It's a quiet week for the Top 12, as eight of the top nine teams all walked away with wins. That's not to say that there wasn't some mild shifting going on, but nothing overly stunning. With a lot of the big dogs playing sub-par teams, there is room for some excitement next week if our Top 12 underpeform.
#1 - Houston Texans
I have yet to fully buy into the Texans hype given the relative cream-puff slate of teams they've played so far. Still, they can only play the teams they are scheduled to play, and thus far, they've done exactly what you'd expect them to do. They've won handily with relatively few miscues or close calls. Nobody else on this list can say that, which is why I'm putting Houston in the top spot.
Last Week: 2 Change: +1 Record: 4-0 Next Game: vs. Panthers
#2 - San Francisco 49ers
The Niners rise this week has little to do with their drubbing of the reeling New York Jets. That's what they were supposed to do. However, in retrospect, it turns out that their slip-up to the "lowly" Vikings wasn't to such a lowly team after all, and I've taken that into account. They lost to a quality opponent on the road that they were likely underestimating. It happens.
Last Week: 4 Change: +2 Record: 3-1 Next Game: vs. Bills
#3 - Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta remains perfect, but not without some razor-thin close calls. A win is a win, but they haven't been quite as dominant as their record would suggest.
Last Week: 1 Change: -2 Record: 4-0 Next Game: @ Redskins
#4 - New England Patriots
The Patriots drop 52 points on the road and fall a spot? Well, first remember that the margins here at the top of the board are razor thin. And then also keep in mind how we all felt five minutes into the third quarter when the season seemed to be unraveling out of control. That Buffalo win was both inspiring, as well as a strong reminder that this team still has some work to do.
Last Week: 3 Change: -1 Record: 2-2 Next Game: vs. Broncos
#5 - Baltimore Ravens
Beating the Browns by only a touchdown won't get you much love from me. It's good enough to keep the Ravens at #5, though. We'll see if they can do a bit better on the road against KC.
Last Week: 5 Change: 0 Record: 3-1 Next Game: @ Chiefs
#6 - Green Bay Packers
The Pack eeked one out against New Orleans to avoid a 1-3 start. Bad calls aside, it seems that this Green Bay team has taken a step back from the dominant force we've come to expect over the past 20 months or so.
Last Week: 6 Change: 0 Record: 2-2 Next Game: @ Colts
#7 - Arizona Cardinals
I was tempted to move the Cards up the rung, but I still can't bring myself to put a Kevin Kolb-led team over one with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. Strange as it may seem though, I may be making the wrong call by hesitating there.
Last Week: 7 Change: 0 Record: 4-0 Next Game: @ Rams
#8 - Chicago Bears
The Bears are doing everything to convince us that they're the best team in the NFC North and they're making a decent case for themselves. The only counter argument is their Week 2 loss to the Packers, which happens to be a really good one.
Last Week: 9 Change: +1 Record: 3-1 Next Game: @ Jaguars
#9 - Philadelphia Eagles
One week the Eagles are on the board, the next week they're off. And so continues their rollercoaster of unpredictability after a huge win over the Giants. With the PA Bowl looming large, the Eagles will get another big test to prove that they belong amont the NFL elite.
Last Week: N/A Change: N/A Record: 3-1 Next Game: @ Steelers
#10 - San Diego Chargers
A 3-1 record may give Norv Turner a slight bit of job security. Still, this upcoming matchup against the 0-4 Saints just wreeks of a typical San Diego stumble.
Last Week: N/A Change: N/A Record: 3-1 Next Game: @ Saints
#11 - New York Giants
Three spots may seem like a big stumble for a team that lost a close game on a missed field goal. However, that's what happens when three teams below you experience success the same week you take a fall. The G-Men should rebound nicely against the Browns.
Last Week: 8 Change: -3 Record: 2-2 Next Game: vs. Browns
#12 - Minnesota Vikings
I was debating between Cincy and Minny for the #12 spot this week. Ultimately, only one team has knocked off the Niners, which allowed the Vikes, arguably the surprise team of the season, to earn the nod.
Last Week: N/A Change: N/A Record: 3-1 Next Game: vs. Titans
Really well-written, Derek. It's crazy how many teams are in a state of flux right now. At times the Giants looked great, and now they're barely hanging on to the playoff race. I have a feeling the Chargers won't be finishing the season in the Top 10, though.
@SSheehan925 Yeah, I'm not really sold on San Diego either, but given what they've shown over the first four games, they deserve the nod. One ugly loss to the Falcons aside, they've done a pretty nice job.