No time to mince words, just be blunt: It was a rough week for the Top 10. Three of last week’s top 10 lost, and three more snuck away with wins in the most absurd of ways.
The Patriots and Cardinals fell out of the rankings this week. The Patriots lost to the Steelers by a wide margin at home. In a sentence, they offense got shut down and the defense failed to show up. It was almost expected though; defense has been the Patriots’ problem all season long.
For the Cardinals, they just got outplayed by the Eagles. In the process, they lost yet another chance to clinch their division. Though, I must admit, it would be kind of fun to see a team get into the playoffs at 7-9.
The two new arrivals this week, taking over the spots of the Pats and Cards, are the Cowboys and Falcons. Both teams have won eight games and are fighting for the second wild card position in the NFC. Unfortunately, both will likely end the season with better records than the winners of the NFC North and NF C West.
The full list is after the jump…
|Ups and Downs|
|Just doing their thing, grinding out wins, even with star receivers on the shelf due (in part) to accidental gun shot wounds. Four words, people: Only in New York.|
|Not sure that beating up on the Lions on Thanksgiving day counts as a memorable or impressive feat – especially not when Kerry Collins manages just 125 yards passing – but it still counts as a win.|
|We were all wrong. The Saints defense finally did show up on Sunday – allowing just 254 yards to the Bucs – and yet the Bucs pulled out the win. Credit the Bucs for winning the defensive battle and picking Drew Brees three times.|
|Still not as high on this team as everyone else, but you have to give credit where credit is due: they dominated the Patriots. Surprise! When the Pats cannot score, their defense is not enough to keep them in games for long.|
|Talk about ugly. Peyton throws two picks. The offense scores just three points and totals just over 200 yards. And somehow, somehow, this team is saved by a fourth quarter fumble recovery and score. The Pats loss gives the Colts a little more cushion, though.|
|Another game where it is hard to figure out just how the winning team pulled it off. Managing just 22 minutes of possession, out-earned by 140 yards, and just plain beat up. But the Panthers are still the owners of a playoff-spot in the NFC.|
|Hard to see how this team, coming off two of the biggest wins in the franchise’s recent history, could drop a home game to the Broncos. But they did. Shame on Eric Mangini for not eating more clock with Thomas Jones and keeping the Jets worthless defense off the field.|
|It’s pretty simple: this team doesn’t lose the games it is supposed to win. In fact, they make sure trap games are nothing close to traps. The offense continues to improve and expand its repertoire, which the team will need in the coming weeks.|
|The ‘Boys have quietly won three straight games to put them back in midst of the playoff hunt, while many others have faded away. A brutal three games ahead against solid defenses may send the Cowboys quietly back again.|
|The Falcons are the league’s Rodney Dangerfield this season (I am not finishing the joke, you know how it ends). They have beaten the Packers, Bears, Saints and Panthers. At this point, it would be more fun to see them in the playoffs than the Cardinals, Cowboys or any NFC North team… combined.|