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The Key Games in The NFL : The Times' Ranking : Top to Bottom


Capsules and Rankings

Team: 1. Buffalo (10-6)

Opponent: at N.Y. Giants

Comment: Credibility check: from Week 1, the Super Bowl pick here.


Team: 2. Green Bay (11-5)

Opponent: at Tampa Bay

Comment: Early lofty ranking could be jeopardized by tough schedule.


Team: 3. Dallas (12-4)

Opponent: at Chicago

Comment: I know, I know--who needs Irvin when you have Switzer.


Team: 4. Detroit (10-6)

Opponent: at Minnesota

Comment: A surprise poll climber--the cloning of Don Coryell's Chargers.


Team: 5. Kansas City (13-3)

Opponent: at Houston

Comment: Poll certainty--Schottenheimer buys ticket to Super Bowl.


Team: 6. San Francisco (11-5)

Opponent: New Orleans

Comment: Rated too low? Get a look at the lugs blocking for Young.


Team: 7. Denver (8-8)

Opponent: N.Y. Jets

Comment: A reach right here, but not if defense makes like Orange Crush.


Team: 8. Pittsburgh (11-5)

Opponent: at Jacksonville

Comment: So what you want to do? Pick the Bengals here instead?


Team: 9. Indianapolis (9-7)

Opponent: Arizona

Comment: I have trouble believing it, too. Expect a plunge later.


Team: 10. Philadelphia (10-6)

Opponent: at Washington

Comment: Imagine Eagles' upside if they had an NFL quarterback.


Team: 11. New England (6-10)

Opponent: at Miami

Comment: Slot here a good indication that this is just a guess.


Team: 12. Seattle (8-8)

Opponent: at San Diego

Comment: I know, I know, the L.A. Whatevers would have approved.


Team: 13. New Orleans (7-9)

Opponent: San Francisco

Comment: Easy schedule pads record, makes Mora smart again.


Team: 14. Chicago (9-7)

Opponent: Dallas

Comment: They put handles on ball for Salaam or Bears stay right here.


Team: 15. St. Louis (7-9)

Opponent: at Cincinnati

Comment: Will Georgia kiss Walsh? If Rams top poll, I leave town.


Team: 16. Houston (7-9)

Opponent: Kansas City

Comment: Young Dallas-like talent suggest rising stock in coming weeks.


Team: 17. Cincinnati (7-9)

Opponent: at St. Louis

Comment: Bengals might be as high as No. 16 with Hearst in there.


Team: 18. San Diego (9-7)

Opponent: Seattle

Comment: Still waiting for that Mims payoff to improve team's ranking.


Team: 19. Washington (6-10)

Opponent: Philadelphia

Comment: Shuler for president; he can't play quarterback.


Team: 20. Minnesota (8-8)

Opponent: Detroit

Comment: Time to throw darts; certainly better aim than Moon.


Team: 21. Oakland (8-8)

Opponent: at Baltimore

Comment: Hobert starts for Hoss and there goes that PSL campaign.


Team: 22. Atlanta (9-7)

Opponent: at Carolina

Comment: Speaking of Raiders' next quarterback, George gets no respect.


Team: 23. Miami (9-7)

Opponent: New England

Comment: Ranking prompts Johnson to call Switzer for pointers.


Team: 24. New York Jets (3-13)

Opponent: at Denver

Comment: $25 million for O'Donnell doesn't rate boost in standings.


Team: 25. Baltimore (5-11)

Opponent: Oakland

Comment: Ravens may relocate to poll's basement by season's end.


Team: 26. Jacksonville (4-12)

Opponent: Pittsburgh

Comment: Lofty ranking for expansion team rides on Brunell.


Team: 27. Carolina (7-9)

Opponent: Atlanta

Comment: Fine new stadium carries no weight with poll master.


Team: 28. Tampa Bay (7-9)

Opponent: Green Bay

Comment: Bucs' future rides on tax vote Tuesday; already no shot here.


Team: 29. Arizona (4-12)

Opponent: at Indianapolis

Comment: Cardinals have better chance of moving to LA than up in poll.


Team: 30. N.Y. Giants (5-11)

Opponent: Buffalo

Comment: Last place here at season's end wins Peyton Manning.

THE POLLS: Associated Press and USA Today/CNN--C17

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