Man, which is more confusing, the top five teams in the "we love parity" version of today's NFL or the bottom five teams?
Let's take a look and remember that there has never been a Super Bowl title won in October.
1. Kansas City -- The NFL, more than any other league, screams the basic and undeniable truth that a team is what its record says it is. Period. And by that measure, the Chiefs -- the league's last unbeaten team because of a dynamite defense littered with former SEC stars including Eric Berry and Justin Houston -- are the best. That said, here's saying the 1972 Dolphins -- the NFL's only team to complete the regular season and the playoffs unbeaten and a group that still celebrates when the last unbeaten each year falls, protecting their place in NFL lore -- already are icing the champaign.
2. Denver -- Peyton Manning's struggles in his return to Indy aside, this is still the class of the league. Plus, with linebacker Von Miller back from NFL timeout, the defense will improve dramatically.
3. Seattle -- Defensively, kudos to Pete Carroll and Co. for building an elite group from back to front. Laying a foundation of the game's best cornerback in Richard Sherman and the game's best young safety this side of Eric Berry in Earl Thomas, the Seahawks have flipped the popular coaching cliche. How many times have we heard, "You have to establish/stop the run first" for coaches? Tons, right? Well, the Seahawks stop the pass first -- an elite secondary coupled with pass-rushing demons -- and dare you to run to keep up. Good luck with that.
4. New Orleans -- You could list the Saints right there as 3B, and Seattle and New Orleans are the two best teams in the NFC. In fact, it's hard to remember a time when home-field advantage will swing a Super Bowl spot more than this year considering how tough the Saints are in the Superdome and how tough the Seahawks are in Seattle.
5. New England -- We give the Patriots a slight edge over San Fran because the Pats have Tom Brady and the 49ers don't. And while the Pats struggle to get through as Brady tries to get by with Ed the Tire Guy and some guy named Jermaine running patterns, imagine what the Pats offense will be when the starters return and Ed the Tire Guy and Jermaine have become contributors.
28. Houston -- Officially the league's "Man, they should be much better but aren't" bunch. This may be one of the toughest off-the-field weeks for a franchise since Falcons fans learned about the depths of Mike Vick's dog fighting. Consider that Bum Phillips -- the beloved coach of the Houston Oilers and father of Texans DC Wade Phillips -- passed this past weekend. Consider that stud duck linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the season and running back Arian Foster was injured on Sunday. Then on Monday, Bud Adams, the man who brought the Oilers to Houston, also died. Tough times in Houston.
29. New York Giants -- Was that the worst Monday Night Football game ever, when the Giants recorded victory No. 1 of 2013 over a hapless Minnesota team? Egad, there were folks we know who had money on that one who couldn't bear to watch. Here's saying that other than the parents and the wives, as long as folks promised to patronize the sponsors, Gruden and Tirico were OK with people flipping channels.
30. Minnesota -- Josh Freeman made his first start for the Vikings and had one of the worst stat lines in the last decade. Dude completed just 37 percent and was 3-of-15 on passes longer than 15 yards. Ouch-standing. This leads to two points: First, how bad must Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel be for this to be the best option for success for Minnesota? And second, the Tampa Bay staff is giggling. Well, at least on the inside, because ...
31. Tampa Bay -- Freeman's struggles aside, there are few answers for a Bucs team that has too many questions. Side point, if you had to name the best Tampa Bay offensive player ever, who would it be? Doug Williams maybe? And if that's the answer, is that the worst all-time offensive star of every team in the league?
32. Jacksonville -- Duh. Well we forgot about Jacksonville, which is easy to do these days.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...