Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new #1 team! Enjoy:
1. New England Patriots (10-3) – The Patriots managed to completely shut down one of the best teams in the NFL on Monday night. The secondary has made huge strides and is playing well as a cohesive unit. It’s hard to tell that this team has suffered so many injuries, particularly to their best blocker and tight end, Gronkowski.
2. Denver Broncos (10-3) – Did anyone really expect the Broncos to lose Thursday night? Peyton is having his way with a weak division and they look to potentially lock up a first round bye depending on the Patriots and Texans performances in the final three weeks.
3. San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) – Colin Kaepernick brings a new element to the ‘Niners offense, but statistically he isn’t as good of a quarterback as Alex Smith. Regardless, he is 3-1 and can cement his starting job by beating the red-hot Patriots in primetime this weekend. This will be his toughest game of the season, by far.
4. Atlanta Falcons (11-2) – The Falcons are weary. They peaked way too early and slowly started falling as they were winning games by slimmer and slimmer margins. They are still a very good team, but they need a spark in order to avoid yet another early playoff exit.
5. Houston Texans (11-2) – Matt Schaub is still wandering around New England trying to find the end zone. He needs to rebound quickly or else they can lose their division title and bye week really quickly.
6. Green Bay Packers (9-4) – Of all the teams to hold Aaron Rodgers without a TD pass at home for the first time in 36 games, I’m shocked it was the Lions. The Packers are winning but they will need more consistency.
7. Seattle Seahawks (8-5) – Normally beating the Cardinals wouldn’t be impressive, but a score of 58-0 is hard to overlook. The defense is near dominant and Russell Wilson has complete control of the offense.
8. New York Giants (8-5) – The Giants were able to shut down Drew Brees, but unfortunately for them the entire rest of the NFC East won as well. They need to start playing their best football since the surging Redskins are after that division crown.
9. Baltimore Ravens (9-4) – Cam Cameron should have been fired years ago and in the offseason, not now right before the playoffs and when their playoff seed is in such jeopardy. It will be interesting to see how the team responds.
10. Washington Redskins (7-6) – Watching Kirk Cousins lead the comeback win was amazing to watch. Thankfully for the ‘Skins, RGIII doesn’t have a serious injury and should return for this weekend’s game. Even if he is held out a week, Cousins looks like he could lead them to a win over the Browns.
11. Indianapolis Colts (9-4) – It’s weird to think the Colts have the opportunity to steal the division crown from the Texans in the final games of the season. I doubt it actually happens, but never say never in this league.
12. Chicago Bears (8-5) – Jay Cutler’s interceptions finally cost this team a game. Don’t just pin it on Cutler, though. The Bears’ defense made AP look unstoppable.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) – The Bengals missed a huge opportunity to capitalize on the Ravens and Steelers losing. They blew a nine-point lead late in the game.
14. Dallas Cowboys (7-6) – Yes, I know the Cowboys beat the Bengals this weekend and so should be higher up on my rankings. The Cowboys are 7-6 and could overtake the Giants for the division title. I’m not buying it.
15. Minnesota Vikings (7-6) – Perhaps Christian Ponder isn’t the future of this team. He makes mistakes like he gets paid to so…or like he plays for the Raiders.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) – I couldn’t believe the Steelers got manhandled by the Chargers in Big Ben’s return. Injuries are finally taking their toll and could hold this team out of the playoffs.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) – Losing at home to this year’s Eagles team is embarrassing. The Buccs need to fix the problems in the secondary; they’ve lost three straight.
18. St. Louis Rams (6-6-1) – While the Buccs above have lost three in a row, the Rams have won three in a row. I think they’re still two years away from another playoff berth, but they’re slowly getting there.
19. New Orleans Saints (5-8) – This team is never going to win with that awful defense and Drew Brees throwing picks like it’s his job.
20. Cleveland Browns (5-8) – Trent Richardson is a beast. Enough said.
21. San Diego Chargers (5-8) – It’s funny that the Chargers won the same week that reports of Norv Turner’s firing surfaced. No late-season push is going to save his job.
22. Miami Dolphins (5-8) – Tannehill isn’t throwing picks, but he’s also not completing passes in general.
23. Carolina Panthers (4-9) – Cam Newton has quietly improved and the Panthers’ defense made some big plays against the very good Falcons.
24. New York Jets (6-7) – The Jets don’t stand a chance at a wild card seed. Ignore all the idiots. They can’t keep pulling wins out their butts forever
25. Buffalo Bills (5-8) – Update your resume, Chan Gailey, and do yourself a favor and leave out “offensive coordinator.”
26. Detroit Lions (4-9) – The Lions could have pulled out a win against the Packers on Sunday, but that’s the big problem with this team now, closing out big games.
27. Tennessee Titans (4-9) – Oh no! The Titans were officially eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday. Just when I thought they were going to make a miracle late-season comeback…
28. Philadelphia Eagles (4-9) – Andy Reid was celebrating after the win on Sunday like he just won the Super Bowl trophy he’ll never get.
29. Arizona Cardinals (4-9) – The Cardinals signed Brian Hoyer this week, instantly making him the best quarterback on their roster. They’d be insane not to start him immediately.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) – The Jags were 2/16 on third downs. That’s…bad.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) – Once Succup missed the 27-yard FG early in the game, it all went downhill.
32. Oakland Raiders (3-10) – Carson Palmer can’t sustain a drive to save his life. He should have just stayed retired. Then again, the interceptions aren’t going to throw themselves.