BRAD LABRIE’S BAKER’S DOZEN: Is nothing sacred in NFL anymore?

THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS are back.

And the Seachickens are gone. At least for one week.

Is nothing sacred in the NFL anymore?

In this topsy-turvy season, nothing is as it seems.

How else can you explain the Cleveland Browns stomping the New England Patriots into the ground (34-14 two weeks ago), the Dallas Cowboys at 2-7 and the Seahawks morphing into Seachickens and then back again, almost on a weekly basis?

On top of that, Seattle is 2-3 in road games.

This season has the feel of the little man behind the curtain controlling everything. Where’s Dorothy when you need her?

That’s the only explanation why the Seahawks dominated and ripped Arizona 36-18 last Sunday on the road.

This is a game that the Cardinals sorely needed. Now Arizona is 0-2 against Seattle, 3-6 overall and in serious jeopardy of losing the NFC West title for the first time in three years.

The Cardinals manhandled New Orleans 30-20 in Arizona when rookie quarterback Max Hall debuted in Week 5.

Does this mean that the Seahawks (5-4) are going to rip the Saints (6-3) in New Orleans today?

Well, no.

The defending Super Bowl champion Saints, who have also been up and down this year, aren’t that up and down. Still, a 6-4 start and 3-3 road record would make the Seahawks serious contenders.

Let’s get back to reality and the NFL’s best and worst teams.

Top Six

1. New England Patriots (7-2) — After getting spanked by the Browns (see above), the Pats bounced back and took it to the Steelers 39-26 at Pittsburgh last week.

2. Atlanta Falcons (7-2) — Third-year quarterback Matt Ryan has been struggling the past two years but he broke through against the Ravens on Nov. 11 with a 101.8 passer rating for 316 yards, three TDs and no picks. Atlanta won 26-21.

3. New York Jets (7-2) — The Jets couldn’t win a beauty contest lately but they are 5-0 on the road after beating the pesky Browns 26-20 in overtime.

4. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) — In a year that no team is really standing out, the Ravens are hanging in there, giving the Falcons a bit of a scare in their last game.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) — Definitely in a slump the past two weeks but they do have the tradition and a decent defense when it’s not playing a fired-up Patriots team.

6. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) — They pushed out the New York Giants from the Top Six when the Giants took last week off (33-20 loss to 2-7 Dallas). But I’m not firmly in the Colts’ camp yet.

Bottom Six

27. Minnesota Vikings (3-6) SEmD I knew Brett Favre could land the Vikings in the Bottom Six again. Another stellar performance by the old man: 44.5 passer rating on 170 yards, one touchdown pass and three interceptions in the 27-13 loss to Chicago.

If we’re counting — and yes, we’re counting — he now has 16 picks in nine games.

28. Detroit Lions (2-7) — They’re back in the Bottom Six after scoring just 12 points in a loss at Buffalo.

29. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7) — Last year’s AFC North champs are this year’s chumps.

30. Dallas Cowboys (2-7) ­– One feel-good win over the Giants after dumping head coach Wade Phillips isn’t enough to move them up.

31. Buffalo Bills (1-8) — Finally got past the sad-sack Panthers after beating the Lions last week.

32. Carolina Panthers (1-8) — There’s nowhere to hide for the Panthers, who lost 31-16 to Tampa Bay and now have a season scoring deficit of minus-111 points. Second-worst Arizona is minus-86.

________

Sports Editor Brad ­LaBrie can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at [email protected]

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