The 14th Sunday of NFL play shed some light on how the teams stack up. Here’s how I see it …
1. Saints — It hasn’t always been pretty, but no one’s beat them yet.
2. Colts — You could say the same thing about these guys. They almost let the Broncos back in.
3. Chargers — Workmanlike results behind the least glamorous stud quarterback in the league. They just keep humming along.
4. Cardinals — Will Larry Fitzgerald go bonkers in the playoffs again this season? If he does, I have no problem seeing them back where they were last year.
5. Vikings — I thought the physical Bengals would give them a test, but kudos to the Vikings. Getting Antoine Winfield back is huge. They have to solidify that secondary.
6. Packers — The ground game is catching up to the passing game. They won a huge divisional game despite not having their nose tackle. They could get a sixth straight win against Pittsburgh this week.
7. Eagles — DeSean Jackson may have to enter the MVP conversation. He saved their bacon Sunday night when the defense was getting shredded.
8. Bengals — They better get Carson Palmer and that passing game more involved. If they get too one-dimensional things could turn for the worse.
9. Ravens — Three more wins and they’re back in the playoffs. They got Terrell Suggs back, and they could get Ed Reed back in time for the game at Pittsburgh. Ray Rice is the truth.
10. Broncos — Quite a comeback attempt against the Colts. Twenty one catches for Brandon Marshall? Wow.
11. Titans — Chris Johnson is a beast’s beast. I have a hard time thinking they could lose 59-0 to New England now.
12. Giants — They put up over 500 yards at home and lost on two return TDs. Regardless, I’m sticking with them to reach the playoffs. It’s between the Giants and Dallas for the final wild-card spot, and the G-men hold the tiebreakers. They are defensively suspect for sure, but I’m sticking with them getting in.
13. Patriots — They won, but they drop again here. Too much drama, not enough big plays. They’ll win that division, but they have some issues right now, Tom Brady‘s health among them.
14. Dolphins — They got a clutch victory over the Jaguars to stay in the playoff hunt. They are gaining steam, and Ricky Williams continues to produce.
15. Jets — Nice win without Mark Sanchez. They are still in the playoff hunt.
16. Steelers — It’s over, and the problems run deeper than just Troy Polamalu‘s injury. The Browns wanted that game more Thursday night, which was stunning from the soon-to-be-dethroned champs.
17. Cowboys — The December woes are happening again. So much for a high-powered offense.
18. Jaguars — They don’t do enough things well enough to reach the playoffs, in my humble opinion. Tough task coming with the Colts in town on NFL Network on Thursday night.
19. Falcons — Losing Matt Ryan and Michael Turner in December is just too much. They still nearly snapped the Saints’ run.
20. Texans — Outstanding showing Sunday, but probably too little, too late.
21. Panthers — They gave the Pats a good fight.
22. Bears — They don’t run the ball well enough or play good enough defense to beat most teams.
23. Seahawks — The discrepancy in play between home and road is stunning/embarrassing.
24. 49ers — September feels like a long time ago.
25. Redskins — Nice bounce back win after a crushing loss to the Saints. This team could be on a five-game win streak, but I’d still be stunned if Jim Zorn remains there.
26. Raiders — Losing Bruce Gradkowski, and having to go back to JaMarcus Russell, ended any hopes of winning two in a row.
27. Bills — They lack the depth and skill to win with any regularity at this point. But 2-2 under Perry Fewell ain’t bad at all.
28. Chiefs — Jamaal Charles is one of few bright spots. My skepticism about Matt Cassel is only intensifying.
29. Browns — That was their Super Bowl over Pittsburgh on Thursday. Still tragically flawed on both sides of the ball, but they’ve got Josh Cribbs.
30. Rams — This is going to be a long rebuild, it seems. Have the Titans stopped scoring touchdowns yet?
31. Lions — Nineteen straight road losses and counting.
32. Bucs — Just gonna go with what I wrote last week: Might be stuck on one win for quite some time.