Those fans that read last week’s post must know how crushed I felt when I saw the #1 ranked Green Bay Packers go to Atlanta and lose. Not only did I fear that they would lose their #1 spot, but I also trembled at the thought of the Packers having to visit Atlanta again in the playoffs.
At least one of those things didn’t come true. Since the Falcons are a highly rated team (#6 this week) the three point loss didn’t cripple the Packers’ position in the Power Rank. In fact, this three point loss was the Packer’s fourth three point loss this season, and it’s the only way they’ve lost in 2010.
Moving past my own NFC interests, the rest of the league is continuing the trends of the season: the top continues to flatten out, the middle continues to see lots of movement but few breakouts, and the bottom continues to be dominated by the NFC West. It’s really sad that three of the bottom four teams are all from that division, but it’s true.
For this week I’ve brought back the checkup graph that I did for week seven that charted how each team had changed in the last few weeks.
The most notable items on the graph are the teams at the top. With the exception of newcomer Green Bay, they have all maintained their places of dominance for the last five weeks with little ranking change. Their ratings, especially those of the Jets, Ravens, and Steelers, have plummeted. I think this is more a function of their schedules getting tougher and these teams having to play each other than it is an indication that they are getting weaker. If there isn’t parity in league there certainly is near the top this year.
The last thing I want to mention this week in Monday night’s game. After this past week’s Arizona (#31) and San Francisco (#29) showdown that couldn’t have held much less interest for the league, this week’s match between New England (#3) and New York (#2) should be one for the ages.
These two division rivals are both playing at the top of their games and will be treating this one like a playoff game. Expect things to get just as heated as the Cortland Finnegan/Andre Johnson brawl. The Power Rank predicts a 0.22 difference in favor of the Jets in a neutral field. I think home field advantage will tip the scales enough for the Pats to come away victors in this one.
The only thing that is fairly certain is that it will be fun to watch in spite of Gruden and Jaws.