1. New England Patriots. The Patriots remain #1 after their destruction of the Bills in Buffalo, 34-3. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has all but sealed the Most Valuable Player award for the National Football League and if he continues to play this well they will be difficult to defeat. Brady has now thrown a National Football League record 319 straight passes without an interception. The Patriots own quality victories over the Bears, Colts, Jets, Packers, Ravens, and Steelers. The Patriots host the Miami Dolphins Sunday in a game that means nothing to the Patriots, who have wrapped up the #1 seed in the American Football Conference(AFC).
2. Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons lost to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints Monday for their first home loss,17-14. 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 need to win Sunday to secure the #1 seed in the National Football ConferenceNFC), but face the 2-13 Carolina Panthers at home, where they are 6-1.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers had no problems handing the Carolina Panthers their 13th loss of the season, 27-3 in Pittsburgh. The injury to Troy Polamalu should have Steelers fans worried, as the defense just isn’t the same without him against the run or against the pass. The Steelers have given up the fewest points in the National Football League, with 223. The Steelers play the Browns in Cleveland in a game they must play, as they are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for first in the AFC North.
4.Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens defeated the Cleveland Browns, 20-10, to stay tied with the Pittburgh Steelers for first in the AFC North. 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 with 263. The Ravens host the Cinncinatti Bengals Sunday.
5. Chicago Bears. The Bears defeated one of the best from the AFC on Sunday when they beat the Jets, 38-34. They own the second-stingiest defensive in the NFC 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 travel to play the Green Bay Packers Sunday.
6. New Orleans Saints. The Saints had a great road win over the team with the best record in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons, 17-14. Reggie Bush still does not look like he is 100%, but when he is acclimated more with the offensive, it will again be one of the most explosive in the league. The Saints host the TampaBay Buccaneers this weekend.
7.New York Jets. The Jets lost their third game in four tries, 38-34, to the Chicago Bears, in what was supposed to be a matchup of good defenses. (https://razzandjazzsports.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/jets-lose-to-bears-38-34-but-back-in-to-the-playoffs-by-derrel-jazz-johnson/). Mark Sanchez played well despite a shoulder tear, but the defense has not looked in recently. The Jets play the Bufalo Bills Sunday in their home finale, but they have clinched a playoff spot already, so may sit their starters.
8. The Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles did not play well in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings last night, 24-10. Michael Vick was hit early and often, and hobbled through most of the game. Vick’s poor performance all but assures Tom Brady will win the MVP. If Vick stays healthy, the Eagles will have a legitimate run at a Super Bowl appearance with their explosive offensive and underrated defense. The Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.
9. Green Bay Packers. The Packers dominated the New York Giants, all but ending their playoff hopes on Sunday, 45-17. The Packers have allowed the least amount of points and have the biggest point differential in the NFC. Despite a lot of injuries, including two concussions to Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have played well, and the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for it. The Packers host the Chicago Bears in a game they must win to make the playoffs.
10. Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs defeated the Tenneesee Titans 34-14, and have clinched the their division. The Chiefs are 7-0 at home, which will help them in the playoffs. With a veteran coaching staff, and the best running game in the NFL, this will be a difficult team to face in the playoffs. The Chiefs host the Oakland Raiders Sunday.