Rank: 9
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -So why isn't Drew Brees a one-year wonder? Well, there's Tomlinson, and Gates, and Caldwell, and McCardell, and…(9/8)
    -This team WILL make the playoffs. That's in blood, in stone, whatever (10/27)
    -Top ranked offense, run defense, pass rush, best player in football…they have a chance to be the best team ever to not make the playoffs (12/1)
  10. New England Patriots 10-6 (10)
    Opening Rank: 1
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -If the Patriots defense keeps playing this way, they'll be out of the top ten (10/20)
    -The Patriots have a number of issues with this team…but if you think anyone wants a part of them in the playoffs, you're nuts (11/17)
    -I'm jumping ship. This is NOT a good football team, period (12/1)
  11. New York Giants 11-5 (11)
    Opening Rank: 18
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Why do I get the feeling this won't last? (9/12)
    [Writer's note: this was in response to the Giants' 2-0 start]
    -I don't think they're as good as they looked this past week, which explains the lack of respect I've given them this week (9/15)
    -Eli Manning is playing well. That's about all you're gonna get out of me (10/6)
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-5 (12)
    Opening Rank: 26
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -I didn't believe it until I saw the box score, but apparently Joey Galloway is still alive (9/8)
    -To do what Cadillac Williams did, against the defense he did it…well, count me impressed (9/21)
    -8 and 8 is looking more and more likely (11/4)
  13. Carolina Panthers 11-5 (13)
    Opening Rank: 12
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -I'm getting this funny feeling that I may have overestimated the Panthers' defense. Like, a lot (10/6)
    -400 yards to Josh McCown, huh? Yup, it's pretty obvious that we've all overestimated this D (10/13)
    -Stephen Davis has 12 touchdowns. You know, I probably shouldn't have predicted him to retire by August (11/17)
  14. Washington Redskins 10-6 (14)
    Opening Rank: 17
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -It's not pretty, but I'm not willing to bet that a Joe Gibbs-coached team with an excellent defense and Clinton Portis will simply fall apart. (9/29)
    -They were done in by very isolated plays, just like they beat Dallas because of isolated plays. So those cancel out and now they're simply a solid 3-1 football team (10/13)
    -So am I still a fool for putting this team in the top ten several weeks ago? (10/27)
  15. Miami Dolphins 9-7 (16)
    Opening Rank: 28
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -If it looks like a quality team, and smells like a quality team, and beats other quality teams…(9/29)
    -Someone needs to tell Chris Chambers there's a difference between having a lot of talent and being a good player. He's the former (11/10)
    -Even before last week's win, this was a team heading in the right direction (12/15)
  16. Dallas Cowboys 9-7 (15)
    Opening Rank: 8
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -You've got to love what Dallas did this offseason, especially defensively. And let's not forget that Parcells did a lot more with much less than he's got now, two seasons ago (9/15)
    -OK, so they didn't play flawlessly. But getting that turnover at the end made up for it, and could be a spark that sends this team to great things (10/20)
    -This ranking is admittedly based moreso about where I think Dallas ends up rather than where they are (12/22)
    [Writer's note: they were ranked 14th despite an 8-6 record]
  17. Atlanta Falcons 8-8 (17)
    Opening Rank: 3
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -How's this one? The Falcons will win, and win a lot, this year…and sure, Vick will help. But it's the defense that will take them on a deep playoff run (9/8)
    -Vick had better be healthy - soon. He means more to the Falcons than Jennifer Lopez's butt means to her career (9/21)
    [Writer's note: this is more a statement on Lopez than anything. Having seen recent photos, it is clear that her posterior is nowhere near what it used to be. And have you noticed that she's been out of the spotlight for some time now? Coincidence? I think not]
    -The defense I expected to be dominant is not going to be there when they need it, I'm afraid (10/27)
  18. Baltimore Ravens 6-10 (18)
    Opening Rank: 14
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -I know he's unbelievably talented and all, but at times, Jamal Lewis can look like he's about the worst player in football. It's such a bizarre phenomenon (9/8)
    -I really think Jamal Lewis needs to check and see if the Space Jam monsters stole his talent (9/21)
    -If I'm Brian Billick, I'm getting my resume together. He's going to need it in about 11-12 weeks (10/13)
  19. Minnesota Vikings 9-7 (19)
    Opening Rank: 4
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Sadly, who else could possibly win that division? (9/21)
    -Repeat after me. This is a fluke. The Vikings are not any good. They will not make the playoffs. Repeat. (12/8)
    -Interesting how next year, the Vikings will be neither good nor entertaining (12/22)
  20. Philadelphia Eagles 6-10 (20)
    Opening Rank: 7
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Don't look, but I think the city of Philadelphia just collectively threw up (10/13)
    -Does anyone else realize how close this team is to being 1-6? (11/3)
