1. Baltimore (4-1). Ray Rice lives. And I continue to regret calling the secondary so awful before the season. Wait until that group gets Ed Reed back, likely in a couple of weeks.
2. New York Jets (3-1). Who'd have thought the mouthy Jets would be way down the headline scale on a Monday night at home, with a Super Bowl MVP winner, Santonio Holmes, playing his first game for the home team. Wild and wacky stuff.
3. Pittsburgh (3-1). Ben Roethlisberger's interview with Merril Hoge was good. The Steelers hope his return to their starting lineup is just as good.
4. Atlanta (4-1). I really like what I see out of that opportunistic defense, particularly in defensive end Kroy Biermann, who rumbled and stumbled for the insurance touchdown on an interception at Cleveland.
5. Indianapolis (3-2). I keep figuring we'll all wake up one of these days and see the Colts of old. Problem is, Indy has so many injuries forcing new guys into the lineup that I keep seeing a lot of shaky Colts of new.
6. Green Bay (3-2). The Packers lost a crushing one in Washington, and though it wasn't because of their running game, you got the feeling during the week that the players were turning a questioning eye toward GM Ted Thompson for not making a deal to augment the backfield when Marshawn Lynch was shipped to Seattle for a fourth-round pick.
"The politically correct answer is that we want to go and fight with the team we have,'' cornerback Charles Woodson told Jim Rome, via sportsradiointerviews.com. "But whenever you look on the TV and you see breaking news and it's somebody making a deal like that, a part of you wants to do something to rival the attention that another team is getting from making a big trade. We would definitely welcome that ... For us, as players, there's nothing you can do.''
Again, the Packers didn't lose to the Redskins because of the run (17 rushes, 157 yards). It's the passing game that needs the most help right now.
7. New England (3-1). If you've got a fantasy football team, you want to trade for Aaron Hernandez. Now. Just watch him be more of a downfield threat than you could ever have imagined for a fourth-round rookie.
8. Tennessee (3-2). When Vince Young is moving the offense, this is a team capable of winning anywhere. We saw another example of that in Dallas Sunday.
9. Washington (3-2). Won back-to-back big games against good teams, narrowly, in the last eight days.
10. New York Giants (3-2). Won back-to-back big games against good teams, in routs, in the last eight days.
11. Chicago (4-1). The Bears won with a quarterback, Todd Collins, completing six passes and throwing four interceptions Sunday ... and they won by 17! Such is life when you play the Carolina Panthers and have a runner like Matt Forte (22 carries, 166 yards) pushing the defense around.
12. Kansas City (3-1). Tamba Hali's become a very good edge rusher, and the Chiefs are one of the best defenses in the league no one knows about. They're allowing 14.3 points a game.
13. New Orleans (3-2). One of Sean Payton's mentors, Bill Parcells, has a saying: "You never pick up this year where you left off last year in football. Every year's its own new thing.'' Payton knows. Oh, he knows.
14. Tampa Bay (3-1). Never thought Saints-Bucs in Week 6 would be as close as it is to a pick-'em affair. Crazy league.
15. Philadelphia (3-2). Kevin Kolb needed to throw a knockout punch in the quarterback boxing match Sunday night, and what he did was win a TKO with his very nice 22-of-32 night in the 27-24 win at San Francisco. Maybe he'll get one more start before Mike Vick returns, or maybe Vick pushes hard to be ready next week against Atlanta in a game he really wants to play.
1. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis. Look at the team he's playing with. It's semi-decimated. Colts are 3-2, and he's completing 68 percent with 11 touchdowns and two intereceptions.
2. Donovan McNabb, QB, Washington. The last time Washington saw a quarterback with McNabb's moxie and guts, Billy Kilmer was playing.
3. Tom Brady, QB, New England. Pats are averaging 33 points a game (obviously, with help from special-teams after last Monday's win), but Brady's importance will only rise now that Moss is gone.
4. Troy Polamalu, S, Pittsburgh. Long uphill climb for Roethlisberger to catch the big-haired one as the Steelers' most valuable.
5. Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay. Forget the stats. Watch the Bucs. They're a gallant team, and Freeman makes more mistakes than he should. But he's the on-field keystone to an intriguing team that's not going away.