No real change at the top; The Atlanta Falcons don’t play really well but pull out another victory to remain undefeated, while the Houston Texans show more of the same passing-rushing balance that has gotten them this far. The Chicago Bears’ defense is simply scary due to its ability to put points on the board, and the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be rising, and fast.
1. Atlanta Falcons (8-0) – Another win that keeps them undefeated, but doesn’t leave people too impressed, as they squeezed one past the Dallas Cowobys. Up next? A huge NFC South game against the Saints.
2. Houston Texans (7-1) – Had no problem dealing with the Bills, playing solid passing and running football. Not exciting, but good at pretty much every position.
3. Chicago Bears (7-1) – A defense that sometimes seems to good to be true, scoring yet another touchdown. Jay Cutler looks far from great, but it really doesn’t matter at this point.
4. San Francisco 49ers (6-2) – Didn’t play.
5. New York Giants (6-3) – Eli Manning is suddenly looking like a mediocre quarterback at best, and for a team with a problematic running game and secondary, that’s bad news.
6. Green Bay Packers (6-3) – Aaron Rodgers is playing like the best quarterback in the NFL at this point, even without a full core of healthy receivers. The Packers get a bye week to rest and nurse them at the right time.
7. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) – Everything’s a struggle for the Ravnes from now on, even when facing teams like the Cleveland Browns. Joe Flacco pulled off his second fourth quarter comeback of the season.
8. Denver Broncos (5-3) – With Peyton Manning in this kind of shape, there should be no problem for the Broncos winning the AFC West for a second consecutive season.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) – Needed to go through three running backs to find Isaac Redman, and finally, Roethlisberger has someone to hand the ball off to, while the defense keeps looking great, giving Eli Manning a hellish Sunday afternoon.
10. New England Patriots (5-3) – Didn’t play.
11. Seattle Seahawks (5-4) – It seems like the recipe for victory is simple for Seattle. Simply play at home, where they are 4-0 this season.
12. Indianapolis Colts (5-3) – Andrew Luck is playing great without a juggernaut defense or a reliable running game, but like the Seahawks, the Colts are bipolar when it comes to home & away form.
13. Minnesota Vikings (5-4) – Teams have figured out what to do with Christian Ponder, making Adrian Peterson’s amazing season look redundant at times.
14.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) – Once the Bucs found a powerhouse of a running back to give Josh Freeman a hand they immediately became much more for a bottom feeder looking for answers. We’ll see if Martin and Freeman can do the same against better defenses pretty soon.
15. Detroit Lions (4-4) – The only team in the NFL averaging more than 300 passing and 100 rushing so far this season, and suddenly the Stafford-Calvin Johnson connection is beginning to return to itself.
16. Miami Dolphins (4-4) – Now that Reggie Bush is looking all normal again, like he did most of his time with the Saints, Ryan Tannehill isn’t enough anymore.
17. San Diego Chargers (4-4) – A win over the Kansas City Chiefs doesn’t mean much, but there’s still a lot of faith Philip Rivers and the talented group around him have a lot more to give, despite their interfering (for the worse) head coach.
18. Dallas Cowboys (3-5) – They played a brutal opening schedule, and the funny thing is they played pretty well for most of the game against the Ravens, Giants and Falcons. Should be easier from here on out, but still need to find someone to run the ball instead of Murray.
19. Washington Redskins (3-6) – RG3, RG3, but this team doesn’t have much more than him, Alfred Morris and Mike Shanahan who keeps changing his mind about the chances to make something out of this season.
20. Arizona Cardinals (4-5) – The Cardinlas really do have a good, top 10 defense. But when your quarterback goes through what looks like child-labor to get the chains moving, no game is easy, especially against the Packers or next week against Atlanta.
21. New Orleans Saints (3-5) – Can’t play defense, but for the first time this season showed some nice blitzing schemes and didn’t have to rely on the arm of Drew Brees to deliver them to victory, or close to it.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) – These two seasons that began with some huge free agent signings are looking more and more like one of the most colossal failures in recent NFL history.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) – Can’t win at home for some reason, but it probably has to do with their running game and BenJarvus Green-Ellis who can’t get it going this season.
24. St. Louis Rams (3-5) – Didn’t play.
25. Oakland Raiders (3-5) – There’s a feeling that if Darren McFadden can get going, there’s still a shot of catching the Broncos or Chargers. But so far, their running back has been a complete disappointment.
26. New York Jets (3-5) – Didn’t play.
27. Buffalo Bills (3-5) – Didn’t do too bad against the Texans, but rely too much on their running game to get them going, with Ryan Fitzpatrick not looking like one up for the task against good defenses.
28. Tennessee Titans (3-6) – Chris Johnson is putting up big numbers again, but this team looked embarrassing against the Chicago Bears.
29. Carolina Panthers (2-6) – Suddenly, a win out of nowhere. They just met a team who have the same problems they do, and just made enough good plays to win it. No big news or revival story here.
30. Cleveland Browns (2-7) – Past nine quarters? Only one touchdown. A young offense that in some games looks like it has no idea what it’s doing on the field.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) – Managed to make life for Blaine Gabbert even harder by trading away Mike Thomas.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) – New defensive coordinator? Not sure that’ll even remotely help this team.