NFL Films Interns Top 15 Teams Week 14 Edition

Intern Files, Kevin Joyce, Teams, Top 15 Teams
Eric Decker put on a show with four touchdowns as the Broncos tightened their grip on the AFC West.

Eric Decker put on a show with four touchdowns as the Broncos tightened their grip on the AFC West.

The 2013 NFL regular season, somehow, is 3/4 done, and the playoff picture has sharpened to the point where almost all of the postseason teams can be projected. There are still a couple of divisions and a wild card spot conceivably up for grabs, but for the most part, the league’s hierarchy has panned out the way many expected it to at the beginning of the season: the Broncos and Seahawks currently sit atop their respective conferences, and conference elites like the Patriots, Bengals, Colts, 49ers and Saints are right in the mix for valuable playoff seeding. Some truly crucial games, perhaps the two most crucial regular season matchups of the season, have taken place these past two weeks: Broncos vs. Patriots and Saints vs. Seahawks. Both were between the top two (record-wise) teams in their respective conferences, and the outcomes of both promised to have profound effects on how the league’s playoff positionins would shake out; both were also expected to be nailbiters. Broncos vs. Patriots ended up living up to the billing, although with the laugher first half, the Patriots needed an historic comeback to make it so. The Seahawks allowed no such resurgence from the Saints, and thoroughly dominated the #2 team in the conference to show that they are the class of the NFC and perhaps the league. This week, both Top 15 veteran Kyle Toot, a Producers’ Department intern working primarily on “NFL Turning Point,” and I contributed to the rankings. Take a look:

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-1) – No question here. Best record in the league, with perhaps the most impressive win of any team this season still fresh. I can’t say I’ve seen a closer thing to a lock to at least get to the Super Bowl this early in the season since the ’07 Pats. (Joyce)

2. Denver Broncos (10-2) – The Broncos gallop into second as Eric Decker and the Denver Offense ran wild over
the Chiefs. It was a close game but still a good division win in a tough atmosphere that all but crowns the Broncos winners of the AFC West race. (Toot)

3. Carolina Panthers (9-3) – The Panthers are still on the prowl and manage to “hold on” to another one over the Pats for the 3 spot. The Saints’ loss sets up two pivotal matchups for that division. (Toot)

4. New England Patriots (9-3) – New England sits pretty at No. 4 knowing that they victimized the only AFC opponent ranked higher than them just a week ago. Plus, if they do go on to face the Broncos in the playoffs, whatever the venue, it’s going to be cold, which always seems to favor them. (Toot)

5. San Francisco 49ers (8-4) -Rounding out the Top 5 is the 49ers. Michael Crabtree is back and in his first week, Eureka! San Fran’s passing game is starting to shine. Not to mention the Niners still run the ball well and play pretty good defense. I feel like I’ve heard that’s important come playoff time. (Toot)

6. New Orleans Saint (9-3) – Despite the tough loss to the Seahawks, the Saints are still in prime position to obtain a first-round bye in the playoffs, and are not mathematically eliminated from the #1 seed, however unlikely it seems at this point. (Joyce)

7. Cincinatti Bengals (8-4) – The Bengals have won two straight, and have a huge matchup against the Colts upcoming. A win in that game gives them considerable leverage in the tight AFC playoff landscape. (Joyce)

8. Indianapolis Colts (8-4) – Same goes for these Colts. They’ve had a tougher go of it since losing Reggie Wayne, there’s no denying it, but this team is still good enough to make some noise in what has turned out to be a conference rife with elite squads. (Joyce)

9. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) – Facts are facts. They’ve lost three straight after starting the season out 9-0. However, all three of those losses have been close, and have come against solid competition, teams with a combined record of 22-8. This team, despite three more L’s in the W-L column, have perhaps proven more about their fortitude than they did the through their first nine wins. (Joyce)

10. Philadelphia Eagles (7-5) – Which two quarterbacks have started out their season with at least 19 touchdowns and no picks? Peyton Manning, and . . . Nick Foles. The quarterback has firmly entrenched himself in the starting role and has his team on pace for a home playoff game come January. (Joyce)

11. Detroit Lions (7-5) – The Lions righted the ship after two straight slip-ups with a resounding victory over the Packers to firmly re-establish control of their division. (Joyce)

12. Dallas Cowboys (7-5) – The Cowboys, despite the identical records, actually would be in the playoffs right now instead of the Eagles were the season to end today, having won the only tie-breaking game thus far. They have a chance to snag the division for good in the last game of the season against Philly, at home. (Joyce)

13. Arizona Cardinals (7-5) – If a few calls had gone the Cards’ way rather than in favor of Eagles, their places on these rankings could be switched, and the Cardinals would be in prime position for an NFC wild card spot. As it is, they still have a good chance at catching San Fran for that coveted #6 seed. (Joyce)

14. Baltimore Ravens (6-6) – After all the offseason changes and early-season setbacks, the defending champs currently have a hold on the #6 seed in the AFC. Every one of their five losses since the opener against the Broncos have been by six points or less. (Joyce)

15. Chicago Bears (6-6) – This team is still in the hunt for the NFC North title, being only one game back right now. If they can roll of four straight victories they’ll have a good shot. (Joyce)

Top 15 Poll of the Week

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