CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/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 barrel-scraping worst. 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: Green Bay Packers
This is why the NFL is king. Before Sunday, the Packers destiny seemed set in stone. They were going to go 19-0, win the Super Bowl, and be hailed as the best team ever. And why wouldn't you believe that, after seeing Green Bay mow down everything in its path on the way to 13-0? Football fans like me have a way of treating future NFL results as a given after what we've seen. The Packers were so good for thirteen straight weeks that I was able to vividly imagine the endgame to their season, an unbeaten season that felt so real as to be tangible. Like a memory of something that hasn't even happened yet.
Then the Chiefs housed them and that feeling of destiny was GONE. Suddenly, we have all kinds of questions about this team now. Can they protect Aaron Rodgers with that beaten-up o-line? Will James Starks be 100% when he gets back? Has this team peaked too early, just like the 2009 Colts did? What's up with that defense? No, seriously. THAT DEFENSE IS BAD.
I could easily see New Orleans going into the Green Bay and winning the NFC title game now. Three days ago, that seemed a laughable idea. Now my Official NFL Fanboy Crystal Ball is giving me altered visions. Entirely new scenarios. That's why the NFL rules. You're never 100% certain about anything.
THE BOTTOM: Indianapolis Colts
If the Colts keep Jim Caldwell just because of that little moral victory on Sunday, they're the dumbest team ever and deserve to go 0-16 for real next season. That said, it's not insane to think they could win their final two games and find themselves cast out of the Andrew Luck Derby. They have the Jags and Texans left to play. The Jags are dead. And the Texans are limping into the playoffs with TJ Yates at QB. Yates had himself a typical rookie outing on Sunday. One more game like that against the Colts and suddenly this team is 3-13 and looking up at the Rams and Vikings in the draft order.
If all three bottom feeders end up 2-14, then the draft order is determined by strength of schedule, with the weakest SOS percentage getting the top pick. That would likely keep the Colts at #1. But as the Chiefs just proved, everything in the NFL changes, all the time.