- Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) – Last Week: 1
Business as usual for Wentz and co. Took good care of a Bears team that hasn’t played as bad as we thought at the start of the year, but blew them out in convincing fashion. Zach Ertz is becoming one of the most underrated and best tight ends in the league.
- Minnesota Vikings (9-2) – Last Week: 4
Case Keenum continues to prove to the NFL world that he is not a solid second-stringer, and has the ability to lead an all-round talented team to an eye-opening 9-2 record. Adam Thielen kept doing his thing and Latavius Murray is finally starting to find his rhythm at his new team.
- New England Patriots (9-2) – Last Week: 5
Tom Brady produces another 4 TD display and made this divisional game look too easy at times. They’re well on their way to another divisional championship and may have found another productive ‘role-player’ running back in rookie Rex Burkhead who punched the ball in for two goal-line scores.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2) – Last Week: 2
Facing the Packers at home it looked like it was going to be a cakewalk, but cracks started to show both offensively and defensively against an Aaron Rodger-less team that pushed them to the last few seconds which needed a walk-off field goal from Boswell to clinch their ninth win. Antonio Brown is a human highlight reel.
- A Rams (8-3) – Last Week: 6
Jared Goff and his Rams responded in tremendous fashion after a blowout loss last week to the Vikings. Despite another unproductive game from third-year running back Todd Gurley, it was rookie Cooper Kupp who stepped up and recorded a 100+ receiving-yard game to stretch this improved Saints pass defense throughout the contest. They have Arizona away before a big showdown against the Eagles at the coliseum.
- New Orleans Saints (8-3) – Last Week: 2
Similar to the Rams last week, it may seem like a big drop after one loss but that’s how tight the top five teams are in the NFL right now, and a loss could shake up the rankings in quite a fashion. Alvin Kamara continues to show his versatility and big-play abilities with 188 all-purpose yards and two scores, but it looks like the rest of their passing attack has stagnated over the past few weeks.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4) – Last Week: 7
Despite the fact they loss, I really liked Blake Bortles’ game on the weekend. Their defense were terrific despite the last-second loss 27-24 against Arizona, but there’s nothing here to suggest that they are not the seventh best team in the league right now. They now have three games in a row at home which could determine their playoff hopes.
- Carolina Panthers (8-3) – Last Week: 8
The Panthers did what most teams had to do to beat the Jets this season, and that was a 4th quarter surge to get the W. This game was Carolina’s season in a nutshell: Not pretty, not consistent, but nonetheless got the job done. If it weren’t for Luke Keuchly and a superb punt return TD from Kaelin Clay, it would be a completely different story for them.
- Atlanta Falcons (7-4) – Last Week: 9
Julio Jones again proved to the NFL world that he is up there with Antonio Brown as one of the very few elite wide receivers in the business with an absurd 253 yard-2 touchdown game. Tevin Coleman has also made a push to take more carries away from Devonta Freeman after an elite display. Shades of that dangerous 2016-17 offense are starting to make its way back in Atlanta.
- Seattle Seahawks (7-4) – Last Week: 10
Seattle’s run home looks to be very challenging, especially when considering defensive playmakers in Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor will not be available for the rest of the season. They have Philadelphia at home, Jacksonville away and the Rams at home in a big divisional game which could determine the NFC West champion and qualification into the playoffs. They’ve had a decent season so far at 7-4, but two more wins is what’s needed to be in true contention.
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) – Last Week: 11
This mob just keeps sliding and sliding and sliding. That’s three losses in a row for them now and five lost out of their last six, with alarm bells continuing to ring for Andy Reid and co. They have a real trap game against the Jets this weekend in what could be quite a fun game to watch, as well as noting that there has been talk that rookie QB Patrick Mahomes may start ahead of the struggling Alex Smith.
- Baltimore Ravens (6-5) – Last Week: 13
After such a lackluster start to the season, the Ravens have won three of their last four, with two of those wins involving defensive shutouts which proves that Joe Flacco is continuing to be carried by Terrell Suggs and his army of stoppers. They have three divisional games in their final five outings and a matchup against Indianapolis in their penultimate regular season fixture, which seems to be an OK run home considering the strength in the AFC North bar Pittsburgh.
- A Chargers (5-6) – Last Week: 20
I am not counting out this team who have been absolutely fantastic in the second half of the season. They should really be 7-4 if it weren’t for Younghoe Koo at the start of the year, but their offense seems to be firing on all cylinders now. They have a big chance to go .500 against the Browns this weekend and continue to put pressure on the division-leading Chiefs.
- Tennessee Titans (7-4) – Last Week: 17
I can’t believe this team has seven wins considering their inconsistencies all season. Marcus Mariota is not looking up to it after yet another terrible performance against the Colts despite picking up the win due to a 4th quarter-winning drive which keeps them on top of the AFC South. They are really struggling to find some excitement at wide receiver this season.
- Detroit Lions (6-5) – Last Week: 12
Currently fourth in the playoff race, it would take a minor miracle and a ‘Steven Bradbury’-like collapse by the teams above them to clinch a wildcard berth. Their season has been a minor disappointment so far but it isn’t over yet, and have a decent run home that could potentially put them at a 9-7 season.
- Buffalo Bills (6-5) – Last Week: 15
After two ugly defensive outings in a row, they kept the struggling Chiefs to 10 points and got a win that has put them back in the playoff hunt. Tyrod Taylor is back under centre and looks to have built a chemistry with rookie wideout Zay Jones that could be the thing that pushes them into the playoffs come January.
