Seattle still No. 1 despite ESPN’s criticism
1. Seahawks (7-1): It was amazing to hear the blowhards on ESPN marginalize Seattle’s win Monday night. Yes, the offense struggled. And yes, they need to shore up their offensive tackle situation. But, when push came to shove, that defense — the best defense in football — got a stop, on a zero cover play, and got the win. That’s the mark of a championship team.
2. Chiefs (8-0): Eagles fans are going to be sick to their stomachs as the chatter about Andy Reid for Coach of the Year increases, especially if they can knock off Denver.
3. Colts (5-2): Take a quick inventory of Indy’s schedule, they might not lose another game until what could be a playoff preview Dec. 8 in Cincinnati.
4. Broncos (7-1): The Broncos pass-rush, not Peyton Manning, proved to be the difference against Washington. Interestingly, rumors now have Denver trading for Vikings stud Jared Allen.
5. Saints (6-1): It’s been said before but it still rings true. At the rate the Saints and Seahawks are going, it’s going to come down to home-field advantage in the NFC.
6. 49ers (6-2): In the game everybody forgot to watch — please Roger Goodell, do NOT put a team in London — Colin Kaepernick finally (maybe) got his groove back.
7. Bengals (6-2): If I had Marty McFly’s time machine, I would go back and not cut Andy Dalton from my fantasy team. That’s 11 touchdown passes in his last three games.
8. Patriots (6-2): These aren’t your dad’s Pats. They win ugly. Very ugly. But they still win and that’s why they’ll be there in January, just like an old reliable sweater (hoodie?).
9. Packers (5-2): If this new-fangled run game, led by Eddie Lacy, is for real, then Packers fans have a whole new reason to do the Lambeau Leap.
10. Lions (5-3): You could make the argument Dallas choked it away. That’s disrespectful to the NFL’s second-best passing offense — and Megatron still isn’t 100 percent.
11. Ravens (3-4): Terrell Suggs reportedly called an emergency meeting during the bye week. No panic here, especially since John Harbaugh is 5-0 after the rest week.
12. Chargers (4-3): Ryan Mathews has 212 yards in his last two games, both Charger wins. If Philip Rivers doesn’t have to do this on his own, watch out.
13. Panthers (4-3): With three straight wins and a record above .500 for the first time since 2008, it might be time to buy in to Carolina’s resurgence.
14. Titans (3-4): True, Tennessee has lost three straight games. Also true, they lost by a combined total of jut 30 points to No. 1 Seattle, No. 2 Kansas City, No. 6 San Francisco.
15. Cowboys (4-4): Dallas is spinning the Dez Bryant-Tony Romo incident as a positive experience. OK, we’ll buy it. But they need to start closing out games — and fast.
16. Bears (4-3): We’re still not expecting much from the Bears without Jay Cutler, but after reviewing the tape: Josh McCown didn’t look terrible (14-of-20, with a TD).
17. Cardinals (4-4): Unleash Andre Ellington! Unleash Andre Ellington! Bruce Arians finally answered our pleas. Guess what? All of a sudden, he has a passing game, too.
18. Jets (4-4): It’s all about patience in New York. Geno Smith is going through his rookie growing pains, but he still has the team in playoff position. That’s an encouraging sign.
19. Dolphins (3-4): When players start questioning the offensive coordinator’s gameplan, that’s when the wheels start to fall off. It doesn’t get easier this week against Cincy.
20. Raiders (3-4): When defensive coordinators are using the word, “Wow,” to describe your play — like the Eagles’ Billy Davis did when discussing QB Terrelle Pryor — you know something special is happening.
21. Rams (3-5): Kellen Clemens is a serviceable backup. Unfortunately, serviceable won’t cut it in the NFC West. Rams need to get top pick Tavon Austin going somehow.
22. Bills (3-5): Mario Williams (11 sacks) is quietly on pace to win Defensive Player of the Year and break Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record.
23. Giants (2-6): Don’t look now, the G-Men are starting to perk up and sit just two games off the pace in that wretched, wretched NFC Least.
24. Eagles (3-5): What happened to the offense that was supposed to revolutionize the NFL? It has no touchdowns in its last 28 possessions, and Chip Kelly’s quarterback-by-committee isn’t helping things.
25. Browns (3-5): It’s a race for extreme mediocrity at the bottom of the power rankings. Cleveland holds down this spot on a whim.
Best of the worst: 26. Steelers (2-5); 27. Redskins (2-5); 28. Falcons (2-5); 29. Texans (2-5); 30. Vikings (1-6); 31. Buccaneers (0-7); 32. Jaguars (0-8).