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Inside the NFL

The Times' Rankings

October 05, 2002

SAM FARMER'S NFL RANKINGS AND COMMENTS:

*--* Rank Team (record) Comment (last week's rank) 1 OAKLAND (3-0) Raiders have averaged 26 first downs in last three games. (3) 2 PHILADELPHIA (3-1) Eagles have recovered from defensive collapse on opening day. (4) 3 NEW ENGLAND (3-1) Just don't mention the word "cutback" to skittish Patriot defense. (1) 4 SAN DIEGO (4-0) Victory over New England gave Chargers instant credibility. (11) 5 DENVER (3-1) After an embarrassing first half, almost came back at Baltimore. (2) 6 SAN FRANCISCO (2-1) After playing host to the Rams on Sunday, the 49ers have four of six on the road. (6) 7 TAMPA BAY (3-1) Buccaneers starting to get comfortable with Gruden's complex offense. (9) 8 NEW ORLEANS (3-1) Defense has to stop putting Saints in big holes early. (5) 9 GREEN BAY (3-1) Packers had no business letting Carolina hang around so long at Lambeau. (8) 10 MIAMI (3-1) Dolphins don't have the kind of offense that can play catchup. (7) 11 PITTSBURGH (1-2) Maddox isn't spectacular, but he doesn't force throws the way Stewart does. (14) 12 BUFFALO (2-2) Emotional, physical exhaustion of three overtime games has to take a toll. (15) 13 CHICAGO (2-2) Bears have lost two in a row for first time since December 2000. (12) 14 KANSAS CITY (2-2) Ah, so that's the way Trent Green was supposed to look. (23) 15 CAROLINA (3-1) Finally faced a real opponent ... and looked pretty good, even in losing. (22) 16 INDIANAPOLIS (2-1) Colts get a breather with two home patsies--Cincinnati, then Baltimore. (17) 17 N.Y. GIANTS (2-2) Offense has scored nine and seven points in last two games. (10) 18 CLEVELAND (2-2) Yes, rulebook has cost Browns two victories, but this team is average. (16) 19 ARIZONA (2-2) Young Cardinal defense got a big morale boost in thrashing of Giants. (25) 20 JACKSONVILLE (2-1) Eagle defense should give Jaguars big problems. (21) 21 SEATTLE (1-3) Remember Shaun Alexander? The Seahawks finally did. (26) 22 ATLANTA (1-2) Michael Vick can't carry the whole load on his shoulders. (19) 23 ST. LOUIS (0-4) Rams are hanging on by a (broken) pinkie in the NFC West. (13) 24 BALTIMORE (1-2) Raven defense showed flashes of its former self in the Denver game. (30) 25 DETROIT (1-3) "Joey Heisman" could save the jobs of Matt Millen and Marty Mornhinweg. (28) 26 DALLAS (2-2) With his job on the line, Quincy Carter picks up biggest victory of his career. (31) 27 TENNESSEE (1-3) Titans are lucky they play in a lousy division. (18) 28 WASHINGTON (1-2) Time to warm up rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey. (27) 29 N.Y. JETS (1-3) Jets have been outscored 133-50. (20) 30 HOUSTON (1-3) David Carr has been battered like a crash-test dummy. (29) 31 MINNESOTA (0-4) Week by week, Vikings are spiraling out of control. (24) 32 CINCINNATI (0-4) Made a game of it against Tampa Bay--for five minutes, at least. (32)

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