I came up with the idea to do this when I was arguing about the NFL with some friends over last weekend. I know we’re already in Week 11 of the NFL season, but I don’t consider it too late to start a weekly power rankings list. In college, the BCS rankings don’t come out until the middle of the season, so there. With this new feature, each week I’ll give the teams that I think are the top seven. Why seven? Because I don’t want to rank all 32 teams. I don’t want to be here all damn day. Seven is manageable enough. I also like it because it’s not a rounded off number like 10 or 15. Plus it gives me a chance to give this a cool alliterated name like the “Elite Eight” has. And now: Week 11’s “Sexy Seven”:
1. Packers (9-0) — The thing I like about the Packers is that even though their defense sucks, their offense has been such a juggernaut that it’s hardly mattered this year. Their imperfections still aren’t inescapable. The Packers can come across a team that passes the ball really well, and if Rodgers isn’t rolling, it can mean trouble. Hell, even when Rogers played well, the dopey Chargers came close to beating the Pack two weeks ago when Philip Rivers threw four TD’s on them. And he’s having an awful year. Case in point: Rivers threw two pick-sixes in that game. Had he even thrown just one the outcome could have been different. The Chargers lost by seven.
2. Steelers (7-3) — A top 10 offense. A top two defense. Steelers can compete week-in and week-out. I heard this on the radio last week and it really put this team in perspective for me: Would Omar Epps doppelganger Mike Tomlin still be the head coach in Pittsburgh if he never had Bruce Arians and Dick LeBeau as his offense and defensive coordinators? Coaches will always get the credit, but coordinators are always the unsung heroes. Just like whatever ingredient makes cookies soft and chewy.
3. Ravens (6-3) — I don’t get this team. They beat the Steelers twice, the Jets and the Texans — a pretty impressive resume halfway through the season. Then they have two fluke losses to two teams (Jags and Seahawks) that have every reason to be sucking for Luck. The pattern indicates that after big wins, there’s some sort of hangover for the following game against a lackluster team. If this pattern holds true, then after beating the Niners in Week 12, the Ravens should lose horribly to the Browns the following week.
4. 49ers (8-1) — I put them in the top five just to give them credit for being 8-1. But I’ve made it abundantly clear on here that I’m not drinking the Niners’ Kool-Aid. I look at their schedule and see just two wins against legitimate contenders. This is a team with holes in its pass defense, with a quarterback whose past makes him hard to trust. This is a team whose offense can’t just rely on Frank Gore carrying it, especially now that he’s showing signs of ware. Looking forward to Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh next week when the Niners face the Ravens on Thanksgiving, though. Not looking forward to all the commentary and corny jokes about the Harbaughs’ parents trying to stay neutral.
5. Texans (7-3) — The Texans have quietly been one of the most efficient teams in the NFL. They’re the top-ranked defense. They have this guy (“this guy”? Who am I, Jon Gruden?) named Arian Foster who’s a beast. Andre Johnson is finally coming back after missing the last five games. They’re first in the AFC South and have a very favorable remaining schedule. They would have been my second-ranked team after the Packers if not for the news yesterday that Matt Shaub is out for the year.
Thus, party boy Matt Leinart takes over as the Texans starting QB. Hey, Leinart could seize the opportunity and spark a career revival, leading the Texans to their first playoff appearance in franchise history. You never know. Or he could be normal Matt Leinart, the unprepared bro quarterback who had Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona yet never amounted to more than holding a clipboard or a beer bong. Either way, party at Leinart’s house!
6. Patriots (6-3) — This Real World season’s resident homophobic bro is Nate (not to be confused with this season’s homophobic hick, Zach). When comes to Nate and the ladies, I have established the “Three B’s Theory.” The Three B’s Theory states that Nate will try to have sex with you if are Blonde, Breathing and have Boobs. No matter what. No other factors need to matter. Overweight? If you are blonde, of adequate female anatomy and functioning lungs, Nate will still try to take you home. Blind? Hey, what’s there to say this can’t be a “Four B’s Theory”?
When it comes to the Patriots, there’s the “Two B’s Theory.” I didn’t make this one up. Somebody at MIT or Harvard mistakenly uncovered this theory when trying to identify a link between black holes and the space-time continuum. The theory simply states that the Patriots will be all right as long as Brady and Belichick are there. The Pats aren’t too dissimilar from the Packers, in that their offense can make up for their shitty defense. The only difference is that the Pats’ defense is really shitty — in fact, it’s the ranked worst in the league. But remember: the “Two B’s Theory” is in full effect. And if you have a problem with that, Bill Belichick probably will tell you to S his D.
7. Saints (7-3) — Could easily be off this list if Mike Smith didn’t treat the last game like he was only playing a game of Madden by going for it on 4th-and-inches on the Falcons own 29-yard-line in overtime. Own 29! Overtime! In a game that determined first place in the NFC South! But I like the Saints, especially how Darren Sproles is better at being Reggie Bush than the actual Reggie Bush.