- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky
He wound up offering more of a team-by-team commentary on the league than on the rankings, which is just fine with us.
So here is a sampling of his thoughts:
"The Saints and Colts both struggled this week, I just don’t know how long those guys can last with those high-powered offenses. It seems like New Orleans, at least, has to have a shootout every week to win, you know. So I don’t know how long that’s going to last. The Colts survived a scare. So call them the Houdinis, they find a way to win."
"Minnesota I think is one of the best balanced teams with the running game, passing game, great defense and special teams. They’re firing on all cylinders right now."
"Denver at four, I don’t know how long they are going to last with just throwing the ball all the time. You’ve got to have a balanced offense in this league, and to run the ball just 10 times [actually 19] against the Ravens was not good."
"New England’s just sneaky, I haven’t heard too much about them yet. They ranked No. 5, so you all have your eye on them."
"Cincinnati is revived, new heart."
"Pittsburgh, great defense."
"Dallas was like on the bottom half of the league last week or two weeks ago, weren’t they? [They were 19 just two weeks ago, I tell him.] I just remember everyone saying Dallas is horrible, they aren’t going to be any good. Now all of a sudden they are up there. Nineteen two weeks ago, now eight? That’s a question mark how guys can jump up that far, this is not the BCS."
"I like Philadelphia. Donovan McNabb has multiple weapons, defense is playing solid right now. They are an opportunistic team."
"Baltimore is catching their stride right now which is going to be pretty dangerous for some people. They can run, they can throw, they play great defense, their special teams are starting to come on and their head coach is a special teams guy. I like them, I think they are going to be a good team and later on they’ll be higher than 10."
"Atlanta is going to be a team that sneaks up on people to. I think they should be a little bit higher. They lost their last two, but before that they were like No. 6 or something, weren’t they? They were high up there. I just don’t know how teams drop in this week-by-week deal."
"The Packers can’t beat the Vikings. They can’t win their division it seems like."
"Cardinals live by the pass die by the pass. It’s a risky way, but if that’s what you’re going to be, know who you are."
"Texans at 14, oh man. I don’t know…"
Blogger break in: Jones-Drew gets to the security gate of his neighborhood. “Hello,” he says. “Monroe, right?” the woman asks him. “No, Jones-Drew,” he says politely. “I’m sorry,” she says. Then turning back to me on the phone: “That’s crazy, my own neighborhood doesn’t even know me. I tell you what, I’ve still got a long way to go.”
"The Giants were the No. 1 team probably three weeks ago and they lost three now, I guess they are on a skid. Now 15, they will probably be down where they Jaguars are next."
"San Diego? Slow start. They always start slow and they always pick it up towards the middle and the end of the season. So it’s kind of surprising, people have to realize that’s how they play the majority of the time. I think they will be higher."
"I don’t know about the Bears. They’re kind of inconsistent. Matt Forte, he’s on my fantasy team, I’m glad he had a big week against Cleveland. They are just inconsistent. I think now, 16, 17 on down you’re going to get to the teams that are just inconsistent."
"Injuries are what make the Jets so low at 18, to lose Kris Jenkins is a big hit for them on the defensive side. And then you lose Leon Washington, your kickoff returner and your backup running back, one of the most explosive guys in the league. That’s tough."
"I think the 49ers are catching their stride. They played Houston tough and almost beat Houston, they came back on them. They played Indy incredibly tough with the Joseph Addai touchdown. Whenever you can hold Peyton Manning with no touchdowns, it’s real big."
"Miami, I think they are undefeated in divisional play, right? You win your division you get to the playoffs. They are the head of their division but that can beat anyone else. Divisional bullies?"
"Jaguars at 21? That’s bull. We should be No. 1. [I chime in that I understand why he says so, but he knows how it sounds to people, right?] "If I didn’t say that, it wouldn’t be right. Everyone should say that about themselves. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?"
"Buffalo, injuries. They’d be higher if they didn’t have as many injuries."
"Carolina, give the ball to Steve Smith. Give him the rock, feed him. You have a running game, but no Steve Smith. That’s why they are ranked that low."
"Seattle: listen to Houshmandzadeh."
"Washington, 25th, they’re struggling. What Haynesworth said: When they want to win, they will."
"The Titans beat the Jaguars."
"Oakland: Off the field issues."
"Kansas City: Off the field issues."
"The Lions got their first victory."
"I think St. Louis should be ranked higher than Detroit, they should flip-flop spots 29 and 30. The Rams beat them didn’t they? If two teams are evenly matched like that, usually the team that beat the other one should be right ahead of them."
"Cleveland: internal bleeding. They are firing everybody in Cleveland right now. They just traded Braylon Edwards, now you’re going to fire your GM. Who’s next?"
"Tampa Bay? [Expletive]! I know how they feel, like anything and everything you do isn’t right. You can do all the hard work in the world and it still doesn’t pay off."
"I think you guys did pretty good. Denver I understand they are high up there, they beat New England which was a big win. Other than that, most of their wins were against opponents that aren’t up there. …I obviously think we’re way too low, we beat Houston. I think Houston could be a little bit higher. At 5-3 they are a little tougher than what people think."
"Fantasy-wise, I need Antonio Gates to step up. I need Philip Rivers to throw the ball to Antonio Gates more. We play two quarterbacks, I have Matt Cassel but I hope he does bad [in Jacksonville Sunday]. I might just play one quarterback."