Green Bay keeps winning, so we overlook their defense, because the offense has been dominant enough. If Aaron Rodgers were merely a Titan rather than the Son of Zeus, we might be viewing them like the Patriots or Saints, against a slightly easier schedule, right now.
At this point, we are seeing some separation, and I think the NFL has a fairly large lower class, a sparse middle class, and those things are being masked by schedule and division pairings, and luck.
THE “WE’LL OVERLOOK THAT POINTS ALLOWED NUMBER BECAUSE AARON RODGERS IS AWESOME” TIER
Green Bay Packers (8-0): One of the 14 best teams to start 8-0 in the last 30 years.
THE “STEPHEN ROSS WANTS TO KNOW IF THERE IS A COOPER HARBAUGH” TIER
San Francisco 49ers (7-1): I know all precincts haven’t reported, but I’m calling the NFC West for the 49ers. The Seahawks and Cardinals couldn’t win 6 combined, let alone one of them doing it.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2): BallSoHard University has seen its enrollment numbers increase with the success of the football program.
THE TIER THAT TEAMS FROM NEW MEXICO, NEWFOUNDLAND, AND NEW JACK CITY WOULD ALSO BE IN IF THEY EXISTED
Houston Texans (6-3): Wade Phillips is a genius again.
New Orleans Saints (6-3): What is wrong with Drew Brees? I mean, he’s better than the league average at avoiding turnovers and is among the best at everything else, but he has 11 interceptions!
Detroit Lions (6-2): If I had a nickel for every person that wanted to hear Nickelback on Thanksgiving, I would have a nickel. /nods at Spencer
New York Jets (5-3): Jets will win this week, or your money back.
New York Giants (6-2): So now people think Eli is great, right? Just wanted to be sure where we stood as we approach Thanksgiving.
New England Patriots (5-3): Okay, so the next time that Belichek decides to go for it late with a close lead, can we remember how that one ended before we start criticizing the decision?
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3): Pittsburgh now has to take out the Bengals after getting swept by the Ravens.
THE TEAMS THAT HOLD TIEBREAKERS OVER PHILLY TIER
Buffalo Bills (5-3): I feel sorry for any Bills fans that went into a coma last fall and awoke on Sunday. Hopefully for Buffalo just a bad day and they return to their play from rest of season.
Chicago Bears (5-3): We like Jay Cutler too now and forgive any double chin action, right? I’m trying to keep track of this in my notebook. It gets hard from week to week.
Atlanta Falcons (5-3): Julio Jones returned to torch the Colts’ secondary.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-5): So if you disagree with this ranking, point out to me the team that I have them ranked below that they lost to. Predictively, I think they are better than the Giants but may have lost too many close games while the Giants have survived them, and it may be too late.
THE COWBOYS AND CHARGERS ARE SOULMATES TIER
Dallas Cowboys (4-4): DeMarco Murray is shooting up the list of NFL DeMarcos, surpassing Brian DeMarco.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-2): Cincinnati desperately misses Carson Palmer’s leadership.
San Diego Chargers (4-4): Philip Rivers honored his children by throwing consecutive pick sixes.
THE FRUSTRATING, INCONSISTENT TEAMS TIER
Tennessee Titans (4-4): Tennessee lost bragging rights to Northern Kentucky.
Oakland Raiders (4-4): Carson Palmer has thrown an interception on 6 of his 56 passes. If he played a full season with 500 passes, that’s like 54 interceptions.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4): I never know what to expect from this team, so I could see them getting waxed against Houston or winning an ugly game.
Carolina Panthers (2-6): I still like the Panthers over the 4.5 wins. They’ve been in every game still in the middle of the fourth quarter, and just need to close.
Minnesota Vikings (2-6): Jared Allen is having a monster year for a team that won’t make the playoffs.
Denver Broncos (3-5): They can take advantage of bad teams, but will be outclassed by good ones. That still may be enough to stick around in the AFC West.
THE LARGE TIER OF TEAMS THAT ARE BETTER THAN THE COLTS
Washington Redskins (3-5): They rebounded from that shutout to light it up for 11 points.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6): I hope Blaine Gabbert found a barber during the bye week.
Miami Dolphins (1-7): So the Dolphins might compete if they were in the West?
Kansas City Chiefs (4-4): They have now been gutted in three of their losses. Getting waxed by the Dolphins at home is a disgrace. At least Buffalo and Detroit have a chance to make the playoffs.
Cleveland Browns (3-5): Even Peyton Hillis thinks the Browns quit on Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks (2-6):
I got nothing. Penn State, Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky. Arizona Cardinals (2-6): Patrick Peterson. Legend.
St. Louis Rams (1-7): Of course this Rams team would have a quarter with exactly 4 points by safety. The last team to score 4 points in a quarter was in 1947, when my boy George Ratterman intentionally took a safety twice at the end of a game.
THE EVEN THE SUCK FOR LUCK CAMPAIGNERS THINK THE COLTS NEED TO DISGUISE IT BETTER TIER
Indianapolis Colts (0-9): If I’m Peyton Manning, I may actually want to recover slowly and see if I can go elsewhere in February with an amicable handshake deal.
[photo via Getty]