Photo: AZCetnral Sports
The Arizona Cardinals free fall continued for another week. San Francisco showed why they are one of the top teams in the NFL with an emphatic beatdown on Monday Night Football. Across the league, the Falcons took care of Michael Vick and the Eagles to move to 7-0. The Giants made it four straight at the new Cowboys stadium and the Dolphins and Colts have been the two biggest surprises in the AFC.
Here are the updated The Fan AM 1060 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted every week on thefan1060.com. Bob Kemp will react to these rankings every Thursday in the SportsZone.
1) Atlanta Falcons (7-0) LW: 1
Matt Ryan continued his torrid pace in Philadelphia. Ryan lit up the Eagles secondary (22-29, 296 yards, 3 TDs) to help the Falcons move to 7-0. Atlanta’s offense looks nearly unstoppable under Dirk Koetter, the first two touchdowns being prime examples. Atlanta should have no problem getting their 8th win against the Cowboys.
2) Houston Texans (6-1) LW: 2
Houston enjoyed their bye probably more than most teams, using the time off to heal up some of their top players. The Texans reward following the bye? A home game against their old teammate Mario Williams and the Bills.
3) San Francisco 49ers (6-2) LW: 5
Alex Smith answered his critics with a near-perfect game on Monday Night Football. More importantly, the 49ers reminded people why they are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. San Francisco is now pulling its self away from the rest of the NFC West and will not look back.
4) Chicago Bears (6-1) LW: 3
Jay Cutler had one of those typical frustrating Jay Cutler like games, yet the Bears found a way to win. Chicago was able to win because the Bears defense capitalized on plenty of mistake by Cam Netwon. The Bears still control their own destiny in the NFC North.
5) New York Giants (6-2) LW: 5
It was a rollercoaster ride for the Giants in Dallas. The G-Men blew a 23-point lead and then survived by only a couple of inches to beat the Cowboys and improve to 4-0 at Jerryland. New York controls the NFC East, but the defense will have to limit the big plays this weekend against the Steelers.
6) Baltimore Ravens (5-2) LW: 6
If any team needed a bye, it was the Ravens. The rash of injuries was taking its toll, but now Baltimore can regroup and make their playoff push. Joe Flacco and company have struggled on the road this year, so don’t be surprised if they squeak out a win over the Browns.
7) Green Bay Packers (5-3) LW: 7
Remember all that talk about the Packers being done? That was silly. Factor in the controversial loss and Green Bay should really be 6-2 right now. Aaron Rodgers are going to steamroll the Cardinals this weekend.
8) New England Patriots (5-3) LW: 9
Boy, the Patriots sure enjoyed London. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski completely dominated the Rams. Now the Pats are on the bye. New England is set up to run away with the AFC East with games against Buffalo, Indianapolis, the Jets and Miami upcoming.
9) Denver Broncos (4-3) LW: 11
Peyton Manning and the Broncos are getting better and better each week. Denver has the easiest schedule the close out the regular season (only Baltimore has a winning record), so it’s very possible the Broncos could run the table. First up, Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
10) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) LW: 10
Pittsburgh is back above .500 and keeping pace with the Ravens in the AFC North, what’s new? Big Ben and the offense probably had their best game of the season, putting up 20 points in the first half. The Steelers have a big test this weekend against Eli Manning and the Giants.
11) Miami Dolphins (4-3) LW: 15
Who thought the Dolphins would be in playoff contention after watching Hard Knocks this year? If you said yes, you’re either lying or the biggest Miami homer on the planet. Ryan Tannehill’s injury could derail the early momentum, but a 5-3 start is still possible because of their opponent this week…
12) Indianapolis Colts (4-3) LW: 23
Suddenly this week’s Colts-Dolphins game has big playoff implications. Andrew Luck won his first road game, snapping a 10-game losing streak away from Lucas Oil Stadium. So are the Colts for real? We will know more after this weekend.
13) Minnesota Vikings (5-3) LW: 8
Thursday night might have the beginning of the Vikings fall. Sure, it was a short week, but Tampa came in, punched the Vikes in the mouth and Minnesota never got off the mat. Christian Ponder seems to take two step back every time he takes a step forward. The Vikings will face a tough road test this week in Seattle.
14) Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) LW: 13
The Eagles are a mess. Andy Reid is trying to save his job, which is why he is sticking with Michael Vick, despite all the turnovers and inconsistent play. If Vick struggles again on Monday night in New Orleans, Reid will have no choice but to turn to rookie Nick Foles.
