Finally, a change at the top. With the Atlanta Falcons losing for the first time this season there’s no longer an obligation to put them at first. The Houston Texans, with the most impressive win of the week after beating the Chicago Bears on the road, deserve to be labeled as the best team in the NFL 10 weeks into the 2012 season.
1. Houston Texans, 8-1 – The best team in the AFC was too tough for the Chicago Bears in a 13-6 win at Soldier Field.
2. Atlanta Falcons, 8-1 – The perfection has ended, as the Falcons fell short in New Orleans, losing to the Saints 27-31.
3. Chicago Bears, 7-2 – The defense worked very well against Houston, but the offense, with or without Jay Cutler, was terrible.
4. San Francisco 49ers, 6-2-1 – Had a pretty decent time with their backup quarterback after Alex Smith got knocked out of the game, but should have done more than draw with the Rams.
5. Baltimore Ravens, 7-2 – It was only the Raiders, but Joe Flacco had a big day and didn’t need Ray Rice’s big numbers on the ground as the team gets ready for an AFC North showdown with Pittsburgh.
6. Green Bay Packers, 6-3 – Had the week off; Are on a four game winning streak.
7. New England Patriots, 6-3 – The Patriots have won five of their past six games and have scored more than 30 points four times during the streak, but their defense, giving up 31 points vs the Bills, continues to look terrible against the pass.
8. Denver Broncos, 6-3 – The Broncos have won four straight since a Week 5 loss at New England. Manning had no problem what so ever against the Panthers, while the Broncos schedule is a comfortable one going into the second half of the season.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-3 – Struggled to beat the Chiefs, but the big problem is Roethlisberger likely to be out for more than a few days, heading into a home game against the Ravens.
10. New York Giants, 6-4 – Eli Manning isn’t anywhere near the one from last season and the quarterback we saw during the first six weeks, losing 31-13 to the Bengals.
11. Seattle Seahawks, 6-4 – At home, Seattle’s defense looks to big, fast and strong for anyone to handle, while Russell Wilson looks like a consistent dual threat quarterback. At home.
12. Indianapolis Colts, 6-3 – Who would have guesses the Colts would be in playoff contention?
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 5-4 – On a three game winning streak and have set a new franchise record by scoring at least 28 points on their last five games.
14. Minnesota Vikings, 6-4 – Were having a bit of a slide, but Adrian Peterson (171 yards vs the Lions) simply carried them to pre-bye week win that was oh so important for the team.
15. Dallas Cowboys, 4-5 – Belief and expectations are high once more after the win in Philadelphia, with a slightly easier schedule down the road.
16. New Orleans Saints, 4-5 – The defense is still leaking yards, but the Saints looked like a formidable team in their win over the previously undefeated Falcons and have won four of their last five games.
17. Detroit Lions, 4-5 – Bad defense and Matthew Stafford being less than great are probably not enough for the Lions to be in the playoff race in the very tough NFC North.
18. Cincinnati Bengals, 4-5 – A big win over the reeling Giants thanks to a big day from the defense and Andy Dalton has some people believing that making the playoffs isn’t impossible.
19. San Diego Chargers, 4-5 – Two of their wins have come against the Chiefs, which means that despite all of the talent on this team, there’s simply too much Norv Turner to deal with.
20. Miami Dolphins, 4-5 – Without the running game of Reggie Bush, who has been shut down in pretty much every game for over a month, the Dolphins are looking mighty bad, as Ryan Tannehill played like a rookie, with the expected rookie mistakes.
21. Arizona Cardinals, 4-5 – Have lost five in a row. A bye week stopped that slide.
22. Washington Redskins, 3-6 – Have a tough schedule waiting for them, and they’re going to need more than RG3 to finish this season with a smile on their face.
23. St. Louis Rams, 3-5-1 – Did very well against a team many though earlier this season was the best in the NFL, using their inconsistent running game to pile on the damage.
24. Philadelphia Eagles, 3-6 – Andy Reid has run out of cards to pull out of his hat, but now has to rely on Nick Foles behind a terrible offensive line to somehow save his job.
25. Tennessee Titans, 4-6 – Terrible defense, but they managed to create four turnovers against the Dolphins while Chris Johnson is enjoying quite a revival over the last six weeks.
26. New York Jets, 3-6 – After a 28-7 loss in Seattle, the Jets are off to their worst start since 2007.
27. Buffalo Bills, 3-6 – Weren’t that far from knocking off the Patriots, but their defense, allowing 31.3 points over the last six games, keeps them from being as competitive as they should be.
28. Oakland Raiders, 3-6 – They can put up points, even without a running game, but they can’t stop anyone, which is bad news when facing the New Orleans Saints next.
29. Carolina Panthers, 2-7 – Hope was replaced with another depressing week as the lost at home to the Denver Broncos, not being close to threatening the visitors’ win.
30. Cleveland Browns, 2-7 – A bye week was a nice time to forget that their quarterback hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass over the last nine quarters.
31. Kansas City Chiefs, 1-8 – Their defense didn’t look that bad against the Steelers, but Matt Cassell alone is worth about -7 to -10 points a game.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-8 – Continue to be terrible in pretty much every aspect of football.