Another week, and the Atlanta Falcons find new ways to stay undefeated, this time enjoying a great game from Matt Ryan in Philadelphia. The New York Giants played well for a quarter and a half to stay on top of the NFC East and the San Francisco 49ers went back to Alex Smith, who rose to the challenge, in an easy win over the Arizona Cardinals.
1. Atlanta Falcons (7-0) – Had an impressive display in Philadelphia, taking down the Eagles as Matt Ryan had an excellent game throwing for three touchdowns.
2. Houston Texans (6-1) – Didn’t play.
3. New York Giants (6-2) – Had another Jekyll & Hyde performance against the Dallas Cowboys, but came up with just enough offense early on and defense late in the game to take full control of the NFC East.
4. San Francisco 49ers (6-2) – Alex Smith isn’t the perfect quarterback, but he does just fine in the right schemes, as the Niners rolled all over the falling apart Cardinals.
5. Chicago Bears (5-1) – Somehow, made it through the Carolina game in which Jay Cutler turned the ball over three times, more than Cam Newton did. Still, just enough of great defense to pull through.
6. Green Bay Packers (5-3) – Aaron Rodgers is on a roll, and had no problem with another 300 yard game against one of the weakest teams around, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
7. New England Patriots (5-3) – For once, had no problem with a late game situation. Tom Brady finished the game very quickly as the Pats scored on their first five possessions, giving the London crowd a boring night to sit through.
8. Baltimore Ravnes (5-2) – Now that the shock from losing Ray Lewis is gone, we’ll see just how good this team is without him and what’s the remaining potential to squeeze out.
9. Denver Broncos (4-3) – A clinical display by Peyton Manning (305 yards, 3 touchdown passes) and some great defense, keeping the Saints at only 14 points, have people really high on the Broncos in the AFC West and beyond.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) – As long as their defense plays like this, Roethlisberger having to manage with a depleted offensive line isn’t that much of a problem, especially now that they seem to be finding their running game again.
11. Minnesota Vikings (5-3) – Adrian Peterson is a beast and a wonder coming off his ACL surgery, but Christian Ponder has to be more consistent to give this team and a very good and aggressive defense more of a chance.
12. Miami Dolphins (4-3) – Ryan Tannehill might be out for a while, but Reggie Bush is keeping on with his great start to the season and Matt Moore is more than capable of filling in for the rookie.
13. Seattle Seahawks (4-4) – Sometimes, you forget that this team has a rookie quarterback who can’t win on the road. This excellent defense needs to get more time off the field in road games, or quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford will pick them apart.
14. Indianapolis Colts (4-3) – Won their first road game in the Andrew Luck era, although it was against the terrible (defensively) Tennessee Titans.
15. Dallas Cowboys (3-4) – Tony Romo and Jason Garrett keep ruining it for one of the best defenses in the NFL, who had to keep the Giants on 29 points despite Dallas turning the ball over six times.
16. Arizona Cardinals (4-4) – The defense can only do so much. There’s no offensive line to protect Skelton and the running game is just embarrassing.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) – The defense was fine until Castillo got fired. Now both the offense and the defense are looking like a mess, and chances of saving this season and Reid’s job are running out.
18. Detroit Lions (3-4) – Calvin Johnson is struggling, but it seems that if Stafford has a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, he’ll make it happen.
19. Washington Redskins (3-5) – Had a harsh lesson in defense as Robert Griffin III was pretty much neutralized against the kind of defense in a level he has yet to experience. There are still plenty of missing parts before the Redskins can challenge the Giants for the NFC East.
20. San Diego Chargers (3-4) – Norv Turner seems cool and relaxed despite the huge pressure on him to win. The Chargers keep messing up very winnable games, somehow managing to score only six points against the Browns.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) – Anything can happen on a short week, but no one expected Josh Freeman to be this good in Minnesota, or Doug Martin who ran for 135 yards and caught 3 receptions for 79 yards.
22. Oakland Raiders (3-4) – If the Raiders actually do have Darren McFadden back in top form, they’re not such a bad team. Problem is, you can’t take anything you do against the Chiefs as an absolute.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) – The great start to the season evaporated. Rested this week.
24. St. Louis Rams (3-5) – Are terrible on the road, so playing in London was twice as bad. They were out of the game before the end of the second quarter.
25. New York Jets (3-5) – Something bad happens to the Jets when they play at home, losing by three touchdowns or more for the second time there this season.
26. Tennessee Titans (3-5) – The defense is still terrible, but Chris Johnson has a new lease on his life as running back, which makes the Titans a dangerous team if you struggle in stopping the run.
27. Buffalo Bills (3-4) – Didn’t play this week.
28. New Orleans Saints (2-5) – Drew Brees can put up all the big numbers he wants. Without some defense, this team isn’t going to do much better than the Carolina Panthers when it’s all over.
29. Cleveland Browns ( 2-6) – Had one of the more ugliest wins imaginable against the Chargers, but finally got a big, efficient game out of Trent Richardson.
30. Carolina Panthers (1-6) – What has firing the GM achieved exactly? A better insight on mid-season trades?
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) – Blaine Gabbert actually looked OK against Green Bay, but there wasn’t much of a consolable quality in that.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) – Somehow, used their best player (Jamaal Charles) five times in the loss to the Raiders in what used to be the best home stadium in the NFL.