Well it was a big week for the NFC North as every team in the division won. The most impressive to say the least was the Packers win in Atlanta over the Falcons. The least has to go the Bears who managed to take advantage of a constant 40 mile per hour wind in Chicago to beat the 49ers. The Vikings made big plays, but did little else to escape with a win. And the Lions jumped on the back of Joey Harrington to beat the Cards. Enjoy it now, because another 4-0 week by this conference seems unlikely.
The Falcons and The Giants, both victims of the NFC North resurgence this week both take a hit in the power poll this week. Both turned the ball over and both fell behind in the NFC race. The Falcons are the fare worse culprit as they lost at home to a Packers team that rarely looked good enough to beat bad teams, never mind a contender.
On the good side, the Panthers and Seahawks continued their strong play and are vying for best team in the NFC. But no such battle exists in the AFC as the Colts continue to roll and distance themselves from the pack.
1. Indianapolis Colts 9-0 (1): The Colts are clearly the top team, but talk of an undefeated season is premature as the road ahead includes 5 possible playoff teams.
2. Denver Broncos 7-2 (2): Defense, solid running game and a QB that is making few mistakes is the perfect formula for the post season.
3. Carolina Panthers 7-2 (3): The win streak stand at 6 and the division is theirs to lose, but need to get by the next 2 weeks on the road.
4. Seattle Seahawks 7-2 (7): Shaun Alexander has lead the Hawks to a big division lead and now the focus goes to home field advantage, which will be important as they have never traveled to the East coast well.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-2 (4): May try to go 3-0 without Big Ben, but shouldn’t be hard as they face a dreadful Ravens team.
6. Cincinnati Bengals 7-2 (8): It’s been a long time since a Bengals bye week killed your fantasy team. But they will need the extra week if they plan on upsetting the Colts this week.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-3 (13): The Jags have the easiest schedule down the stretch, but even if the go 13-3, they will likely be looking up at the Colts and will have to travel in the playoffs.
8. NY Giants 6-3 (5): With only 16 games under his belt, Eli will have days like this, he did lead his team back to tie the game, but the defense couldn’t make a final stand.
9. Atlanta Falcons 6-3 (6): Vick ruined a second straight solid passing performance by fumbling 3 times. That cost the Falcons a share of the division lead in a game which they should of easily won.
10. Dallas Cowboys 6-3 (10): The Cowboys usually don’t get a Christmas gift from the Eagles, but Donavan sent a pick(age) to Roy Williams for the go ahead score late in the 4th. It also gave the Cowboys a share of the division.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-3 (12): It was a gutsy call to go for the 2 point conversion to win the game, and seems to be a new trend. But the running game needs to dramatically improve.
12. Chicago Bears 6-3 (14): Apparently anyone can run behind the Bears line as Adrian Peterson racked up his first 100 yard game. The defense is for real and so are the Bears hopes.
13. San Diego Chargers 5-4 (11): The Chargers have an uphill battle to make the playoffs as they come off their bye week. They need to address the late game collapses that have plagued them all season.
14. Washington Redskins 5-4 (9): A tough loss to Tampa, but a dominating performance by Clinton Portis is encouraging. The Skins are still within a game of the NFC East lead.
15. New England Patriots 5-4 (16): It wasn’t pretty in Miami, but it usually never is, but none the less an important win. The defensive played better in the red zone, but still gave up too much yardage to a bad offensive Dolphins squad.
16. Kansas City Chiefs 5-4 (12): The Chiefs are sliding out of playoff contention. Lucky for them, they play the Texans next week.
17. St. Louis Rams 4-5 (18): The Rams showed last again that at best they are a one an out playoff team. They can’t play defense and the coaching isn’t very good despite Martz being gone.
18. Philadelphia Eagles 4-5 (17): The Eagles find themselves at a very unfamiliar spot, the bottom of the NFC East. And if that isn’t bad enough, it looks like Donavan McNabb won’t be around to help them climb out. Unfortunately they finally got a running game.
19. Buffalo Bills 4-5 (21): The Bills capitalized on KC turnovers to pick up the win and stay in the AFC East Race. JP Losman played well off the bench, as Holcomb went down with a concussion.
20. Detroit Lions 4-5 (24): Harrington’s performance is probably more of a reflection of how bad the Cardinals are. The best team they have beat is the 3-6 Browns.
21. Oakland Raiders 3-6 (19): The Raiders still have a long way to go on both sides of the ball.
22. Miami Dolphins 3-6 (20): The Dolphins did a good job on offense and on defense causing problems for Tom Brady, but couldn’t stop Mr. Clutch in the final minutes. Nick Saban has done an excellent job despite the record.
23. Minnesota Vikings 4-5 (23): Don’t read to much into the Vikings win, they still gave up over 400 yards on defense and the offense averaged a meek 4.2 yards per play. But 5 turnovers and big plays out of the special teams make up for a lot.
24. Cleveland Browns 3-6 (22): The Browns offense needs a kick start and I wonder if the time for Charlie Frye is coming.
25. Green Bay Packers 2-7 (30): At the least, the Packers showed everyone they shouldn’t be taken lightly with a pick upset of the Falcons on the road.
26. NY Jets 2-7 (25): Well the Jets are getting closer and closer to getting a QB in next years draft.
27. Arizona Cardinals 2-7 (26): Kurt Warner can still put up the yards, but finding the end zone has been a problem.
28. Baltimore Ravens 2-7 (27): It’s kind of funny watching the Ravens offense and recalling that Brian Billick was dubbed an offensive genius.
29. New Orleans Saints 2-7 (28): The Saints may actually get a chance to put some points on the board this week, they play the Patriots.
30. Tennessee Titans 2-7 (29): You have to wonder if this is the last season for Steve McNair in Tennessee. It may be time to retire or take a back up job elsewhere because his body can’t handle rebuilding around him.
31. San Francisco 49ers 2-7 (31): The 49ers were already having troubles in the passing game, they didn’t need to try it in the 40 mile per hour wind in Chicago that lead to Cody Pickett having a 7.5 QB rating.
32. Houston Texans 1-8 (32): At least they covered the spread.