Midseason NFL Power Rankings: Contenders & Pretenders Edition

Kerry CollinsThe NFL is mixed bag of emotions every week in terms of how teams play from Sunday to Sunday, but it’s fair to at least take an early look at the contenders and pretenders.

Below is a midseason power ranking of all 32 teams. Along with a ranking, each team gets slapped with a “contender,” “pretender,” or “What time does April’s draft start?” label as well.

We’re heading into Week 9. I fully expect that these rankings will mean absolutely nothing by Week 10, but screw it – let’s have some fun.

Midseason Power Rankings

1. Tennessee Titans (6-0)
It’s kind of hard not to rank the only undefeated team left in the NFL at the No. 1 spot, but the Titans also deserve it. Their offense isn’t flashy outside of Rookie of the Year Candidate RB Chris Johnson, but QB Kerry Collins has provided enough savvy veteran play to allow the defense to win ballgames. And speaking of the defense, it might be the most clutch unit in the NFL season.
Midseason Status: Contender

2. New York Giants (6-1)
What the hell happened in Cleveland two weeks ago? Eli Manning looked like…well…he looked like Eli Manning pre-postseason 2007 and the defense clearly had no idea how to stop Derek Anderson and that high-powered Browns’ offense (read the sarcasm please). Still, the defending champs have four things going for them right now that make them the best team in the NFL: A quarterback, a running game, a defense that gets after the quarterback and they can win on the road.
Midseason Status: Contender

3. New England Patriots (5-2)
People are just going to think I’m putting the Pats this high because they’re the Pats. But the reason why I’m putting the Pats this high is because Bill Belichick is on a mission to prove people wrong. And once he sets his sites on proving people wrong, nothing can stop him. Not even Tom Brady on the sideline.
Midseason Status: Contender

DeAngelo Williams4. Carolina Panthers (6-2)
Their win against Arizona in Week 8 was unimpressive to say the least, but good teams find ways to win even when they don’t play that well. I think this team has a ton of fraud in them, but it’s hard to argue with how well the defense is playing and how much of a different team they are with Jake Delhomme under center. If they can keep running the ball as well as they have, Carolina will win the NFC South.
Midseason Status: Contender

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
The Steelers should have beaten the Giants last Sunday – plain and simple. They had control of the game but a botched snap and some failed protection for Ben Roethlisberger cost them a win. I still think the offensive line is going to be an issue all season, but every time you think Pittsburgh is going to take a step back and start stumbling, they prove that they can win tight games with key players on the sidelines.
Midseason Status:

Read the rest after the jump...

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