1. New England Patriots (3-0) Bye. Previously: 1
A rested Patriots team now travels to Dallas to face a decimated Cowboys team that has nonetheless showed fight the last two weeks against Atlanta and New Orleans. Upset still unlikely.
2. Green Bay Packers (4-0) Def. San Francisco 17-3. Previously: 2
It was another cold, efficient dispatching of an opponent by the Packers. And sure, the Niners are nothing to write home about, but they and Colin Kaepernick have significantly troubled Green Bay in the past, dating back to blowing past them in the NFC Championship game. Not so this year.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (4-0) Def. Kansas City 36-21. Previously: 5
The Bengals are building a more and more impressive resume and more and more space between themselves and the Steelers. Andy Dalton, who had thrown 37 interceptions over the past two seasons, now has just one through four games.
4. Denver Broncos (4-0) Def. Minnesota 23-20. Previously: 4
Denver is still undefeated, but the Peyton Manning question appears to be an open ended one, and results will vary from week to week. Unlike the last Denver team we saw make the Super Bowl though, this one is led by its defense, and their results haven’t varied.
5. Arizona Cardinals (3-1) Lost to St. Louis 24-22. Previously: 3
Count this the first dent in the armor for a team that had looked unstoppable. It’s tough to lose the turnover battle 3-0 and win a game, but the Cardinals almost pulled it off.
6. Atlanta Falcons (4-0) Def. Houston 48-21. Previously: 8
Are the Falcons for real? After a game where they took a 42-0 lead on Houston, it seems they might be. This week, they even did it without needing Julio Jones’ unstoppable demi-god impersonation at wide receiver.
7. Carolina Panthers (4-0) Def. Tampa Bay 37-23. Previously: 9
The Panthers have a bye next week before a big test in Seattle. If they can drop a Seahawks team that's looked vulnerable, it’ll go a long way to reinforcing that it doesn’t matter how this team wins, as long as it wins.
8. St. Louis Rams (2-2) Def. Arizona 24-22. Previously: 17
If St. Louis could play their division every week they’d be golden. This is their second impressive victory in a very young season, but it doesn’t reconcile with the team that got beat up by the Redskins. Who are they?
9. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) Def. Detroit 13-10. Previously: 6
Seattle got two gifts Monday night that kept their season alive: one from the Rams, and one from the refs. Now Kam Chancellor is back and they’re just one game behind the Cardinals in the NFC West.
10. Buffalo Bills (2-2) Lost to New York Giants 24-10. Previously: 7
Their 17 penalties for 135 yards will tell you a lot about what happened in New York Sunday. The Bills’ run game struggled without LeSean McCoy, and that better get fixed, because they’re going to be without him for a while.
RELATED LINK: Are the Eagles on the verge of unravleing?
11. New York Jets (3-1) Def. Miami 27-14. Previously: 14
The Jets firmly entrenched Miami’s position in the division in London. Running up the middle works a lot better as a game-plan when you have Chris Ivory around to do the running.
12. Minnesota Vikings (2-2) Lost to Denver 23-20. Previously: 13
The Vikings looked like what they are Sunday: a young team with the talent to land a punch (Adrian Peterson’s touchdown scamper) but not quite the knockout blow (Teddy Bridgewater’s final drive.) A loss is a loss, but this was an impressive performance by Minnesota in Denver.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) Lost to Cincinnati 36-21. Previously: 11
It’s a tough three losses for Kansas City: Denver, Green Bay, and now Cincinnati. If they keep it up against Chicago next week? You can start to worry.
14. San Diego Chargers (2-2) Def. Cleveland 30-27. Previously: 16
Philip Rivers dragged San Diego to victory again, and that will be the general sight we can expect in every Chargers victory this season. They almost experienced their share of Cut Your Kicker Week, but they (and rookie Josh Lambo) were saved by a penalty.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) Lost to Baltimore 23-20 (OT.) Previously: 10
The Steelers kicked off "Cut Your Kicker Week" Thursday night in style. In a more offensive Steelers-Ravens game than we’re all used to, they looked like they had more of a chance without Ben Roethlisberger than you’d expect. There’s hope for the Michael Vick era.
