Even though the power's out at the base station, the Grill Room is open for business with the singular goal, as always, of satisfying your appetite for attitude. We got an old-school work ethic around this joint...
Hell, our bartenders looked adversity in the eye, cranked up the emergency generators, knocked back a couple of bottles of Beefeater, and set about putting together our exclusive NFL 100-proof rankings just like we do every Wednesday.
And that's why you come here, for a straight shot of 100-proof truth.
We pander to nobody around here, though last week we did go out on a limb, thinking one of the two or three best franchises in football could handle our trust, and what Cincinnati was serving on the road.
Well, turns out the Steelers got all wobbly-kneed in the fourth quarter, and fell on their face, so our bouncers had to toss Coach Tomlin and his light-weights out onto the road to redemption.
See? We clean up our messes around here.
That said, the Big Blue Wrecking Crew held on to the top spot after demolishing impotent Tampa Bay on the road, while Bal'more showed why they would be the Giants' match in the Super Bowl if the season ended today by demolishing the Clowns from Cleveland.
THE STRONG STUFF
- 1 (1) N.Y. Giants (99 proof, 3-0) Stop the run, they pass. Stop the pass, they run. Throw in a defense that is making the move from solid to dominating, and you have the most dependable team in the league right now.
- 2 (3) Baltimore (97 proof, 3-0) Have a chance to make a serious statement about who's really the class of the AFC when they visit New England Sunday.
- 3 (4) New Orleans (96 proof, 3-0) Passed another test when they had trouble passing in Buffalo last week, yet still managed to roll big.
- 4 (5) Indianapolis (93 proof, 3-0) Peyton Manning is the best player in the NFL right now, though their best defensive player, Dwight Freeney, is down and out for a couple of weeks.
- 5 (7) Minnesota (89 proof, 3-0) Brett Favre did what he's best at in a miraculous win over the 49ers. Will he start doing what he's second-best at and throw it to his old buddies when the Packers come calling Monday night?
- 6 (8) N.Y. Jets (88 proof, 3-0) Buddy boys' team made the most of Tennessee's fumbling special teams and did what, gulp, good teams do -- capitalized. Next up: New Orleans. That'll be a beauty.
- 7(9) Philadelphia (87 proof, 2-1) Andy Reid will endure ridiculous Week 4 bye figuring out how in the heck he is going to keep his three-headed QB monster from eating itself.
- 8 (10) New England (85 proof, 2-1) Clipped pretender Falcons' wings last Sunday, but will run into a more ornery group of birds when the Ravens dive into town this weekend.
- 9 (12) San Francisco (83 proof, 2-1) Tough, mean, stubborn, but a bit stupid. It's all part of the learning curve for Coach Mike's 49ers.
- 10 (11) San Diego (82 proof, 2-1) Tough team to figure, but figure they lose to a desperate Steelers team Sunday night.
- 11 (6) Atlanta (81 proof, 2-1) Were run from the GR when they were found carrying ID card stamped "legitimate contender" on it. Get the bye week to work on their credentials.
- 12 (13) Chicago (80 proof, 2-1) Two straight weeks opposing kickers failed to boot the Bears, and for two straight weeks the Bears capitalized like No. 6 Buddy boys' team.
- 13 (17) Cincinnati (79 proof, 2-1) This is the team we thought they were around here when the season started. That's why you trust what we serve you in the GR.
- 14 (14) Dallas (77 proof, 2-1) Is anybody trusting what Jerry's 'Boys are serving us right now?
- 15 (18) Green Bay (74 proof, 2-1) A team in search of an identity will see a glimpse of its old self when Favre huddles with the Vikes. Will they like what they see?
- 16 (2) Pittsburgh (73 proof, 1-2) If getting bounced from the GR doesn't wake you up, nothing will. Oh yeah, and third-place in the division should be another eye-opener.
- 17 (21) Denver (70 proof, 3-0) Save it, Broncos' fans. Your team is average and you know it. Want to make a statement that'll earn you a running tab around here? Buck the 'Boys on Sunday.
- 18 (22) Seattle (65 proof, 1-2) So the coach is blaming the kicker for missing two of six kicks Sunday. Try stuffing the ball in the end zone and piping down, pal.
- 19 (19) Tennessee (63 proof, 0-3) If Tennessee doesn't clean up their nasty special teams play, and take Jacksonville this week, they're on bread and water for the rest of the year.
- 20 (15) Arizona (61 proof, 1-2) Arizona gets a week off to reminisce about what it was like to be good for a five-week stretch last year, and how nice it is to be back to being rotten again. Ahhh, home.
- 21 (30) Jacksonville (56 proof, 1-2) Butter-fingered Titans come to town Sunday, but will Jags be finger-lickin' good?
- 22 (16) Houston (54 proof, 1-2) We'll stick with the Texans one more week and send the Raiders their way to help 'em feel good about themselves again.
- 23 (23) Buffalo (50 proof, 1-2) Forget big mouth T.O. Coach Dick Jauron plus QB Trent Edwards equals awful.
- 24 (25) Carolina (45 proof, 0-3) Had a chance to right your season and wrong Jerry's 'Boys, and you blew both. You certainly didn't earn your week off, Panthers.
- 25 (32) Detroit (40 proof, 1-2) Finally, Detroit gets even with Washington. Can't put all that poetic justice into words.
- 26 (24) Miami (38 proof, 0-3) Expect QB Henne to be benched Sunday against Bills and Pat White to come in and shine.
- 27 (20) Washington (35 proof, 1-2) Has there ever been a team that is more emblematic of the city it represents?
- 28 (27) Kansas City (33 proof, 0-3) No. 1 Giants come knocking Sunday. Doh!
- 29 (26) Oakland (30 proof, 1-2) Spent more time last week girding for Rich Gannon than they did the Broncos.
- 30 (29) St. Louis (25 proof, 0-3) This team stinks.
- 31 (28) Tampa Bay (22 proof, 0-3) This team really, really stinks.
- 32 (31) Cleveland (19 proof, 0-3) This team really, really, really...