This week showed a little more who the pretenders and contenders are. The playoff picture is starting to take form. Will the Packers ever lose, and how far have the Patriots fallen after two straight losses? Here are the power rankings for week 10:
1. Green Bay Packers (8-0)
In week 4 I envisioned sitting in front of my TV on Thanksgiving watching the most anticipated game of the year, the LIONS playing the Packers. I’m still pumped for this game, but since then Lions have fallen off a little and Green Bay has shown that they may not lose again this season. Their biggest test may come against the Giants pass rush.
2. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Any team that gives their coach a Gatorade bath after a regular season win probably doesn’t belong in the top 10. With that said, the Ravens had the biggest win of the week against the Steelers; and once the Bengals start playing like the Bengals, the Ravens should secure their spot in the playoffs representing the AFC North.
3. San Francisco 49ers (7-1)
Here’s the scary thing: the 49ers have only played one NFC West game. This team could possibly win 12+ games this season. A game against the Giants will be a real test as to how they will fare in the playoffs. If Gore can run the ball well, they may just beat Big Blue.
4. New York Giants (6-2)
They made Matt Moore look like Tom Brady and Tom Brady look like Matt Moore, a further testament that the Giants play to their opponent’s ability. That’s not necessarily a bad thing looking at the rest of their schedule. A win against the Patriots was huge to start off a tough stretch. If they can go 4-4 the rest of the way, preferably beating the Cowboys and Eagle, they will win the NFC East. They have to stop Frank Gore first.
5. Houston Texans (6-3)
In their last three games they have put up 95 points and let up 33 points. They are quietly playing some of the best football in the league. Oh yeah, and Andre Johnson is yet to touch the field since his injury in week 6.
6. New Orleans Saints (6-3)
After a letdown game against the Rams, the Saints came back with a very convincing win against a good Buccaneers team.
7. Detroit Lions (6-2)
They had a bye week this week, so we won’t punish them too much. They lose some ground only because other teams gave gained so much ground this week. A week 10 game against a hot Bears team should give us some insight as to the direction of this team.
8. New York Jets (5-3)
They tie the Patriots for the AFC East after a slow start this season. At this point, they have to be considered the favorite in the AFC East.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2)
A very surprising season for the Bengals. Their defense has been one of the better defenses in the NFL, and AJ Green and Andy Dalton are playing like veterans. I expect them to fall off, but I also expected them to have 1 or 2 wins all season.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
That loss will be tough for them to swallow, but they’re not going anywhere. Is it crazy to believe that at this rate, the AFC North will have three teams in the playoffs? It’s even crazier to think that the Bengals will win the AFC North.
11. Buffalo Bills (5-3)
The Bills were out to make a statement against the Jets. They did. They stated “this is what happens when we face a good defense!”
12. Atlanta Falcons (5-3)
Everyone wrote the Falcons off after they went 2-3 to start the season. Now sitting at 5-3, a look at who they won and lost against tells a better story. They lost to a pretty good Bears team (then thought to be overrated), they lost to an on-again off-again Buccaneers team, and they lost to an undefeated Packers team. They also beat a tough Lions team in Detroit, an offensive-heavy Carolina team, and an easy win against the Colts. A win against the Saints will make me more of a believer.
13. New England Patriots (5-3)
What a drop for the Pats. Their defense has been horrendous all season, and now their offense has struggled for two straight games. They need to turn it around soon, as another loss could take them out of the AFC East race.
14. Chicago Bears (5-3)
Two uncharacteristic fumbles by Matt Forte was the only thing that kept Philly in this game. The Bears are quietly 5-3 and making a run at a wild card spot (Because we know Green Bay isn’t dropping 3 games anytime soon!)
15. Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)
Does anyone want to win the AFC West?
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4)
These next two weeks put them against the Texans then the Packers, not good for a team that has struggled these last two games.
17. Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
The Cowboys are great against bad teams.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)
The last two weeks were promising for Eagles fans, but this week showed that this team is the sloppy team with the bad defense we saw the first five weeks of the season.
19. San Diego Chargers (4-4)
Rivers now has six interceptions in his last two games.
20. Tennessee Titans (4-4)
The Titans had on the road for 3 of their next four games. They need to win three of those four to remain in the playoff hunt.
21. Oakland Raiders (4-4)
Carson Palmer has played 1.5 games this year and now has the 7th highest interception total in the NFL.