Dr. J's Final NFL Rankings: Regular Season

The playoffs are here! The playoffs are here! The New England Patriots hold the top spot heading into their bye week and one non-playoff team snuck into the top twelve. The top team a few weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs, have slid down the ladder and they hope the week off gives their defense some renewed strength when it matters most.

1) New England (14-2)
Previous Rank: 1st
In order to win it all, the Patriots will have to extend their current winning streak to 15 games, a tough task, but this team looks like they are up to it.

2) Philadelphia (12-4)
Previous Rank: 2nd
The road through the NFC will come through Philadelphia, but only one of the last six NFC teams with HFA won the Super Bowl (Rams 1999).

3) Indianapolis (12-4)
Previous Rank: 3rd
It's the "drunk kicker" that owns the record for consecutive FG's made.

4) St. Louis (12-4)
Previous Rank: 5th
Just like Mike Martz said, there was no excuse for them losing at Detroit and losing HFA throughout.

5) Tennessee (12-4)
Previous Rank: 6th
In the "life is unfair" category, the 12-4 Titans will probably have to play all of their playoff games on the road.

6) Kansas City (13-3)
Previous Rank: 4th
They got the week off they needed, but will Dick Vermeil be able to fix 29th ranked defense in a week?

7) Baltimore (10-6)
Previous Rank: 8th
A tough runner and an even tougher defense could mean a big run in the playoffs.

8) Green Bay (10-6)
Previous Rank: 12th
Somewhere, Irvin Favre is smiling down at his son and giving the angels a high five for their help.

9) Carolina (10-6)
Previous Rank: 11th
Call me crazy, but the Panthers look like they can match up well with any team in the NFC playoffs.

10) Denver (10-6)
Previous Rank: 7th
Denver is in, but look at what could lie ahead: visits to Indianapolis, New England, Kansas City, or Tennessee...

11) Miami (10-6)
Previous Rank: 13th
In the "life is unfair" category, part two, the Dolphins become the 1st 10 win team to miss the playoffs since 1991 (49ers and Eagles).

12) Dallas (10-6)
Previous Rank: 10th
Parcells has the Cowboys playing defense (#1 overall), but can Quincy Carter deliver on the road in the playoffs?

13) Seattle (10-6)
Previous Rank: 15th
Seahawks win an impressive road game that catapults them into the playoffs.

14) Cincinnati (8-8)
Previous Rank: 9th
Regardless of their shortcomings in the past two weeks, this was a remarkable run for a good young team ready to make big strides.

15) New Orleans (8-8)
Previous Rank: 17th
Saints last season charge and folly make them the NFL's biggest teases.

16) Minnesota (9-7)
Previous Rank: 14th
From 6-0 out of the gate, to a 3-7 record down the stretch with losses to San Diego, Oakland, and Chicago on the way and out of the playoffs.

17) Tampa Bay (7-9)
Previous Rank: 16th
Just how will this organization respond with this dismal defense of their title?

18) NY Jets (6-10)
Previous Rank: 19th
Seven of ten Jets' losses came by a touchdown or fewer.

19) Chicago (7-9)
Previous Rank: 18th
Dick Jauron is out in Chicago. Tough break for a good guy who won't be out of work long.

20) San Francisco (7-9)
Previous Rank: 20th
Jeff Garcia's last pass of the season showed exactly why it could be his last pass in 49er gear.

21) Pittsburgh (6-10)
Previous Rank: 22nd
Steelers and rebuilding. Two words that don't sound too well for Pittsburgh fans.

22) Buffalo (6-10)
Previous Rank: 21st
The Bills start off the year shutting out the Patriots 31-0 and end it by getting shutout by the Patriots 31-0.

23) Jacksonville (5-11)
Previous Rank: 23rd
A team that is on the rise once more with a good young coach and QB.

24) Atlanta (5-11)
Previous Rank: 28th
Not to add to the hype, but the Falcons were 4-1 in the last five games that Michael Vick started.

25) Houston (5-11)
Previous Rank: 26th
A team to watch next season.

26) San Diego (4-12)
Previous Rank: 25th
Now, will the Chargers pass up on a potential franchise QB once again?

27) Cleveland (5-11)
Previous Rank: 27th
Butch Davis is about 50/50 in Cleveland right now. My guess is, he stays.

28) Detroit (5-11)
Previous Rank: 30th
Surprisingly, Matt Millen will keep his job for one more season as Lions President/GM.

29) Arizona (4-12)
Previous Rank: 31st
A miracle win at the end may have cost the Cardinals a chance at the franchise QB that they need.

30) Washington (5-11)
Previous Rank: 24th
In a ceremony honoring Bruce Smith, once Daniel Snyder's name was mentioned, a chorus of boos rained down. The honeymoon's over.

31) Oakland (4-12)
Previous Rank: 29th
Just who will be the puppet that becomes head coach for Al Davis this time?

32) NY Giants (4-12)
Previous Rank: 32nd
Goodbye and good luck to Jim Fassel.

Don't forget to email any questions you have to doctorjmailbox@yahoo.com. I do get hundreds of messages every week so I may or may not be able to answer your question. But please visit http://chargers.theinsiders.com/ every week to see the latest edition of Dr. J's Mailbox.

Many thanks again,
Dr. J

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