Broncos still No. 1; Chiefs rise to No. 3
1. Broncos (6-0): Some would say Denver looked a little vulnerable against the pathetic Jacksonville Jaguars. While it’s true Peyton Manning didn’t cover the 27-point spread — and he threw an interception — the Broncos discovered a new wrinkle in their offense: a goal-line running game, thanks to Knowshon Moreno’s three scores.
2. Seahawks (5-1): Seattle jumps up two spots despite a comedy of errors in a 20-13 win over Tennessee. The fact remains that as long as Marshawn Lynch is in the backfield, this team can overcome mistakes and rely on its defense in the end.
3. Chiefs (6-0): Andy Reid’s crew still hasn’t beaten a quality opponent, but the way this defense gets after the quarterback — 10 sacks on Terrelle Pryor — and swarms the ball, we’ll put them up against anyone. Even Denver.
4. Patriots (5-1): Part of it was luck, another part was bad play-calling by the Saints. Either way, Tom Brady pulled out an improbable comeback. Brady is who we thought he was, god. (Sorry, Morgan Freeman, he’s the real deal.)
5. Saints (5-1): Sean Payton needs to (and likely will) go back to his riverboat gambling take on play-calling in two weeks, after the bye. Buffalo is in big, big trouble.
6. Colts (4-2): Indy takes a tumble after a very pedestrian Monday night. Two things, Trent Richardson is still learning the offense and Andrew Luck’s receivers need a cure for the dropsies.
7. 49ers (4-2): Welcome back, Vernon Davis! The Niners needed a big game from their top target. Next order of business, they need to rev up the trade rumors for the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks.
8. Packers (3-2): Pack stays put for now. Maybe not for long. They’ll be without dynamic playmaker Randall Cobb Sunday and possibly another weapon in James Jones.
9. Bengals (4-2): When Andy Dalton plays like he did last week, Cincy is extremely dangerous. He threw three touchdowns, including his first since Week 3.
10. Ravens (3-3): If Baltimore didn’t wait until the fourth quarter to start scoring points, they probably swap ranks with the Packers. Joe Flacco looks good in pink.
11. Lions (4-2): We’ll repeat what we said last week: as long as Joseph Fauria is playing, the sky’s the limit. Oh wait …
12. Cowboys (3-3): This offense can get into a track meet with anyone (over is 57 points vs. Philly). The defense, which is subbing in guys off the street, is what impressed us.
13. Bears (4-2): Chicago can cover in the secondary and create turnovers, but they’ll need to shore up the run defense. You can’t allow an old man like Brandon Jacobs to run all over you.
14. Titans (3-3): Trying to weather the storm until Jake Locker returns from injury. Another tough test this week, on the road in San Francisco.
15. Eagles (3-3): Nick or Vick? If it’s not broke, then don’t fix it. Philly is thriving with Nick Foles under center. If he beats Dallas … get ready for a coronation.
16. Dolphins (3-2): Interesting to see how Fins bounce back from two-game skid after a bye. Miami must beat Buffalo and not look ahead to New England.
17. Cardinals (3-3): Twelve touches isn’t enough for Andre Ellington. We know Bruce Arians loves to chuck it, but the rookie needs a bigger role.
18. Chargers (3-3): Big, impressive win over Indianpolis. It should have been even bigger. The offense cannot settle for field goals in the red zone (21st in NFL).
19. Browns (3-3): Cleveland is in a tough spot. They could legitimately contend for a playoff spot if they had a quarterback. Unfortunately, they’re stuck with Brandon Weeden.
20. Rams (3-3): Once the worst ground game in the NFL looks revitalized under Zac Stacy (161 yards in two starts). Suddenly, the Rams are winning, too.
21. Texans (2-4): Call Tom Petty, Houston is in total free fall mode. From the quarterback, to the coach, to the fans. It’s ugly down there.
22. Jets (3-3): Geno Smith is on the usual rookie roller-coaster; and Mark Sanchez is making viral videos again … so is the life of Rex Ryan.
23. Raiders (2-4): Any wins that the Raiders can accumulate the rest of the season are all gravy. The most important thing the team did was discover it has a potential franchise quarterback on the roster. Speed kills in the NFL.
24. Panthers (2-3): It’s good Cam vs. bad Cam every week. Newton was the hero Carolina needs (but doesn’t deserve) last week. Can you maintain it, Batman?
25. Bills (2-4): Buffalo might be just good enough to not completely tank the season. Thad Lewis wasn’t as horrible as advertised.
Best of the worst: 26. Falcons (1-4); 27. Redskins (1-4); 28. Vikings (1-4); 29. Steelers (1-4); 30. Giants (0-6); 31. Buccaneers (0-5); 32. Jaguars (0-6).