1. New England Patriots– They’ve been atop the rankings since the season kicked off and for obvious reasons because they’ve been on a tear since last season. In their last 19 games going back to the 2014 season, the Patriots are 17-2, the best mark in the NFL in that span. New England has turned the football over only three times and the defense is slowly but surely improving as the weeks go along. With a win today over the Redskins, they will be 8-0 for the first time since 2007.
2. Denver Broncos– Peyton Manning didn’t throw a touchdown pass last week but I was very impressed with his play. He had more zip on his passes, he stepped into his throws, he took some shots down the field and most importantly, the offensive line gave him the time and clean pocket to throw the ball from. This Broncos defense is legit I haven’t denied that all season long and I have more of a reason to say it because of their performance against Aaron Rodgers. Denver made the first splash of the trade deadline by acquiring Vernon Davis which gives them a solid third option offensively next to Thomas and Sanders.
3. Cincinnati Bengals– They didn’t look all that great to me against the Steelers, but they handled their business against the Browns and they have been known to struggle in prime time games. Tyler Eifert is the real deal and their offense is so balanced and if they were to play the Patriots, their offense could score a few points but I still think they would lose to the Patriots in the playoffs. Their defense is amongst one of the very best in the league and they are off to their best start in franchise history at 8-0.
4. Carolina Panthers– They’re 7-0, yes. They struggled to get to that record last Monday night. The Colts exposed them and took a lot of shots on them down the field and the Panthers struggled to get a pass rush on Andrew Luck. The only time they did get to him was when they crowded the line of scrimmage and blitzed which hurt them even more. This is the biggest game of the year for them with the Packers coming into town and this will determine so much down the stretch in the NFC playoff picture.
5. Green Bay Packers– For the first time in a long time, the Packers looked very out of sync in all phases of the game. As one of my radio associates said about Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy, they are very similar to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and what he meant was they don’t lose back to back games regularly and I couldn’t agree anymore with him. They will find a way to fix the mistakes they made last week in Denver and they will come out early and start off quickly.