The playoff picture is starting to become clear and there is now a dominant team in the NFL emerging. This is the first week in a while where there is no changes in our top five rankings. The only changes occur in our honorable mentions. There are at least 5 huge games this week that could definitely impact our rankings and have huge playoff implications. On a side note, The Mole & Meares Show, our online NFL picks show, will be appearing on Inside the NFL on December 22nd on Showtime at 9pm. Our video from last week featured Susannah Collins from Inside the NFL who made a special guest appearance. Make sure to check it out at ww.moleandmeares.com. Ok...Here we go...
1. New England Patriots (11-2) - Last two weeks, Patriots 81, opponents 10. Those two games were against division leaders, not the Panthers and the Bills. The Patriots have now emerged as the dominant team in the NFL. Tom Brady is the hands on favorite to win the MVP award. Bill Belichick should win the coach of the year. With all of that said, they actually have a very good game this week as they welcome in the desperate Green Bay Packers. The Packers could be without Aaron Rodgers (concussion) and if that is true, the Packers have no chance to win. Can anyone compete with the Patriots at this point?
2. Atlanta Falcons (11-2) - The Falcons took care of business on Sunday in what could have been a trap game against the lowly Carolina Panthers. The Falcons got out to an early lead and never looked back. This week they travel across the country to face the Seahawks in one of the toughest stadiums to play in. The Seahawks are coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of the 49ers and will be desperate for a win to have any chance of making the playoffs this year. I think the Falcons have progressed enough to take care of business but I wouldn't be completely surprised to see an upset. The Falcons will face the Saints the week after so they need to take care of business or risk playing for the division the following week.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) - The Steelers defense made the Bengals look awful on Sunday. Not only did the Steelers hold the Bengals to 34 yards rushing but the only two touchdowns the Steelers scored came on the defensive side of the ball with two interceptions returned to the house. The Steelers might be the only team that can compete with the Patriots in the AFC, the only problem is that Tom Brady is incredible against the Steelers. This Sunday the Steelers will invite the reeling Jets into Heinz field. The Jets have lost two games in a row and have looked pitiful doing it. If the Steelers defense continues to play like they did this past Sunday, this game will be over early in the first quarter.
4. New Orleans Saints (10-3) - Are the Saints the quietest defending Superbowl champions ever? No one is talking about them yet they continue to improve each week. For the fifth consecutive week, the Saints put up at least 30 points. Their offense is beginning to click on all cylinders especially with the return of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush to full health. There is a chance, albeit a small one, that if they win out they could get the number one seed in the NFC. With that said, this Sunday will be a huge test for the Saints as they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens. If the Saints go into the Raven's house and win, I guarantee they will no longer be under the radar.
5. Baltimore Ravens (9-4) - The Ravens won last night against the Texans although it took them till overtime to get the job done. I predicted the Ravens to win the Superbowl before the season and I am starting to lose faith. They had a huge lead which they allowed the Texans to erase and could have easily lost this game. They haven't been playing Ravens defense of recent and if they are going to emerge as the AFC representative in Dallas in February then they need to get back to Ravens football. This week they face a very tough test when the Saints come marching into Baltimore. The defense will need to find a way to stop the potent Saints offense in order to win this game.
Honorable Mentions: Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers
There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 14. Thoughts or opinions? Feel free to leave a comment! Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 15 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.