Another week has passed by, and we have another team that has fallen from the ranks of unbeaten. The Green Bay Packers took another step back in the rankings and could be in trouble if their mid-season slide continues.
1. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots once again took care of business by beating the Washington Redskins 27-10. However, the Pats did lose one of their playmakers in this contest. Deion Lewis suffered a torn left ACL injury that will require him to miss the rest of the season. As usual, it will be the “last man up” mentality that will be needed to fill the void that Lewis left on the field.
2. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers proved that they are the real deal in the NFC. They defeated the Green Bay Packers 37-29 in last Sunday’s showdown in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers dominated the majority of the ball game until the Packers tried to mount a late fourth quarter comeback. The Packers comeback attempt failed in the last minutes of the ball game as Aaron Rodgers threw the game ending interception to linebacker Thomas Davis.
3. Cincinnati Bengals
Last season in the “Battle of Ohio” the Cincinnati Bengals were embarrassed in front of their home crowd 24-3 by the Cleveland Browns. This year the Bengals were out for revenge as they manhandled the Browns 31-10 on Thursday Night Football. Andy Dalton connected with Tyler Eifert on three touchdown passes. The Bengals are now 8-0 and the second seed in the AFC Playoff race. If they can hold on to at least the second seed, Peyton Manning and the Broncos may be taking another trip up to the “Queen City.”
4. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos suffered their first loss of the season when they visited “The House that Peyton Built” in Indianapolis. The Broncos were clearly off track as Peyton Manning threw two interceptions in the 27-24 loss to the Colts. On top of that, Manning missed Brett Favre’s all-time passing yard record 71,838 by two yards 71,836.
5. Arizona Cardinals
They were not playing anyone this week, but the Arizona Cardinals are in first place in the NFC West. They clearly have the best quarterback in the division in Carson Palmer, who is having an MVP-caliber season with the Cardinals. They have a big test coming up this Sunday when they take on the Seattle Seahawks for the first time this season.
6. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are tied with the Green Bay Packers for first place in the NFC North. Last Sunday they faced a battle-tested St. Louis Rams team that was motivated to knock off the Vikings at home. They would go on to defeat the Rams 21-18 in overtime. Adrian Peterson rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown against the playoff hungry Rams.
7. Green Bay Packers
For the second week in a row, the Green Bay Packers failed to defeat a top tier defense in the National Football League. Last week it was the Denver Broncos defense that they were outplayed by, this time it was the Carolina Panthers. Even though Aaron Rodgers played a much better game than last week, however; it was not enough as the Packers failed to put away the Panthers at the end. Up next for the Packers is their cupcake rival the Detroit Lions.
8. New York Jets
The New York Jets rebounded from their two-game losing street against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw touchdown passes while running back Chris Ivory ran for two scores. The Jets have a short week as they prepare for a huge matchup against their former head coach Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills.
9. New York Giants
After giving up over 619 yards of total offense the New Giants got back on track last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Eli Manning led the way as he threw for 213 yards and two touchdown passes. The Giants are still in first place in the NFC East. However, the Philadelphia Eagles are not going anywhere. The Giants next opponent is the familiar AFC East foe the New England Patriots. Eli Manning must play flawlessly in that contest.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
We finally got to see what the Pittsburgh Steelers look like when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is healthy. However, things took a turn for the worst as Roethlisberger would suffer a mid-foot sprain in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders. The good news for Steeler fans is that Roethlisberger will only miss a week or two. Landry Jones must play the role of game manager while Big Ben is out. The Steelers are in the driver’s seat for the 6th seed in the AFC Playoff race.
11. Oakland Raiders
After coming off a tremendous effort against the New York Jets last week, the Oakland Raiders failed to repeat the same success against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders lost a close game against the Steelers 35-28. Even though they lost to their hated rival, you have to be impressed by the way the Raiders hung in there to keep up with the Steelers.
12. Atlanta Falcons
The free fall continues for the once undefeated Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons laid an egg on the road against the San Francisco 49ers 16-17. Last week I stated that if they lost to the 49ers they would most likely miss the playoffs. Looks like I may be right. It won’t get any easier for the Falcons as they face two tough back to back opponents in the Indianapolis Colts and the Minnesota Vikings.
13. St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams fell back to Earth as they lost a close one against the Minnesota Vikings. For the Rams to keep up with the Seahawks and Cardinals in the NFC West, they must generate some offense outside of running back Todd Gurley.
14. Indianapolis Colts
After losing three consecutive games with three red hot teams in the league, the Indianapolis Colts finally regained some momentum when they defeated the Denver Broncos. Andrew Luck performance was sensational against the vaunted Broncos defense. Luck completed 21 of 36 passes for 252 yards and two touchdown passes. Hopefully, this will be the boost that Colts needed to save their mediocre season in 2015.
15. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks were on a bye in week nine. They have a Sunday Night showdown with division rival the Arizona Cardinals. On that night, we will find out if the Seahawks are capable of making another deep postseason run.
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