The Patriots solidified their No. 1 ranking with a blowout victory in Buffalo, while Atlanta fell back into the mess that follows. Right now, it’s New England, and then it’s everyone else.
1. New England Patriots (13-2, 1st last week)
In the second half of their historic 2007 season, the Patriots averaged 32.2 points per game. During the second half of 2010: 37.3.
2. Atlanta Falcons (12-3, 2nd last week)
Without two big mistakes from Drew Brees, that could have been an ugly loss Monday night against New Orleans.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4, 4th last week)
Division title is no sure thing. Remember that they lost to the Browns in December last year.
4. Baltimore Ravens (11-4, 5th last week)
Joe Flacco has thrown 39 passes in two weeks. That’s the way it should be. It’s the Baltimore way.
5. New Orleans Saints (11-4, 6th last week)
Watch out for that running game when Chris Ivory returns. The Saints scare the hell out of me.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (10-5, 3rd last week)
I don’t trust this team to win three or four games in a row in January. I’m not saying they can’t do it, but I’m not betting on it.
7. Green Bay Packers (9-6, 10th last week)
Aaron Rodgers. That is all.
8. Chicago Bears (11-4, 9th last week)
Lovie Smith will play his starters regardless. Dude hates the Packers.
9. Indianapolis Colts (9-6, 11th last week)
Maybe the run defence is fixed. But will that be enough?
10. Kansas City Chiefs (10-5, 13th last week)
Any other season and Matt Cassel would be getting MVP votes.
11. New York Jets (10-5, 12th last week)
Remember when the Jets used to have a pass rush that put fear into opponents?
12. New York Giants (9-6, 8th last week)
I still think they might sneak into the playoffs thanks to Chicago, but I don’t think they deserve it.
13. San Diego Chargers (8-7, 7th last week)
Norv Turner has one year to get things straight.
14. Detroit Lions (5-10, 20th last week)
Wanna bet the Lions will be a trendy pick to win the NFC North next year? I don’t know if they’ll be able to beat out the Packers and Bears, but they will be a wild-card contender.
15. Oakland Raiders (7-8, 15th last week)
They need more support on defence for Richard Seymour, Rolando McClain and Nnamdi Asomugha.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6, 21st last week)
Here’s another popular division champion pick for 2011.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7, 14th last week)
Realistically, this is the Jacksonville team we all expected to see throughout 2010.
18. St. Louis Rams (7-8, 18th last week)
I’m actually quite excited to see how the young Rams perform against the Saints on wild-card weekend. And yes, I’m jumping that far ahead.
19. Buffalo Bills (4-11, 17th last week)
Still don’t think Ryan Fitzpatrick is the long-term answer.
20. Dallas Cowboys (5-10, 16th last week)
Jason Garrett has a lot of work to do. The Cowboys have an attitude problem.
21. Miami Dolphins (7-8, 19th last week)
Yeah, I picked them to win the AFC East.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11, 26th last week)
Carson Palmer has one more week to prove that this isn’t an anomaly and he does have gas left in his tank.
23. Cleveland Browns (5-10, 24th last week)
They need Peyton Hillis to stand a chance against the Steelers.
24. San Francisco 49ers (5-10, 25th last week)
Please, Niners — hire a general manager before you hire a head coach. That way, mistakes like the one you made with Shaun Hill are less likely to take place.
25. Tennessee Titans (6-9, 22nd last week)
You’d have to think that Jeff Fisher is about to coach his last game with the Titans.
26. Houston Texans (5-10, 23rd last week)
But will Fisher stay in the division and jump to Houston? Because Gary Kubiak is a dead coach walking.
27. Minnesota Vikings (6-9, 29th last week)
Let Joe Webb compete with Tarvaris Jackson in the summer and use your money and draft picks on offensive line help.
28. Washington Redskins (6-9, 28th last week)
Calm down, Redskins fans. The Jaguars beat themselves Sunday.
29. Denver Broncos (4-11, 32nd last week)
I’m impressed by Tim Tebow, but the quarterback play has never been the problem in Denver. They need to address their issues in the front seven.
30. Arizona Cardinals (5-10, 31st last week)
I’m pretty sure no team will be in worse shape heading into 2011 than the Cards.
31. Seattle Seahawks (6-9, 27th last week)
Too many injuries, too many weak spots. If they somehow beat the Rams, they’ll be the worst playoff team in NFL history.
32. Carolina Panthers (2-13, 30th last week)
Don’t expect them to hang with the pissed off Falcons.