More than halfway through the season, we have a pretty good idea of who the powerhouses are. The road to New Orleans is looming upon us and we'll see what teams are on the fast track.
1. Houston Texans: They are an absurdly complete team. Defensively, they are anchored by an MVP worthy J.J Watt. It should be impossible for a second year player to lead a team who lost Mario Williams and Demeco Ryans in free agency, then lost Brian Cushing to injury, but that is exactly what he's done. Offensively, Arian Foster is the perfect compliment to the duo of Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Only a perfect Aaron Rodgers was able to blemish their record. This is a team ready for the Super Bowl.
2. Chicago Bears: They've very quietly been the best team in the NFC. After years of Jay Cutler's team always coming up just short, the additions of Brandon Marshall and QB Coach Jeremy Bates have been nothing short of perfect. Now that they have extreme output from the secondary (thanks to Major Wright and both cornerbacks) they don't have to rely solely on the front seven defensively. They look like team that's finally ready to put it all together. The loss to the Texans wasn't pretty, but that's why their on top.
3. Atlanta Falcons: After finally blemishing their record, no one has to listen to the insane argument that hey're the best team. They shouldn't have any trouble putting up points with Roddy White, Julio Jones and the never-aging Tony Gonzalez, but at points Matt Ryan has had trouble putting it all together. This team has been bad in the postseason in years past, but they're hoping this is the year they can make up for it.
4. San Francisco 49ers: The Jim Harbaugh experiment in the Bay Area continues to work wonders. If only Alex Smith was more than a lowly game manager. The 49ers do a better job than anyone in beating bad teams badly, but the offense hasn't stepped up against a good opponent. The Packers were not playing well in Week 1, and their losses to the Vikings and Giants were their only two matchups against playoff caliber teams.They need to step it up to prove they're a Super Bowl team.
5. Green Bay Packers: Thank God they finally found their groove. Their offense was in a funk at the start of the season, and clearly the defense wasn't going to bail them out. But now Rodgers and the boys in green have brought back the good vibes to Lambau Field. The loss of Clay Matthews for a period could prove interesting.
6. Denver Broncos: A good-as-ever Peyton Manning has done right by John Elway and put the Broncos in the drivers seat of the AFC West. After an inconsistent start to the season, the Broncos look unbelievable. They may be the hottest team right now, and going into the weakest second-half schedule in the league, everyone should be scared to face them.
7. New England Patriots: Tom Brady finally has a real running game behind him. And Bill Belicheck is still breathing so they are still a top 10 team. End of story.
8. New York Giants: Eli Manning, king of the fourth quarter, would give me a lot more faith if he could carry any of his magic into the first three quarters. They've had to pull way too many wins out of nowhere to be a favorite. A Manning Bowl is still on the horizon though.
9. Baltimore Ravens: The defense has taken way too many hits, but the offense is making up for that this year. If Ray Lewis comes back in time for playoffs watch out. They will be out for the final final harraugh.
10. Indianapolis Colts: I didn't jump on the Andrew Luck bandwagon, I built it up from stick and stones. All the talk was about RG3, and still is, but Luck has been unbelievably Peyton-esque. Number 10 seems high for the Clots, but I'd take them over Pitsburgh, Seattle. Minnesota, Miami and the Cowboys in a big game, so 10 they are.