By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts executive director of obscurities
Every NFL city wants a championship, but they don't come easy.
Tell that to the top five teams in our Power Rankings this week, who have logged a combined 196 NFL seasons in their current cities -- with a grand total of one NFL title.
Yes, the Saints, Vikings, Chargers and Bengals are all ring-free, and only the Colts (2005) can boast having hoisted the big trophy at season's end. The Chargers won AFL crowns, but that and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee.
Combined, the five franchises are 1-7 in Super Bowls (not counting the Colts' tenure in Baltimore). The Chargers lost once, the Bengals lost twice, and the Vikes lost four times.
Lurking behind the top five are the Patriots, Packers, Cowboys, Ravens and Steelers, who have an embarrassment of riches – 18 Super Bowl titles and 27 NFL championships.
Do these cities really need another ticker-tape parade? We hope not. It's time that the league's star-crossed franchises finally got some love.
After all, without love, what do we have? Just football, and drinking, and food, and porn, and more football ... well, OK, there are some other things, but you get the point.
On to the rankings!
1. NEW ORLEANS (11-0). Last week: 38-17 win vs. New England. Amazing stat of the week: Drew Brees is 1-0 lifetime when averaging 16.1 yards per attempt and throwing five touchdowns against a Bill Belichick defense on Monday night.
2. INDIANAPOLIS (11-0). Last week: 35-27 win at Houston. It's hard to believe, but despite all of their success the Colts have led the league in scoring only once during Peyton Manning's amazing run as QB (32.6 PPG in 2004).
3. MINNESOTA (10-1). Last week: 36-10 win vs. Chicago. Brett Favre is playing great, but third on the Offensive Hog Index and first on the Defensive Hog Index doesn't hurt.
4. SAN DIEGO (8-3). Last week: 43-14 win vs. Kansas City. If you're a Chargers fan in Cleveland this weekend, four tickets in "The Dawg Pound" end zone are available for $5.99 each on one of the popular sites. The Chargers look to extend their six-game win streak, in which they've averaged 31.3 PPG and won the turnover battle 13-5.
5. CINCINNATI (8-3). Last week: 16-7 win vs. Cleveland. The Bengals' defense was in the bend-don't-break category over their early run of success, but the last five games have been don't bend or break. They're giving up 232.8 YPG and 11.2 PPG over that stretch.
6. NEW ENGLAND (7-4). Last week: 38-17 loss at New Orleans. For a guy first in the NFL in receiving yards (992) and second with 8 TD catches, Randy Moss is having an awfully quiet season. Oh, and his razor is extremely lonely.
7. GREEN BAY (7-4). Last week: 34-12 win at Detroit. The Packers have committed no turnovers in six of their 11 games this year; they've forced at least one in all 11 and lead the turnover battle 27-10.
8. DALLAS (8-3). Last week: 24-7 win vs. Oakland. The Cowboys quietly have the league's No. 2 scoring defense (16.5 PPG) despite allowing 5.2 yards per play (14th).
9. BALTIMORE (6-5). Last week: 20-17 win vs. Pittsburgh. The Ravens defense is coming together; they've played four Quality Teams in the last five weeks and they've allowed only 11.6 PPG.
10. PITTSBURGH (6-5). Last week: 20-17 loss at Baltimore. Mike Tomlin has slowly converted the Steelers from a running team to a passing team. In 2007 they passed 48.9 percent of the time, in 2008 it was 54.7 and this year it's 57.2 percent. At this pace, by 2015 they will be carrying one fullback, nine receivers and throwing for 8,450 yards. But it's cool, we'll be living on Mars by then.
11. PHILADELPHIA (7-4). Last week: 27-24 win vs. Washington. The Eagles signed TE Brent Celek to a five-year extension this week despite his eight drops on the season (tied for second most in the NFL behind the nine of Oakland's Louis Murphy).
12. ARIZONA (7-4). Last week: 20-17 loss at Tennessee. CB Bryant McFadden is having an impact in Arizona with 50 solo tackles and 13 passes defensed, but somehow he hasn't been able to force a single turnover despite being in the thick of so much action.
13. DENVER (7-4). Last week: 26-6 win vs. Giants. The Broncos have only allowed one play of 40+ yards all year. On an unrelated note, rookie RB Knowshown Moreno is on pace for exactly 1,000 yards rushing. Oh, and when coach Josh McDaniels is yelling at his defense, he sounds like a nine-year-old who just lost Playstation privileges.
14. ATLANTA (6-5). Last week: 20-17 win vs. Tampa. The Falcons cut Jason Elam Tuesday, possibly marking an unceremonious end to a great career. He's the No. 6 scorer of all time with 1,983 points.
