1. Green Bay (7-3). Revolutionary move. But who's played better over the past month? Beat the Vikes 28-24, the Jets 9-0, the Cowboys 45-7, the Vikes again 31-3. On Sunday, they dissected Brett Favre and Brad Childress so thoroughly in Minneapolis that with 10 minutes to play and the Vikes trailing 31-3, the chant went up from the crowd, "FI-RE CHILD-RESS! FI-RE CHILD-RESS!'' The fans' wish was granted Monday.
2. New England (8-2). Tom Brady said he wishes he could have done more in the fourth quarter to help the Patriots win. Admirable, but 31 points is a good day's work in that rivalry. And oh, by the way, another tight-end touchdown for the Patriots. That's nine now, in 10 games.
3. Philadelphia (7-3). In Vick They Trust. Intelligently.
4. New York Jets (8-2). JV game for the Jets -- home against Cincinnati on Thanksgiving night -- before the Four Games That Try Fireman Ed's Soul: at New England, Miami (Dolphins have won three of the past four in the series), at Pittsburgh, at Chicago.
5. Atlanta (8-2). Matt Ryan's back to rookie-phenom levels: 18 touchdowns, five picks, four wins in a row, by a total of 35 points.
6. New Orleans (7-3). Don't be so surprised; I almost put the Saints much higher. Past two weeks: Saints 68, Carolina/Seattle 22.
7. Baltimore (7-3). Great CBS graphic during the rout of the Panthers, noting that 20 of Ed Reed's 50 career interceptions have come in the fourth quarter -- including his neat pick and lateral for touchdown in Charlotte.
8. Pittsburgh (7-3). Embarrassed by the Pats. Embarrassed the Raiders. Not sure what this team is with all the injuries.
9. Chicago (7-3). A nice little mini-bye for the Bears, giving Lovie Smith and the defensive staff nine days, not six, to prepare for Mike Vick's trip to Soldier Field Sunday.
10. Indianapolis (6-4). Silver lining out of Sunday? Remaining home-road schedule of the three AFC South contenders: Indy 4 home, 2 road; Tennessee 3-3; Jacksonville 2-4.
11. New York Giants (6-4). Giants were in it Sunday night with five minutes left in the second quarter, trailing 10-3, when Eli Manning threw a terrible pick to Asante Samuel. Eagles, 13-3, at the half ... and it wasn't worse only because of a terrible, Jackie-Smithian end-zone drop by Jason Avant.
12. Tampa Bay (7-3). At some point, I'm going to have to respect these guys.
13. Kansas City (6-4). It's not hard to beat Arizona badly. But the one thing I like about what the Chiefs did against the Cards was extend offensive drives, and get a good, steady game from quarterback Matt Cassel. He needs to link a few of those together.
14. San Diego (4-5). Seems like the Chargers haven't played in about six weeks.
15. Jacksonville (6-4). You could have told me a lot of things about this season that would have surprised me, and the Jags being ahead of the Colts in the AFC South (both 6-4, but Jacksonville has the tiebreaker edge) after 11 weeks would surely have been one of them. A tribute to a team that wouldn't listen to all of us geniuses about its mediocrity.
1. Tom Brady, QB, New England. Last six weeks: Beaten Flacco, Rivers, Favre, Roethlisberger, Peyton; lost to McCoy. Colt McCoy.
2. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego. Looks like Rivers is going to have to be great tonight without all his weaponry again. When the Chargers travel east to play in Indiana on Sunday, Rivers and Peyton Manning will have much to talk about.
3. Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay. That's one fearsome defense; allowed 10 points in the past 12 quarters, and Matthews, the NFL sack front-runner, is the leader of the pack.
4. Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets. In the Jets' past three pulse-pounding wins, Sanchez has had the three most productive passing days of his career. A valuable player is one who plays great when the important games matter, and that's exactly what Sanchez is doing.
5. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans. Strafed three teams in a row and put up 68 points in the past two weeks. Beginning to feel a lot like 2009 all of a sudden.
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