The NFL has provided so much parity over the years, but 2010 could be the best example of that. With no truly elite team, the playoffs could be as exciting as any in recent memory.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3)—The Eagles cannot be stopped right now. Michael Vick is playing better than he ever has and with the weapons surrounding him, it is hard to imagine a team stopping that offense.
2. New York Jets (8-2)—The Jets keep getting it done at crunch time. Mark Sanchez is emerging as a big-time quarterback, and this team will be battle-tested come January.
3. New England Patriots (8-2)—Tom Brady is sporting some of the greatest flow in NFL history, and he and the Patriots are clearly pissed off about something. In any event, the Monday Night game against the Jets in a few weeks should be a dandy.
4. Atlanta Falcons (8-2)—The Falcons have been unstoppable at home, but less than stellar on the road. They better hope they can get a few home playoff games. Atlanta vs. Philly would make for an interesting story come playoff time, would it not?
5. Green Bay Packers (7-3)—With the amount of adversity this team has faced, it is amazing that they are still sitting at 7-3. In the old NFL, their lack of a running game would hurt them. But in this new age of football, Aaron Rodgers could take this team to the top.
6. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)—The Ravens defense is really starting to concern me. They let Mike Goodson rush for 120 yards on them, and allowed the girly-armed Brian St. Pierre to throw an 88-yard touchdown. Hopefully they can ratchet it down in the final weeks of the season because the offense looks elite.
7. New Orleans Saints (7-3)—The Saints are finally working their way back into a groove. Drew Brees and company looked very impressive on Sunday. Granted, it was against the Seahawks, but it was still encouraging to see them move the ball like that.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)—The Steelers dominated a lesser opponent on Sunday, but I still wonder if they have what it takes to win the battles in the trenches.
9. San Diego Chargers (5-5)—The Chargers are on fire. Phillip Rivers deserves serious consideration for MVP.
10. Indianapolis Colts (6-4)—The Colts stay in the top 10, but Peyton Manning’s underwhelming performance late in games has got to stop.
11. New York Giants (6-4)—Eli Manning has to start taking care of the football.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)—Josh Freeman’s rapid development has turned this team into playoff contenders. They have young, exciting stars all over the field.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)—The Chiefs had a nice bounce-back win at Arrowhead on Sunday. Todd Haley needs to find a way to get Jamal Charles more involved in the offense.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4)—The Jaguars have been pulling out wins at crunch time all season long and find themselves in first place in the AFC South. The Jags are relying on the strength of the defensive line and the offense.
15. Chicago Bears (7-3)—The Bears find themselves in playoff contention at Thanksgiving, but they still cannot protect the quarterback.
16. Oakland Raiders (5-5)—Now we get to see how the Raiders deal with adversity.
17. Tennessee Titans (5-5)—With Vince Young out, the Titans will have to rely on what they do best: run the football.
18. Washington Redskins (5-5)—Kept their season alive by beating the Titans.
19. Cleveland Browns (3-7)—Colt McCoy is limiting this offense.
20. Miami Dolphins (5-5)—The Dolphins have major quarterback issues.
21. Houston Texans (4-6)—The Texans keep finding ways to lose.
22. Seattle Seahawks (5-5)—The fact that the Seahawks are leading the NFC West should tell you something about that division.
23. St. Louis Rams (4-6)—The Seahawks and the Rams, a division race for the ages.
24. Dallas Cowboys (3-7)—Maybe Jerry Jones should have pulled the trigger earlier. America’s Team is finally showing how talented they really are.
25. Minnesota Vikings (3-7)—Firing Brad Childress was the first step toward moving forward. Saying goodbye to a certain quarterback is the next step.
26. Buffalo Bills (2-8)—The Bills are still fighting.
27. Arizona Cardinals (3-7)—The Cardinals need a quarterback.
28. Detroit Lions (2-8)—The Lions are such an unfortunate franchise, but I believe the arrow is pointing up.
29. San Francisco 49ers (3-7)—So much for this being their year.
30. Denver Broncos (3-7)—McDaniels really messed this team up.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (2-8)—What a bunch of lethargic bums.
32. Carolina Panthers (1-9)—Things I can count on when I turn on the TV on Sundays: Tom Brady’s flow will be majestic and the Carolina Panthers will be epically bad.