1. New England Patriots. The Patriots remain #1 after dismantling the National Football Conference powerhouse Chicago Bears 36-7, 6 days removed from embarrassing the New York Jets, 45-3. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the MVP of the National Football League through 13 games, and if he continues to play this well (no interception in his last 8 games) they will be difficult to defeat. The Patriots own quality victories over the Bears, Colts, Jets, Ravens, and Steelers. The Patriots host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, 23-7, to remain #2. With Super Bowl experience, the Steelers will be in the hunt for another ring with two-time Super Bowl winning starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leading the offense. Troy Polamalu, a strong candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, leads the defense that has allowed the least amount of points in the AFC, 198. The Steelers host the New York Jets Sunday.
3. Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons defeated the Carolina Pathers fairly easily, 31-10, to remain tops in the NFC. The Falcons have several quality victories this season over the Saints, Ravens, Packers and twice over the Buccaneers. Third-year quarterback Matt Ryan and Michael Turner are having another good year, and the veteran leadership of Tony Gonzalez has the Falcons possibly making a deep playoff run, one that could lead to the Super Bowl. The Falcons play on the road against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday.
4.Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens defeated the Houston Texans in overtime, after blowing a 21-point lead in the third quarter. On the season, Joe Flacco has the offense looking at a deep playoff run and possibly a Super Bowl appearance. The Baltimore defense remains among the best in the AFC, ranking second in points allowed. The Ravens host the New Orleans Saints in a game with lots of playoff implications as well
5. New Orleans Saints. The Saints won easily, 31-13, and their offense looks to be back on track. The Saints have averaged 30.5 points during their 6-game winning streak. Reggie Bush had 77 all-purpose yards, and he will provide the Saints with even more fire power. Look for the Saints to get him more acclimated in what is one of the most dangerous offenses in football. The Saints play the Ravens in Baltimore Sunday.
6. Chicago Bears. The Bears got tamed by the New England Patriots, 36-7. They do own the second-stingiest defensive in the National Football League, and, with the cold weather in that area, home-field advantage will be crucial in making a Super Bowl run. Chicago has sole possession of first place in the NFC North. The Bears play at Minnesota against the Vikings Monday night.
7.New York Jets. The Jets lost their second-straight, 10-6, to the Miami Dolphins. Mark Sanchez appears to have regressed, but hasn’t been aided by drops either, one for a touchdown that Santonio Holmes dropped. The running game appears to be faltering too. With a game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, the Jets need to right the ship immediately, or lose three in a row.
8. The Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, mainly on DeSean Jackson’s 210 receiving yards. Tied with the New York Giants for first, Eagles play in New York Sunday on a game that could decide the division winner. If Michael Vick stays healthy, the Eagles will have a legitimate run at a Super Bowl appearance with their explosive offensive and underrated defense.
9.The New York Giants. The Giants beat up on The Minnesota Vikings 21-3, in a game that saw Brett Favre’s streak of 297 starts end, to keep pace with the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants continue to be a hard team to figure out, one of the team’s elite when playing at their best, but a team that commits far too many turnovers when playing their worst. The Giants and Eagles clash at The New Meadowlands.
10. Green Bay Packers. The Packers lost to the Detroit Lions and lost starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a concussion in the process, whose status is unknown for Sunday. The Packers have allowed the least amount of points in the NFL and also have the second-biggest point differential. Unfortunately, they are playing the team with the highest differential, the Patriots, at 139. Despite a lot of injuries, the Packers have played well, and the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for it.