Since Monday’s Seven Points column is slightly long-winded and requires a few extra minutes of your NFL reading time, we try to balance things out with a Tuesday rankings story.
To keep the offending to a minimum we’re only going to list the top five teams in the NFL this week.
1. Green Bay Packers– They have Aaron Rodgers and nobody else does. Rodgers throws to the best set of weapons in the NFL and the undefeated Packers will be favorites in every game they play this season, barring a Rodgers injury.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers– They re-announced their presence with a convincing victory over New England. Ben is playing well and their young receivers might be the best in the AFC. Big revenge date this Sunday with Baltimore coming to town.
3. San Francisco 49ers– It feels dirty putting an Alex Smith led team this high in the rankings but San Francisco is playing great defense and Smith has avoided mistakes. Their schedule may be easy enough for S.F. to earn a first-round bye.
4. New England Patriots – They have problems on defense and their offensive line is less than elite, but Tom Brady makes up for a lot of ills and will lead them to a division title.
5. Detroit Lions– Detroit righted the ship after two straight losses by making Tim Tebow look like, well…Tim Tebow. The Lions may have the best front four in the game and a big play offense. They’re not going away.
Andrew Luck Invitational
This is our weekly check on the teams in the best position to have the rights to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
1. Miami Dolphins– The Dolphins really aren’t the worst team in football but their will to lose on a weekly basis will persevere. The schedule helps them along the way as there will be very few winnable games.
2. Indianapolis Colts– Without Peyton Manning the Colts are a worse team than Miami, but Indy is trying to win at the end of games. With a pair of games against Jacksonville remaining, as well as dates with Carolina and Tennessee, the Colts will win a game or two.
3. Denver Broncos– Although the Broncos have a pair of wins already it will take a monumental collapse for some team to lose to Tim Tebow. Denver will be in the quarterback business in the offseason.
4. St. Louis Rams– The Rams pulled the upset of the year on Sunday as they defeated New Orleans, but those moments will be rare for the rest of the season.
5. Arizona Cardinals– With Kevin Kolb at quarterback, losing each and every week is a certain possibility. Although the Cards have just one win, they get St. Louis twice as well as Seattle to close the season. They likely end up with three wins when it’s all said and done.
QB Powerless Rankings
This is a great time for quarterback play as we get to see potential future Hall of Famers Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger week to week. With Rodgers “ying”, we also have the “yang” of a few select signal callers from the opposite end of the spectrum. We will now rank this week’s worst quarterback performances.
1. Tim Tebow– Tim Tebow is a great young man and contrary to popular opinion if you criticize Tebow’s play it doesn’t mean you hate him or God. It just means he’s not very good. Tebow went 18 of 39 for 172 yards, with one touchdown and a 100-yard pick-six and also a fumble-six. 10 of his 18 completions including his only touchdown pass came in the fourth quarter when Detroit was up by more than 40 points. Tebow was also sacked seven times.
2. Blaine Gabbert– The Jaguars rookie has regressed over the past two weeks and on Sunday he was mentally taken out of the game by a cheap shot to the ribs by Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. Gabbert completed just 10 of 30 throws for 97 yards with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions in the Jaguars 24-14 loss.
3. John Beck– The Redskins moved from Rex Grossman to John Beck and it appears as if they should go back to Rex. Beck’s numbers weren’t abysmal as he completed 20 of 33 throws for 208 yards with a pair of interceptions, but he helped account for the first shutout in Mike Shanahan’s 268-game head coaching career.
4. Curtis Painter– The Colts signal caller remained winless but he did throw for 250 yards. The only problem is that it took Painter 49 pass attempts to reach that number and he was picked off twice. Armed with Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis should be getting more out of the passing game.
5. Philip Rivers– On Monday night, Rivers was seen on the sideline uttering the words, “worst night ever.” Although it wasn’t as horrifying as his four counterparts listed above, the Pro Bowl gunslinger certainly had an evening to forget. Rivers threw two first period interceptions but rebounded to go 26 of 41, for 369 yards. While driving his team down the field for what would have been the game-winning score, Rivers inexplicably botched a snap which stalled the Chargers drive and eventually sent the game to overtime where the Chiefs took over and won, 23-20.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie