November 29, 2011
1. Green Bay Packers (11-0) — Sunday’s game at the Giants could be the biggest remaining hurdle towards 16-0. How bad do the Packers want to run the table?
2. New England Patriots (8-3) — With a two-game lead and the tiebreaker on their side, the Patriots have almost locked up the AFC East. The schedule sets up well for a run at home-field advantage.
4. Baltimore Ravens (8-3) – The Ravens stay on top of the AFC North with a Thanksgiving Day win in the Harbaugh bowl. Now they must avoid any more letdowns.
5. San Francisco 49ers (9-2) – Despite the loss, the Niners show they can compete with the NFL elite. They can clinch the NFC West with a win against St. Louis.
6. Houston Texans (8-3) – The Texans pick up another win but lose another quarterback. Now it’s up to rookie T.J. Yates to lead a playoff run.
7. Atlanta Falcons (7-4) – Atlanta has won five of the last six. Sunday’s trip to Houston looks more winnable with the Texans down to the third-string quarterback.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) – It wasn’t pretty in Kansas City but a win is a win. Huge game in the AFC North this week against Cincinnati.
10. Dallas Cowboys (7-4) – America’s Team has moved to the top of the NFC East with four straight wins. They need to make it five in a row before a critical meeting with the Giants.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) – The Bengals continue to exceed expectations. If they can do that on Sunday and beat the Steelers, it would go a long way towards getting them to the playoffs.
13. Oakland Raiders (7-4) – It’s a two team race in the AFC West. Oakland has a one-game lead but the more difficult schedule.
14. New York Jets (6-5) – The Jets got back on track with a win over Buffalo. They should pick up a couple more wins with Washington and Kansas City in the next couple weeks.
15. Tennessee Titans (6-5) – The Titans beat Tampa Bay in what was essentially an elimination game. They can knock the Bills out with a win this week.
16. New York Giants (6-5) – The Giants are in big trouble after losing three straight and the undefeated Packers are up next. The good news is they still play the Cowboys twice so they can control their fate.
18. Buffalo Bills (5-6) – The Bills are on life support after four losses in a row. They will have to run the table for the week 17 game at New England to matter.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) – With the loss to New England, the Eagles have a stranglehold on the most disappointing team of the year. How much worse will it get?
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) – The Bucs are another disappointing team in the NFC. They need to beat Carolina to avoid falling into last in the NFC South.
22. San Diego Chargers (4-7) – What happened during their bye week? The Chargers were 4-1 before the bye and are now 0-6 after.
23. Miami Dolphins (3-8) – The Dolphins have won three of four. They could give the Bills a run for third in the AFC East.
24. Washington Redskins (4-7) – They broke the six-game losing streak against Seattle. They could start a new streak with three teams fighting for the playoffs coming up next.
25. Minnesota Vikings (2-9) – The Vikings have lost three straight. If they don’t find a way to beat Tebow it could become six straight with the Lions and Saints coming up.
26. Seattle Seahawks (3-7) – The Seahawks blew a 10-point lead against Washington. At least they have a short week to think about it.
27. Carolina Panthers (3-8) – The Panthers are much better than last year but aren’t getting many wins to show for it. But they have found their quarterback.
28. Kansas City Chiefs (4-7) – The defense played well against the Steelers but the offense couldn’t get it going. Will they turn to Kyle Orton this week?
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8) – Jack Del Rio has been fired. This franchise has a lot of work to do.
30. Cleveland Browns (4-7) – They put up a fight against Cincinnati but came up short. And there’s more bad news; four of the last five games are against Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
31. St. Louis Rams (2-9) – The way this team has played its hard to find another win on their schedule. The best chance appears to be at Seattle.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-11) – The Colts could make a run at 0-16. They are at New England and Baltimore for the next two.
November 1, 2011
1. Green Bay Packers (7-0) — The Pack has not lost a meaningful game in a long time, but it is a little premature for the 16-0 talk to begin.
2. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) — Impressive comeback against the Cardinals but they shouldn’t have been down that much to begin with. Their game in Pittsburgh on Sunday will be huge.
3. New England Patriots (5-2) – The loss to the Steelers could prove costly in the playoff seeding tiebreakers.
4. Buffalo Bills (5-2) – A win over the Jets Sunday would go a long way towards getting Buffalo back to the playoffs.
5. Detroit Lions (6-2) – They will have an extra week to enjoy that beating they gave Tebow and the Broncos.
6. Atlanta Falcons (4-3) – They got some help Sunday when the Rams knocked off the Saints. NFC South race is wide open.
7. New Orleans Saints (5-3) — I have a feeling that loss to the Rams is going to hurt when we get to January.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) – They beat the Patriots on Sunday, and they will have a huge edge in the AFC.
9. San Francisco 49ers (6-1) – They just keep winning and could be on their way to a first round bye.
10. Houston Texans (5-3) — Andre Johnson should be back this week and the Texans should handle the Browns.
11. New York Jets (4-3) — The next two weeks against the Bills and Patriots are critical for the Jets to climb back in the race. They must win at least one of those games.
12. New York Giants (5-2) — The schedule is really tough the rest of the way. Will a two game lead be enough to hold on in the NFC East?
13. Chicago Bears (4-3) – Can the defense slow down the Philadelphia offense? We will find out on Monday Night Football.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3) — Anyone else think the Saints will be ready to go when the Bucs travel to New Orleans on Sunday? Tampa cannot afford to fall two games back with a loss.
15. San Diego Chargers (4-3) — Rivers will be kicking himself all week for the fumbled snap against the Chiefs. Once again the Chargers find a strange way to lose a game.
16. Tennessee Titans (4-3) – Chris Johnson has to get going if the Titans are going to stay in the race much longer.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) – Philly finally looked like the team everyone thought they would be in their win against the Cowboys.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) – We will find out how good the Bengals are in the next three weeks against Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
19. Oakland Raiders (4-3) – Moved into a first place tie without even playing and Denver is coming to town. Things are looking up.
20. Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) – Miami and Denver could have the Chiefs at 6-3 before the schedule gets really hard.
21. Dallas Cowboys (3-4) – America’s Team has the easiest schedule of the NFC East teams but it won’t matter if they play like they did Sunday night.
22. Washington Redskins (3-4) – With three straight losses, Washington has gone from the top of the NFC East standings to the bottom in a hurry.
23. Minnesota Vikings (2-6) – Christian Ponder looks like he could be the starter for a while in Minnesota.
24. Carolina Panthers (2-6) – Cam Newton will be the starter for a long time in Carolina.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) – 12.25 points per game doesn’t win many games in this league.
26. Cleveland Browns (3-4) – Colt McCoy needs more weapons.
27. Arizona Cardinals (1-6) – Blowing that lead against the Ravens hurts. Suddenly, Sunday’s game against the Rams doesn’t look so easy.
28. St. Louis Rams (1-6) – Looking to make it two wins in a row against the Cardinals.
29. Seattle Seahawks (2-5) – The loss to Cincinnati was much closer than the score would suggest.
30. Denver Broncos (2-5) – Bronco fans got what they wanted with Tebow taking over for Orton. Unfortunately, it looks like Denver’s opponents also got what they wanted.
31. Miami Dolphins (0-7) – Should have beaten the Broncos and almost beat the Giants. They will win soon.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-8) – They have a one loss lead in the Andrew Luck standings. This team has more problems than no Peyton Manning.