- Green Bay Packers (10-3)
Last Week: 2
The Packers gave up some big plays to the woeful Bears, but they woke up in time to put Chicago away. Green Bay is now in position to gain home field in the NFC. AJ Dillon is emerging to give the Packers a power running game to accompany the elusive Aaron Jones out the backfield.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)
Last Week: 3
Tampa is rounding into championship form just at the right time. They are tied atop the NFC standings and their remaining schedule is the softest of any of the remaining contenders. The NFC playoffs may go through Tampa.
- Arizona Cardinals (10-3)
Last Week: 1
Monday night’s loss was huge for the Cardinals who find themselves in a dogfight for the division and for home field. The Card’s remaining road is tougher than either the Packers or Tampa. Arizona needs to figure out why they are undefeated on the road but just .500 at home.
- New England Patriots (9-4)
Last Week: 4
The Patriots now have a two-game lead in the division with the chance to end the divisional race and deal a mortal wound to Buffalo’s playoff chances this week. The Patriots have allowed a league low 200 points this season, which is an average of just 15 per game. It’s a testament to the great defensive mind of Bill Belichick and the perpetual pathetic mess the rest of the AFC East continues to be.
- Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)
Last Week: 5
The Chiefs rolled to their six straight win and held another opponent under 10 points in the process. This Sunday’s contest at the Chargers is huge. If the defense can post another stellar effort, the Chiefs will build a two-game advantage in the division and likely reign as division champs yet again.
- Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
Last Week: 6
The Rams finally posted a victory against a notable opponent. It was a huge win that kept Los Angeles in the division race, rather than fighting for a wild-card berth. The Rams need a healthy Darrell Henderson for the stretch drive. Sonny Michel and the other backups simply don’t provide what Henderson does from the backfield. The Rams will need balance on the ground to go with Cooper Kupp and the passing game to win deep into January.
- Dallas Cowboys (9-4)
Last Week: 7
The Cowboys found a way to make Sunday’s game in Washington interesting in the late going. There is still reason for concern in Dallas despite the victory. The division crown is all but locked up, but Dak Prescott hasn’t been right for some time. This week he had a fully healthy stable of receivers and still wasn’t sharp. He will need to return to his early-season form for this team to compete in the playoffs.
- Los Angeles Chargers (8-5)
Last Week: 8
The Chargers finally put together consecutive wins for the first time since the first month of the season. They get the Chiefs at home this week with an opportunity to tie for the division lead. There are no excuses. This will determine if Los Angeles will be a factor in the AFC or another also-ran.
- Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
Last Week: 10
Indy sits on top of a log jam of AFC teams at 7-6 for the season. They have had a bye week to prepare for the surging Patriots. A loss could send them home for the playoffs, while a win against rolling New England could serve as a launching pad to big things for the Colts.
- San Francisco 49ers (7-6)
Last Week: Unranked
The Niners are playing better as they get their injured pieces back on the field. This week’s win in Cincinnati was immense for San Francisco who were able to save their season and continue marching toward a post-season berth. If they continue to get healthy and stay healthy, they could cause a lot of trouble for the NFC’s elite teams.