Just when I thought I had it all figured out. Last week's #2, 3, and 4 teams all lose to vastly inferior competition. Same goes for the #7 and #9 teams as well. As a result, we have our craziest Top 12 of the year with teams moving all over the place! Part of me has no idea if these rankings are right? Can anybody really know that at this point? The only thing I know is that the AFC is a general mess and that the Patriots need to just win one game and ensure themselves a spot in the chaos.
#1 – Seattle Seahawks
Only one team held their position last week, and it's the Seahawks. It seems like it's their Super Bowl to lose, but given their history, how confident can you be? If the Pats can't win it, I'd probably back Seattle. They deserve it after getting hosed in Super Bowl XL and they've been the team to beat all year. What's not to like?
Oh yeah. Pete Carroll.
Last Week: 1 Change: 0 Record: 12-2 Next Game: vs. Cardinals
#2 – Carolina Panthers
This time, with the Saints coming to their house, I'm thinking I like the Panthers.
Last Week: 5 Change: +3 Record: 10-4 Next Game: vs. Saints
#3 – San Francisco 49ers
The Niners just need to take care of the hapless Falcons and their in. This team has been up and down during the season, but I don't think anybody wants to face them come playoff time.
Last Week: 6 Change: +3 Record: 10-4 Next Game: vs. Falcons
#4 – Denver Broncos
Denver survived the scare of potentially giving up their #1 seed. However, they still have that first home playoff game to win and the Chiefs could be looming and ready for a third shot at them.
Last Week: 3 Change: -2 Record: 11-3 Next Game: @ Texans
#5 – New England Patriots
It was one of those games where if one of eight small things had happened, the Pats would be 11-3 and living large. They didn't happen and so the Patriots fall and now need to win out to maintain that first round bye.
Last Week: 2 Change: -3 Record: 10-4 Next Game: @ Ravens
#6 – New Orleans Saints
The Saints are not the same team on the road, no matter what Drew Brees says. Now they need to win a HUGE game on the road to keep them at home as the NFC's #2 seed.
Last Week: 4 Change: -2 Record: 10-4 Next Game: @ Panthers
#7 – Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are slowly hanging out in the shadows, waiting for their shot at their first playoff victory since Joe Montana was their quarterback.
Last Week: 8 Change: +1 Record: 11-3 Next Game: vs. Colts
#8 – Indianapolis Colts
Indy is a tough team to pin down as their play from week to week is extremely erratic. This week #8 seems right. We'll see how they do in KC.
Last Week: 10 Change: +2 Record: 9-5 Next Game: @ Chiefs
#9 – Arizona Cardinals
If the Cardinals can manage to beat both the Hawks and the Niners to close out the year, then nobody will be able to say that they haven't earned their playoff spot. Even then, they still need a Carolina loss.
Last Week: 11 Change: +2 Record: 9-5 Next Game: @ Seahawks
#10 – Baltimore Ravens
A game that looked like a once hyped, now meaningless late season match once again has a ton of meaning. The Patriots can either break Baltimore's season or will find themselves in an elimination game the following week against the Bills.
Last Week: 12 Change: -+2 Record: 8-6 Next Game: vs. Patriots
#11 – Miami Dolphins
The Fish have become frisky, but I don't like them at all in a road playoff game.
Last Week: N/A Change: N/A Record: 8-6 Next Game: @ Bills
#12 – Cincinnati Bengals
Yes, the Broncos and Patriots both lost to a middling divisional rival as well and didn't drop as far. However, the Broncos and the Patriots didn't get their tails handed to them as well.
Last Week: 7 Change: -5 Record: 9-5 Next Game: vs. Vikings