It’s been a wild and crazy 10 weeks to this point in the NFL season and we have seen everything from a worst to first team to a complete internal nuclear meltdown by another team. This is my favorite part of any NFL season, the point where we find out who’s for real and who’s just another pretender. Looking into my crystal football its going to be a great finish so let’s get into it, shall we?
#1 Denver Broncos (8-1) – They are the most complete team in the NFL right now with an offense that has scored 97 points more than anyone other team. Their defense has been solid and despite its loss in Indianapolis I think they are unstoppable and a lock for the AFC Championship this year. Peyton will get his shot at a another ring this year as long as he can stay healthy.
#2 Seattle Seahawks (9-1) – I haven’t been totally sold on them this year but their defense has really stepped up and despite injuries on offense they have managed to keep pace with their opponents and outscore them by 106 points so far this year. Percy Harvin coming back gives them a fresh playmaker to add to the mix. I think it comes down to them and the Saints this year in the NFC and its really a coin toss as to who can stay healthy and get hot at the right time.
#3 New Orleans Saints (7-2) – They have always had enough fire power to go toe to toe with anyone but Rob Ryan has given them the total package with a defense that has allowed the 5th fewest points scored by their opponents. The Cowboys and Jerry Jones are kicking themselves for letting the good Ryan go to The Big Easy. I think Drew Brees could get his second shot at a ring and I expect to see them and the Seahawks battle it out for that chance.
#4 Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) – I am in complete and utter awe of Andy Reid and what he has been able to do with the revitalized Chiefs. It is nothing short of remarkable and they have earned every win they have had this year. That being said I think that its time to come back to earth a little they still face Denver and San Diego twice as well as Indianapolis. I think they’ll be lucky to split those conference games and Indy is a coin flip. The fact that Jamal Charles is responsible for 42% of the offense plays is scary but if he can stay healthy and their defense can hold that 12.3 points a game by opponents then anything is possible.
#5 New England Patriots (7-2) – How in the world they keep winning games is a wonder with their #1 receiver being Julian Edelman and Tom Brady posting the worst QBR of his career somehow they keep getting those W’s. Is it Belichick’s brain or is it Brady’s brawn, or is it just that the Patriots are winners and no one can change that? I couldn’t tell you but I would never bet against them in any game moving forward. They have Carolina and Denver coming up but after that its a virtual cakewalk to the post season and we all know anything can happen once your in. If they can get to another Super Bowl with this roster the conversation is over and Tom Brady is a living god.
#6 Carolina Panthers (6-3) – I know I was just as shocked as you where this weekend when their defense went into San Francisco and shut them down. They are the best defense in the league right now and so young its scary. Everyone thought that Cam Newton was going to be the one who led this team into the future but its becoming clear that it’s actually Luke Kuechly who is the defensive player of the year in my opinion. Their offense has struggled but that defense gives them a chance against anyone in the league. It’s going to be fun to see how they stack up against New Orleans not once but twice to finish the season. Afterwards we should see who’s really on top of that division and who holds the keys to the playoff don’t count the Panthers out of the mix just yet.
#7 Detroit Lions (6-3) – I know a lot of you haters out their especially in Chicago will disagree with this pick but tell me their is a more dangerous and dynamic combination in the league than Stafford to Johnson. Tell me there is a more physically dominating defensive line than the one in The D. Tell me there was a better off season pick up then Reggie Bush. Tell me there is a better offensive line in the league right now. If you tell me any of those things little brother then your kidding yourself. Especially the fact that their revamped offensive line has allowed the fewest sacks in the league. Are they a champioship team today? No, but they are closer then you think. All they need is some more confidence and look out everyone. The NFC North is the toughest division in the NFL and the Lions have managed to scrape and claw their way to the top despite setbacks and despite the rest of the league showing them no respect.
#8 San Francisco 49ers (6-3) – Their Defense has kept them going so far this year and is still one of the best in the league but Colin Kaepernick has not been awe inspiring as last season suggested. They can’t do anything without improving on offense and the injury to Vernon Davis destroys them. Crabtree could be back sooner then expected but will it be too little too late for the 49ers. We saw what happened this last week when they don’t have a deep threat. I expect to see them in the playoffs but unless they can right the ship on offense its going to be short post season for last years Superbowl runner up.
