Every team has now played at least eight games, but only one has yet to lose. The Atlanta Falcons are halfway to a perfect season. However, I am going to make a bold prediction and say that the Falcons will only win four of their final eight games. But, they will still win the division and likely have a first-round bye come playoff time.
I still like my preseason prediction of Texans vs. 49ers in the Super Bowl, but I feel significantly more confident in the Texans’ ability to get there.
Speaking of the playoffs, am I the only one hoping to see a playoff matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts?
This week in the rankings, the Saints move up more than anyone, climbing nine spots, while the Cardinals tumbled more than anyone, moving down five spots.
And with that, here are the rest of the Week 10 rankings.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. Atlanta Falcons (1)
All season I’ve questioned whether or not their defense was truly improved. It sure looks like it. They appear to be the whole package. All that’s left now is to win in January.
2. Houston Texans (2)
The Texans looked a tad rusty on offense after their bye, but nonetheless they maintain their pace for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
3. Chicago Bears (5)
The Bears defense is their best offense. However, Cutler to Marshall isn’t bad either. They face the Texans in one of the juiciest matchups of the season in Week 10 on Sunday Night Football.
4. San Francisco 49ers (4)
The 49ers offense has sputtered at times this year, but their defense has remained very good. However, I just can’t help feeling that they aren’t quite as good as last year. We’ll find out a lot in the second half of the season as they face the Bears, Saints and Patriots.
5. New York Giants (3)
The Giants lost a close game at home, and blew a fourth- quarter lead. That’s not something we’re used to seeing from them. The offense was simply awful.
6. Baltimore Ravens (6)
After jumping out to a quick 14-0 lead, the Ravens then trailed 15-14 to Cleveland. But they were able to pull it out as any veteran team should be able to. Regardless, they just don’t seem to be that great of a threat any more. They need to start playing Raven football again or they will not only begin to slip in the rankings, but in the AFC North too.
7. Green Bay Packers (7)
Every week it’s someone new for Green Bay. This week, it’s Bryan Bulaga and Clay Matthews. Not to mention Jordy Nelson suffered an ankle injury, in addition to his hamstring injury. The bye could not have come at a better time for the Packers. The question is, will it be enough time for them to get healthy?
8. New England Patriots (8)
The Patriots had a bye, but maintain their lead in the AFC East by one game over Miami. The Patriots should be back at full health, or close to it, for their Week 10 matchup against the Bills.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (9)
The Steelers defense is back. Or at least it was for one game. They are getting healthy and when they get Troy Polamalu back, they will be even scarier. They are primed to take over the division in the next few weeks.
10. Denver Broncos (10)
Peyton Manning finally looked human again, but still led his team to victory and Denver stayed above .500 and remains in first place in the AFC West.
11. Seattle Seahawks (12)
Marshawn Lynch has been one of the best backs in the league this year, and he’s getting very little attention. The Seahawks moved to 5-4 and remain a very strong candidate for a playoff berth.
12. Indianapolis Colts (13)
The Colts spent nine straight weeks at the bottom of the rankings last year, and 14 straight weeks in the bottom two. The fact that they have five wins this year is mind-blowing, not to mention the fact that they crack the top 12 and appear to have a decent shot at a playoff berth. Could Andrew Luck be in the running for MVP?
13. Minnesota Vikings (11)
Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the NFL, and might just be the best of all time. However, that is a debate for another day. The Vikings are on the cusp of being a very good team but for now they are going to have to battle if they want to find their way into the postseason.
14. New Orleans Saints (23)
The Saints have won three of their last four and are somehow still alive in the playoff race. They need to keep it up as four of their next five games come against the Falcons, 49ers and Giants.
15. Dallas Cowboys (15)
The Dallas Cowboys fought hard on Sunday night but came up just short. At 3-5, they simply cannot afford any more losses whatsoever.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (21)
The Bucs have shown flashes of brilliance this year and Josh Freeman has looked like the Josh Freeman of 2010—and not the Josh Freeman of 2011.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (14)
A win would have brought Philly within a game of first place in the NFC East. But it was not meant to be, as the Eagles offense struggled yet again, especially considering they were facing a defense that was statistically worse through the first eight weeks of a season than any team in the history of football.
18. Detroit Lions (18)
The Lions did what you’re supposed to do: beat bad teams. At 4-4, they are right in the thick of things in the NFC playoff picture.
19. Miami Dolphins (17)
Even at 4-4, the Dolphins have been a big surprise and still remain in fairly good shape to chase a playoff spot.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (19)
The Bengals had their chances against Denver but came up short. At 3-5, their division hopes appear to be gone and even their chances at a wild-card spot are on life support.
21. Arizona Cardinals (16)
Early in the season I said Arizona needed to enjoy the wins, because their schedule was going to get tough. And it has indeed gotten tough, as they have lost five straight. Losing Kevin Kolb to injury didn’t help matters. It doesn’t get any easier as they travel to Atlanta following their Week 10 bye.
22. New York Jets (22)
The Jets had the week off, and as far as I can tell, have yet to add a true NFL starting quarterback to the roster.
23. San Diego Chargers (24)
San Diego beat the Chiefs, at home. Quite frankly, that shouldn’t be enough for them to move up one spot. Oh well.
24. Washington Redskins (20)
The Redskins have made some questionable decisions over the past four years. As a result, they have yet to move forward. That is, until the 2012 draft. The US has made some questionable decisions over the past four years. As a result, we've yet to move forward. That is, until the 2012 election (hopefully).
25. Oakland Raiders (25)
Carson Palmer was phenomenal on Sunday. Well, other than those three picks. But considering Darren McFadden got hurt and Oakland completely abandoned the running game, Palmer was a star. Even at 3-5, the Raiders are only two games out of the division.
26. Buffalo Bills (26)
After 12 touchdown passes in his first four games, Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown zero in three of his last four. As a result, the Bills are 1-3 in those four games.
27. St. Louis Rams (27)
The Rams certainly enjoyed the week off after traveling to London and getting hammered by the Pats. Who do they get after their bye? Just the 49ers. The Rams are on their way to another last place finish in the NFC West.
28. Carolina Panthers (30)
Cam Newton and the Panthers finally got back in the win column. And hey, if they win their remaining eight games, they might make the playoffs!
29. Tennessee Titans (28)
Don’t look now, but the Titans just committed another turnover and gave up more points.
30. Cleveland Browns (29)
Trent Richardson continues to be the lone bright spot for Cleveland. At 2-7, they are once again headed for a very high pick.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (31)
The verdict is in. Even without Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars flat out stink. However, slowly but surely, and I emphasize slowly, Blaine Gabbert is improving.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (32)
I know they say a college team can’t compete with an NFL team. But if Alabama lined up against the Chiefs, would you really pick Kansas City?