On the NFL
6:07 PM CDT, September 11, 2012
Last week's ranking in parentheses
1. 49ers (5): People don't want to believe this team can be this good with Alex Smith at quarterback. Believe it.
2. Patriots (3): This is what you call an overpowering offense.
3. Ravens (4): Joe Flacco was ready for prime time on Monday, and there isn't much to dislike about the Ravens.
4. Packers (1): OK, so they are not unbeatable, but it is way too soon to jump off any bandwagon that Aaron Rodgers is leading.
5. Falcons (11): Losing cornerback Brent Grimes is a big blow, but this offense might be able to compensate.
6. Texans (7): They did what they were supposed to do Sunday.
7. Bears (8): Could they be better than we thought? Tough to tell off their game against the Colts.
8. Broncos (15): Any more questions about Peyton Manning now?
9. Cowboys (20): As long as the opener against the Giants wasn't their Super Bowl, the Cowboys could build some momentum.
10. Giants (2): It wouldn't be a season if the Giants didn't dig themselves a hole.
11. Steelers (6): The new offense still might be feeling its way, but this is a good football team.
12. Lions (10): They are a better team than they showed in a close call against the Rams.
13. Redskins (25): Let's wait a couple of weeks before we present them with the Lombardi Trophy.
14. Saints (12): That ringing phone you heard was Sean Payton's agent calling asking for a raise when he comes back.
15. Chiefs (9): Losing to the Falcons at home was not as disturbing as the way in which the Chiefs lost.
16. Chargers (16): Once they get Ryan Mathews going, the Chargers could be dangerous.
17. Jets (21): Bart Scott may call for a mutiny of the Tribune power poll.
18. Eagles (13): Teams that are budding dynasties should not be squeaking out wins over the likes of the Browns.
19. Bengals (14): The Bengals still may be a good team, but it already seems pretty clear they aren't the best in the AFC North.
20. Buccaneers (22): Who knew the Bucs could play defense like they did Sunday?
21. Panthers (17): They can blame it on the Democrats, who took over the Panthers' stadium and forced them to train in Florida the week before the game.
22. Raiders (18): You can have elite playmakers at various positions, but if you don't have a healthy, able long snapper you still can't win.
23. Titans (19): There is no shame in losing to the Patriots. But there is shame in losing 34-13.
24. Vikings (29): Welcome back, Adrian Peterson. The Vikings shouldn't be pushovers with him in the lineup.
25. Cardinals (26): They have won eight of their last 10. Reality introduces itself to the Cardinals on Sunday in New England.
26. Seahawks (23): If they could not beat the Cardinals, how can they beat the Cowboys and Packers? This team could be headed for 0-3.
27. Rams (28): They scored their first moral victory in what may be a season of many.
28. Browns (31): They were close against the Eagles, but the sport they are playing is not horseshoes.
29. Colts (24): They will be better in November than September if they stay healthy.
30. Jaguars (30): They found a way to lose in Minnesota, and they have to make sure that does not become habitual.
31. Bills (27): Based on the first game, it's going to be a long, cold winter in Buffalo.
32. Dolphins (32): Nowhere to go but up for the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill.
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