1. Green Bay Packers (9-0, 1st last week): Another methodical victory for the team that is head-and-shoulders above everyone else. But they should be sure to keep in mind that in recent seasons, the league’s leader through 36 holes has rarely gone on to win the tournament.
2. San Francisco 49ers (8-1, 2nd last week): Amazingly, they’ve yet to give up a rushing touchdown all season. This isn’t a mirage — they’re a very talented, balanced team. And don’t we all look stupid for not being able to see this coming back in August?
3. Houston Texans (7-3, 4th last week): They can survive in the muddled AFC and the weak AFC South without Matt Schaub. But it could be a different story if they still don’t have their franchise quarterback in January.
4. Baltimore Ravens (6-3, 3rd last week): Fortunately for them, they won’t have to play crappy teams in the playoffs.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3, 5th last week): Seven wins in their first 10 games despite a minus-10 turnover ratio, which is the worst in football. You’d have to think that’s a bit of an anomaly.
6. New England Patriots (6-3, 6th last week): I hate to be a Buzz Killington, but they still let Mark Sanchez have a 300-yard day and will now have to fend without top corner Devin McCourty. On the bright side, the schedule is insanely easy the rest of the way.
7. New Orleans Saints (7-3, 8th last week): Despite some blips, they’re once again a top-tier Super Bowl contender after another road win in Atlanta. Just unstoppable in domes.
8. Chicago Bears (6-3, 11th last week): Suddenly dominant at the line of scrimmage. I just hope that Chris Williams’ injury doesn’t derail their momentum.
9. Atlanta Falcons (5-4, 9th last week): It’s been a very disappointing season. So much for the addition of Ray Edwards boosting a mediocre pass rush and the addition of Julio Jones making them more dangerous down field…
10. Detroit Lions (6-3, 7th last week): I have an unbelievable statistic on this one: Detroit has the lowest third-down completion percentage in football. Lower than the Rams. Lower than the Dolphins. Lower than the Jaguars. Lower than the Colts. Lower than everyone.
11. New York Jets (5-4, 10th last week): That was a huge loss in a winnable game. Now, they’ll likely have to do the wild-card thing yet again. Still, I think they have the talent and the attitude to recover and make another January run, especially in the wide-open AFC.
12. Dallas Cowboys (5-4, 20th last week): The emergence of DeMarco Murray has made them our pick to overtake the Giants and win the NFC East. Let’s just hope Jason Garrett doesn’t mismanage his weapons.
13. Oakland Raiders (5-4, 18th last week): The offensive line, which is pretty much anonymous, wasn’t just dominant against San Diego — it’s been dominant all season long.
14. New York Giants (6-3, 12th last week): Six of their final seven games are difficult. I just don’t think they have the personnel to hold on.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3, 13th last week): I keep saying I won’t buy into them until they beat someone good. Now they’re in a very bad place (Baltimore) at a very bad time (after the Ravens’ embarrassing loss to Seattle). I might never have to buy in.
16. San Diego Chargers (4-5, 17th last week): So much talent for a 4-5 team, but injuries have really gotten in the way. They’re missing Kris Dielman and Shaun Phillips, just like they missed Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews earlier.
17. Tennessee Titans (5-4, 21st last week): Another team that lacks consistency in such a bad way that it makes you sick. That said, they’re in the hunt despite the absence of Kenny Britt and the struggles of Chris Johnson.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5, 15th last week): Does anyone really believe that Albert Haynesworth is turning a corner because he didn’t misbehave during his first week as a Buc? This won’t last long. Also, I can’t believe how severely Tampa has regressed as a team this season.
19. Buffalo Bills (5-4, 14th last week): Injuries are catching up to them on both sides of the ball, and now center Eric Wood is out for the year. After a 4-1 start, the Bills will have trouble finishing 8-8.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6, 16th last week): Guys like DeSean Jackson just ruin it for everyone. What’s weird is that he can come across as such a good dude, but his me-first mentality is crushing the seemingly hollow Eagles.
21. Denver Broncos (4-5, 26th last week): Not only are they 3-1 with Tim Tebow under center, but they’re 3-1 in the post-Brandon Lloyd era. The running game and the defense are carrying them.
22. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5, 19th last week): And another offensive weapon goes down. This time: Matt Cassel. All that random four-game winning streak did was cost them a chance to land Andrew Luck.
23. Miami Dolphins (2-7, 27th last week): I’m loving the revival of Reggie Bush and the sudden emergence of Matt Moore. Looking forward to seeing if the talented and suddenly confident Dolphins can play spoiler down the stretch.
24. Minnesota Vikings (2-7, 22nd last week): It’s impressive how effectively they run the ball despite being so bad and trailing so often. Bill Musgrave doesn’t have a lot to work with, but he’s done a good job.
25. Arizona Cardinals (3-6, 25th last week): Right when they start winning, so does the rest of their horrible division.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6, 24th last week): They’ve actually defended the pass fairly well this season, which is why the Rashean Mathis injury stings bad.
27. Carolina Panthers (2-7, 23rd last week): Rob Chudzinski has to give more reps to his backs, because what happened Sunday wasn’t fair to Cam Newton.
28. Seattle Seahawks (3-6, 29th last week): Sure, whatever. They beat the Ravens, but that was about Baltimore’s inability to do anything right. Seattle still sucks.
29. St. Louis Rams (2-7, 28th last week): Probably should have lost to the Browns one week after losing to the Cardinals.
30. Cleveland Browns (3-6, 31st last week): Apparently the Rams and Browns played each other on Sunday.
31. Washington Redskins (3-6, 30th last week): We’ve reached the point where you have to wonder if the famously impatient Daniel Snyder will hand Mike Shanahan a pink slip by season’s end.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-10, 32nd last week): OK, this is their latest “best chance to win.” Carolina looked terrible last week, and Indy is at home for the third-last time this season.