Division title races have been wrapping up surprisingly early this season, leading to an unusually low amount of intrigue in the NFL through 13 weeks. As the playoffs are getting ready to be set, it is time to rank every team in the league.
1. Houston Texans: Criticizing the Texans is like grasping at straws. They have got a great defense and running game — two things that usually yield playoff success.
2. Atlanta Falcons: Probably the least exciting 11-1 team ever, the Falcons are simply winning games while Matt Ryan is quietly playing himself into MVP consideration.
3. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens will not wow you on offense or defense, but they are solid across the board and know how to win close games.
4. New England Patriots: Teams that have lined up against the Pats the past six weeks have run directly into a buzz saw.
5. Denver Broncos: The only teams the Broncos have lost to are the Texans, Patriots and Falcons. It is hard not to like where Peyton Manning and Von Miller are leading this team.
6. New York Giants: Right now, it seems as if the Giants are not sure if they actually want to win the division, or coast into a wild card spot and recharge for another late season surge.
7. Green Bay Packers: The Pack is gradually getting healthier, which spells bad news for the entire NFC.
8. San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback controversy runs rampant in San Fran, as it turns out Colin Kaepernick might not be as sensational as originally thought.
9. Chicago Bears: The Bears’ defense has come back to earth, but Matt Forte and Jay Cutler are good enough to carry them into the playoffs.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers: Going 1-2 without Big Ben is a big win for the Steelers, and it is even bigger when the lone win was over the Ravens.
11. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck is every bit as good as advertised, thanks in part to Reggie Wayne, who is showing he has got plenty left in the tank.
12. Cincinatti Bengals: The undefendable A.J. Green has been helping the Bengals quietly win four straight.
13. Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson has only gotten better as the season’s marched on, and the Seahawks’ secondary is probably the best in the league.
14. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III may be getting the headlines, but fellow rookie Alfred Morris has been helping carry the ‘Skins back into playoff contention.
15. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have the talent to make a run, if they can find some consistency — something lost in Dallas since the early '90s.
16. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikes’ vicious schedule has treated them as such lately, but as long as Adrian Peterson is carrying the ball, they will have a chance to win any game they are in.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman's stellar season has largely gone unnoticed, but the Bucs’ defense has been bad enough to lose games on its own.
18. New Orleans Saints: The Saints could only do so much after the worst offseason in recent memory and an 0-4 start. The playoffs are not in their future.
19. Miami Dolphins: It is hard to call them a surprise team when they are two games below .500, but the Dolphins are certainly moving in the right direction with coach Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
20. St. Louis Rams: The Rams are somehow undefeated in their division, but in a crowded NFC playoff picture, a 5-6-1 record is not likely to land you a playoff spot.