It's another busy week in the Top 12. The top two spots stayed stable, but everyone else shifted around.
#1 - New England Patriots
You have to go back to the 1950's to find another team that racked up 108 combined points over the course of two weeks, and let's face it, what happened in the 1950's doesn't really count. The Patriots are on a historic run over the past four games, and they're doing it without core players like Gronkowski, Hernandez, Mankins, Vollmer, and Chandler Jones. The scary part is that Bill Belichick's teams tend to get better in December.
Last Week: 1 Change: 0 Record: 8-3 Next Game: @ Dolphins
#2 - San Francisco 49ers
It's extremely rare for teams as good as the Niners to have a quarterback controversy. Luckily for them, they're likely going to win no matter who's throwing the balls.
Last Week: 2 Change: 0 Record: 8-2-1 Next Game: @ Rams
#3 - Atlanta Falcons
It hasn't been pretty, but Atlanta keeps getting the job done week in and week out.
Last Week: 5 Change: +2 Record: 10-1 Next Game: vs. Saints
#4 - Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning has his Broncos poised for the post-season and I'd be lying if I said they didn't scare me just a little bit. Given their easy schedule down the stretch, they may force New England to win out to keep their advantage over Denver in the seedings.
Last Week: 6 Change: +2 Record: 8-3 Next Game: vs. Buccaneers
#5 - Houston Texans
I don't care what the standings say, that game against Detroit with their bogus touchdown counts as a loss in the Top 12. The Texans drop yet again as they've fail to inspire confidence the past few weeks.
Last Week: 4 Change: -1 Record: 10-1 Next Game: @ Titans
#6 - New York Giants
Despite the entire body of work over the past 3-4 weeks which would favor Green Bay, I absolutely can't put the Packers above the Giants after the absolute drubing that New York put on them this past week.
Last Week: 8 Change: +2 Record: 7-4 Next Game: @ Redskins
#7 - Green Bay Packers
That was about as ugly as it gets on Sunday Night. Well, unless you're the New York Jets on Thursday night..
Last Week: 3 Change: -5 Record: 7-4 Next Game: vs. Vikings
#8 - New Orleans Saints
Credit the Saints for hanging with the Niners. However, it was a brutal loss for New Orleans' playoff hopes. It doesn't get much huger now for them than Thursday's game against Atlanta.
Last Week: 8 Change: +1 Record: 5-6 Next Game: @ Falcons
#9 - Baltimore Ravens
Which was uglier, the win against Pittsburgh or the win against San Diego? The Ravens are making a living at eeking out wins against really bad teams. How does that inspire any confidence when a real challenge occurs this post-season?
Last Week: 7 Change: -2 Record: 9-2 Next Game: vs. Steelers
#10 - Chicago Bears
The Bears stopped the bleeding just in time to stay in front of the NFC North hunt.
Last Week: 11 Change: +1 Record: 8-3 Next Game: vs. Seahawks
#11 - Indianapolis Colts
Indy bounced back well from their game against the Pats and remain in the thick of the playoff chase.
Last Week: 12 Change: +1 Record: 7-4 Next Game: @ Lions
#12 - Seattle Seahawks
Losses like last week's to Miami can cripple your playoff chances. Now the Hawks need a big win in Chicago to maintain their hold on that #6 seed.
Last Week: 10 Change: -2 Record: 6-5 Next Game: @ Chicago