We're fully expecting a rowdy crowd around the Grill Room this week because we've put the 1-1 Steelers in the No. 2 position in the NFL 100-proof rankings.
But before you start any trouble and get bounced from the joint, shut up and listen:
First, we don't genuflect to upstart squads like so many of the knuckleheads that put together their weekly rankings.
Yeah, the Jets are a surprising 2-0, but with a rookie QB at the helm, and a coach whose mouth attracts flies and more and more enemies each week, it is hard to see them beating any of the teams ranked above them if matched in, say, Omaha or something.
And that last part's key, pally. Our bartenders base their rankings on what a team would do when matched up against any other team that Sunday on a neutral field.
So, big shot, how much would you bet right now against the Steelers if they took on any of the other teams below them on that Omaha field? Come on, how much? Think Baltimore'd take 'em? Do you really have that much confidence yet in the Saints? How 'bout the Colts? The Jets...?!
Yeah, thought so. Not talking so big now, are ya?
Look, somebody's gotta make the tough calls and rein in all the insanity among the so-called NFL prognosticators out there. It ain't easy being us.
But, hey, fagedaboudit, we're all friends here, right?
THE STRONG STUFF
- 1 (3) N.Y. Giants (98 proof, 2-0) The Giants' version of "Shock and awwwwwww..." did more to restore our faith in America than Obama after Eli's aerial bombardment of Jerry's Evil Empire on national TV.
- 2 (1) Pittsburgh (95 proof, 1-1) Once more: Yes, they have a loss; yes, many other teams don't; no, none of them beat Pittsburgh on a neutral field.
- 3 (13) Baltimore (94 proof, 2-0) OK, we're sold.
- 4 (11) New Orleans (93 proof, 2-0) Still wonder how "The Most Offensive Show on Earth" plays when football weather comes blowing in, but walloping Philadelphia, 48-22, at The Stink any time of year is mighty strong.
- 5 (7) Indianapolis (89 proof, 2-0) The elder Manning and his Colts perform a mathematical miracle, and throw conventional wisdom for a loss when they beat Miami by running only 35 plays to the Dolphins' 84, and hold the ball for 14:53 to the Dolphins' 45:07.
- 6 (10) Atlanta (88 proof, 2-0) We're not seeing any holes in this squad. However, they'll be carded at the door Sunday when they visit New England to see if they are legitimate.
- 7 (8) Minnesota (87 proof, 2-0) Enthusiasm should be curbed a bit with wins over awful Cleveland and Detroit. Let's see how they handle the punch in the mouth they're sure to get when Singletary's roughnecks come calling Sunday.
- 8 (16) N.Y. Jets (85 proof, 2-0) Backed up trash talk with a demon-exorcising win over the hated Patsies. But how long can this rowdy group back up Buddy boy's big mouth? A desperate Titans squad comes knocking with brass knuckles Sunday...
- 9 (2) Philadelphia (84 proof, 1-1) That didn't take long...A week after the GR warned Coach Reid about running it up on a thoroughly beaten opponent, the Saints came marching into Philly to beat some manners into him.
- 10 (4) New England (83 proof, 1-1) If Belichick can round this no-name group into form by season's end, Lombardi's got nothing on him. Brady or no Brady, this squad's in trouble.
- 11 (5) San Diego (82 proof, 1-1) Norv finally calls a running play and Ray Lewis swallows it whole. Huge play by great player against average coach.
- 12 (14) San Francisco (80 proof, 2-0) Coach Mike and his rough-and-ready 49ers are welcome at the Grill Room anytime. Seattle's still picking up pieces of itself off the turf of Monster Park.
- 13 (15) Chicago (78 proof, 1-1) Grudging kudos to QB Cutler, who grudgingly took what the Steelers gave him. Nobody was a bigger giver than Steeler kicker Jeff Reed, though.
- 14 (9) Dallas (74 proof, 1-1) So Cowboys' fans, whataya think of Romo and your nose-drilling owner now?
- 15 (18) Arizona (72 proof, 1-1) A game plan's goal which was to keep QB Warner alive for another week by chucking it quick resulted in a statistical thing of beauty. Yes, 24-of-26 is mighty spiffy, but the longest completion went for 22 yards.
- 16 (26) Houston (70 proof, 1-1) Took this squad one week to renew our faith in 'em. Stood in for 60 minutes against a tough-as-nails Titans' squad on the road.
- 17 (23) Cincinnati (69 proof, 1-1) Another squad that went a long way in restoring our belief in 'em around here after big road win in Green Bay.
- 18 (12) Green Bay (67 proof, 1-1) This is one team we've been right about from the start. In the land of cheese, Swiss won't cut it for an offensive line.
- 19 (6) Tennessee (65 proof, 0-2) Far too early for a team of this caliber to be put in a desperate situation. But desperate is what they are heading to N.J. to take on Buddy boy's big-talking Jets.
- 20 (19) Washington (62 proof, 1-1) We repeat: The Redskins are what we thought they were, and QB Campbell is who the 'Skins thought he was when they tried to trade for a QB this year.
- 21 (21) Denver (58 proof, 2-0) The consolation prize for being the worst 2-0 team in football is being moved off the 'Rot Gut' shelf in the GR.
- 22 (17) Seattle (55 proof, 1-1) Matt Hasselbeck's hurt again, and Chicago's coming to town. Oh-oh...
- 23 (22) Buffalo (54 proof, 1-1) Bills are praying for Buffalo weather when Saints march in Sunday.
- 24 (27) Miami (51 proof, 0-2) Never has a team done so much to lose by so little. Loss to Colts will haunt them for rest of the year.
- 25 (25) Carolina (48 proof, 0-2) Panthers get a chance to finish off Jerry, and restore hope with a win Monday night.
- 26 (24) Oakland (42 proof, 1-1) Stealing is one way to get wins...
- 27 (29) Kansas City (40 proof, 0-2) ...when you are playing a team so intent on throwing the game away.
- 28 (28) Tampa Bay (36 proof, 0-2) It gets worse, No. 1 Giants come visiting Sunday
- 29 (31) St. Louis (33 proof, 0-2) Seven points in two games for Rams.
- 30 (20) Jacksonville (32 proof, 0-2) How can you start so poorly in home-opener?
- 31 (30) Cleveland (31 proof, 0-2) Cancel this story about a man named Brady.
- 32 (32) Detroit (25 proof, 0-2) Thankfully, a TV blackout looms Sunday for Lions' fans.