1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
No change at the top as the Pats took care of the rival Jets. It was far from the best game New England has played this year. Actually it might have been their worst, with 12 total drops by receivers on Sunday. The fact that the Patriots won while not being at their best underlines just how talented this team is.
2. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 2)
An off week for Cincinnati allows the Bengals to gear up for the second half. Still undefeated with Andy Dalton playing the best football of his career and a plethora of offensive weapons, this is the best we’ve seen the Bengals in years.
3. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 3)
The bye allows the Packers to prep for Denver. This is one of the marquee matchups of the season. Green Bay’s high powered offense against Denver’s incredible defense. Aaron Rodgers is going to have his hands full dealing with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware all night long.
4. Denver Broncos (Last week: 4)
Hopefully this bye week allowed the Broncos to figure out what on Earth to do about their offense. They rank third worst in rush yards per game and 14th in points per game. Plenty of those points have been defensive scores as well. If you factor out the defensive scoring, the Broncos’ offense is only averaging 19.2 points per game.
5. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 6)
Cam Newton had a bit of a rough outing against Philly. He threw for less than 200 yards and had three passes picked off. Still, the Carolina defense and run game got the job done. Carolina might be the most unpredictable undefeated team we have seen in some time.
6. New York Jets (Last week: 5)
Well they certainly gave the Pats a challenge, but the Jets could not stop the Patriots in crunch time. The Jets had a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter. The New York defense gave up two fourth quarter touchdowns and ended up losing by seven. Todd Bowles could not generate enough pressure on Brady without having to blitz. When the Jets did blitz, they paid for it.
7. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 9)
Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer almost mismanaged the clock into a loss. They gave Baltimore a chance late to tie the game but a game clinching interception bailed them out. Arizona has been shaky over the past few weeks but still have a healthy lead atop the NFC West.
8. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 7)
Whatever happened to that Atlanta offense that dominated the first five weeks, it has completely disappeared. In the past two weeks, the Falcons have 31 total points and five turnovers. They were fortunate to be playing the lowly Titans this past week otherwise Atlanta probably would’ve lost its second straight game.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 8)
The Steelers will be very happy to see Ben Roethlisberger take the field again. Youngster Landry Jones had a tough week against the Chiefs, throwing two interceptions. Pittsburgh’s offense only managed 13 points and looked like a team that lacked an identity. Their leader returning should right the ship just in time for a huge matchup with undefeated Cincy.
10. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 12)
Everyone proclaimed Teddy Bridgewater a game manager after a few weeks of mainly handing the ball off. He lit up the Lions though for 300+ yards and a pair of touchdowns. Minnesota is showing that it can adjust to play however it needs to get the win.
11. New York Giants (Last week: 16)
It was closer than it probably should have been but the Giants got a big divisional win at home. They find themselves back atop the NFC East and just in time as well. Dallas has Dez Bryant set to return this week with Tony Romo not too far behind. The Giants need to extend their lead now while they can.
12. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 18)
Huge win for the Raiders to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The scoreline does not reflect how dominant Oakland was in this game. Derek Carr outplayed Phillip Rivers. Latavius Murray almost outrushed the Chargers on his own. Great divisional win for the Silver and Black.
13. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 14)
Seattle got back on track with a good win against San Francisco. It wasn’t totally convincing for the Seahawks but they out played San Francisco all night. All of Seattle’s wins have come against teams well under .500 this season. They need to beat a good team before anyone buys into them again.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 13)
Philly seemed headed in the right direction and honestly, they are still on course. Winning in Carolina was unlikely at best for the Eagles. The defense created some turnovers but the offense was no match for the Panther defense. Because of how weak the NFC East is across the board, Philly is still in the playoff picture but this team is way too inconsistent to be considered good.
15. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 19)
St. Louis has more yards per game and more points per game than only one team in the league. It turns out that it is division rival San Francisco. This was a solid win against Cleveland and Todd Gurley looks like a stud but the offense is far from complete. Nick Foles needs to start holding up on his end of the bargain.
16. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 10)
A huge comeback seemed imminent for the Colts as they continued to rack up points in the second half. However, Indy couldn’t overcome a very poor start and Andrew Luck threw multiple interceptions in his fourth game this season. Considering he’s only played five, that is a major concern.
17. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 11)
Buffalo probably wasn’t overly satisfied with their road trip overseas. The Bills made a fantastic comeback and pulled ahead in the fourth quarter, but failed to hold the lead. Jacksonville outplayed the Bills for a good chunk of the game and Buffalo’s offense looks inconsistent on a week-to-week basis.
18. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 20)
If this continues, Dan Campbell will be the mayor of Miami by season’s end. The Dolphins blew out two mediocre teams but they seem to have renewed fight in them. They are still on the outside looking in but they are definitely headed in the right direction. The real test comes this week against the Patriots.
19. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 23)
Two weeks and two wins for the Saints put them in a position to potentially salvage their season. They still have a bit of a ways to go but with wins over the Falcons and Colts, New Orleans has shown that they can hang with potential playoff teams.
20. Washington (Last week: 21)
Kirk Cousins is still pumped up! Washington pulled off the biggest comeback in franchise history this weekend in spectacular fashion. Alfred Morris and Matt Jones combined for just 34 yards on 15 carries and the defense got gashed by Doug Martin but the resilience Washington showed was impressive.
21. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 17)
After a great effort against Green Bay where they pushed the Packers to the brink, San Diego fell flat on its face against Oakland. The Raiders ran away with this game early and San Diego did not have enough time to catch up. It seems like Denver has the AFC West all but locked up.
22. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 15)
Matt Cassell played for the Cowboys at quarterback and it wasn’t much of an improvement for Dallas. Cassell threw a pick six against the rival Giants that ended up being the difference in the game. Dallas is hanging tough in most games but they still cannot get a win with Romo and Dez sidelined.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 31)
Charcandrick West just made a name for himself in Kansas City. West posted 110 yards on a five-yard per carry average and scored a touchdown. The Chiefs don’t seem like they have any shot of making the playoffs but they knocked off a good team in Pittsburgh even if it was with Landry Jones at the helm.
24. Chicago Bears (Last week: 24)
It is a little troubling to see the Bears playing as poorly as they are. Matt Forte has been on fire and Alshon Jeffrey has been fantastic in his past two weeks. Yet, Chicago sits at 2-4. They haven’t had a tremendous amount of turnovers, but they have the second worst net point differential in the league. Piecing both sides of the game together has been tough for Bears to this point.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 32)
I am not a fan of moving a team to London but the Jaguars might want to get on board with that movement. They got only their second win of the year at Wembley and it was a great win for them. Factions of Jaguars fans exist across the pond already. If any team is heading there, it will be Jacksonville.
26. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 25)
The offense came back down to Earth and the defense was gashed by Todd Gurley. Cleveland had been competitive this season with their last three loses all by one possession. The Browns looked outmatched in this one though and head home to take on the Cardinals. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Browns from here.
27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 26)
Playing the Falcons close is a moral victory but Ken Wisenhunt isn’t very interested in those. The Titans had every opportunity to win this game against Atlanta. They led 7-3 at halftime and only gave up seven points the rest of the week. Unfortunately, for the defense, the offense never scored again. Not having Marcus Mariota hurt Tennessee and the lack of a running game hurt even more.
28. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 27)
Getting blown out at home by Seattle seems to be an annual occurrence for the 49ers. This one was particularly brutal as San Francisco only managed three points and never even looked like they had a shot of winning. Colin Kaepernick seems to slowly be losing favor in the locker room and among the coaches. Change will be coming soon in the Bay Area.
29. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 30)
Someone give the Ravens a break! Baltimore lost all communication between the sideline and quarterback Joe Flacco on the game ending drive against Arizona. The Ravens had some bright spot but it all goes down as another loss.
30. Detroit Lions (Last week: 28)
Detroit failed to get the Minnesota offense off the field and could not hold the ball long when they had the chance. The Lions need to find some success running the football and then do it consistently to keep the pressure of Matt Stafford. The offensive coaching staff got a shake up so we will have to see if that changes anything.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 29)
It seemed like the Buccaneers had a win locked up in Washington up 24-7 at halftime. Tampa ended up losing by one after Washington scored the decisive touchdown with under a minute left. The Bucs have a great young core but it is a long way from developed.
32. Houston Texans (Last week: 22)
There is a possibility that the Texans would have given up 70 points in this game if the Dolphins had kept their foot on the peddle. Down 41-0 at halftime, Houston made a feeble attempt at a comeback and fell well short. Ryan Mallett got his walking papers on Monday and Arian Foster’s season ended with an Achilles injury. The Texans’ season is quickly spiraling out of control.