Because doing a full, 32-team list of power rankings is too much work, I rank the top 11 teams in the NFL after each exciting football weekend (that's where the "first and 10" comes in). I was off on Monday, so here are my belated but still timely rankings heading into the final week of the regular season:
1. Packers: They've put up at least 30 points in 10 of their 15 games and 40 in five of them.
2. Saints: I guess they forgot they still had another game for Drew Brees to chase Dan Marino's mark.
3. Patriots: They have won seven in a row, but the competition in those games was mediocre at best.
4. Ravens: I don't pick games for the newspaper, but I don't feel good about Sunday's game in Cincinnati.
5. 49ers: They will be a tough out for a team in the playoffs, but I can't see them surviving the NFC.
6. Steelers: The banged-up Steelers really need that first-round bye to make it back to the Super Bowl.
7. Lions: Outside of the elite ones, which quarterback has played better than Matthew Stafford in 2011?
8. Texans: Expect a heavy dose of Arian Foster and Ben Tate as long as the Texans are in the playoffs.
9. Falcons: Even with all that firepower on offense, they couldn't hang with the Saints on Monday.
10. Bengals: They win Sunday and they're in, but there's a reason they've been dubbed "the Bungles."
11. Eagles: They've won their past three games by a margin of 91-36. Is Andy Reid's job still in danger?
Biggest riser (not on this list): The Panthers, who appear to have found a quarterback in Cam Newton.
Biggest fall (not on this list): The Rams, who will land the No. 1 pick with a loss Sunday and a Colts win.
- Houston Texans
- New Orleans Saints
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Super Bowl
- National Football Conference
- Atlanta Falcons
- Carolina Panthers
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Detroit Lions
- Green Bay Packers
- Indianapolis Colts
- San Francisco 49ers
- Los Angeles Rams
- Baltimore Ravens
- New England Patriots
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Dan Marino
- Matthew Stafford
- Drew Brees