1. The Detroit Lions. There are certain laws and equations that define the world in which we live and the physical reality that anchors our lives.
e = mc^2
acceleration = force / mass
circumference / diameter = 3.1415...
And so forth. Here's another one for the ages: a professional football team cannot allow opponents to average 30.5 points per game and expect to win. Ever.
If a Rudi Johnson falls into the end zone and scores a touchdown for an team with no defense to speak of, does it make a sound? (Answer: yes, but it's something akin to the sound you'd hear if you stepped on your dog's chew toy.)
2. The San Francisco 49ers.
Since Seattle and St. Louis have both had bye weeks already, it's San Francisco's honor to be moldering at the very bottom of arguably the league's worst division with a 2-6 record. There's really not a whole lot more I can add to that, except this:
(Bonus hilarity: If you're in need of a cheap laugh, check out the YouTube page where that Mike Singletary video appears and read the comments thread, which appears to have devolved into a McCain/Obama slapfest. I knew we'd rue the day we taught koala bears to use the Internet!)
3. The Seattle Seahawks. The C-Hox finally earned just their second win of the season. They still have the worst passing game in the league (take THAT, Oakland!), but at least their defense is starting to show signs of sentient life and Julius Jones is moving the ball. As Miracle Max would say: these Seahawks are only MOSTLY dead. After all, they won't be mathematically eliminated from having a winning season for another 2 losses!
4. The St. Louis Rams. And, with that, we're nearly done with the NFC West, and we're only a quarter of the way through these rankings. I'll give them this: they... actually, I won't give them anything. Sweet mother of pearl, 3 teams in this division have combined for just 6 WINS. And here I'm supposed to give the Rams credit for managing not to go winless? NO. NO I WILL NOT. 28.7 points per game given up to opponents while scoring just 16.0 per game? That's Detroit bad. That's Cincinnati bad. That's straight up Bawful. Look, it's super great that the Rams won two in a row. Remember when San Francisco was 2-1? Yeah, neither do they. Here's the point: we're well past the point in this season where 2 wins would make me get excited about a team. Call me when the Rams have a winning percentage ABOVE .286. If I don't pick up, it's because I'm in the shower. Or because I still don't give a fuck.
5. The Minnesota Vikings. There are two things the Vikings do very well: (1) run the ball, and (2) stop other teams from running the ball. At last count, there were 845,769 things that the Vikings do terribly. You see where I'm going with this.
"Please, somebody take this... I have no idea what to do with it."
6. The New Orleans Saints. A surprisingly potent offense has buoyed this NFC South team's battle to 4 wins and a record within striking distance of first place in this season's most competitive division. Here's the thing: sometimes in professional football (I know, I know... it seems so unfair!) you have to play games at NOT your home stadium, and (again, I know: totally egregious) those games actually count just the same as the games you play at home. It's a cold, cruel world we live in, my dears. But, hey, look at it this way: if you keep it up, at least you won't have to travel up to any of those icky cold Northern states in January for those wacky "playoffs" you read about in the papers!
7. The Atlanta Falcons. See Saints, New Orleans.
8. The Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers has thrown 12 touchdowns, rushed for 3 more, and is currently leading the 6th-ranked passing game in the league. His Packers have fought their way back to a winning record after early struggles, and enjoyed a bye this past weekend to prepare them for their meeting with
Oh. Yikes. Yeah, the Titans are going to mash this limping Packers defense like so much pumpkin into a tasty Thanksgiving pie. That's another discussion for another time, though. (Tune into Footbawful on Friday for my pumpkin cheesecake recipe all your weekend picks!) Here's the point: I don't care how good Aaron Rodgers is, and I don't care that the Packers have a 4-3 record. They are a mind-numbingly mediocre team and their quarterback thinks he's some unholy combination of Bart Starr and Saint Sebastian. They suck and will go nowhere. This message forcefully disapproved of by the Packer Pope. Whatever. I don't trust that punk since he moved to Avignon anyway.
