1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)

The Patriots dominated Miami on Thursday night, led by Tom Brady and Julian Edelman. The Patriots are blowing everyone they play out of the water, and it really isn’t very fair. Furthermore, they don’t really have any tough matchups until Thanksgiving weekend at Denver.

2. Denver Broncos (Last week: 4)

My preseason Super Bowl pick was Denver vs. Green Bay. Now, up until this point I have not had faith that Denver would be able to beat New England in a head-to-head. Frankly, I don’t know if Peyton has enough in the tank, but at the very least, this defense is playing historically well.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 3)

The Bengals took care of business against a hungry Pittsburgh team. Cincinnati was lucky enough to play a Ben Roethlisberger that looked rusty at best, and did just enough to get out of there victorious. Andy Dalton returned to earth last week, so the defense absolutely carried this team to victory.

4. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 5)

The Panthers just continue to win games. It’s almost always ugly, filled with turnovers, offensive miscues, coaching gaffes, etc. But, at the end of each of those games, the Carolina Panthers have emerged victorious. Unlike the other undefeated teams, Carolina plays old-school football.

5. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 2)

Sunday night was a rough game for the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. Traveling to Denver is difficult in any year, and this year, with the defense they have, it’s nearly impossible. Last week was one of those games you forget about and move on from. Aaron Rodgers will not have 77 passing yards in another game any time soon.

6. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 7)

The Cardinals got off to a very slow start against the Browns, but eventually regained control and took care of business. Carson Palmer is playing like an MVP candidate right now. He is surrounded with fantastic weapons, and for the first time as a Cardinal, a serviceable offensive line.

7. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 8)

Another week and the Vikings just keep winning football games. The formula is pretty straight forward, but their schedule the rest of the way is not easy to say the least.

8. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 6)

The Falcons are beginning to get exposed as a team that is good, but not great. Unlike the continuity that the Panthers have, Atlanta is trying to figure out which pieces of the puzzle fit best under Dan Quinn’s system. Matt Ryan needs to step up his play over the second half of the season.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 9)

Losing Bell for the season is one of the worst things that could have possibly happened to the Steelers. Lucky for them, the rest of that offense is getting healthier, as is the defense who allows only 18.4 ppg, good for 5th in the NFL. If they can beat Oakland and Cleveland heading into their bye week, they will be in position to make the playoffs.

10. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 11)

Seattle enters their bye with a 54% chance of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. They still play Arizona twice and can get back in the division race that way. Did you know that three of the four loses for Seattle this season have come against teams that were undefeated entering Week 8?

11. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 12)

Do I think the Rams are really good? No. But, there are so few teams with winning records right now that it would be a disservice not to put St. Louis up this high, as they are one of only 11 teams in the NFL with a winning record. Next week, they travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings.

12. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 15)

Remember earlier in the season when we were all expecting the Raiders to beat Chicago and move to 3-1? Well, this week is another big test for them. If the Raiders want to show up and hang with the big boys, they are going to need to beat Pittsburgh at Heinz Field this weekend.

13. New York Jets (Last week: 10)

Two straight games of the Jets defense getting picked apart. I must say that it was a lot more surprising that Derek Carr did it this past weekend. As good as the Jets looked to start the season, the inevitable problem of quarterback play returned and it’s losing the Jets games.

14. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 19)

Drew Brees looks healthy, and I guess that has made all the difference. The emergence of Benjamin Watson over the past three weeks has been exciting to say the least. Unfortunately, it will take a collapse from either the Falcons or the Vikings if this team is going to stay hot and make a playoff run.

15. New York Giants (Last week: 13)

The Giants gave up 52 points, 511 passing yards, and 7 passing touchdowns. Those are numbers that some defenses will hold to over the course of three weeks. The Giants surrendered those totals in just 60 minutes of football. To quote myself last week: “Expect the Giants to start playing more shootout-style games.”

16. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 14)  

The Colts lack the manpower to win games in the trenches. Until Andrew Luck decided to start trying for the last 8 minutes of the game, the Colts were smacked. Carolina destroyed them and took their foot off the gas pedal at the end.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 17)

Philly had their bye this week, and will play the struggling Cowboys next weekend.

18. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 18)

Coming off of a bye and into a big showdown at home this weekend with the Dolphins.

19. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 16)

It’s not surprising really that the Dolphins fell back down to earth against the Patriots. From the beginning of that game, the Dolphins were completely dominated in every single facet of the game. Next week against the Bills will really set the stage for the wild card race.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 25)

After taking down Pittsburgh the week before, the Chiefs made a statement against the Lions. Kansas City now sits at 3-5 and is not out of the playoff picture completely. After a bye next week, three of their next four are against division opponents. The Chiefs play the Raiders and Chargers twice in the second half.

21. Washington Redskins (Last week: 21)

The Redskins had a bye this past week. Lucky for them, they travel to Foxborough this weekend.

22. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 20)

How ‘bout them Cowboys?! They look really bad right now, but it may be coming to an end soon. The Cowboys are in a tail spin right now having lost their last five games after starting 2-0. As bad as they have been, so has the NFC East. A win against the Eagles this weekend would put Dallas right back in the mix.

23. Houston Texans (Last week: 30)

The Texans get a bump because they won, even if the victory itself isn’t a cause for joy. The fact of the matter is that this team is an absolute mess, despite being in the mix for the division lead. Outside of Hopkins at WR, this team has no foreseeable offensive excitement for the rest of the season. They should be positioning themselves for a draft pick.

24. Chicago Bears (Last week: 23)

Chicago actually put up a pretty good fight against Minnesota. The Bears kept the game competitive, and blew it at the end. When the season is over, this result will probably be a good thing for both teams. The loss of Matt Forte for a few weeks will continue to push another tanking season in Chicago.

25. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 24)

Give Cleveland some credit for hanging around with the Cardinals, but the Browns just continue to find great ways to lose games. In almost every game they have played, the game has been competitive entering the 4th quarter. What they are truly lacking are playmakers on their offense, but Johnny Football will get the start Thursday night against Cincinnati.

26. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 29)

Baltimore’s two wins this season are now against a San Diego team at home, and Pittsburgh with Michael Vick on three days of preparation. But, it would be wrong not to use this spot to talk about Steve Smith. Hopefully that guy comes back strong, and decides to play one more season.

27.   San Diego Chargers (Last week: 22)

Right now the Chargers sit at 2-6 with one of the worst records in all of the league. This is all happening behind a career year from Philip Rivers. The Chargers this year have given up 227 points through eight games, and only the Saints and Lions have allowed more.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 31)

Some people have started to shoot the Buccaneers up the power rankings. For me, it’s still clear that this team has a lot of developing talent. Furthermore, they have a quarterback that is young and exciting. Lovie Smith needs to clean up his coaching, as he almost cost Tampa Bay the game this weekend.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 26)

The Jags had a bye and will play the Jets in New York this weekend.

30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 27)

The moment we have all been waiting for is coming up this weekend: Blaine Gabbert is starting! Remember that guy? Well according to the 49ers, he’s the starting quarterback and replacing Colin Kaepernick. Not many quarterbacks go through such a horrific stretch of play like Kaepernick is right now.

31. Detroit Lions (Last week: 28)

Games in America have not gone well for Detroit thus far, and neither have games that take place in London. Detroit gave up 38 unanswered points to a Kansas City Chiefs team that entered the game 2-5. Detroit is really struggling right now, and I would not be surprised to see Caldwell lose his job.

32. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 32)

The Titans this week decided it was time to move on from their head coach Ken Wisenhunt. In his season and a half in Tennessee, the Titans went a combined 3-20. All the other teams in the NFL have at least five wins over that time span. Next week they take on the red-hot Saints.

Image via Newsday.com