Kudos once again to the Philadelphia Eagles for honoring Buddy Ryan at halftime this past Monday night. Long overdue. Too bad the team couldn’t back it up with a win.
Anyway, on this week’s rankings — from No. 1 to No. 32, away we go …
1. Green Bay Packers (8-0): It’s really time to start checking Aaron Rodgers for a hard drive or motherboard. He’s on pace for the single greatest season by an NFL quarterback — and the Packers are unstoppable.
2. San Francisco 49ers (7-1): They run the ball. Play defense. And are expertly coached. Only question is: Do you trust Alex Smith to win a playoff game?
3. Baltimore Ravens (6-2): The Ravens have a season sweep over Pittsburgh — was that Wrestlemania or a football game? — and what looks like a new big-play target (Torrey Smith).
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3): Forget that hard-luck loss to Baltimore. When Big Ben is clicking, like he was in the no-huddle, this team can beat anyone.
5. New York Giants (6-2): Eli Manning is the best Manning in football. And, yes, he is an elite quarterback — just in case you didn’t see Tom Brady’s expression last week.
6. Houston Texans (6-3): The best offensive line in football, this team is going to be a tough out in the playoffs. Two rushers — Ben Tate, Arian Foster — have combined for 1,279 yards this season.
7. New Orleans Saints (6-3): If they’re going to give Drew Brees a legit run game — Saints backs combined for 195 yards last week — then this team could challenge Green Bay. Could.
8. New England Patriots (5-3): We’re giving Brady and Belichick the benefit of the doubt and blaming last week on Super Bowl flashbacks … for now. But, unless Ty Law is coming back, this defense isn’t good enough to win it all.
9. Detroit Lions (6-2): Ndamukong Suh was named the NFL’s dirtiest player in a recent player poll. He gives the Lions the mean streak they haven’t had since Chris Spielman was there.
10. New York Jets (5-3): Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait. It’s Jets-Patriots week and even Mark Sanchez should be able to throw on New England.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2): Andy Dalton, aka the Red Rifle, needs a win over Pittsburgh to stretch the team’s winning streak to six games, which hasn’t happened in Cincy since 1988.
12. Atlanta Falcons (5-3): Yes, it came against the Colts, but these Dirty Birds finally looked like the team we picked to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Beat the Saints and we’re jumping back on the bandwagon.
13. Buffalo Bills (5-3): We’re about to find out if Chan Gailey’s crew is pretender or contender with three straight road games. Bills have gone 1-2 so far away from Orchard Park.
4. Chicago Bears (5-3): The offensive line has figured it out and Matt Forte can’t be stopped, even when you game plan for him. Just ask Philly. Contenders.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4): It might be all downhill for the Baby Bucs, with stud tackle Gerald McCoy lost for the year — and dates with two offensive juggernauts looming (HOU, GB).
16. Dallas Cowboys (4-4): They went back to that winning recipe: run it down your throat and throw to Jason Witten. As long as they do that, Dallas is a threat in NFC East.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5): The most inconsistent team in football. Until they figure out how to close out games — minus-36 point differential in fourth quarters — Dream Team sleepwalks through rest of season.
18. Tennessee Titans (4-4): Chris Johnson is the biggest bust in the league, yet this team is in the thick of things. Let’s see how they bounce back from that loss to the mighty Bengals.
19. San Diego Chargers (4-4): The secret’s out — we have a man-crush on Philip Rivers — but that is being severely tested. Bolts still win AFC West, but ugly.
20. Minnesota Vikings (2-6): Clicking since making that QB switch. We’re not saying they beat Green Bay, but take the points.
21. Carolina Panthers (2-6): Much-needed bye for Team Cam. They won’t finish with a .500 record, but they’ll knock someone out of the playoffs with a gutty win down the stretch.
22. Oakland Raiders (4-4): Wait, when is Jason Campbell coming back again? Carson Palmer trade not working out.
23. Washington Redskins (3-5): If they can’t beat Miami this week, then it’s time to get in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
24. Kansas City Chiefs (4-4): They are who we thought they were. The team that lost their first two games by a combined score of 89-10.
25. Denver Broncos (3-5): Willis McGahee giving Matt Hasselbeck a run for his money for Comeback Player of the Year.
26. Arizona Cardinals (2-6): Patrick Peterson needs more touches. Offense, defense, whatever. Lightning in a bottle.
27. Cleveland Browns (3-5): This Peyton Hillis saga is like something straight out of Twin Peaks.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6): Reports are team is for sale. Paging Kim Kardashian. What? She’s needs a new pet project.
29. Seattle Seahawks (2-6): Maybe Pete Carroll would be interested in the Penn State job …
30. Miami Dolphins (1-7): Reggie Bush is turning into a must-start in fantasy football. No one saw that coming. No one.
31. St. Louis Rams (1-7): They have no shot at winning the West. Rest Sam Bradford and try again next year.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-9): Had their Dec. 4 matchup with Pats “flexed out” of Sunday Night Football. That pretty much sums it up.
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