Thanks to Michael Cresci for filling in last week. Where does everyone rank now?
1. Atlanta Falcons (5-0) – Yes, they could be 4-1, but good teams find ways to win games late. Matt Ryan had his worst game of the season Sunday against the Redskins, yet he threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns.
2. San Francisco 49ers (4-1) – They get the edge over the Texans because they’ve beaten down their lesser opponents, while Houston has let some hang around. Also, Alex Smith leads the league in quarterback rating (108.7).
3. Houston Texans (5-0) – The Texans have won the last nine games started by quarterback Matt Schaub.
4. New England Patriots (3-2) – Now that New England has developed a rushing game they will be tough to beat. The ground game ranks third in the league with 165.4 yards per game.
5. Baltimore Ravens (4-1) – With the next two weeks against quality opponents in Dallas and Houston, it will be interesting to see which Baltimore team shows up. Will it be the one who beat the Patriots or the one that only put up nine points against the Chiefs?
6. Chicago Bears (4-1) – Of course the Bears defense won’t score a touchdown every week, but Chicago’s play on both sides of the ball is encouraging. With the Packers struggling to win games, the Bears have an early lead on the division.
7. New York Giants (3-2) – Will Ahmad Bradshaw have another 200 yard game this season? Probably not. But it couldn’t have come at a better time with several key players banged up.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) – Another week, same story. If the Eagles took care of the ball even a little bit they could be a top five team.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) – A much more dangerous team when they can run the ball. With Rashard Mendenhall back (14 carries for 81 yards), the Steelers are still one of the better teams in the AFC, as long as they stay healthy.
10. Denver Broncos (2-3) – The three losses have come against Atlanta, Houston, and New England. The second half of the schedule is much easier and Peyton Manning has thrown for 11 touchdowns and completed 66 percent of his passes.
11. Green Bay Packers (2-3) – The Packers are banged up, have trouble stopping the pass and the run, and can’t run the ball themselves. But they still have Aaron Rodgers. They will turn it around at some point, right?
12. San Diego Chargers (3-2) – Probably should have came away with the win against the Saints on Sunday night, but more importantly, Ryan Mathews appears to be close to full health.
13. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) – Still talented, still inconsistent. Let’s see which team shows up against Baltimore.
14. Minnesota Vikings (4-1) – Still not sold. Outside of the win against San Fran, the Vikings other three wins have come against teams with a combined record of 3-11.
15. Seattle Seahawks (3-2) – The defense allows the fewest yards per game, but it won’t matter if they can’t move the ball. Only once has Russell Wilson thrown for more than 200 yards in a game.
16. Arizona Cardinals (4-1) – Losing Ryan Williams for the year hurts an offense that ranks 25th in passing yards and 31st in rushing yards per game.
17. St. Louis Rams (3-2) – What is it with the NFC West and having good defenses but horrid offenses?
18. Detroit Lions (1-3) – Special teams play kills Detroit, who is in a must win situation against Philadelphia this week.
19. Miami Dolphins (2-3) – At the very least should be 3-2, but could be 4-1, the Dolphins have the league’s best run defense (61.4 yards allowed per game).
20. Washington Redskins (2-3) – Too many injuries to start the season. Hopefully, RGIII’s concussion isn’t too serious.
21. New Orleans Saints (1-4) – The offense can still get it done (scored at least 24 points in each game so far), but it won’t matter if the defense can’t stop anyone (29th in passing yards and 32nd in rushing yards allowed per game).
22. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) – The Bengals have another easy game against the Browns this week, but the road gets much tougher after that (home against PIT, DEN, and NYG).
23. Indianapolis Colts (2-2) – Andrew Luck seems to have no problem finding Reggie Wayne, who has 506 yards and has already been targeted 60 times.
24. Tampa Bay Bucanners (1-3) – The Bucs know how to keep games within striking distance. Despite just the one win, Tampa Bay only has a negative-nine point differential.
25. Carolina Panthers (1-4) – The Panthers have only scored more than 12 points twice this year.
26. New York Jets (2-3) - Yes, they had a chance against the Texans but there are just too many injuries to both sides of the ball to think this team has any shot at the playoffs.
27. Buffalo Bills (2-3) – It can’t be a good thing when you let up 90 points in six quarters.
28. Oakland Raiders (1-3) – It has to be a little bit surprising that the offense has been this bad. The Raiders rank last in rushing yards per game (60.8).
29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) – The Chiefs kept the game competitive against the Ravens, but make no mistake, this isn’t a team that can score or defend.
31. Tennessee Titans (1-4) – With a minus-93 point differential, the Titans are lucky to still be in the game by halftime.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-5) – After going up 14-0, the Browns still couldn’t even keep the game competitive.