Biggest Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars (+8)
Biggest Loser: Indianapolis Colts (-8)
1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3, +7): Yeah. I did it. I put the Eagles at #1. Why? Because honestly, this team seems unstoppable at the moment. I'm coming out of the closet - I am a Michael Vick fan. The way he was able to deal with adversity and come back from being out of the game for two years and come back better than ever... it's a special story. And the Eagles are benefiting from giving him that chance. With Vick at the helm, the Eagles have the most dynamic offense in the NFL. Combine that with a more than stellar defense, and you have a very tough team. Maybe this is finally Andy Reid's year. Maybe.
2. Atlanta Falcons (8-2, +2): So for the first time this year, the top two have been NFC teams. The Falcons are a good football team, and the proved it last Sunday going into a hostile St. Louis environment in a dome that the Rams have played very well in. Matt Ryan is developing into a good NFL Quarterback. His development this season has astonished me. The guy has played good Quarterback and has a good offensive supporting cast including Michael Turner and one of the better WR in the league, Roddy White. If this team can get home-field advantage in the playoffs, they just might be Super Bowl bound.
3. Baltimore Ravens (7-3, -1): They won just as you would expect them to win against the NFL's worst team. If it were not for the amazing performances by Philadelphia and Atlanta recently, this team has a strong claim to being the NFL's number one team. As it stands now, though, I really do think they are the AFC's best team. My pre-season Super Bowl prediction of Baltimore and Atlanta is looking pretty strong right now.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3, +2): The Steelers not only beat the Raiders, but destroyed them. And I actually thought this was a pretty good Raiders team coming in. The Steelers proved they were the more physical team with the more dominant defense, plain and simple. Ben Roethlisberger finally had a game worth mentioning. Everything went right for the Steelers against the Raiders. Now they just need to keep this success going.
5. New England Patriots (8-2, +2): No matter the flaws this team may have, this team knows how to win. Tom Brady was able to top Peyton Manning in this year's annual game between the two AFC juggernauts, and they earned it with their late game interception. The defense has played better of late, and that was crucial for them. The only question remains is will they be able to wrestle the division away from the Jets?
6. New York Giants (6-4, -3): Two division losses in a row really hurts this team's stock, in my opinion. The only reason they didn't fall too far was because their defensive play against the Eagles was admirable. They played Vick well and had good defensive discipline. If it were not for Eli Manning's incredibly un-clutch fumble, we may be talking about the Giant's triumph over the Eagles right now. Still, their offense could not move the ball for a good majority of the game. They will need to improve if they even want to get a wildcard in an NFC looking much more competitive in recent weeks.
7. New York Jets (8-2, -2): Mark Sanchez may not be putting up the impressive mistake-free stat-lines he was earlier in the season, but he has been clutch in certain situations. One such situation was the last drive of the game against Houston. While it may not take actual skill to sustain a passing drive for a touchdown on the Texans, it does take SOME skill to do it in under 50 seconds. But they continue to win ugly. Makes you wonder if this team is actually good, or simply lucky?
8. New Orleans Saints (7-3, +1): Another dominant performance from the Saints makes me confident that their early-season troubles have come to an end. They crushed the Seahawks, a nice sign if you are a Saints fan. They need to keep on track with this kind of play - because it reminds me of a certain Super Bowl team. And of course to keep pace with division rivals still threatening them for the division.
9. Indianapolis Colts (6-4, -8): Peyton Manning. Not only do you completely screw over my fantasy chances last weekend, but you don't even pull away with the victory? Damn you, Peyton Manning, damn you. And to throw your third interception while in field goal range of a 3-point game was even more embarrassing. Still, it was a close game like we all knew it would be. Some things worry me however about the Colts... they could not run the football, at all, and the three Peyton Manning interceptions. While the Houston and Tennessee losses make the Colts' loss seem less important, it cost them the division lead to Jacksonville.
10. Green Bay Packers (7-3, +0): And so Green Bay has forced the second head coaching change this season. First they got Wade Phillips fired in Dallas, and now they cost Brad Childress' job in Minnesota. Quite the feat for a team. They played very well against a division opponent. As much as I'd like to increase their rank to compensate, I still don't see them better than #10. I still think they are the favorites for the NFC North, though. And this team will be a force in the playoffs!
