With the Eagles, Patriots and Chargers all suffering losses, the shift in power at the top of the poll is definite this week.
(4-0): While he doesn't have Gruden's smirk or evil eye, Bill Callahan is quite possibly getting more out of his predecessor's players than anyone could have anticipated. Charlie Garner, a nice change of pace running back who is a tremendous receiver out of the backfield, is now regarded as one of the more complete backs in football. Lincoln Kennedy is having a Pro Bowl caliber season. Rich Gannon looks better than ever, heaving passes down field with precision. Instead of resting their knees at a retirement home, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown are still burning younger cornerbacks at the drop of a dime. Quite simply: The Raiders offense cannot be stopped right now. Oakland (4-1): Hey, it's not surprising to see the Broncos bounce back from their debacle against the Ravens, by thrashing the once undefeated Chargers at home. Rarely do you see that team come out unprepared, let alone two weeks in a row. While the Raiders are the best team in the NFL right now, you can make the case that Denver has the more complete team. Denver (4-1): Credit needs to be given to quarterback Jay Fiedler, who bounced back from a cruddy game against the Chiefs last week. He looked sharp against Miami New England, hitting his tight ends and working off of playaction to make plays downfield. When he plays that way, the Dolphins are very tough to stop. (4-1): The Bucs can hire Jon Gruden, an offensive genius, to help right their offense. They can sign quarterback Brad Johnson to give them an established player as their signal caller. They can sign Ken Dilger to be their tight end, Keenan McCardell to be their No.2 receiver to help compliment Keyshawn Johnson and Michael Pittman to be their all purpose back. In the end though, Gruden and the boys will undoubtedly need to rely on their defense (which is playing magnificently) to win come playoff time. Tampa Bay (4-1): The Saints bounced back well, winning a shootout against the Steelers in the Superdome. But the problem is; the Saints' pass defense had another poor game. For New Orleans to be considered a serious Super Bowl contender, they have to rectify that weakness and soon. New Orleans