The top three most significant, important, unexpected, unusual, or otherwise noteworthy wins from Sunday.
3. Detroit Lions 45, Denver Broncos 10.
Consider this quote from an anonymous Lions defender in Monday morning's Michael Silver column:
"Can you believe '15'? Come on — that's embarrassing. I mean, it's a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn't do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, 'Come on — that's your quarterback? Seriously?'"
So maybe no one will be talking about this win as one of the great triumphs in Detroit Lions history. But still, they were on a two-game losing streak and playing in a place that's always difficult for visitors, and they did what they had to do. If they'd beaten Denver 24-20, they probably don't appear here. But they fully digested the Broncos, and made the statement they needed to make.
2. St. Louis Rams 31, New Orleans Saints 21.
Are the Saints in the process of being exposed? No one doubts Drew Brees and the offense, but in their last two losses, the Saints have been gutted on the ground. Earnest Graham pounded out 100 yards against them, and Steven Jackson was closer to 200. If a team just commits themselves to running the ball down the Saints' gullet, controlling the clock and not letting Brees get into a rhythm, do the Saints become entirely beatable?
1. Pittsburgh Steelers 25, New England Patriots 17.
It wasn't just that the Steelers won, it's that they took the Patriots and twisted them up into a balloon animal. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but it would be hard to argue for anyone but the Steelers as the top AFC seed in the Absurdly Premature Playoff picture. In fact, given what we saw Sunday, it's difficult to believe that the Patriots are even the team best equipped to give the Steelers a game -- the Ravens or Texans come to mind, for example.