FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 20: Shayne Graham #17 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks on the field before a preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 20, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Power rankings. You hate them. They’re so arbitrary and pointless, especially when they include all 32 NFL teams. All you want to know after a good week of NFL action is who the bestest team in the NFL right now, and which one is the absolute worst. The one so awful, you’ll probably be forced to watch it play this Thanksgiving. That’s why we have TOP AND BOTTOM OF THE NFL, where we go to great lengths to tell you who’s the top dog in football right now, this very minute. LET’S GO!
THE TOP: Atlanta Falcons
Oh, those sneaky Falcons. They’re 8-2 and atop the NFC. Now, TV people will tell you that this team is “flying under the radar” and that “no one is talking” about them. And this is because they won’t put the Falcons on freakin’ TV.
They had a primetime game against Baltimore two weeks ago that no one saw because the NFL Network is only available in certain sections of the US Virgin Islands. FOX’s past two national "Game of the Week” matchups featured the Cowboys (then 1-7) and the train wreck that is the Minnesota Vikings (then 3-6).
You think the Falcons are so enigmatic? JUST SHOW THEM! We know lots about them! We know Matt Ryan is really good, and that Michael Turner is still tearing it up, and that Roddy White may now be the best wideout in football. We know these things. We’re football fans. We aren’t dunces. We can surprise you from time to time. Anyway, the Falcons get the nod this week.
THE BOTTOM: Cincinnati Bengals
I was tempted to stick the Vikings at the bottom this week. Lord knows they deserve it. But let us turn our attention this week to the Bengals, who have been fortunate this year to have their incompetence shielded by the white hot implosions of both Dallas and Minnesota.
I’d say that Carolina is the worst team in football, but they’re hardly an NFL team anymore. What we have in Cincinnati is a true oddity: a team that seems able to put points on the board against anyone, but never at the correct time.
The Bengals are also a team with apparently no defense of any kind, as evidenced by Buffalo’s roaring comeback, scoring 42 points after being down 21-7 in the first half. Didn’t this team have two very good corners just a year ago? What happened to Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph? Sure, Joseph missed a few games, but that’s hardly an excuse.
Meanwhile, the sad deterioration of Carson Palmer continues unabated. You can feel the tension rising now. You can sense Ocho and TO’s internal bomb clocks about to go off. The last six weeks of this season aren’t gonna be pretty. GOOD THING WE GET TO WATCH THEM ON THURSDAY NIGHT! Guhhhhh.