The 13th Sunday of NFL play shed some light on how the teams stack up. Here’s how I see it …
1. Saints — They had no business pulling off that comeback, but you have to applaud their will. Another huge win fueled by the passing attack and more takeaways by the D.
2. Colts — I thought the Titans would end their run. Twenty one straight regular season wins? Amazing.
3. Chargers — If it wasn’t for two undefeated teams — a first this late in the season — we’d be talking about these guys as the hottest team in the league.
4. Cardinals — A very real factor in the NFC playoffs. They are more balanced than the team that made Super Bowl run last season.
5. Vikings — Not running the ball as well as some would think, and not quite as stout against the run as some would think as well.
6. Bengals — Power running game defines everything they do. Defense is excellent. Pittsburgh’s loss pretty much cements the AFC North for Cincy.
7. Eagles — Their offense can be awful hard to stop when they’re on, and they could be getting more healthy.
8. Ravens — Monday night win at Green Bay would be huge with the rest of the schedule setting up nicely. They should get Terrell Suggs back in a week or two, also.
9. Packers — They are not getting enough credit for being a top-six team on offense and defense (though special teams is not so hot).
10. Patriots — Offense gets up early then stalls and defense can’t make key stops in the second half. Troubling combination. Time for Bill Belichick to save the day, right?
11. Broncos — Putting things back together after horror spell.
12. Titans — The streak is over, but that’s a game they could have easily won. No shame in losing to the Colts; everyone else is doing it.
13. Giants — I said a week ago it wasn’t over with this team. They swept Dallas, they get Philly at home and then go to Washington. They could still win the division.
14. Steelers — The defense is the problem. They have held a fourth-quarter lead in five of six losses this season. They are not nearly the same team without Troy Polamalu. I didn’t see four straight losses coming, but it’s very real.
15. Dolphins — So much for New England running away with the AFC East. That was a great comeback when it could have been over after one quarter. I can’t believe Chad Henne attempted that many passes.
16. Cowboys — They might be stuck on eight wins for a while with a brutal schedule ahead. I wouldn’t go counting any chickens in Texas.
17. Jets — Mark Sanchez’s sliding lessons didn’t exactly sink in, eh? Nice work to get back to .500.
18. Jaguars — That was a big division win, but I suspect the schedule catches up with them from here on out. They have caught some pretty stunning breaks.
19. Falcons — It is gonna be a long, hard road with Matt Ryan and Michael Turner beat up and the defense so limited.
20. Seahawks — Like I said last week, Matt Hasselbeck can still win you some football games, especially at home.
21. Panthers — With that running game, Matt Moore might be the way to go at quarterback for a while.
22. 49ers — Alex Smith is showing surprising strides, but a 1-5 road record will damn their playoff lives.
23. Bears — Ugly win, but much, much needed. Lovie Smith needs a few more for sure.
24. Texans — Four straight losses to divisional foes, and I’m not surprised at all.
25. Raiders — They’ll probably go out and get blown out next week, but man, when these guys are on, they’re a hoot. How about Bruce Gradkowski? Are you kidding me? What a gamer.
26. Redskins — I continue to be shocked by how hard they play, and what ridiculous ways by which they lose. Could’ve easily topped Dallas, Philly and New Orleans in three straight weeks. Playing their hearts out.
27. Chiefs — Matt Cassel might not ever justify that contract. And if not, it does not bode well for the overall rebuilding project.
28. Bills — Lack the depth and skill to win with any regularity at this point.
29. Rams — You can’t win games with Kyle Boller, but they’ve been in every one for a while now.
30. Lions — Eighteen straight road losses and counting.
31. Buccaneers — They might be stuck on one win for quite a while.
32. Browns — Brady Quinn has been making some plays for them, but the hole is so very deep.