Las Vegas Review-Journal NFL reporter Gilbert Manzano’s weekly rankings, with last week’s ranking in parentheses.
1. Patriots 10-2 (2). Some things never change. The Patriots are riding an eight-game winning streak and are clearly the best team in the AFC heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
2. Vikings 10-2 (4). The Vikings’ physical style wears teams down for four quarters. The explosive offenses of the Rams and Falcons scored less than 1o points versus Minnesota’s stout defense.
3. Eagles 10-2 (1). Philadelphia showed its inexperience with a loss at Seattle. But it’s better to learn in the regular season than in the playoffs. The Eagles have another tough test this week in Los Angeles.
4. Steelers 10-2 (3). The Steelers continue to sleep walk against inferior competition, but found a way to rally against the Bengals. The potential loss of Ryan Shazier could hinder the Steelers’ Super Bowl hopes.
5. Rams 9-3 (5). Los Angeles took care of business against the Cardinals and now head into an NFC showdown versus the Eagles with Jared Goff facing Carson Wentz.
6. Saints 9-3 (6). The Saints took control of the NFC South after sweeping the season series against the Panthers. No one wants to see the tandem of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram next month.
7. Seahawks 8-4 (10). Russell Wilson’s sensational performance against the Eagles kept his team in the playoff race and boosted his MVP campaign.
8. Panthers 8-4 (8). The Panthers will be a tough out come January, but they might not be on the level of the big four in the NFC.
9. Falcons 7-5 (7). Last week, the Falcons were a darkhorse team to win the NFC. They’re now in danger of missing the postseason.
10. Titans 8-4 (9). The Titans haven’t played up to their full potential but continue to win. They face the Cardinals and 49ers in the next two weeks.
11. Jaguars 8-4 (11). The Jaguars’ stout defense has a tough matchup coming up versus Wilson and the Seahawks.
12. Ravens 7-5 (13). Baltimore has quietly won three straight games as they head to Pittsburgh.
13. Chargers 6-6 (15). Red-hot Keenan Allen and the Chargers are back to .500 after an 0-4 start.
14. Chiefs 6-6 (12). The Chiefs have lost six out of their last seven games. They’re in a must-win situation against the Raiders.
15. Raiders 6-6 (18). Oakland needs to defeat Kansas City a second time to keep its playoff hopes alive.
16. Lions 6-6 (14). Matthew Stafford is dealing with an injured hand. The guy desperately needs help.
17. Cowboys 6-6 (19). The Cowboys must win their next two games to have a shot at the postseason with Ezekiel Elliott.
18. Packers 6-6 (22). Green Bay just needs to beat the Browns this week to give Aaron Rodgers a shot to sneak into the playoffs.
19. Bills 6-6 (16). Nathan Peterman is back. Close your eyes, Bills fans.
20. Redskins 5-7 (17). Kirk Cousins had another standout performance that ended with a loss. He’s not the problem, Washington.
21. Jets 5-7 (23). The Jets continue to be a fun team to watch on offense under Josh McCown.
22. Cardinals 5-7 (20). So I guess Bruce Arians wasn’t serious when he said Blaine Gabbert has starter potential.
23. Bengals 5-7 (21). The Bengals had another second-half meltdown against the Steelers.
24. Dolphins 5-7 (25). Somehow the Dolphins went off for 35 points against the Broncos.
25. Texans 4-8 (24). DeAndre Hopkins still very good. Tom Savage still very bad.
26. Buccaneers 4-8 (26). Jameis Winston still hasn’t found that “W” he placed in his mouth last month.
27. 49ers 2-10 (31). It’s been a forgetful year for the Niners, but they might have found their franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo.
28. Broncos 3-9 (27). The Broncos got crushed by the worst offense in the NFL, the Dolphins’.
29. Bears 3-9 (28). Robbie Gould got his revenge against the Bears by connecting on five field goals, including the game-winner for the 49ers.
30. Colts 3-9 (29). Hang in there, Colts. Just one month left.
31. Giants 2-9 (30). The Giants capped off a horrific week by firing coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese.
32. Browns 0-12 (32). The Browns have four games left to avoid a winless season.