It’s here!  The NFL mid-season (for some teams) is officially here, and that means its ranking time! At the quarter point the #1 & 2 teams looked solidly entrenched where they were; well that’s why we don’t do this thing weekly!  The trending icon gives credence to external factors like injuries or suspensions and generally means we expect that the team to continue to rise in the ranks for the ¾ season ranks.  The quarter mark ranks noted after current record. 
  1. Denver 6-1. Last 3.  After setting an NFL record for TD passes Peyton Manning doesn’t look like he’s ready to slow down anytime soon.  The big story is the D is much faster than last year’s SB runner-up squad.  Injuries are the only thing that can derail them; be afraid NFL be very afraid!  Trending: +
  2. Arizona 6-1. Last 4. Survived annual stretch where Carson Palmer is hurt to lead the division on the back of a stingy run defense.  The pass defense, with Patrick Peterson? Ranked #32 in the league.  Andre Ellington leads an underwhelming offense ranked #28 on the ground that has to improve if they are going to stay atop the division.  Trending: =
  3. New England 6-2. Last 18.  Funny how Tom Brady can get motivated by whispers of his demise.  A (more) healthier Gronk helps that too.  Coming up on an extremely difficult stretch in the schedule with Denver, Indy, Detroit, Green Bay & San Diego up next so banking 6 wins against inferior opponents should help them win the division again.  Trending: +
  4. Detroit 6-2. Last 8. They should be 7-1 after missing three FG against the Bills and losing by 3.  Signed Matt Prater to fix that issue and that he did, kicking them to a win in London.  The defense has been a pleasant surprise, but the rush offense has been offensive and the injury to Calvin Johnson has made the off season acquisition of Golden Tate look masterful. Trending: +
  5. Dallas 6-2. Last 11. Horseshoe anyone? Nope, the Cowboys have benefited from good play calling on the offensive side of the ball to mask their defensive weaknesses.  Demarco Murray is the team MVP thus far and should continue to be used situationally heavy.  The MRI on Tony Romo’s back will be the real factor in how the rest of the season goes. Trending: =
  6. Philadelphia 5-2. Last 7.  Lost in last minute to Arizona on the road but still tote a plus 47 point differential.  They continue to hum along offensively and are getting healthy on defense.  They don’t get the Cowboys until Thanksgiving and then again two weeks later for the division.  Trending: =
  7. San Diego 5-3. Last 5. Philip Rivers has played himself into the MVP conversation.  Brandon Oliver had stepped into the backfield seamlessly until he met the Broncos on Thursday Night Football.  Antonio Gates has found the fountain of youth which has helped cover the loss of Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead.  Trending: =
  8. Indianapolis 5-3. Last 12.  After starting 0-2 the Colts, more specifically Andrew Luck, tore through the schedule until they hit Pittsburgh and the D forgot to get on the plane.  They won’t get lit up that bad again, but teams have a blueprint on how to beat them and Luck can’t win on his own every week.  Trending: =
  9. Cincinnati 4-2-1. Last 2. Started out shot out of a cannon.  Injury to A.J. Green can’t be blamed for the no show against the Pats in primetime, but is holding back the offense and exposing Andy Dalton as an average QB.  Surprisingly the run defense has been porous thus far.  Trending: -
  10. San Francisco 4-3. Last 9. They are treading water until their linebacking corps gets healthy/unsuspended.  The offense has weapons and is actually underutilizing Frank Gore but that will change come playoff time.  As long as Jim Harbaugh and his contract/emotional status doesn’t explode this team is dangerous.  Trending: +
  11. Seattle 4-3. Last 1. Oh how the mighty have fallen.  They look vulnerable on D which was unthinkable even three weeks ago.  Sending Percy Harvin to the Jets is supposed to be addition by subtraction, but the lack of upper echelon talent on O leaves them vulnerable here also.  Trending: =
  12. Baltimore 5-3 Last 6.  They have been swept by the Bengals in two close games and that may come back to haunt them.  Their record shows they haven’t beaten anyone who is any good save for a week 2 drubbing of the next team on the list. Trending: +
  13. Pittsburgh 5-3 Last 15.  The offense is clearly humming along with the beat down of the Colts, but the D is not the same and management acknowledged they are in trouble as they brought back a washed up James Harrison to bolster the LB’s.  Rookie Martavious Bryant got overshadowed at Clemson by Sammy Watkins but the league should be on notice that he is a player.  Trending: +
  14. Green Bay 5-3. Last 14.  They better hope Aaron Rodger’s hammy is okay; if he is hampered for even a couple weeks this team is in danger of falling too far back in the playoff race.  In large part due to their porous run D that ranks dead last in the league so teams can control the clock and keep A-Rod off the field. Trending: =
  15. Buffalo 5-3. Last 23. The Pats game reminded Bills fans of their place in the hierarchy of the AFC East.  They have no answer for Gronk and haven’t since he came into the league.  The good news is they enter a stretch of the schedule where they can conceivably earn a playoff spot.  Kyle Orton has been a savior in a season that management and coaches have hung their hat on as playoffs or bust.  Trending: +
