The division races around the NFL are really beginning to take shape around the league after week 10. While the good teams continue to win, the bad teams continue fall. The NFC West becomes the exception to that statement, as every team in the division won their game in the same week for the first time since the division realignments in 2002.
Also, it looks as if the Colts have now secured the rights to Andrew Luck with the Dolphins winning their second game of the season, while Indianapolis remains win-less. Let the debates begin on what the future is for Peyton Manning.
Let's jump into the rankings. As always, LW = last week's ranking. Here we go...
1. Green Bay Packers (9-0) (LW: 1): So much for the Packers' defense slipping. On Monday night, the Pack showed why they are still the best team in the NFL. They absolutely dominated the game in all aspects and with the Lions losing again, having all but secured a division title.
2. San Francisco 49ers (8-1) (LW: 2): The defense of the 49ers is unstoppable. They control the line of scrimmage, as noted by the fact that they still have yet to give up a rushing TD this season. They host the Cardinals in what is possibly a meaningless divisional matchup at this point.
3. New Orleans Saints (7-3) (LW: 4): If it weren't for a bad coaching decision by the Falcons' head coach, Mike Smith, the outcome of this game may have been completely different. Still, the Saints continue to show that they are the real deal, despite a couple of fluky losses.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) (LW: 5): With a win over the Bengals, the Steelers have assumed first place and control over their own destinies in the AFC North. The Ravens certainly did nothing to help themselves in terms of keeping pace.
5. Houston Texans (7-3) (LW: 6): The Texans went into Tampa Bay and took care of business, getting one of their most dominant road wins in their franchise history. The problem is that they lost their quarterback, Matt Schaub, to a season ending injury. Let's see if former Arizona Cardinal, Matt Leinart can pick up the slack as the new starting QB.
6. New England Patriots (6-3) (LW: 10): After taking a heartbreaking loss to the Giants last week, the Patriots were able to bounce back and win a pivotal matchup against the Jets. Rob Gronkowski established himself as one of the best tight ends in the game, ripping up the Jet's defense for 113 yards receiving. That Tom Brady guy looked pretty good, too.
7. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) (LW: 3): I really have no idea how to define or characterize this football team. The Ravens consistently play on par to the level of competition that they face and it is always a toss up to see if they win or not. Still, it's hard to drop them too far down the board with two wins on the Steelers already and within reach of still making the playoffs.
8. New York Giants (6-3) (LW: 7): Eli Manning and the Giants were unable to work their last-minute magic again, falling to the 49ers on the road. The loss of Ahmad Bradshaw has really hurt their team, but if he can come back, I am sure this team can still win the NFC East.
9. Chicago Bears (6-3) (LW: 13): The Bears have officially occupied their position as the second best team in the NFC North in my books. They outplayed the Lions in every facet and their defense looked rejuvenated. Jay Cutler is finally getting some time to stick in the pocket, so that is helping him reach his maximum potential.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) (LW: 8): The Bengals, even though they lost, showed that they are the real deal. They fought the Steelers down to the final minutes, losing by only one touchdown. The tandem of A.J. Green and Andy Dalton is going to be a special one for years to come. Do not count this team out of the playoffs just yet.
11. Oakland Raiders (5-4) (LW: 16): The Raiders look like they are finally starting to come back together after losing Jason Campbell for the season. Carson Palmer passed for 299 yards and without Darren McFadden, Michael Bush still rushed for 150+. They currently sit atop the AFC West.
12. Dallas Cowboys (5-4) (LW: 17): I am going to go out on a limb and say DeMarco Murray is going to be a special player in this league. Again, he rushed for big time yardage, gaining 135 yards on the ground this time around. The Cowboys haven't missed a beat since Miles Austin re-injured his hamstring.
13. Buffalo Bills (5-4) (LW: 9): After signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a new six year deal, the Bills have done nothing but look terrible. Fitzpatrick has been one of the worst QB's in the league over the past two weeks. All of their offense comes via Fred Jackson and their defense continuously looks to be susceptible to the big play. They need to turn it around and quick if they want to save their season.
14. Detroit Lions (6-3) (LW: 11): Much like the Bills, the Lions have been slipping lately. Matthew Stafford was discovered to have been playing against the Bears with a broken finger, so the dark cloud that has always hovered over him still remains. The Bears' defense was able to make Calvin Johnson look human, so that's always a bad sign as well.
