Well, I was moving this weekend, and I missed the game completely. How did it go, guys? Did we win? No? We lost? But, I mean, it was a close one, right? We fought hard and kept it competitive… Right? Right guys?…….
1. Denver Broncos (+1): Yep. I’m crowning the Broncos at the top again. They just keep dominating, and it’s impressive. At this stage, even a good defense can be dismantled by Peyton Manning. We’ve now established that the cold weather means nothing. Everyone talks about how good Seattle is at home. With a win on Thursday, Denver finishes an 8-0 sweep of home games.
2. Seattle Seahawks (-1): As we have seen, Seattle is good. Russell Wilson is not, however, experienced enough to overcome top-tier defenses on a regular basis. The Niners made his job very difficult last week. I still pick the Seahawks to make the Super Bowl if they keep home field advantage, but winning after that will depend on a lot more.
3. New Orleans Saints (same): Well that’s that. For now, the Saints still own the NFC South. They barely slowed against one of the top defenses in the league. Again… ELITE QBs can do that.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (+2): I don’t care what others say, the Chiefs are legit. Sure they beat a terrible team, but they OBLITERATED them. Good teams win the games they’re supposed to win, and usually without miracles.
5. New England Patriots (same): Which brings me to why the Pats got leapfrogged by the Chiefs. For two weeks in a row, the Patriots have almost lost to a bad team. This week they pretty much did lose, except for a terrible call that saved them. Not impressed.
6. Carolina Panthers (-2): I will admit I was impressed with some of Cam Newton’s post-game interview. He took some blame and managed to look like a leader. On the field while being blown out by the Saints, though, he wasn’t doing much. One of my biggest criticisms of Newton has been his lack of leadership on the sideline. He just stares and the jumbotron, shakes his head and rolls his eyes. He’s not talking to his team. Room for growth.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (same): Outstanding win by Cincy to declare themselves the clear #3 team in the AFC. I honestly give this team a chance to beat ANY team at any time. They could shock a lot of people in the postseason.
8. San Francisco 49ers (+1): Congrats to the Niners for getting revenge over the Seahawks and splitting the series. They can’t really hope for a division championship, but they’ve just about locked up that wild card. Kaepernick is starting to look better again.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (+2): The Nick Foles train keeps chugging along, and I’m perfectly comfortable having this team in the top ten.
10. Baltimore Ravens (+3): The Ravens are looking good nowadays, and they still hold the easy path to the AFC’s sixth seed: Just win. They have the best matchup of the week on Monday night when they face the Lions. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives.
11. Indianapolis Colts (-1): Sure, the Colts are gonna make the playoffs. They have repeatedly proven, however, that they are not a playoff-caliber team. If there’s any division champ most likely to be eliminated by a wild card team, it’s this one.
12. Arizona Cardinals (same): Despite their record, I can’t fully buy into this team right now. Their wins aren’t necessarily coming against amazing teams. They need the 49ers to significantly falter to have a shot at the playoffs.
13: Detroit Lions (-2): This team is either looking like a serious contender or a bag of trash on any given day. They have talent. That might not be enough this year.
14. Chicago Bears (+1): The Bears are the same way as the Lions! This week they exploded out of the gate and demolished the Cowboys. Other days they look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Which direction will the return of Jay Cutler send them?
15. San Diego Chargers (+1): This team is still fighting for a playoff spot, but chances are getting slimmer. They’re likely going to need to score 30+ points this week to have a chance against Denver. Ok, maybe 40+.
16. Miami Dolphins (+2): I’ll admit that the Dolphins are starting to impress now. I think that will change against the Patriots this week, but you never know.
17. Dallas Cowboys (-3): Things are looking grim in Dallas. The Eagles are flying high, and now they have separation from the Cowboys (who would lose a tiebreaker). It’s division championship or bust at this point. Looks like bust.
18. Green Bay Packers (+2): Winning without Aaron Rodgers helps. It also helps that the rest of the NFC North has been mediocre in recent weeks. Only a half game behind, the Pack is in the hunt. The problem, however, is that Rodgers may not return that soon. Or at all.
19. St. Louis Rams (-2): The Rams lost Tavon Austin to injury, which kills their explosiveness. Even if he returns, it’s hard to believe he’ll be moving as fast over the next few weeks. The Rams are also playing for pride at this point, so no big, right?
20. New York Jets (+4): Why won’t the Jets go away??? I can’t see them beating the Panthers, so hopefully we can revel in their defeat later. For now, I guess the Jets hold on to their playoff hopes.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers (-2): It’s sad when the Steelers can’t beat the Dolphins in the snow. Now they get the Bengals, which won’t be easy.
22. Cleveland Browns (same): The Browns should have won that game. No question. This team is incredibly competitive. Mark my words, the Browns could be a sleeper team next year.
23. New York Giants (-2): The Giants have firmly returned to sucking. Their only hope now is to upset the Seahawks, thus hurting their draft position. We’ll see how that goes.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1): Crap. Stupid Bucs getting good right when we play them. I don’t expect them to beat the Niners, but it would make me feel better if they did.
25. Tennessee Titans (+1): I know the Titans lost, but they’ve had a tough road. This is another one of those teams that could be really good next year with consistent QB play.
26. Buffalo Bills (-3): Speaking of which…. It’s pretty hard to win with 4 INTs. We are clearly still in the rebuilding process. On the bright side, EJ learned a lot of lessons last week. PLEASE at least let us beat the Jags. I don’t want to be worse than the Jags.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (+2): It turns out the Jags are also getting good at the end of the season, by the way. Hell, they’ve won 4 of their last 5 games. That’s impressive. Hopefully they can still nab a good QB next year.
28. Minnesota Vikings (-1): The Vikings are another team in sore need of a QB. They did ok against the Ravens, but now they face the Eagles, who won’t let up. The real problem in Minnesota is a depleted defense. Expect them to focus there in the draft.
29. Atlanta Falcons (-1): The Falcons got beat by Matt Flynn. That’s pretty bad. They do get the privilege of playing the fallen Jenga-tower known as the Redskins, so that’s good.
30. Oakland Raiders (same): Losing to the Jets was downright pathetic. This defense can’t stop ANYONE. Look for Alex Smith to have a BIG day this week.
31. Washington Redskins (same): Griffin-Gate has begun. With the benching of RG3, the Redskins officially took the Jets place as the NFL’s 3-ring Circus.
32. Houston Texans (same): When you lose to the Jags in primetime, it means that EVERYONE knows you’re terrible. Firing Kubiak was a stupid move, regardless. The guy built that team from the ground up. After one bad year with bad QB play and an injured RB (one of the best in the league), he’s gone? Ridiculous.