The plot thickens. Our No. 1 and No. 2 teams are pretty clear these days, but after that? You've got about a dozen squads that you could rank almost any way you want. Can the upstarts survive? Will the veterans rebound? Maybe this week will clear things up. Here are the top 10 NFL teams going into Week 10.
Five teams are tied with 5-3 records, but we're giving the Bears the nod this week after a road win over the Eagles. Their losses to the Saints, Lions and Packers are understandable, and running back Matt Forte has been a beast. Chicago hosts a huge rematch with Detroit this week.
We welcome the Texans back to the top 10 after several weeks of absence. In the past, Houston has been known for high-powered offense, but this team is suddenly ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense. With Arian Foster back at full speed and an easier second-half schedule than most, the Texans are a team on the rise.
Judgment Day has come for Andy Dalton and the Bengals, as they play the Steelers twice and the Ravens once in their next four games. A win this week at home against Pittsburgh is vital if Cincinnati wants to prove it belongs in a crowded AFC playoff race.
The Saints won a huge division battle against the Bucs last week, rebounding nicely from their loss to St. Louis the week before. Next: another critical game against a resurgent NFC South foe, Atlanta. Time to step up.
Who'd have thought that the Steelers would be in third place in the AFC North at this point in the season? They failed to avenge their Week 1 loss to Baltimore, but a bounce-back win against Cincinnati this week will do wonders for Ben Roethlisberger and company.
The G-Men deserve some serious credit after defeating the Patriots in a 2008 Super Bowl rematch. If they can survive the next four games (at San Fran, home vs. Philly, at New Orleans, home vs. Green Bay), they'll have earned a lot more.
The bye week came at a perfect time for the Lions, who needed a break and time to get healthy. They've got a huge game this week at Soldier Field against the Bears. Win that, and they'll be in very good shape for at least a wild card berth (with two games against the Packers still to come).
The Ravens showed they can score in the clutch with a last-second drive to steal a win (and a season sweep) in Pittsburgh. They're in the driver's seat in the AFC now, although they have two games against the Bengals still on the schedule.
The Niners may face their toughest test of the season this week against the Giants. Their defense has proven itself, but can Alex Smith put enough points on the board to stay with Eli Manning? A win here will answer a lot of questions.
Last week's game was filled with fireworks, as the champs hung on to outscore the Chargers in San Diego. This week's foe, Minnesota, is unlikely to put up as many points. Expect the Pack to stay unbeaten.