1. Denver Broncos (Last week No. 2; 6-1): Good news — they can handle the best the NFC has to offer. Bad news — they may not be able to handle the Patriots.
2. Arizona Cardinals (No. 3; 6-1): How good would this team be if it had Dansby, Dockett, and Darryl Washington?
3. Dallas Cowboys (No. 1; 6-2): Tony Romo says he’s fine. Which means that the announcement of season-ending surgery should be coming any minute now.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 4; 5-2): Last year, Nick Foles carried the Eagles. This year, he could be holding them back.
5. New England Patriots (No. 9; 6-2): To get a full measure of revenge against the Bears for Super Bowl XX, the Pats should have let Vince Wilfork score a touchdown.
6. Detroit Lions (No. 10; 6-2): In a year with plenty of viable candidates for coach of the year, Jim Caldwell deserves serious consideration.
7. San Diego Chargers (No. 5; 5-3): Philip Rivers is an MVP candidate, but the Chargers may not have enough other VPs to get them where they want to be.
8. Green Bay Packers (No. 6; 5-3): Aaron Rodgers will spend the next two weeks telling his hamstring to R-E-L-A-X.
9. Indianapolis Colts (No. 7; 5-3): As they prepare for the latest installment of the Greatest Game Ever Played, maybe the surviving members of the ’58 Colts would do a better job of playing defense.
10. Baltimore Ravens (No. 8; 5-3): Another game against the Bengals, another late lapse in pass defense.
11. Seattle Seahawks (No. 11; 4-3): We’d believe that all was well in Seattle if players and coaches didn’t spend so much time trying to convince us of it.
13. San Francisco 49ers (No. 13; 4-3): The over/under of owners plotting for a run at Jim Harbaugh is currently 5.5.
14. Buffalo Bills (No. 14; 5-3): Sammy Watkins‘ premature celebration could end up being a metaphor for his team’s 2014 season.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 18; 5-3): It’s a good thing they didn’t listen to Snoop Dogg. (That’s a sentence that probably has never been inaccurate.)
16. Kansas City Chiefs (No. 16; 4-3): Maybe they should rename the battle of Missouri the Governor’s Cupcake.
17. Cleveland Browns (No. 17; 4-3): If they’re still hovering around .500 in three weeks, it’ll be interesting to see what Josh Gordon can do for the stretch run.
18. New Orleans Saints (No. 20; 3-4): Rob Ryan is suddenly doing a little better than Rex.
19. Miami Dolphins (No. 19; 4-3): The next four games (Chargers, Lions, Bills, Broncos) will go a long way toward shaping the fate of the team and its coach.
20. Carolina Panthers (No. 15; 3-4-1): And yet they somehow still have a good chance of getting to the playoffs.
21. Houston Texans (No. 22; 4-4): Selfies are “high school.” Letterman jackets and post-game attire exposing half of a guy’s muscle mass aren’t.
21. Chicago Bears (No. 21; 3-5): Giving up 51 points is way more unacceptable than being 3-4.
23. New York Giants (No. 23; 3-4): G.M. Jerry Reese thinks Eli Manning needs to be more aggressive. Eli probably felt the same way about Reese back in March.
24. Washington (No. 27; 3-5): See, I told you they could get a first-round pick for Colt McCoy.
25. Minnesota Vikings (No. 29; 3-5): The combined record of the three teams they’ve beaten is 5-17.
26. St. Louis Rams (No. 24; 2-5): The All-IR team would be dominated by Rams.
27. Atlanta Falcons (No. 25; 2-6): If that “home” game had actually been played at home, that 21-0 lead likely wouldn’t have been blown.
28. Tennessee Titans (No. 28; 2-6): Somewhere, Mike Munchak is cackling.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 30; 1-7): Somewhere, Mike Mularkey is cackling.
30. New York Jets (No. 26; 1-7): Somewhere, Rich Kotite is cackling.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 31; 1-6): Somewhere, Greg Schiano is cackling.
32. Oakland Raiders (No. 32; 0-7): Somewhere, Dennis Allen, Hue Jackson, Tom Cable, Lane Kiffin, Art Shell, Norv Turner, and Bill Callahan are cackling.