How long will it be until the Kansas City Chiefs get knocked off the top spot?
Well, we’re going to have to wait until the Chiefs face the Broncos in Denver when Week 11 rolls around. K.C. is on its bye week this Sunday. That said, some shuffling of the deck occurred around the top 10 with the Saints getting upset by the Jets and the Packers and Bengals dropping winnable games as well.
If anything, though, the 2013 season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever. With so many divisional races up for grabs right now, the second half of this campaign will only build with anticipation as December nears. Ahead, we check out the forecast for early November as Week 10 looms on the horizon.
1. Kansas City Chiefs 9-0, (last week: 1)
For anyone who actually understands the game of football, Kansas City sporting a 9-0 record right now should not be surprising. Given all the offseason changes after the Chiefs lost a bunch of close games in 2012 and perfection in November was bound to happen.
2. Seattle Seahawks 8-1, (last week: 2)
Seattle barely got past winless Tampa Bay at home. Was it a trap game? Perhaps. But a win is a win and now the Seahawks can focus their attention on another potential upset at Atlanta this week.
3. Indianapolis Colts 6-2, (last week: 5)
What a comeback victory by the Colts. Andrew Luck is clearly turning out as expected and Indianapolis has a strong hold on the top spot in the AFC South.
4. San Francisco 49ers 6-2, (last week: 3)
San Francisco ranks dead last in passing offense, but first in rushing offense. That said, a tough two-game stretch in hosting Carolina and at New Orleans will test the 49ers’ ability to move the rock consistently.
5. Denver Broncos 7-1, (last week: 6)
Congratulations Denver. After the bye week you get to host the last of the unbeatens at home, not to mention the Chiefs are an AFC West rival. Unless that defense steps up, K.C. will upend the Broncos in Mile High.
6. New England Patriots 7-2, (last week: 9)
The Patriots just continue to quietly rack up wins, while all the attention is focused on the AFC West and NFC elites. Don’t be surprised if Tom Brady gets New England another playoff bye.
7. New Orleans Saints 6-2, (last week: 4)
If the Saints had any idea how to play consistent football on the road, even against marginal teams, they would be unstoppable. Alas, that is not the case and an upset loss to the Jets in New York prevented New Orleans from pulling away in the NFC.
8. Cincinnati Bengals 6-3, (last week: 7)
All three of Cincinnati’s losses are on the road against mediocre teams. Much like New Orleans, the Bengals must find a way to consistently win away from home, otherwise the postseason won’t be a fun experience.
9. Green Bay Packers 5-3, (last week: 8)
Not a good time right now in Lambeau. And Monday night was a double-whammy for the worse. Not only did Green Bay fall to long-time rival Chicago at home, but according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be out for a while:
10. Detroit Lions 5-3, (last week: 10)
After the bye Detroit sees a short schedule ahead that presents multiple winnable games. The Lions play at Chicago and Pittsburgh and then host Tampa Bay. If they play their game, we’ll see them hosting Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day with an 8-3 record.
11. Dallas Cowboys 5-4, (last week: 11)
Dallas struggled at home against the one-win Vikings. Nevertheless, the defense did show improvement and the Cowboys avoided a colossal upset in Week 9. Unfortunately, Big D travels to the Big Easy in Week 10.
12. Chicago Bears 5-3, (last week: 16)
Monday was a season-changer for the Bears. Knocking off the Packers in Green Bay not only keeps Chicago in the NFC North title race, but it is also still in the hunt for a potential playoff bye. Plus the immediate schedule ahead isn’t exactly a gauntlet.
13. Arizona Cardinals 4-4, (last week: 15)
The Arizona Cardinals are a sleeper NFC contender. With victories over Detroit and Carolina, along with legit losses to Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans, Arizona’s ability to sport a .500 record at this juncture is more impressive than you’d initially think.
14. Carolina Panthers 5-3, (last week: 18)
The Panthers may be the most dangerous team in the NFC. Carolina has arguably the best overall defense in the conference and they have rolled off four straight wins by scoring 30-plus points each week. But traveling to face the 49ers this week will be a true test.
15. Tennessee Titans 4-4, (last week: 13)
Tennessee, thus far, has managed to win the games it was suppose to win. The Titans now host Jacksonville and Indianapolis in consecutive weeks. These are both winnable games as the Jags remain at rock-bottom and the Colts don’t play consistently on the road.
