1. Baltimore Ravens, 6-2 (3) – The Ravens make it up to the top of our rankings after handing the Dolphins their first road loss of the season. The Raven defense bounced back after their flop against Buffalo. They play the Falcons this Thursday in one of the best games of week 10.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-2 (4) – The Steelers got an important win over the Bengals in Cincy. Even though Cincy is down this year, they’re still the AFC North’s defending champs. After getting up 27-7, Pittsburgh almost let the game slip away. But a forced fumble sealed the deal. They take on the Pats at home this Sunday night in what might be a playoff preview.
3. New York Jets, 6-2 (5) – Somehow, the Jets managed to steal a win from the Lions in Detroit. The Lions dominated the game, but the Jets got hot late and won in overtime. They haven’t looked that good in recent weeks, but they’re still one of the AFC’s most dangerous teams. They’re 3 point favorites at Cleveland this week, though the Browns have been on a roll.
4. New York Giants, 6-2 (7) – New York destroyed Seattle. The Seahawks were without Matt Hasselbeck, but it wouldn’t have mattered. The Giants are playing on a high level. They get Dallas at home this week with an opportunity to embarrass the Cowboys. They’re currently two touchdown favorites.
5. Atlanta Falcons, 6-2 (6) – Atlanta got a game effort from the feisty Bucs, but managed to hold on for the win. If the defense comes along, this could be the NFC’s representative in the Super Bowl. They can make a statement this Thursday when they host the Ravens.
6. New England Patriots, 6-2 (1) – As soon as the Pats made it to the top of the poll, they fall back down. New England got trashed by the Browns in Cleveland. The Patriot defense might be a problem for this team come playoff time. They head to Pittsburgh for the Sunday night game.
7. Indianapolis Colts, 5-3 (2) – The Colts couldn’t overcome their injuries, nor did they have an answer for Michael Vick’s athleticism. Getting Austin Collie back earlier than expected was a good thing, but then a concussion put him back on the shelf. As long as Indy has Peyton Manning slinging the ball, the Colts are still a threat in the AFC. They get the pitiful Bengals at home this week.
8. Green Bay Packers, 6-3 (10) – The Pack beat Dallas so bad it cost Wade Phillips his job. Green Bay was great on both sides of the ball, but it’s hard to gauge their level of play considering the Cowboys were just awful. The Pack gets its bye this week.
9. New Orleans Saints, 6-3 (12) – New Orleans is starting to play better football. They throttled the Panthers in Carolina, and even though the Panthers are terrible this year, they usually give the Saints a good game. The New Orleans defense has been good all year, and the offense is finally coming around. They head into their bye with some momentum.
10. Tennessee Titans, 5-3 (11) – The Titans come out of their bye with a respectable 5-3 record. They were a little banged up so the bye probably came at an opportune time. Tennessee flies south to tangle with the Dolphins this week. Both teams are in the middle of the playoff road, so this is actually an important game for both squads.
11. Philadelphia Eagles, 5-3 (13) – Philly managed to get by the Colts at home, though they missed the spread by a point. Michael Vick’s return was a good one. So was DeSean Jackson’s. The defense wasn’t great, but they were good enough. The Eagles look for revenge against Washington this Monday night. They’re sitting as 3 point road favorites.
12. Oakland Raiders, 5-4 (17) – Ok. Apparently Oakland wants to play football this year. It’s about time. They showed a lot of heart against the Chiefs this past Sunday, winning in overtime. They’re 3-0 in the division and a half game off the lead. They head into their bye with a ton of confidence.
13. Kansas City Chiefs, 5-3 (8) – The Chiefs couldn’t hold on in Oakland. Some uncharacteristic miscues really cost KC. The good news is that they’re still in first place in the AFC West. The bad news is that San Diego is playing well and Oakland is only a half game out. Are the wheels falling off the Chiefs’ playoff bus?
14. Miami Dolphins, 4-4 (9) – The Dolphins’ road win streak came to an abrupt end in Baltimore. Miami has a decent team, but they need to put things together for the second half of the season. If they finish 8-8, there’s no way they make the playoffs. They host the Titans this Sunday and will try to get their first home win.
15. San Diego Chargers, 4-5 (21) – Look out! The Chargers seem to be hitting their stride. Just like in years past, San Diego is turning into the team no one wants to play. The AFC West is up for grabs, and if the Chargers keep moving in the right direction, there’s no reason they can’t be a force in January. They get their bye this week.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 5-3 (15) – Tampa fell just short against the Falcons, but gave them a heck of game. There’s no denying the Bucs’ rise. They’re still in the hunt for a playoff spot, and even though they’ll probably just miss the postseason, at least they’re headed in the right direction.
17. Chicago Bears, 5-3 (16) – It wasn’t pretty, but the Bears were able to put away the Bills in Buffalo. Jay Cutler played better, but Chicago has been disappointing since their hot start. They have a key divisional match up this Sunday when the Vikings come calling. They need to win to keep pace with the Pack.
