The pre-season pretenders that other polls had ranked in the top ten have proven to be paper tigers. The cream rises and most of it is from the NFC.
1. Atlanta: Still undefeated and the schedule provides little in the way of resistance until the Giants come to town in December.
2. Chicago: It’s nice to have a defense that doesn’t even need the offense to dress. Great match-up against the Texans on Sunday this week, followed by the Niners, Vikings, Seahawks, and Vikes again.
3. Houston: Again, great match-up against the Bears defense on Sunday Night. After that it’s smooth sailing.
4. Giants: Stumbled against Pittsburgh. Defense looked better while offense suddenly struggling. Division still in their control. Cincy, the bye and a banged up Green Bay after that.
5. Green Bay: This spot in jeopardy due to mounting injuries. Bye week.
6. San Fran: Rams, Bears, Saints. Rams will keep them moving forward.
7. Pittsburgh: Showed some of their old toughness in New York this week. Games against Chiefs, Rams and Browns should keep them going.
8. New England: Lack of competition helps as they try and rebuild the back end of the defense, although the Colts and Dolphins have now become competitive.
9. Denver: Just how Elway pictured it. Carolina, San Diego and Kansas City
10. Seattle: This team made the correct choice at QB, and now has a chance to grow into a very competitive bunch.
11. Baltimore: Won a close one in Cleveland. This isn’t going to be an easy road. Ray Rice and Flacco need to carry them from here on out.
12. Detroit: Looked like they need to look for the remainder of the season. Every week is crucial since the division is probably out of reach.
13. Miami: Can play with anyone. Big test looming vs New England.
14. Tampa: Anther team where every week is crucial. Division is lost. Can’t afford to lose too many more conference games.
15. Cincy: Last stand against the Giants this week.
While the rest of the teams have chances of making the playoffs, most of them had a big opportunity this week to make a move and failed.
16. San Diego: Sean Payton would look good in Powder Blue … NO?
17. New Orleans: Had the benefit of playing the Dead Eagles this week. Every game a must win.
18. Indy: Very emotional team with a good young QB. If the season ended today…. well, it doesn’t so never mind.
19. Minnesota: Spoke to friends up north this week. They think it’s over. Wild card only possibility.
20. I can’t really distinguish between the rest. Just pitiful and some teams might actually make the playoffs
The Rest: Dallas, Washington, Philly, Buffalo, Arizona, The Jets, St. Louis, Tennessee, Oakland, Carolina, Cleveland, K.C. and Jacksonville
Follow Joe on Twitter, @tufdan