15. Detroit Lions (Previously Dallas Cowboys)
The Lions, I think are now just going to miss the playoffs. They still have a difficult schedule ahead and their offensive line woes have been exposed. Stafford isn’t playing at the same level as he was earlier in the year.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (previously Pittsburgh Steelers)
The Bengals should battle with the Jets the rest of the season for the second wilcard playoff berth. I give the Jets the slight edge because the Jets have been there before and Andy Dalton and the Bengals are trying to get there. Also the loss fo leon Hall for the season potentially a huge loss. The fact that A.J. Green might miss some time doesn’t help anything either. Very costly loss for the Bengals.
13. Dallas Cowboys (Previously Chicago Bears)
The Cowboys have a soft schedule the rest of the season until the final four games where they will have two paramount games vs the New York Giants. The winner of those games will likely make the playoffs the loser will be on the outside looking in.
12. New York Jets (previously Detroit Lions)
A bad loss at home, but the Jets are saved by the Buffalo Bills descent back to the middle of the pack. The Jets will battle the Bengals for the second wild-card berth in the A.F.C.
11. Atlanta Falcons (Previously New York Jets)
The Falcons move up based on a loss simply because I think they have an inside track to the playoffs as the second wild card team.
10. Chicago Bears (previously Bengals)
9. Baltimore Ravens (previously Lions)
Big wins vs the Steelers terrible losses to the Jaguars and Seahawks and Titans. Who is this team? Joe Flacco’s inconsistent play and the fact that this is an older team is leading to a lot of let down performances.
8. Oakland Raiders (previously San Diego Chargers)
The Raiders are here by default because they are winning their divison. If Palmer plays the way he did on Thursday the rest of the season the Raiders will win the division, if not, they won’t. What a terrible division.
New York Giants (previously New York Giants )
I’ve been down on the Giants all year (even though they are my favorite team) because their defense has been pretty awful. If their defense plays like it did on Sunday, they have a real shot at running away with this division. Eli Manning has led this team to five come from behind victories this season, which is M.V.P. worthy (if Aaron Rodgers wasn’t in the league). The Giants are getting healthier at the right time of the season. Rookie Prince Amukamara seems healthy now but Coughlin has said until he’s “right on the practice field” which makes it sound like Coughlin is talking more about understanding all the defensive calls. He should be back soon. WR Ramses Barden couldn’t have gotten healthy at a better time. As long as this team keeps Osi Umeinyora, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre Paul and Corey Webster healthy they have a chance.
I still don’t know if they’ll make the playoffs. Since Plaxico Burress shot himself in this leg this team has not shown an ability to close out the season. Let’s see if they ahve waht it takes this season.
6. New Orleans Saints (previously New Orleans Saints)
A gutsy call by the Falcons gift wrapped this victory, but it’s still a good win to go on the road vs a great home team and pull out a victory.
5 Pittsburgh Steelers (Previously Ravens)
Right now it’s hard to know what to make of this division. The Steelers are owned by the Ravens, but the Ravens can beat the drudges of the leagues like Jacksonville and Seattle. What an odd season.
4. New England Patriots (previously New England Patriots)
And This why I haven’t taken the Patriots out of the top four yet. You can’t ever coutn them out. It’s a young defense that has a ways to go but any time you have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick you have a chance to win a lot of games.
3. San Francisco 49ers (49ers)
Unlike the lame stream media-I’ve been high on the 49ers for almost two months. Why? They can run the ball well, they can stop the run well (the most consistent run stopping defense in the league), They have good special teams and Alex Smith is playing the clock manager job well. They also play in a weak division. The 49ers have a realistic chance at winning 11 or 12 games this year based on their schedule. The 49ers WILL end up with a bye.
Washington, Giants, Arizona, Baltimore, STL, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis
They should be favorites in every game except MAYBE Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
Seriously, the 49ers could end up with a bye in the playoffs. Who saw that coming?
2. Houston Texans (Previously Baltimore Ravens)
The Houston Texans defense is among the best in the league (at least statistically) and this team keeps winning despite the losses of their best offensive (Andre Johnson) and defensive player (Mario Williams) over the last month. They’ve won big games on the road, at home and just keep winning. This team is going to wrap up its division soon and could be on it’s way to a playoff bye. When the Texans get to the playoffs they will be at a disadvantage because of their lack of experience, but this team is going to make the playoffs for the first time barring an epic collapse.
Well, with the news that Matt Schuab will miss the rest of the season it’s possible I suppose the Texans have an epic class, but until they lose a game I’ll stick with them here.
1. Green Bay Packers (previously Packers)
The Green Bay Packer were on a bye, but here’s what I said about them last week (and every week before that)
Until they are unseated they remain King. Their pass defense has looked poor though this season and that bears watching as the playoffs approach. But when you have Aaron Rodgers, their offensive weapons, and a bright offensive minded coach you can win a lot of games by out scoring people.
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