Two prime-time games this weekend on Sunday and Monday night. One was a heavyweight fight while the other was a knockout.
The Patriots and Falcons continued to show they are the best teams in their respective conferences. Once again, the road teams continued to show their grit as nine of the 16 road teams walked away with a win.
As we look ahead to Week 14, five teams at 5-7 face must-win games, and two more big-time matchups await as the Chiefs and Chargers face off while the Bears look to maintain their one-game lead in the NFC North as they face Tom Brady and Co.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. New England Patriots (1): Left little doubt on Monday Night Football as to who is the best team in the AFC and probably the NFL.
2. Atlanta Falcons (2): They proved they can win on the road, but is Tampa really a legit road win?
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3): Ben Roethlisberger is doing his best Brett Favre impression, playing with all these injuries.
4. Baltimore Ravens (4): This loss goes on the coaching staff. Regardless, they’ve proven they can play with, and beat, any team in the league.
5. New Orleans Saints (6): The Saints got some lucky breaks last year on their way to the Super Bowl, and they got another one this week against the Bengals.
6. Chicago Bears (7): Escaped with their second late-game victory against the Lions of the season. Their best test of the season will be this week against the Patriots, followed by three additional tough games to end the season.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (8): Four games in 18 days and the Eagles went 3-1. Imagine how good they will be in the playoffs when they get a full week’s rest every week.
8. New York Giants (9): The G-Men got great games from both running backs, and they should get WR Hakeem Nicks back next week. Watch out for this team in the next month.
9. Green Bay Packers (10): The lack of a running game is going to catch up with this team, especially against the Patriots and Giants later on this month.
10. New York Jets (5): That was an ugly and embarrassing performance on Monday Night Football. The fact is, they are 1-3 against teams with winning records.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (11): They can win with the passing game, they can win with the running game and their defense isn’t bad either. This team is the ultimate sleeper pick.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12): The Bucs division hopes are all but dashed, but the wild card still remains. If their trend of beating bad teams and losing to good teams continues, they will finish 10-6.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (15): The Jags control their own destiny. Even a loss to the Colts in Week 15 won’t necessarily hurt them.
14. Oakland Raiders (18): You never know what Raider team is going to show up. They remain on the bubble at 6-6.
15. San Diego Chargers (13): The Chargers lost their first December game since 2006, and might have lost their playoff hopes as well.
16. Indianapolis Colts (14): Peyton Manning has thrown seven interceptions in his last two games, four of them returned for touchdowns.
17. Miami Dolphins (16): At 6-6 the Dolphins playoff hopes are slim, and with games remaining against the Jets and Patriots, it doesn’t look good.
18. St. Louis Rams (20): The Rams aren’t flashy, but they’re consistent. Consistent enough that they just might make the playoffs with a rookie quarterback.
19. Dallas Cowboys (22): I’d say Jason Garrett is a lock to return as head coach next season. I know its only been four games, but I’m already making Dallas next year’s NFC Super Bowl favorite.
20. Cleveland Browns (21): The Browns are quietly becoming a very good team. I’m not quite sure how, but they are 5-7 this year and five of those losses were by a touchdown or less.
21. Houston Texans (17): If they can somehow find a way to beat the Ravens this week, they could win out and find themselves as division champs, despite losing five of their past six games.
22. Minnesota Vikings (24): Have we seen Favre play his final game? Doubtful, but even if he’s healthy enough to play, should he?
23. Seattle Seahawks (25): At 6-6, the Seahawks still have a good chance to host a playoff game. Something just doesn’t seem right with that sentence.
24. Washington Redskins (19): Not the season Redskin fans were hoping for. Next year could be even tougher if Dallas continues their improvement.
25. Tennessee Titans (23): Five straight losses after starting 5-2 has doomed the Titans. They may run their losing streak to nine by the time the season ends.
26. San Francisco 49ers (26): At two games back, it seems as if the 49ers playoff hopes are finally over; then again they do play in the NFC West and should they win their final four games, they could sneak in.
27. Denver Broncos (27): Josh McDaniels is out and it’s about time. After starting 6-0 last season, Denver is 5-17 since and has a lot of work to do to get things going in the right direction.
28. Detroit Lions (29): They continue to be competitive, and once they learn how to win close games they will be a tough team to deal with.
29. Cincinnati Bengals (31): They showed why they are 2-10 on that final defensive possession against the Saints.
30. Buffalo Bills (28): After a string of hard-fought games in a row, they got downright embarrassed by Tavaris Jackson and Adrian Peterson.
31. Arizona Cardinals (30): Seven straight losses and their only touchdown in the past three games came on the final play of blowout Week 11 loss against the Chiefs.
32. Carolina Panthers (32): A 14-0 first quarter lead ended in a 31-14 loss. Jimmy Clausen has got to get some help around him before we can say he isn’t the answer.