Heya, my Footbawful-perusing lovelies. A thousand apologies for the lateness of this post -- I've been swamped at work to the point where I see IRS 990 forms in front of me every time I close my eyes... dancing... swirling... coaxing me ever onwards into the darkness...
Plus, I had a 4-hour gig with my band last night on top of everything. Phew! Anyway, I'll try to make this post as magically delicious as I can in order to compensate for its belatedness. I present to you:
1. The Detroit Lions. Oh, DETROIT. With Jon Kitna out -- and apparently planning on retiring -- it was all up to Dan Orlovsky to save you. Or at least to not inadvertently score points for the other team...
Seriously, the Lions are such a sad-sack bunch of lamewads right now it's enough to make a gal want to write a maudlin and unintentionally comical country ballad about them or something. You know, something like "There Ain't No Whiskey Brown Enough To Drown These Lions' Tears" or "My Bookie Told Me To Bet Against The Vikings And Now My Sweetie Done Left Me Fer Broke" or something. Someone get Kenny Chesney on the phone!
In fact, I'm not even rating the Lions a 1 on these rankings. I'm rating them higher than 1. I'm rating them a 0. You, Detroit, are a quantifiable null value. You are the absolute lack of value in contrast to which all value is defined. YOU ARE THE ADDITIVE IDENTITY OF THE NFL. Football + -(football) = you, Detroit.
2. The Seattle Seahawks. Speaking of negative football. The Seahawks have managed to play their way down from being most people's pick for NFC Superbowl representative into being one of the most miserable shows around. Julius Jones is working his ass off to give these coastal pigeons the 5th-best running game in the league, and the rest of his team just ain't getting it together to be anything even remotely resembling a winning team. Which is a shame, really. Or maybe it's not. I don't know. This team is too depressing for me to even feel feelings anymore.
3. The St. Louis Rams. Oh, FINE. About a week ago, I got into an argument with my esteemed Footbawful co-editor about which team sucked more, the Lions or the Rams. Things got heated. Feelings were hurt. I may have said some things about Marc Bulger that I wish I could take back. Wait, actually, nah, I totally stand by my assertion that Marc Bulger is about at useful as a juice box with no straw. Anyway, the point here is that as soon as I vowed the Rams wouldn't win a game this season, they promptly pulled off a victory over the Redskins. So there you go, St. Louis fans. YOU'RE WELCOME. And since I'm a vindictive she-devil, I'm going to use this space to point out that the Rams still have the WORST offense in the league with only 12.4 points per game. SO THERE.
4. The San Francisco 49ers. Yeah, I guess it's probably time for me to stop giving credit where credit is straight up not due. Like the gold-seeking prospectors for whom they were named, these 'Niners are going fishing and turning up nothing but mud. Their defense has let up 101 points in their last three losses, and Frank Gore is the only person on this team doing anything worth talking about. On a more positive note, wouldn't it be just great if all the San Francisco games were called using grizzled prospector speak for the rest of the season? "Consarn it! There's another dad-gum sack on that claim-jumpin' O'Sullivan gadabout!"
5. The Philadelphia Eagles. Ah. On we move to the 3-3 teams: the middling candidates who will alternately disappoint and delight their fans for the remainder of the season, fade into obscurity as the playoffs come and go, and make ill-advised first-round draft picks come spring. I have selected -- perhaps arbitrarily -- the Iggles as the Most Sucktastic of these, your Fab .500 teams, simply because I can. Do I think they'll finish last in their division? Not necessarily. Do I think they're worth giving a flying hootenanny about? Definitely not. Westbrook or no Westbrook, it feels like this team springs a new leak every week.
6. The Green Bay Packers. Sure, they won this week. AGAINST THE SEAHAWKS. Their next games are against Indianapolis and Tennessee. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I know how those are going to go down. Savor that 3-3 record, Green Bay. It won't be with you for long.
7. The Chicago Bears. Here's the telling stat for the Bears. They are middling-to-decent in almost every category so far this year -- except for against the passing game, in which they are ranked 27th in the league.. In other words, these Bears don't stand a hippie's chance at an NRA convention against, like, an actual football team with an actual quarterback. Which, granted, there are not many of in the league so far this year. Also, they never seem to remember that a football game goes 4 quarters, not 3.
8. The Minnesota Vikings. Ok. I'm not willing to call last week's game against Detroit a "win" per se, but I will point out that the Vikes are 2 games and a bye away from a likely 5-3 record. There's only so far a badass running back can get you, sure, but the Vikes' defense is still looking good and they're in the impossibly lame NFC North -- yes, that's a 3-way tie for first place between 3 3-3 teams. (This post brought to you by the number 3.) I guess it's like they say: "In the land of the blind, even the one-eyed man is king." Only this is more like "in the land of the bumbling and worthless, even Brad Childress might do OK."
