1. Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson is second on my MVP ballot after 15 weeks. He is a joy to watch, and is mature well beyond his two seasons in the NFL. The Seahawks need to win two games at CenturyLink Field in January to go to the Superbowl. They’re still the favorites.
2. Denver Broncos
They lost to one of the best quarterbacks this season, and their vulnerability reared its ugly head on Thursday night. They do not have the answer for top passing games, but take a look at the rest of the AFC. The only team they need to fear is the Patriots and Tom Brady. They should secure the number one seed in the playoffs in the AFC.
3. San Francisco 49ers
They’ve won four games in a row, and Colin Kaepernick has been very efficient with the ball. This team needs to win the rest of its games so that they get to play the NFC North champ in the first round. However, with Aaron Rodgers coming back, that suddenly seems like a risky proposition.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
One of my previous (incorrect) opinions about the Chiefs was that they are not a great team on the road. However, away from Arrowhead, they are 6-1. With a likely playoff game looming on the road, watch out for this stingy defense in the playoffs.
5. Carolina Panthers
The Rams did the Panthers a gigantic favor, by defeating the Saints on Sunday. If the Panthers win out, they will win the NFC North, and not many teams will want to go to Carolina to play a playoff game against the Panthers defense.
6. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have ugly splits between playing at home and on the road. They have yet to lose in the Superdome (7-0), while they’re below .500 away from Louisiana (3-4). They absolutely must defeat the Panthers this weekend. If they lose, I expect a first round exit from the Saints. However, with a division win, I can see them going to the NFC Championship Game. So much rides on one game this weekend in Charlotte.
7. New England Patriots
The Patriots will win the division, and I think they will secure the second seed in the AFC. At that point, I don’t think the Patriots lose until the Championship game. Remember, the Patriots are 7-0 at home. Beating the Patriots up in Massachusetts is as close to impossible as it gets.
8. Philadelphia Eagles
This game in Minnesota was a good wake up call for the Eagles. At some point, every great team needs to learn that they can’t cruise through the regular season. With that said, it’s imperative that they win this weekend, and if it comes down to a winner take all game in Dallas two Sundays from now, I’d favor the Cowboys, and so would those in Las Vegas.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Another wake-up call in their loss to the Steelers. Every good team needs one. The Broncos, Saints, Patriots, and Eagles also received such messages this weekend. It’s really not that easy.
10. Indianapolis Colts
It’s still possible that the Colts move up to the third spot in the Conference. A match-up with any potential wild card besides Kansas City would likely favor the Colts, especially in the Circle City.