15) Arizona Cardinals (4-4) LW: 13
The Cardinals season is unraveling one week at a time. The offense has taken a big hit without Kevin Kolb under center, averaging just 9 points per game during this skid. That isn’t likely to change with Green Bay and Atlanta coming up on the schedule.
16) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) LW: 28
Greg Schiano is finding ways to win in Tampa. Not many people expected the Buccaneers to going into Minnesota and winning on a short week. Tampa can get to .500 with a win over the Raiders this week.
17) Dallas Cowboys (3-4) LW: 16
Had Dez Bryant been able to get his hand down in bounds the talk would be about how clutch Tony Romo and the Cowboys are. Instead, the 2012 season appears to be spiraling out of control. Dallas is in jeopardy of falling to 3-5, at let’s face it, this team is no match for the Falcons.
18) Seattle Seahawks (3-5) LW: 17
Seattle was in position to win the game, but once again the Seahawks could not make enough plays when in counted. Pete Carroll said his team is close to being 8-0, which I guess has some truths to it. But Seattle just is not talented enough to win close games, without the help of replacement refs. Sorry, it was there.
19) Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) LW: 19
The Bengals are in some trouble. Cincinnati has lost 3 straight and the remaining schedule couple keep this team from making the playoffs. Denver, the Giants, Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Baltimore remain on the schedule. Hard to imagine Marvin Lewis getting his team to win any of those games.
20) St. Louis Rams (3-5) LW: 18
For the first time under Jeff Fisher the Rams looked like the team we became accustom to over the last couple of season. St. Louis could not slow down Tom Brady and the offense looked sluggish all afternoon. Well, evening because it was in London. It only gets worse after the bye as the Rams travel to San Francisco.
21) San Diego Chargers (3-4) LW: 14
The Chargers had two weeks to prepare for the Cleveland Browns, and lost. That’s all we need to say about that.
22) Washington Redskins (3-5) LW: 20
Washington was no match for the vaunted Pittsburgh defense. The Redskins should be able to turn it around in the battle between RG3 and Cam Newton. Which is good news for President Obama. When the Redskins win the week before the election, a democrat wins the presidency, when they lose, a republican wins. That method has been right 17 of the past 18 elections.
23) Detroit Lions (3-5) LW: 26
The Lions found a way to steal a win from the Seahawks. Detroit can actually turn their season around in the few weeks with games against Jacksonville and Minnesota. Still, anyone who thinks this team can make the playoffs is fooling themselves.
24) Buffalo Bills (3-4) LW: 24
The Bills were off last week. Hopefully they located Mario Williams in time for this week’s game against the Texans.
25) Tennessee Titans (3-5) LW: 22
The Titans brutal rush defense cost the team a victory on Sunday. Tennessee had plenty of opportunities to get Indianapolis off the field, but Donald Brown and Vick Ballard ran the ball on will against the Titans front seven. Tennessee could be in for a long afternoon against the Bears this week.
26) Oakland Raiders (3-4) LW: 27
Carson Palmer looked like his old self on Sunday. However, it was against the Chiefs, so don’t make too much of that. Oakland will face a much tougher defense against Tampa Bay this weekend.
27) New York Jets (3-5) LW: 21
How much longer until the Jets turn to Tim Tebow? Honestly, I want them to do it so when Tebow fails the hype will fade. To be fair, most of the Jets issues are not Tebow or Mark Sanchez’s fault. This team is just plain bad.
28) New Orleans Saints (2-5) LW: 25
The Saints chance to save the season went out the window on Sunday night. New Orleans can fool people into believing they still have a chance by beating the Eagles on Monday night, but I won’t buy it.
29) Cleveland Browns (2-6) LW: 30
Hey, the Browns won a game! Good thing too. Baltimore, Dallas and Pittsburgh are Cleveland’s next three opponents.
30) Carolina Panthers (1-6) LW: 29
Things just keep getting worse for Cam Newton. The Panthers were in position to upset the Bears before Newton literally gave away the game. To make matters worse, Newton faces RG3 this week. If he loses, there will be even more heat on him and Carolina.
31) Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) LW: 31
The Chiefs are bad, really bad. With the uncertainty at the quarterback position, one would have to think Kansas City could be the team that drafts Matt Barkley from USC.
32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) LW: 32
Jacksonville showed some heart taking the Packers to the wire, but the Jags just aren’t good enough to beat teams like Green Bay on the road. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags ended up beating Detroit this weekend.