This past weekend's slate of thrilling, yet shocking, football games has shaken up the top 10 rankings quite a bit for this coming weekend's action.
Here's my top 10 teams through the first seven weeks of play:
10. Indianapolis Colts (4-2), third in AFC South
There were several other 4-2 teams that I could choose from to crack the top 10 (Seattle, Houston and Tampa Bay). But, unlike the other three choices, Indy has actually scored more points than they have allowed, won every home game that they have played, and are on a hot streak (2-game win streak; 4-1 in last five games). Peyton Manning, obviously, will be Peyton Manning. Meaning, yes, Indianapolis is going to win several more games and be in the playoff hunt no matter what Tennessee and Houston do. So don't let the 0-2 record within AFC South teams fool you.
By putting the Pack at No. 8 on this list I am breaking a major, unwritten rule. That rule happens to be the fact that I put a team that is currently sitting in second place in the division ahead of the team that is winning the division. Both Green Bay and the Chicago Bears hold a 4-3 record, but Chicago has the head-to-head tie breaker with it's 20-17 victory back at the end of September. But, nevertheless, Green Bay is still a better team than the Bears despite being 2-2 since the loss. Green Bay has had a couple of impressive victories over some solid teams, and two of the three losses have come in overtime. The Packers can hang with anybody, as they have clearly displayed so far this season.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2), first in AFC West
I'm not going to lie to you, my readers. I didn't think Kansas City would keep this pace up after they kicked off the season with a 3-0 record. But, surprisingly enough they came out and kept to within 10 points of knocking off Peyton Manning and Co., and barely fell to the (also surprising) Texans in a 35-31 shootout. But, Matt Cassel bounced back with a 42-20 lashing of Jack Del Rio's troubled Jaguars. With Tennessee, Denver and San Diego being Cassel's toughest remaining opponents, we could see a Kansas City Chiefs team in the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
At 5-2, Baltimore is just eight points away from being an undefeated team. With quarterback Joe Flacco on one side of the ball, and future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis on the other, Baltimore has one of the scariest teams in the league. The reason Baltimore isn't a bit higher up on the list is simply because of the two scares they had against teams such as Cleveland and Buffalo. They came out with a win against both, but were oh so close to allowing both teams to earn it's first victory against them.
6. New York Giants (5-2), first in NFC East
Eli Manning leads the league with 11 interceptions in seven games, but minus two poor games against solid opponents (Indianapolis and Tennessee), the Giants have played some impressive offensive games, scoring 28-plus on four different occasions. If Eli would only play a little bit more consistently then the G-Men may be ranked a little bit higher on my list.
5. Tennessee Titans (5-2), first in AFC South
Let's face it, Tennessee can put up some points. In fact, the Titans are first in points scored (199) and are tied for first with 22 touchdowns this season. At 5-2, the Titans only two losses came against Pittsburgh and Denver. Who knows where'd they be if they didn't face issues at the quarterback position. But, if there's one thing I know it's that opposing defenses better look out with Vince Young returning to the lineup this weekend, and the Titans' remaining schedule looks to be in their favor.
I know, I know, it seems very rare to see an NFC team being talked about this season, considering how poor the entire conference has played this season. It's almost as though the NFC has flip-flopped (Dallas, New Orleans, Minnesota and San Fran on bottom of divisions). But, thanks to some stellar play from wideout Roddy White, Atlanta's offense has managed to put up 27-plus points in three of the team's five victories. Fun fact: Atlanta's only losses were against Pittsburgh (5-1) and Philadelphia (4-3).
3. New England Patriots (5-1), second in AFC East
Due to a 28-14 loss during week two of the season, Tom Brady's Patriots do not have the tie-breaker over the New York Jets (see No. 1 ranked team for more info). But, the point is that the Pats' offense has caught fire even without Randy Moss. Deion Branch has stepped in and taken over for the now-Minnesota Vikings (again), and it doesn't seem like the passing game lost a step since his departure.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1), first in AFC North
Ok, I admit it. This past Sunday's 23-22 victory over the Miami Dolphins may have been a bit controversial, but the moral of the story here is that Big Ben Roethlisberger seems to be back to his mid-season form and is throwing as strong as ever. With the defense giving up a league-leading 13.6 points per game with 16 total turnovers, it seems like the offense may be able to relax a bit.
You remember how the 'critics' were knocking on the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets after the team fell one point shy of defeating the AFC North favorites, Baltimore, in the first game of the season? Well, since then they have pulled off five straight victories, including three against division rivals.
Just missed the list: Tampa Bay, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Washington
Joseph Addai: AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Haloti Ngata: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Roddy White: AP Photo/John Bazemore
Ladainian Tomlinson: AP Photo/Joe Mahoney