15. SAN FRANCISCO (5-6). Last week: 20-3 win vs. Jacksonville. TE Vernon Davis is on pace for 13 touchdowns, which would tie the NFL record for the position held by Antonio Gates (2004). Before Gates, the last tight end with 12 TDs was a former 49er, Wesley Walls, who had 12 for the Panthers in 2009.
16. TENNESSEE (5-6). Last week: 20-17 win vs. Arizona. After Indy this week, the Titans have three at home against the Rams, Dolphins and Chargers. At the very least, this team should win eight games – will that, plus 2,000 yards rushing, be enough to get Chris Johnson MVP honors?
17. HOUSTON (5-6). Last week: 35-27 loss vs. Indianapolis. The Texans have used seven of their last nine first- and second-round draft picks on their defensive front seven (DT/DE/LB). Their reward? The No. 31 Defensive Hogs in the league. Guess you don't get what you pay for.
18. N.Y. GIANTS (6-5). Last week: 26-6 loss at Denver. It may be worth noting that at this same point in the 2007 season, the Giants were 7-4, coming off a 41-17 loss to Minnesota, and firmly on the list of "teams that have no shot."
19. NEW YORK JETS (5-6). Last week: 17-6 win vs. Carolina. The Jets are first in the NFL in yards per play allowed (4.5) and offensive touchdowns allowed (15), but are sixth in scoring defense (17.7 PPG) thanks to seven return TDs by the opposition.
20. MIAMI (5-6). Last week: 31-14 loss at Buffalo. Ricky Williams averages 5.1 YPA for the Dolphins. If he can keep his average there to the end of the season, it'll be only the second time a running back aged 32 or older hits the 5.0 mark with 100 carries or more (James Brooks, 1990). Yes, we need to get out of the house more.
21. JACKSONVILLE (6-5). Last week: 20-3 loss at San Francisco. David Garrard has quietly battled through one heck of a tough season. He's been hit a whopping 86 times by opposing defenses (12 more than Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers) and also has more runs (52) than any other QB in the league.
22. CAROLINA (5-6). Last week: 17-6 loss at Jets. Jake Delhomme is having the worst year by a 34-year-old since Jesse James was shot in the back by Robert Ford in 1882.
23. BUFFALO (4-7). Last week: 31-14 win vs. Miami. Against the Bills, every running back is Adrian Peterson. Buffalo is on pace to allow 2,641 rushing yards and 23 rushing TDs.
24. CHICAGO (4-7). Last week: 36-10 loss at Minnesota. In 1922, George Halas renamed the Chicago Staleys the Bears as a sister franchise to the National League's Cubs. That was back in Bears left tackle Orlando Pace's rookie season.
25. WASHINGTON (3-8). Last week: 27-24 loss at Philadelphia. The Redskins have been within 10 points of their opponent in the fourth quarter in all 11 of their games this year. Their motto should be "close but no cigar" ... but another D.C. icon, Bill Clinton, already had dibs.
26. SEATTLE (4-7). Last week: 27-17 win at St. Louis. WR T.J. Houshmanzadeh had three major options as a free agent this past summer. Stay in Cincy, sign with the Vikings, or go to Seattle. Oops.
27. KANSAS CITY (3-8). Last week: 43-14 loss at San Diego. The Chiefs are easily worst in the league running on 3rd-and-short, converting 22.5 percent. The league average is 50 percent.
28. OAKLAND (3-8). Last week: 24-7 loss at Dallas. The Raiders complete 48.7 percent of their passes this year; if that holds to the end of the season it'll be the worst number since the 2002 Lions completed 48.0 percent behind QBs Joey Harrington and Mike McMahon.
29. TAMPA BAY (1-10). Last week: 20-17 loss at Atlanta. Warm, soft football opinion: Head coach Raheem Morris has the Bucs pointed in the right direction. Cold, Hard Football Fact: one win in 11 games is only one more than we have, and we're just a bunch of fat dudes who don't even play in the NFL.
30. ST. LOUIS (1-10). Last week: 27-17 loss vs. Seattle. The Rams have lost now 37 of their last 43 games, 23 of them by double digits. Why do they seem to get a free pass from mockery while the Lions, Browns and Raiders take all the heat?
31. DETROIT (2-9). Last week: 34-12 loss vs. Green Bay. The Lions are the worst holiday appetizers this side of Aunt Gertie's "special" brussel sprouts.
32. CLEVELAND (1-10). Last week: 16-7 loss at Cincinnati. Brady Quinn answered the question "Will that big game in Detroit turn things around?" with a resounding "no" in Cincy last week. He was 15 of 34 for 100 yards. It was a nice companion piece to the 13-of-31, 99-yard effort turned in the week before the Lions game.