Here’s how I see it …
1. Colts: Amazing run of regular-season wins continues. Peyton Manning wills this team to victories.
2. Chargers: Probably playing the best football in the NFL right now.
3. Saints: In the long run, that loss is probably a good thing. Can focus solely on the playoffs. Badly need Jabari Greer and Sedrick Ellis back on D.
4. Eagles: Have it going now and Brian Westbrook is returning to practice fully this week. Defense has issues at times, particularly at LB, but the offense can be unstoppable.
5. Cardinals: Back-to-back suspect outings, but still like them to be a playoff factor.
6. Vikings: Brett Favre‘s reaction to being told to exit Sunday’s game shows who is boss … and also tells me we likely won’t see him sit and snap his games-started streak, even though he could use a rest. Still have a strong feeling this season ends with a sting for the Vikings.
7. Packers: Brutal loss has them dropping one, like the Saints did, but it’s not the end of the world. They weren’t going to win everything from here on out. Still very high on them.
8. Bengals: My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to them. What a gutsy effort in San Diego.
9. Ravens: Beat the heck out of poor teams at home last two weeks, but face archrival Steelers in Pittsburgh with playoffs on the line. Heinz Field has been very cruel to them.
10. Cowboys: Outstanding effort against Saints. Thought it was gonna slip away. Now they have to back it up, but Redskins could well derail them.
11. Titans: This is probably a top-five team, but that 0-6 start hangs over them. Love watching these guys. Vince Young is the real deal.
12. Patriots: They still don’t look right to me. Tom Brady is very beat up, offense isn’t prolific and defense clearly slipped some.
13. Steelers: I thought it was over for them, but then they pull another Heinz Field miracle and everyone they needed to lose pretty much did. Huge game with Ravens. Poor conference record likely still dooms them.
14. Broncos: The fact that they lost to the Ravens and Steelers could loom large before all is said and done. Still, just not sold on these guys with hot Eagles ahead this weekend.
15. Giants: Could we see three NFC East teams in the postseason?
16. Jaguars: Gave the Colts all they could handle, but with the schedule turning much tougher they’re on the ropes.
17. Dolphins: Will look back on three or four tough-luck losses as the difference between missing the playoffs and winning the division.
18. Jets: More growing pains for Mark Sanchez. Can’t ask for anything more from that defense.
19. Falcons: Get Matt Ryan and Michael Turner back a little too late.
20. Panthers: When they’re able to get a lead and play pure power football, they can sneak up on people.
21. Texans: Hardly an inspiring performance with their meager playoff hopes on the line.
22. Raiders: When they’re on, fuggedaboutit. They can play with anyone. They’ve whacked the Steelers, Bengals, Eagles and Broncos and should have beat San Diego in Week 1. If they could only put two good weeks together …
23. Redskins: Been so much better in second half of season. Defense is legit; offense making strides. But more change is ahead.
24. 49ers: Playing for 2010 now. Need to figure out the QB position, because a lot of other pieces are in place.
25. Browns: It’s all Josh Cribbs, all the time. Pay the man. He’s covering up a slew of warts right now. Hats off to Jerome Harrison, too.
26. Bills: You know you’ll get an honest effort from them every week.
27. Bears: After Sunday’s debacle, the Lovie Smith intrigue is gonna heat up. That defense is inept. Jay Cutler has been an absolute train wreck on the road. Debacle-licious.
28. Seahawks: Embarrassing outing. Not sure what direction these ‘Hawks are going in, but not looking good.
29. Chiefs: Do they play defense?
30. Buccaneers: Did not think they would win at Seattle, a long road trip with the season already having slipped away.
31. Lions: Gave the Cards a great game, but have a long way to go.
32. Rams: Looking like favorites for the first overall pick.