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Inside the NFL

The Times' Rankings

November 23, 2002

SAM FARMER'S NFL RANKINGS AND COMMENTS:

*--* Rank Team (rec.) Comment (last week's rank) 1 TAMPA BAY (8-2) Warren Sapp has sacked Brett Favre eight times. (4) 2 DENVER (7-3) Brian Griese to Steve Beuerlein shouldn't be a drastic drop-off. (5) 3 GREEN BAY (8-2) Can clinch the NFC North with a win, and a Minnesota loss or tie. (1) 4 SAN DIEGO (7-3) Junior Seau is starting to get back into the flow. (6) 5 SAN FRANCISCO (7-3) 49ers need someone who can nail clutch kicks. (2) 6 NEW ORLEANS (7-3) Offense has 23 touchdowns in 34 red-zone trips, best in NFL. (3) 7 OAKLAND (6-4) Rich Gannon is getting plenty of protection from his line. (12) 8 ST. LOUIS (5-5) Kurt Warner is back, but he has to be looking over his shoulder. (11) 9 ATLANTA (6-3-1) Not only is he exciting, Michael Vick doesn't make big mistakes. (10) 10 MIAMI (6-4) Suddenly accurate, Ray Lucas seemed a changed man against Ravens. (15) 11 NEW ENGLAND (5-5) Offense didn't score a touchdown against the Raiders. (8) 12 PHILADELPHIA (7-3) Koy Detmer has six starts, one for each of his NFL seasons. (9) 13 TENNESSEE (6-4) Once shaky Titans have won five consecutive. (16) 14 PITTSBURGH (5-4-1) Tommy Maddox can't get back quickly enough for Steelers. (7) 15 KANSAS CITY (5-5) Priest Holmes has run for touchdown in eight consecutive games. (14) 16 INDIANAPOLIS (6-4) End Dwight Freeney is a potential defensive rookie of the year. (17) 17 BUFFALO (5-5) Penalties are becoming a problem for the Bills. (13) 18 N.Y. GIANTS (6-4) If he has something left, Herman Moore will be a big help. (19) 19 N.Y. JETS (5-5) Chad Pennington leads the NFL with a 71% completion mark. (18) 20 JACKSONVILLE (5-5) Jaguars almost blew a 17-point lead to an expansion franchise. (21) 21 CLEVELAND (5-5) The running game was rolling ... against the Bengals. (23) 22 BALTIMORE (4-6) Ray Lewis might be back, but the rest of the defense isn't. (20) 23 WASHINGTON (4-6) Bruce Smith has sacked 70 quarterbacks -- but never Kurt Warner. (22) 24 MINNESOTA (3-7) Michael Bennett is a beacon in an otherwise dismal season. (30) 25 ARIZONA (4-6) Cardinals have played AFC West teams tough lately. (24) 26 SEATTLE (3-7) Going up against Chief defense that has given up 43 points in last three games. (25) 27 DETROIT (3-7) Joey Harrington is the QB answer, but Lion fans have to give him time. (26) 28 CAROLINA (3-7) Julius Peppers is first Panther defensive lineman with double-digit sacks. (27) 29 DALLAS (3-7) Troy Hambrick is ready to push aside Emmitt Smith. (28) 30 CHICAGO (2-8) How did the Bears get so brutally bad so quickly? (29) 31 HOUSTON (2-8) David Carr is giving fans a glimpse of his potential. (32) 32 CINCINNATI (1-9) Just counting the days until the 2003 draft. (31)

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