1. Green Bay Packers (3-0, 1st last week): It’s almost unfair that they now have a healthy Jermichael Finley living up to expectations. Green Bay has to be considered a massive Super Bowl favorite one month into the season.
2. New England Patriots (2-1, 2nd last week): Meet the league’s worst pass defense. But that was also the case for much of last season, and New England finished with the NFL’s best record.
3. Detroit Lions (3-0, 4th last week): If Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson remain on the field, this is a playoff team.
4. New Orleans Saints (2-1, 3rd last week): Outplayed at home by the Texans, but an experienced and vicious offense put up 30-plus points for the third straight game and they survived. Only loss came against the top team on this list, on the road.
5. Baltimore Ravens (2-1, 9th last week): Was Torrey Smith’s unprecedented breakout performance a fluke, or did this team just suddenly find a missing piece that they’ve desperately desired for years?
6. Buffalo Bills (3-0, 13th last week): I still can’t believe the Bills have surrendered only one sack thus far. And the offensive line is blowing people up for Fred Jackson.
7. Houston Texans (2-1, 7th last week): If they could execute in the red zone, they’d be 3-0 and significantly higher on this list. A lot of pressure on Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison to figure this out.
8. San Diego Chargers (2-1, 8th last week): Philip Rivers is throwing too many picks and his top target could miss more time with foot issues. Making matters worse, the next team on this list is threatening to pull a “2010 Chiefs” on them.
9. Oakland Raiders (2-1, 18th last week): They smashed the Jets where they’re supposedly strong, on the ground. And now all of a sudden the Raiders can win outside of the division, where they were 2-8 last year. Now, the Patriots at home in a statement game?
10. New York Jets (2-1, 6th last week): The run defense is a mess, they aren’t really getting sacks, Shonn Greene is useless, Mark Sanchez is inconsistent, Nick Mangold and Antonio Cromartie are hurt and now the most famous player in team history is criticizing their attitude and work ethic. Trouble in Jersey.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1, 12th last week): The Atlanta monkey’s off their back. Now they can feast on the weaker Colts and 49ers and get an early jump on the NFC South.
12. Atlanta Falcons (1-2, 10th last week): The offensive line has played a major role in both losses. They miss Harvey Dahl, but this stretches beyond that. The entire unit is simply underachieving right now.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1, 11th last week): Speaking of bad pass-protecting lines, the Steelers’ tackles nearly lost them a gimme game against a Colts team in disaster mode. As a result of the line’s issues, Ben Roethlisberger has been a turnover machine and Rashard Mendenhall has gone nowhere.
14. Dallas Cowboys (2-1, 16th last week): Big win against a pesky rival without Miles Austin and with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant hurting. The problems at center are correctable, but they don’t have a lot of time with the Lions and Patriots on deck.
15. Washington Redskins (2-1, 14th last week): Dallas-Washington is a very close game on a neutral field with no injuries factored in.
16. New York Giants (2-1, 19th last week): Inconsistent Eli Manning blah blah blah totally redeemed himself blah blah blah.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2), 5th last week): That’s right, I have an entire division squeezed together smack dab in the middle of the list.
18. Tennessee Titans (2-1, 17th last week): Guess who has the league’s top-rated defense? (I suppose it’s quite obvious based on where I wrote that.)
19. Chicago Bears (1-2, 15th last week): I simply have nothing to say without beating a dead and horribly mangled horse. The offensive line can’t block and Mike Martz has completely lost his mind and ignored the run game. This isn’t a playoff team, regardless of what they did last year.
20. San Francisco 49ers (2-1, 22nd last week): Alex Smith has two touchdown passes in three games and Frank Gore is averaging 2.5 yards per carry, but they’re 2-1. In that division, they could cruise despite their mediocrity.
21. Cleveland Browns (2-1, 29th last week): Back-to-back wins over teams with a combined record of 0-6 shouldn’t be enough to raise a team 11 spots from rock bottom, but there seem to be a lot of really bad teams this season. #Lockout
22. Carolina Panthers (1-2, 27th last week): I won’t dwell on DeAngelo Williams (who could have seen this coming?) because Cam Newton took another step forward under wild circumstances in his first career victory. They’ll be fun to watch all season.
23. Miami Dolphins (0-3, 21st last week): San Diego, the Jets and then the Broncos at home (where they can’t win). I wouldn’t rule out an 0-6 start for a team with top-five talent on defense and a solid offense. Goodbye, Tony Sparano.
24. Indianapolis Colts (0-3, 31st last week): If the run defense holds and Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis do their thing, this team will get better each week and will win some games. But is that really what Colts fans want?
25. St. Louis Rams (0-3, 20th last week): They’re getting gashed on the ground and can’t find any momentum offensively. Injuries are a factor, but they aren’t the whole story. A lot of guys simply aren’t stepping up.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2, 23rd last week): Considering the poor weather conditions, Blaine Gabbert wasn’t bad in his debut. And that’s all I have to say about the Jaguars.
27. Arizona Cardinals (1-2, 24th last week): And that’s all I have to say about the Cardinals.
28. Denver Broncos (1-2, 25th last week): Two more picks in another loss for Kyle Orton, but what kind of support is he receiving?
29. Seattle Seahawks (1-2, 30th last week): Typical Seahawks. Ugly, low-scoring home win against a bad team. Five more of those and they might be back in action wild-card weekend.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (0-3, 32nd last week): While Seattle’s division and schedule might prevent it from sucking for Luck, the Chiefs are in a perfect position to do so. In fact, I’d call them the early favorites to land Andrew Luck.
31. Minnesota Vikings (0-3, 26th last week): What’s messed up is that they could easily be 3-0. I’ve never seen a team blow three consecutive games in the second half like that.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2, 28th last week): They can’t convert third downs and suddenly Cedric Benson can’t do much. He’ll do even less if the league upholds his three game suspension this week.