1. Steelers- Not much needed to defend them being top 5, but there are times during every game when this team becomes complacent. It's obviously easy to say that after their recent MNF performance, but I really think it could become problem. Regardless, it's the only weak spot on a team that does everything well.
2. Jets- No argument really needed here, either. With an offensive line, run game, and defense like theirs, Kellen Clemens could lead these guys to the promised land.
3. Ravens- Same story different setting. There's definitely an elite 3 teams in the AFC. Flacco is maturing, Rice and Boldin are studs, and both O and D lines are getting better and better after suffering somewhat of a drop off in recent years. Then comes the drop-off...
4. Colts- The defense is an absolute sham and the injuries are killing them. But that means things can only improve. Which is somewhat scary considering they are still in great position in the AFC South. Offense isn't at it's best, but you still have Peyton Manning. Defense is still mediocre, but at least they have their stellar pass rush still of Freeney and Mathis. Things could be worse.
5. Patriots- I could have easily gone with the Titans or Chargers here though. I really love the Titans defense and Chris Johnson combination and the Chargers offense is elite no matter who Rivers is handing off to or throwing to (MVP if they make playoffs?), but the Patriots don't do anything terrible and they have a serious intangibles advantage over everyone. The second-tier crop of AFC teams this year is a real crap-shoot.
1. Giants- No brainer. Eli is getting better and better, which is really the only question mark you could ever think of with these guys now that the D is one of the best again.
2. Falcons- Same thing, but their question mark was the defense, which is now stopping the run extremely well now. That gives these guys a huge boost, the only glaring weakness is being in need of secondary help, but it's manageable. Hard to beat these guys in Georgia.
3. Packers- Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Clay Mathews, Charles Woodson, B.J. Raji. As long as those 5 guys are in there, the Pack can literally insert anyone they want to in other positions and this team is fine (and they almost have had to with all the injuries). Obviously a bit of an exaggeration, but these guys will make the playoffs easy and they have the star-power to get hot come January.
4. Eagles- These guys look really good with Vick and McCoy. Jackson and Maclin are a pretty underrated 1-2 punch as well, they're almost impossible to cover. The high pressure defense is still solid as well. They just often like to play down to the level of their opponents, which might just speak to Andy Reid's coaching, but who knows.
5. Saints- By process of elimination really. The NFC West is awful. I'm a Bears fan but Chicago is the worst 5-3 team in history without an offensive line or an effective secondary. Minnesota and Dallas have been extremely disappointing. Washington is having problems with McNabb and their defense is brutal. Tampa has been a pleasant surprise and I don't think the youth is a problem, I just don't trust their defense in late game situations nor the offense's ability to put up points if they have to in a shootout. That leaves you with the reigning Super Bowl champs. Who, if nothing else, still have Drew Brees and a defense that is capable of forcing turnovers.