11. San Diego Chargers (5-5, +1): Fresh off of crushing the Broncos Monday Night, the Chargers have new life. Philip Rivers is after pretty much every passing record that exists and next week they should have two big stars come back - Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates. They are perfectly primed for their usual late-season resurgence and only the Kansas City Chiefs really stand in their way at this point. And they will have a shot at them at home in a couple weeks.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3, +2): While its another win against a poor team, the Bucs are winning like they should against poor teams. Eventually I just have to admit that their success may be for real. While they aren't in the NFL's elite just yet, they have a very real shot at a playoff birth. They just need to keep winning against the poor schedule they were given.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4, +3): They took care of business against the visiting Cardinals, and that is important for a team struggling to keep their dominance in the AFC West alive. Their win was decisive. Still, their best chance to get a playoff birth in a crowded AFC is to win a not-so-crowded AFC West. And to do that they will need to survive San Diego's annual resurgence.
14. Chicago Bears (7-3, +3): I still think this team's offense (mostly offensive line) leaves a lot to be desired, but it is indeed defenses that win championships and this team has a good one, shutting out Miami on Thursday Night football. The sacks and turnovers continued for Jay Cutler, however. Cutler was downed three times and picked off once by Miami. Their offense will not be productive until they fix these issues.
15. Miami Dolphins (5-5, -4): The Dolphins were wondering now what could've been after being decimated by injuries and being blanketed by the Bears. This offense is struggling mainly from a beaten up interior offensive line. They won't be able to run or pass efficiently until that is fixed. They need to hope as well that Brandon Marshall's injury isn't serious and that Chad Henne will be ready to go in time for next week's game against Oakland - it has become clear that Tyler Thigpen is not that answer at Quarterback.
16. Washington Redskins (5-5, -1): Good response by Donovan McNabb and the Redskins to respond from a pitiful Sunday Night football performance against the Eagles to get a big win over another team struggling to keep their season alive. While at 5-5 their chances of a wildcard birth isn't good, they are good enough to get many more victories this season. Right around the middle of the pack.
17. Tennessee Titans (5-5, -4): You want to talk about implosion and controversy? Man, the Titans are a perfect example. Stuff went down. Long story short - Vince Young is so upset being pulled from the game due to injury that he throws his jersey in the stands and leaves. Then Fisher claims that injury or no injury, he is no longer the starter in Tennessee. Who would've seen this coming after a strong early season for Young? It is clear that Fisher and Vince Young do not like eachother, and never will. One will be gone in the off-season. My money's on Young. Oh and by the way, Randy Moss still hasn't caught a pass as a Titan.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4, +8): Miracles or not, Jacksonville is now #1 in the AFC South - something I cannot argue. This leaves me to wonder if this team is really so bad. And honestly, I cannot come up with a "Yes" to that answer. While this team is still not good by any stretch of the imagination - and I purely expect it to implode - its also not bad either. They are 6-4 and competing for the playoffs.
19. Oakland Raiders (5-5, -4): Hmm... so just when we thought the Raiders were worth something, they go out and lose 35-3 for old time's sake. Maybe all the love this team was getting was just a little premature. And the Quarterback controversy continues. It is anyone's guess who will start next week against Miami.
20. Houston Texans (4-6, -2): The Texans have the worst pass defense I've ever seen. Period. This is the second week in a row that they have lost in the last play of the game. First it was the miracle Hail Mary from David Garrard, and then they let Mark Sanchez score a game-winning touchdown against them within 50 seconds. I've been saying this all season long about the Texans - as long as you have the worst pass defense in the NFL, every team in the NFL will have a shot to defeat you no matter how good you are in every other area. The Texans have six losses in the NFL, and a lot could've been avoided if their pass defense didn't completely suck.
21. Minnesota Vikings (3-7, -2): Dang. I knew Childress would go after this season, but I didn't know he would be fired during this season. Then again, I could have never predicted the smack-down the Pack handed them last week. Now one question remains to me - will Brett Favre go or stay? My guess is stay. We'll have to see if Leslie Frazier gets the surge that Jason Garrett got for the Cowboys, however.
22. Denver Broncos (3-7, -1): It's been a season of ups and downs for these Denver Broncos and last night was defiantly a low. Their defense had a hard time in coverage and tackling against the depleted Chargers and now at 3-7 they are pretty much done, AFC West or not. Shame considering the season Kyle Orton has had... a waste. Josh McDaniels may not be long for the head coach of the Broncos.
