I skipped last week’s rankings due to the holiday, but we’re back with them this week. Again, it’s New Year’s eve, so most people are getting ready to get drunk and hope some girl gets tipsy enough to kiss them at midnight. Therefore, the rankings will be fast and furious this week. And since most of us will be waking up with a raging headache and hangover on Friday, let’s hope Mike Leach isn’t around to ban us to a dark equipment shed.
Oh, and before the rankings, a really good article written by former major leaguer Doug Glanville on the whole culture of athletes and struggling to handle the money, power, fame and women that come with being a pro athlete.
So on to the rankings with no categories this week........because it's almost time to start drinking away 2009. Happy New Year everyone.
1. Chargers - Playing better than anyone else in the NFL. They have to scare the Colts right now.
2. Colts - Yes, they gave it up easier than Alyssa Milano to a pro baseball player, but the Colts remain dangerous as long as they have #18 under center.
3. Eagles - They are the hottest team other than San Diego…..but it is the regular season. Do they have the mental make-up to succeed in the playoffs? And can Andy Reid not mess it up?
4. Saints - So do they play their starters in a meaningless game to regain some of their mojo and risk exposing Drew Brees to Julius Peppers? Remember, Peppers is playing for a new contract now and ask Brett Favre if he appears to be motivated.
5. Cardinals - Arizona has a chance to steal a first round bye if the Eagles and Vikings lose this week and the Cardinals beat the Packers. Otherwise, they will host the Packers next week again. Can Beanie Wells be the difference maker in the playoffs?
6. Packers - Practically the only team in the NFC without a chance to get the #2 seed, the Packers are playing well and have a shot to make it through the conference entirely on the road. Would the Pack like another shot at Favre?
7. Patriots - I would say the “Randy Moss is dogging it” train has jumped the tracks at this point. The biggest concern in New England is why Laurence Maroney keeps fumbling on the goal line.
8. Vikings - Lost in the whole “Favre & Childress Peeing Contest” is the fact that Adrian Peterson has a serious fumbling problem. He runs hard, but also runs loose with the balls…….insert your own Tiger joke.
9. Bengals - They will know before they kick off on Sunday night whether they have a shot at the #3 seed or if they can rest their starters and play the Jets again the following week. They have been the biggest surprise in the league and have the running game to be a factor in the playoffs.
10. Cowboys - They ended up .500 in December this year, which is a huge improvement. However, if they don’t win a playoff game, will Wade Phillips be back next year? I’d guess he’s as out as Claye Aiken.
11. Ravens - They can play their way into the playoffs by beating the lowly Raiders. If they can’t beat Oakland, they don’t deserve to be anywhere near the playoffs.
12. Steelers - I think the past two weeks were the “hell” that Mike Tomlin wanted released at the beginning of December. Unfortunately, when they got smoked by Browns, it put them in a whole where they are now begging for a lot of help to make the playoffs.
13. Texans - The Texans seem as comfortable at 8-8 or 9-7 as Kelly Brook does in a bikini. If they beat the Pats, they finish over .500 but is that enough to save Gary Kubiak’s job?
14. Panthers - They are finally playing like everyone thought they would at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, Jake Delhomme put them in a hole to start the year that they couldn’t get out of by the end of the year.
15. Jets - The most fortunate team in the league with gifts from the Colts and potentially from the Bengals to push New York into the playoffs. What’s the over/under for the number of INTs by Sanchez on the road in the playoffs? 4 or 5?
16. Titans - Chris Johnson has a great chance to hit 2,000 yards for the season and an outside chance to break Eric Dickerson’s single season record. It’s still not enough to get the MVP.
17. Falcons - They should be motivated this week to get to 9-7 which would be the first time in franchise history (since 1966) they would have back-to-back winning seasons. Doesn’t that sound amazing that Atlanta has NEVER had consecutive winning seasons?
18. Broncos - Are they going to fire Mike Shanahan again after this late season collapse? They were better than they were last year, but still have a ton of holes.
19. Dolphins - This team overachieved considering the lack of receiving playmakers and weak defense. At least they learned Ricky Williams still has plenty in the tank.
20. 49ers - It has to be the quarterback, right? They have a playmaker RB and a playmaker TE and now a playmaker WR in Crabtree. They have a great middle LB in Patrick Willis. They have turds playing QB.
21. Giants - The defense let them down this year, which means there is no chance Bill Sheridan comes back for a second year as d-coordinator.
22. Jaguars - Maybe they could hire Mike Leach to run their offense and bring in Tim Tebow to play QB? Just a crazy thought……..but it sounds pretty good, right?
23. Bears - Cutler finally breaks the primetime jinx against the Vikings. I texted my brother after the Vikings scored to make it 23-7 and suggested it was time for the Cutler back-breaker INT. He responded that it would likely be from inside their own 35. Within one minute, Cutler rolled out and from his own 33, threw an INT that allowed the Vikings to really get the offense going and eventually forced overtime.
24. Browns - Could Big Show Holmgren fire Mangini if they end the season on a 4 game winning streak? Is the Mangini program finally working or are the players just playing harder to audition for next season?
25. Bills - Will the Colts subject Manning, Wayne & Company to the cold in Buffalo this week? Will the Bills be able to beat the Colts second string? Does anyone care? I don’t.
26. Redskins - At long last, the circus that has been the Redskins season is finally almost over.
27. Raiders - Tom Cable completely threw JaMarcus Russell under the bus when he admitted that better quarterback play earlier in the year could have saved their season. That’s about as brutal as the allegations that Lindsay Lohan’s dad kicked his ex-girlfriend in the baby-maker. Seriously, dude? What the…….?
28. Buccaneers - Nice job by Raheem Morris to cost themselves a better draft pick in the past two weeks.
29. Seahawks - They shouldn’t even bother showing up this week because they didn’t last week in Green Bay. Just let the University of Washington play the Seahawks game because they have a legit NFL QB in Jake Locker.
30. Chiefs - Coach Todd Haley said he didn’t flip off the fans, right? Pretty sure the fans deserve to flip him off for enduring this season in Kansas City.
31. Lions - The bright side is that it won’t take much to start the decade better than they ended this last one.
32. Rams - Sadly, they haven’t locked up the top pick in the draft yet to guarantee them Ndamukong Suh.