It seems as if the NFL gets crazier by the week. Week 10 signified the beginning of the weekly Thursday night game, and it started the week with a bang as Matt Ryan led the Falcons on an 80-yard touchdown drive in the final minute of the game to move Atlanta into first place in the NFC South.
The rest of the weekend didn’t disappoint either as the Bills became the final team to get their first win of the season. The Jets and Browns came within 16 seconds of giving us our first tie in three seasons, and the Jaguars’ prayers were answered.
In other prime-time games, the Patriots laid the smack down on the No. 1 overall defense in the NFL, and the Falcons were ahead of Washington 35-0 just one play into the second quarter. It was another wild and wacky week in the NFL, and once again the top-ranked team took a tumble. Here are the rankings, as we look toward Week 11.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. New England Patriots (5): Put up 39 points against arguably the best defense in the league—and did it without a strong running game and after trading Randy Moss—and you might find yourself No. 1 in the Rankings.
2. Atlanta Falcons (4): The defense played well enough against Baltimore to get the Falcons their seventh win. They are becoming a NFC favorite to make the Super Bowl.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2): Ugly performance by the Steelers D on Sunday Night Football. Don’t expect them to play that poorly again the rest of the season.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (9): Say what you will about Michael Vick and his past. Considering what he has put behind him, he is playing some incredible football. Props to you, Mr. Vick for your hard work and dedication to return to the NFL after paying your debt to society. If he stays healthy, this just might be the Eagles' year to win a Super Bowl.
5. Baltimore Ravens (3): Starting to lose ground in the AFC but still a top contender with an offense that can erupt at any time.
6. New Orleans Saints (6): Reggie Bush is expected to return this week, and with the Saints finally getting their offense going, they could find themselves back at No. 1 in a matter of weeks.
7. Green Bay Packers (7): A much-needed bye in Week 10. They look to sweep the Vikings and move to 7-3 on the season.
8. New York Giants (1): The Giants were humbled by Jon Kitna and the 1-7 Cowboys. They are still a force to be reckoned with, and their matchup next week with the Eagles will be a dog-fight (no pun intended).
9. New York Jets (8): Despite the win, the Jets lose ground in the standings. True, they have won back-to-back games in overtime; however, those games came against the Lions and Browns. The Jets have not looked themselves on offense lately but should still be considered an AFC Super Bowl contender.
10. Indianapolis Colts (10): The Colts nearly became the answer to a trivia question as they almost lost a game in which they had five takeaways. They continue to find a way to get the job done. Classic matchup next week against the Patriots.
11. Chicago Bears (11): The Bears continue to win without playing great on either side of the ball. They are keeping Jay Cutler upright however, which is huge for their playoff hopes.
12. Oakland Raiders (12): With a week off to prepare for the Steelers, and the Patriots exposing some holes in that Pittsburgh D, don’t be surprised if Oakland pulls the upset this week.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14): Another win against a bad team. Let’s see how they do this week against the 49ers—a team with a bad record but good talent.
14. Tennessee Titans (13): The Moss era in Tennessee began with just one catch. The Titans lost ground in the division, but with Chris Johnson and Vince Young (if healthy), they can catch fire at any time.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (18): Christmas came early for Jacksonville as they improved to 5-4 thanks to a game-winning Hail Mary pass caught by Mike Thomas after being batted down by a Houston defender. This team’s never-say-die attitude is keeping it in the playoff hunt.
16. Miami Dolphins (21): Chad Pennington: hurt. Chad Henne: hurt. Tyler Thigpen? Best third-string quarterback in the NFL. He may or may not get to play this week depending on Henne’s status, but regardless, he kept the Dolphins in the playoff chase.
17. Kansas City Chiefs (15): The Chiefs put up 29 points in Denver and still got beat down by 20. The defense never showed up, but WR Dwayne Bowe has quietly been one of the best wideouts in the entire NFL this year.
18. Washington Redskins (16): How do you justify a $78 million contract with that performance? For once, Terrell Owens makes a great point that I agree with. However, Donovan McNabb had nothing to do with the ‘Skins giving up 59 points on Monday Night Football. Washington’s turnaround season is beginning to look similar to last season.
19. San Diego Chargers (19): The second half of the season is upon us, which means it’s time for San Diego to win a bunch of games in a row on their way to another playoff appearance.
20. Houston Texans (17): Even when they play perfect defense, at least for one play, they find a way to lose. Looks like another mediocre year for the Texans.
21. Seattle Seahawks (25): Mike Williams’s career has been resurrected in Seattle, and he might just lead Seattle to the playoffs.
22. St. Louis Rams (20): Tough loss on the road to the 49ers, but at 4-5 if St. Louis remains right in the thick of things in the NFC West.
23. Cleveland Browns (22): You just can’t say enough about Colt McCoy and the Browns right now. They hung tough with the Steelers, beat the Saints and Patriots and took the Jets to overtime. They aren’t a playoff team this year, but with a few changes in the offseason, this team could be a contender in a year or two.
24. Minnesota Vikings (23): The Vikings lost a pivotal game against the Bears this week and face a must-win against Green Bay in Week 11.
25. San Francisco 49ers (28): I told you they still had playoff chances when they were 1-6 and you laughed at me. They are now 3-6 and two games back in the division. If they can get a win this week against the Bucs, they will be back in the playoff conversation. Troy Smith has this team playing confident on offense.
26. Denver Broncos (29): Denver started the most important part of its schedule this week in dominating fashion against the Chiefs. If the Broncos have any desire of playing football in January, they need to keep it up, as two of their next three games are against divisional foes.
27. Dallas Cowboys (30): One has to wonder where Dallas might be if they made this coaching change say, a month ago? Their playoff hopes would be slim, but they would at least have hope.
28. Detroit Lions (24): After looking so good on offense all season, the Lions took a step back against Buffalo. It’s time to figure out if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, and if not it’s time to draft yet another franchise quarterback.
29. Arizona Cardinals (26): The Cardinals defense had been a bright spot all season—that is, until the Seahawks came to town. The Cardinals are 3-6 and desperately need a win against the Chiefs this week to keep their playoff hopes alive.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (27): Five turnovers simply isn’t going to get it done. Last year’s AFC North Champions have been one of the biggest disappointments in 2010.
31. Buffalo Bills (32): Congrats to the Bills on getting their first win of the season. They give 100 percent every week, which is more than a few other teams can say.
32. Carolina Panthers (31): Matt Moore is already lost for the season and Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion. Both its starting running backs are nursing injuries, and Julius Peppers joined Chicago during the offseason. Needless to say, it’s been a rough season for Carolina.