We told you that the loss of the four quarterbacks last week would have an impact, and it did. Three negative and one positive.
Also, someone tell the guys on the set of NFL Network that when the Chargers beat the Chiefs, it didn’t guarantee them anything. We are going to split the teams from here on out into conferences.
1. Houston: Despite having to fight for their lives in Jacksonville the Texans remain at the top here. The AFC South is theirs now and the playoffs will go through Houston.
2. Denver: With the weakest remaining schedule and a defense that has finally learned it’s new system they will continue to roll. The West has been won, and it is the Sheriff who has won it.
3. Baltimore: If Gronkowski hadn’t come up lame again, I would have put New England here, but Baltimore has become more balanced, and they will benefit from the fall of The Steelers.
4. New England: Beating The Jets in their last meeting propelled them into a nice streak, now they must beat them again to ensure their place among the top teams.
5. Cincinnati: They seem to have found a way to incorporate all their weapons on offense, but with a NET Points of only 11, they will struggle to keep up.
6. Pittsburgh: No Big Ben, and now Charlie Batch needs to step in. I think Charlie is great and understands the offense. Tough stretch ahead.
7. Indianapolis: Fun to watch Luck grow-up, but their Net Points is -50…tough way to win games. Again this is a very weak AFC this year, and at 6-4 they are firmly in line for a playoff berth.
8. NO ONE: Believe it or not the remainder of AFC teams are at 4-6 or worse. Houston, New England, Baltimore, and Denver lead their divisions, and then the fun begins….Can Pittsburgh hold on? Will Cincy continue to roll? How much does Indy really have in the tank? With 6 games to go it’s really wide open.
1. Atlanta: I hesitantly put them on top because we saw again what happens when Matt Ryan gets pressure, but this time his team has enough to bail him out. We will see how it works in the playoffs.
2. San Francisco: Here is the one instance where the injured QB was a blessing. Smith was never the answer, but he won;t lose his job to an injury. Maybe the 9ers got back to basics last night , and that will carry over to when Alex returns.
3. Green Bay: They are on a serious run and starting to get back to being The Packers. Nice test in New York this week. They can see their way tot he top of the division if Cutler misses more games in Chicago.
4. Giants: This may be a temporary spot unless they come out of the break on fire. Five of the next Six all against contenders. They need to show their Championship style.
5. Chicago: Terrible stumble for a team with so much pride. The health of Cutler and their defense will determine everything for them.
6. Seattle: Making a move toward relevancy. They still have a chance to catch SF, and will keep them fighting till the end.
7. Dallas: With the double home game tradition at Thanksgiving, they actually get to play two games before the Giants return from their bye week. They could be in first place in the East on Sunday night, or still fighting from behind.
8. New Orleans: Yes, That New Orleans. They will have a lot to say about which teams make the playoffs in the NFC this year. They still have a date with the Cowboys and Giants.
9. Tampa Bay: This team will win a few games they shouldn’t, but ultimately have one shot and that is to win out from here.
10. Minnesota: Again, here is a team with no shot at their division but still a chance they could pick off a team at the bottom of the playoff ladder.
Atlanta, Giants, Chicago (tie-breaker), and San Fran are leading the divisions, but suddenly only Atlanta has more than a one game lead. Dallas, Green Bay and Seattle could all move into the lead which seems to leave just one spot remaining in the post season.
We will see how the six game schedule plays out.