With a brief respite from work obligations I figured I would run down my rankings of the top six teams in each conference. Why the top six you ask? Because as good as the AFC is (or as bad as the NFC is) only the top six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs. My thoughts are at the bottom.

1. Indianapolis
2. New England
3. Cincinnati
4. San Diego
5. Baltimore
6. Jacksonville

7. (Odd man/men out) Pittsburgh/Denver

1. Chicago
2. Carolina
3. Philly
3A. Washington
5. Seattle
6. Atlanta

- Indy, New England and Cincy are all inter-changable in the top three at this point, i.e. I could just as easily put Cincy at #1 as #3. Three best quarterbacks in football. Indy and Cincy are remarkably similar, almost identical teams. Great offenses, great receivers, average backs. And you can run the ball down both teams throats. New England has less talent than either team but better coaching than both.

- I like San Diego above Baltimore come the playoffs for a couple reasons. Rivers should get better as the season goes on, while everyone is waiting for McNair to suffer that inevitable injury. Plus, Baltimore barely beat San Diego in Baltimore. Neutral field, the Chargers win that one. Although I trust Billick a lot more come playoff time than Schottenheimmer.

- If you watched any of the NFC playoff games you could pretty much predict how the conference would play out. Carolina didn't have enough offensive weapons to beat Seattle, so they added Keyshawn and DeAngelo Williams. The Bears offense carried the team in the playoffs (and Sexy Rexy looked good), while the defense choked. And the Giants and Bucs looked horrible. You throw in the inevitable post-Super Bowl collapse by Seattle and the NFC has played out before the season even started.

- Speaking of Carolina, don't people realize by now they do this every season? They start out slow and then win down the home stretch. They are always a dangerous second half team. In fact, considering the huge Achilles Heel (100 Best Bucs points if any Falcon fan can point out the weakness) of the Falcons I will go ahead and GUARANTEE THE PANTHERS WIN THE NFC SOUTH.

- The NFC East is a mess but it will come down to Washington and Philly with Dallas playing the spoiler. I give the edge to Philly since McNabb is just nasty right now, while the Skins defense has looked sub-par. Although if Westbrook is more injured than Portis I might be inclined to give the edge to the 'Skins.

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