- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2007

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

1. Chargers (1) — No team is more well-rounded as the playoffs begin.

2. Ravens (2) — Oozing confidence knowing they’ve already beaten San Diego.

3. Patriots (6) — Broncos, only team to beat Belichick and Brady in postseason, are done.

4. Eagles (5) — NFC’s hottest team looking to beat Giants for second time in three weeks.

5. Bears (3) — Open playoffs next week, a month after last good game.

6. Saints (4) — Will losing two of their last three and having a bye week erase all their momentum?

7. Colts (8) — Maybe not being the favorite will loosen up Manning and Co.

8. Jets (10) — Rookie coach Mangini has done terrific job of getting them to do the little things.

9. Titans (9) — Lost finale to wind up 8-8, but the future is bright.

BIG RISER 10. Chiefs (18) — Everything broke their way last weekend, even date in Indianapolis.

11. Jaguars (11) — 8-2 in games decided by seven points or less in 2005 equals playoffs. 2-7 in those games in 2006 equals .500.

BIG LOSER 12. Cowboys (7) — Serious contenders don’t lose to Lions at home with division title on line.

13. Giants (14) — Barber may have saved Coughlin’s job but doesn’t have to play for him next season.

14. Broncos (12) — Loss to 49ers cost them a playoff spot but was forgotten with the death of Williams.

15. Bengals (13) — Kicking game, a strength all year, kicked them out of playoffs.

16. Seahawks (17) — It’s lovely to play in NFC West, isn’t it?

17. Steelers (19) — Winning four of last five made title defense look respectable.

18. Bills (16) — Like Tennessee, Buffalo could be a team to watch in 2007.

19. Falcons (15) — Does Vick get to pick the next coach, Mr. Blank?

20. Dolphins (20) — Who knew Saban would make Wannstedt look good?

21. Panthers (21) — At least they ended poor season on a high note.

22. Packers (22) — Sure seems like Favre said farewell by beating Bears to reach .500.

23. Rams (23) — Now if Linehan can put together a defense …

24. 49ers (26) — NFC West should be theirs in ‘07 if Seahawks don’t return to form.

25. Texans (24) — Won three of last four, but two were over Browns and Raiders.

26. Cardinals (28) — Who wants to coach a franchise with one winning year since ‘84?

27. Redskins (29) — Williams can save himself and Gibbs by fixing defense for ‘07.

28. Vikings (25) — Losing eight of last 10 has Childress on hot seat already.

29. Buccaneers (27) — Scored in single-digits in six of 16 games. And Gruden is an offensive guru?

30. Lions (32) — They vacate the cellar by stunning Cowboys.

31. Browns (31) — Averaged 11 points in six post-Thanksgiving games.

32. Raiders (30) — Davis was a Chargers assistant coach when Oakland was last this bad in ‘62q

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