This is the fifth installment of my weekly NFL power rankings, but this is the first time I have a new team the rankings. And no surprise, it’s the team whose quarterback’s name rhymes with Shmim Shmebow.
1. Packers (13-0; Last week: 1) Defeated Raiders 46-16 — The Packers continued their quest for undefeated glory by gobsmacking the Raiders last weekend for their second-most lopsided win of the season. I don’t know if that game was an indictment on how good the Packers are or how much the Raiders have been playing like they’d rather be listening to Adele songs in January than playing in the playoffs.
2. Ravens (10-3; LW: 2) Defeated Colts 24-10 — Here’s a taste of how sprightly Terrell Suggs can be in the Ravens locker room after a win, via The Sun:
He shouted something to a teammate — loudly and hysterically profanely — about a hip-hop song. He shouted to another to make sure the guy gave him his cell phone number before he left. Then he wandered into the knot of media types interviewing Torrey Smith and pretended to be fascinated with the pearls of wisdom emanating from the rookie wide receiver.
Finally, he made his way to his locker, where a large group of reporters waited for him. And as soon as he got there, he grabbed the cell of another teammate and loudly announced: “I don’t want to tell you my number. Lemme punch it in so these (very bad hyphenated word, often used to describe the media) don’t call me.”
Now go back and read all that knowing he was wearing only a towel.
3. Steelers (10-3; LW: 3) Defeated Browns 14-3 — Finally, for once we’re going to have a watchable match-up on Monday Night Football with the Steelers playing the 49ers. Will Ben Roethlisberger be healthy for this game? Will
Jerome James Harrison be suspended? Will Patrick Willis be able to play? These are all pertinent questions leading up to Monday, as is: Which songs on Spotify do I want to use to drown out Tirico, Jaworski and Gruden when I watch this game?
4. Texans (10-3; LW: 4) Defeated Bengals 20-19 — I’m going to put something out there and you can make of it what you will: TJ Yates = the new Tom Brady? I look forward to all your angry emails. I know I may be premature is suggesting that, but don’t lie to yourself; you see where I’m getting at. Brady was a former late-round pick who filled in after the prolific veteran starting quarterback went down. He proceeded to lead the Pats to the playoffs and then the Super Bowl and the rest is history. Yates will get to be under center in the playoffs, but if he wants to have that same boyish, astonished look on his face as Brady did as confetti trickled to the ground at the end of all it, he’ll still need to succeed at what’s he’s already been doing: Not blowing it. So, TJ, I’d hold off for now on figuring out which Victoria’s Secret model you want to have relations with.
5. Patriots (10-3; LW: 5) Defeated Redskins 34-27 — Tom Brady and Pats offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien got into a heated exchange late in the fourth quarter after Brady threw an interception in the end zone. I didn’t watch this game, but when I eventually saw video of this spat, it was quite a spectacle to behold, especially when Pats receiver Tiquan Underwood and his completely awesome haircut stepped into the shot. Underwood, whom Brady’s pass was intended for, took blame for the interception, saying he could have done more to catch it. No sweat, Tiquan. The only thing you need to apologize to us for is when you get rid of that magnificent flattop.
6. Saints (10-3; LW: 6) Defeated Titans 22-17 — The Titans are accusing the Saints of blowing a whistle on their sideline in the late stages of their game last weekend. The Titans are serious about the allegations and seem quite pissed off, but Sean Payton joked about it Monday, saying it actually was Whistle Monster. Have we ruled out Bubb Rubb and Lil Sis?
7. Broncos (8-5; LW: NR) Defeated Bears 13-10 (OT) — Here are a couple obligatory Tebow notes: First, “Tebowing” is now recognized as a word, with a definition and everything. That’s right, Tim Tebow is now responsible for a word being officially accepted part of the English lexicon. Second, Brian Urlacher had a great, perhaps bitter quote about Tebow after losing the Broncos last weekend: “He’s a good running back.” Well, then, the Bears sure should be embarrassed for letting a running back throw the ball right down their gut at the end of the fourth quarter.
But enough about St. Timothy of Denver and Tebow Time, which I guess is the new Hulkamania. What I want to know is why doesn’t Matt Prater have his own hyped-up extravaganza? Sure he’s a kicker, but he’s the one who’s actually won the Broncos’ last three games: He’s kicked the game-tying and game-winning field goals in all three contests, including a 59-yarder against the Bears last weekend that sent the game to OT. Prater Time! Prater Time! Prater Time! Yeah, I guess it doesn’t roll off the tongue like “Tebow Time.”
49ers (10-3; LW: 7) Lost to Cardinals 21-19
The next three:
8. Falcons (8-5) Defeated Panthers 31-23
10. Jets (8-5) Defeated Chiefs 37-10