My buddy Mike Garafolo, Giants beat reporter for the Star-Ledger, mentioned to us the other day that he gets a kick out of our Power Rankings headlines.
"Hey, genius, how come in your headlines the teams that always win are on the rise, and the teams that always lose are on the decline?"
After pausing a moment to take in the question, I could only come up with this one-word answer: "Duh."
Translation: Um, doesn't it make sense that a team that wins would be on the rise, while a team that loses wouldn't? On second thought, it would be news if a team that lost actually did move up in the rankings - and vice versa.
Thanks for reading, Garafolo. Here goes with this week's rankings. And yes, the teams that did win did rise. And the teams that lost fell. Ok, Einstein?
1. Steelers (5-1) (1): Stillers survive scare against Dolphins and get favorable ruling in replay of Ben Roethlisberger fumble at the goal line.
2. Jets (5-1) (2): Jets well-rested coming off bye to face injury-riddled Packers at home.
3. Patriots (5-1) (3): Pats find a way on the road against Chargers, albeit barely. Home to face a potentially Brett Favre-less Vikings on Sunday.
4. Giants (5-2) (5): Giants overcome jittery start at Cowboys Stadium to knock off the Pokes and knock out Tony Romo.
5. Falcons (5-2) (9): Matt Ryan out-duels Carson Palmer at home.
6. Ravens (5-2) (4): Overtime at home against the Bills? Really? Ravens dodge a bullet, thanks to Ray Lewis’ forced fumble in OT that sets up winning score.
7. Colts (4-2) (7): Colts back in action at home against Texans, hoping to avenge opening-day loss in Houston.
8. Titans (5-2) (11): Kenny Britt sizzles after first-quarter benching following weekend bar fight.
9. Packers (4-3) (12): Aaron Rodgers outlasts Favre in what may have been Favre’s last game at Lambeau.
10. Eagles (4-3) (8): Kevin Kolb goes back to the bench after fizzling in Tennessee.
11. Texans (4-2) (10): Big lineup change as Brian Cushing moves to middle linebacker to replace the injured DeMeco Ryans.
12. Saints (4-3) (6): Drew Brees certainly didn’t look like Super Bowl MVP at home against Browns. The hangover continues.
13. Chiefs (4-2) (14): Chiefs have their way at home against Jags and continue as one of the league’s surprise teams of the year.
14. Dolphins (3-3) (13): The go-figure stat of the year: Miami 3-0 on the road, 0-3 at home.
15. Redskins (4-3) (15): Redskins outlast Bears in a mistake-filled game of you-can-have-this-game-no-you-no-you.
16. Seahawks (4-2) (16): Pete Carroll’s ways working just fine so far, as Seahawks beat NFC West foe Arizona at home to wrest early control of the division.
17. Vikings (2-4) (17): Favre’s 291-game streak might finally be at an end, thanks to a stress fracture in his bothersome left ankle.
18. Bears (4-3) (18): Seems like forever ago the Bears were 3-0.
19. Buccaneers (4-2) (25): Raheem Morris pronounces the Bucs the best team in the NFC after home win over St. Louis. Easy does it, coach. Still, there’s a lot to like about this young team.
20. Raiders (3-4) (28): Raiders put an absolute shellacking on hated Broncos at Mile High.
21. Bengals (2-4) (21): Frantic second-half comeback by Carson Palmer in Atlanta not enough to put the brakes on Cincy’s troubles.
22. Cardinals (3-3) (22): More quarterback problems for the post-Kurt Warner Cardinals.
23. Rams (3-4) (23): No late heroics this time for Sam Bradford.
24. Browns (2-5) (30): For the third straight year, the Browns beat the defending Super Bowl champs. This time, they crushed New Orleans on the road.
25. Chargers (2-5) (24): Does Norv Turner survive this one?
26. Broncos (2-5) (19): You wonder if Josh McDaniels will look back to a blowout loss at home to the Raiders as the beginning of the end.
27. Cowboys (1-5) (20): Not that the Cowboys had a chance with Tony Romo in the lineup. By the time he comes back from a broken clavicle in six or eight weeks, who knows how bad the Cowboys’ record will be.
28. Jaguars (3-4) (26): Welcome back to the hot seat, Jack Del Rio.
29. Lions (1-5) (29): Matthew Stafford inches closer to coming back from a shoulder injury.
30. Panthers (1-5) (31): Finally some cause for celebration in Carolina, albeit a little later than expected.
31. 49ers (1-6) (27): Wonder how many more votes of confidence Mike Singletary will get before he runs out of time.
32. Bills (0-6) (32): Bills have their way with Ravens’ defense, but can’t close the deal in OT.