The great Kanye West once said, "No one man should have all that power." Coach John Harbaugh feels the same way about his 4-1 Ravens. Harbaugh is wary of "bogus" rankings like these. "We like it when you guys don't say nice things about us," he said Monday. Sorry, John, but your Ravens have been doing something mean to it, so they deserve all that power.
1. Ravens (previous ranking — 3): Riding a three-game winning streak into Foxborough, the Ravens have climbed to the top of my rankings (the last installment was after Week 1). Now the most balanced team in the NFL must avoid tripping off the power, as Kanye put it, against the revenge-minded Patriots. Sticking with Ray Rice and the resurgent running game will help.
2. Jets (13): The Jets have won four in a row, due in large part to Mark Sanchez's improved play since the Ravens' Week 1 win. Rex Ryan predicted that his Jets would see the Ravens again in the playoffs. The Sanchise has to get them there first.
3. Falcons (16): With QB Matt Ryan expected to make strides in his third year, just like Joe Flacco, we knew the Atlanta offense would be good. But how about that fast, frenetic Falcons defense?
4. Steelers (7): With Big Ben serving the final game of his four-game suspension, the Steelers nearly seized control of the AFC North against the Ravens in Week 4. Of course, fate and/or Flacco intervened in the final minutes, but the Ravens haven't seen the last of the Steelers, who get Roethlisberger back this weekend.
5. Patriots (2): The Pats traded away Randy Moss, which will make life easier for the Ravens secondary Sunday. Count on the New England offense staying dangerous sans Moss, though.
6. Packers (4): Injuries had already taken a significant toll on the Packers before Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion last week. Their title hopes are close to being carried off on a stretcher.
7. Colts (10): Peyton Manning and the 3-2 Colts are used to being undefeated through five weeks. They're still the AFC South favorites, though, with a four-way tie atop the division.
8. Giants (5): The Giants defense has at times resembled the Super group from three years ago — that's a very scary thing.
9. Redskins (12): It's hasn't been pretty, but Donovan McNabb and the Redskins are 3-2 with two big wins in the division.
10. Bears (21): The Bears sit atop the NFC North with a 4-1 record, but they're in for a hard fall if they subject QB Jay Cutler to the kind of abuse he took two weeks ago against the Giants.
11. Chiefs (19): I want to believe in the Chiefs, I really do. The young defense has been a revelation, but I just don't see them holding off the Chargers, who always put together a late charge.
12. Buccaneers (27): Ditto for the Bucs. Young team, lots of promise, but they can't hang with the Falcons and the Saints.
13. Saints (1): Speaking of the Saints, how is it possible that a Drew Brees-led offense ranks 18th in the league in scoring? Does Reggie Bush really have that much of an impact?
14. Titans (8): With a surprisingly-formidable offense and a sack-happy defense, the Titans have looked like a playoff team.
15. Texans (6): The defense has been a major disappointment, and it could keep the Texans from making their playoff debut.
16. Eagles (22): Sorry, Kevin Kolb, but only a healthy Michael Vick can drag the Eagles to the postseason in 2010.
17. Dolphins (9): They might not have played like Betty White out there against the Jets and Pats. But like Gloria Estefan? Sure.
18. Chargers (20): Weird stat of the Week No. 1: The Chargers are 2-3 despite a plus-34 point differential this season.
19. Jaguars (24): Reality will set in soon enough for the Jags.
20. Cowboys (15): I can't believe the talented Cowboys are 1-3.
21. Vikings (11): Ditto for Brett Favre and the talented Vikings. Those scandalous pictures of Favre's "old gunslinger" won't help.
22. Bengals (18): Tick. Tick. Tick. If Carson Palmer continues to suck it up, brace yourself for a Chad Ochocinco blowup.
23. Raiders (28): Is Darrius Heyward-Bey still on the roster?
24. Lions (17): The Lions' reward for their blowout win over the Rams: games against the Giants, Redskins and Jets.
25. Broncos (29): Injuries have done in the Broncos in 2010.
26. Browns (32): Colt McCoy might start against the Steelers on Sunday? That's a rough way for a rookie to make his debut.
27. Seahawks (14): It doesn't look like anyone wants the NFC West, the league's worst division. My money's on Seattle, I guess.
28. Cardinals (26): Weird stat of the Week No. 2: The Cards are 3-2 despite a minus-50 point differential this season.
29. Rams (31): As crazy as it sounds, losing Mark Clayton will kill the Rams' season and stunt Sam Bradford's development.
30. 49ers (25): Samurai Mike deserves to get axed.
31. Panthers (23): Scoring 10.4 points a game isn't cutting it.
32. Bills (30): The 2008 Lions might soon have company.
- Baltimore Ravens
- New York Jets
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- New York Giants
- Atlanta Falcons
- Detroit Lions
- New Orleans Saints
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Washington Redskins
- Chicago Bears
- Dallas Cowboys
- Denver Broncos
- Green Bay Packers
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Minnesota Vikings
- Tennessee Titans
- New England Patriots