Week 6 Super Bowl Contenders.

Usually by this time in the National Football League, you get a sense of who's going to be good and who's not. And, pretty much, you can peg the top two or three teams from each conference that will be a LOCK for the Super Bowl. Rarely does the Super Bowl participant come out of left field from this point.

Now, that's not saying a team can come out of nowhere in the preseason; we all saw what the Saints did last year. And, from the looks of things, we can all see the Saints are destined for losersville.

Here's what we have thus far, the AFC is locked down solid. New England - 1, Indianapolis - 2, Pittsburgh - 3. Maybe throw Tennessee in at 4, Jacksonville at 5 if they can keep it up, and because there HAS to be a team from the West, San Diego I guess could slide in there at 9-7. I know you've still got people preaching Baltimore, and heck, even Houston has an outside chance. But, I'll only buy that if we get our annual Jacksonville Collapse, and last I checked Byron Leftwich isn't on the team anymore.

The NFC should be just as easy to diagram, but there are far too many variables. Obviously, at the moment - in spite of Romo's inability to play well in a nationally-televised game - Dallas would have to be your odds-on favorite. But, where do we go from there? Is anybody REALLY buying Green Bay? Seriously? I mean, Favre's a nice story and everything, and I could certainly see them getting into the playoffs, but to go so far as to contend for a Super Bowl birth? Not bloody likely. Chicago could very well turn things around if Griese can play a stable quarterback, but what about Griese's game would ever give you the idea they'll have ANY stability whatsoever? There's Washington, but I'm not buying a 2nd-year pro at quarterback. The Giants are the Giants, they'll bungle it up eventually. I like Tampa, but the injury plague seems to be passing over them like a hurricane. And Arizona has shown some fire, but Kurt Warner as full-time starter is almost never a good idea. He couldn't do it the last two years with pretty much the same offense, being two years older will somehow make him make better decisions?

That leaves the Seahawks, who I still like as a viable 1 or 2 in the NFC, but losing your top two receivers, the only blocking-fullback, and a slew of productive backups won't help things in the short term. And, honestly, can you remember the last team who seriously contended for a Super Bowl after suffering the kind of demoralizing defeat we witnessed last Sunday? Super Bowl teams don't get shut out. Super Bowl teams don't go into Chicago last year and lose by 30. That's when I knew we wouldn't make it last year. The Bears never lost by a wide margin last season! The Seahawks of 2005 never put up a goose-egg on the road.

It's always the same old problems: can't run the ball because of "missed assignments", hardly ever plays well on the road, poor clock management, questionable play calling. These things aren't going away any time soon. What we've got going for us is the fact that all these NFC teams we're playing - who looked like they'd all be playoff contenders in the preseason - are all playing terribly right now.

St. Louis twice, New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Carolina, Atlanta; throw in home games vs. Arizona and Baltimore and a road game at Cleveland and there's legitimate cause for celebration. One of those quiet, tempered celebrations because you know we haven't won anything yet; and these ARE our Seahawks, remember. No lead or favorable Vegas line is safe.

But, if we should rattle off a nice little winning streak here, we'll be looking all right. Then, we just got to figure out how to beat a top-tier AFC team; or at least crack the endzone.