We're a quarter of the way into the 2011 season, and a couple of standard football principles are starting to come into play: Running the football still has its place in today's pass-happy NFL (SEE: the 49ers, Redskins and Texans); injuries still happen despite all league efforts to the contrary (SEE: Jerod Mayo, Andre Johnson and poor Bryan Thomas); and separating quality from mediocrity is still as tough as ever.
Think You Can Do Better?
After this week's games, I -- like most of you football heads -- learned a few things.
»a. New Orleans appears intent on bringing 2009 back.
»b. NFL Ebay -- free agency -- can't top April's draft when it comes to building a defense.
»c. Alternate jerseys aren't going away.
»d. Some bargain brand QBs are playing as good or better than the name brands.
But enough about Alex Smith. Let's get to the rankings, where Smith's Niners and some other NFC teams showed serious upward mobility ...