The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


It had been a four-team league with no one from the NFC among the NFL's elite. The better-late-than-never rise of the Philadelphia Eagles threatens to change all that.

01. Kansas City Chiefs [10-1]: Only complacency seems capable of stopping them. [No change]

02. Tennessee Titans [9-2]: Eddie George finally came alive against the Falcons. If he can stay alive, Tennessee might be stronger than any team in the league. That's a big if, however, and now Steve McNair is hurt. [No change]

03. Indianapolis Colts [9-2]: Continuing to play as well as anyone. [No change]

04. New England Patriots [9-2]: Overtime win over Houston was strange and probably means little. Statistically, the Patriots destroyed the Texans, but could not put them away. QB Tom Brady is smoking hot right now. [No change]

05. Philadelphia Eagles [8-3]: With wins in eight of their last nine games, the Eagles have finally taken their rightful place atop the NFC. Even more ominous for the rest of the conference is that Donovan McNabb is playing like a star again. [+1]

06. St. Louis Rams [8-3]: Offense is saving the Rams. Defense will be their undoing. [+1]

07. Dallas Cowboys [8-3]: Big win over Panthers keeps Dallas atop the NFC East, but Philly looks a lot stronger now. [+2]

08. Carolina Panthers [8-3]: Starting to struggle. What took them so long? [-3]

09. Miami Dolphins [7-4]: Struggled to beat the hapless Redskins, but team looks stronger with Fiedler behind center. [+2]

10. Seattle Seahawks [7-4]: True, the 'hawks got cheated by the refs, but how do you give up 44 points to the Baltimore Ravens? I didn't think that was possible. [-2]

11. Cincinnati Bengals [6-5]: Marvin Lewis has these cats in first place, with big divisional games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the next two weeks. [+1]

12. Green Bay Packers [6-5]: Favre [3 INT] looked horrible, but good defense and another great game from TB Ahman Green has the Pack breathing down Minnesota's neck for leadership of the mediocre NFC North. [+2]

13. Baltimore Ravens [6-5]: Biggest comeback in Ravens history has Baltimore in a deadlocked race to the finish for the AFC North title. [+4]

14. Minnesota Vikings [7-4]: Got off the mat to beat woeful Detroit, but this team looks ripe for the picking. [+2]

15. Denver Broncos [6-5]: Loss to Chicago is as baffling as it is inexcusable. [-5]

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers [5-6]: They don't deserve to have a decent shot at the playoffs, but incredibly, they do. [+2]

17. San Francisco 49ers [5-6]: The most inconsistent team in the NFL. [-4]

18. New Orleans Saints [5-6]: Deuce McAllister is the best tailback in football right now, but the defense is lousy and the rest of the offense keeps turning the ball over. The Saints need a big late season push to make the playoffs, but this is normally the time of year they go into their annual swoon. [-3]

19. New York Giants [4-7]: Needs Shockey back desperately. [No change]

20. New York Jets [4-7]: They probably don't deserve to be rated this high, but everyone behind them is so lousy. [+4]

21. Chicago Bears [4-7]: They've been playing hard and they finally won a big game against Denver. This team has little talent, but they refuse to quit. [+7]

22. Pittsburgh Steelers [4-7]: The Steelers rediscover defense and running the football. At least for one week. [+4]

23. Houston Texans [4-7]: Still playing hard, but quarterback and tailback are really hurting this team. Just like the next guys. [-3]

24. Cleveland Browns [4-7]: When is Butch Davis going to get serious about the offense? Find a passer and find a runner or get fired, Butch. [-3]

25. Buffalo Bills [4-7]: How can this team be worse than last year? I guess they really do miss Peerless Price. [-3]

26. Washington Redskins [4-7]: Losses, chokes, clueless coaches, pitiful management, and now injuries. No good at all has come from this season. It's another lost year. [-3]

27. Oakland Raiders [3-8]: Once the season ends this roster should be nuked worse than a Japanese city during World War 2. [-2]

28. Detroit Lions [3-8]: Joey Harrington is just awful. [-1]

29. Arizona Cardinals [3-8]: Boy, did they get a good one in WR Anquan Boldin, the runaway leader for Rookie of the Year! Now, about the rest of them… [No change]

30. Atlanta Falcons [2-9]: TB Warrick Dunn has never looked better. The rest of them have never looked worse. The end cannot come soon enough for Dan Reeves. [No change]

31. Jacksonville Jaguars [2-9]: Leftwich is struggling, but so is the entire offense. Pulling the kid now would be a mistake, but Head Coach Jack Del Rio looks jittery. Is his job really in that much jeopardy? The team was awful when the season began and everyone knew it. Didn't they? [No change]

32. San Diego Chargers [2-9]: Running out the clock on Marty Schottenheimer's pro coaching career. [No change]