The first-ever non-Sunday Sunday Night Football game delayed by a day our power rankings.
We’re glad we waited.
Philly’s loss to the Vikings shook up the top of the heap, paving the way for a new No. 2 team to emerge.
And, no, it’s not the Vikings.
1. New England Patriots (No. 1; 13-2): It’s 2007 all over again, without the pressure of being undefeated and without a team from the NFC with a defense that can rattle Tom Brady.
2. New Orleans Saints (No. 5; 11-4): Last year, they got to the Super Bowl with two home playoff games. This year, the Saints are just good enough to win three on the road to get back to the Super Bowl again.
3. Baltimore Ravens (No. 4; 11-4): The Patriots surely hope that the Ravens have to play the Colts in the first round of the playoffs.
4. Atlanta Falcons (No. 2; 12-3): The problem with winning so many close games is that, eventually, you’ll lose one of them.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 7; 11-4): Even though it would help the Ravens, the Browns would surely love to keep the Steelers from winning the AFC North.
6. Chicago Bears (No. 8; 11-4): OK, maybe the Bears have a defense that can rattle Tom Brady.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 3; 10-5): Well, at least the MVP vote won’t have much drama.
8. New York Jets (No. 6; 10-5): If the Jets hope to win a Super Bowl, it would be a good idea to first win their division.
9. Indianapolis Colts (No. 11; 9-6): We learned on Sunday in Oakland that Peyton Manning runs like a free-standing brick chimney on the verge of collapsing.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (No. 12; 10-5): Some of those playoff teams that wanted to see the Chargers left out of the postseason may be wishing the Chiefs weren’t in.
11. Green Bay Packers (No. 16; 9-6): All of a sudden, the Packers look like one of the best teams in the NFC.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 13; 9-6): Still barely alive for the playoffs, the Bucs could do some damage if they get there.
13. St. Louis Rams (No. 18; 7-8): Even if they lose to the Seahawks by 50 points, the Rams have exceeded every reasonable expectation this year — and most unreasonable ones.
14. New York Giants (No. 9; 9-6): Outscored 72-17 since leading the Eagles 31-10, how can Tom Coughlin not be on the hot seat?
15. Detroit Lions (No. 20; 5-10): Matt Millen will surely find a way to claim credit for the team’s three-game winning streak.
16. San Diego Chargers (No. 10; 8-7): Between John Elway joining the Broncos and Norv Turner staying in San Diego, the Chiefs and Raiders have to be thinking that they’ll be ruling the division for a long, long time.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 14; 8-7): Just when it looked like he was safe, two straight losses could doom Jack Del Rio.
18. Oakland Raiders (No. 15; 7-8): That 2011 first-round pick the Raiders sent to the Patriots for Richard Seymour isn’t such a coup for Bill Belichick, after all.
19. Miami Dolphins (No. 17; 7-8): The guy who played Tony Soprano has a better chance of leading this team next year than its current head coach.
20. Minnesota Vikings (No. 24; 6-9): If Brad Childress had still been the head coach of the Vikings over the last three weeks, his bald head would have exploded.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (No. 28; 4-11): If Marvin Lewis had dumped T. and Ocho a while ago, the Bengals actually may have been competitive this year.
22. Arizona Cardinals (No. 30; 5-10): John Skelton’s performance against the Cowboys could save the team a lot of money that otherwise would have been spent on a veteran quarterback.
23. Dallas Cowboys (No. 19; 5-10): If Jerry Jones is “mad as hell” now, just wait to see how he’ll feel when someone else is running around with the Lombardi Trophy on the floor of Cowboys Stadium.
24. Washington Redskins (No. 29; 6-9): As the Redskins were lining up for the game-winning field goal in overtime, agent Fletcher Smith issued a statement that read, “Miss it.”
25. Buffalo Bills (No. 21; 4-11): The Bills are a lot closer to being contenders than most realize.
26. Cleveland Browns (No. 22; 5-10): The Browns are a lot closer to being contenders than most realize.
27. San Francisco 49ers (No. 23; 5-10): The 49ers are a lot closer to being contenders than most realize
28. Seattle Seahawks (No. 27; 6-9): The Seahawks aren’t, but yet they still could win their division.
29. Tennessee Titans (No. 25; 6-9): Jeff Fisher could end his 16-year tenure in style by ending the Colts’ nine-year playoff run.
30. Denver Broncos (No. 32; 4-11): This franchise needs a lot more than a retired quarterback who thinks that throwing a football translates to running a team.
31. Houston Texans (No. 26; 5-10): Nine years and no playoffs. So much for parity.
32. Carolina Panthers (No. 31; 2-13): The Panthers had better get comfortable in the NFC South basement; with the Falcons, Saints, and Bucs in the division, Carolina will be there a while.