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NFL Top 10 Rankings
by Wayne Root - 11/09/2012
WAYNE ROOT'S NFL TOP TEN, WEEK 10
1) Atlanta---Matt Ryan is referred to as "Mattie Ice". A cool well deserved name. Why? They just keep winning. On the road and with some comebacks. At home and with a few blowouts. The Atlanta Falcons have managed an improbable first half of the season, and their 8-0 record puts them two wins away from securing a playoff berth. And since there are no style points in the NFL, fans of the Falcons aren't too concerned with how they win, just that they keep doing it. You'll also see people saying they don't trust the Falcons to win in the playoffs—but the playoffs aren't here yet. But one thing is for sure; they'll at least be in the Playoffs!! They play their rival; New Orleans this week after beating Dallas last Sunday Night.
2) Houston---The Texans have been poised for a move down for several weeks, but they've managed to keep winning despite some ugly games and even with inside linebacker Brian Cushing out. They played ugly last week and beat the Buffalo Bills. The Texans continue to be one of the NFL's most balanced, complete teams on a weekly basis. Matt Schaub's efficiency and the reliable hands of Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels make the Texans hard to beat. That consistency makes them tough to move down from the No. 2 spot. They have their biggest challenge this week on NBC TV as they are on the road at Chicago.
3) San Francisco---The 49ers are coming off a bye-week. This week has them hosting the St Louis Rams. The St. Louis Rams aren't a great team, but they do have a tough defense that matches up well against what the 49ers like to do on offense. Stopping St. Louis' offense shouldn't be a problem, but this is a classic trap game, and the 49ers will need to take the St. Louis defense seriously heading into their divisional showdown. The 49ers, are heavily favored to make it 12 consecutive home victories against NFC West opponents. Coming out of Week 10 with a 7-2 record—and a healthy roster—keeps the 49ers on track to contend for the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
4) Green Bay---Remember when the Packers were 2-3? Well they are now 6-3 and have scored at least 24 points in every game since week 5 following their loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Aaron Rodgers went from struggling to All-Pro status, and his four touchdowns in Week 9 will go far to give No. 12 a shot at a second straight MVP. This is a huge week and a much needed week for a bye. They can rest up and then get ready for the divisional race to the Playoffs.
5) New England---The Patriots are coming off a bye and you can be sure the Coach Billichick will have his team ready for the Buffalo Bills. In week 4 they were behind before destroying them in the second half and winning 52-28. That game was in Buffalo, and both teams will have it on their minds this week as the division rivals prepare to play in Foxborough. Brady seems to be able to score at will. Stevan Ridley is on pace to become the fourth Patriots running back ever to rush for more than 1,400 yards in a single season and the first since Corey Dillon. With the NFL's highest-scoring offense, the Patriots once again look like a Super Bowl contender. The Patriots need to win and keep winning to keep their hopes of the No. 1 seed in the AFC alive.
6) Chicago---If you can run the ball and if you have a great defense, you can go all the way. This Bears team's defense has scored more touchdowns this season than some teams have scored on offense the past 4 weeks. Not everybody believes that Jay Cutler is an elite QB so therefore the Bears are not an elite team.
When the offense clicks, the Bears might be the league's best team. With the Texans coming to town, the Bears can silence their critics and make a solid case for the NFL's best team.
7) Pittsburgh---Oh how you have to love the play and determination of Ben Roethlisberger. This guy should be in the lead for MVP is it is based on the importance of that player to his team. He is Mr Steeler!! The Steelers have stepped up, finding a way to win each week and proving in the process that their toughness will carry them far in a weird NFL season. By beating the New York Giants in Week 9, it's clear that the Steelers are for real and that Ben Roethlisberger team will make a strong run at the AFC North title.
Did you know that the Steelers have allowed a total of just 407 yards passing to Andy Dalton, Robert Griffin III and Eli Manning combined? They have an easy game this week on MNF against Kansas City at home.
8) Denver---The Broncos are riding a 3-game winning streak. They are on top of the AFC West. With Manning getting stronger, the offense becoming more familiar and the defense as dangerous as ever, the Broncos are the team to beat in their division and, if they keep this up, maybe in the entire AFC. It's easy to see them making a long run through the postseason. It's a freak statistic, but interesting nonetheless: Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have each thrown for 2,404 yards this season. They are on the road at Carolina this week.
9) NY Giants---You knew after playing the 49ers, Cowboys and the Redskins and then going out of conference that the Giants were due for a let-down. In true Giants fashion, the game came down to the fourth quarter, but this time Eli Manning couldn't deliver. The Steelers beat the Giants at their own game and, in the process, showed that a tough defense and a mobile quarterback will continue to give the New York Giants trouble. The offense was productive but inconsistent. The defense would make big plays, but it was giving up too many easy points. That doesn't mean they won't hit bumps along the way to the playoffs and should be a favorite to go far. This week they are on the road in Cincinnati.
10) Baltimore---This once powerful Baltimore team is still winning. The injuries on defense are hurting the Ravens, undoubtedly, but the offensive play-calling is hurting the entire team. But they're still winning. It's the same as last season with their lack of using Ray Rice. How Cam Cameron can believe that ignoring Ray Rice is the right philosophy for this team is both confusing and infuriating. The Ravens are talented enough to win games but letting the Browns hang around like they did—the game was 14-12 Baltimore at the end of the third quarter—isn't the mark of a very smart team. Rice is the Ravens' best player and one of the best running backs in the NFL. He should have more of a role in this offense. Joe Flacco now has two fourth-quarter comebacks this season and eight for his career. They host the Raiders this week.
Teams looking to crack the Top Ten!
11) Indianapolis---Andrew Luck's talent and intelligence make the Colts a potential playoff team.
12) Seattle---Russell Wilson has nine touchdowns without a pick while going 4-0 at home this season.
13) Detroit---They're a half game out of a playoff spot and the Stafford-Megatron connection is just now starting to heat up. Watch out.
14) Tampa Bay---Josh Freeman has torn up weak defenses in recent weeks, racking up 11 touchdown passes in his past four games.
15) Dallas---The combined record of the five teams to which they've lost is 32-10. Things do get easier from here.