With seven games left to go, you can rest assured that the Top 12 is going to be interesting each week. Why? Well, for starters, the margin between team #1 and #7 is razor thin, which means the slightest thing, such as an embarrassing loss to the Rams, can send a team like the Colts plummetting down the board. Add to the fact that we have a #1 vs. #2 matchup on tap this week, followed by a #3 vs. #6 and a #4 vs. #9, and you know you're in for some fireworks! And this is just the start of it…
#1 – Denver Broncos
After a long wait, the Broncos will finally get their chance to reclaim their spot atop the AFC West. Games don't get much bigger than this in Week 11.
Last Week: 1 Change: 0 Record: 8-1 Next Game: vs. Chiefs
#2 – Kansas City Chiefs
I can almost guarantee you that either Denver or KC will be the #1 team next week. Well, unless Denver wins and Peyton Manning's ankle subsequently explodes…
Last Week: 4 Change: +2 Record: 9-0 Next Game: @ Broncos
#3 – San Francisco 49ers
The Niners didn't look great this past week, but it was one bad half against a decent team. Don't want to punish them too harshly when they've generally looked dominating the past few weeks.
Last Week: 2 Change: -1 Record: 6-3 Next Game: @ Saints
#4 – New England Patriots
With both Indy and Cincy losing, the Patriots really couldn't have had a much better bye week. A not-to-be-overlooked Panthers team is next on tap. Glad the Niners got the wake up call instead of the Patriots who have to be focused now.
Last Week: 5 Change: +1 Record: 7-2 Next Game: @ Panthers
#5 – Seattle Seahawks
This ranking is almost assuredly too low. Still, there was some undoubtable ugliness the past few weeks and that stench still lingers. If they drub the Vikings the way they should, order will be restored next week, I promise.
Last Week: 6 Change: +1 Record: 9-1 Next Game: vs. Vikings
#6 – New Orleans Saints
The Saints appeared to be dominant once more, thrashing the Cowboys in the Super Dome. Too bad home field throughout the playoffs is going to be awfully hard to come by for New Orleans. That, and the fact that even if they do make it to the Super Bowl, it happens to be in an outdoor stadium in the cold.
Last Week: 7 Change: +1 Record: 7-2 Next Game: vs. 49ers
#7 – Indianapolis Colts
When the rankings are this tight, a bad loss to a team like the Rams means that you plummet. Even if you've managed to beat the Broncos, Seahawks, and Niners.
Last Week: 3 Change: -4 Record: 6-3 Next Game: @ Titans
#8 – Detroit Lions
Can it be? The Lions are the front runners in the NFC North!
Last Week: 8 Change: 0 Record: 6-3 Next Game: @ Steelers
#9 – Carolina Panthers
I thought for sure the Panthers would be one and done on the Top 12 last week. Then the beat the Niners. And given the shaky landscape here at the bottom of the Top 12 and below, they may just be on the list to stay.
Last Week: 12 Change: +3 Record: 6-3 Next Game: vs. Patriots
#10 – Cincinnati Bengals
The injury bug hit the Bengals hard, they just haven't been able to recover. Still, that game-tying hail mary play was about as amazing as they come. Too bad, (or fortunately, for the Patriots) it ended up being irrelevant.
Last Week: 9 Change: -1 Record: 6-4 Next Game: vs. Browns
#11 – Chicago Bears
I think the Bears took out a mortgage on the #11 spot in the rankings.
Last Week: 11 Change: 0 Record: 5-4 Next Game: vs. Ravens
#12 – New York Jets
And with the injury to Aaron Rodgers and the lack of any other suitable team to take their place, I bring to you something that would have seemed unthinkable ten weeks ago – the New York Jets in the #12 spot.
Last Week: N/A Change: N/A Record: 5-4 Next Game: @ Bills