1. Houston Texans (1) – Took another extra few minutes to do it, but the Texans rallied for a big Thanksgiving win over the Lions.
2. Atlanta Falcons (2) – Tough game in Tampa, but pulled it out against a Bucs team that has been playing well and were close to pulling the upset.
3. San Francisco 49ers (3)– Many people picked the Saints (including me) to beat the Niners and Colin Kaepernick, but the rookie and the Niners had other ideas.
4. New England Patriots (5) – Crushed the Jets on Thanksgiving night, and slowly are hitting their stride as maybe the biggest challenger to the Texans in the AFC.
5. Baltimore Ravens (6) – Have not seen a lot of 4th and 29’s made in all the years I’ve seen the game, but they did it with the game on the line in San Diego.
6. Denver Broncos (7) – Not the offensive performance they were looking for, but scored 17 and their defense shut down KC enough to get a road win.
7. Chicago Bears (9) – Don’t look now, but the Bears have their QB back in Jay Cutler, and the team is starting to look like a true NFC contender again.
8. New York Giants (10)– The bye did them well, and they responded with a big primetime outing topping the Packers again with a great defensive performance.
9. Green Bay Packers (4)– Speaking of Aaron Rodgers and company, this team just can’t seem to keep their foot on the pedal. Sunday’s game vs the Vikings is a critical one.
10. Indianapolis Colts (17) – You don’t see as many dramatic one-year turnarounds like the Colts, who are in line for the #5 seed in the AFC if they keep playing like Sunday.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (15) – A big mover this week, Cincy showed their former QB in Carson Palmer that they have moved on, and they are thinking playoffs again.
12. Seattle Seahawks (8) – A good back and forth game in South Florida vs the Dolphins, just couldn’t close it out and couldn’t stop Ryan Tannehill in the last minutes.
13. Dallas Cowboys (14)- If this team doens’t start to win some games, they are on the verge of an overhaul when Jerry Jones starts cutting players and firing coaches.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (7) – Turned the ball over 8 times vs the Browns, yet still had a chance to win in the final minutes. Bottom line, they need Big Ben in a bad way.
15. Minnesota Vikings (13) – Had a gameplan for Jason Campbell, then less than 24 hours the Bears got a huge boost when they got Jay Cutler back. Oh, and then Adrian Peterson missed the bus to the game. Ugh.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14) – Played just short of knocking off the Falcons Sunday, still are impressive for a first-year head coach and a team that wasn’t expected to do much in 2012.
17. Miami Dolphins (20) – Great win over a team thinking playoffs in the Seahawks. Tannehill grew up a little, and his last drive could be a turning point for this youngster.
18. New Orleans Saints (16) – A crushing loss to the 49ers, and now with a key Thursday night game, their playoff hopes could be gone with another loss.
19. Washington Redskins (22) – RG3 looked right at home on the star in Dallas, and Cowboy owner Jerry Jones says he’s never been as impressed with a player – interesting.
20. St.Louis Rams (23)– Good road win in Arizona, as the defense led by rookie Janoris Jenkins with two TD returns for score set the tempo for a big day.
21. Tennessee Titans (18) – Beat by a one-win Jaguars team in Jacksonville is not something this team will have in the 2012 Titans highlight film.
22. New York Jets (19) – Thought they had a shot at home to make a statement vs the Pats. They did – the statement was – “we’re not nearly as close to a title as we think we are.”
23. Arizona Cardinals (21) – Ran into a buzzsaw with a bunch of turnovers for scores by the Rams, and now at 4-7 have to head to MetLife to take on a reeling Jets team. Haven’t won a game since September 30th.
24. Carolina Panthers (28) – Not sure where the team that showed up Monday night has been all year, but were very impressive vs an Eagles team that looks like they have mailed it in.
25. Cleveland Browns (31) – Big move up for the Browns, who topped their rivals in Pittsburgh thanks to bunches of turnovers – 8 to be exact.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (30) – Chad Henne in a zone right now – this team is still fighting, which is all that coach Mike Mularkey can ask for a young group.
27. Philadelphia Eagles (24) – Remember last August when everyone had the Eagles going to the Super Bowl? My what a difference 16 months has made.
28. Buffalo Bills (25) – Held their own with the Colts. May want to take a page out of their book and go out and get a big name rookie playmaker like Indy did in Andrew Luck.
29. Detroit Lions (26) – Jim Schwartz with the bonehead move of the week with throwing a challenge flag on a TD. At 4-7 another loss will likely end any hopes of a postseason birth.
30. San Diego Chargers (27) – They allowed a 4th-and-29 in the final seconds to be converted to eventually take a loss. Another team that will be looking for a coach in about 30 days.
31. Oakland Raiders (29) – A historically bad defense again was torched in Cincy. Now they take on the Browns, maybe one offense they can finally stop.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (32) – Good effort vs Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but still not good enough for a team that needs a fresh start in 2013.