Hatchet power rankings

1. Minnesota Vikings – There’s only one undefeated team in football and it’s not the St. Louis Rams. The Vikings trailed 24-13 in the fourth quarter before scoring 18 points and holding on for the home win. Might the NFC go through the Metrodome?2. Miami Dolphins – A Monday night win in the Meadowlands will give the Dolphins control of their own destiny in the AFC East eight weeks into the season. Probably a good move on Dan Marino’s part to retire when he did. 3. Tennessee Titans – Without Eddie George, the Titans stormed into Ravens country and came out with the win. The Titans have a road game with the Redskins next Monday and then face an improved Pittsburgh team. If the Titans can win in D.C. and then beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore at home, the AFC road to the Super Bowl is going through the Adelphia Coliseum.4. St. Louis Rams – This is where it all gets interesting. The Rams were crushed in K.C. and will be without Kurt Warner for up to six weeks. The good news is that the Rams were still able to put the points up, but what’s with the defense? Amazing what one week can do – this team isn’t the best right now. 5. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders are going to win the AFC West. Jon Gruden, that bundle of love and friendship, is doing one superb job in Oakland. Al Davis is a happy man.6. New York Jets – If Vinny’s on his game, the Jets will lay the smack down on the Dolphins at home. New York did lose their last home game to Pittsburgh, but hopefully for the Jets, Ray Lucas won’t be playing.7. Detroit Lions – The Lions went into Raymond James and sunk the Pirate ship Thursday. James Stewart scored twice in the final five minutes to put away the slumping Bucs. Detroit is putting itself in great playoff position.8. Washington Redskins – The passing game came to life and so did Albert Connell. The Redskins are suddenly looking like a real 6-2 team. A win at home against Tennessee would be a major statement to the AFC. 9. Indianapolis Colts – When the Colts were down 23-14 in the fourth quarter to New England, they didn’t panic. And why should they when they have Edgerrin James. Touchdown, touchdown and that means victory for Indy.10. New York Giants – Nobody’s paying any attention to the Giants this week with the bye and with some New York World Series going on. And that’s fine with the G-Men, who stand tall at 5-2 with Philly coming in next week.11. Philadelphia Eagles – The Birds are flying a little bit higher these days at 5-3. The Eagles have a playoff spot right now and that’s impressive considering the team won eight games the past two seasons. Philly is 2-0 in divisional road games. A third win in New York next week would be revenge from week two.12. Kansas City Chiefs – Before Warner got injured, the Chiefs marched for 20 first-quarter points. Before the Rams got going, the game was over. The Chiefs stepped up to play, but can they sustain the intensity in Seattle next week?13. Baltimore Ravens – For as good as the Ravens defense might be, this team will go nowhere without some offense. Baltimore has not scored a touchdown in a month. That doesn’t cut it in this league. Ravens had better beat the Steelers next week or some fans might pack up and leave over night.14. Pittsburgh Steelers – Bill Cowher is some coach to get the Steelers into playoff contention. Jerome Bettis is rolling along and Pittsburgh is winning ball games. A win in Baltimore would be something after being shutout at home by the Ravens opening day.15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Keyshawn or Shaun King or Mike Alstott or somebody had better do something. This isn’t close to the team that went to the NFC title game last season. And at this rate, this team isn’t even going to the playoffs.16. Denver Broncos – Denver should be embarrassed. The Broncos should be shunned and should be filled with shame this week for losing to Cincinnati. They were up 14-3 in the game and blew it. Time to focus on the Avalanche.17. New Orleans Saints – The Saints are the second-best team in their division behind the Rams. When was the last time the Saints were contending for a playoff spot? In times like these, we like to think back to the Jim Mora coaching days when the team just sucked. Remember that post-game conference?18. Green Bay ackers – The Packers did not play Sunday, which makes this very unexciting. I wonder what Mike Sherman did on his off-day. Sherman, Sherman, Sherman!!!19. Buffalo Bills – Way to blow it in the fourth quarter. They were winning and had Flutie in the game and the Bills still lost. Games like yesterday are make or breakers and Buffalo isn’t getting the job done.20. Carolina Panthers – This team is erratic, but the one definite thing is that George Seifert owned his old team this year. Carolina would have some record if they played the 49ers every week.21. Dallas Cowboys – Troy Aikman and the Cowboys must have time-warped back to the early 1990’s when they were actually a great team. The reality though is that every team should beat up on Arizona. And Dallas did just that.22. Jacksonville Jaguars – It’s only week eight, but the Jaguars are just about finished. Time to face the reality that Jacksonville just isn’t that good these days. 23. San Francisco 49ers – Jeff Garcia and Charlie Garner make this team fun to watch. But once that defense comes on the field, or at least pretends to come on the field, it’s all over. The 49ers have given up 30-plus points in each of their last three losses.24. New England Patriots – The last place teams just don’t get the breaks and they can’t find the ways to win. Not quite sure if they’re still the best two-win team in football, but they’re close.25. Atlanta Falcons – Sports in Atlanta just isn’t too strong these days. The Falcons and the Thrashers don’t make for much fun. And Braves fans can’t like baseball these days. At least they have lots of peaches. 26. Seattle Seahawks – Nice game against Oakland!! Seattle only lost 31-3. The Seahawks scored on solo homers by A-Rod, Edgar Martinez and John Olerud. Now, the Seahawks need to sure up the bullpen.27. Cleveland Browns – The Browns and the Bengals are in for a race to the finish line. We’re not quite sure for what, but the Browns are looking just as bad as ever. And usually that’s not a good thing. 28. Arizona Cardinals – Vince Tobin should be fired. End of discussion. Losing franchises just lose.29. Cincinnati Bengals – Bengals win, Bengals win, Bengals win!! It only took seven games, two coaches and 278 yards from Corey Dillon to beat Denver. Way to go Dick LeBeau!30. Chicago Bears – The 1-7 Bears are now without Cade McNown. Talk about the downfall of a team. The Saturday Night Live skits would be much different these days.31. San Diego Chargers – Only one winless football team left! San Diego was blessed with a bye-week. That means the Chargers didn’t lose this week. It also means they certainly didn’t win.

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