The League

Jamie De Giorgio
National Blogger

Jamie De Giorgio

The lead writer and editor at Total Pro Sports

Middle Class Still Rules

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One look at the NFL standings after week four will show that there are currently five undefeated teams and six winless teams. That is a total of eleven teams with a zero somewhere in their record -- the largest that number has been at this point in the season in over a decade. So why is the NFL's middle class shrinking? I would argue that it isn't at all.

With such a response to this question, some may ask, "so how do you explain the disparity between the number of 4-0 teams and 0-4 teams (or 0-3 in Carolina's case). To that I would answer, "just give it some time, and everything will sort itself out."

Records can be deceiving and, only four weeks in, that is exactly the case. Let's start with the 4-0 teams. It should come as no surprise that the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants are currently undefeated, and the New Orleans Saints strong defensive play has bumped them into this upper echelon of NFL teams as well. But how about the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos?

The Vikings seem to have what it takes to get into the playoffs and do some damage while there with the addition of Brett Favre and a throwing game to compliment Adrian Peterson's deadly ground attack, but their record doesn't exactly tell the entire story. After pounding away at a weak Cleveland Browns team in week one, they struggled with the Detroit Lions for an entire half, beat the San Francisco 49ers on a late prayer to the end zone, and had a tough time putting away a Green Bay squad that has been anything but impressive thus far in the season. The Vikings may be 4-0, but I wouldn't rush to put them among the NFL's top tier of teams. Consider them to be situated at the second level (or as we would refer to them in our society, the upper-middle class) with the likes of Atlanta, the Jets and Pittsburgh.

As for the Broncos, they have proven many doubters wrong, but their schedule has been favourable. Beating the Bengals, Browns, Raiders and Cowboys, while impressive, doesn't exactly win a team membership to the upper class. Their secondary is phenomenal, with the likes of Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey, and Kyle Orton continues to do just enough to win, but this is the same Broncos team that began last season 3-0 before tanking down the final stretch and finding themselves out of the playoffs. A week five match up with the New England Patriots should provide Denver with their first loss (if it doesn't, then I may have to consider rewriting this article).

As for the bottom feeders, while the St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers may find themselves with goose eggs in the win column for a while longer, expect the Panthers, Titans and maybe even the Browns to break out of the slump soon. The Panthers are a much better team than advertised and should record their first win this week against the Redskins. The Browns may be able to do the same against the Bills with Derek Anderson once again under center and looking more comfortable with every snap. While the Titans and Chiefs do have some talent they have not been able to find themselves after the first four weeks. I believe their time will come.

The class system of the NFL will always have its few teams at the top, the many in the middle, and those stuck at the bottom. Although the records may tell a different story, make no mistake about it, this season is no different. By week 17, we will be talking about how good the Patriots, Colts, Giants, Saints, Ravens and Eagles are, how bad the Rams, Lions, Bucs, Raiders, Chiefs and Bills are, and how all other teams find themselves within a large and healthy middle class in the NFL.

By Jamie De Giorgio  |  October 9, 2009; 12:37 PM ET  | Category:  Buffalo Bills , Carolina Panthers , Cincinnati Bengals , Cleveland Browns , Dallas Cowboys , Denver Broncos , Indianapolis Colts , Kansas City Chiefs , Minnesota Vikings , New England Patriots , New Orleans Saints , New York Giants , New York Jets , Philadelphia Eagles , St. Louis Rams , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Tennessee Titans Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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