This week's edition of the Top 12 features a few small changes from last week. There was some shuffling around of a few spots, and a new team at the #12 spot to replace the Cardinals, but no major rises or falls. I'm heading to London this week with the Patriots, so there will not be a Top 12 next week. I hope you all find a way to manage over the next 14 days without a dose of my completely arbitrary rankings.
#1 - Atlanta Falcons
Somtimes, the best thing you can do is not play a game. The Falcons did nothing in the past seven days to make me respect them any less. They keep the top spot this week.
Last Week: 1 Change: 0 Record: 6-0 Next Game: @ Eagles
#2 - Houston Texans
If the Texans had pulled off a win like that against a non-decimated Ravens team, then that may have been a reason to bump them back up to #1. However, a win over a decimated Ravens team is only good for a one-spot bump.
Last Week: 3 Change: +1 Record: 5-1 Next Game: Bye Week
#3 - Chicago Bears
When the season started, I thought my Top 5 of San Fran, Green Bay, Houston, Baltimore, and New England would be nearly untouchable. How wrong was I? Here come the Bears, not only breaking the Top 5, but planted firmly in the middle of it.
Last Week: 5 Change: +2 Record: 5-1 Next Game: vs. Panthers
#4 - New York Giants
The G-Men pulled out the win, but a true #2 team shouldn't have needed a last-minute touchdown to beat the Skins. Thus the drop to #4.
Last Week: 2 Change: -2 Record: 5-2 Next Game: @ Cowboys
#5 - San Francisco 49ers
San Fran's fall has nothing to do with their performance against Seattle, and everything to do with Chicago's strong run the past four games, as well as the fact that it's way too soon to rank them ahead of the Giants after that drubbing a few weeks ago.
Last Week: 4 Change: -1 Record: 5-2 Next Game: @ Cardinals
#6 - Green Bay Packers
The Packers seems to have settled the ship a bit, but that doesn't mean that their running game and defense issues have been completely put to rest.
Last Week: 6 Change: 0 Record: 4-3 Next Game: vs. Jaguars
#7 - New England Patriots
I have to believe that as the season rolls on, the Patriots are going to fix their 4th quarter woes. However, until they do, I'm going to have a hard time justifying putting them much higher than this.
Last Week: 7 Change: 0 Record: 4-3 Next Game: @ Rams
#8 - Minnesota Vikings
The NFC North title isn't completely out of the question, but even if they don't take the top spot, there would be very few fans in Minnesota who'd complain about their likely Wild Card position.
Last Week: 9 Change: +1 Record: 5-2 Next Game: vs. Buccaneers
#9 - Baltimore Ravens
I pre-emptively crushed Baltimore last week after Lewis and Webb went down, so I won't kill them again for that thrashing by Houston. Still, you gotta drop a little bit after a loss like that, right?
Last Week: 8 Change: -1 Record: 5-2 Next Game: Bye Week
#10 - Denver Broncos
The Broncos are coming out of their bye week in prime position to take control of the AFC West.
Last Week: 10 Change: 0 Record: 3-3 Next Game: vs. Saints
#11 - Seattle Seahawks
Seattle hung tough with San Fran this past week. They've also hung tough and beat Green Bay and New England. As we approach the halfway mark, it's pretty clear that the Hawks are not a team to be taken lightly.
Last Week: 11 Change: 0 Record: 4-3 Next Game: vs. Lions
#12 - Pittsburgh Steelers
I wasn't a big believer in Pittsburgh at the start of this season, and while I'm not ready to crown them for major post-season success, you have to like their chances more to make some noise in light of the Ravens' injuries.
Last Week: N/A Change: N/A Record: 3-3 Next Game: vs. Redskins