Thursday, September 29, 2005

NFL Power Rankings--Week 4

Here are this week's NFL power rankings and after you are finished, please listen to the Eagles podcast at Philly.com.

1. Colts (2005 record: 3-0, Last week: No. 1): Another strong performance by the defense and the offense is playing on the conservative side.

2. Patriots (2-1, No. 5): Strong game going on the road to beat Pittsburgh. Tom Brady goes 12-for-12 in the fourth quarter. Loss of Rodney Harrison could be critical.

3. Eagles (2-1, No. 3): Playing with pain games by Donovan McNabb and David Akers lift Philly over the Raiders. Injuries could be very costly as the season progresses.

4. Steelers (2-1, No. 2): Patriots showed again who is the best team in the AFC. The Steelers are a close second. Bye week.

5. Falcons (2-1, No. 7): Warrick Dunn, T.J. Duckett and Michael Vick rush for 236 yards and beat Buffalo on the road. Get the Vikings at home next.

6. Bengals (3-0, No. 9): Cincinnati looks like they are in hunt to stay. Watch out, Pittsburgh. Should go to 4-0 with Houston next.

7. Buccaneers (3-0, No. 10): Tampa Bay goes into Green Bay and wins for the first time since ... it' too long to remember.

8. Seahawks (2-1, No. 14): The Seahawks made a statement against the Cardinals. They will be the team to beat in the NFC West.

9. Chargers (1-2, No. 13): They are only 1-2, but would you be convinced if they beat the Patriots this week?

10. Jaguars (2-1, No. 16): Another team relying on its defense to win. Should handle Denver at home.

11. Broncos (2-1, No. 18): A convincing home win over the Chiefs on Monday night. The Jags will be a tough test in short week.

12. Chiefs (2-1, No. 6): Reality check. Kansas City has to follow a 30-10 loss to Denver by playing the Eagles.

13. Giants (2-1, No. 8): A second-half collapse in San Diego is nothing to be ashamed of.

14. Panthers (1-2, No. 4): A Monday night home win against Green Bay should help the Carolina forget its loss to the Dolphins.

15. Cowboys (2-1, No. 17): Dallas needed a big second half to come from behind against the 49ers. A trap game at Oakland awaits.

16. Rams (2-1, No. 19): The Rams struggled at home against the Titans, but they did get the win. Face the Giants on road in a game that could help determine the makeup of the NFC.

17. Vikings (1-2, No. 24): Minnesota wins the must-win game against the Saints, and Daunte Culpepper (21-29-300) looks great doing it. The Vikings can make a statement this week in Atlanta.

18. Redskins (2-0, No. 22): Washington moves up four spots with a bye and this week plays a good Seattle team at home.

19. Dolphins (2-1. No. 29): With wins over Denver and Carolina and a loss to the Jets, Miami is proving it is for real. Ricky Williams is one week away.

20. Bills (1-2, No. 11): They lose to the Falcons and know now that they have to worry about the Dolphins in the division.

21. Jets (1-2, No. 12): Chad Pennington and Jay Fieldler are out and Brooks Bollinger is in. If that isn't bad enough, the Ravens defense awaits.

22. Ravens: (0-2, No. 26): Coming off a bye week, the Ravens are licking their chops at the thought of Bollinger quarterbacking the Jets.

23. Saints (1-2, No. 15): New Orleans plays its first game at its home away from home in San Antonio. Tickets still available.

24. Bears (1-2, No. 20): Found out first hand how good the Bengals are this season. Will get healthy during the bye week.

25. Titans (1-2, No. 25): Played the Rams tough on the road last week and now have to take on the undefeated Colts.

26. Browns (1-2, No. 23): Cleveland gives the Colts a game and Colts give the Browns a loss. Bye week.

27. Cardinals (0-3, No. 21): They have to beat the 49ers in Mexico City or the season might as well be a complete loss.

28. Lions (1-1, No. 27): Coming off the bye week, the Lions are in first place in the NFC North. Go figure. On the road at Tampa Bay figures to be a loss.

29. Raiders: (0-3, No. 28): Had the Eagles on the ropes and let it get away. Have to beat Dallas at home.

30. Texans (0-2. No. 31): Coming off the bye week they have to face the undefeated Bengals. Ugh!

31. San Francisco (1-2, No. 32): Had the Cowboys beat and let them get away with a win. In Mexico City to play the Cardinals.

32. Packers (0-3, No. 30): Too much is put on Brett Favre. This team is terrible right now.

What's next?

Sure, there are three games remaining in Washington, but the Phillies season is over. There will be no post-season this year, either.

The Astros play tonight against the Cubs and could have a three-game lead with three to play. The best-case scenario for the Phils is they trail by two heading into Washington tomorrow.

In either case, they need to sweep the weekend and the Astros need to lose at least two out of three. Here is why that won't happen: Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt. Houston's big three all have ERAs under 3.00 with Clemens under 2.00 and they pitch Friday, Saturday and Sunday in that order.

All that being said, Pettitte, Clemens and Oswalt have been on the losing side in consective starts twice in the second half of this season. I just don't see any way that it happens again.

I am moving on to the off-season. The best the Phillies can do is win 88 games. That would be two more than the past two seasons under Larry Bowa. While they went much deeper in the postseason race, the results are not going to be that much different, it at all.

Over and over again, we heard on the radio and read in newspapers and the Internet that Ed Wade is the problem. It's not the manager, because in this case, the manager is solely the selection of the general manager. If Wade goes, so does Manuel. And if only Manuel goes (that won't happen), then that is a bad reflection on the GM.

Put yourself in Dave Montgomery's shoes. What do you do? Did you see enough in the young players this year to give everybody another chance? Or do you clean house now?

Post your comments and let the debate begin.