The Saints made a huge statement in the Georgia Dome on Sunday and look more and more like the best team in the NFC. The Patriots are back to being the Patriots. That's bad for the rest of the AFC. The Ravens need a lot of help from the Browns to achieve a first-round bye. Our Week 17 rankings:
Team (previous rank), record: comment
1. Patriots (2), 13-2: Is Tom Brady, who hasn't thrown an interception since Oct. 17 against the Ravens, on auto-pilot?
2. Saints (5), 11-4: Only a missed field goal away from sweeping the Falcons and gaining the NFC's top seed.
3. Falcons (1), 12-3: Invincible in the Georgia Dome no more.
4. Ravens (3), 11-4: Joe Flacco gets to exorcise his Cincinnati demons before advancing to the playoffs.
5. Steelers (7), 11-4: They lost to Cleveland at home a year ago. Can it happen again?
6. Bears (8), 11-4: Jay Cutler sliced and diced the Jets' once-proud defense into chop suey.
7. Eagles (4), 10-5: Michael Vick is the one player they can't afford to lose now.
8. Colts (NR), 9-6: They aren't playing possum any more. Beware Peyton Manning in his dome home.
9. Packers (NR), 9-6: What better way to finish their season than the rivalry with the Bears?
10. Chiefs (10), 10-5: If the Chiefs lose to Oakland and the Colts beat Tennessee, the Ravens could be headed to Kansas City for wild-card weekend.
NR – not ranked last week.
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