9. The Dallas Cowboys. Unlike my generally level-headed co-editor, I do not work myself into an orgasmic frenzy when I see the Cowboys losing. My thoughts on the 'Boys are thus: (1) Tony Romo is very attractive and I would enjoy seeing him naked, (2) I should have drafted Marion Barber III when I had the chance, and (3) I'd rather run naked through the streets of Milwaukee with "FOLLOW ME TO FREE BEER AND GERMAN SAUSAGES" painted on my asscheeks than see the Giants win this division. Hence, I suppose it saddens me a bit to have to inform you that the Cowboys are, in my humble opinion, toast.
10. The Philadelphia Eagles. A potent offense and an above-average defense are keeping this team afloat... sadly, because they have only 4 wins, they are mired at the bottom of the NFC East. It's like the exact opposite of the NFC West. Part of me thinks that this is unfair, but part of me acknowledges that throwing a team like the 49ers into a division with the Cowboys and the Giants would be much, much more unfair. Honestly, I don't think the Iggles are headed anywhere of significance this season, but they suck so much less than so many other teams in this conference that they've slid all the way to 10th in these rankings. Hooray for the ineptitude of others!
11. The Chicago Bears. These Bears are stunningly, astoundingly mediocre at nearly every aspect of the game... and yet they've got the 3rd-best offense in the league with 28 points per game and are winning the NFC North. I... I... I just... gahh. I've got nothing. Go Bears. Whatever.
12. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Scoring just 9 points against a Cowboys team that had let up a total of 64 points in its previous 2 games was not what these Bucs needed to bump them down on these Powerless Rankings. Still, props where props are due for the 5-3 record and second place in the hotly-contested AFC South. The Bucs currently have the second-ranked defense in the league with just 15 points allowed per game, and Jeff Garcia appears to genuinely want to start games. Still, the inconsistency of this team bothers me. 27 points against the Panthers and 9 against the Cowboys? What planet does that make sense on? Is it Bizarro Backwards Through the Looking Glass Neptune? Because that place is just a big tourist trap.
13. The Arizona Cardinals. Like the Bears, these Cardinals are also just 4-3 and still carving out a comfortable ass-groove at the top of their division thanks to the colossal amounts of bawful they're surrounded by. The difference here? The Cards have the number one -- the NUMBER ONE, folks -- offense IN THE LEAGUE with 28 points scored per game thanks to Kurt Warner's bionically reanimated arm having thrown for almost 2,100 yards and 14 brothershoving touchdowns. Nah, they don't really stand a chance in a conference with the Panthers, Bucs, and Giants (as Sunday's loss demonstrated)... but hot damn. At least they can, like, score points. The rest of the NFC West would love to know how they do it.
14. The Washington Redskins. I have to say: this team is an absolute joy to watch. Their play is dazzling and their wins are nearly always unexpected. They've got 6 wins on the season and are looking like the only team that's poised to give the Giants a run for their NFC East money. (Note: NFC East money is not redeemable for legal tender. Cash value 1/100 of a cent.) Critics will point to the Redskins' rather low 20.6 points-per-game offense and mutter that their win column is probably somewhat inflated. Seriously, though, watch this team play a game and then YOU come back and tell me I'm giving them too much credit. They're just great. I promise! Oh, and Jason Campbell? STILL hasn't thrown an interception.
15. The New York Giants. Whatever. Blah blah Eli Manning blah blah best run defense in the league blah blah first place. Blah.
16. The Carolina Panthers. Despite an almost-loss to the Cardinals this Sunday, the Panthers still managed to hang on for a 6-2 record and the rank of Least Eye-Gougingly Unwatchable Team in the NFC. They're still solidly middle-of-the-pack on offense with a fierce defense headed into their bye week, and here they shall remain until someone (pleasenotthegiants) unseats them. Rawr!