1) Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 1 = E)
The Eagles had a bye week and now prepare for one of the toughest four-game stretches in the NFL this year: at Cowboys, vs Bears, at Seahawks and at Rams. As I stated last week, I am very close to buying all in on Philly, but still need to see more. Go 3-1 during that tough stretch and you have me sold.
2) New England Patriots (Last week: 2 = +1)
As I stated on yesterday’s show, I apologize. I am sorry for ever doubting the greatness that is Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. They have spanked me week after week into fully believing in this team again. While I still do have my concerns about their overall defense and the offensive line, tell me who they are going to lose to the rest of the way?
The Steelers? The Raiders? Those are New England’s two toughest opponents for the rest of the season and even if they go 1-1, the Patriots are going to cruz to another 13-3 record and an AFC East crown. I am right back to where I was going into the season with this team: They are going to steam role through the AFC in the playoffs and we will address the Super Bowl when they get their not if.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 2 = -1)
Yes, they barley beat the Colts, but a win is still a win. Sometimes teams — especially the Steelers — have ugly wins and that is exactly what we saw on Sunday. I still need to see more, but if JuJu Smith-Schuster can perform anywhere close to what he has the past two weeks, it will give Pittsburgh the threat they have needed behind Antonio Brown for a long time.
At this point, the rest of their schedule (Titans, Packers, Bengals Ravens, Patriots, Texans and Browns) screams anything but difficult which will lead them to another 10-11 win season and likely a first-round bye in the playoffs. Just to be the punching bag for the Patriots in the AFC Championship game like I have been saying now for months.
4) Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 4 = E)
At this point they are making the playoffs. Yup, the 2017 Rams are making the playoffs. According to ESPN, their chances are set at 84 percent right now which is really high, but still seems low.
Regardless, it was another week and another blow out win. Granted it has been against bad teams (Jaguars, Cardinals, Giants and Texans) but the Rams have won those games by an average of 26 points. Blowing out bad teams is exactly what good teams do.
In any NFL game the three major categories you should look at is quarterback, head coach and the trenches. In most games, the Rams are going to have the distinct advantage; ranking in the top 10 or five in all of them.
5) New Orleans Saints (Last week: 5 = E)
Yes, they look really impressive right now. There is no denying that. Just like everyone else is, I could write about how impressive their offense is (which reminds me of the Falcons offense from last year) and how they are going to make the playoffs baring an unforeseen collapse.
However, I am not sold. I get that sounds weird to say about a 7-2 team, but I’m not. Over the pass couple of weeks I hear everyone raving about this Saints defense that ranks top 10 in most statically categories which is true.
What is this very good defense that everyone is speaking of and does not exist. The two times they faced good offenses (New England and Detroit) they gave up 36 and 38 points. Eventually, even though it is likely to be in the playoffs, that is going to cost them.
For now, they have another likely win against Washington next week.
The rest of my top 10:
6) Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 6 = E)
7) Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 9 = +2)
8) Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 8 = E)
9) Carolina Panthers (Last week: 10 = +1)
10) Tennessee Titans (Last week: NR)
-Article by Nick Friend
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