Because doing a full, 32-team list of power rankings is too much work, I rank the top 11 teams in the NFL after each exciting football weekend (that's where the "first and 10" comes in). I was off on Monday, so here are my belated but still timely rankings heading into the final week of the regular season:
1. They’ve put up at least 30 points in 10 of their 15 games and 40 in five of them. Packers: 2. I guess they forgot they still had another game for Saints: Drew Brees to chase Dan Marino’s mark. 3. They have won seven in a row, but the competition in those games was mediocre at best. Patriots:
4. I don’t pick games for the newspaper, but I don’t feel good about Sunday’s game in Cincinnati. Ravens: 5. They will be a tough out for a team in the playoffs, but I can’t see them surviving the 49ers: NFC. 6. The banged-up Steelers really need that first-round bye to make it back to the Steelers: Super Bowl. 7. Outside of the elite ones, which quarterback has played better than Lions: Matthew Stafford in 2011?
8. Expect a heavy dose of Texans: Arian Foster and Ben Tate as long as the Texans are in the playoffs. 9. Even with all that firepower on offense, they couldn’t hang with the Saints on Monday. Falcons: 10. They win Sunday and they’re in, but there’s a reason they’ve been dubbed “the Bungles.” Bengals: 11. They’ve won their past three games by a margin of 91-36. Is Eagles: Andy Reid’s job still in danger? Biggest riser (not on this list): The Panthers, who appear to have found a quarterback in Cam Newton. Biggest fall (not on this list): The Rams, who will land the No. 1 pick with a loss Sunday and a Colts win.