01. Denver Broncos (4-0): The defense is great. The special teams are great. The running game is strong. If the quarterbacks just play average, the Broncos will be in the AFC Championship game yet again.
02. Minnesota Vikings (4-0): With a defense like they’ve got, Sam Bradford just has to avoid screwing it up. So far, so good.
03. New England Patriots (3-1): Well, that was ugly, but they have to be happy to come out of the Deflategate suspension with only one loss. Tom Brady will now resume his dissection of the NFL.
04. Seattle Seahawks (3-1): A hobbled Russell Wilson is still pretty damn great. Just ask the Jets. Or what’s left of them.
05. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0): They’ve got Detroit, Washington and Minnesota coming up. If they take two of those three games, the Eagles are for real.
06. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1): Now, THAT is how you bounce back from an embarrassing loss.
07. Atlanta Falcons (3-1): Matt Ryan is averaging 10.5 yards per pass attempt this season. That is your quarter-pole MVP, people.
08. Green Bay Packers (2-1): Three straight games at home should keep them close to the Vikings. A vulnerable Giants team is first up.
09. Dallas Cowboys (3-1): Not beating a lot of good teams, but they don’t have a lot of good teams on their schedule. If they can keep Dez healthy (definitely not guaranteed), they’re in good shape to contend for the division.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2): They don’t look as good as last year — yet — but they were more than good enough to demolish a lousy Dolphins team.
11. Carolina Panthers (1-3): Remember when these guys had a defense? You know, like, last year? They will tumble down these rankings if they don’t right the ship this week.
12. Arizona Cardinals (1-3): Another team I’m losing faith in and they will also tumble down the rankings unless they turn it around immediately. Fortunately, they play the 49ers on Thursday. That should help.
13. Oakland Raiders (3-1): That was some clutch play from young QB Derek Carr, who looks miles ahead of other young passers around the league.
14. Baltimore Ravens (3-1): Every game is a nail-biter and the team is far too dependent on the passing game. Meanwhile, the pass rush seems to appear and disappear for no reason. Not sure what to make of this team, but they can make up for the Orioles this weekend by beating the visiting Skins. (Go, Nationals!)
15. Los Angeles Rams (3-1): The Rams in first place? With a 2-game lead over the Cardinals? Is this Bizarro World? They haven’t been in first place in the NFC West after four games since 1989. No joke.
16. Houston Texans (3-1): Should still win the crappy AFC South, even without JJ Watt. But this is a deeply flawed team now missing its best player (by far).
17. Buffalo Bills (2-2): That should keep Rex Ryan going for a few more years.
18. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2): Burn the film of that one.
19. Washington Redskins (2-2): Learn. To. Tackle.
20. New York Giants (2-2): The Giants will win very few games that Odell Beckham does not dominate for them. Meanwhile, Beckham seems will on his way to becoming another T.O. — a hugely talented coach-killer.
22. New York Jets (1-3): Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 9 picks in two games, the most by an QB in 30 years. This team is loaded with talent, but being held back its signal-caller.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3): Jameis Winston was supposed to take his place among the elite QB this year. Instead, he has more turnovers (10) than touchdowns (8). Not good enough.
23. New Orleans Saints (1-3): Improbably come-from-behind road win over the Chargers will probably be one of their few bright spots this season.
24. San Diego Chargers (1-3): Absolutely gave away that game to the Saints. Head coach Mike McCoy’s hot seat is on fire.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3): Did something I never thought I’d see them do — win a game with their defense. I won’t get used to it.
26. Indianapolis Colts (1-3): No defense, no offensive line and not much at running back either. The pressure is on Andrew Luck to win games by himself. And as the highest-paid player in the NFL, some will expect him to do just that. Right now, he can’t.
27. Tennessee Titans (1-3): They can run the ball, but Marcus Mariota still looks like a rookie and there is no down-the-field passing game. When you commit as many penalties as the Titans do, you need big plays in the passing game.
28. Detroit Lions (1-3): Lost to the Bears. ‘Nuff said.
29. San Francisco 49ers (1-3): Did a fairly good impersonation of a pro football during the first half against Dallas and then reverted to form. Now Navarro Bowman is out for the season. Stick a fork in this team.
30. Chicago Bears (1-3): Just when I was ready to proclaim the Bears the worst team in the NFL — and I’m still pretty close — they go and win a game I thought they’d lose. They still stink, though.
31. Miami Dolphins (1-3): One make-able field goal in that Browns game and the Dolphins are at 32, not 31. After barely surviving the Browns, a game they did not deserve to win, the Dolphins laid an absolute egg on national TV, as AJ Green beat them all by himself. If you’re not having big doubts about Ryan Tannehill, you’re not paying attention.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-4): They might not actually be the worst team in the NFL — they’ve been more than competitive the last two weeks — but until they learn how to win a game, they’re stuck here. Keep playing Cody Kessler, though. He’s already better than RG3.