No matter what else is happening in the NFL right now, all eyes will be on Denver Sunday night when the Broncos welcome the Kansas City Chiefs. Not only will it be a huge divisional matchup, it will be a game between two of the best teams in the league this season. The Chiefs are the only team still undefeated, and the Broncos want to give them their first loss. The Broncos, meanwhile, want to send a message to the rest of the NFL that they're the team the beat, and the Chiefs want to take down the Broncos to show the league they're for real.
Regular season games don't get much bigger than this one, and it's the game everyone will be talking about on Monday. There's a lot at stake — the division lead, bragging rights — and whoever wins will have all the momentum heading into the home stretch of the season.
Tell us where you think your team should be ranked in the comments!
1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0, Last Week: 1)
The Chiefs had a well-timed bye week, because they have plenty of time to get ready for Denver this weekend. They must stop an offense that scores 41.2 points per game, the top mark in the league. The Chiefs are equipped to take them on, though, as they rank first in points allowed, giving up just 12.3 points a game. If defense wins championships, the Chiefs are certainly in the hunt.
2. Denver Broncos (8-1, Last Week: 2)
The Broncos beat the Chargers last weekend, but Peyton Manning hurt his ankle during the game. It looks like Manning will play against the Chiefs, but if his mobility is limited, the Broncos could be in trouble. Kansas City has a great pass-rushing defense, and Denver’s offensive line will need to protect their quarterback. If they do, the Broncos could give the Chiefs their first loss of the season.
3. New Orleans Saints (7-2, Last Week: 7)
When the Saints’ offense is rolling, it’s unstoppable. That’s exactly what it looked like in their 49-17 win over Dallas. Drew Brees threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers. When both their defense and offense play at a high level, the Saints can be the best team in the league.
4. Seattle Seahawks (9-1, Last Week: 6)
Like the Saints, the Seahawks have the potential to be one of the all-around best teams in the NFL. Russell Wilson leads an offense with plenty of weapons, and Seattle’s defense is fierce. If the Seahawks get home field advantage for the playoffs, they could get to the Super Bowl.
5. New England Patriots (7-2, Last Week: 4)
New England put up 55 points on a weak Steelers team on November 3. If they can play as well against Carolina on Monday night, they’ll be even more feared. This team is not as talented as past Patriot teams, so it would be a special accomplishment if Tom Brady can lead his squad to a high seed in the playoffs. If they continue scoring lots of points, they’ll get there.
6. Detroit Lions (6-3, Last Week: 9)
Detroit’s win over Chicago was huge, as it put the Lions firmly in front in the NFC North. Now, Matthew Stafford and the Lions have a chance to increase their lead and win the division. With weapons like Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, Detroit certainly has enough talent to be the NFC North champs.
7. Indianapolis Colts (6-3, Last Week: 3)
A few weeks ago, the Colts were on top of the NFL world. They beat the previously undefeated Broncos, and were one of the most complete teams in the league. They’re still a great team, but their 38-8 loss to the Rams will quiet some of the hype they’ve been getting.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-3, Last Week: 11)
The Panthers got their biggest win of the season, beating San Francisco 10-9. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick couldn’t even get to 100 passing yards, and the Carolina defense didn’t allow a touchdown. Other top 10 teams need to watch out for the Panthers.
9. San Francisco 49ers (6-3, Last Week: 5)
While the Panthers moved up the rankings, the 49ers fell. They must figure out how to jumpstart their offense, or else they’ll be in trouble. San Francisco has talent, but it can’t beat the league’s best teams with an unproductive offense. To make matters worse, the 49ers must play the mighty Saints this weekend.
10. Chicago Bears (5-4, Last Week: 18)
The loss to the Lions hurts Chicago’s chances of winning the NFC North, but there’s still plenty of time to make a run at the division. That will be tougher to do without injured quarterback Jay Cutler, but this team is still good enough to be in the top 10. They’ll probably need to go on a winning streak to win the NFC North, but some consistent play can get it done.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4, Last Week: 8)
The Bengals are fading, and must beat the Browns on Sunday.
12. New York Jets (5-4, Last week: 13)
It’s too early to be a believer in the Jets, but they are definitely talented. They just need to be more consistent.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5, Last week: 18)
A divisional game against the Redskins could be huge for the Eagles’ chances of winning the NFC East.
14. Dallas Cowboys (5-5, Last week: 14)
The Saints embarrassed Dallas, which must use its bye week to regroup.
15. St. Louis Rams (4-6, Last week: 24)
With three total touchdowns, rookie Tavon Austin showed why the Rams took him eighth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.
16. Green Bay Packers (5-4, Last week: 9)
The Packers are really missing the injured Aaron Rodgers.
17. Arizona Cardinals (5-4, Last week: 19)
– If the 49ers continue struggling, the Cardinals could pass them by in the NFC West.
18. Cleveland Browns (4-5, Last week: 15)
A win over the Bengals would put the Browns at .500, and just behind Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North.
19. Baltimore Ravens (4-5, Last week: 23)
The Ravens survived a thriller against the Bengals, and now have a tough road game against the Bears. A win in Chicago would provide some hope for the rest of the season.
20. Miami Dolphins (4-5, Last week: 12)
The Dolphins can’t afford many more losses if they want to compete in the AFC East.
21. San Diego Chargers (4-5, Last week: 17)
There are no moral victories in the NFL, but San Diego kept it competitive against Denver.
22. Washington Redskins (3-6, Last week: 22)
Washington suffered a disappointing loss to the Vikings last week. It has to beat the league’s bottom-level teams.
23. Tennessee Titans (4-5, Last week: 20)
The Titans have the title no team wanted: “The Team that Let the Jaguars Win.”
24. New York Giants (3-6, Last week: 29)
The Giants can win their fourth game in a row by beating the Packers.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6, Last week: 27)
A win over the Lions would build confidence for the Steelers.
26. Buffalo Bills (3-7, Last week: 21)
The Bills showed promise earlier in the season, but time is running out to make a comeback.
27. Oakland Raiders (3-6, Last week: 25)
The Raiders should beat the Texans to snap their losing streak.
28. Houston Texans (2-7, Last week: 26)
Meanwhile, the Texans must get a win soon; they’ve lost seven in a row.
29. Atlanta Falcons (2-7, Last week: 28)
The Falcons’ goal for the rest of the season should be to avoid finishing in last place in the NFC South.
30. Minnesota Vikings(2-7, Last week: 30)
The Vikings are the only NFC North team without a winning record, and it’s too late for them to compete in their division.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8, Last week: 31)
With their win over the Dolphins on Monday night, the Bucs made sure every team in the NFL will have at least one win this season.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8, Last week: 32)
Finally, the Jaguars felt what it was like to be victorious.
Photo: Donald Miralle/Getty Images (Manning), William Purnell/Icon SMI (Justin Houston)