After weeks and weeks of utter mayhem in the league, things are starting to settle down. The Top 9 remains intact, and 8 of those nine teams came away with wins this weekend. With the playoff picture shaping up, the games between these elite teams become incredibly meaningful. Look for some great games in the weeks ahead.
|New England Patriots
|One year after losing 35-34 to the Colts after yielding a 17-point fourth quarter lead, the Patriots nearly blew it again; thanks to James Sanders and an ill-advised Peyton Manning pass, however, the Patriots clung to a 31-28 victory at home this year. The Patriots travel to Detroit for a Thanksgiving clash against the Lions next.
|Atlanta notched another win against the sack happy Rams (without giving up a sack). Atlanta has been brushed aside by critics for much of the year in favor of several AFC teams but maybe they have been underestimated.
|New York Jets
|The good luck continues in New York as the Jets escape sure defeat thanks to the Texans being unable to put the game away at New Meadowlands Stadium; the improbable 30-27 win keeps them atop the AFC East with a Thanksgiving night game hosting the Bengals upcoming.
|While he didn’t have the total domination game again this week, Mike Vick got things done against the Giants to help move them into first place in the tough NFC East.
|The Ravens took care of business in Carolina. This weekend’s matchup against Tampa Bay should be an interesting test to determine where both teams stand.
|Green Bay Packers
|Another week, another Green Bay win, another opposing head coach gets fired following the game. That streak will stop this week with Atlanta on the dockett and their four game win streak will be on the line.
|The Steelers dominated the Raiders. Despite the injuries they’ve had, they continue to keep pace with the Ravens atop the AFC North. They face the Bills this weekend but next Sunday night’s matchup with Baltimore looms large.
|New Orleans Saints
|The Saints have just a few days to rest up and get ready for their Thanksgiving matchup against the Cowboys. Suddenly this isn’t a “brees” of a game now that they Cowboys have decided to try (puns FTW).
|Let’s be fair to Peyton; without him, the Colts never have a chance to get back into the game at New England. However, a 4 TD and 3 INT performance was not enough to come all the way back for a win this year; the Colts return home to host a high-powered San Diego offense next Sunday night.
|San Diego Chargers
|Look out AFC West; it’s mid-November and the Chargers are just one game out of the lead after a dominant 35-14 performance hosting the Broncos on Monday Night Football. A tough road test awaits next Sunday night with a game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, however.
|New York Giants
|After their surprising loss to Dallas the Giants followed it up with another loss to another division rival, this time Philadelphia. Historically Eli, and the Giants, have faltered some as the weather gets colder but they are right in the race to lock up home field advantage for the entire playoffs so they need to change the trend.
|Tampa Bay Bucs
|Somehow Tampa Bay is still hanging around with a 7-3 record. A big test awaits them in Baltimore and four of their last six games are against playoff caliber teams.
|The Bears went down to Miami and blanked the Dolphins to win their third straight game. Maybe the Bears are feeding off of all the talk about them not being as good as their record shows.
|Kansas City Chiefs
|Just one week after falling from the top of the AFC West, the Chiefs got back on top by virtue of a 31-13 win against the Cardinals while the Raiders were getting beat down in Pittsburgh. Next week is another winnable game against an NFC West opponent with a trip to Seattle.
|After beginning the season low on the AFC South rankings, the Jaguars now sit in 1st place for the division after a gutsy 24-20 victory over the Browns. It gets no easier next week as Jacksonville travels to play the Giants and try to keep hold on the division.
|In a chippy game that saw Richard Seymour ejected for hitting Ben Roethlisberger, the Raiders were outclassed 35-3 in a loss that sends them to .500 at 5-5. A much better effort will be needed when they host the Dolphins next week.
|If the question is “Who should quarterback the Dolphins?” then the answer does not seem to be Tyler Thigpen after Miami was shut out 16-0 at home by the Bears. Better play will be needed all around when they visit the Raiders next weekend.
|Early in the season, it appeared that the Titans would make a play at being elite in the NFL; after a 19-16 OT loss to the Redskins and a postgame meltdown from Vince Young, Tennessee fans are reeling. A big divisional game in Houston looms next weekend and rookie Rusty Smith will be starting under center with Young out for the season.
|Washington is coming off of a big overtime win against the Titans and have the Vikings up next. If the Vikings respond to the firing of their head coach like the Cowboys did, the Skins may have their hands full.
|Seattle is leading the division with a .500 record…in the 11th week of the season. Can’t believe it? Neither can we. This week the up and down Chiefs come to town.
|How can it get worse for the Texans than losing a divisional game on a 50-yard Hail Mary? Giving away a sure win on the road agains the Jets due to poor play in the final minute. Next week’s game hosting the Titans might be a game to try and salvage the season.
|At least the 2010 Broncos did not deceives their fans like the quick-starting Denver teams of recent past; in one of the weakest divisions of the NFL, the Broncos sit in the basement. Next week’s home game with the Rams may have the season on the line.
|St. Louis Rams
|The Rams are now one game behind Seattle after dropping two in a row. They will still be playing motivated football as the playoffs are very much still alive for them.
|It looked the the Browns would get their third win in four games until a late scoring drive by the Jaguars put them behind for good. They’re headed in the opposite direction of their Ohio counterparts.
|Dallas has responded to the firing of Wade Phillips with back to back wins. Now they have to come off of a short week to face the surging Saints and if they can chalk up another win we might have to consider them a playoff threat…maybe.
|At the end of the year, the Vikings may look back on last week’s loss to the Packers as a win because it resulted in the firing of Brad Childress. The Viking faithful are hoping for a Cowboy like turnaround, but it’s too little too late.
|San Francisco 49ers
|Who would have predicted that San Francisco would be sitting dead last in their division at this point in the year? They have three division games remaining to make a change in their standing.
|Last week in the Power Ratings, yours truly said that the Bills had an outside chance of winning on the road against the Bengals; though the game didn’t start off well for Buffalo, the Bills managed to come back for a relatively easy 49-31 victory. The Bills now have their first winning streak of the season, but chances are poor it will continue as the Steelers visit Ralph Wilson Stadium next week.
|It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when you are sitting at 3-7 but just two games out of first place in your division. Maybe someone should let Arizona know that they are still in it and they can snap their five game losing streak.
|The Lions finally got away from the trend of losing close games…but not in a good way as they got destroyed by the Cowboys. If it’s any consolation to Lion fans, they are on pace for a top three draft pick again.
|The Bengals blew a huge lead in spectacular fashion on Sunday to the lowly Bills. Any hope of a return to the playoffs is completely lost. Time to rebuild.
|We can pretty much copy and paste the same thing about the Panthers each week now. Chaos at quarterback and another loss pretty much sums it up.
Commentary breakdown: Alex (AFC North, NFC East), Brian (AFC East/South/West), Pat (NFC North/South/West).