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Inside the NFL

The Times' Rankings

October 12, 2002

SAM FARMER'S NFL RANKINGS AND COMMENTS:

*--* Rank Team (record) Comment (last week's rank) 1 OAKLAND (4-0) Raiders are 4-0 for the first time since 1990. (1) 2 DENVER (4-1) Defense that shut down LaDainian Tomlinson now gets Ricky Williams. (5) 3 MIAMI (4-1) Dolphins haven't been this balanced since the early 1970s. (10) 4 SAN FRANCISCO (3-1) Thrashing of St. Louis was a huge morale boost. (6) 5 TAMPA BAY (4-1) Defense has scored touchdowns in four consecutive weeks. (7) 6 PHILADELPHIA (3-2) Offensive line isn't giving Donovan McNabb enough time. (2) 7 SAN DIEGO (4-1) Conditions of Seau, Harrison, Wiley pivotal to success of Charger defense. (4) 8 NEW ORLEANS (4-1) Deuce McAllister already has three 100-yard games. (8) 9 KANSAS CITY (3-2) Chiefs have scored a league-leading 85 points in the fourth quarter. (14) 10 GREEN BAY (4-1) Offense is in great shape but secondary is hurting. (9) 11 NEW ENGLAND (3-2) All of a sudden, Patriots are making mistakes in bunches. (3) 12 JACKSONVILLE (3-1) Led by their no-name defense, Jaguars are quietly regaining respectability. (20) 13 BUFFALO (2-3) Bledsoe has had 400-yard passing games twice this season. (12) 14 CHICAGO (2-3) Injury-riddled Bears have to put more pressure on foes' quarterbacks. (12) 15 INDIANAPOLIS (3-1) Tony Dungy needs to patch the holes in Colt run defense. (16) 16 BALTIMORE (2-2) Jamal Lewis seems to be hitting his stride. (24) 17 ARIZONA (3-2) Cardinals are off to their best start since 1991. (19) 18 PITTSBURGH (1-3) Steeler run defense is a joke, but Bill Cowher isn't laughing. (11) 19 CAROLINA (3-2) Panthers need to get their offense back on track. (15) 20 N.Y. GIANTS (3-2) Beating Cowboys was big for a team with sagging confidence. (17) 21 SEATTLE (1-3) Seahawks will be hard pressed to slow 49er offense. (21) 22 CLEVELAND (2-3) With Holcomb out, Browns don't have luxury of a QB controversy. (18) 23 WASHINGTON (2-2) Looks as if Patrick Ramsey is the answer, at least for a week. (28) 24 ATLANTA (1-3) With an injured Michael Vick on the sideline, Falcons are in trouble. (22) 25 DALLAS (2-3) Almost pulled off another late, come-from-behind victory. (26) 26 DETROIT (1-3) Can Joey Harrington put together another impressive performance? (25) 27 N.Y. JETS (1-4) Finger-pointing has begun among players on defense. (29) 28 TENNESSEE (1-4) Titans have matched their worst start since moving to Tennessee. (27) 29 ST. LOUIS (0-5) In second half against 49ers, Rams apparently just gave up. (23) 30 HOUSTON (1-3) Drew Bledsoe should pick apart the Texan secondary. (30) 31 MINNESOTA (0-4) Already inexperienced Viking defense seems to get younger by the week. (31) 32 CINCINNATI (0-5) Even in the lousy AFC North, Bengals are already toast. (32)

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