  16. Kansas City 5-3. Last 13.  You can’t pass on them, and they run the ball exceptionally with Jamaal Charles (go figure).  Six of their last 8 games are against teams with winning records and two versus Oakland so it’s time to see if Alex Smith can earn that nice contract extension he got.  Trending: +
  17. New Orleans 3-4. Last 21. Statistically speaking the offense hasn’t missed a beat and is upper echelon in the league.  The eye test says something different though as Drew Brees hasn’t been quite as sharp but the (finally) emerging Mark Ingram has helped immensely.  The Rob Ryan led D has been embarrassing against the pass generating no pressure and allowing the opposition to find holes in the zone.  Still the division is winnable and the two head to head games with Carolina will determine the winner.  Trending: +
  18. Houston 4-4. Last 10.  Can look so good at times but it’s hard to ignore Ryan Fitzpatrick’s shortcomings as a starting QB.  As long as Arian Foster gets going early in games there isn’t an issue as J.J. Watt controls the line of scrimmage on the other side.  Trending: =
  19. Carolina 3-4-1. Last 17. With 6 “winnable” games in their last 8, and already leading the division albeit by percentage points this team is a serious threat to the postseason.  The D has been terrible, not being able to replace Greg Hardy’s pressure has hurt them and exposed a weak secondary.  The run defense hasn’t stopped anyone either.  Cam having to play Superman on a weekly basis.  Trending: -
  20. Miami 4-3. Last 24. Ryan Tanneyhill had a fire lit under him by his coach who wouldn’t commit to him earlier in the season.   They are running well with Lamar Miller and are stopping the pass extremely well almost mirroring K.C., but Tanneyhill is the key; he’s playing well now and needs to keep a hold of the turnovers to challenge for a playoff spot.  Trending: +
  21. Cleveland 4-3. Last 25.  Brian Hoyer has led the offense well making Andrew Hawkins a respectable receiver.  TE Jordan Cameron was injured in the week 8 game so there is cause for concern, at least until Josh Gordon gets off his suspension and suits up in week 11.  The defense has not performed as well as a Mike Pettine coached team should to this point but is keeping them in games. Trending: +
  22. New York Giants 3-4. Last 22. And so begins the also rans, the teams who have clear holes and no answers for them.  The Giants had momentum going into their primetime game against the Eagles until Victor Cruz blew out his knee.  Since that moment it’s been downhill for Big Blue. Trending: -
  23. Atlanta 2-6. Last 20.  When they play in the Georgia Dome they’re great. When they hit the road not so much.  1st round pick Jake Matthews has been a liability at LT and injuries have bitten them at other spots in the trenches.  Trending: -
  24. Minnesota 3-5. Last 19. The Teddy Bridgewater era has begun and then went on hold due to his being injured. It’s back on! The offense hasn’t shown much of anything due to injury to TE Kyle Rudolph and suspension to the switch man. The D has played better than expected and is the strong suit of the team. Trending: =
  25. Chicago 3-5. Last 16. This team is in turmoil.  When Brandon Marshall is the voice of reason in the locker room you know it’s bad.  The D can’t stop anybody either.  Trending: -
  26. Washington 3-5. Last 27. Improvement! Not by much as they found out fast that the most popular guy in the locker room- the backup QB isn’t the answer at QB. They need RGIII to come back and play with some (any) spark for this team to be competitive. Trending: =
  27. Tennessee 2-6. Last 30. Turned the page on Jake Locker.  Ok Zach Mettenberger, meet JJ Watt.  They have mailed in the season and are angling for a top draft pick already. Trending: -
  28. St. Louis 2-5. Last 28. Injuries. Injuries. Injuries.  Enough said. They’ll be taking a QB high come next May.  Trending: -
  29. New York Jets 1-7. Last 26. Hey Mike Vick where ya been?  The answer is one scramble injury away from reinserting turnover machine Geno Smith.  At least the GM admitted the pop gun offense wasn’t doing it and brought in Harvin, who isn’t going to save Rex Ryan’s job.  Does he make it the rest of the season?  Trending: -
  30. Tampa Bay 1-6. Last 29.  Why did they give Gerald McCoy $98 million? This roster isn’t as close to contending as management thought it was and the casting of Josh McCown over Mike Glennon reeks of old school thinking in a new school age.  Trending: =
  31. Jacksonville 1-7. Last 32.  I seriously considered putting the Jags in last because they are so much like the Raiders other than the win against Cleveland.  The defense was supposed to be respectable with Gus Bradley coming into his 2nd year from Seattle, except it isn’t and the -100 point differential is the worst in the league.  Trending: =
  32. Oakland 0-8. Last 31.  Like the Jags, breaking in a rookie QB with middling talent all around him isn’t a recipe for success and Dennis Allen paid with his job after the debacle in London, but what did management think this season was going to be? Trending: =
Biggest move up: +14 New England.
Biggest drop:  -10 Seattle.