Panthers make a huge leap, Packers fall hard, while the Cardinals and Vikings are poised for a run at the top five.
- New England Patriots 8-0 (1)- After playing eight games and dominating nearly everyone who has stepped on the field with them, I am running out of ways to call the Patriots the best team in football. Tom Brady is unwavering, when the run game works this is an offensive power house that will go unmatched right into the Super Bowl. I really enjoy watching the best teams play. And love them or hate them (I’m assuming you hate them) you cannot make an argument for who is playing the best football this season.
- Cincinnati Bengals 8-0 (2)- After a couple of tough weeks, I’m sure the Bengals really looked forward to their Thursday night match up against the Browns. The Browns held tough for the first half but the Bengals made the proper adjustments to bring the hammer in the second half and keep the Browns off the scoreboard. This is a historic run for Cincinnati who should be able to continue to put teams away like they did the Browns. It is not outside the realm of the Bengals running the table.
- Carolina Panthers 8-0 (5)- Who seriously thought the Panthers would be able to topple the Packers? Certainly not me. This was no fluke win either. Cam Newton had to be a man of very few mistakes and he pulled that off to put the Panthers into a big enough lead that even Aaron Rodgers couldn’t come back from. The only thing the Panthers need to work on now is keeping a lead. They were able to hold off Andre Luck and Rodgers the last two attempted comebacks but if they keep letting teams get close like this, something has to give.
- Denver Broncos 7-1 (3)- After systematically dismantling the Packers, I thought the Broncos were back. They didn’t roll over for the Colts but this was not the team who shut down Aaron Rodgers. Instead the Colts built off their momentum they gathered against the Panthers and didn’t let the Broncos intimidate them.
- Green Bay Packers 6-2 (4)- It has been five years since the Packers have lost back to back games. Aaron Rodgers got, for lack of a better term, embarrassed against the Broncos in week 8. All signs pointed to Rodgers showing up a bit angry with a chip on his shoulder. Well, he did but the rest of the team couldn’t keep up with a hot Panthers team who continues to exceed expectations. The Packers are still a great team who will surprise nobody by making another Super Bowl run but for the first six weeks, this team looked immortal but after a couple of losses, the Vikings are nipping at their heels for the division title.
- Arizona Cardinals 6-2 (6)-Cardinals got a bye this week. Next week they take on the Seattle Seahawks in an away game. Time to see if the Cardinals are ready for the next big step.
- Minnesota Vikings 6-2 (7)- The Vikings continue to play through adversity. When one piece falls, another steps up. The Vikings had this game won from the start of the second half but when Teddy Bridgewater went down, the offense screeched to a halt allowing the Rams to hold the Vikings to only eight points in the second half to keep them within striking distance, which they achieved. In the end, it was the special teams putting the ball in Rams territory for Adrian Peterson to put the nail in the coffin by continuing to be the best running back in the game. It looks as if Bridgewater will be okay moving forward which looks as if the Vikings will be able to make a run at a division that just two weeks ago, looked as if it was wrapped up.
- Pittsburgh Steelers 5-4 (N/A)- The Steelers finally got Ben Roethlisberger back last week only to lose their star running back. This week Big Ben goes down again looking at missing 2-3 games. Landry Jones was able to finish off the Raiders which will make a big difference if both of these teams are fighting for a playoff spot at the end of the season, this win breaks the tie. The only thing I am worried about is if the Steelers can make it that far. Seems they have a star player going down every week. Soon the Steelers punter is going to be taking snaps. It’s gonna take an awful lot of strong play from the rest of the team to keep this team in the playoff hunt.
- New York Jets 5-3 (N/A)- The Jets three losses have come against the Eagles, Patriots and Raiders, all good teams (I’m coming around on the Eagles). The Jets are playing exactly to their level. Beating the teams below them while at least playing the teams that should beat them tough. Much like a better version of the Rams, the Jets are just about done with their rebuilding years and are close to being contenders again. With the Steelers plagued by injuries, the Jets are poised to take the first wildcard spot later this year.
- Atlanta Falcons 6-3 (8)- The Falcons are 1-3 since starting 5-0. That is the only reason they get the last spot in the top ten this week. I could make a case for the Raiders being here instead but I still think the Falcons are the better team. It is baffling what happened to the Falcons but considering how hard they had to fight for their first few wins, the downfall should not be so surprising. There early season play might be enough to keep them in the playoff position but if the Rams pick it up, the last wildcard spot could quickly be slipping away.
Knocked out of the top ten-St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders.
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