Heading into December, I'm still not sure we know anything more than we did a few weeks ago. It would appear that Atlanta has separated itself from the pack in the NFC, but their home-field advantage negates any certainty in analyzing them. The AFC still has a bunch of good teams at the top, but with the falling off of the entire South division, I'm not sure that it's the stronger conference. The West division in both conferences is abhorrent, though. Let's go!
1.) Atlanta (9-2) [no change]
19-1 at home with Matt Ryan starting at QB. Can they beat a legitimate team on the road? I think so, but that doesn't mean anything until they actually do it. In any case, home-field in the NFC is exactly what Atlanta needs, and with some luck they'll get it.
2.) NY Jets (9-2) [no change]
A solid home win for the Jets over Cincinnati. It probably should have come easier. But hey, they're 9-2 and have a huge game this coming Monday against the Pats. Control of the AFC East and home-field advantage is at stake. It isn't likely that the winner of that game gets caught.
3.) New England (9-2) [no change]
First half, not so good. Second half, freakin' spectacular. I guess that's how the Patriots roll against a bad team. Now they get the Jets on Monday Night, and they can ill afford to play as they did in the first half on Thanksgiving.
4.) Pittsburgh (8-3) [+1]
Going into OT at Buffalo, I was concerned about the Steelers. Especially since "broadcast regulations" prevented me from actually watching the OT period. Stupid "broadcast regulations". Anyway, they were saved by a well-timed drop and Rashard Mendenhall having the game of his life. Or at least a very good game.
5.) Baltimore (8-3) [+2]
Probably not the most impressive win of their season, since they were playing Tampa Bay. The Bucs can't beat teams with winning records. That aside, the Ravens are challenging in the AFC North and have a chance to lock it up this coming week. Or at least get closer to locking it up.
6.) New Orleans (8-3) [+2]
Luckily for Drew Brees and the Saints, Roy Williams (Cowboys WR, natch) sucks. It doesn't hurt that Brees is a heck of a QB, either. And that giving him any time to operate inevitably results in a TD for the Saints.
7.) Chicago (8-3) [-]
Somehow, the Bears made it back into the Rankings. I guess it has something to do with them being 8-3 and not enough good teams above them. As soon as they lose again, they're out, because they've really rubbed me the wrong way this season.
8.) Kansas City (7-4) [-]
Going to Seattle last week, I heard that the "12th Man" would make a difference in Qwest Field. Well, I guess the Chiefs imported their own 12th man, because they whipped the Seahawks. I don't think it was close at any point in the game. I think this means we have to take Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe seriously; at least, as long as they're playing this well.
9.) Philadelphia (7-4) [-5]
Disappointing game all around for the Eagles, despite getting close near the end. The offense was bland, the defense stunk, and the special teams couldn't keep Chicago out of good field position. Ugly.
10.) Green Bay (7-4) [-4]
I'm pleased that the Packers didn't beat Atlanta, because I wouldn't have been able to stand all the sucking up Aaron Rodgers would have received. Of course, since the Packers played well, lots of people sucked up to Rodgers anyway. It looks like they have a dogfight with the Bears coming up. Of course, I still think the Bears are going to crash and burn, which would leave the NFC North to the Packers by default.
Thanks for reading. See you next week!