15. New York Jets (5-4) (LW: 12): The Jets lost their first home game of the year in one of the most crucial moments. Mark Sanchez looked pretty awful and their secondary looked vulnerable. They even let Chad Ochocinco make a couple of grabs. That's when you know your team is playing poorly.
16. Tennessee Titans (5-4) (LW: 20): With the loss of Matt Schaub for the Texans and the re-emergence of Chris Johnson, the Titans find themselves back in the thick of things in the AFC South. They also found the fountain of youth with Matt Hasselbeck and a new receiver in Damian Williams since the loss of Kenny Britt.
17. Atlanta Falcons (5-4) (LW: 14): The Falcons were able to take the Saints to overtime, but came up short after Jason Snelling failed to convert a 4th and 1. That call was on Mike Smith's shoulders, as it definitely could have ended differently if they would have just punted the ball.
18. San Diego Chargers (4-5) (LW: 15): The play of Philip Rivers this season has been nothing short of mediocre to awful. He now has 13 TDs and 15 INTs on the season and is one of the main reason the Bolts have struggled. They should be running away with the division, but instead, they sit in second place behind Carson Palmer's Raiders.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6) (LW: 21): Honestly, the Jags don't really deserve to move up since they beat the Colts, but a win is a win. Maurice Jones-Drew looked great against the abysmal Colts rush defense, but that is about the only positive coming out of that game.
20. Denver Broncos (4-5) (LW: 24): For a team that started so poorly, this team has somehow managed to turn it all around under the direction of Tim Tebow. I still don't understand how a team can win with only 8 passing attempts and 55 rushes, but they just do.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) (LW: 18): After coming into the season with a lot of hope that the Bucs could compete for a playoff spot, those dreams have all but vanished. Josh Freeman has regressed mightily, throwing a touchdown and three interceptions last game and seven picks over his last three games. Bringing in Albert Haynesworth off waivers probably won't do them much good, either.
22. Arizona Cardinals (3-6) (LW: 25): All right then! The Cardinals are now on a two game winning streak heading into Candlestick Park for a game against the 49ers next week. The question is: who will be under center for their team in that game? John Skelton vs. Kevin Kolb, you decide.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) (LW: 19): The 'Dream Team' is in shambles. Players aren't showing up for meetings, highly coveted free agents aren't performing and now their franchise quarterback, Michael Vick, has a set of broken ribs. If I had to guess, I'd say the next unfortunate event would be Andy Reid's dismissal. A consistent lack of production will eventually lead to his demise.
24. Cleveland Browns (3-6) (LW: 22): The Browns sit on the line between 'kind of bad teams' and 'downright awful teams'. I am definitely leaning towards them being a downright awful team, but I haven't decided yet, given the absence of their biggest threat, Peyton Hillis.
25. Seattle Seahawks (3-6) (LW: 29): The Seahawks pulled off a huge win against the underachieving Ravens in the CLink on Sunday. With the combination of Marshawn Lynch rushing over 100 yards and his 58 yards receiving, this team looked half way decent. It also helped that they recovered a pair of muffed punts, I guess.
26. Washington Redskins (3-6) (LW: 23): Shanahan's 'Skins look like they have already given up on the season. With an unstable QB situation and a lack of overall talent on the team, it seems they are set to pick a new signal caller in the draft next year and rebuilding.
27. St. Louis Rams (2-7) (LW: 30): The Rams were able to put a second tally mark in the win column for the 2011 season and the win came on the road, which was impressive. Steven Jackson continues to rumble down the field, gaining 128 yards toting the ball. They play the Seahawks for the first time this year next weekend.
28. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5 (LW: 26): It was all just a mirage... The Chiefs are just terrible. Now, Matt Cassell will be out for an extensive period, leaving Tyler Palko as their starting QB. In case you missed it though, here is quite possibly one of the greatest catches of the season that didn't count.
29. Minnesota Vikings (2-7) (LW: 27): It's hard to blame the Vikings for losing so badly to the Packers, because everyone else seems to do the exact same thing. Jared Allen was basically the only player that showed up for the game, so hats off to him as he continues to do well on a horrid team.
30. Carolina Panthers (2-7) (LW: 28): Cam Newton's Panthers find themselves in the bottom three for the first time this season after a disappointing loss to the Titans. The Panthers secondary was abused all day long and this team continues to stumble.
31. Miami Dolphins (2-7) (LW: 31): The Dolphins win, but again, they fail to move up the charts. The only thing they did manage to do was effectively take themselves out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-10) (LW: 32): Do you think they have called up Luck yet to see what size jersey he wears?