Because doing a full, 32-team list of power rankings is too much work for a Monday afternoon, I will rank the top 11 teams in the NFL after each exciting football Sunday (that's where the "first and 10" comes in). Here is how I rank them heading into the playoffs (with an intriguing slate of four wild-card games starting Saturday):
1. Green Bay: Matt Flynn passed his way past some big names in the Packers record book Sunday. A backup throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns shows just how stacked the Pack is. They look poised to repeat.
2. New Orleans: The Saints are the hottest team in football, having won eight straight games. Their plus-208 point differential was tops in the NFL this season. If there’s a team built to beat the Packers, it’s these Saints.
3. New England: The Pats have also won eight straight. Their defense is soft, but they still have Tom Brady.
4. Baltimore: Well, Joe Flacco, it’s time to show the Ravens that you are worthy of a huge contract extension. The wide receivers are a big concern, but all-around, this is the best Ravens team of the John Harbaugh era.
5. Pittsburgh: The Steelers really needed that bye to rest up and they just lost starting running back Rashard Mendenhall for the rest of the season. But this is a battle-tested bunch that no AFC team will want to play.
6. San Francisco: How far can that stout 49ers defense and running back Frank Gore carry Alex Smith?
7. Detroit: I’m excited to see what QB Matthew Stafford can do in the playoffs after a phenomenal season.
8. New York: With a passing attack led by QB Eli Manning and wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, the Giants can hang with the top teams. And remember the last time they entered the playoffs with momentum?
9. Atlanta: I have no idea what the Falcons will do. They could lose to the Giants or go all the way to Indy.
10. Houston: The hobbled Texans are a great story, but Arian Foster and Ben Tate can only do so much.
11. Cincinnati: The Bengals won’t be pushovers, but they have struggled late in games the past two months.
(The Denver Broncos would be No. 12 on this list, though it looks as if Tim Tebow has used up all of his magic.)Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun