|Elaine Thompson/Associcated Press|
|Peter Carroll looks verklempt after the Seahawks missed an opportunity to move up.|
We are quickly approaching the quarter point of the 2011 NFL season (if you can believe that) and it is time to separate the contenders from the pretenders for No. 1.
The No. 1 pick in the draft, of course.
Some team might be down in the dumps right now but, with a stroke of luck, could end up with that top pick and quickly be a contender for the Super Bowl in coming years.
There has been a little bit of a shakeup in the rankings after last week's debut, but there are a couple of teams still holding on strong to the top spots.
And without further ado ...
The Seahawks were a strong contender considering that they will have the strength of schedule going in their favor for any tie-breakers, but the team really hurt themselves with a win over the Cardinals. On the positive side, Seattle is now five wins from clinching the NFC West. Up next: vs. Atlanta.
St. Louis was one of the picks to click for the 2011 season, but it has fallen to 0-3 thanks in part to a tough opening schedule. But there is hope on the horizon because this is the NFC West, and the 49ers look like overachievers winning two games already this season. Up next: vs. Washington
The Dolphins survived a close one in Cleveland but managed to hang on for the loss. Miami fans hoping to move up in the polls will be disappointed to know that I am not writing this team off just yet. A loss on the road next week would prove that this team is serious about the No. 1 spot. Up next: at San Diego.
The Colts showed some real dedication to improving their luck in the draft, but a solid defensive effort against the Steelers and a near upset show that this team has some fight. The Colts would rank higher, but the possibility of Peyton Manning's return could derail them from the top spot. Up next: at Tampa Bay.
The Vikings are rocketing up the charts thanks to a dramatic come-from-ahead loss to the Lions. It would have been easy for the Vikings to fold the tents and actually beat the Lions, but they showed that this team was serious about reaching the No. 1 spot with a solid, heart-breaking loss. Up next: at Kansas City.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Playing against a team coached by Norv Turner in September will really challenge any team looking for the top pick in the draft. But the Chiefs remained focused and escaped from San Diego with its No. 1 ranking. This week's game will go a long way in determining who might be the front-runner for the top spot. Up next: vs. Minnesota.