1) HOUSTON TEXANS: Cushing’s already out for the year and now the LBs lose Ruud for 4 weeks…still weird — Houston hasn’t played Andrew Luck and won’t for another three weeks.
2) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Amazingly converting 53% of 3rd down attempts (yea, that’s number one)…the only team to hold them to under 23 points is the Cardinals.
3) ATLANTA FALCONS: Second on third down at 48%…short week hosting the Saints on Thursday.
4) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Lost Williams and Hunter for the season…will take a four-game winning streak into New England.
5) DENVER BRONCOS: Manning is third in passer rating at 104…fourth-best offense and fourth-best defense almost equals fourth-best team.
6) BALTIMORE RAVENS: The only other time I saw a fourth & 29 converted, Michael Bishop of K-State did it to my Bobcats…not going to cost you the Super Bowl but allowing 50% of fourth downs to be converted is a little high.
7) CHICAGO BEARS: Lost a starting guard for the season (Louis), their best RB has a bum ankle (Forte) and the second-best defensive player in the league this year has a chipped bone in his foot (Tillman).
8) NEW YORK GIANTS: New York has a chance on MNF at Washington to end Redskins’ hopes or completely complicate the NFC East…1-0 to start a vicious stretch to end the season.
9) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Amazingly enough, it looks like this is a 10-win team…the -14 turnover ratio is awful but will improve as the young team matures — meaning they’ll get better.
10) GREEN BAY PACKERS: I rarely care about time of possession, but the fact that TOP is split 30/30 is weird…still has four division games left out of the five remaining.
11) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Everyone loves to talk about Russell Wilson but no one mentions he leads the second-worst offense…season hangs on the appeals of starting CBs Browner and Sherman.
12) TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Not ready to recant that the hiring of Schiano was a bad one, but it doesn’t look good for me…Martin with 1,000 yards rushing as a rookie with five games remaining and is fourth in rushing overall.
13) PITTSBURGH STEELERS: I wanted the Cards to draft DeCastro and he’s finally healthy, let the mauling begin…I love Todd Haley but he had his worst day as an OC Sunday.
14) CINCINNATI BENGALS: Up and down year but starting to show signs of consistency…don’t be shocked at a strong finish to a 10-6 record and a playoff bid when it’s over.
15) WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Along with 49ers, only teams averaging over 160 yards rushing/game…who guessed Alfred Morris would be the fifth-best RB in the NFL?
16) MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Christian Ponder has been sacked 27 times, same as Kevin Kolb…20 plays run on third down Sunday and seven of them were third and three or less, Peterson got the ball on one of the 20.
17) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Worst defense in the NFL allowing an unbelievable 156 yards rushing/game.
18) MIAMI DOLPHINS: Will finish poorly, but 7-9 with a new coach, new OC and new QB isn’t a bad year.
19) DALLAS COWBOYS: Last in rushing offense, Garrett must go…Dallas was only down 14-3 when Garrett called two runs over the final 53 plays.
20) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Four wins and two of them are against the Chiefs…I assume no one else will ever hire Norv Turner again as a head coach.
21) NEW YORK JETS: The great Rex Ryan leads the third-worst rush defense…it’s gotten this bad.
22) ST. LOUIS RAMS: Only four have done it and no one since 1960 — a rookie (Janoris Jenkins) had two pick-sixes in one game…RG3, Josh Freeman, Andy Dalton, Russell Wilson and Jake Locker are all rookies or young QBs rated higher than Bradford.
23) TENNESSEE TITANS: This defense gives Locker no chance — giving up 30 points/game takes away the run game and allows pass rushers to tee off on young QB.
24) DETROIT LIONS: #1 passing offense doesn’t score enough because of Stafford’s 10 INTs and the 25 sacks against just makes the offense tread water…Jim Schwartz is too volatile to be a successful head coach; his teams are undisciplined because he’s undisciplined (fourth in penalty yards allowed).
25) BUFFALO BILLS: It might be too little too late but Mario Williams is up to 8.5 sacks and could easily finish in the top 5…don’t look now but Buffalo is entering it’s easiest stretch of games and could finish on a strong run.
26) CAROLINA PANTHERS: Only kicked eight FGs (yes, that’s last)…with all the options Cam Newton brings to the table, how have they only converted one 4th down?
27) CLEVELAND BROWNS: Allowed the most first downs by committing a penalty (29).
28) ARIZONA CARDINALS: The only team under 30% on third down conversions…Kevin Kolb is still the sixth-most sacked QB.
29) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Sorry Andy, but it’s time to move on…all the talk about the defense but when you score less than 17 points/game, there’s way too little margin of error.
30) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Worst offense in the NFL is backed up by the second-worst defense in the NFL.
31) OAKLAND RAIDERS: Tried to find something nice to say — hey, you’re fourth in punting average (of course you have the second-fewest punts downed inside the 20)…in your big game back you throw for 146 yards and a pick, Carson?
32) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Let this sink in…you’re worse than the Jags and Raiders