Approaching the midway point of the season, let's look at the top teams and the plankton around the league.
#1. New England at 6-0. No great surprise here. As long as they've had Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, they've always got more done with lesser personnel elsewhere to remain perennial contenders. It really is amazing.
#2. Green Bay at 6-0. Despite his dopey commercials, Aaron Rodgers is no slouch and the Cheesers continue to maintain a standard of excellence.
#3. Cincinnati at 6-0. Again, Andy Dalton and the Bengals are showing they're the real deal during the regular season, but look for them to fold in the playoffs -- because they always do.
#4. Denver at 6-0. The Broncos are getting it done in SPITE of Peyton Manning. And talk about dopey commercials. This man has no shame. They've got a great defense and enough tools elsewhere to overcome the quickly fading Manning. Chances in the playoffs? Not good.
#5. Carolina at 6-0. This is pretty much a one man show. QB Cam Newton is a freak. He's big, fast, can pass, run, and make things happen. Plus they've got a pretty stout no-name defense. Look for them to be dangerous in January in a year or two. But not this year. They've got some growing to do.
Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, it could be argued that 22 of them fall somewhere in the mediocre range. They're not great -- nor terrible -- so they have a chance to win --or lose -- most weeks.
And then there's the plankton that round out the bottom five.
#28. Tampa Bay at 2-4. They never should have let Jon Gruden get away. The dude knows football. The Bucs have stunk it up ever since.
#29. Houston at 2-5. They've got JJ Watt, the best pass rusher in the game, but the rest of the franchise -- from ownership down to the front office, coaches, and other players -- is a sorry state of affairs indeed.
#30. Tennessee at 1-5. What can you say? Name the sport, and the volunteer state isn't very good at it. But they've still got the Grand Ole Opry and the Elvis memorial. It's something.
#31. Detroit at 1-6. With an occasional aberration, it's the same thing every year for the Lions. They supposedly have talent here, talent there, talent galore. The draft picks are either "can't miss" or are "diamonds in the rough" that will bud into superstars. The club and their media will tell us so. Every new coach, and there have been a lot of them, is going to be the guy that finally leads them to the promised land. So why do they keep losing? And looking pitiful doing so at that?
#32. Jacksonville at 2-5. Like the Lions, the Jags are the Jags. The only good thing to ever come out of Jacksonville was the Lynard Skynard band. At least THEY could rock the house. Still do, though only one original band member is still alive. Unlike the pitiful Jags and Lions, Skynard drafted well to fill needs over the years. They've got PLAYERS and the beat goes on.
Baltimore at 1-6 has to be the biggest disappointment of the year. And Atlanta at 5-1 likely the biggest surprise. The Ravens are already history and the Falcons likely have little shot at making it to Super Bowl 50 in new Levi Stadium, located in the burbs of San Fran. Speaking of the 49ers, 2-5 is a generous record. That team is coming apart at the seams. Jim Harbaugh was no fool when he jumped ship back to his alma mater at Michigan.