The top two spots stay where they are while two new teams crack the top ten for the first time this season.
- New England Patriots 10-0 (1)- It may have not been the prettiest win but they continue to get the job done. The Bills played tough the first half but just couldn’t keep up going into the second. They were able to keep the score low and manageable but the offense never really got going. That may be due to Tyrod Taylor looking like he was hurt towards the back half of the fourth quarter. It is not yet known how long the injury was nagging him. Moving forward the Patriots go on the road to Denver to play a Peytonless Broncos team. If the Broncos defense can hold up we could be seeing another tough game for the Patriots who may be able to wrap up the division with a win.
- Carolina Panthers 10-0 (2)- The Redskins kept up with the unbeaten Panthers for exactly 15 minutes and then let Cam Newton throw more touchdowns than the Rams, Vikings and Chargers combined. The Redskins had no ground game and Kirk Cousins was forced to play catch up for three quarters and the Panthers defense didn’t make it close. If you are worried about Carolina playing a trap game against Dallas, they should take offense that the Cowboys are somehow favored on Thursday.
- Arizona Cardinals 8-2 (5)- I was looking forward to this game for weeks and it was everything I hoped it would be. High scoring, hard hitting, close, two last minute drives to try and snatch the victory as time was running out. Carson Palmer is playing at a level I have never seen from him and I just can’t help but gush over his receivers. This is just a fun team to watch who is ready for the toughest of teams.
- Cincinnati Bengals 8-2 (3)- Losing against the Texans was an embarrassing loss. Losing against the Cardinals, nothing to scoff at. As I stated about the Cardinals are a tough team who has the best chemistry in the league. Dropping two straight in this late in the season would usually prove costly, but the Bengals will bounce back and keep themselves in a distance lead in the division.
- Green Bay Packers 7-3 (7)-After slowly dropping in the power rankings by losing three straight, the Packers snapped the losing streak in a big way by beating the divisional rival and staying hot in the NFC North race. It was odd seeing the Packers play below their level three straight games but it is clear they can brush off a long losing streak when the season is on the line. This is one of the most exciting division races of the season for all the right reasons. Every game becomes more important as the season goes on, a loss could prove the difference between division champions or wildcard participant.
- Denver Broncos 8-2 (6)- If I may be honest, I thought the Broncos would be on their way to dropping another game against the Bears without Peyton Manning but Brock Osweiler stepped up for his first career start and was able to not get flustered against a better than average Bears defense. The Broncos run game was also on point to keep the Bears D honest. Honestly this was a much closer game than it should have been. The Broncos are going to have to put up more than 17 points if they want a shot against the unbeaten Patriots.
- Minnesota Vikings 7-3 (4)- After five straight victories, it was about time for them to be humbled. This one wasn’t even close. The Packers had the Vikings number early on in the game and the Packers defense kept an explosive offense in check. Teddy Bridgewater might of well been being protected my foam peanuts the way he was knocked around. This was supposed to be a statement game for the Vikings and instead the Packers took the statement themselves and said “We are still the best of the North”
- Pittsburgh Steelers 6-4 (8)- After a crazy week 11, the Steelers may just have won the bye due to the other AFC beating each other. The only team with a 6-4 record in the AFC, as long as they win at least three more games, the wildcard is theirs. First up is taking their injury plagued team into Seattle
- Seattle Seahawks 5-5 (N/A)- The top eight teams are easy to place, the order can be argued, but those are the best teams in the NFL. Rounding out the top ten is hard. The Falcons are a bad team who had a good start but finishing sloppy. The leaves me with eight teams with a .500 record to pick from and I have to decide who has the best shot to make the playoffs. Seattle already has more losses than their 2013 and 2014 seasons, clearly they are not the dominant force of the last couple of years but I can never count out Russell Wilson or the Seahawks defense. This is a team that has seen two different losing streaks and are still within a game of the playoffs. It may have taken over half the season to find their footing, but now that they have, I expect them to stride into the playoffs with little competition.
- Kansas City Chiefs 5-5 (N/A)- The Chiefs season started off bad enough, and then star running back Jamal Charles got hurt and the Chiefs season should have preferably ended. But something amazing happened and they defied expectations by beating the Steelers, Broncos and Chargers to now hold the last wildcard spot in the AFC. Going forward if they can beat the Bills, this will be the last wildcard teams. As of this writing, they do not face another team with a winning record. They control their own destiny.
Knocked out of the top 10-Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills
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