1. Atlanta Falcons 10-1 (Last week, 1): The Falcons relied on a late touchdown to earn a win over the Buccaneers. It’s been getting a little more difficult, but Atlanta is still winning close games.
2. San Francisco 49ers 8-2-1 (Last week, 2): Colin Kaepernick was at it again as the 49ers earned a sound win over the Saints. Two defensive touchdowns helped as well.
3. Chicago Bears 8-3 (Last week, 4): The Bears’ defense stifled any feeble attempt by the Vikings to get something going. With Jay Cutler back healthy, watch out for ‘Da Bears.
4. New York Giants 7-4 (Last week, 5): The Giants came out strong after their bye. Green Bay’s defense was depleted, but it was still a statement win.
5. Green Bay Packers 7-4 (Last week, 3): Green Bay needs to get healthy on defense if they plan on earning a playoff spot.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-5 (Last week, 7): The Buccaneers almost upset the Falcons but fell just short. Still, this team is right in the hunt.
7. New Orleans Saints 5-6 (Last week, 6): If it wasn’t for two pick sixes, The Saints would have been right in the game with the 49ers.
8. Washington Redskins 5-6 (Last week, 11): Robert Griffin III is a special athlete. The Redskins will have a must-win game coming up against the Giants. A loss likely crushes their playoff hopes.
9. Seattle Seahawks 6-5 (Last week, 8): A 1-5 record on the road is what may ultimately hold the Seahawks back. Still, 5-0 at home is impressive.
10. Minnesota Vikings 6-5 (Last week, 9): The Vikings looked awful against the Bears. With two teams ahead of them on the NFC North, the team really needs to win at least four of the next five games for a shot at the playoffs.
11. Dallas Cowboys 5-6 (Last week, 10): Tony Romo was up to his old tricks as the Cowboys couldn’t comeback late on Thanksgiving against the Redskins. They’re technically still alive, but it’s basically over in “Big D.”
12. St. Louis Rams 4-6-1 (Last week, 14): A few defensive touchdowns sparked the Rams’ win over the Cardinals. Another few wins and this will be a successful season for St. Louis.
13. Detroit Lions 4-7 (Last week, 12): The Lions have not won a Thanksgiving day game in nine years. Ouch!
14. Arizona Cardinals 4-7 (Last week, 13):Seven straight losses for the Cardinals after four straight wins had made this a lost season.
15. Carolina Panthers 3-8 (Last week, 16):The Panthers relied on a few key Eagles’ turnovers to win the Monday night inept bowl.
16. Philadelphia Eagles 3-8 (Last week, 15): Andy Reid’s bags are likely already packed.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.