4. Ravens: “The Ravens have a chance to sweep the rival Steelers for the first time since 2006.” (Walker)
5. Steelers: “Sometimes the best defense is an opponent (Steve Johnson) who can’t catch.” (Walker)
1. Falcons: “I’ve really come to appreciate this team. They haven’t turned the ball over in the last four games. They simply don’t beat themselves. Can you really find a true weakness with Atlanta right now? I can’t. They run the ball well, pass the pigskin with efficiency, and their defense has steadily gotten better. The bottom line is they deserve to be in this spot.” -Adam Caplan
2. Patriots: “That loss at Cleveland in Week 9 seems to have actually lit a major fire under the Patriots. No team has played better over the past three weeks. But we’ll get a real idea of where they stand in the AFC East against the visiting Jets on Monday night.” -Adam Caplan
4. Ravens: “I got some emails earlier week asking why the Ravens aren’t getting a lot of notice despite winning four out of their last five games. It’s because they aren’t flashy. They simply get the job done most of the time. But their detractors continue to point out two issues -- the lack of a downfield passing game and a suspect secondary. We’ll see if those issues are brought to light against the visiting Steelers this week.” -Adam Caplan
7. Steelers: “Better to be lucky than good? Well, the Steelers got as lucky as possible against the host Bills. And if WR Steve Johnson doesn’t drop that sure touchdown pass, they would have lost. It sure looked like they would blow them out after the first quarter, but Buffalo did a great job of taking WR Mike Wallace out of the game. Their two-deep coverage took away the deep passes to the speedy receiver. It will be interesting to see how opposing defenses play against him going forward.” -Adam Caplan
1. Patriots: “I suppose the Jets can go ahead and study the tape of their Week 2 game against the Patriots for whatever they might glean from it, but that New England offense really doesn’t exist any more. In that 28-14 New York win, Randy Moss scored a touchdown, Kevin Faulk was the Patriots’ leading rusher, and Stephen Gostkowski was doing the kicking for New England. Then again, I don’t blame the Jets for not being eager to watch what the Patriots of recent vintage just did to the Steelers, Colts and Lions the past three weeks.” - Don Banks
2. Jets: “Though they come into their season-defining showdown with the Patriots 9-1 in their past 10 games, the Jets really can’t afford to lose this one and still expect to earn anything better than the AFC’s fifth seed in the playoffs. That’s because New York still has road games left at Pittsburgh and Chicago in Weeks 15-16, making for a brutal December that Rex Ryan’s team is about to embark upon. New York’s next four games are all against teams that currently have winning records.”- Don Banks
4. Ravens: “Pittsburgh and Baltimore simply do not play games that feature one team dominating the other. Since the start of the Joe Flacco era in 2008, the Ravens and Steelers have met six times, with those games being decided by margins of three in overtime, four, nine, three in overtime, three, and three points. Pittsburgh has won four times, and Baltimore twice. How can it be anything but another razor-thin margin Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium?”- Don Banks
6. Steelers: “The Steelers defense can be fearsome, and you can’t discount a Ben Roethlisberger-led offense. But I’m starting to have my doubts about the team Peter King picked to go all the way. Pittsburgh has lost to Baltimore, New Orleans and New England, three legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Other than beating visiting Atlanta in overtime in the opener, who has Pittsburgh handled that makes you think they’re Dallas-bound?”- Don Banks
My Take: I really don’t think there is a team playing right now that deserves the top spot. With that being said if I had to make a decision I would pick the Falcons. Following them, the Jets, Patriots, Ravens and Steelers in that order.
The Falcons have just had an impressive year and they’ve have beaten some of the leagues best teams. They really don’t seem to have a flaw right now other than the fact they’ve lost two games on the road - and that’s a stretch. The fact that they lost those games to both the Eagles and Steelers makes that flaw an even bigger stretch.
The Jets are number two because luck seems to be on their side this year. You can’t take away how impressive the comebacks have been, but they have come against teams that the Jets should have blown out. They should have lost at least one of those games, but youngster Mark Sanchez bailed them out everytime. Eventually, their luck will wear out. Hopefully, their defense doesn’t.
The Patriots, Ravens and Steelers are all very similar teams. It may not be the most scientific approach to ranking, but the Patriots beat the Ravens who beat the Steelers. Simple enough. The Ravens and Steelers numbers are eerily similar, so much so they both got taken into overtime by the Bills. This week will show who the more dominating team is, but win or lose, they both are really good.