Take a look around the NFL. The Patriots and Cowboys, who are atop the AFC and NFC, respectively, have performed quite well. New England (7-1) has won four games in a row, while Dallas (7-1) has won seven games in a row.

But what about everyone else? Seattle (5-2-1) is atop the NFC West but has looked shaky throughout the season. Arizona (3-4-1), stunningly, is under .500. And Green Bay (4-4) has lost three of four.

Where are the elite teams?

“I think Carolina is going to be right there at the end of the season,” NFL on Fox analyst Curt Menefee said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “They’re going to be a team that, if they are, they’ll be scary.”

Carolina (3-5) started the year 1-5 but has won back-to-back games against the Cardinals and Rams and is suddenly a player again in the NFC.

“In order to make the playoffs, they’re going to have to get hot,” Menefee said. “They’re going to have win nine or 10 games. They’ve got to win six out of eight, so they’ve got to get hot. And if a team that good gets hot going into the playoffs, then they could be scary. So I do think they will make some noise.”

Menefee also expects big things from the Seahawks.

“I think Seattle will get their offensive line straightened out,” he said. “And if they do, I think they’ll be there toward the end of the season as well. But right now as you look at it, outside of the New England Patriots and maybe the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC, I think everybody is a huge step down.”


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