Every team that we put at the top of these rankings seems to lose the following week, sometimes in embarrassing fashion. The latest victims of our first-place curse are the Detroit Lions, who we went out on a limb for last week by ranking them at the No. 1 spot going into Week 7. Naturally, they got pulverized by the Baltimore Ravens by 32 points on Sunday.
As long as we have the power to curse teams by ranking them No. 1, we promise to use it only for good. Primarily that means using it against the San Francisco 49ers. While they lost last week to the Cleveland Browns it was only by a missed field goal and the epidemic of poor officiating had something to do with it, as well.
Truthfully, they were still probably deserving of the top spot despite the loss. We always admit when we’re wrong and in this case we were incorrect to demote them because the 49ers are definitely the best team in the NFL right now.
Biggest winners this week
Thanks to their crushing win over Detroit, Baltimore is up five spots and now in the top five for the first time this season. Lamar Jackson looks spectacular now that he has a decent offensive line, a quality receiver corps and a pass-first playcaller for the first time in his career. Still a threat with his legs, Jackson’s game is just now starting to fulfill its awesome potential – five years removed from his MVP campaign.
More Bird Brother success
The Ravens weren’t the only bird-themed team to earn a big win this week. The Philadelphia Eagles scored a huge victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football, also earning themselves a five-spot rise in the rankings. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons got a boost by upsetting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Seahawks up one spot
The one exception to the bird-brother rule was the Arizona Cardinals. While they put up a decent fight, their lack of weapons bit them badly in the second half against what is suddenly a dominant Seattle defense. As good as they looked on that side of the ball, we could only raise the Seahawks one spot in this week’s rankings. Until they either get another convincing win against a true contender (they’re about to face several in a row) or their offense manages to produce literally anything in the second half they’re not going to break back into the top 10.
Revenge of the really bad teams
The biggest surprises this week came from several teams who have been hovering near the bottom of our rankings. The New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears all managed to win on Sunday. That might say more about their opponents than it does about them, but in any case all three got a sizable boost. Meanwhile, the teams they beat earned commensurate drops.
Here’s how we rank all 32 teams heading into Monday night’s game between the Vikings and the No. 1 ranked 49ers, who should definitely win…