The Atlanta Falcons are still undefeated (bye weeks help keep that record going), but impressive wins for the Houston Texans, New York Giants and the Chicago Bears push them closer to the top on week 7, with the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers (they’re back) obviously teams to consider when talking about Super Bowl contention.
1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) – Didn’t play, yet still undefeated, so they hold on to the top spot. Of the last 37 teams to go 6-0 and remain the last of the unbeaten, 10 have gone on to win the Super Bowl.
2. Houston Texans (6-1) – The best in the AFC after they dismantled the injured Ravens and piled on some more hurt. Really remind me of the 49ers, just with a better quarterback and probably a bit lesser defense.
3. New York Giants (5-2) – Called Robert Griffin III the best quarterback they faced all season, and still managed to quell him down near the end, winning once again through a late wake up call and getting their s%$^ together.
4. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) – Didn’t play this weekend, which gets them ready to their division game against the Cardinals, which will be another defensive showdown, and a painful experience for whoever takes the snap for Arizona behind center.
5. Chicago Bears (5-1) – Jay Cutler was terrible against the Lions, but there’s just so much talent on this defense, that is the best in the NFL when it comes to ball-hawking and creating points off turnovers.
6. Green Bay Packers (4-3) – Two straight wins for the first time this year, and more importantly – Aaron Rodgers playing like an MVP once again. When he’s that good, all of the Packers’ deficiencies are forgotten.
7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – That loss against the Texans has to be worrying. The Ravens never get crushed, but losing Ray Lewis (and others) against the Cowboys took out more than just ability from this team, who need to regroup and find their heart and drive from another source.
8. New England Patriots (4-3)- Winning against the Jets, in overtime, by only 3 points, doesn’t get your far in this world. But the Patriots managed to give up another lead in the fourth quarter and still come out ahead, so at least that’s something.
9. Minnesota Vikings (5-2) – Quarterback Christian Ponder was as bad as can be against the Cardinals, but the Vikings have Adrian Peterson who seems like he’s back to his pre-injury form, which means being the best running back in the NFL.
10. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) – Have a problem with division games and games on the road, but that’s life with a rookie quarterback. Still, this running game and defense makes them favorites against most teams in the NFL.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) – This team finally found its running game against the Cincinnati Bengals through Jonathan Dwyer, but it feels like Ben Roethlisberger needs to do too much on his own on an injury plagued roster.
12. Denver Broncos (3-3) – An easier schedule down the road for the Bronocs, who had time to work on their defense after Peyton Manning has made their passing game into one of the best in the NFL pretty quickly.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) – There’s only one stat that can keep these guys happy going into the game against the Falcons – Andy Reid has never lost after a bye week. Maybe he even managed to fix Michael Vick’s turnover problem.
14. Dallas Cowboys (3-3) – The offensive line is getting better, but Tony Romo is still not clicking with his receivers, and the Giants are coming to town…
15. Arizona Cardinals (4-3) – Falling apart like a house of cards. The defense is still pretty solid, but the Cardinals are getting nothing out of their offense with John Skelton taking over for Kevin Kolb, with no running game and no protection.
16. Miami Dolphins (3-3) – Had a bye week to enjoy the sun in Florida, but now go on a tough road trip (3 of the next 4), and they hardly ever win when they’re away from home.
17. Washington Redskins (3-4) – Gave the Giants a run for their money, but Robert Griffin III can’t do this all by himself, especially needing some help from his defense that has gotta step up.
18. San Diego Chargers (3-3) – The Chargers have talent and Rivers will figure out how to change his passing style with his new receiver set, but as long as Norv Turner is calling the shots, this team isn’t going very far.
19. New Orleans Saints (2-4) – Picking up steam, and their defense should get a bit better as the season progresses, although the running game still looks awful alongside Drew Brees’ exceptional form.
20. Detroit Lions (2-4) – A defensive line that hits quarterbacks isn’t enough. Matthew Stafford is feeling lost with his link to Calvin Johnson being broken, and there’s no running game whatsoever.
21. St. Louis Rams (3-4) – A good home team where their defense usually finds way to get to quarterbacks, but that didn’t work against the Packers.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) – Had a chance to make a big statement against the reeling Steelers, but Andy Dalton couldn’t step up and BenJarvus Green-Ellis has still not shown us why he’s so highly rated.
23. Indianapolis Colts (3-3) – At home, the Colts and especially Andrew Luck, are a completely different team, but winning against the Browns, barely, isn’t something to brag about.
24. New York Jets (3-4) – Looked respectable against the Patriots, which is also something for a team that has looked pathetic against the higher echelon this season.
25. Tennessee Titans (3-4) – No defense and a problem at quarterback, but Chris Johnson has suddenly re-discovered his ability to get yards beneath his talented legs, and the Titans actually look like a football team with a running game.
26. Buffalo Bills (3-4) – Every time you feel the Bills might come up with a win that can push their season forward into happy places, Ryan Fitzpatrick comes up with an interception.
27. Oakland Raiders (2-4) – Darren McFadden still can’t get yards while Carson Palmer is so-so, but at least they have the best kicker in the NFL.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) – The Bucs put up some nice numbers against the Saints, but Freeman completed only 50% of his passes, and both their defense and offense looks bad.
29. Carolina Panthers (1-5) – A new GM isn’t going to solve the current problems the former one created, at least not this season.
30. Cleveland Browns (1-6) – The Browns lost their 11th consecutive road game, and simply can’t get anything to work for their rookie offensive duo.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) – MJD is injured and Blaine Gabbert might be as well.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5) – Matt Cassel won’t be returning to the quarterback position, which doesn’t change the fact that the team has nothing to rely on except grinding out yards through Jamaal Charles.