    [Writer's note: they were 4-3 at the time]
    -Yes, I think losing Owens is that big a deal. I think the lack of a defense is a bigger deal (11/10)
  21. Cleveland Browns 6-10 (21)
    Opening Rank: 32
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Outside of Braylon Edwards, would ANY of their offensive skill players start for ANY other team in the entire league??? (9/21)
    -A game effort, and I expect more of those. I do not, however, expect many more Ws (9/29)
    -Expect this team to show continued improvement throughout the season, and a top-20 finish is a possibility (10/13)
  22. Saint Louis Rams 6-10 (22)
    Opening Rank: 20
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -The Rams now have a Martz AND a Schottenheimer on staff. RUN! (9/15)
    -Want to hear a funny joke I was told in preseason? Marshall Faulk will cut into Steven Jackson's playing time (9/21)
    -If there's ever been a better example of defensive failure, I don't know that I've seen it (10/13)
  23. Oakland Raiders 4-12 (23)
    Opening Rank: 22
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Watching their last game, do you also get the feeling that Randy Moss is well within reach of a 2,000/20 season? Me too. (9/21)
    -Let's not jump off the Kerry Collins train just yet. Remember how good he was last year without Moss at all? (11/4)
    -Benching Kerry Collins for Marques Tuiasosopo is like turning down a date with Jamie Lee Curtis because you're holding out for Cher (12/8)
  24. Detroit Lions 5-11 (24)
    Opening Rank: 24
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Do NOT bail on Kevin Jones. If you can afford to be just a little patient, he will pay off (9/21)
    -I'm telling you - the time to acquire Kevin Jones is sometime over the next three weeks (9/29)
    -Finally, we Kevin Jones owners can start gearing up for our impending league championships! (10/13)
    [Writer's note: In the only league in which I owned Jones, I did win my league title. Thanks to Tiki Barber as my RB2]
  25. Buffalo Bills 5-11 (25)
    Opening Rank: 15
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -Best line of my draft: Do you really want to rely on a guy whose name sounds like "Loss-Man"? (9/15)
    -Alright, so the defense didn't look QUITE as good last week. Perhaps I overrated them a bit (9/21)
    -With the Bills' upcoming schedule, it's quite possible that they'll be dead and buried soon, leaving McGahee with Losman as his QB during the fantasy playoffs (11/10)
  26. Green Bay Packers 4-12 (26)
    Opening Rank: 25
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -I like how people are expecting them to turn it around simply because they have Favre. It needs to be said: Favre is part of the problem. I love the guy as much as anyone, but c'mon…facts are facts. (9/21)
    -Don't know why, but I have a good feeling about Ahman Green the rest of the way (10/20
    [Writer's note: he was injured the following week, and didn't play again]
    -Truth is, they're actually experimenting to see how many different ways a team can lose (12/1)
  27. Tennessee Titans 4-12 (27)
    Opening Rank: 30
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -And now, all that's left of this once-proud franchise is Jeff Fisher's mustache (9/15)
    -Fisher's mustache is still intact; therefore, so are the Titans' chances (9/21)
    -Remember when the Titans used to have supremely talented guys at every position? Oh, the perils of tempting the salary cap (10/6)
  28. Arizona Cardinals 5-11 (28)
    Opening Rank: 19
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -This one hurt - a lot. When the division winner is going to win 8, 9 games tops, you've got to be able to pull out divisional games like that at home (9/21)
    -Not that I had REALLY high hopes for Arizona anyway, but they're just about cooked now (9/29)
    -You know who is bad? The Arizona Cardinals. Good thing I didn't pick them to win the NFC West (11/3)
  29. New Orleans Saints 3-13 (29)
    Opening Rank: 21
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -This has all the makings of a 7-9 season (9/29)
    -Joe Horn, I've been asked by my brother to deliver this message to you: "(Expletive expletive) piece of (expletive) trash, you're a worthless (expletive) and you should go (expletive)" (10/13)
    -Two words for those of you in need of TE help during the fantasy playoffs: Zach Hilton (12/1)
  30. New York Jets 4-12 (30)
    Opening Rank: 11
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -The Jets could be scary good. Then again, they could be the Jets (9/15)
    -And Vinny Testaverde's deal with Satan is upheld for at least one more season (10/6)
    -With the remaining schedule, 9-7 is not out of the question (10/13)
  31. San Francisco 49ers 4-12 (31)
    Opening Rank: 29
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -SF fan now = SD fans between 1996-2003. Except you guys probably have hope for the future (9/29)
    -What, was Tim Rattay in there until the season was lost? What, like the season wasn't lost by August? (10/6)
    -Watch for this team in 2012 (10/27)
  32. Houston Texans 2-14 (32)
    Opening Rank: 27
    BEST COMMENTARY
    -The only reason they're 32nd this week is because there isn't a 33rd. (9/29)
    -Someone asked me the other day if I thought the Texans were intentionally throwing games. I told them, "Nope" (12/8)
    -Anyone who thinks that was a legitimate missed field goal is insane. If that wasn't the very definition of tanking, then I don't know what is (12/15)