- Houston Texans (4-7) – Last Week: 18
Tom Savage is not the answer at quarterback, but unlike previous seasons they know they have rookie DeShaun Watson waiting to come back after that horrible ACL injury in 2018. Considering the loss of him, JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus on the defensive side they have still proven to be a decent side.
- Oakland Raiders (5-6) – Last Week: 19
After a very poor outing against the Pats in Mexico the Raiders did what they had to do against their rival Broncos at home, but the big story is Michael Crabtree’s altercation with Aqib Talib which has cost him a chance to face the Giants this weekend. The AFC is very weak, and if they can finish off the regular season strongly they have a serious chance of getting that AFC West divisional title considering the strength of their three rivals. They have 2 divisional games and a meeting against the Eagles in week 16 over their last month in 2017.
- Washington Redskins (5-6) – Last Week: N/A
Washington has a lot of nice pieces both offensively and defensively, but for some reason this season they just haven’t quite put it together. Kirk Cousins looks disinterested, and it may be the beginning of the end for him in the nation’s capital as he is almost certain to pursue the free agency market come season’s end.
- Dallas Cowboys (5-6) – Last Week: 14
Was the Thanksgiving game a product of the Chargers being very good or the Cowboys being god-awful? I’m going with the latter. Since Zeke has been out of the team, Dak Prescott has recorded 0 TD passes and 5 interceptions with a QBR of under 30! Dez Bryant also looks to have hit a wall in his career considering his injury history, and it doesn’t look pretty for ‘America’s Team’.
- Green Bay Packers (5-6) – Last Week: 16
Yes, they were quite impressive against a stubborn Steelers defense, but when you look at the five teams that have jumped above them you can’t argue that they would beat them with Brett Hundley as their QB. Their running back situation has also turned out to be quite a mess and I blame Mike McCarthy and their front office for letting so many productive running backs slip by them in April’s draft.
- New York Jets (4-7) – Last Week: N/A
If it weren’t for their fourth-quarter collapses this Jets team would be shockingly at a 7-4 or 8-3 record, but unfortunately hindsight is a wonderful thing. Why are they so high and above a few 5-6 teams? Their offense is better than we thought and their young defense has shown signs of great potential. Robby Anderson has also turned out to be a hidden gem as an undrafted rookie.
- Cincinnati Bengals (5-6) – Last Week: N/A
They beat the Browns. Congratulations. They have only beaten one team in my top 16 rankings so far this season which have been the Bills (who are in fact 16th), proving that there’s a lot of ‘flat track bully’ about them. Surely Marvin Lewis is on his last chance to make something of this season.
- Arizona Cardinals (5-6) – Last Week: N/A
Blaine Gabbert’s start under center was a great one, and the emergence of rookie tight end Ricky Seals-Jones could smell the start of a sound NFL career for the Texas A&M product. At 5-6 they are still mathematically in the hunt, but with the Seahawks and Rams continuing to win it is going to be quite tricky to sneak into wildcard contention.
- Chicago Bears (3-8) – Last Week: N/A
A lot of criticism towards rookie QB Mitch Trubisky, but he’s had no weapons to work with bar Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard’s pass-catching abilities in the backfield. Is John Fox’s time up at Chi-Town also? They will look to find some excitement and playmakers come April 2018 in the draft to complement the ex-Tar Heel.
- Tampa Bay Bucs (4-7) – Last Week: N/A
They made Julio Jones and Matt Ryan look like Jerry Rice and Steve Young last week. Hell, they made a majority of the offenses that played them look like a Pro Bowl juggernaut. Doug Martin has been a no-show since he’s come back from suspension and their defense has conceded more yards per game than any team in the league thru week 12.
- Miami Dolphins (4-7) – Last Week: N/A
I had them as a playoff wildcard smokey at the start of the year, and boy was I wrong… They have the talent in Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker, but no real contender for franchise QB and the trade of Jay Ajayi has this franchise in serious limbo. Could they follow suit with the Colts, Broncos and Giants and look to the draft for their answer at this position rather than compete for the rest of the season?
- San Francisco 49ers (1-10) – Last Week: N/A
“George, why the hell is a team that’s 1-10 at spot number 28?!” Well, if they were to play any team below them tomorrow at a neutral venue with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting QB, they would win handsomely in my opinion. Cannot wait to see his first start this weekend against the Bears, as I’ve been a huge fan of his since he came into the league.
- Indianapolis Colts (3-8) – Last Week: N/A
They have given 2017 a good fight without Andrew Luck, but they can now look to put their cue in the rack as they are expected to lose their last five games of the season and finish with a potential 3-13 record and a top five draft selection.
- Denver Broncos (3-8) – Last Week: N/A
The bad news? Their quarterbacks stink. All of them. The good news? They are entering the 2018 offseason potentially with a top five pick in a draft that boasts arguably the best QB class in a long, long time. Can they break their seven-game losing streak against the Miami this weekend?
- New York Giants (2-9) – Last Week: N/A
There’s just no excitement in that team with OBJ on injured reserve, and it looks like they are looking to the future with Eli Manning officially benched for their week 13 matchup with ex-Jet Geno Smith ready to take his first start for his new team. It’s hard to like a team who’s best highlight of their Thanksgiving game against Washington was ‘Little Kid McAdoo’ in the stands…
- Cleveland Browns (0-11) – Last Week: N/A
Unfortunately, the Browns are now officially out of playoff contention….