For Rex Ryan, it's as much of a no-brainer as breaking up a team meeting to go get – and I paraphrase – a gosh-darn snack.
On Monday, a day after the Jets won their fifth consecutive game to enter their bye week with an NFL-best 5-1 record, their ever-loquacious and eternally ravenous coach proclaimed, "It's hard to say we're not the best team in the league."
But is it that obvious? Since each week's list of top-to-bottom queries has to start somewhere, it's a conundrum I was forced to confront, and while it was easy to include the Jets in a quartet of candidates for perceived preeminence, sorting it all out was trickier than I expected:
After losing their opener to the Ravens, the Jets scored an impressive home victory over the Patriots, then beat four teams whose current combined record is 7-14.
The Pats (4-1) entered the conversation Sunday by beating the Ravens in overtime, which followed up an impressive Monday night road blowout of the Dolphins before their bye and victories over a pair of teams with losing records.
The Ravens (4-2) lost road games to the Bengals and Pats, but also beat the Jets and Steelers away from home.
And the Steelers (4-1), before suffering that narrow setback to the Ravens, overpowered three teams with winning records (Falcons, Titans, Bucs) without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger(notes), who on Sunday returned from a season-opening, four-game suspension and helped Pittsburgh to an easy victory over the hapless Browns.
My belief is that Big Ben's return has given the Steelers a big boost and that Ryan's team still has some catching up to do. While you ponder whether the Jets can pull that off, here are some additional inquiries that are sure to get your tummies a rumblin'.
2. Baltimore Ravens: What surprises you more – that Joe Flacco(notes) just became the team's all-time passing leader in only his third season, or that Kyle Boller(notes) was the quarterback he surpassed?
8. Philadelphia Eagles: While watching the Titans pummel David Garrard(notes) on Monday night, do you think it's possible Michael Vick(notes) took a deep breath, winced in agony as his ribcage shifted and texted Andy Reid, "It's cool – roll with Kevin one more week"?
18. Green Bay Packers: How painful was it to watch John Kuhn(notes) get stuffed twice from the 1-yard line at the end of regulation Sunday – and how much do you think this guy might have helped in that situation?
20. Cincinnati Bengals: Before now, has an NFL team ever had more reality TV hosts (three – Chad Ochocinco(notes), Terrell Owens(notes), Dhani Jones(notes)) than victories (two) at this stage of the season?