Brian Billick is an acclaimed NFL game analyst for FOX Sports and a Super Bowl-winning coach.
The Falcons are still perfect, but it looks like they are going to be tested soon enough. I’ve got a line on who’s hot and who’s not going into Week 10.
1 Falcons 8-0
The Falcons haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since Week 2 against the Broncos, and as the records stand today they won’t face another one until their Week 15 matchup against the Giants. But Atlanta can’t overlook any of its next four games as three of them will be against division opponents, and two are against the rival Saints. Regardless of records, those will be tough games.
2 Texans 7-1
In their last two games, the Texans have outscored their opponents by a combined 42 points. They will get their toughest test of the season this week against the Bears. Time to find out if the Texans are for real.
3 Bears 7-1
Charles Tillman is my vote for MVP. Not Defensive Player of the Year . . . MVP.
4 Packers 6-3 +1
No Jordy Nelson. No Greg Jennings. No problem. It doesn’t matter who plays receiver for the Packers, because QB Aaron Rodgers will still find a way to throw touchdowns. Randall Cobb has five receiving TDs in the last three games, and James Jones has eight receiving scores on the season.
5 49ers 6-2 +1
The 49ers come off their Week 9 bye this week facing home games against the Rams and Bears. Better buckle up your chin straps for that Bears game.
6 Steelers 5-3 +4
This may surprise people, but I had to convince myself not to move the Steelers up even higher. This team may be playing the best football in the league and it hasn’t even been healthy across the board yet. They have three running backs that are capable of smacking you in the mouth and a defense that refuses to go away.
7 Broncos 5-3 +2
Von Miller absolutely abused the Bengals’ offensive line all day on Sunday. When it’s all said and done, the Broncos may be the best team in the AFC come playoff time.
8 Patriots 5-3
Remember when Wes Welker was benched at the beginning of the season in favor of Julian Edelman? That was funny.
9 Giants 6-3 -5
Two of the three Giants’ losses have come at home, but they have outscored opponents on the road 108-53. Maybe it would be in their best interest to enter the playoffs as a wild card and ensure their road to the Super Bowl stays away from MetLife Stadium.
10 Ravens 6-2 -3
It hardly seems fair that the Ravens drop three spots after a win, but it was less than convincing against a struggling Browns team. The division title will be up for grabs as the Ravens and Steelers square off in two of the next four weeks. 11 Buccaneers 4-4 +5
The Bucs are surging, and while it may be too late to catch the Falcons in the NFC South, Tampa Bay will be a tough out for the remainder of the year and will be fighting for a wild-card spot.
12 Lions 4-4
Finally QB Matthew Stafford and Megatron seem to be back on the same page, albeit still without a touchdown connection between the two of them this season. WR Ryan Broyles is a name you should become familiar with, as he will be a weapon in years to come.
13 Seahawks 5-4
Facing an early touchdown deficit against the Vikings on Sunday, Russell Wilson kept his composure and responded with three first-half TD passes of his own. Having Marshawn Lynch in the backfield doesn’t hurt either.
14 Colts 5-3 +9
RG3 stole a lot of the hype early in the season, but Andrew Luck is silently proving exactly why he was the top overall pick in April’s draft. He was brilliant in the pocket, a la Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday, and has the rookie passing record to prove it.
15 Vikings 5-4 -4
The Vikings have outplayed expectations so far this year, but it was probably asking too much of them to keep up that pace for the entire season.
16 Cowboys 3-5 -1
I think Jason Garrett is a good coach and deserves to be a head coach in this league, but the environment in Dallas doesn’t breed success the way it once did.
17 Dolphins 4-4 -3
See: Minnesota Vikings.
18 Saints 3-5 +1
Much like the Bucs, the Saints are going to be a tough out as the season continues, making it especially difficult on the Falcons as they attempt an undefeated season. In order to do so, New Orleans must play some semblance of defense.
19 Bengals 3-5 -1
The Bengals played the Broncos tough all game in Week 9, but became victim No. 48 of Peyton Manning’s fourth-quarter comebacks. The Cincy offensive line is struggling to keep rushers at bay, and that isn’t making it easy for Andy Dalton’s sophomore campaign.
20 Redskins 3-6 -3
Injuries are really starting to catch up with the Redskins. RG3 is playing without his best receiver in Pierre Garcon as well as his favorite target in tight end Fred Davis, while the defense is struggling to replace Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker.
21 Cardinals 4-5 -1
Winners of their first four and now losers of their last five, they get a bye week to straighten it out in Week 10. But then Arizona must play the Falcons in Atlanta. Not getting any easier for the Cardinals. 22 Eagles 3-5 -1
Another game, another pair of red-zone turnovers. I can’t recall another team that was picked to have so much success and then fail so miserably. My bad.
23 Jets 3-5 -1
The Jets will come off their bye week and hit on the road for back-to-back games. First up, the always-challenging, cross-country trip to Seattle — as if the Jets need any more challenges.
24 Browns 2-7
Another game in which rookie QB Brandon Weeden attempted more than 35 passes and another loss for the Browns. Weeden is averaging 37 attempts per game compared to just 16 carries for fellow rookie RB Trent Richardson. I just don’t get it.
25 Raiders 3-5
Darren McFadden got hurt again . . . what’s new? 26 Chargers 4-4
The Chargers snapped a three-game losing streak, raising their record to 4-4, by beating the woeful Chiefs on Thursday night. The Chargers’ four wins have come against opponents that are a combined 8-25 on the season. 27 Panthers 2-6 +3
The Panthers finally got some production out of the three-headed rushing attack of Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert. Only took them eight games.
28 Rams 3-5 -1
I wonder how the eight-hour plane ride was on the way home from London after getting beat by 38 points . . . couldn’t have been fun.
29 Bills 3-5 -1
The Bills aren’t going to win many games when Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller get a combined 12 carries. But there is good news: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t throw an interception. So there’s that. 30 Titans 3-6 -1
Bud Adams cut the legs right out from under head coach Mike Munchak with his postgame comments on Sunday. How do the players respond to a coach that doesn’t even have the vote of confidence from the owner? It will be interesting to see how this plays out. 31 Jaguars 1-7
Hey, it could be worse . . . they could be the Kansas City Chiefs. 32 Chiefs 1-7
Romeo Crennel has relieved himself of defensive coordinator responsibilities and the team has waived cornerback Stanford Routt, who was brought in to replace the departed Brandon Carr. Not sure any of this actually makes them any better, but we will see.