Heading into week 11, here is a look at the top five teams in the NFL.
1. Indianapolis Colts – Sitting at the top of the AFC South with a playoff birth almost guaranteed at this point, the Colts have overtaken the Saints as the top team in my opinion. Although Bill Belichick may have gift wrapped the Colts’ latest victory, they have continuously shown that they can score points on any team in the NFL. Peyton Manning is having another MVP season, leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns. The Colts defense is surprisingly ranked first in the league, only allowing 15.8 points per game. This will certainly be a vital asset come playoff time when points are at a premium, and defense wins games.
2. New Orleans Saints – Recently the Saints have had trouble with the Rams and Panthers who are mediocre at best. New Orleans’ offense has continued to score points at will against their opponents, but the defense has begun to squander ranking twentieth in most statistical categories. With that being considered, they are still the number one team in the NFC with a 9-0 record. With Drew Brees at the quarterback position, they have the leadership required to make a deep playoff run.
3. Minnesota Vikings – After a crazy offseason, the Vikings are 8-1 sitting on top of the horrible NFC North. Brett Favre appears to have returned to form that we have not seen since the ’07 season with Green Bay. Many including myself had doubts about how effective he would be this season after his downfall last season with the Jets, where he threw as many interceptions as touchdowns. If Favre can keep throwing the ball as well as he has thus far (17 touchdowns, 3 interceptions), the Vikings will be a scary team heading into the playoffs as they also have a vaunted defense and a top notch running game. And let’s not forget they have a guy named Adrian Peterson leading that running game with 917 yards and 11 touchdowns.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – After sweeping both the Ravens and the Steelers this season, I think it is fair to say that the Bengals are for real. They are firing on all cylinders on offense, and have become a force on defense having limited the Ravens and Steelers to 7 and 12 points in consecutive weeks. Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco have reunited and the emergence of once forgotten Cedric Benson has found his way again. Signing Larry Johnson can only help this rushing attack that got bruised up against the Steelers. They now have a two game lead in the toughest division in football and hold the tie breaker over every team. If Cincinnati would have batted down a pass down in the first game, they would be sitting at 8-1.
5. San Diego Chargers – Having won their fourth game in a row, the Chargers are only behind the two unbeatens (Colts and Saints) for the longest active winning streak. In the past two weeks they have taken down two of the NFC’s best; New York and Philadelphia. With the Broncos falling off, I believe the Chargers will claim the top spot in the AFC West which other than these two teams is considerably the worst division in football. Philip Rivers has once again found great success throwing the ball to Vincent Jackson. San Diego needs to find their once prominent running behind LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles in order to make a playoff run.