By Nick Ferraro
1. Dallas Cowboys
It wasn’t a stellar showing on defense, but the Cowboys got by a tough division opponent. They can step out in front in the NFC this week by beating the Packers.
2. New York Giants
The defending champs have yet to be challenged. They figure to get by easily again Sunday against the reeling Bengals. There are no real tests for the G-men until late next month when they play Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Philadelphia in consecutive weeks.
3. New England Patriots
I guess there are some good players in New England besides Tommy Boy. I’m not running to pick up Matt Cassel for my fantasy team, but he appears to have enough to win most weeks given the talent around him. I don’t think we’ll be talking about a perfect season again though.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ugly wins are still wins. The Steelers have a tight grip on the AFC North early in the season. Ben’s shoulder is a concern. There are no Matt Cassels on this roster.
5. Green Bay Packers
This might be the most underrated of the 2-0 teams. Aaron Rogers will only get better. He faces the Cowboys this week in the toughest test of his career thus far.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
I’m keeping the Eagles right where they were last week despite the loss. The defense was embarrassed, but this is a solid team that played it close on the road against the top team in the league.
7. Carolina Panthers
I thought things would be easier for the Panthers at home against the Bears. The offensively challenged Bears moved the ball fairly well, which is a troubling sign. On offense, this team really misses Steve Smith. If they can somehow be 4-0 or 3-1 when he returns, it will be a huge lift for Carolina.
8. Indianapolis Colts
A road win is nice, but there are issues facing the Colts. They appear to have slipped back to the pack this season.
9. Tennessee Titans
The Titans are a better team with Kerry Collins playing quarterback. The defense is not a question. If Collins makes a few plays in the passing game, this team can play with anyone.
10. Arizona Cardinals
The news out of the desert is that the Cardinals defense is only allowing 11.5 points per game. Sure, the 49ers and Dolphins are punchless, but teams like that found their stride in the past by playing Arizona. The Cards don’t need a lot of defense to win. They seem to have enough to complement the high-powered offense.
28. Kansas City Chiefs
The Raiders shouldn’t beat you in your building. The Chiefs may go 0-6 against the AFC West. That will ensure them a top-five pick in the 2009 draft.
29. Cincinnati Bengals
Things are bad in Cincy. Marvin Lewis will be feeling the heat after they lose to the Giants Sunday. There should be more success on offense given the talent level. Does Chad get the trade he wanted when they fall out of the playoff chase?
30. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins figure to go 0-8 on the road. The Pats welcome the Dolphins to New England this week. I don’t think I’ll need to juggle this ranking much for next week’s Bottom Five.
31. Detroit Lions
They made a nice run to get ahead of the Pack. That was washed away as they allowed 24 points in the last five minutes of the game. The Lions might be the most frustrating team to root for in the NFL
32. St. Louis Rams
Two games, two blowout losses. Missouri is 0-4 and home of two of the worst football teams in the NFL.