Seattle clinging to top spot; Chiefs still No. 2
1. Seahawks (8-1): That makes two weeks in a row mighty Seattle almost fell to inferior opponents. That also makes two weeks in a row they dug deep and somehow pulled out the win. If they have another poor showing against Atlanta, a team that appears to have given up, then we'll start worrying. For now, championship.
2. Chiefs (9-0): It's a simple formula for Kansas City: let Alex Smith manage the game, run Jamaal Charles into the ground, wreak havoc on defense and watch the wins pile up. They get a bye this week, with fateful date with Broncos up next. Andy Reid is 13-1 following the rest week.
3. Colts (6-2): Ten game-winning drives in fourth quarter/overtime for Captain Comeback, aka Andrew Luck. If T.Y. Hilton can grow into the Reggie Wayne role, this team can compete with and beat anybody.
4. Broncos (7-1): Denver is an offensive juggernaut, we know this. But we still want to see them win a knockdown, drag-out defensive struggle. Interim coach Jack Del Rio has his work cut out for him. On a serious note, best wishes to John Fox.
5. 49ers (6-2): Pass-rush specialist Aldon Smith is eligible to play. Eric Wright and Michael Crabtree are close to returning. The Niners are starting to look like the Super Bowl contenders we thought they were — and flying under the radar.
6. Patriots (7-2): Coincidence that Tom Brady threw for a season-high 432 yards and four touchdowns with what looks like a 100-percent Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup? We think not.
7. Saints (6-2): Drew Brees made a couple of big mistakes and Rob Ryan just can't seem to beat his twin brother. We'll chalk it up as an off-day for a strong Saints team.
8. Bengals (6-3): The story of the season. Unstoppable with Good Andy; can't get out of their own way with Bad Andy. Cincy can't get to the promised land when Andy Dalton throws three interceptions in a game.
9. Lions (5-3): Arguably the NFL's best offense: rank No. 3 in total yards (416), passing yards (317.9) and points (27.1).
10. Bears (5-3): What an impressive performance Monday night from Josh McCown to put Chicago in a three-way tie for first. Only gets better for Bears, with Jay Cutler expected to return.
11. Panthers (5-3): Four straight wins for the hottest team in football. Has Cam Newton finally figured it out? It's starting to look that way.
12. Packers (5-3): The most-anticipated MRI of the season is coming on Aaron Rodgers' injured shoulder. Luckily, it's his non-throwing shoulder, but the Pack can't survive without their MVP.
13. Titans (4-4): Slow and steady like the tortoise. It's a boring brand of football, but it's been very, very effective for Mike Munchak's squad.
14. Cowboys (5-4): If we're going to trash Tony Romo when he chokes, we have to give him props when he saves the day. Nice comeback for NFC East leaders.
15. Cardinals (4-4): This defense might be the most underrated in football, especially with the way Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu can change games instantly in the secondary.
16. Chargers (4-4): Philip Rivers was one yard away from being 5-4. One yard. That has to hurt, but Bolts can make huge statement this week by upsetting Denver.
17. Dolphins (4-4): Hard to ignore the off-the-field stuff. Troublemaker Richie Incognito is gone, but so is the entire left side of the offensive line.
18. Ravens (3-5): Baltimore looks lost offensively, scoring just two touchdowns or less in seven straight games. Who kidnapped Ray Rice, by the way?
19. Jets (5-4): What was it that Bill Parcells used to say? You are what your record says you are? Well, the Jets are 5-4 with wins over the Pats and Saints. Pretty legit.
20. Eagles (4-5): One week Chip Kelly is a genius and Nick Foles is Peyton Manning. The next, Chip Kelly is Steve Spurrier and Nick Foles is Danny Wuerffel. You never know from week to week.
21. Browns (4-5): Jason Campbell is the new Bernie Kosar. Who knew? The only thing we know for sure with this team is that Brandon Weeden is not the guy.
22. NY Giants (2-6): Big Blue is going for a three in a row after the bye. This game will literally decide the season: do they tank for Jadeveon Clowney or make a run at a division title?
23. Redskins (3-5): Rookie tight end Jordan Reed is opening the field and making this offense more and more dynamic.
24. Raiders (3-5): Eagles may have put down the blueprint for stopping Terrelle Pryor. More alarming, what happened to Oakland's top-10 defense?
25. Bills (3-6): EJ Manuel has been cleared to play. And C.J. Spiller looks like his old self again. Buffalo isn't extinct yet.
Best of the worst: 26. Rams (3-6); 27. Texans (2-6); 28. Steelers (2-6); 29. Falcons (2-6); 30. Vikings (1-7); 31. Buccaneers (0-8); 32. Jaguars (0-8).