18. Houston Texans, 4-4 (14) – The Texans’ slide continues. Houston caught the Chargers at the wrong time. Their chances of making the playoffs are quickly diminishing. They head to Jacksonville for a must win game this Sunday.
19. Washington Redskins, 4-4 (19) – The ‘Skins come off their bye with the Eagles coming to town. The off-week had to help Donovan McNabb’s bad hamstring. McNabb gets another chance to stick it to his former team. Washington can still play its way into the playoffs, but they need a strong second half.
20. St. Louis Rams, 4-4 (20) – The Rams made great strides in the first half of the season. They’re definitely in the hunt for the NFC West title. After their bye, St. Louis travels to San Fran to battle the Niners this week. Can Sam Bradford make it through a 16 game season?
21. Jacksonville Jaguars, 4-4 (22) – The Jags come out of their bye with a game against Houston that’s a must win for both teams. Jacksonville has been up and down all season, but if they play well they can still sneak into the playoffs. A big if.
22. Seattle Seahawks, 4-4 (18) – Without Matt Hasselbeck, the Seahawks got dismantled by the Giants. The game started badly and didn’t get much better. Regardless, Seattle still has a great shot at making the playoffs. They head to Arizona this week for an important divisional game.
23. Cleveland Browns, 3-5 (26) – The Browns throttled the Patriots behind an impressive game by Peyton Hillis. The Cleveland defense also had a strong showing. The Browns are in the midst of a brutal stretch of their schedule. It doesn’t get any easier this week with the Jets coming to the Dog Pound. But with the way the two teams have been playing, it feels like Cleveland has a legitimate chance in this game.
24. Minnesota Vikings, 3-5 (24) – It seems like the Vikings are one bad game away from completely imploding. There’s probably a better chance of Brett Favre being back in Minnesota next year than Brad Childress. Favre threw for a career high in the Vikes’ thrilling win over Arizona. If Minnesota can beat Chicago this week, they have enough talent to make a run. But do they have enough chemistry?
25. Arizona Cardinals, 3-5 (23) – The Cards let one get away in Minneapolis. Up by 14 points with about 4 minutes to play, Arizona gave up two late touchdowns and lost in overtime. If they would have won, Arizona, Seattle, and St. Louis would all be 4-4. But for now the Cards are a game back in their division. They can even up with Seattle with a home win this week.
26. Cincinnati Bengals, 2-6 (25) – The Bengals lost again. Cincy made too many mistakes against Pittsburgh, though they put together an impressive comeback. Marvin Lewis has to be on the hot seat at this point, but at least Terrell Owens is having a nice season. How bad would the Bengals be without T.O.? They’ll try to get back on track at Indy this week.
27. Detroit Lions, 2-6 (27) – Poor Detroit. They gave great effort against the Jets, but managed to find ways to lose. If they would’ve beaten Chicago in week 1, the Pack a few weeks back, and the Jets this past week, they’d be first in the NFC North. Of course that’s a lot of ifs, but the point is that Detroit isn’t anywhere near as bad as they used to be.
28. San Francisco 49ers, 2-6 (28) – Somehow, with as bad as the 49ers have played, they aren’t out of the playoff race just yet. It must be nice to play in a division with Seattle, Arizona, and St. Louis. The Niners are only 2 games back and get the Rams at home this week. If both San Fran and Arizona win, the Niners will be just a game out.
29. Denver Broncos, 2-6 (29) – The Broncos had their bye after getting humiliated at home against Oakland. They come out this week against the Chiefs at home. Josh McDaniels had better get his team to play better or his stint as a head coach will be short lived.
30. Dallas Cowboys, 1-7 (30) – Just when I thought the Cowboys couldn’t get any worse, they went to Green Bay and proved me wrong. What an absolute disaster. It was hard to watch the Cowboys in that game. Seriously, NBC should’ve had a parental warning for that game. The post-Wade Phillips era begins this week when Dallas heads to New York to take on the Giants.
31. Carolina Panthers, 1-7 (31) – Carolina got blown out at home against the Saints. Matt Moore is out for the season, but that doesn’t really matter. This team is not good. John Fox could be hanging out with Wade Phillips any week now. Maybe they can catch up with Brad Childress and Marvin Lewis for a game of shuffleboard or bridge or something not named football.
32. Buffalo Bills, 0-8 (32) – The Bills lost another heartbreaker. After their games against Baltimore, Kansas City, and Chicago, the Bills’ can’t seem to catch a break. They get the Lions this week as 3 point favorites. And by the way, can anyone explain to me how a winless team in week 10 can be lined a favorite? Has that ever happened before? But maybe this is the week …
Maddux Sports is studying the week 10 card as we speaks and are expecting some wallet stuffing results. Visit the NFL football picks page to get on board for this Sunday and Monday’s NFL picks.