1) New England Patriots (Last week: 1 = E)
Did anyone really expect the results to be different on Sunday? Even when New England was down, I had no doubt what the end result would be. Am I still concerned about their defense? Absolutely, but the problem is that no one in the AFC can taken advantage of it.
It’s shaping up to be yet another run to the Super Bowl and we’ll see what happens there type of year for New England. They will have to beat themselves in order not to and how often does Tom Brady and Bill Belichick do that?
2) Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 2 = E)
As I said last week, long term the Eagles are still done – in terms of their Super Bowl aspirations. They just clinched a bye week which means they could win a round, but I hate to burst Eagles fans bubbles when I say they aren’t getting any further than that.
The real growing problem in Philadelphia is their defense looking awfully susceptible after the past couple weeks giving up 35 and 29. I get 35 to the LA Rams, but 29 to the Giants? If their secondary can’t get it together fast and in hurry, Philly fans can forget winning even a game in the postseason.
3) Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 4 = +1)
It’s one thing to beat the Seahawks, it’s another thing to do what the Rams did. For the third time this season the Rams bounced back after tough loses to good teams (Seahawks, Vikings and Eagles) to beat a solid opponent the next week. This is exhibit A of this team doing things that don’t make sense for a team so young. With matchups against the Titans and 49ers to wrap up the season, the 2017 Rams are going to have at least 11 wins.
Do I think they are going to make a deep playoff run? No, their inexperience will probably cost them. However, before this week I wouldn’t have put the “probably” in there. This inexplainable, mature win has me doubting if they might actually be able to pull of the impossible – young and inexperienced guys at some of the three most important positions (head coach, quarterback and running back) leading them on a deep run.
4) Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 3 = -1)
Their stunning loss *sarcasm* has me right back to square one with the Steelers. Of course they are really talented – one of the top WR and RB duos ever will do that – but time and time again they fail to execute in crunch time. Why should I believe it will be different this year?
Assuming they don’t really stumble over the next couple of weeks, Pittsburgh will have a bye week again and proceed to have a close win over whoever they end up playing just to get crushed in New England in the AFC Championship game. I have been saying this since the preseason and we are only weeks away from it becoming a reality. Can’t say I didn’t warn ya.
5) Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 8 = +3)
Just as I said last week, from five down this a whole mess of teams that are certainly playoff teams, but not championship teams. At this point I am bought in on the defense (mostly), but I still have little faith in their offense. With their remaining opponents being the Packers and Bears, they won’t really be tested until the playoffs and if I’m a Minnesota fan that would scare me.
Every year there is a Wild Card game defeat that really surprises people and it wouldn’t surprise me if that ends up including the Vikings.
The rest of my top 10:
6) Carolina Panthers (Last week: 5 = -1)
7) New Orleans Saints (Last week: 7 = E)
8) Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 9 = +1)
9) Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 6 = -3)
10) Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: NR)
-Article by Nick Friend
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