23. Cleveland Browns (3-7, +1): Well, maybe this team isn't too great after all. But they are still much improved this season. Peyton Hillis remains to be an absolute brute and this team will be a force next season, in my opinion. I still think this team should be one of the most feared in the NFL. They play every team extremely tough.
24. Seattle Seahawks (5-5, -1): The Seahawks are just lucky that every other NFC West team lost too, if they were in any other division they could be out of the playoff race. This team's offensive ineptness continues. They can simply not get anything going and this time they were demolished by the Saints. A lot of teams are wishing they were in the NFC West right now... it would be a free ticket to the playoffs.
25. St. Louis Rams (4-6, +0): It was a little too much to ask for the Rams to defeat the Falcons even at home, in my opinion. While the Rams are much improved (which isn't hard when your last season was 1-15) they still won't be challenging many teams. However, at 4-6 they are still in contention for the NFC West. And all of the glories that come with being the best of the worst. Oh, and one nice thing to say about the Rams: Sam Bradford looks like a keeper.
26. Dallas Cowboys (3-7, +2): Hey Dallas - guess what? You guys are slowly earning my respect again! Slowly... while the coaching change has produced two straight wins, I'm not completely sold. Still, they are showing the flashes of potential that we thought we'd see from them since the beginning of the season. Now we just have to see if its for real or they are still just celebrating Phillips' departure.
27. Detroit Lions (2-8, -5): Matthew Stafford being out really hurts this team. The kid has become a good NFL Quarterback and it hurts his and this team's development not to have him. While I do like the Lions, they will not finish the year with a good record. Which may be overall a good thing since that will improve their draft position, giving them another year of top-end talent to add to this roster.
28. San Francisco 49ers (3-7, -1): It's never nice to be shut-out. Especially when your head coach's job is on the line. While they are only two games out from their division leader (lol), this team may be done. They had a chance to fight for their season but they came out flat. Had they won, they would still be in serious contention for the NFC West.
29. Arizona Cardinals (3-7, +0): Entirely demolished. That's all that can be said about the Cardinals, now 3-7. They have a glaring need, and that is the Quarterback position. Was Matt Leinart really so bad that he really would not have been better than Derek Anderson and Max Hall? I don't think so. But at least at 3-7, their chances of scoring a top-end Quarterback in next year's draft is pretty good.
31. Buffalo Bills (2-8, +1): Good job, Bills! Beating Cincinnati to climb further up from the #32 slot you held for the majority of the season. This Chan Gailey offense is starting to look deadly. We'll have to see how this team develops in future years but they still need to draft offensive linemen. Their interior offensive line is still a major concern and they won't be able to run the football consistently until they get it fixed.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (2-8, -1): How do you blow a 21-point lead to the BILLS at home? Answer: You suck. And that's exactly what the Bengals do. They suck. I respect Terrell Owens. He has had a good attitude in Cincinnati and has remained productive but Chad Ochocinco seems like he doesn't even care anymore and this entire offense has fallen apart accordingly. It's a sad say when Terrell Owens is the most focused player on your football team.
32. Carolina Panthers (1-9, +0): 1-15, here we come? To make matters worse for these Panthers, they placed Deangelo Williams on the IR prior to their game against the Ravens and signed Brian St. Pierre off the streets to start for them. Which leaves me wondering "Why?" when you could have seen what you had in rookie Tony Pike. John Fox is done in Carolina following this season. Fox should just feel lucky that he doesn't have to play the Packers this season to end his tenure sooner.
Predictions for Next Week
Prediction accuracy for Last Week: 9-7 (56.25%)
Overall prediction accuracy: 56-42 (57.14%)
|As usual, the Lions kick off Thanksgiving.|
New Orleans (7-3) @ Dallas (3-7): New Orleans by 3. Another Thanksgiving stinker, but could be slightly more interesting since Dallas has been on a streak recently and could try to play spoiler again against the Saints on a short week at home. It should be pretty close, actually, but I'll still give the edge to former Super Bowl champs.
Cincinnati (2-8) @ New York J (8-2): New York J by 10. When one of the best teams at home play one of the worst teams, its usually a pretty solid prediction. And so I'm anticipating a pretty depressing Thanksgiving with both the Patriots and Jets winning big against bad opponents.
