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Ranking the League

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

1. Saints (3-0)

No, they're not the best team in the NFL. But they're greatly improved. They're exciting. And, for at least one week, they deserve to be atop the rankings after Monday night's stirring triumph in the reopening of the Superdome.

2. Colts (3-0)

They were beat up last week and still beat an excellent Jaguars team.

3. Bengals (3-0)

Showed how deep and versatile their offense is against the Steelers.

4. Seahawks (3-0)

Maurice Morris takes over at running back for the injured Shaun Alexander, who hasn't been a huge contributor this season anyway, with 187 rushing yards in three games.

5. Bears (3-0)

Rex Grossman is the NFC's second-rated passer, behind only Donovan McNabb.

6. Chargers (2-0)

Philip Rivers's first real test as an NFL quarterback comes Sunday in Baltimore.

7. Ravens (3-0)

Beating the Browns was more of a struggle than it should have been.

8. Jaguars (2-1)

They're just not quite ready to overtake the Colts for AFC South supremacy.

9. Steelers (1-2)

Ben Roethlisberger has a passer rating of 34.3, and the champs are 0-2 since his return to the lineup.

10. Eagles (2-1)

Wide receiver was supposed to be the trouble spot, but Reggie Brown had his first 100-yard receiving game in the NFL after Donte Stallworth was a late lineup scratch Sunday.

11. Falcons (2-1)

When they can't run the ball often and effectively, they can't win.

12. Broncos (2-1)

Winning in New England isn't quite the accomplishment it used to be.

13. Vikings (2-1)

They didn't quite get it done against the Bears.

14. Patriots (2-1)

Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli have been lauded, but what were they doing this year in leaving Tom Brady with no capable wide receivers?

15. Panthers (1-2)

Steve Smith steps back into the lineup and picks up right where he left off last season, with seven catches for 112 yards in his season debut Sunday.

16. Rams (2-1)

Kurt Warner keeps helping the Rams, only now, he's doing it as the Cardinals' quarterback.

17. Cowboys (1-1)

Terrell Owens perhaps could return to the lineup, but the Cowboys shouldn't really need him Sunday in Tennessee.

18. Jets (2-1)

Rookie coach Eric Mangini is getting better-than-expected results.

19. Redskins (1-2)

The offensive approach finally seemed to stress what QB Mark Brunell actually can do well.

20. Giants (1-2)

Jeremy Shockey said the Giants were outcoached Sunday in Seattle, but one surmises Coach Tom Coughlin doesn't really care what his players think of him.

21. Chiefs (0-2)

The bye week put injured QB Trent Green a week closer to being able to return to the lineup, but it won't be this week.

22. Cardinals (1-2)

Dennis Green is acknowledging he wonders whether he'll ever get things turned around in Arizona.

23. Dolphins (1-2)

Barely beating the woeful Titans after an 0-2 start doesn't exactly reinforce the notion that this team might be ready to win the division.

24. Bills (1-2)

QB J.P. Losman and RB Willis McGahee piled up the yardage against the Jets, but the defense surrendered three sustained touchdown drives.

25. 49ers (1-2)

Rookie TE Vernon Davis is sidelined for a month by a broken leg.

26. Packers (1-2)

Brett Favre puts all the he-should-have-retired talk to rest for at least a few weeks.

27. Buccaneers (0-3)

There is no reason for anyone to even consider having Chris Simms play in another game this season.

28. Lions (0-3)

New coach. Same team. Same results.

29. Browns (0-3)

And to think, Romeo Crennel could have stayed in New England as an assistant.

30. Texans (0-3)

Yes, they really did take Mario Williams instead of Reggie Bush.

31. Titans (0-3)

Jeff Fisher is sticking with Kerry Collins as his starting quarterback. Why?

32. Raiders (0-2)

Paging Jeff George, paging Jeff George.

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