1. Green Bay Packers (6-0, 1st last week): Cruised against St. Louis to become the only undefeated team left. Minnesota will be a cinch but their biggest challenge of the season comes in Week 9 (after a bye) in San Diego.
2. New England Patriots (5-1, 2nd last week): Despite having the league’s worst defense in terms of yardage, they’re above average in terms of points allowed. It’s all about bending but not breaking.
3. Baltimore Ravens (4-1, 5th last week): On average, no team, not even Green Bay, is outscoring its opponents by as many points as Baltimore is.
4. San Francisco 49ers (5-1, 11th last week): Vic Fangio for coordinator of the year! Everyone’s lauding Jim Harbaugh and his team’s rejuvenated offense, but the D has been unbelievable.
5. Detroit Lions (5-1, 3rd last week): They can’t rely on the Matt Stafford-Calvin Johnson connection all year long. We’ll see how they utilize Ronnie Brown.
6. San Diego Chargers (4-1, 6th last week): If Antonio Gates is indeed getting healthier, the Bolts could be primed to make a big run.
7. New Orleans Saints (4-2, 4th last week): Their only two losses came in games they were probably supposed to lose (in Green Bay and in Tampa). The good news is they only have four road games left, and two are probable victories in St. Louis and Minnesota.
8. Buffalo Bills (4-2, 7th last week): They’ve lost two of three and could use a boost on defense. How frustrating must it be to watch Aaron Maybin suddenly flourish with the Jets?
9. Oakland Raiders (4-2, 8th last week): Hue Jackson is obviously the man in charge right now, which bodes well for 2011, but not necessarily for 2012 and beyond.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2, 12th last week): Huge bounce-back win after a blowout in San Fran. But they have to stay focused with Chicago, New Orleans (again) and Green Bay looming. They don’t play a team with a losing record again until Dec. 4.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2, 10th last week): They continue to compete despite the worst turnover ratio in the league. But things will have to change before they face New England, Baltimore and Cincinnati in Weeks 8, 9 and 10.
12. Houston Texans (3-3, 9th last week): They’re now 0-2 without Andre Johnson and 0-1 without Mario Williams. There’s a good chance they won’t have either star in Tennessee.
13. Atlanta Falcons (3-3, 14th last week): I’m still concerned that they trailed the Panthers in the fourth quarter at home. What’s wrong with Matt Ryan? And why do they continue to be the worst defense in the league on third downs?
14. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2, 16th last week): Regardless of what the defense has done, this is not a playoff team in 2011. In 2012 and beyond, there’s a good chance it will be.
15. Tennessee Titans (3-2, 15th last week): The AFC South might be bad enough for the Titans to make their first playoff appearance since 2008.
16. Washington Redskins (3-2, 13th last week): And we begin a four-team run through the NFC East. No one’s good, no one’s bad.
17. Dallas Cowboys (2-3, 18th last week): The 27th-ranked running game took another hit with guard Bill Nagy suffering a season-ending injury and Felix Jones getting hurt again. They’ll survive the Rams this week, but the one-dimensional offense could be in trouble against Philadelphia in Week 8.
18. New York Giants (4-2, 19th last week): They’re beating the talented teams and losing to the bad ones. It’s called Baltimore Raven Syndrome.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4, 22nd last week): Look at what one friggin’ win can do. The haters are in love again. Home wins over Dallas and Chicago after the bye would move Philly right back into contention.
20. Chicago Bears (3-3, 20th last week): Did they finally fix the offensive line? With Tampa and Philly on deck, we’re about to find out.
21. New York Jets (3-3, 21st last week): They’re averaging just 15.5 first downs per game, which ranks 31st in football. Brian Schottenheimer should be fearing for his job.
22. Carolina Panthers (1-5, 17th last week): Cam Newton suddenly looks like a rookie now. So long as that’s the case and the defense can slow opposing running backs, it’ll be a long year in Charlotte.
23. Seattle Seahawks (2-3, 23rd last week): Seahawks-Browns this week! Can Seattle make it two in a row in the Eastern time zone? Does anyone care?
24. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3, 24th last week): Coming out of the bye, they can salvage their season with back-to-back games against division rivals Oakland and San Diego.
25. Arizona Cardinals (1-4, 25th last week): Time for Pittsburgh and Baltimore. I hope they enjoyed the week off.
26. Cleveland Browns (2-3, 27th last week): By knocking Jason Campbell out for the year, they inadvertently made division rival Cincinnati significantly better. They also lost the game, and yet they move up. That’s how bad Miami is.
27. Miami Dolphins (0-5, 26th last week): Imagine how different things would be had owner Stephen Ross landed Jim Harbaugh in the offseason, as he tried so hard to do…
28. Indianapolis Colts (0-6, 28th last week): They’re almost certain to start 0-9 now, but three games against Carolina and Jacksonville (twice) could cost them dearly in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5, 31st last week): I haven’t seen a passing game this bad since the 2010 Panthers.
30. Denver Broncos (1-4, 30th last week): Why trade your top receiver right when Tim Tebow becomes the starter?
31. Minnesota Vikings (1-5, 29th last week): Find out if Christian Ponder’s the guy. If he’s not, you’ll likely have a shot at Andrew Luck.
32. St. Louis Rams (0-5, 32nd last week): Brandon Lloyd upgrades the receiving corps but, in a contract year and with the Rams probably out of contention, what’s the point?