Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 12/11/12
You can sense that things are shifting atop the power grid of NFL teams, with the familiar juggernauts like the Patriots and Packers and 49ers picking up steam, while early heavy hitters like Houston and Atlanta begin to slip up.  1. San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1, 3rd last week): If not for the Rams this wouldn't be a debate. 2. New England Patriots (10-3, 4th last week): Tom Brady. Four turnovers in 13 games. Picking up steam, and still awaiting Gronk's return.  3. Denver Broncos (10-3, 5th last week): Brady vs. Manning in the AFC championship game...again? 4. Green Bay Packers (9-4, 7th last week): They haven't blown me away but they still scare me headed into the playoffs. 5. Houston Texans (11-2, 1st last week): Lose to the Colts at home on short rest now and the division could be completely up for grabs with two weeks to go. 6. Atlanta Falcons (11-2, 2nd last week): They should be thanking the Rams for that No. 1 seed.  7. Washington Redskins (7-6, 9th last week): Starting to believe they can survive without Robert Griffin III...for a week or two. 8. New York Giants (8-5, 10th last week): The entire NFC East appears to be peaking together, but it's probably too late for two teams to make it into the playoffs. 9. Baltimore Ravens (9-4, 6th last week): Odd timing, but they're better off without Cam Cameron. 10. Seattle Seahawks (8-5, 12th last week): No one can touch them at home, but they'll have to run the table and get some help in order to land home games in January.  11. Indianapolis Colts (9-4, 11th last week): It still doesn't feel as though they've played anyone good.  12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6, 8th last week): Who the hell wants the final AFC playoff spot? 13. St. Louis Rams (6-6-1, 16th last week): Three winnable games remaining for a team that has lost only once since Oct. 28. But is it too late? 14. Cleveland Browns (5-8, 17th last week): Only two defenses have given up fewer points than the Browns have the last eight weeks. 15. Minnesota Vikings (7-6, 19th last week): They'd be a three-win team without Adrian Peterson, who might just be the MVP. 16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6, 13th last week): Quarterback controversy? Just kidding. But you know you have issues when you lose to the Chargers in December. 17. Chicago Bears (8-5, 14th last week): Losers of four of five and the Packers on deck. Lucky for them they finish with Arizona and Detroit.  18. Dallas Cowboys (7-6, 20th last week): Nice to see them win four of five but that Dez Bryant injury might make it too difficult for them to keep rolling in January. 19. Carolina Panthers (4-9, 25th last week): Cam Newton's setting himself up for one hell of a third season.  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7, 15th last week): Losers of three in a row, the Bucs are finishing another season with the opposite of a bang. 21. Detroit Lions (4-9, 21st last week): Decent effort in Green Bay but this team needs to change drastically in the offseason. 22. San Diego Chargers (5-8, 24th last week): Nice win against Pittsburgh but this team needs to change drastically in the offseason. 23. New Orleans Saints (5-8, 18th last week): They officially won't be hosting the Super Bowl...and Roger Goodell exhales. 24. Miami Dolphins (5-8, 22nd last week): And now we begin a run of mediocre-at-best AFC East teams for your enjoyment.... 25. New York Jets (6-7, 28th last week): Back-to-back wins and now you want to bring back Braylon Edwards? Will you ever learn, Jets? 26. Buffalo Bills (5-8, 23rd last week): Fred Jackson's out? Finally, three full weeks of C.J. Spiller. That's all there is to be excited about in Buffalo right now. 27. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11, 26th last week): At this point, what do you say? 28. Tennessee Titans (4-9, 27th last week): It's still early, but I just don't think Jake Locker's the answer. 29. Philadelphia Eagles (4-9, 30th last week): Don't do it. Don't even consider bringing LeSean McCoy back. It's not worth it.  30. Oakland Raiders (3-10, 31st last week): No Al Davis, but same old dysfunction in Oakland.  31. Arizona Cardinals (4-9, 29th last week): I still can't believe this team was 4-0. 32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-11, 32nd last week): Now without Dwayne Bowe, a loss to the Raiders could lock up the No. 1 draft pick for KC.

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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