Chaos in the Top 5 this week. Some teams finally lost one game too many, others made it to the top for the first time through consistent play. And some others COMPLETELY RUINED OUR SEASON AND DISILLUSIONED US ALTOGETHER. Shawne, you’re nothing to us now. You’re not a linebacker, you’re not a friend. We don’t want to know you or what you do. When you see our coach, we want to know a day in advance so we won’t be there. You understand?
1. Chicago Bears (6-0)
The impossible has happened and the Bears have finally reached the pinnacle. No, it isn’t because they had some amazing performance this week and vaulted themselves over everyone else. They just seem to be the only team that made it through this week without some kind of catastrophe. That could be because it was their bye week, but we’ll never know. Still, the Bears are scary good, and in the new NFL, where mistake-free play and defense win, the Bears could surprise some people. Well okay Bears fans, it’s time to be realistic. The O will always be ugly, but you’ve got an embarrassingly easy schedule and a great D. Buy your playoff tickets now, but don’t make your travel plans to Miami just yet. Or at all, really.
2. New England Patriots (5-1)
The Pats are a Top 5 newbie, vaulting all the way from outside the honorable mention to number two. Why the big shift? Two reasons: 1) they’re 5-1 and 2) everyone else lost or is so flawed/bad they can’t move up. That said, any Tom Brady-lead offense that can also run the ball and hoodie-clad Bill Belichick defense is trouble for opposing teams. We like Tom Brady, but we like his girlfriend Bridget Moynahan more. They haven’t beaten very many good teams, in fact, they’ve only beaten the uninspired Bengals. Two of their five wins have come over the Buffalo Only Team Actually In The State Of New York’s and, to borrow from Bill Walton, the hoooorrrrible Miami Dolphins, two teams that have combined for three wins so far this season. Still, Pats fans, 5-1 is 5-1 and they have a Top 5 showdown in two weeks with….
3. Indianapolis Colts (6-0)
The Colts are undefeated, as evidenced by the fact that they haven’t lost. Sorry, Joe Theismann moment. The knock on the Colts all season is that they can’t run the ball. Actually, they average a respectable 111 yards rushing per game. That’s only actually respectable because there are sixteen teams with worse per-game averages than that. But with everyone focused on stopping Manning and the Colts’ passing offense, that rushing average should be much, much higher. They average a paltry 3.9 yards per carry and their longest rush all year is 21 yards by rookie Joseph Addai. Addai has been a bit of a revelation for the Colts (5.1 ypc), which is a sign the Colts may get it together by season’s end. However, the Colts schedule gets extremely difficult the next couple of weeks. They have consecutive games at Denver and at New England the next two weeks and have Philly at home two weeks after that and a game against Cincy in December. That said, those are the only four games the Colts could possibly lose barring injury and, last we checked, 12-4 is pretty good.
4. Denver Broncos (5-1)
Will the Broncos ever score 20 points is a great subplot week to week this season. This team is painful to watch on offense. Their defense is good, but as always, they are one Jake Plummer moment (that’s just Jake being Jake) away from oblivion. Plummer threw 41 times on Sunday for a castrated 209 yards. This team couldn’t score at the Playboy mansion. They are the poor man’s Bears, but instead of having a suspect, mistake-prone offense, they don’t do anything at all on offense. It’s hard to decide what to root for. All Chargers fans should probably root that they stick with Plummer as long as possible. Cutler is a rookie, but he seems like he might be competent and he probably can’t believe that he’s backing up a guy nicknamed “the snake.” That was already some one else’s nickname!
5. San Diego Chargers (4-2)
WHY SHAWNE? WHY? There hasn’t been a meltdown like this in the Top 5 since the invention of the Top 5 two weeks ago. This team went from fantastic to total disaster in two weeks. Even just crapping the bed in KC this week is enough to drop them down from number one, but now with the Shawne Merriman (steroids) and Shaun Phillips (injury) catastrophes. San Diego may not win in KC ever, but the Chiefs are a bad team, pure and simple. The Chargers did a good job coming back from a 20-6 deficit, but they never should have been down that much in the first place. Also, Larry Johnson tore up a formerly solid run defense which is, to say the least, not a good sign for the rest of the season. We’re finally seeing a pattern here. Every time the Chargers play a decent team on the road, their offense shuts down and they start making a lot of mistakes. Despite everything, the Bolts are still better than the second-best team in the NFC at this point. But there’s still plenty of time for disaster.
Of course this attitude is all pending the results of Fredo–errr Merriman’s appeal. He maintains his innocence but frankly the Chargers have now lost theirs.
Honorable Mention: New York Giants of New Jersey (4-2), Seattle Seahawks (4-2), Atlanta Falcons (4-2)
These are the second, third and fourth best teams in the NFC. We really wanted to stick with the Seahawks in the Top 5, but now that Hasselbeck is hurt, they have very little chance to do anything at this point. Seneca Wallace wasn’t even that great in college at Iowa State. And no, we didn’t have to look that up. Truthfully, we just keep mentioning the Seahawks so that we can keep putting up pictures of Jessica Alba instead of Mike Holmgren. The New York Giants of New Jersey looked good on Monday night against an average Cowboys team. That said, Eli Manning is still Eli Manning. He’s got a long, long way to go if he wants to be as good as his brother was at this point in his career. Finally, we included the Falcons because we wanted to mock everyone suddenly jumping on the “Michael Vick can pass” bandwagon. He went 18-30 for 232 yards, 4 TD, and threw two picks! That’s not good people! Four touchdowns is nice, but there’s no way they’ll rely on Vick’s arm for the rest of the season. He’s a Jake Plummer-level passer at best. The only reason he’s entrenched as their starter is because he is the best running quarterback this league has ever seen.