Whatta ya know? The top-ranked team made it through a Sunday unscathed. So Green Bay stays atop the SportsLine.com Power Rankings.
No. 2 wasn't as lucky.
The Denver Broncos somehow were the team that got hit by the Curse of the Top Spot this week, even though they came in ranked second. Denver was destroyed Monday night by the Raiders as Rich Gannon turned the game into a 7-on-7 drill.
There was no pass rush, so it may as well have been 7-on-7. Gannon carved the Denver defense to shreds, completing 21 consecutive passes at one point, and putting off, for now, the talk that the Broncos were the class of the AFC.
|Brett Favre shares a laugh with ex-Packers great Reggie White late in Sunday's rout. (AP)|
In their 40-14 rout, Green Bay served notice that not only are they the best team right now, but they very well could be come January.
We all know Brett Favre is good, but now the defense is starting to come together as well. A group of young players, such as rookie safety Marques Anderson and linebacker Na'il Diggs, are big parts of that improvement.
If the Packers continue to get that type of play from their defense, expect the NFC playoffs to go through Lambeau Field. They do have a showdown with the Buccaneers in Tampa in two weeks that could go a long way in deciding who gets home-field advantage in the playoffs.
The Bucs, 49ers, Saints and Eagles -- despite their horrific performance Sunday -- remain the primary contenders in the NFC. The Rams, Giants and Falcons are all still very much alive after turning around their seasons the past month.
The AFC seems to get murkier by the week, especially with the Broncos' step back Monday. Most coaches still consider the Broncos the best team in the AFC, but to lose that way at home is a bad sign.
That loss could very well mean that the home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs will likely go to the Steelers, whose schedule might help them get it.
Denver still has to play at San Diego and at Oakland in its division and has out-of-division games against the Colts and Jets. The Steelers' only real tough remaining games are at Tennessee this week and at Tampa Bay in December.
The other AFC divisions are a mess. In the East, three teams are tied with 5-4 records with the 4-5 Jets right back in the race.
Denver still leads the West, but that hold isn't as firm as it was Monday afternoon.
The AFC South is the division that seems to be the one nobody wants to win, although the Colts spoke loudly Sunday in Philadelphia. If their offense plays that way, and the defense continues to grow, the Colts could be one of those teams that could peak in December.
Green Bay may be the only team peaking right now. Whether they can stay there is another issue. The fact they made it though a week without losing gives them a leg up on the previous four No. 1 teams.
The Curse of the Top Spot didn't get them.
It aimed lower, and instead picked off the Broncos.
The rankings for Nov. 12: