And now, prepare for some tremendous overreaction....
I've done my best not to knee-jerk on these rankings too badly, but it's difficult to find the middle ground between what I thought going into this week and what really happened. Are the Eagles true Super Bowl contenders or are they a team that barely squeaked by the Browns? How high up should teams like Denver and Dallas, who weren't on the board last week, rise after toppling teams who were ranked like Pittsburgh and New York?
No folks, the Top 12 ain't easy, but somebody's got to do it.
#1 - New England Patriots
The Patriots did nothing to shake my confidence in them during Week 1. In fact, I'm actually feeling even better about them heading into the opener. The defense has been rejuvenated. After years of waiting for a pass rush to develop, the Pats finally have one, and NOBODY is going to be able to run against that defensive front four. (Take note, Baltimore and Houston.) Yes, the Niners win over the Packers was impressive and they've become America's sweethearts, but I have no reason to think that the Patriots wouldn't have won in Lambeau also, given how good they looked on Sunday.
Last Week: 1 Change: 0 Record: 1-0 Next Game: vs. Cardinals
#2 - San Francisco 49ers
I said San Francisco would have to prove they weren't one-year wonders to rise in the rankings, and that's just what they did. There's only one team in the league right now that makes me sweat as a Pats fan, and they're it. Still, I have to think the improvements in the New England defense would give the Patriots and advantage the Packers didn't have. I guess we'll have to wait and see in Week 15.
Last Week: 5 Change: +3 Record: 1-0 Next Game: vs. Lions
#3 - Baltimore Ravens
I thought the Ravens were likely to take a step back this season due to a declining defense. What I didn't take into account was the improvements they have appeared to make on offense. Needless to say, their Week 3 clash with the Pats is shaping up to be epic.
Last Week: 4 Change: +1 Record: 1-0 Next Game: @ Eagles
#4 - Green Bay Packers
I refuse to murder the Packers like most others out there. A lot of rankings had them dropping from #1, all the way down to #5 or #6. Give me a break. It's going to take a lot more than a loss to a powerhouse like San Fran to make me disregard a team that was 15-1 last year. If it weren't for me wanting to show the Ravens some respect, the Pack probably would only have dropped to #3.
Last Week: 2 Change: -2 Record: 0-1 Next Game: vs. Bears