Bengals on rise, Packers falling fast in my rankings

The ninth Sunday of NFL play shed some light on how the teams stack up. Here’s how I see it …

1. Saints — Making a habit out of overcoming double-digit second half deficits. Unreal.

2. Colts — I have a feeling their winning streak stops next week against the Pats.

3. Patriots — They could run away with their division and get ample rest before the playoffs.

4. Steelers — I like them coming off the bye in Denver tonight.

5. Vikings — So much for the NFC North being a three-team grudge match.

6. BengalsAntwan Odom‘s loss hasn’t slowed them down at all. They are already 4-0 in the division.

7. Broncos — Another team unchanged in the rankings coming out of the bye.

8. Cowboys — Have to tip your wide-brimmed hat to them. They are starting to stack up strong performances every week … But can it continue through December?

9. Cardinals — When they’re hot, they’re unstoppable, and when they’re not, they’re brutal.

10. Eagles — A few key short-yardage failures doomed them again.

11. Chargers — That late TD may have reversed the course of their season. Shawne Merriman is starting to come alive.

12. Texans — Put up a heck of a fight in defeat. I worry about the state of their run game, though.

13. Falcons — The Redskins are the perfect elixir for any decent team.

14. Dolphins — Their record should be better. The have had some very tough losses against very good teams.

15. Ravens — Their playoff odds took a major blow yesterday. Haloti Ngata is the key. The defense is slumping. Baltimore better sweep Pittsburg to make a push.

16. Giants — A failure to turn a late takeaway into seven points doomed them. Awful way to head into a bye.

17. Jets — Their ascent has more to do with the awful performances of the teams around them than anything else.

18. Packers — Merely switching tackles didn’t help their horrid pass protection. All the hits to Aaron Rodgers are taking a toll.

19. Titans — Another team not nearly as bad as its record. All Vince Young does is win football games. Well, kinda.

20. Jaguars — Gotta love Maurice Jones-Drew. He wills them to win games it seems.

21. Panthers — I really thought they would pull off that upset and continued to believe it until the second Anothy Hargrove fumble recovery. They had a 4-4 record in their grasp.

22. Bears — For all the talk about their offense, it’s the defense that’s letting them down. The secondary is a mess.

23. 49ers — They need to beat the Bears on the NFL Network this Thursday if they want to have a chance at the playoffs. I didn’t like the move to Alex Smith because of all his turnovers, which killed them Sunday.

24. Seahawks — A win is a win, I suppose.

25. Chiefs — Parting with Larry Johnson eliminates an ugly subplot.

26. Bills — Will T.O. out-produce Roy Williams? Oh, what a subplot (and one only he could concoct).

27. Rams — Steven Jackson is a beast, even in another lost season.

28. Lions — I wonder when that next road win is gonna come?

29. Buccaneers — Congrats to Raheem Morris and Josh Freeman on their first NFL wins.

30. Raiders — Another one and done for an Oakland coach, so it seems.

31. Redskins — It takes a village to call a (doomed) Redskins’ play. (Yeah, its nearly an identical comment to last week, but if the shoe fits…)

32. Browns — What the heck is going on there? In the season of front office/coaching dysfunction they take the cake.

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