16. New York Jets 5-4, (last week: 20)
OK, so over the last five weeks, the Jets have managed to defeat Atlanta on the road, but somehow lost to Pittsburgh. But then Gang Green stole a win from the Patriots, before getting blasted by Cincinnati. And now a victory over Drew Brees and New Orleans? The bye week came right on time because if the Jets figure out their identity this will be a dangerous team.
17. Cleveland Browns 4-5, (last week: 19)
Jason Campbell is saving the Browns offense right now. His ability to minimize errors and keep Cleveland moving is having a big impact. The result? Rest for the defense (which has a strong case for being among the best around) and a spot right behind Cincy in the AFC North.
18. Miami Dolphins 4-4, (last week: 17)
After starting 3-0 the Dolphins went on a four-game skid. But now that Miami is back in the win column the ‘Fins sit at .500 with plenty of time remaining to go on a run and make some noise down the stretch.
19. San Diego Chargers 4-4, (last week: 14)
San Diego’s road loss to Washington was not surprising. The Chargers have a decent defense, but the Redskins offense by comparison was just too much to handle. On the bright side, Philip Rivers and co. have a huge upset opportunity against the Broncos this week.
20. Baltimore Ravens 3-5, (last week: 12)
Losers of three straight and four of their last five, Baltimore is dueling with Pittsburgh for the bottom of the AFC North. Hosting Cincinnati this week, the Ravens’ season is virtually on the line despite it being early November.
21. Buffalo Bills 3-6, (last week: 22)
Buffalo just doesn’t feature the overall offensive explosiveness to control the tempo against strong defenses. That was evident against the Chiefs, not to mention K.C.’s offense gradually chipped away at the Bills’ vulnerable defense.
22. St. Louis Rams 3-6, (last week: 23)
Without Sam Bradford the Rams are lost. The defense is certainly respectable, but St. Louis won’t be making any impact on the NFC playoff picture until it figures out how to score points.
23. Philadelphia Eagles 4-5, (last week: 28)
Since the Eagles reside in the NFC East, Philadelphia has a chance at the postseason. Now just one game back of Dallas, the Eagles getting a fourth victory kept hopes alive. Unfortunately, another setback may occur with the Packers hosting them in Week 10.
24. Washington Redskins 3-5, (last week: 29)
Big win for Washington over San Diego at home. Now the Redskins can hit their two-game road stretch (at Minnesota and Philly) with much more confidence to challenge for another NFC East title.
25. New York Giants 2-6, (last week: 26)
The Giants have won two straight and are hosting the Raiders in Week 10. A victory there could potentially put Big Blue just one game back of first in the NFC East. Wow.
26. Oakland Raiders 3-5, (last week: 21)
The Oakland team that got diced up by Philadelphia wasn’t the same squad that defeated San Diego and Pittsburgh. And playing at the New York Giants this week doesn’t bode well since the G-Men are feeling confident entering with a two-game winning streak.
27. Atlanta Falcons 2-6, (last week: 24)
It’s almost over for the Falcons. After hosting Seattle this week, Atlanta will play at winless division rival Tampa Bay (who will be motivated to win) and home against the Saints. Any more losses now and the Dirty Birds are kaput.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers 2-6, (last week: 25)
The Patriots put up 55 points on the Steelers this Sunday. That was the first time since Week 1 of the 1991 NFL season that Pittsburgh allowed 50-plus points. Clearly the Steel City has to make some changes this offseason.
29. Houston Texans 2-6, (last week: 27)
Houston has to find a way to close games after it starts fast. Nevertheless, the future of Case Keenum looks bright. If he remains consistent, the Texans will have a much more reliable signal-caller with a strong arm and better mobility than Matt Schaub.
30. Minnesota Vikings 1-7, (last week: 30)
Everything still revolves around Adrian Peterson here. At some point, though, NFL defenses were going to figure this out in terms of defeating Minnesota. It also doesn’t help that the defense continues to play terribly.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-8, (last week: 31)
Halfway to 0-16. Are the Buccaneers going to one-up themselves by going 0-16 to surpass the 0-14 mark from 1976. Even with their greatest of efforts on Sunday all signs point in that direction.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars 0-8, (last week: 32)
The Jaguars are basically the AFC’s version of Tampa Bay right now. Residing in Florida, the Jaguars also have no offense nor a defense to have any chance of winning.
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