Ranking the League

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

1. Chargers (8-2)

Their level of play is the league's highest, and LaDainian Tomlinson is ahead of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Larry Johnson for MVP.

2. Bears (9-1)

They're 2-0 on what looked to be a rugged three-game road stretch against the Giants, Jets and Patriots.

3. Colts (9-1)

Until losing at Dallas on Sunday, they'd won 30 straight regular season games in which they hadn't yet clinched their playoff seeding.

4. Ravens (8-2)

It still comes down to keeping Steve McNair healthy. He hasn't played 16 games in a season since 2002.

5. Cowboys (6-4)

They're 3-1 with Tony Romo as the starter, and would be 4-0 if not for the fluke ending against the Redskins.

6. Panthers (6-4)

Someone please figure out a team that has gone from two straight losses to four straight wins to two straight losses to two straight wins.

7. Broncos (7-3)

Don't look now, Jake Plummer, but Jay Cutler is warming up. Losing at home to the Colts and Chargers doesn't bode well for the postseason.

8. Patriots (7-3)

Their record is further testimony to the greatness of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but they just don't seem to stack up against the big boys.

9. Jaguars (6-4)

Coaches wearing suits, the Jaguars' Jack Del Rio and the 49ers' Mike Nolan, went 2-0.

10. Chiefs (6-4)

Going back to Trent Green at quarterback pays off for Herman Edwards, at least for now.

11. Giants (6-4)

It's not panic time yet. The Titans are next, and some injured players should be returning soon.

12. Seahawks (6-4)

Matt Hasselbeck returns, but they're getting nothing out of Shaun Alexander.

13. Jets (5-5)

Losing to the Bears was forgivable. The rest of the schedule brings games against the Texans, Packers, Bills, Vikings, Dolphins and Raiders.

14. Bengals (5-5)

Chad Johnson has 17 catches for 450 yards and five touchdowns in his last two games.

15. Saints (6-4)

The Saints can't make Drew Brees keep trying to do it all himself. He could be without Marques Colston this week because of a sprained ankle.

16. 49ers (5-5)

Don't forget about Mike Nolan in the coach of the year race. Who thought this team would be at .500 this late in the season?

17. Dolphins (4-6)

They've finally gotten started, but it's probably too little, too late.

18. Falcons (5-5)

They're in the midst of a folding act, but they do have a chance to straighten things out against the Saints.

19. Steelers (4-6)

The defending champions are showing some resolve, and a win in Baltimore would start some talk about a late playoff push.

20. Bills (4-6)

Lee Evans quietly has become one of the league's best wide receivers.

21. Eagles (5-5)

They went 5-1 without Donovan McNabb in 2002 and 2-5 without him last season. Andy Reid must pick Jeff Garcia or A.J. Feeley as this season's replacement -- a circumstance that seems to more closely resemble 2005.

22. Packers (4-6)

All talk of the playoffs should end if they don't win Monday night in Seattle.

23. Titans (3-7)

Jeff Fisher still has his team playing hard and playing tough, and the Titans can put up a good fight even against a contender.

24. Buccaneers (3-7)

Jon Gruden ridiculed a report that said he could be in the running to coach the Cowboys next season if Bill Parcells exits.

25. Texans (3-7)

Their defense made the Bills' J.P. Losman look like John Elway on Sunday.

26. Rams (4-6)

It's almost impossible to believe this team was 4-1.

27. Vikings (4-6)

They're plummeting so quickly that even beating the Cardinals at home on Sunday isn't a sure thing.

28. Browns (3-7)

They're probably running into the Bengals at the wrong time.

29. Redskins (3-7)

Even if they don't win another game all season, going to Jason Campbell was the right move.

30. Cardinals (2-8)

They didn't exactly have an abundance of productive players, and now top pass rusher Bertrand Berry has a season-ending arm injury.

31. Raiders (2-8)

Going back to Aaron Brooks at quarterback wasn't exactly a cure-all, was it?3

2. Lions (2-8)

Maybe they can draft another wide receiver in the first round to try to fix everything.

Mark Maske, NFL News Feed

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