1. Atlanta Falcons (13-2) – Everyone is so quick to put the Broncos in the #1 spot, but Matt Ryan is firing on all cylinders. He was extremely impressive Saturday and locked up the top seed in the NFC.
2. Denver Broncos (12-3) – Not to discredit the Broncos, but they have an extremely easy schedule. Of all the wins, they have only beaten 2 playoff teams, the Bengals and Ravens. Their 3 losses come against playoff teams: Texans, Patriots, and Falcons.
3. San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) – It’s hard to believe the ‘Niners that played Sunday night were the same team that beat the Patriots in Foxboro the previous week. There was nothing pretty about that loss and the injuries to Justin Smith, Vernon Davis, and Mario Manningham should raise a few eyebrows.
4. Green Bay Packers (11-4) – The Packers are peaking at the right time and could be deadly in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers could possibly lead this newly healthy team to a second Super Bowl.
5. New England Patriots (11-4) – Yes, the Patriots looked awful against the Jags on Sunday. With Talib and Dennard not playing, their entire secondary shifted back into the porous group we’re all used to seeing. With a healthy defense refreshed for the playoffs and the long awaited return of Gronk, this team will look miles better.
6. Houston Texans (12-3) – The Texans looked bad losing at home to the Vikings. Schaub can’t play like that next week or they risk losing the #1 seed in the AFC.
7. Seattle Seahawks (10-5) – The Seahawks look absolutely unbeatable at home. Their defense is reminiscent of the 49ers defense last year. Once they hit the road in the playoffs though…
8. Baltimore Ravens (10-5) – Joe Flacco made some great throws Sunday night against the Giants. He proved that he can play at a high level and it doesn’t hurt to have Torrey Smith making incredible catches.
9. Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – Congrats to Chuck Pagano for returning to the team this week. It will be interesting to see how they play the Texans with him back at the helm.
10. Washington Redskins (9-6) – Once the joke of the NFC East, the Redskins are now one win away from winning the division for the first time since Clinton was President. Their game against the Cowboys should be a great showdown.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) – The Bengals haven’t exactly played stellar football, but they are winning games when it counts. They will likely have a tough journey to Foxboro or Baltimore once the playoffs start.
12. Minnesota Vikings (9-6) – Adrian Peterson’s quest for the rushing record took a hit Sunday, but fortunately getting married seemed to be exactly what Christian Ponder needed. He can lead his team into the playoffs playing like that.
13. Chicago Bears (9-6) – After starting the season so well this team has lost all momentum. They beat the Cardinals this weekend but that’s no big deal. They will need the Packers to beat the Vikings and need a win themselves in order to make the playoffs.
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-7) – Props to Tony Romo. He played an excellent game against the Saints and drove down the field when needed. They can still make the playoffs, though with a win on Sunday or other NFC teams losses.
15. New York Giants (8-7) – The Giants had their playoff hopes all but extinguished by the Ravens. Regardless, there’s a slim chance they would be able to defend their title playing like they have been.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) – Janoris Jenkins will be a star in this league for a long time. He gives the Rams defense a much needed playmaker. They should look to draft a WR in the draft to address their offensive issues.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) – Roethlisberger threw his second game losing interception in a row. The Steelers just can’t close games.
18. New Orleans Saints (7-8) – It was a close game against Dallas but they were trying to play spoiler. The Saints have one more week to get back to .500
19. Carolina Panthers (6-9) – The Panthers are making the case for Ron Rivera to keep his job. They’ve gone 5-3 in their past 8 games including four of their last five.
20. Miami Dolphins (7-8) – Despite missing the playoffs again, they have a lot of potential. Perhaps next year they can contend for the division title.
21. San Diego Chargers (6-9) – They beat the Jets and now they get the Raiders for their last game of the year. I guess they can end the year on a good note…
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) – The Buccs went from being wild card contenders to losing five straight games.
23. Cleveland Browns (5-10) – The win streak had to end at some point. The Browns defense needs some serious help. Brandon Weeden should get another chance as starter next year. Adding a talented WR would help him develop.
24. New York Jets (6-9) – Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum need to go. Sanchez will likely stay as a very expensive backup due to his guaranteed $8 mil the Jets gave him to keep quiet after they signed Tebow. Vick to the Jets next year would be interesting.
25. Buffalo Bills (5-10) – Chan Gaily is all but fired. I believe Fitzpatrick can do well if he’s coached properly, which he clearly hasn’t been.
26. Detroit Lions (4-11) – Jon Gruden’s comment that the Falcons clinching the #1 seed is a bigger deal than Megatron beating Jerry Rice’s receiving record was completely asinine. This team needs discipline and defensive help.
27. Arizona Cardinals (5-10) – Brian Hoyer is the best QB on this roster and should have started already. No quarterback will do well, however, with such an abysmal offensive line.
28. Tennessee Titans (5-10) – There are no positives after getting beat 55-7
29. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) – Vick will get to start for what is likely the last time wearing an Eagles uniform. He and Andy Reid have a chance to go out with a bang and defeat their division rival Giants.
30. Oakland Raiders (4-11) – Carson Palmer should have just stayed retired at home on his couch.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) – I can’t imagine why the Jags would want Tebow given their current draft position. He’ll put people in the stands, and that’s it.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) – “Black Monday” will be an interesting day for the Chiefs’ organization.