1. Green Bay Packers, 10-0. The Green Bay Packers are the defending Super Bowl Champions, and with the addition of players who were injured last year, like tight end Jermichael Finley, and the continued improvement of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has a QB Rating of 128.8 after 10 games (it finally went down a little bit after increasing for weeks) and enjoying one of the greatest seasons ever for a quarterback, they are better than last season. Including the playoffs, the Packers have won 16 straight games and don’t appear to be slowing down. This is bad news for the rest of the league, as they are enjoying a monster regular season. The Packers travel to face the Detroit Lions in a Thanksgiving match up.
2. San Francisco 49ers, 9-1. The San Francisco 49ers are a league surprise, led by fiery first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh. Playing in perhaps the weakest division in all of football, the NFC West, the 49ers are a week away from clinching the division crown. Running back Frank Gore is perhaps the biggest reason for their success, as he is averaging 4.6 yards per carry on the season. The other reason is the stingy 49ers defense, as they have allowed the least points in the NFL (145). The 49ers travel to face John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens.
3. Baltimore Ravens, 7-3. The Baltimore Ravens may be the most confusing team in the NFL this season. They have defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers twice to sweep the season series, and the Houston Texans, but have also lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks. They continue to be one of the more dominant teams in the league on defense, led by the ageless wonder linebacker Ray Lewis, who missed his first game in five years Sunday. The Ravens are the second-stingiest defense in the AFC, allowing only 176 points in 20 games, and should be near the top the entire season. Their offense, led by quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice, will ultimately decide if they can make a Super Bowl run.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-3. The Steelers lead the AFC North after they defeated division rival the Cincinnati Bengals and after the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Seattle Seahawks. In an AFC that appears to be wide open, the Steelers, led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and defensive back Troy Polamalu, have the ability to perform in the clutch that make them a contender to reach the Super Bowl. The Steelers travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs, a game they should win easily.
5. New Orleans Saints, 7-3. A win over division rival the Atlanta Falcons has the Saints firmly atop the NFC South. Led by quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints have the second-highest scoring offense in the NFL with 313 points. The Saints do leave a lot to be desired defensively, and when their offense struggles, they are vulnerable. Still, their offense will keep them in any game against any opponent, making them a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Saints host the New York Giants in one of the best match ups this week.
6. Houston Texans, 7-3. With the foot injury to Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart will start. The Texans have the second-highest-scoring offense in the AFC, led by two NFL top-11 running backs, Arian Foster and Ben Tate, who have combined for over to 1,400 yards in 10 games. The Texans are experiencing their best season in franchise history and appear on pace to win their first-ever division crown. The Texans travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars.
7. New England Patriots, 6-3. Quarterback Tom Brady has the New England Patriots again contending for a Super Bowl and they now own a two-game lead over the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants exposed some of the weaknesses of the Patriots, but an easy schedule should lead them to a division crown. The Patriots travel to face the talented 4-6 Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.
8. Chicago Bears, 7-3. After a 2-3 start, the Chicago Bears have won five in a row and are securely entrenched in the NFC Wild Card Race, but a thumb injury to starting quarterback Jay Cutler could derail their playoff aspirations. The Bears own the fourth- stingiest defense in the National Football Conference. Running back Matt Forte is fourth in the NFL in rushing, averaging 5.0 yards per game. The Bears travel to play the Oakland Raiders Sunday.
9. Detroit Lions, 7-3. The Detroit Lions are one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season at 7-3. With quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson leading the offense, and defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley leading the defense, this young team will be making noise for the foreseeable future. The Lions also have shown the ability to come back from large deficits, so they are never out of a game. The Lions hos the 10-0 Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving.
10. Dallas Cowboys, 6-4. The Dallas Cowboys have won three in a row, and starting quarterback Tony Romo has appeared to cut down on the foolish turnovers he was making at the beginning of the season. The Cowboys are loaded with talent, including Romo, defensive lineman DeMarcus Ware, and tight end Jason Witten, to name a few, and can play with any team in the league. The Cowboys host the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving.