#1 Indianapolis: If the Colts are able to play 60 minutes like they did in their second half against Washington on Sunday, this is clearly the best team in football. The offense is a given. When the defense steps up, this is a tough team to beat.
#2 Chicago: The Bear bye came at a good time as Chi town has some injuries to deal with and so that the staff can address some of the offensive deficiencies exposed by Arizona. The November 12th Sunday nighter versus Giants now looking very big.
#3 New England: The Pats already have a stranglehold on AFC East and have only to avoid injury and fine-tune passing game before heading into the playoffs. New England ball control offense eats lots of clock and wins battle of field position keeping average/aging stop unit fresh.
#4 Denver: How long can you continue to win scoring 17 ppg? The Bronco offense, particularly the running game, is just not the same without crushing blocking back and Plummer has just not made plays. Shanahan will likely go to Cutler before to much longer.
#5 Atlanta: Breakthrough game the Falcons on Sunday as they showed uncharacteristic guts and resilience in beating Steelers. What took Vick so long to refind Alge Crumpler? Falcon defense, running game, and intangibles will always keep them in the hunt.
#6 Baltimore: Jim Fassel has left the building and we should see a slightly less conservative Raven offense the rest of the way. McNair can still throw mid-range balls so look for Todd Heap to become more involved. Opportunistic defense creates chances and hides Ravens offensive deficiencies.
#7 NY Giants: Moving up the ladder with a bullet as this team has been one of the three best teams in football the last three weeks coming out of their bye. The offensive line is moving people for Tiki and giving Eli enough time to make plays. The loss of Arrington (ruptured Achilles) will hurt but pressure from the ends make Giants a handful.
#8 Seattle: We’ll really see what the defending NFC champs are made of now with Hasselbeck out 3-4 weeks with a knee strain and Alexander still 2-3 weeks away with broken foot. This week at Kansas City will be tough but next four are very winnable. Hawks may regret going cheap at backup with Seneca Wallace.
#9 San Diego: The Chargers have given away two games they should have won handily. Tons of questions still remain about Phillip Rivers and the status of Schottenheimer who seems to be questioned at every move by management. Merrimen get two game reprieve from substance suspension. All’s not right with the Bolts.
#10 Philadelphia: Probably shouldn’t be dropping the Eagles this far after getting beat by two INT runbacks and 62 yard final play field goal but Philly is showing no killer instinct and a forming a habit of not closing people out. The Eagles at their best are as good as anyone on the NFC.
Jeff Allen is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at http://www.procappers.com/Jeff_Allen.htm