After breaking Tom Brady’s previous record of 50 touchdown passes last week against the Texans, Peyton Manning now sets his eyes on Drew Brees’ passing yards record, needing only 266 yards to surpass Brees’ record of 5,476 yards set in 2011. Manning has posted at least 266 yards in all but one game this season.
2. Seattle Seahawks (12-3)
Russell Wilson looked vulnerable at home on Sunday against a stout Arizona Cardinals defense, suffering his first loss in front of the 12th man in his two year NFL career.
3. Carolina Panthers (11-4)
After outlasting the Saints in a pouring, muddy slush of a terrain on Sunday, the Panthers are now in prime position for a 1st round bye and a home playoff game. Potentially losing veteran wide receiver Steve Smith to a PCL injury could be devastating, however.
4. San Francisco 49ers (11-4)
After going over 1,000 yards receiving for the 6th time in his career on Monday night, I can’t imagine the Ravens feel too good about getting only a 6th round pick for Anquan Boldin’s services in 2013.
5. New England Patriots (11-4)
The Patriots took advantage of a hobbled Joe Flacco on Sunday and only need a victory over the Bills this Sunday to secure a 1st round bye.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5)
Known primarily for their defensive prowess over the last three years, the Bengals have actually scored 40+ points in 3 of their last five games and Andy Dalton now has 31 touchdown passes in 2013, four more than Tom Brady. That last stat just made me sick…
7. Arizona Cardinals (10-5)
It’s a shame that the Cardinals could be the 2nd best team in the AFC, but don’t even control their own destiny in the NFC. Nevertheless, head coach Bruce Arians deserves serious consideration for another Coach of the Year award and the Cardinals defense is more than legitimate.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)
Every time I see Andy Reid in his bright red windbreaker all I can think about is him serving Koolaid on the sideline screaming “Oh yeah!!!”
9. Philadelphia Eagles (9-6)
The Eagles dropped 51 points on the Bears on Sunday night in a game that meant virtually nothing to them and their NFC playoff picture. When Nick Foles is playing this well (25TD/2INT), the Eagles are a dangerous matchup for anybody.
10. New Orleans Saints (10-5)
Drew Brees and the Saints struggle in the elements and Mother Nature dealt them a cruel fate on Sunday against the Panthers. Even worse for the Saints, they’re now likely to be staring freezing cold weather straight in the face in round one even if they do secure a playoff spot.
11. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
The Colts inexplicably crushed the Chiefs in Arrowhead this Sunday. However, I find the fact Donald Brown looks like an NFL running back these days equally as shocking. In other news, Trent Richardson continues to look like the JV fullback on my high school team.
12. San Diego Chargers (8-7)
The Chargers need some help to make the playoffs, but regardless of what happens I’m upset I haven’t seen more Phillip Rivers hissy fits this season. He’s just been too good for that this year.
13. Chicago Bears (8-7)
We know who the Packers want to be their quarterback in their week 17 showdown for the NFC North title, but do the Bears know who they want under center?
14. Baltimore Ravens (8-7)
The Ravens control their own destiny, but they’re playing a tough Bengals team in Week 17. Even worse, Justin Tucker missed a chip shot field goal on Sunday. THEY’RE FALLING APART!
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)
The Steelers need to win and have the Ravens, Chargers, and Dolphins all lose in Week 17 to sneak into the playoffs. Regardless, it’s been fun watching Big Ben this year. He’s been his vintage self extending plays and making defenses scratch their heads down the stretch run of 2013.
16. Green Bay Packers (7-7-1)
Aaron Rodgers status is still up in the air, Eddie Lacy is hobbled by an ankle injury, and Clay Matthews is injured and likely to miss Week 17. Yet, the Packers win and they’re in. Unreal.
17. St. Louis Rams (7-8)
The Rams have won five games by 10+ points and lost five games by 10+ points in 2013. And I don’t even know what that stat means.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
The Cowboys have had one roller coaster ride of a season and now they have one game to take their division. Then….Kyle Orton. Sigh…
19. Miami Dolphins (8-7)
As most Dolphins fans can attest to, they expected a subpar performance this Sunday against the Bills. I don’t think they expected their team to throw up a goose egg in their most important game of their season, however.
20. Detroit Lions (7-8)
The Jim Schwartz firing might be the one situation where the city of Detroit welcomes adding on to their unemployment rate.
21. Tennessee Titans (6-9)
Well, at least they beat the Jaguars once this year.
22. New York Jets (7-8)
Rex Ryan is going to make some team very happy as their defensive coordinator in 2014.
23. Buffalo Bills (6-9)
This team has a future with that front seven. They sacked the Dolphins’ quarterbacks seven times on Sunday.
24. Cleveland Browns (4-11)
Getting a 1st round pick for Trent Richardson looks like a great move, but this team could definitely use a running back. They’ve called up so many guys from their practice squad they started posting job openings on Craigslist.
25. New York Giants (6-9)
With the Redskins on tap in Week 17, it’s starting to look like the Giants getting to seven wins is one of the greatest mysteries in the NFL this season.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
They start playing well and then they self-implode. So much for Greg Schiano’s job-saving late season run.
27. Atlanta Falcons (4-11)
Come on Tony, what’s one more season?
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11)
The Jaguars threw 14 year franchise center Brad Meester a screen pass for a short gain this weekend to honor him. Awesome.
29. Oakland Raiders (4-11)
Terrelle Pryor will get one last shot to show the Raiders organization he’s worth something after being named their Week 17 starter.
30. Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1)
Remember when I said don’t bet against Matt Cassell? I hope you didn’t document that.
31. Washington Redskins (3-12)
Pierre Garcon broke Art Monk’s record for most receptions in a season in franchise history, with his 11 catch performance on Sunday.
32. Houston Texans (2-13)
It was only fitting the Texans gave up Peyton Manning’s record breaking 51st touchdown pass. They needed some form of relevancy this season.