- The Washington Times - Friday, December 29, 2006

NFL writer David Elfin ranks the teams. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses)

1. Chargers (1) — Only lowly Cardinals can prevent what could prove to be critical home-field advantage.

2. Ravens (3) — Keeping pressure on Chargers to the end.

3. Bears (2) — Could use a crisp performance vs. Packers heading into next week’s first-round bye.

4. Saints (4) — Will they be sharp with nothing to play for against Carolina?

5. Eagles (8) — Reid might have done his best coaching job this year.

6. Patriots (7) — Home field might not matter as much since they’re 6-1 on road, 5-3 in Foxboro.

7. Cowboys (5) — Routs by Saints and Eagles at home this month don’t bode well for playoffs.

8. Colts (6) — How can a Dungy team have such a bad defense?

9. Titans (12) — Even if they miss playoffs, Young has all of Tennessee excited about 2007.

10. Jets (10) — Beating Raiders will make them 8-2 against losers and the most surprising playoff team.

11. Jaguars (11) — Their 2-6 record in games decided by a TD or less will prove their undoing.

BIG RISER 12. Broncos (17) — Are they back on track after beating Cardinals and Bengals to become wild-card leaders?

13. Bengals (9) — They will rue losing third-quarter lead in Denver.

14. Giants (13) — Will backing into the playoffs save Coughlin’s job?

15. Falcons (14) — Blowing a 5-2 start a year after blowing a 6-2 start could mean sayonara Mora.

16. Bills (15) — Five W’s and three losses by five points since bye week should give Buffalo momentum for 2007.

17. Seahawks (16) — Defending NFC champs are heading back to playoffs with no momentum.

18. Chiefs (20) — They will be advocating for expanding the playoffs again this spring.

19. Steelers (18) — Cowher doesn’t want to go out with just his fourth losing season in his 15 years.

20. Dolphins (19) — A Lemon of a season in Miami.

21. Panthers (24) — Will they sneak into postseason because Saints will be going through the motions?

22. Packers (25) — Amazing that Green Bay goes into finale with a shot at .500 and a wild-card berth.

23. Rams (26) — Bulger and Jackson are starting to make St. Louis fans forget Warner and Faulk.

24. Texans (29) — How the heck did they beat the Colts?

25. Vikings (23) — Is Jackson ready to be the starting QB in 2007?

26. 49ers (21) — If only they hadn’t been swept by Arizona.

27. Bucs (27) — Rattay could be setting up a QB controversy in 2007.

28. Cardinals (28) — Can Leinart talk Pete Carroll into reuniting with him in the desert?

BIG LOSER 29. Redskins (22) — Would be a playoff team if they hadn’t blown five halftime leads.

30. Raiders (30) — Can Shell survive this disaster?

31. Browns (31) — Losing by three TDs at home to Tampa Bay is unconscionable.

32. Lions (32) — Gave Bears a battle, but it’s still morose in Motown.

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