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1. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-1) [Last week +1] – The Sea-chickens proved me wrong Monday night throttling the Saints 34-7 and clinch themselves a playoff birth. They are in the drivers seat in the NFC for home field advantage, which we all know is huge for Seattle. However, they must take down the 49ers who are rolling after 2 straight wins this Sunday in San Francisco.
2. DENVER BRONCOS (10-2) [Last week +3] – The Broncos proved in Weeks 11 and 13 that the AFC West still goes through Denver. They look like the No. 1 seed in the AFC and can have home-field advantage throughout if they can take care of business down the stretch. They finish out the season with TEN, SD, HOU, and OAK. Not to shabby.
3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) [Last week +3] – A win, is a win, and thats all that matters for the Patriots who slip past a desperate Texans squad. They have been playing catch in their past three games, but Tom Brady looks to be playing his best ball of the year, and New England has never been healthier. A No. 2 seed in the AFC is almost a guarantee.
4. CAROLINA PANTHERS (9-3) [Last week -EVEN] – After stumbling past the Dolphins last week, Carolina showed some more consistent focus in crushing the life from the Buccaneers. The Panthers’ ability has been tested with a difficult schedule so far this season, but they continue to answer their doubters with wins. However, their biggest test is yet to come playing the division leading Saints in a game with huge playoff implications.
5. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (9-3) [Last week -5] - Only scoring 7 points and getting blown out by the Seahawks on MNF will drop you five spots in this weeks rankings. The Saints may have lost, but they still have as much talent as any team in the league. Who Dat Nation is still legitimate Super Bowl contender, but Week 15 will say a lot about just how good they truly are as they face the Panthers.
6. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-4) [Last week -EVEN] – Colin Kaepernick enjoyed getting his favorite receiver back in Michael Crabtree, as the Niners pounded the Rams to keep pace in the NFC playoff race. With Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, Frank Gore, and Crabtree all playing at full health, the Niners are back in the Super Bowl contender talk. They will have a chance to prove that this Sunday at home against the Seahawks.
7. KANSAS CITY CHEIFS (9-3) [Last week -EVEN] – So is everyone done drinking the KC cool-aid? The defense, which is the staple of this team, is falling apart. Sean Smith, Marcus Cooper and even Brandon Flowers all got torched last week against the Broncos. They still are a talented team, and no one is taking away from their impressive season, but can this offense compete with the top 5 teams in the league…. I just don’t think so. They are likely the No. 5 seed—and they’ll be a favorite if they travel to Indianapolis or Cincinnati in the Wild Card Round.
8. CINCINNATI BENGALS (8-4) [Last week -EVEN] – The Bengals haven’t been as explosive in recent weeks—or really for the entire month of November—so it was nice to see Andy Dalton and A.J. Green making things happen again. Huge game this weekend against the Colts could decide which team will face the Broncos or Patriots in the first round.
9. DALLAS COWBOYS (7-5) [Last week +2] – The Cowboys are currently the NFC East leaders, but have four tough games remaining in their race for a playoff birth. With the Bears, Packers, Redskins and the Eagles to close out the season, the Boys will need DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten at their best.
10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (7-5) [Last week +2] – Nick Foles has provided the spark to get Chip Kelly’s bunch peaking at the right time with their most impressive win of the season. LeSean McCoy, Riley Cooper, DeSean Jackson and Zach Ertz have all started to gel together, and that not good for the rest of the league. Not the mention the surprise of the defense the last month, they have really stepped up and made this team a legit playoff team. Big game this week against the Lions.
11. DETROIT LIONS (7-5) [Last week +2] - The Lions defense line man-handled the Packers on Thanksgiving sacking Matt Flynn seven times in route to a huge win and taking over the NFC North lead. Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush have been amazing this year and continue to dominate on the offensive side of the ball. With four games to play, the Lions control their own playoff destiny.
12. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-4) [Last week -2] – The Colts might have won the game, but they are not impressing me. The offensive line is one of the worst in the league, and since Reggie Wayne’s injury the Colts offense, including Andrew Luck, continue to sputter. Big game on the road against Cincy this Sunday, and if Indy falls short, so might their playoff chances as well.
13. ARIZONA CARDINALS (7-5) [Last week -1] – Tough to go into Philly and beat one of the hottest teams in the NFL, but the Cards played tough. Bruce Arians squad doesn’t have the star power of a Broncos or Seahawks team, but they play as a unit and continue to impress. With a game at home against the Rams coming up, don’t count out the red birds in the NFC Wild Card race.
14. BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-6) [Last Week +3] – The Ravens counted on Justin Ticker’s five field goals to get past the Steelers, but this team is still much alive in the AFC Wild Card and possibly the division. However, the road will be a uphill battle, the next four games are no walk in the park (home against Minnesota and New England, on the road against Detroit and Cincinnati).
15. CHICAGO BEARS (6-6) [Last week -1] – Alshon Jeffery has been one of the biggest surprises this year, but even a record-setting performance couldn’t help the Bears get past the lowly Vikings. Chicago’s defense is no longer the dominate force it once was, and without that security blanket this team does not look playoff ready. They sit one game back in the NFC North, but might have to win out the rest of their game to get into the playoffs.
16. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (5-7) [Last week -2] – Losing to the Bengals killed any chance of the Bolts making the playoffs. The Mike McCoy experience has been a up and down ride, but they can still end on a positive note finishing the season strong. Chargers going to play spoiler this year.
17. MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-6) [Last week +3] – I said last week that this team is not a playoff contender, and I still believe that, but the Fins are still alive in the AFC Wild Card race. Mike Wallace has started to play like the Mike Wallace we all saw in Pittsburgh. However, the road to the playoffs won’t be easy for Miami. In the final four weeks, the Dolphins face the Steelers, Patriots, Bills and Jets.
18. GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-6-1) [Last week -2] – I can’t believe I’m saying this but are the Cheeseheads in danger of going into the shitter next week? You know the SportsCast fans are going to love that, especially with all my Packers love at the beginning of the season. But hey, without Aaron Rodgers this team is like the Colts without Manning when he was injured. God awful.
19. TENNESSEE TITANS (5-7) [Last week -1] – The Tennessee Titans’ hopes of stealing the AFC South died in Week 13 as they lost to the division-leading Indianapolis Colts. A winning season is still possible, but this team will have a quarterback decision to make at the end of the season.
TEAMS NOT WORTH RANKING: Each week I will put a new team in this group, lets hope yours isn’t one of them. Once their in, they can’t come back out. Jets proving me wrong so far, after an early week 2 entry.
- JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-9) – Week 1
- NEW YORK JETS (5-7) -Week 2
- TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-9) – Week 3
- PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-7) -Week 4
- NEW YORK GIANTS (5-7) – Week 5
- MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-8-1) – Week 6
- ST. LOUIS RAMS (5-7) – Week 7
- HOSTON TEXANS (2-10) – Week 8
- ATLANTA FALCONS (3-9) – Week 9
- BUFFALO BILLS (4-8) – Week 10
- WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-9) – Week 11
- OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-8) – Week 12
- CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-8) – Week 13