1. New York Giants
Last Week: 1
It’d suck to lose Eli Manning to a non-impact injury, but I think he’ll play through the pain. Steve Smith is turning into the most underrated wide receiver since Steve Smith.
2. New Orleans Saints
Last Week: 3
The Saints have answered their one lingering question: Can they stop anybody long enough for the offense to win games? Yes. Which makes them scary dangerous. So long as Darren Sharper stays upright.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Last Week: 4
To be honest, the Colt’s four wins have come against some unimpressive teams. But they’re doing what they need to do, and the rest of their schedule isn’t too threatening.
4. Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 6
Revenge was his, so now how will Brett Favre get through the rest of the season? More pressing, how will Adrian Peterson come back from two consecutive sub-100 yard games?
5. Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 7
Might be a bad week for their bye, this team has to get some consistency going. McNabb coming back would help, but either way they could be fantastic or they could drop off the map like they did against the Saints.
6. New York Jets
Last Week: 5
The Jets are still a good team, but Stafford is going to have some more games like this. I think Rex Ryan has this team geared up for success, though.
7. New England Patriots
Last Week: 9
The Patriots aren’t the great team they were a few years ago, but they’re still going to be one of the teams to beat in the AFC. Tom Brady is looking more comfortable in the pocket, and they’re developing a reliable, if unwieldy, running game.
8. San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 8
San Francisco blew out the awful Rams, and look to be in control of the NFC West. The curious thing will be seeing how they deal with playing a good team this week, when they take on Atlanta.
9. Denver Broncos
Last Week: 14
Remember when we made fun of the Broncos defense, and talk about how terrible they were going to be in Josh McDaniels’ new system? Well...yeah. About that...
10. Chicago Bears
Last Week: 15
Cutler-copter aside, this was a pretty good looking win against a driving Lions team. I don’t know if they’re a Playoff team, especially if Forte continues to struggle as he has.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 11
What’s happening in Pittsburgh? They’re not a bad team, the nucleus is still there from the Super Bowl win of last year. Troy Polamalu will be coming back and Mendenhall looks good, but they’ve got some catching up to do.
12. Baltimore Ravens
Last Week 2
Somewhere, Mark Clayton has his head buried in sand. If Clayton could have caught either of those two passes, the Ravens would still be undefeated, and they’d still be higher on this list.
13. Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 10
Tough game against a good San Francisco team coming out of the bye. I hate to say “must win” in Week Five, but they can’t afford to fall any further behind New Orleans.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 12
Marion Barber probably won’t be on the field this Sunday, but it won’t matter facing the Chiefs. Still, they’ll need their full compliment of running backs if Tony Romo continues to struggle.
15. Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 19
Gotta love the Bengals finding ways to win games. Also gotta love Ochocinco randomly inviting any fan on his Twitter account to come have dinner with him.
16. San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 16
Good bye for them, as they’re going to have to get their house in order. Tomlinson looked like a guy who isn’t going to make it through this season, and Rivers is going to need that running game sooner rather than later.
17. Green Bay Packers
Last Week: 13
The Packers offensive line might as well stay on the sidelines for every snap. I think Aaron Rodgers would honestly play better if he just started scrambling immediately rather than wait for a pocket that never develops. Tough loss against Favre.
18. Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 17
After a hot start, there’s not much about the Seahawks that’s inspiring confidence. There’s a reason Jim Mora Jr. lost his last coaching job, and I don’t have much faith that he can put it together in Seattle.
19. Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 17
The Bills are the only team that fired its offensive coordinator this offseason that actually has a win. So, I guess miracles really do happen.
20. Houston Texans
Last Week: 20
The long trek to 8-8 has already started for Houston. Mario Williams is hurt, which is a scary prospect for them, but the offense is actually producing this season.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 25
It’s practically a winning streak in Jacksonville! Look out for the Jags! And hell, they’ve got a legitimate shot at winning their next four games, too. They might just have the least threatening schedule in the league.
22. Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 22
Hopefully they used their bye to put something together. Their game plans have looked more like the Cardinals that used to go 3-13 lately, than the ones that nearly won the Super Bowl last year, and I don’t think they can beat San Francisco.
23. Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 23
Jeff Garcia said this week that he didn’t believe the Raiders actually wanted to win games, and that JaMarcus Russell was not skilled enough to start in the NFL. Which is all true, despite the fact that it was Jeff Garcia who said it.
24. Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 24
Miami actually won, which is a nice uptick from their woes this season. Still, they might already be out of contention for the division, and their schedule only gets tougher from here on out.
25. Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 21
Did this team really make the Playoffs last year? Really? Don’t tell me Albert Haynesworth made all that difference, because there isn’t a single part of the Titans team that’s clicking right now.
26. Detroit Lions
Last Week: 26
Their victory party was short lived, as it’s back to the drawing board this week. Dante Culpepper might see a start while Matthew Stafford winks at his bum knee.
27. Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 27
A good week for the bye, as they can round up the troops and figure out where everything went wrong. Unfortunately, one week off can’t fix Jake Delhomme’s brain.
28. Washington Redskins
Last Week: 29
They got lucky playing against Tampa, but Jim Zorn’s going to be on the hot seat for the rest of the season. And Sherman Lewis isn’t going to be the solution.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 28
Matt Cassell looked a lot sharper this week, but the Chiefs were still at a loss to do anything against the Giants. If they keep improving though, they might win a game by Week 12.
30. Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 30
LeBron James and Braylon Edwards are arguing over an altercation Edwards had with one of James’ posse outside a night club last week. And now, Braylon is out of Cleveland. Coincidence? I think not. LeBron is more powerful than the Browns.
31. Saint Louis Rams
Last Week: 31
After they go shut out for a second time this season, it didn’t seem like things could get worse for the Rams. Then Rush Limbaugh said he wants to buy the team. At least they know they’ll never sign Donovan McNabb.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 25
Josh Johnson didn’t look...awful. But they missed out on their best opportunity win a game this year. They desperately miss.