#9 Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Yes Andrew Luck is the real deal and yes the Colts have had a quick turnaround after winning the first overall pick last year. However that defense is aging and the young talent they have on offense is inconsistent at best. Will Trent Richardson, and T.Y. Hilton complete the championship trio or will they continue to be weekly question marks for a team that is close but not quite there. They have enough talent to win but not win it all and I expect them to make an early playoff exit this year.
#10 Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) – The Bengals are a well rounded team and the Dalton to Green combination can be a deadly one. Giovani Bernard and Green-Ellis are a great duo to have in the running attack but they just seem to lack that killer instinct. This team goes as far as Dalton’s arm will take it and with some really inconsistent outings this year its hard to say week to week if Big Red or Big Dead shows up. Solid defense won’t be enough to take them all the way this year but I like where the team is headed.
#11 Green Bay Packers (5-4) – This team is all about Aaron Rodgers and how long it takes him to heal. With Rodgers I think the Packers are a top 5 team without him I think they drop to the bottom half of the power rankings. Since it looks like Thanksgiving at least before he comes back I feel like they land somewhere in between. Eddie Lacy has been a pleasant surprise and the defense has been solid but without Rodgers this team is just idling.
#12 Chicago Bears (5-4) – Jay Cutler has his moments but I think the Bears brass is starting to realize that he may not be the answer at quarterback. The days of the defense keeping them in games is over but the offense has picked up some of the slack. Brandon Marshall might be a big cry baby but he can ball and Matt Forte is one of the most versatile backs in the game. If they can rally behind McCown I expect they have a decent shot at the playoffs but their confidence is waning and they could be sliding down this list very soon.
#13 Dallas Cowboys (5-5) – They have scored more points then anyone except the Broncos this season. Despite that they have managed to go just 5-5 which is best in the NFC East. What was suppose to be one of the best divisions in football now looks like a survivor series division of who can hang on the longest before their torch is extinguished. Their defense has really missed the other Ryan brother and Jerry Jones has got to be questioning his blind belief in Jason Garrett and his ability to get the job done.
#14 Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) – Chip Kelly is starting to get a feel for the NFL and if the Eagles could just find a way to win a home game they’d be alright. 5-1 on the road is amazing but 0-4 at home is a joke. Nick Foles is serviceable but before they can be considered a real threat for a run at a ring they have to get a signal caller that doesn’t have so many question marks. I think that the Eagles have far too much talent to be trifled with bu they have to find a way to put it all together on a consistent basis.
#15 Arizona Cardinals (5-4) – So Carson Palmer is just about on his last leg as an NFL starter. Andre Ellington has been a nice surprise for them but without Palmer playing better they can’t hope to keep pace with the rest of the league. The defense is great especially against the run but it will take more then that to get to the next level and the playoffs. I feel for Larry Fitzgerald who could’ve had a record breaking career if he was anywhere else. Until they get a solid signal caller they’re destined for the middle of the road.
#16 New York Jets (5-4) – How in the world they have managed a winning record is beyond me especially with that joke of an offense. I am starting to think Rex Ryan has made a pact with the devil at least on odd weeks. The best run defense in the league can account for some of their success but for the life of me I can not understand how they managed to be 2nd in their division.
#17 San Diego Chargers (4-5) – They have had one of the hardest schedules to deal with this season with both Denver and Kansas City still on the horizon I think its only going to get harder for them . Phillip Rivers has played above and beyond but he needs the defense to step up and get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It’s a shame that the rest of their team hasn’t played as well as River’s cause big things could have happened.
#18 Baltimore Ravens (4-5) – It’s hard to believe that these are the same Ravens from last year. Joe Flacco is not playing anywhere close to his pay grade and if not for the total ineptitude of Ray Rice he would be the biggest disappointment of the season. I’m not sure what’s next for the Ravens with all the talent they have they could turn it all around but I don’t think they have it mentally anymore and are probably looking at possibly rebuilding around the highest paid player in the NFL next year.
#19 Miami Dolphins (4-5) – With everything that’s going on in Miami it’s no wonder that they gave Tampa Bay their first win of the season. Can they right the ship without two key starters on an average offensive line? Can the offense score consistantly with weapons they have? Do they return to form like they did in the beginning of the season? Too many questions in a volatile locker room.
#20 Tennessee Titans (4-5) – The loss to the Jaguars is a tough one to swallow and with Jake Locker done for the season I think the Titans are done as well. Chris Johnson has had his moments but it’s going to take more then that to turn things around for the Titans. I think they use the rest of the season to answer key questions on defense and in the running game but any chance at a playoff run broke with Locker’s foot.
#21 Cleveland Browns (4-5) – As good as that defense is the offense is not. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a team that was so unbalanced. Their defense gives them a chance and their division is down this year but that offense is so bad that it limits their success. Not a lot of games in the NFL today are won 6-3 so sorry Cleveland it’s back to the drawing board on offense see you next season.
#22 St. Louis Rams (4-6) – The injury to Sam Bradford was the beginning of the end for them and although they blew up last week against Indianapolis I think it was more a death rattle then signs of life. Tavon Austin took it upon himself to turn the tide last week but now that teams have seen what he can do if allowed to go unchecked it won’t happen again. I like what where the franchise is headed and if anyone can turn it around it’s Jeff Fisher but this season is all but over for the Rams.
#23 Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6) – I never thought I would see the day that the Steelers where a breath away from being bottom dwellers in the NFL. I think it has a lot to do with not being able to protect Ben Rothlisberger or sustain a running game both of which have been the bread and butter of the Pittsburgh offense for the last decade. Only the Dolphins have allowed more sacks then they have and the defense is giving up far too much in the passing game to be competitive. Is one bad year enough for Mike Tomlin to get the boot? We’ll find out soon enough.
#24 Washington Redskins (3-6) – Their offense is solid enough and they can run the ball on almost anyone but they are playing in a fog this year. It took RG3 far too long to find his stride this year and now they find themselves in a hole. Is it too deep for them to emerge with a late season rally? I don’t know but if your going to do it then this division is the one you want to be in.
#25 New York Giants (3-6) – Can you believe this is the same team that won it all 2 years ago. The defense can get it done but Eli Manning is getting exposed. Nothing good can come when your leading rusher is Brandon Jacobs and your top 3 tacklers all play in the secondary. It’s about time the karma bomb dropped in the Big Apple.
#26 Oakland Raiders (3-6) – Poor Oakland had such high hopes to start the season when Terrell Pryor was going off and things looked like they might finally be lining up for the Raiders. Well this isn’t college and having your #1 passer and #1 runner wearing the same jersey is not conducive to a successful NFL season.
#27 Buffalo Bills (3-7) – Well the good news is that E.J. Manuel isn’t a total loss looking forward and you’ve got some talent at running back. The bad news is you’ve got to decide if its worth having two highly paid guys in the same back field and you have to get some weapons that can stretch the defense. It’s going to be a tough finish for the Bills but at least there are some bright spots to focus on moving forward.
#28 Atlanta Falcons (2-7)- The Falcons could be pulling a first to worst turnaround. With a 13-3 season last year it’s hard to believe that these are the same dirty birds that where a preseason favorite to make a deep playoff run. Steven Jackson is a bust and the injury bug could not have bitten harder then it did. I think its time for them to start looking ahead and getting that draft board in order.
#29 Houston Texans (2-7)- Almost as big a disappointment as the Falcons and another preseason favorite for the playoffs. They are facing some tough questions at the quarterback position and believe it or not running back. Arian Foster is showing significant signs of slowing down and Ben Tate is going to be a free agent. I’m glad I am not the one who has to decide because this team has all kinds of talent but after placing Foster on IR and releasing Ed Reed the off season has officially began in Houston.
#30 Minnesota Vikings (2-7)- Why they didn’t try harder to trade away some commodities before the trade deadline is beyond me. Adrian Peterson is a beast but he is rapidly approaching the dreaded 30 year old threshold and he already has a lot of miles on him. Jared Allen is great but not dominate like he was a few years ago. Break out the dynamite Vikings its time to blow this thing up.
#31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) – The loss of Doug Martin was huge but they where pretty inept before that anyways. Mike Glennon has played well but without some run support it’s going to be hard to develop him fully. The defense has come along way and is getting better but they have to find a way to score points and until that happens they’re going to be regulars at the bottom of the pile.
#32 Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – I honestly thought they’d go all season without a win but I was proved wrong. It gives them a moral victory but when its all said and done they are the worst franchise in the NFL and what talent they do have is either aging or suspended. I think the best thing for them is to start a new reality series called “The GM” and have contestants compete for a job as an NFL general manager cause they couldn’t be any worst at the job and at least they’d get some free advertising.