Minnesota (3-7) @ Washington (5-5): Minnesota by 3. Upset alert! I honestly think that Leslie Frazier will do pretty well as interim head coach, benefiting from a surge much like Garrett did. He should let Brett Favre do more of his Brett Favre thing instead of what Childress tried to do and interfere with Favre's natural play-style. This will benefit Minnesota as they visit the Redskins, who have struggled against the pass this year.
Carolina (1-9) @ Cleveland (3-7): Cleveland by 10. Cleveland has played well at home this season and they get to play the NFL's worst team. They should be able to improve their record to 4-7. The Panthers offense has been completely inept this season. There is little reason to believe this will change against Cleveland, who has actually been pretty solid this year on defense.
Green Bay (7-3) @ Atlanta (8-2): Atlanta by 7. Oh, boy, what a great matchup with two of the NFC's top teams going at it. As much as Green Bay would like this one to keep up with the Bears, I do not see them winning at the George Dome. Atlanta has been dominant there, and in my opinion has the better squad overall.
Jacksonville (6-4) @ New York G (6-4): New York G by 7. I keep picking against the Jaguars and it always seems to haunt me in the end. Still, they are facing a very hard matchup at the Giants this week. If all goes according to plan, they SHOULD be able to defeat the Jaguars soundly on Sunday. The Giants defense is very disciplined, I do not believe Maurice Jones-Drew will have a big game. On the other side of the ball, Eli Manning will look to rebound against one of the NFL's worst secondaries.
|Let the Rusty Smith era begin?|
Pittsburgh (7-3) @ Buffalo (2-8): Pittsburgh by 10. As nice as Buffalo has played recently, their two-game win streak should be snapped by the Steelers this coming Sunday, even at home. Pittsburgh's defense has been brutal and dominant and even Chan Gailey's system can't hide their talent-ridden roster from Pittsburgh.
Kansas City (6-4) @ Seattle (5-5): Kansas City by 3. This game is important for both teams - trying desperately to hold on to the division lead they have in their respective bad divisions. Unfortanutely for the Hawks, the AFC West is the better division and the Chiefs are the better team. Still, Seattle has played okay at home, so it should be a close game. And the Chiefs have not played well on defense as of late which will help a struggling Seah
|The Dolphins need to recover from offensive injuries.|
St. Louis (4-6) @ Denver (3-7): Denver by 3. At Mile High, I do expect the Broncos to beat the Rams. However, anything can happen at Mile High, as the Raiders proved a few weeks ago. The Broncos have been playing better football as of late, however, and do have a good offense. I do like Denver in this matchup.
Tampa Bay (7-3) @ Baltimore (7-3): Baltimore by 7. This is Tampa Bay's fourth hard game of the season. The previous three they have lost. I do not like them going into a harsh Baltimore environment against one of the league's best defenses. I do believe the Ravens will win this matchup.
Philadelphia (7-3) @ Chicago (7-3): Philadelphia by 3. The Eagles will be challenged by the legit Bears defense, but I think they will be able to force enough turnovers and top the Bears offense enough to come away with the W. The Bears will have to study film of how the Giants contained Michael Vick to be successful - Michael Vick is very dynamic and requires extremely disciplined football to beat. The Bears do have a great defense, so they have as good a chance as anyone to shut him down.
San Diego (5-5) @ Indianapolis (6-4): Indianapolis by 3. I really do not who to pick in this matchup, and I just know I will regret it with San Diego re-surging and Indianapolis' usual inabilities to defeat the Chargers. The Colts are at home, however, and have the better roster so we'll have to see. I will look forward to seeing Vincent Jackson's return as a Charger. Especially considering I may have to start him in fantasy this week.
San Francisco (3-7) @ Arizona (3-7): San Francisco by 3. I cannot think of a more sorry matchup for Monday Night football than this but I suppose I will have to grin and bear it. I pick the 49ers not becuase I believe either team is good enough to win, but because I'm forced to pick a team and I tossed a coin and the coin told me to pick the 49ers. That's how bad both of these teams are.
Results of Last Week's Poll
Last week, I asked my readers "Who will win the NFC South?" between New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, or Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
To my surprise, it ended in a three-way tie which each team getting 33% of the vote. And all three teams won last Sunday, so I can still not comment and who would be right. I voted for my NFC Super Bowl pick, of course, the Atlanta Falcons.
This week's poll is "What is your favorite "F" word associated with Thanksgiving?" between Family, Friends, Food or Football?
Vote on the right-sidebar of my blog!