The Patriots, left for dead after week 4, have suddenly roared back to life behind Tom Brady. It was very impressive dismantling of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos Sunday evening. And don't look now, but another team that struggled early in the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have turned into a touchdown passing machine with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. Thanks to a weak division, the Saints have fought their way back into playoff consideration, sitting atop the woeful NFC South.
Last Week: 8 - 4
Overall: 88 - 46 - 1
New Orleans (3 - 4) 27 @ Carolina (3 - 4 - 1) 30: No. The Saints have re-emerged as a playoff contender, ousting the Panthers to take the division lead. But the next four weeks present San Francisco followed by three AFC North foes before a relatively easy final quarter of the season. New Orleans 28 - 10.
Tampa Bay (1 - 6) 17 @ Cleveland (4 - 3) 24:
Correct. Tampa Bay probable isn't quite as bad as their record would indicate, but they just can't seem to put four quarters together to come up with a couple of wins. Cleveland 22 - 17.
Arizona (6 - 1) 27 @
Dallas (6 - 2) 20: Correct. No Romo, no win. It's tough to beat what may be the best team in the NFC without your starting QB. Arizona 28 - 17.
Philadelphia (5 - 2) 26 @
Houston (4 - 4) 23: Correct. Chip Kelly has the Eagles in a good spot heading into the second half of the season, even if he has to go with Mark Sanchez at QB in place of injured Nick Foles. Philadelphia 31 - 21.
New York Jets (1 - 7) 14 @ Kansas City (4 - 3) 27: Correct. the Jets are a disaster and KC hopes to have a better finish to the season than they did a year ago. Kansas City 24 - 10.
Jacksonville (1 - 7) 20 @ Cincinnati (4 - 2 - 1) 31:
Correct. The Bengals tuned up for their big contest with Cleveland by taking care of business against the Jags. Cincinnati 33 - 23.
San Diego (5 - 3) 27 @
Miami (4 - 3) 24: No. For team that looked like a Super Bowl contender, the Chargers have all but imploded the last three weeks. They'll need to figure something out during their bye week to see if they can get back in the hunt for a playoff spot. And what about the resurgent Dolphins? Miami 37 - 0.
Washington (3 - 5) 23 @
Minnesota (5 3) 20: No. The Redskins had this one in their hands and let the Vikings come back for a tough win. RGIII performed well, but he doesn't play defense. Minnesota 29 - 26.
Denver (6 - 1) 34 @
New England (6 - 2) 31: No. I guess I should have gone with history in this one. I wouldn't be surprised if this was an AFC championship preview. New England 43 - 21.
Oakland (0 - 7) 13 @ Seattle (4 - 3) 30: Correct.
Oakland almost pulled a shocker of a comeback in an attempt to get their first win. The Seahawks just don't seem to have the same defensive strength that they did last year, so it will be interesting to see if they can find a way to overtake the Cardinals. Seattle 30 - 24.
Baltimore (5 - 3) 20 @ Pittsburgh (5 - 3) 23:
Correct. Big Ben is hitting on all cylinders as his offensive line gels, giving him all day to throw. I'd have to put them up there with New England and Denver as the top AFC teams right now. Pittsburgh 43 - 23.
Indianapolis (5 - 3) 27 @
New York Giants (3 - 4) 24: Correct. The Colts rebounded nicely from the the drilling at the hands of Pittsburgh. The AFC is going to be a track meet to the finish. Indianapolis 40 - 24.