A strange NFL weekend came to a close Monday night with Josh Freeman throwing it all over the park. Literally. The ball hit almost every square inch of MetLife Stadium.
The tenor in Kansas City? Sad. Not for the home team, which pushed its way up the Power Rankings ladder with a hard-fought win, but for the visiting Texans, whose defensive coordinator coached a whale of a game despite losing his father Friday. Wade Phillips learned football from Bum Phillips, who taught us all that you can win and have fun -- and have real team unity -- as head coach of the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints.
Sure, David. But as you'll see below, we had to do what we had to do. In the interest of full disclosure, we still feel Denver is the best team in football. But because the Broncos trail the Chiefs in the AFC West, we can't place them at No. 1. Part of the process of ranking the teams includes how they're faring in their own divisions. For example, we might have placed Denver at No. 1 if Kansas City were in a different division. But in this unique situation, standings play a role.
Funny -- we were worried about ranking the top teams in the NFC West, not the AFC West. That's the NFL in 2013.
As for the other 30 clubs, see below. As always, feel free to share your thoughts ... @HarrisonNFL is the drop box.
Now, let the dissension commence ...
On that note ... the Broncos walked into a unique environment Sunday night, facing a Colts squad more fired up to beat the opposing quarterback than any team since Joe Montana's Kansas City Chiefs took on Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers. *That* legendary pupil-meets-master affair took place at Arrowhead Stadium back in 1994, and it was hard not to think of that game while watching Broncos-Colts.
Now, to clear something up ... Last week in this space, we lamented Rafael Bush's failure to get over and help corner Jabari Greer on the winning touchdown catch by Kenbrell Thompkins. After re-watching and reviewing the pay with NFL.com Live colleague -- and former NFL defensive back -- Solomon Wilcots, we realized that most of the blame lies on Greer, who never should have let Thompkins get behind him. Fact is, while maybe Bush could've helped Greer, his primary responsibility was to force Tom Brady to make a tougher throw to the corner. If Brady had seen Bush bailing to help Greer, he would have thrown the seam route to the inside receiver, regardless of the coverage. Watch the play again here.
Nice win, by the way, for the injury-riddled Pack. But let's go back to the past for a sec. That first Packers title team shut out *eight* of its 13 opponents in going 12-0-1 -- so technically, the 1972 Dolphins are not the only undefeated team in NFL history. What's more interesting is that the coach of that '29 team, Curly Lambeau, also suited up for one game during the championship season. It was the last game of his nine-year playing career. </content:power-ranking>
The Dolphins -- we think -- had no business losing at home to a Bills squad whose starting quarterback was out and whose most explosive offensive player gained 7 total yards. After all, Nickell Robey -- who is not synonymous with Lester Hayes, Ed Reed, and Rod Woodson -- made the defensive play of the day for Buffalo. But here we are. And here the Dolphins sit.
***Power Rankings side note:*** The Redskins' leading receiver was Jordan Reed, who had nine grabs for 134 yards and a touchdown. Reed is a rookie tight end out of Florida, where he majored in religion. His sign is Cancer ... in case you're single. </content:power-ranking>
Peyton Hillis had 23 touches Monday night. Surprised he didn't pull something ... or two somethings. </content:power-ranking>
Agree with the postgame remarks made by Steve Young and Trent Dilfer: Minnesota set Freeman up to fail by playing him this soon.
Speaking of the Bucs' few strengths, Tampa Bay is now down one more: Running back Doug Martin might miss the rest of 2013 with a torn labrum.