1. Falcons: "The Falcons' pass protection was nearly flawless against Rams team that led NFL in sacks." (Sando)
2. Patriots: "Now that they've beaten the Colts, they have to take care of Jets on Dec. 6 to make sure they don't play in Indianapolis in the playoffs." (Clayton)
3. Ravens: "Defense gets its swagger back with two TDs against Carolina." (Walker)
11. Buccaneers: "There's no shame in being the third-best team in the NFC South this season."(Sando)
1. Patriots: "The Patriots looked like they would easily put away their decade-long rival, Indianapolis, but Peyton Manning and the Colts came charging back before falling short at the end on Sunday. New England should be able to take care of business on Thanksgiving in Detroit, before a huge divisional matchup with the Jets on Monday night in Week 13." R.J. White
2. Eagles: "Sunday night's Eagles-Giants matchup seemed like it might decide the NFC favorite for the Super Bowl, and Philadelphia came out on top, despite a very ugly third quarter. This team hinges on Michael Vick staying healthy; if he does, the Eagles could hoist their first championship trophy." RW
3. Ravens: "Go ahead and circle the Week 13 Baltimore-Pittsburgh game on your calendar. The winner of that showdown probably takes the AFC North, and possibly a first-round playoff bye -- especially if it's the Ravens, since they already won in Pittsburgh this year."
10. Buccaneers: "If the Bucs can survive the next three weeks (at Baltimore, vs. Atlanta, at Washington) -- meaning at least a 1-2 record -- then they should be in this down to the wire. Tampa Bay hosts Detroit and Seattle in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively, then closes at New Orleans."
1. Jets: "Well, the Jets found a way to hold the No. 1 spot, but barely. You have to give them credit for finding a way to win the close games. However, that could come back to bite them in the end. They may be the NFL's top team right now, but they are far from dominant."
2. Falcons: "Last week's win road win over the competitive St. Louis Rams was an important one. The Falcons must continue to win on the road if they want to go deep into the playoffs this year. They are getting great balance on offense, and the defense is playing consistently solid football."
4. Ravens: "Baltimore is starting to look like a complete team on offense, but there are still some issues on the back end of the defense. It will be interesting to see if Tampa Bay can exploit some of Baltimore's weaknesses this week. We'll really get an idea of how good they are over the next two weeks."
10. Buccaneers: "There is no question that the Buccaneers have to be the NFL's biggest surprise this season, especially when you consider how bad they were in 2009. But getting consistently solid play from the quarterback position is a big reason for their success. Second-year signal caller Josh Freeman is clearly one of the NFL's most improved players."
1. Patriots: "Sunday's outcome had to be pretty familiar for both of the game's superstar quarterbacks: Peyton Manning hung up the gaudy statistics, and Tom Brady hung up another W. New England is the class of the AFC at the moment, but it'll be by a narrow margin until the Patriots prove they can beat the Jets in Week 13 and seize control of the AFC East. I can't see New England getting where it wants to go this season via the wild-card route, so it best win the division and claim one of the conference's top two seeds."
2. Jets: "All the late-game, Mark Sanchez-to-Santonio Holmes heroics has served to slightly obscure the fact that New York's fearsome defense isn't quite as fearsome as anticipated. The Jets have allowed their opponents to score 20 or more points in five of the past six games, but they're 5-0 in that situation. With the showdown in New England looming in Week 13, the Jets need a dominating defensive performance against Cincinnati on Thursday night to re-set the tone that Rex Ryan prefers."
7. Ravens "The Ravens don't seem to have developed their killer instinct yet this season, losing at Cincinnati and struggling to beat the likes of Buffalo and Carolina. Baltimore seems to play up to the level of its competition, having won at the Jets and at Pittsburgh, with a narrow loss at New England. Those are the top three teams in the AFC, and the Ravens have already proved they belong on the same field with them. Keep your eyes on the prize, Baltimore fans. The playoffs are the thing."
10. Buccaneers: "After throwing a shutout in San Francisco to jack their winning percentage to a fat .700, the Bucs deserve to crack the top 10. And try this stat on for size: Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman has now attempted 290 passes this season, the same number he threw last year as a rookie. But while he threw 18 picks in 2009 (6.2 interception percentage), he has just five this season (1.7). In the last 30 years, he's the first QB to go from an INT percentage of higher than 6.0 to less than 2.0 in a single season."