9. The Dallas Cowboys. It figures that if Tony Romo were to get hurt, it would be his pinky that would do him in.
I hate to be gratuitously venomous. I really do. But Tony Romo? Seriously? HUGE BITCH. He's more talent in his, well, little finger than most of the schlubs taking snaps right now, for sure... but playing well when it's easy means absolutely zero (or "Detroit") if you can't come up big when it counts. I should know, dammit. I'm a Patriots fan. Anyway, the Cowboys are an unstable team of divas and drunks with a quarterback no one respects, and that shouldn't make anyone feel good. Am I surprised they lost to the Cards? Not in the slightest, m'dears. My rather convoluted point here is that the Cowboys are just a big ol' bowlful of Bawful, and Romo's injury will only hasten their inevitable slide into irrelevance.
10. The New Orleans Saints. This is the point in the rankings where I note that every single team from the NFC North has already been ranked, while I've only just reached the first of the NFC South teams. Yeah. That being said, the fact that these Saints are mired at the very bottom of this hot-to-trot division with a 3-3 record belies the truth, which is that this Saints offense is actually starting to gel in a convincing manner for the first time since the arrival of His Bushiness. Drew Brees' throwing arm is every thing that Tony Romo's pinky is not; the Saints have the best passing game, the second-most overall yards gained, and the 4th point production numbers in the league. Their defense is firmly middle-of-the-pack in every category, but know ye this: awesome offense + competent defense = staying power. Laissez les bon temps roulez!
11. The Washington Redskins. It's tempting to write off the Zornketeers after last weekend -- seriously, losing to St. Louis? Who DOES that? But look. This is a team that's gone 4-2 in one of the league's toughest divisions, including jaw-dropping wins over the lumbering Cowboys and Eagles. Santana Moss is having the kind of season few people would have thought he still had in him, and Jason Campbell is averaging a TD per week with a 96.2 passer rating on the season. It's a year for surprises, it would seem, and these Redskins might just turn out to be the biggest surprise of all.
12. The Atlanta Falcons. At some point, we're all going to have to stop saying, "It's too early in the season to label them contenders based on a couple of lucky wins." I'm not saying we've reached that point yet, but we're getting pretty damn close. For now, Atlanta is 4-2 and making a whole lot of people scratch their heads in disbelief.
13. The Arizona Cardinals. Holy cow! The Cards' offense is averaging 29.5 points per game... good for 2nd in the league and a whole lot of second looks from people who were sure that Kurt Warner was a washed-up old coot. Old, yes; coot, most definitely... but washed-up? Tell that to his 12 TOUCHDOWNS AND 1,708 YARDS. (Speak up, though. They've grown a mite hard of hearing.)
14. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Earlier this week, commenter grayson pointed out -- rightly so, I think -- that we've been a mite harsh on the Bucs. True, the Garcia/Griese crapshoot is hardly a desirable quarterback situation in the long run, but the Bucs have been mighty against the run and are allowing just 16.2 points per game. They've not lost a game by more than 4 points yet this season and are 4-2 following a decisive victory over the Panthers last week. The Panthers are edging them out in the rankings for reasons that will be explained below, but Tampa Bay is moving farther and farther away from Absolute Suck with each passing week.
15. The Carolina Panthers. OK, OK. Yes, the Panthers got whomped on by Tampa Bay last week. No, I'm not willing to give up my team crush on them just yet. With DeAngelo Williams, rookie Jonathan Stewart, Muhsin Muhammed, and The Good Steve Smith all sharing the work on offense, these Panthers are still a remarkably versatile offense -- and that's not even their real strength. These Panthers have a totally pimped-out defense that even Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden admitted to being "a little nervous about" before last week's game. This is the defense that's pulled off the season's only shutout so far (against the Chiefs, yes, but I hear it still counts)... they're only allowing 16.2 points per game (4th in the league overall) and have one of the best pass rushes around. There are plenty of contenders in the NFC South, to be sure, but for now I say the Panthers are looking the best.
[scrawls "I HEART PANTHERS 4-EVA" on inside of Trapper Keeper]
16. The New York Giants. It'd be inconsistent with my rankings of the Panthers and the Redskins to deny the Giants "Least Mind-Numbingly Awful" status based merely on one loss. Sorry, make that "one hilariously humiliating loss at the hands of a football team so awful they make God himself weep tears of bitter sorrow at the mess He has created." So here the Giants sit for at least one more week. FINE.