1. Pittsburgh (4-1). There were some rough moments, and Roethlisberger threw a very poor early interception, but the way he spread it around (TD throws to Mike Wallace, Heath Miller and Hines Ward) and kept the running game going are great long-term signs for the Steelers.
2. Baltimore (4-2). The Ravens have played six games, four on the road. Road results: Lost to 2-3 Cincinnati and 4-1 New England, both games either team could have won. Won at the Steelers and Jets by a total of four points. Most teams won't play four tougher road games in a full season, and the Ravens have played them by the middle of October.
3. New York Jets (5-1). Big road win at Denver, with some luck coming from a long pass-interference call on the Broncos in the final two minutes. What I like is how Mark Sanchez came back from his first two interceptions of the year to make enough plays to win at the end.
4. New England (4-1). This is the team getting jobbed at the top after the best win a team had all day Sunday. The reason I've got New England fourth instead of second is because of how I've always tried to do these rankings: If New England played Baltimore on a neutral field in Wichita tomorrow, I like the Ravens. Same with the Jets. For now.
5. Indianapolis (4-2). Everyone's right: The Colts aren't the same with so many injuries, and with guys like Brody Eldredge (you know Brody -- he was the backup tight end at Oklahoma last year) playing big roles. But they can still rush the passer, still force the Donovan McNabbs of the world into mistakes the way they did Sunday night, and they have a quarterback who's pretty good too.
6. New Orleans (4-2). Probably falling back in love with the Saints too quickly. But they were awfully good Sunday at Tampa, and finally they were able to run the ball -- really, for the first time all season.
7. Philadelphia (4-2). When's the last time one team had two of the top 12 quarterbacks in football? Or at least two quarterbacks who, this year, have played like top-12-in-the-game quarterbacks?
8. Tennessee (3-2). Ten days ago, I talked to Jeff Fisher with some concern about Chris Johnson's 3.8-yards-per-carry average. If I could quote a man giving me a dismissive sound over the phone, I would. It took all of one game for Johnson to be back at a respectable number -- 4.3 yards per rush -- and I expect it will keep climbing, starting tonight in Jacksonville.
9. New York Giants (4-2). It isn't always pretty, but the G-Men have three straight wins. In the NFC, a streak like that means it's time to throw a ticker-tape parade.
10. Miami (3-2). Not many teams can go to Minnesota and Green Bay in the span of 29 days and win. Dolphins did.
11. Atlanta (4-2). Falcons bit on too much play-action in Philly and didn't disrupt Kevin Kolb enough. Not a great team right now.
12. Green Bay (3-3). Favre vs. Aaron Rodgers Sunday night in Green Bay. Man on a wire versus team on a wire.
13. Kansas City (3-2). Sorry. An official decided that game at Houston. If the Chiefs and Texans play tomorrow in Wichita, I'm taking Kansas City.
14. Houston (4-2). Though the Texans were more lucky than good on the awful pass-interference call Sunday -- the call should have gone on Andre Johnson, not Brandon Flowers, as replays clearly show -- they did score 21 points in the last 13 minutes to win.
15. Washington (3-3). Credit where credit's due -- five of the Redskins' six games have hung in the balance on the last possession of the game. And that LaRon Landry continued his terrific play Sunday night against Indy with a huge pass breakup that -- followed by another by Phillip Buchanon -- forced the Colts to punt and nearly gave the Redskins a chance to win.
"When you're sitting here as a chubby head coach in the National Football League and you have two good quarterbacks, you're a happy guy.''
-- Andy Reid, the aforementioned chubby head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, after his second quarterback who used to be his first quarterback, Kevin Kolb, played as well Sunday against Atlanta as Mike Vick did in his two wins.
"I was really happy we stole a win. We just got some breaks. Look at the Saints last year. They had plenty of breaks.''
-- New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who, as he said, got lucky with a fluky (but real) pass-interference call on the Broncos late in the fourth quarter at Denver Sunday, helping the Jets eke out a comeback win.
"No Moss. No problem.''
-- ESPN's Ron Jaworski, on the "NFL Matchup'' show Sunday morning, saying he doesn't think the Patriots will be crippled by the loss of Randy Moss. When Sal Paolantonio, the host, pointed out that Moss "made Wes Welker'' by opening up the middle of the field for him, Jaworski looked like he immediately smelled a skunk.
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