Reporting Joe Benigno
1. Green Bay Packers 8-0 (1)
Champs just keep on rolling now– a franchise record 14 straight wins after wild shootout win in San Diego. Ho-hum four more TD passes for Mr. Rodgers.
Next: vs. Vikings
2. San Francisco 49ers 7-1 (3)
Niners win again in Eastern Time zone with solid win over fading Redskins. Seven wins already while playing just one game against putrid NFC west opponents. How can they not wind up with first round playoff bye?
Next: vs. Giants
3. Baltimore Ravens 6-2 (7)
Stunned blood rival Steelers in Pittsburgh with Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith TD pass with eight seconds left to sweep season series. Now if they can just avoid those ugly meltdowns on offense.
Next: @ Seahawks
4. New York Giants 6-2 (8)
Get the feeling that Coughlin and Eli have the Patriots number with stunning win in Foxborough, evoking memories of Super Bowl 42 upset. Is anyone crying anymore for Kevin Boss or Steve Smith? Brutal second half schedule continues in San Fran.
Next: @ 49ers
5. Detroit Lions 6-2 (5)
Cats sitting pretty at bye week. Now we start to find out just how good they really are with a huge game in Chicago and two big games versus undefeated World champs on the horizon.
Next: @ Bears
6. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-3 (2)
Men of Steel will have to wait for playoffs to exact revenge versus hated Ravens after being swept in season series. James Harrison is back, but they missed top pass rusher Lamar Woodley last week.
Next: @ Bengals
7. New Orleans Saints 6-3 (10)
Bounced back nicely after brutal loss to Rams by avenging earlier loss to Bucs. How did the Chargers ever let Darren Sproles get away? First place is on the line this week versus rival Falcons in Atlanta.
8. New England Patriots 5-3 (4)
The aura of invincibility is fading quickly for the evil empire up north, losing two in a row for first time since Moses parted the Red Sea. Think they might miss personnel guru Scott Pioli now with Chiefs? Division supremacy is on the line this week at the Meadowlands.
9. Cincinnati Bengals 6-2 (9)
Cincy now on a five game winning streak for first time since Boomer took Striped Cats to Super Bowl in 1988 with a tough road win in Nashville. But now the fun begins as Steelers come calling this week.
Next: vs. Steelers
10. Houston Texans 6-3 (unranked)
Both Arian Foster and Ben Tate cracked the 100 yard rushing mark in a blowout win over the hapless Browns and did it without Andre Johnson and Mario Williams. If they don’t win the division this year then… well when?
Closing In: Atlanta Falcons & New York Jets
Fading Out: Buffalo Bills
Benigno Mid-Season Awards
Offensive MVP: Peyton Manning, Colts
With all due respect to Aaron Rodgers, with Colts at 0-9, has there ever been anyone more valuable to his team?
Defensive MVP Darrelle Revis, Jets
Best cover corner in the game. His controversial 100-yard touchdown interception versus Fish turned around the Jets season.
Special Teams MVP Devin Hester, Bears
He’s still the most explosive special teams player in the league.
Offensive Rookie: Andy Dalton, Bengals
Sorry Cam Newton, your team is 2-6. Andy’s is 6-2.
Defensive Rookie: Marcell Dareus, Bills
He has been rock solid in middle of the Buffalo D-line and a big reason why the Bills are 5-3.
Coach: Marvin Lewis, Bengals
Jim Harbaugh has done a great job in ‘Frisco, but the Bengals are 6-2 with a rookie QB! Come on!
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