Preseason Predictions Revisited

All the way back in Week 2, I submitted my picks for the upcoming season. The picks were made prior to the Week 1 games, but were posted to the site later. Even with that much time, I still didn't feel the need to correct my selection of Arizona as the NFC West champ or the Jets as the AFC's top wild card. Here are my picks, followed by my current analysis on how I did with each:

AFC EAST
1. New England Patriots
2. New York Jets
3. Buffalo Bills
4. Miami Dolphins

Well, at least I got the top team! I didn't fully buy into the Jets as contenders to overtake the Pats (thank goodness), but I DID expect the division to be decided by a game or two. Thing is, I never expected Miami to improve as quickly as it has. And I expected the Bills to be a whole lot more competitive, as I apparently incorrectly thought Losman was going to be a star. And then I stopped taking drugs.

AFC NORTH
1. Cincinnati Bengals
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Cleveland Browns

I took a lot of heat for picking the Steelers to finish second coming off a 15-1 season. I just was extremely high on the Bengals this past year, both for fantasy and for real life. It paid off handsomely with these picks, as I nailed the exact order of finish. Perhaps my best call was to expect a drop-off for the Ravens defense and a huge upgrade for Cincy's.

AFC SOUTH
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Houston Texans
4. Tennessee Titans

I had the top two right, but flip-flopped the Texans and Titans. I figured the Texans would show up a few times this year and display at least some semblance of an offense, but that was obviously a bit much to ask for. I expected Indy to run away with the division, which they did.

AFC WEST
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Denver Broncos
4. Oakland Raiders

I had the Chargers and Broncos flipped, and was way off on my assessment of Denver. I wasn't too far off on the Chargers, despite projecting them to win the division, having mentioned in my initial commentary that I expected them to go 9-7. I figured that'd be enough to get this division, but clearly as the best in football that wasn't close to being the case. At least the good old reliable Raiders stunk up the joint.

NFC EAST
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. Washington Redskins
4. New York Giants

I wasn't in love with Philly this year, and picked them to win almost by default. The thing is, I really didn't see the bottom two teams being the ones to make the postseason. I figured the top two would be close to one another and then a clear drop-off to the next two. That said, I did say I expected Washington and the Giants to be two of the most competitive third and fourth place teams in the entire NFL. Hey, they were - they were so competitive, in fact, that they finished first and second!

NFC NORTH
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Detroit Lions
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Chicago Bears

Here's why I deserve to be punched repeatedly. While I expected the Bears to have an excellent defense (it even says it in the comments), I thought their putrid offense would be the death of them. Apparently, I didn't watch football in 2001 and 2002 when the Ravens and Bucs won championships with this very blueprint. As for the rest of the division, I was right in expecting a severe drop-off for the Packers but apparently even THAT was overestimating them. They didn't suffer a severe drop-off. They went downhill faster than Whitney Houston. And don't even get me started on Minnesota. I had them pegged for a Super Bowl run and for Michael Bennett to enjoy a good year. Let's just stop it right there.

NFC SOUTH
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Carolina Panthers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Tampa Bay Bucs

Well, at least that doesn't make two division winners in a row that I picked to come in LAST! Of course, plenty of you have reminded me just how wrong I was about the Bucs all season long. And it appears my analysis of Atlanta's defense was a bit off as well. Since I made a mess of my picks here, let's just move along to my Sistine Chapel of predictions.

NFC WEST
1. Arizona Cardinals
2. Saint Louis Rams
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. San Francisco 49ers

I picked the Niners to come in last, and they did. Man, I'm a friggin genius!

PLAYOFFS

AFC
1. Colts
2. Patriots
3. Bengals
4. Chargers
5. Jets
6. Steelers

NFC
1. Falcons
2. Vikings
3. Eagles
4. Cardinals
5. Panthers
6. Cowboys

AFC Championship Game - Patriots over Colts

NFC Championship Game - Falcons over Vikings

Super Bowl - Patriots over Falcons

Yes, it's true. While I hit four of the six AFC playoff teams, I only correctly predicted one of six from the NFC. Hey, at least my Super Bowl champ is still alive!

Now, if you'll excuse me -- I must go draft my letter of apology to Joe and David for being directly responsible for causing at least 50% of our cancelled subscriptions.

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