Late last Thursday night, I told Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff something that made them cringe.
"I think just watched one of the two best teams in the NFC," I said. "The Giants and Falcons have the two best teams in the conference."
They both waved me away.
It's November. You don't want to be a champ in November. But this is the month for separation. This is the month where contenders emerge and the pretenders fade away.
The Falcons are a contender.
For now, they're the top team in the CBSSports.com Power Rankings. That's because the latest No. 1 -- the Giants -- got manhandled at home by a Dallas Cowboys team that had been dreadful in its previous two games.
That leaves the Falcons at 7-2 with the best record in the NFC. If the NFC playoffs started today, they would go through Atlanta.
"Man, there's so much football to go," Falcons receiver Roddy White said. "We can't worry about that stuff. If we keep winning, it will take care of itself."
When the season began, the Falcons were my pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Colts were my pick in the AFC.
I believe more in the former than the latter. We will know more about the Colts this week when they go to New England to play the Patriots. Those are classics, and it's once again a big game in the conference. Anytime Tom Brady and Peyton Manning get together, it's a treat.
|NFL -- Week 10|
The one thing that stands out about this season so far is 10 weeks in there is no dominant team. The Falcons, Jets and Patriots are tied for the best record at 7-2, but if you look inside those numbers they aren't without faults.
The Jets have won consecutive road games in overtime against two lesser teams. The Patriots blew out the Steelers on Sunday night, but that was a week after getting hammered by the Browns. The Falcons have won five games in the final minute.
So even the really good teams are in fights this season. There is no dominance. Anybody is beatable. Just ask the Giants, last week's top team. The Philadelphia Eagles, who actually beat the Falcons, seem to be flying high. But the Giants come to town this week, so that can change quickly.
It's no wonder guys like Smith and Dimitroff want no part of the best-team talk now.
The final seven weeks of the season will offer up a lot of big games because there is no separation in any division. That's what the NFL loves. It brings end-of-season intrigue and lots of unpredictability.
Best team? Who wants that title now anyway?