Seattle bounces back, while we await a huge Chiefs-Broncos matchup
1. Seahawks (9-1): Where are all those people who jumped off the bandwagon now? The Seahawks rode Beast Mode, that's Marshawn Lynch, to 145 yards in a blowout win on the road in Atlanta, avenging last year’s playoff loss in the process. How sweet was this one? “It’s the best game we’ve played,” said head coach Pete Carroll.
2. Chiefs (9-0): Kansas City was resting up for next week’s Sunday night matchup against second-place Denver and a suddenly sore Peyton Manning. Andy Reid can lock up Coach of the Year with a win here.
3. Broncos (8-1): Four touchdown drives in eight minutes and 15 seconds? That’s about as efficient as it gets in the NFL.
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4. Patriots (7-2): New England moves up because everyone else moved down. The bye week can never hurt you, but it sure can help you sometimes.
5. Saints (7-2): Drew Brees continues to push Peyton Manning for MVP honors. Perhaps the biggest boon, however, was Mark Ingram’s 145-yard performance.
6. Colts (6-3): Reggie Wayne isn’t walking through that door. Indy needs to move past a bad loss to the Rams and get back to basics.
7. Lions (6-3): It’s time to start taking Detroit for real, if you haven’t already. They can run it, they can throw it and they are one of the most resilient teams around.
8. Panthers (6-3): The hottest team in football (that’s what we called them last week) got even hotter. They have the most underrated defense in football. Well, they were.
9. 49ers (6-3): We’re still waiting for Colin Kaepernick to turn in a repeat of Week 1. He’s been very good at times, just not MVP good. Maybe our expectations are too high.
10. Bengals (6-4): The Jungle Cats killed themselves with stupid, stupid penalties. Cincy had 114 penalty yards versus 102 yards of offense in first half.
11. Bears (5-4): The offense looked better under backup QB Josh McCown, something head coach Marc Trestman admitted Monday.
12. Cardinals (5-4): Arizona is alive in the wild-card hunt, but they aren’t going anywhere until Bruce Arians finds a way to get Larry Fitzgerald on track.
13. Eagles (5-5): Head coach Chip Kelly won’t say it, so we will: Nick Foles is the starter for the rest of the season. New question, can he be the future of the franchise?
14. Jets (5-4): Good things come in twos, like the expected return of the Jets’ best skill players, Santonio Holmes and Kellen Winslow.
15. Packers (5-4): Aaron Rodgers could make a strong case for MVP. He’s that important. Welcome back, Matt Flynn.
16. Chargers (4-5): The Bolts can keep up with anyone through the air ... if only they could find a consistent running game.
17. Cowboys (5-5): So maybe Rob Ryan wasn’t the problem in Big D after all? Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin must be thinking long and hard about Del Boca Vista.
18. Ravens (4-5): Yes, the Ravens won — if you want to call 189 yards of total offense winning. Someone call Charlie Sheen.
19. Titans (4-5): This team wasn’t very sexy with Jake Locker. They have zero sex appeal without him.
20. Dolphins (4-5): The Fins erased a 15-point deficit — and then the ghost of Richie Incognito hazed them into oblivion.
21. Browns (4-5): Cleveland is in the playoff hunt — no, really, they are — for the first time since 2007. So, there’s that ...
22. Giants (3-6): Three in a row! Would it really surprise anyone if they won the NFC Least? Not us.
23. Rams (4-6): Tavon Austin flashed the upside everyone was talking about on draft day. Awesome. What was he doing for the previous nine games?
24. Redskins (3-6): They figured out how to score points. Now they need to figure out how to play defense.
25. Raiders (3-6): Is Terrelle Pryor falling into some bad, old habits? Or is he playing hurt? Oakland needs to find out.
Best of the worst: 26. Steelers (3-6); 27. Bills (3-7); 28. Vikings (2-7); 29. Falcons (2-7); 30. Texans (2-7); 31. Buccaneers (1-9); 32. Jaguars (1-8).