1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
Had Tony Romo and Dez Bryant played, this would have been a different story. But neither of them played and the Cowboys struggled mightily. Brady and Co. took care of business for a fifth straight week. No need to drop them from the top spot.
2. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 2)
Far from Aaron Rodgers’ best game ever but it was enough for the Packers to get the win. Rodgers threw two picks but Green Bay came up with four of Nick Foles. Scary thing to note is that Rodgers led the team in rushing with just 39 yards. That should not become a trend.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 4)
Down by 17 heading into the fourth quarter against Seattle, it seemed like Cincy had finally come back to Earth. Then the Bengals rattled off 20 straight points to get the win in overtime. Exciting to watch and tough to play against is exactly how you would define Cincinnati so far.
4. Denver Broncos (Last week: 3)
This is looking more and more like Peyton Manning is a man way past his prime still trying to compete. He is tied for second in the league in interceptions so far, which has put a little too much pressure on the defense. Thankfully, this defense is the best in the league and continues to bail the offense out.
5. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 5)
Beating Washington wasn’t supposed to be that difficult for the Falcons but they still got the job done. Devonta Freeman is tied for second in the NFL in rushing yards and leads the league in touchdowns. This Falcons offense is down right scary when Freeman and Julio Jones are clicking.
6. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 6)
No need to panic! The Cardinals we saw the first three weeks of the season are back. Arizona registered its fourth blowout in five games. If they continue at this pace, they could have the division all but locked up by Thanksgiving.
7. New York Jets (Last week: 8)
The Jets move up despite not playing this week. That is mainly due to the return of Sheldon Richardson, back from his four game suspension. As if the Jets defense, which leads the league in points allowed per game, needed any more help.
8. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 9)
Carolina is undefeated thus far in the 2015 season and they did that without Luke Keuchley. Now reports have Keuchley as a full participant in practice and gearing up for a showdown with the Seahawks. The Panthers are starting to seem dangerous.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 12)
After three quarters of utter boredom, Michael Vick said enough of that and started making plays. Pittsburgh was very lucky to walk out of San Diego with a win but they still got it. The Steelers can win with Vick in at quarterback and should be able to weather the storm until Big Ben returns.
10. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 10)
Of all the undefeated quarterbacks so far in the NFL, Matt Hasselback is by far the most perplexing one. But he has done what Andrew Luck couldn’t: limit turnovers and play efficiently. Luck is rumored to return this week and all eyes will be on him to see if the former number one overall pick is really healthy.
11. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 11)
That was ugly. No two ways about it. But it is better to win ugly than lose ugly. Unfortunately, the Bills are looking pretty banged up at the moment. LeSean McCoy is out for a little while and Karlos Williams still has a concussion. Now add Tyrod Taylor to the mix with an MCL sprain. We will likely see E.J. Manuel under center against the undefeated Bengals.
12. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 7)
Finally the offense found some life and consistency…for three quarters. The Seahawks completely fell apart down the stretch in Ohio. They return home to play the undefeated Panthers, who just got Luke Keuchley back. That is not going to be a fun game for Seattle.
13. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 14)
The Vikings are only at .500 at the moment but they are playing better football than that. This team is still very inexperienced but don’t be surprised if they are still hanging around when the it comes time for the post season.
14. New York Giants (Last week: 17)
You can’t spell clutch without ELI. Well actually you can, but you know what I mean. The youngest Manning brother engineered a spectacular comeback to earn the win for Big Blue. The Giants finally know how the Falcons and Cowboys felt after the first two weeks for the season.
15. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 13)
Rumor has it that Brandon Weeden lost his starting job (shocker). The Cowboys mercifully have a bye week to figure out what in the world has been going on for the past three weeks. Tony Romo and Dez Bryant cannot return fast enough.
16. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 16)
Bitter probably doesn’t even adequately describe how the San Diego Chargers feel right now. A walk off touchdown from LeVeon Bell stole victory from the Bolts on their home turf. On the bright side though they aren’t as bad as the Chiefs.
17. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 20)
The Raiders defense almost did enough for Oakland to get a hard earned win against Denver. They did not allow a touchdown all day long. However, a defensive touchdown ended up being the difference and now the Raiders have lost two straight heading into their bye.
18. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 18)
The Rams head into their bye week having a ton of faith in their defense and absolutely none in their offense. St. Louis bothered Aaron Rodgers all day long and forced his first interception at Lambeau Field since Jeremy Lin was the point guard of the Knicks. Meanwhile, Nick Foles completed a lot of passes to guys wearing green jerseys. Jeff Fisher still has a lot of work to do.
19. Washington (Last week: 22)
Taking the undefeated Falcons to overtime was impressive but Washington failed to seal the deal. The defense played well and picked off Matt Ryan twice. However, Kirk Cousins threw two interceptions of his own, including the game-ending pick six in overtime. Now Washington heads to New York and Cousins gets an even tougher test against the Jets’ defense.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 23)
So that’s where the Eagles offense has been hiding. They’ve been in New Orleans the whole time. Philly finally started to make plays with the ball offensively. Still wasn’t perfect, but it was a step in the right direction and it keeps the Eagles in the postseason conversation.
21. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 21)
It will be interesting to see how this team responds after the firing of Joe Philbin. The ‘Phins got a week to get acclimated with new head coach Dan Campbell and prepare for a matchup with the dangerous Titans. If Miami hasn’t figured out its offense, they have no shot of winning this game.
22. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 15)
Remember how I said that most of the optimism surrounding the Chiefs had died last week. Well I am now here to pronounce it officially dead. Kansas City lost its fourth straight game in stunning fashion and lost Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. There is no coming back from this now.
23. Chicago Bears (Last week: 30)
Whoa. Two wins in a row for Chicago. Not for nothing but that is impressive. Granted they came against two floundering teams but there are some other bright spots. Matt Forte leads the league in rushing and Jay Cutler took care of the football. That is a recipe for success in the Windy City.
24. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 29)
It looks like the Browns made up for blowing a chance at overtime last week by pulling off the OT comeback this week. Josh McCown is doing more with less as he continues to put up video game-like numbers despite not having too many proven weapons.
25. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 19)
A huge win against Pittsburgh followed by a blown chance against the Browns. The Ravens have really lost their form. A 2015 playoff team, Baltimore will be lucky to not end up with a top 10 draft pick.
26. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 27)
That one stings a lot. The Titans led 10-0 midway through the third quarter but couldn’t stop a late Bills comeback. Tennessee has been more competitive than I ever thought they would be and the defense has a large part to do with that.
27. Houston Texans (Last week: 24)
The Texans have played bad football season long. The revolving door at quarterback isn’t helping matters at all and Houston now sits at 1-4. It doesn’t seem to effect DeAndre Hopkins though, who leads the league in receiving.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 32)
They have not seemed even the least bit convincing but Tampa now has two wins on the year, which means they can’t possibly be worse than last year. When you are as bad as the Bucs, this is actually something worth celebrating.
29. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 28)
Colin Kaepernick finally seemed to settle down and just play football this week in New York. Unfortunately, his defense didn’t back him up. They get a rematch of the 2013 Super Bowl against the Ravens this week though and suddenly, that seems like a winnable game.
30. Detroit Lions (Last week: 25)
Lions’ fans can be mad all they want about how they got robbed of a victory in Seattle but there were no excuses this week against Arizona. Matthew Stafford actually found himself a spot on the bench after turning the ball over three times by the middle of the third quarter. Detroit wanted to forget last week’s loss but they probably want to forget this one even more.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 31)
Losing to Tampa Bay is not a resume builder. Jacksonville was out played once again and you have to wonder how much longer the Jaguars’ brass is going to sit quietly and let Gus Bradley run the show. They need better results than this if we expects to keep his job.
32. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 26)
The Saints had a chance to get their season back on track following a big overtime win against Dallas the week before. They didn’t take it and now find themselves at 1-4 with a lot of questions and very few answers. We have a new team in the NFL cellar.