The hardest, stalest, toughest cookies are found under the sofa cushions of the AFC North couch. Besides the NFC North (Vikings 2-4), the six other divisions feature a team with one, or no, victory.
My heart and mind wrangled for hours about this week’s Best-to-Worst composition before my soul intervened. Before I bore you to death, let’s take a dip into my rankings.
Here, my soul:
1 – BRONCOS (4-1) EVEN
The Cowboys’ win over the Seahawks bolted my reasons to why Denver, for the time being, will remain throne-warmers.
2 – COWBOYS (5-1) +2
America’s Team – currently – are the Kings of the NFC. DeMarco Murray became the first running back since Jim Brown to record at least 100 yards rushing through the first six games of the season. That’s a 56-year-old record, by the way. Dallas is a playoff-bound squad if they continue to truck over their opponents.
3 – CHARGERS (5-1) -1
Fortunately for San Diego, proverbial running back Branden Oliver panned out the way the offense needed him to. (Donald Brown, not so much.) If yesterday’s game in Oakland ever-so thinly indicates that inner-divisional games won’t come easy for Phillip Rivers, then, well, they’re skating on shark-surrounded icebergs. San Diego hosts Kansas City next Sunday before flying to Denver for Thursday night’s marquee matchup.
4 – PACKERS (4-2) +1
They almost lost to a respectable team in the Dolphins. But hold on. The fact that Aaron Rodgers could pull off The Dan Marino – fake spike, throw – with 17 ticks on the game clock intentionally, with every fiber in his being, trusting in teammate Andrew Quarless to make the game-winning touchdown catch with three seconds left, scares me. Trying to fathom the psychology behind it all will drive me to insanity – with nobody behind the wheel.
5 – EAGLES (5-1) +4
Philadelphia’s statement win over the Giants wasn’t nearly as loud as the one their division rivals made in Seattle, no, but we can still hear the Eagles’ cry reverberate through the skies. They shutout the Giants (who were on a three-game hot streak) by 27 points on Sunday night. Do the math.
6 – COLTS (4-2) EVEN
Did you forget? Indianapolis dominated the Texans last Thursday.
7 – RAVENS (4-2) EVEN
When we lose, fans tuck the negativity under the Any Given Sunday rug. Whenever we win, some fans, not all, say, "But we beat the Buccaneers!"
Cure to this madness? Ask Dory. #JustKeepSwimming
8 – CARDINALS (4-1) EVEN
The quiet Cardinals would spell their name with a lowercase "C" if they could right now. You could hear a pin drop in the Sonoran Desert. Arizona has screwed their silencers on their weapons of choice, and will continue to James Bond their way into the playoffs.
9 – SEAHAWKS (3-2) -6
One of my favorite things to watch, like most of you, is when the trash talker loses the game. Then he, or she, will try to play the whole thing off by pretending to A) be cool with the victor, or B) shake hands/pound fists with the victor, or C) make excuses.
10 – 49ers EVEN
Yes, Colin Kaepernick looked like Colin Dappernick again. After giving up 14 points, the 49ers went on a 31-3 run in a tough road game in St. Louis.
11 - Patriots (4-2) EVEN
Stop with the Blast from the Past talk. Not only did Tom Brady throw four touchdown passes against a Top 10-ranked defense – he threw the Bills’ defense out of the Top 10 (currently 11th).
12 – BROWNS (3-2) +2
Chuck Mills, you’re right. The Browns are a Top-12 team in the NFL, especially after they obliterated the Steelers.
13 – LIONS (4-2) EVEN
Leave Teddy Bridgewater alone. The Lions’ defense roosts atop the NFL, allowing 4.5 yards per play, and allowing 13.7 points a game. Megatron is absent and dare I say. …
14 – TEXANS (3-3) +4
Oh, wait, but the Giants beat the Texans. And the Giants beat the Falcons. And the Falcons beat New Orleans. And the Saints are on a bye. … The Texans are a legitimate group.
15 – BENGALS (3-1-1) -3
I got a KICK out of yesterday’s action. The main reason my shoe came off is because it wasn’t TIED.
16 – DOLPHINS (2-3) +3
Win or lose, the Dolphins looked like a rejuvenated and unified bunch. They could be at 3-2 if it weren’t for Aaron Rodgers’ heroics.
17 – PANTHERS (3-3) -1
18 – BEARS (3-3) +3
Chicago did three things that impressed me in their win against the Falcons.
1. Jay Cutler-Alshon Jeffery-Brandon Marshall connection was seamless.
2. Matt Forte rushed for two scores, his first TDs of the season.
3. The Bears handed Atlanta their first loss at the Georgia Dome this season.
19 – SAINTS
Bye. They will not lose to any of the teams underneath them.
20 – GIANTS (3-3) -5
The Giants return to where they were Week 4, at No. 20, after not scoring once against the Eagles. What’s up Eli?
21 – STEELERS (3-3) -4
Don’t ask me. Ben Roethlisberger was 18-1 against the Browns all-time. Does this mean their first win over the Browns was … a … fluke?
22 – CHIEFS (2-3) -2
23 – FALCONS (2-4) -1
Remember last week I said this team was ‘lackluster at best?’ I’ll reiterate myself.
24 – BILLS (3-3) +4
They jump up four spots only because they lost to a powerhouse. I don’t see them losing to any of the teams from 25-32.
25 – RAMS (1-4) -1
The Hot Seat, starring Jeff Fisher.
26 – REDSKINS (1-5) EVEN
…Aaand so much for the Redskins turning over a new leaf. Sad but true: they might not even finish better than they did in 2014 (4-12).
27 – TITANS (1-5) EVEN
They almost gave the winless Jaguars their first. …
28 – VIKINGS (2-4) -3
Raise your hand if you think Adrian Peterson is the answer to this team’s problems. My hands are down.
29 – JETS (1-5) +2
The Jets have a curfew. They lose when they’re too late.
30 – BUCCANEERS (1-5) -1
I would beat world's greatest chess master before the Bucs win their next game.
31 – JAGUARS (0-6) +1
…Watching them play? Funnier than an episode of insert funny television show here.
32 – RAIDERS (0-5) -2
Because they could have upended the Chargers, but didn't, the last spot houses them for another week.