The 12th Sunday of NFL play shed some light on how the teams stack up. Here’s how I see it …
1. Saints — Should have their hands full Monday night. They stay at the top until/unless someone knocks them off.
2. Colts — String of comeback wins is phenomenal. Winning without Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders is also impressive.
3. Vikings — Minnesota is making it look easy in running away with the NFC North. Would you sit Brett Favre for a game down the stretch, even with the games played streak?
4. Patriots — I’m still very comfortable with my preseason Super Bowl pick.
5. Chargers — Their offense is unstoppable at times. Things are setting up very nicely for them to be at home to start the playoffs.
6. Bengals — They are going to win their division and will be in good shape come the postseason.
7. Cardinals — Kurt Warner‘s health is paramount. He’s expected to play next week, but any setback would be tough to overcome.
8. Eagles — No style points, but a win is a win. They are right in the hunt, but losing DeSean Jackson will sting.
9. Ravens — Joe Flacco is still a little shaky over the middle and late in games, but the defense is back big-time, and Terrell Suggs is getting better.
10. Steelers — Ben Roethlisberger‘s status, coupled with other injuries and a three-game losing streak has the Super Bowl champs in need of a spark. Kick and punt coverage remains poor.
11. Titans — No one wants to see these guys right now. Chris Johnson is the single most explosive force in football and Vince Young doesn’t lose. The defense has its bite back.
12. Packers — They have put together a nice little streak over NFC opponents to get right in the wild-card hunt. The pass protection has been better.
13. Cowboys — Their upcoming schedule will test them and tell the tale of whether they can get through December without falling apart.
14. Broncos — That was a statement game Thanksgiving, and now they get a nice rest period. Still not sold on them, though, as a playoff team.
15. Falcons — A gutsy comeback without their quarterback. A banged up Matt Ryan and Michael Turner is not a good thing, however.
16. Giants — Call me naïve, but I’m not giving up on them yet. It doesn’t look good, but three straight division games could get them back on their feet.
17. Jets — A win Thursday night in Toronto would be a nice tonic and get them back in the playoff equation.
18. Dolphins — Ricky Williams’ goal-line interception was a killer. I still love their power running game.
19. Jaguars — They won’t hold up against the better teams on their schedule, but could deliver the death blow to division-rival Houston.
20. 49ers — They always play hard. They will be a tough out, but their hole is probably too deep to get out of.
21. Texans — Same ol’, same ol’. They find a way to lose games they just have to win.
22. Bears — Their road woes are brutal. Cutler is 1-5 away from home, with 8 TDs and 17 interceptions. Ouch.
23. Panthers — Jake Delhomme’s interception-itis is back with bells on.
24. Seahawks — Matt Hasselbeck can still win you some football games.
25. Chiefs — They ran into a potent Chargers team at the wrong time.
26. Bills — Ryan Fitzpatrick-to-T.O. is becoming a formidable connection. Congrats to Perry Fewell on his first win as coach under very difficult conditions.
27. Rams — If nothing else, they always have Steven Jackson.
28. Redskins — The defense is no joke. Give the ‘Skins ample credit for playing very hard despite injuries. They have been much more competitive since the bye.
29. Raiders — Each time I give them some credit, they lay an egg the following week.
30. Lions — They couldn’t muster much on Thanksgiving.
31. Buccaneers — Wins are very hard to come by for them, but I do enjoy watching Josh Freeman.
32. Browns — The offense is offensive. The defense is often offensive. Worst of the worst.