1. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2): A loss to the previously-underachieving reigning Super Bowl champs is not really that bad, and a crucial fumble by Heath Miller basically killed their chances of winning last night.
2. New England Patriots (6-1): Since Randy Moss' last catch for the team (against the Bills), the Patriots DEFENSE is allowing 9 fewer points per game, and that's the kind of improvement that the team needed (not getting rid of Moss to "help" the offense).
3. New York Giants (5-2): Defense > Eli.
4. Baltimore Ravens (5-2): Trust Flacco?
5. New York Jets (5-2): A Jets offense that had scored 30 points per game over their five game win streak becomes the first team to get shut out by anyone THIS SEASON. And that's why they're not higher.
6. Atlanta Falcons (5-2): Another receiver?
7. Green Bay Packers (5-3): No one really expected the offense to do well against the Jets this week, but no one really expected the defense to step up like they did. They just need to find some semblance of a running game.
8. Houston Texans (4-2): Well, they haven't played yet, but their balance offensively this year is offsetting an awful pass defense. Just awful.
9. New Orleans Saints (5-3): Drew Brees started off the year with three straight games with a 100+ quarterback rating, and just got his second in his following five. Against the best defense in the league this year. Back in the saddle?
10. Indianapolis Colts (4-2): Also haven't played yet. They have all of their skill players on the injury report, but they still have Peyton Manning and a pretty good pass defense (which helps when you're putting up points and forcing other teams to throw).
11. Tennessee Titans (5-3): Go look for the Chris Johnson 29-yard touchdown run in their game yesterday. The injury to Kenny Britt right after his huge game should hurt their already-not-that-impressive passing game.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3): Vick, defense?
13. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2): I can't argue with them having the best running game in the league statistically and using the eye-test and a top-ten run defense. Matt Cassel, however, is one of the biggest wastes of a "franchise quarterback" contract I've seen from a non-rookie; I guess he deserved being the 230th overall pick?
14. Chicago Bears (4-3): Inter. Ceptions.
15. Miami Dolphins (4-3): Chad Henne is doing just enough to win despite his under-performing running game, and has won all of their road games and none of their home games. Wildcat who?
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2): LeGarrette Blount punches the Cardinals in the mouth (get it? because he punched that Boise State guy last year?) with a crazy leaping 48-yard run in the fourth quarter. Josh Freeman has six fourth-quarter comeback victories in his 16 career starts. As a point of reference, Donovan McNabb has 15 in 156 career games.
17. San Diego Chargers (3-5): They still have the best offense and best defense in the league in terms of yardage, and Philip Rivers completes 75% of his passes and throws for 300 yards... again. Just wait 'til they get actual starting-quality receivers (oh, and Vincent Jackson too) back.
18. Washington Redskins (4-4): Donovan McNabb got benched with under two minutes left in a 6-point game for Rex Grossman. He promptly was sacked, fumbled, and Ndamukong Suh returned it for a touchdown. Please, for the love of humanity, cut him and never let him play football again.
19. St. Louis Rams (4-4): Steven Jackson is a beast, so he's allowed a 23 rush, 59-yard performance every once in a while. Sam Bradford is easily the offensive rookie of the year, and the defense has allowed under 20 points in each game if you exclude the crazy 44-6 game against the Lions.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4): David Garrard throws for 4 TD against the Cowboys, and Mike Sims-Walker has an 8-for-153 receiving day after having caught 11-for-134 in the previous five games combined.
21. Oakland Raiders (4-4): Darren McFadden and Michael Bush combine for 241 yards on 33 touches (162 on the ground) against the Seahawks' top-ten run defense, and the normally-porous run defense holds the Seahawks to 47 yards on 19 carries.
22. Seattle Seahawks (4-3): The NFC West leader at 22? They got outrun 239-43 this week, despite being a top-10 run defense. How is this team leading their division? Oh, right, the Rams, Cardinals, and 49ers.
23. Minnesota Vikings (2-5): Brett Favre is going to look like a ravaged Mr. Potato Head by the end of this season. Randy Moss may not be the most dedicated cat, but he is a boss in front of a microphone. He just owns it. Straight cash homie.
24. Denver Broncos (2-6): Hard to believe they started 6-0 last year. Harder to believe that somehow Brandon Lloyd has more than replaced Brandon Marshall, leading the league in receiving with 878 yards through 8 games. Oh, and Tim Tebow gets another touchdown! Praise the lord Jesus!
25. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5): Without a ridiculously lucky bounce off of the Dolphins' safety into Terrell Owens' hands for a touchdown, Carson Palmer goes 16 of 37 for 119 yards and a rousing 49.3 quarterback rating. Somehow, though, Owens looks like a Pro-Bowl-caliber receiver again in spite of the quarterback.
26. Detroit Lions (2-5): The Lions' top-2-overall picks three of the last four years (Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and Ndamukong Suh) shine, and the team is on the rise. Oh, and Jahvid Best should probably have had another half-decent game by now.
27. Dallas Cowboys (1-6): Tony Romo clearly wasn't the problem, since Kitna put up almost 400 yards and three of his four interceptions came off tipped passes. The defense, however, is full of quitters. Fire Wade Phillips. I don't care, Jerry. Just do it.
28. San Francisco 49ers (2-6): Yes, I have them better than the Cardinals. Their defense is coming around to its expected form, Frank Gore has another 100-yard day, and Troy Smith had a solid "manage the game" performance.
29. Arizona Cardinals (3-4): Cardinals quarterbacks combine to throw 4 interceptions, yet the team was willing and able to run for just 100 yards against a team in the bottom 3 in the league against the run.
30. Cleveland Browns (2-5): Jake Delhomme?
31. Buffalo Bills (0-7): Two straight overtime losses against teams that project to be in the playoffs is nothing to cry about, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson seem to be putting a little bit of life into the offense that already could run the ball fairly well.
32. Carolina Panthers (1-6): Jonathan Stewart gets the ball all to himself, and gets 30 yards on 14 carries. The last time he had such an opportunity, he had 125 yards on 16 carries. The Panthers can't even do what they're supposedly good at well.