1. The Detroit Zeroes. Last weekend was a Total Eclipse of the Heart for the Zeroes. Not only did they waste a 23-point second quarter by going scoreless in the second half, they let Rex Grossman beat them by throwing for one touchdown and running for another. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the Sad Tigers managed to actually win a game...making Detroit the only winless team left in the NFL. Then, they decided to address their problems by pulling Daunte Culpepper out of retirement. Mind you, this guy was D-U-N three seasons ago, and that fact was so obvious that no team in the league would have touched him with a ten-meter cattle prod. Until now. And you know where that leads, right?
2. The Chicago Bears. Da Bears are on a two-game winning streak and, at 5-3, are leading their division...which is pretty amazing considering the fact that most experts had them pegged to win four or five games this season. So why the precipitous rise to the numero dos spot in these rankings? Simple: Rex Grossman, starting quarterback. Man, the Bears are SO screwed...
3. The San Francisco 49ers. Ever since I found out that Samurai Mike's idea of an inspirational halftime speech is mooning his team -- he did it, apparently, to teach them about humiliation -- I cannot take the Niners seriously. I just can't. The only two things these guys have going for them right now are 1) they aren't winless and 2) they won't be starting Rex Grossman this weekend.
"Okay...who wants to see me without my pants? Anybody? Bueller?"
4. The Seattle Seahawks. Pro Bowl defensive end Patrick Kerney injured his shoulder in the Seahawks' pummeling of the Niners back on October 25. They're still trying to determine the severity of the boo-boo, but he's either out for a few weeks or until next year. Based on how this season has gone for the 'Hawks, my money's on "next year." Oh, and Matt Hasselbeck is still out with that bulging disc in his back. The only three things these guys have going for them right now are 1) they aren't winless, 2) they won't be starting Rex Grossman this weekend, and 3) Mike Holmgren isn't dropping his pants in the locker room. Yet. [shudder]
5. The St. Louis Rams. According to the Rams' team report: "The day began with hope in the air, but that's not the way it ended." They might as well replace "day" with "season" can call it wrap.
Bonus quote: Marc Bulger is immune to your criticism, puny humans. No, really. "If you want to put the blame on me, well, I don't care. Oh, I know everyone's going to say it's my fault. They're going to say I'm throwing off my back foot or crap like that. But you know what? I don't care what people say. All I care about are what my teammates and my family says. Everyone else? I don't give a damn." You know, the more somebody says they don't care, the more obvious it becomes that they really, really do care. Anyway, as to whether anything's his fault, here's a recap of his game against the Cards from the Rams' team report, in which he received a grade of "D" for his efforts: "QB Marc Bulger completed less than 50 percent of his passes, and the only think that kept this from being a failing grade was an 80-yard touchdown pass to WR Derek Stanley. Bulger had an interception returned for a touchdown and lost a fumble on a sack. Aside from the Stanley touchdown, Bulger’s other 15 completions totaled 106 yards." But it's not his fault.
6. The Minnesota Vikings. While doing research for these rankings, I saw the following two headlines side-by-side: "Minnesota Vikings' defensive line finally dominates" and "Vikings could be without Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen this Sunday." Allen apparently suffered a sprain of the AC joint in his right shoulder during the Vikings' 28-21 victory over the Houston Texans last Sunday. But that would only be a problem if the shoulder was an important...wait, it is? Uh oh.
Fun fact: The Vikings are 4-2 since Gus Frerotte was named the starting QB. When asked if the system he is being asked to run suits him well, Gus said: "I don't know. I just go out and play and have a lot of fun." Well, as long as you're having FUN, Gus, that's really all that matters.
It's all about fun for Gus Frerotte. And what's more fun than monkeys?!
7. The Dallas Cowboys. How low have the 'Boys sunk? Here's a direct quote from their team report: "Suddenly the ugly victory against the Bengals doesn't look so bad." When a team that was a heavy Super Bowl favorite as recently as Week 4 has to say, "Thank goodness we managed to barely beat the Bengals at home a few weeks ago," you know they're in trouble. On the bright side, Tony Romo should be back after the bye week, and the 'Skins loss to Pittsburgh kept the division race wide ope...the Giants are 7-1, you say? Well, never mind then.
8. The Washington Redskins. I could forgive that banana peel game against the Rams. Barely beating Cleveland and Detroit? Kinda worried me. But the loss to Pittsburgh was one of those "That which has been seen can't be unseen" sort of things. Kind of like a fat, old Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Speedo.
Ha, ha! Now you suffer with me.
9. The Green Bay Packers. You know what? I hate these guys. Screw 'em.
10. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That Kansas City game sure felt like a loss, didn't it? And now all their running backs are hurt: Earnest Graham has a knee injury, Warrick Dunn missed the last game with a pinched nerve in his back, and fullback B.J. Askew has missed the last six games with a hamstring strain. And I will punch you in the nuts if you utter the words "But Cadillac Williams...." This puts all the pressure on Jeff Garcia to beat teams with his arm. Aha, and suddenly that whole quarterback issue rears it's ugly head again...good luck with that, Tampa Bay.
He is the Buc's master plan. Yes, they are screwed.
11. The New Orleans Saints. Uh, any chance New Orleans got a whole new defense during the bye week? No? And left defensive end Charles Grant is out for the rest of the season due to a bicep injury? That's BIG TROUBLE for the Saints. And I don't mean the awesome Big Trouble In Little China kind of trouble, either. Speaking of which, it's way past time for a Jack Burton tribute!
12. The Atlanta Falcons. The 5-3 Falcons are playing with house money at this point. I mean, let's be real, how many wins did you think they'd have this season? Three, maybe? Four at the most? Yeah. Now they're locked in what's becoming a pretty heated battle for the division. Sunday's game against the Saints is gonna be yuuuuuuuuuuuge [/Boston accent]. Fortunately for the Falcons, the New Orleans defense is less effective than trying to cover a public toilet seat with that cheapie toilet paper. If you own Michael Turner and/or Matt Ryan in your fantasy league, start them with confidence.
13. The Philadelphia Eagles. I just cannot get excited about this team. I just can't. They're the kind of ho-hum team that could put you to sleep on the can...like this poor guy.
I mean, seriously, the hot gossip on their team report was about their amazing three tight ends. Said coach Andy Reid: "I'm happy to have three good tight ends. You saw (No. 3 tight end Matt) Schobel step in. He had two catches, too!" Wowee! Did he make poopy in the toilet too?!
14. The Arizona Cardinals. They lead the NFL in scoring and rookie running back Tim Hightower -- who last Sunday rushed for 109 yards on 22 carries, including a 30-yard touchdown run -- has emerged a real force. They're 5-3, and this is the first time they've had a winning record after eight games since 1984. They can't win on the road, but so what? The only NFC teams with winning road records are the Giants and Redskins. This is an Arizona renaissance, baby. Just enjoy it. Kurt Warner is in his 90s; he won't be around forever. Next year, we might be watching Matt Leinart toss interceptions and overthrow his receivers.
15. The Carolina Panthers. Yeah, they're 6-2, but they've had five home games and only three road games...and they're an entirely unimpressive 1-2 on the road. That one win, by the way, came in the final seconds of that Week 1 game against the Chargers. And everybody's beating them this year. (Except the Patriots.) I'm just not sold. They're going to have to really pound a team of consequence to reach the bottom of this powerless barrel (of monkeys!).
16. The New York Giants. Who's gonna take them down? Er, knock them up? Uhm, you know what I mean.