With every NFL team having finished at least half of its schedule, the league looks a bit different than many of the experts expected.
The Philadelphia Eagles—declared a “dream team” by newly acquired backup quarterback Vince Young in training camp—lost to the Chicago Bears Monday night and find themselves at 3-5. That’s three games behind the New York Giants in the NFC East. Philadelphia is also looking up at the Detroit Lions, Bears, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the two wild-card spots in the conference.
The Houston Texans are three games over .500 for the first time in franchise history and have cracked the top five of the rankings for the first time, as well.
The New England Patriots have lost two straight to fall to 5-3, part of a three-way tie atop the AFC East with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.
On the other end of the surprise spectrum, there are the San Francisco 49ers, 7-1 in the first half. The Cincinnati Bengals at 6-2 are also unexpected, and the Lions, also 6-2, appear to be ready to win now rather than later.
The Miami Dolphins escaped the winless ranks with a 31-3 beatdown of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, leaving the Indianapolis Colts at 0-9 as the lone team without a victory.
On the other end, the Green Bay Packers remained the last unbeaten team in the NFL, hanging on for a wild win at San Diego on Sunday.
The rankings, from No. 32 to No. 1, follow: