- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2006

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

1. Colts (1) - Better be prepared for physical battle with Jaguars.

2. Chargers (4) - Rivers had easy intro: Raiders, Titans, bye.

3. Falcons (5) - Can anyone stop this running attack?

4. Bears (8) - Vikings present first serious test for NFC North kings.

5. Seahawks (3) - Hasselbeck and Co. had better step it up against pumped-up Jints.

6. Jaguars (11) - Pounded ailing Big Ben. Peyton won’t go down as easy.

7. Ravens (6) - Bucs, Raiders, Browns. When do they face a real offense?

8. Patriots (7) - They’re 2-0, but they do miss Branch.

9. Bengals (9) - Out to avenge playoff loss and Palmer’s injury vs. Steelers.

10. Steelers (2) - Champs’ offense looked like chumps vs. Jaguars.

11. Vikings (13) - With TD pass and five field goals, Longwell is Minnesota’s offense.

12. Cowboys (17) - Would’ve really crushed Redskins if not for rash of drops and flags.

13. Giants (14) - Superb comeback in Philly might’ve saved season.

14. Eagles (12) - Must shake off collapse vs. Giants before facing improved Niners.

15. Panthers (15) - Super Bowl dreams could die Sunday in Tampa.

16. Bills (22) - Jauron can coach defense, can’t he?

17. Saints (21) - Couldn’t ask for a better way to return home than 2-0.

18. Broncos (20) - Hey, Shanny! Did Kubiak take your offense with him to Houston?

19. Cardinals (18) - Seahawks showed Cardinals aren’t prime-time material yet.

20. Jets (25) - Mangini sure gave old boss Belichick a scare.

21. 49ers (26) - Nolan 3-0 vs. Rams, 2-13 vs. everyone else.

22. Dolphins (10) - So much for carryover from closing rush in ‘05.

23. Redskins (16) - One TD in two games in guru Saunders’ new scheme.

24. Rams (19) - Offensive whiz Linehan has produced one TD in two games.

25. Bucs (24) - Three points in two games while allowing 409 on ground. Ugh.

26. Chiefs (27) - There’s no “O” in H-E-R-M.

27. Lions (23) - Bears debunk talk of that defensive renaissance under Marinelli.

28. Titans (28) - Young’s performance in garbage time showed he’s not quite ready.

29. Browns (29) - Winslow should score more than one TD before he yaps again.

30. Texans (30) - Regretting taking Williams over Bush or Young, guys?

31. Packers (31) - Favre has gone from lock to lumps at Lambeau.

32. Raiders (32) - No 0-2 team has ever needed a bye more.

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