16. Indianapolis Colts (2-2) Def. Jacksonville 16-13 (OT.) Previously: 15
The last two haven’t been the most impressive, but that’s 15 wins in a row against their division for the Colts. It helps of course, that it’s their division, and that might ultimately be what saves them from themselves this season.
17. New York Giants (2-2) Def. Buffalo 24-10. Previously: 20
Give the Giants credit, after finding ways to lose the first two games they’ve done an impressive job taking advantage of their opponents miscues in the last two. With this group: Eli Manning, Brandon Weeden, Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, New York has to be the favorite at the moment in the NFC East.
18. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) Lost to New Orleans 26-20 (OT.) Previously: 12
Every win the Cowboys can grab while waiting for their star power to return is invaluable, and letting the game slip away to the Saints on one play might look even more costly as New England comes to town.
19. Oakland Raiders (2-2) Lost to Chicago 22-20. Previously: 19
Oakland had been doing so well and looking so … not Oakland the first three weeks. Where was that not-Oaklandness against the Bears?
20. Baltimore Ravens (1-3) Def. Pittsburg 23-20 (OT.) Previously: 23
Baltimore was the first team this week to take advantage of shaky kicking by their opponent, but certainly not the last. Justin Tucker’s continued presence in Baltimore means that’s is one area the Ravens never have to worry about.
21. Washington Redskins (2-2) Def. Philadelphia 23-20. Previously: 29
Enjoy Kirk Cousins’ led 90 yard game winning drives while you can Redskins fans. The Falcons are coming to town.
22. Detroit Lions (0-4) Lost to Seattle 13-10. Previously: 22
Sure, Detroit probably could have punched it in from the one and not been the last winless team. But they didn’t get the chance and they are.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) Lost to Washington 23-20. Previously: 21
The Eagles started the season with a bad offensive line and now that offensive line is falling apart at the seams due to injuries. Demarco Murray became the first voice of discontent in Philadelphia; it’s hard to imagine this is what he envisioned leaving Dallas.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) Lost to Indianapolis 16-13 (OT.) Previously: 26
If someone can figure out how Jacksonville lost to a Colts team that was playing without Andrew Luck, gained 100 yards less, and lost the turnover battle, let us know. Oh yeah, missed field goals.
25. Miami Dolphins (1-3) Lost to New York Jets 27-14. Previously: 24
The Dolphins status at the bottom of the division is now solidified. Will Joe Philbin’s firing ignite the team? Not sure how, if $114 million couldn’t do it for Ndamukong Suh.
26. Houston Texans (1-3) Lost to Atlanta 48-21. Previously: 18
The Texans have gone from a team that lost some close games to quality opponents at the start of this season to a team that (still) has no quarterback, and only one win against Tampa Bay. Arian Foster’s return couldn’t prevent their worst performance of the season.
27. San Francisco 49ers (1-3) Lost to Green Bay 17-3. Previously: 25
They’ve come a long way from the Super Bowl in just a few years. Heck, they’ve come a long way from opening weekend against Minnesota: Carlos Hyde finished with eight carries for 20 yards.
28. New Orleans Saints (1-3) Def. Dallas 26-20 (OT.) Previously: 31
Drew Brees got his 400th career touchdown pass, C.J. Spiller’s first New Orleans touchdown, and the Saints’ first win in style. If Brees is healthy, the dismal start to the season might quick become a memory – but a painful one, the Falcons and Panthers have built a big lead.
29. Cleveland Browns (1-3) Lost to San Diego 30-27. Previously: 27
Cleveland did well to hang on against a San Diego team that has them pretty out-manned on offense. Now just avoiding those offsides calls on field goals has got to be the next step.
30. Chicago Bears (1-3) Def. Oakland 22-20. Previously: 32
Jay Cutler returned to bring the Bears their first win of the season. Matt Forte’s 150+ yards helped too, like they usually do. This Bears offense is okay.
31. Tennessee Titans (1-2) Bye. Previously: 28
Tennessee got their time off, and now they have to deal with a Buffalo team eager to move past an embarrassing performance against the Giants.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) Lost to Carolina 37-23. Previously: 30
Turnovers are killing Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. At least he should have the confidence to bounce back from them.