1. Denver Broncos (4-1): The Broncos are obviously playing a first place schedule, but things are getting ridiculous. They’ve already played the Colts, Seahawks and Cardinals and in the next three weeks they’ll play the 49ers, Chargers and Patriots. They struggled a bit against the Jets this past weekend, but a road win is a road win. Peyton Manning can break Brett Favre’s touchdown pass record this weekend at home against San Francisco, as he’s just three away.
2. San Diego Chargers (5-1): Like the Broncos, the Chargers also struggled with an inferior opponent this past weekend, allowing a season-high 28 points to the lowly Raiders. Maybe this is a bad time to point out how good San Diego’s defense has been this season, but I’m going to do it anyway. The Chargers are still allowing just 15.2 points per game and 308.3 yards per game, both top three marks in the NFL.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1): If the Eagles defense looks anything like it looked in the 27-0 shutout win over the Giants going forward, Philly fans can begin clearing their late January and early February schedules. Connor Barwin sacked Eli Manning three times and Vinny Curry tacked on two more in Sunday night’s romp.
4. Arizona Cardinals (4-1): Carson Palmer threw a pair of touchdown passes and was not picked off in his return to the Arizona lineup. Palmer got Larry Fitzgerald going against Washington, as the wide receiver caught six balls for 98 yards and a touchdown.
5. Dallas Cowboys (5-1): Much is being made about the amount of carries DeMarco Murray is getting. So, now that the Cowboys are winning, people don’t like the way they’re winning? If you have a horse like Murray, ride him. It’s worked like magic so far.
6. Seattle Seahawks (3-2): This is a reminder that the Cowboys defense gave up the third most yards in NFL history in 2013. Yes, it looks as though the Dallas unit is making one of the all-time turnarounds in 2014, but the Seahawks’ offense is surely better than just 206 net yards in one game. Right?
7. Baltimore Ravens (4-2): Breaking NFL offensive records against the 2014 Buccaneers should come with some sort of asterisk, but Joe Flacco does deserve credit for the type of year he’s having. His touchdown to interception ratio this season is currently 12:3.
8. Green Bay Packers (4-2): Aaron Rodgers went into Miami and pulled off the patented Dan Marino fake spike. No one was offended. One thing to watch with the Packers is that linebacker Clay Matthews is having a down year as he has just 14 tackles this season.
9. San Francisco 49ers (4-2): It had all the makings of a big-time upset on Monday Night Football as the Rams were wearing their 1999 throwbacks. But Colin Kaepernick’s 80-yard touchdown bomb to Brandon Lloyd in the closing moments of the first half changed the outlook of the game dramatically.
10. New England Patriots (4-2): The Patriots lost their leading tackler and leading rusher Sunday against Buffalo, but no team in the NFL is better at plugging guys in after major injuries. Great depth is a staple of the Pats in the Bill Belichick era.
11. Indianapolis Colts (4-2): Only the Chargers and Cowboys have won more games in a row than the Colts, who have rebounded after their 0-2 start. If you had T.Y. Hilton on your fantasy team last Thursday, you were smiling and smiling a lot.
12. Carolina Panthers (3-2-1): Yes, I was fine with the Panthers’ mini-celebration following a tie. The Bengals should have been fired up to blast Carolina at home after being embarrassed by the Pats the week prior, but the Panthers held firm on the road.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1): It’d be easy to give the Bengals a pass for their tie against Carolina due to the absence of A.J. Green, who could miss another game against Indy this weekend. But how did the Lions look so good on Sunday without their big receiver?
14. Detroit Lions (4-2): Yeah, how did the Lions look so good on Sunday without Calvin Johnson? Oh ya, they were playing the Vikings. Remember, this is a team that lost at home to the Bills just 10 days ago.
15. Cleveland Browns (3-2): Shhhh. The Browns play the Jaguars, Raiders and Buccanneers in the next three weeks. They get Josh Gordon back about a month from now. Don’t you dare jinx it and say that “P word.” Don’t you dare.
16. Chicago Bears (3-3): If the Bears are a playoff team, they certainly won’t last long. You simply have no idea which Chicago team will show up week-to-week. Stay far, far away from the Bears in general, gamblers. And definitely don’t entertain Chicago’s home game this Sunday against the Dolphins.
17. Buffalo Bills (3-3): On Sunday against the Patriots, the Bills played like a team whose entire game plan on offense is, “give the ball to Kyle Orton and let him go win this thing.” Orton isn’t the worst, but can the likes of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller give this guy a little bit of help?
18. Houston Texans (3-3): Rarely are the Texans going to have day where Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 109.3 QB rating, Arian Foster has a 100-yard rushing day and J.J. Watt has a touchdown … and lose. That had to be the most entertaining Thursday night game in the history of Earth last week against the Colts.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3): The Steelers are much like the Bears with their trick-or-treat ways. Doesn’t that 37-19 road win over the Panthers in Week 3 seem like a million years ago? Since then, Pittsburgh has lost to Tampa Bay, barely beaten the Jaguars and has lost to Cleveland.
20. New York Giants (3-3): Philly was amped for that Sunday nighter, but really, Giants? A shutout loss after averaging 35 points over the three previous weeks? The Cowboys defense could feast this weekend if the Giants don’t get their house in order. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.
21. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3): The Chiefs are another feast or famine team. This is worth reinforcing: they lost to the Titans in Week 1 at Arrowhead. That should not be forgotten. After a bye in Week 6, the Chiefs are at 5-1 San Diego this Sunday. A win at Qualcomm, and we’ll talk.
22. New Orleans Saints (2-3): Huge week for New Orleans, coming off a bye. They’re at Detroit. If they can’t come up with a win, their season could quickly spiral out of control as they have the Packers, Panthers, 49ers, Bengals and Ravens after that.
23. Miami Dolphins (2-3): When you have a four point lead, with the ball, with less than five minutes to play and lose, the seats of coaches get steamy. Joe Philbin’s chair was already warm heading into the loss to the Pack.
24. Atlanta Falcons (2-4): I feel sorry for the fantasy football fools who bought in to the “Hard Knocks” hype with the Falcons. What, am I the only one who still thinks Devonta Freeman is the next Barry Sanders?
25. Minnesota Vikings (2-4): Teddy Bridgewater’s QB rating against the Lions: 41.3.
26. New York Jets (1-5): When fans are missing the “good ol’ days” of Brian Schottenheimer as the team’s offensive coordinator, something is most definitely off.
27. Tennessee Titans (2-4): We’re 100 percent sure that Jaguars vs. Titans was broadcast on American television this past Sunday? The Titans are the Rhode Island of the NFL distribution map.
28. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III will get one last shot to prove he’s Washington’s quarterback when he returns from a bum ankle in early November.
29. St. Louis Rams (1-4): “That’s the quarterback, right? They asked me earlier. No disrespect, but I didn’t know who you were talking about. He did a great job. That’s an excellent job for a quarterback, especially. What year is it for him? Is he a rookie?” – San Fran’s Ahmad Brooks on Rams QB Austin Davis
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5): The Ravens went all “Thursday night Falcons” on the Bucs this past Sunday.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6): Not the Raiders.
32. Oakland Raiders (0-5): Ouch. A date with the 4-1 Cardinals this weekend.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS