The fifth Sunday of NFL play shed some light on how the teams stack up. Here’s how I see it …
1. N.Y. Giants — Whether or not Eli’s heel is healed, they’re a powerful team.
2. Indianapolis — Will Peyton Manning ever not have a 300-yard passing game?
3. New Orleans — Should be plenty energized coming off the bye for a meeting with the G-men.
4. Denver — Okay, I’m officially a believer. They beat SD this week and they can pull away.
5. Philadelphia — Their abundance of offensive weapons is scary. New hero every week.
6. Minnesota — Been much better at keeping people off Favre’s back lately.
7. Cincinnati — They’ve already knocked off the Steelers and Ravens and out-muscled Baltimore in the run game. Another miracle finish = team of destiny?
8. Pittsburgh — Seem to be getting their mojo back.
9. N.Y. Jets — They know what their winning formula is. Have to keep replicating it.
10. New England — Still expect them to be contenders in the end.
11. Atlanta — Finally got running game ramped up, and did it against a formidable foe.
12. Chicago — Expect them to push the Vikes when it’s all said and done.
13. Baltimore — Better curb the penalties, sort out the secondary and remember they have a running game.
14. San Francisco — Man, that was ugly, but not ready to drop these guys out of top 15 yet. Bye will do them some good.
15. San Diego — A.J. Smith was not pleased going into the bye, and I’m not sure they can overcome injuries coming out of it.
16. Arizona — Not playing complete football, but if they keep Warner upright they can push for division title.
17. Green Bay — Will Mark Tauscher stabilize that woeful offensive line? Aaron Rodgers surely hopes so.
18. Seattle — Guess Matt Hasselbeck’s rib is feeling alright now, eh? If they can get Marcus Trufant and Walter Jones back, they could still make a second-half surge.
19. Dallas — Put up big passing numbers against a poor team, as expected, but yet to impress me.
20. Miami — Huge opportunity to make a statement Monday night.
21. Jacksonville — Man, did not see that coming. Discipline issues with Mike Sims-Walker and Quentin Groves a concern.
22. Houston — Wildly erratic play must be infuriating for fans. Utter lack of consistency from this franchise could lead to big changes by January.
23. Detroit — They have made a game of every contest, Week 1 aside, and are playing their guts out for Jim Schwartz.
24. Tennessee — It’s over at 0-5 in the conference. In regards to Vince Young, to paraphrase the Astrodome crowd from the Bad News Bears: “Let him play! Let him play!”
25. Carolina — Needed a lot of help from a bad Redskins team — and some late lucky breaks — to finally win.
26. Cleveland — One win jumps them from 32-26. How bout that? Been competitive for a couple of weeks now.
27. Kansas City — Had the Cowboys on the ropes. I bet they get their first win this week (see below).
28. Washington — The team every winless team wants to see. And the Chiefs get them this week in the battle for 27th place. Woo-hoo!
29. Buffalo — Would not be surprised if Dick Jauron beats Jim Zorn to the firing line.
30. Tampa Bay — At some point Josh Freeman will play, but with this supporting cast, does it make sense anytime soon?
31. St. Louis — Not sure they could win a best-of-three with the Edmonton Eskimoes right now.
32. Oakland — Would consider them strong candidate to go 0-16 if they had not already won a game.