1. Atlanta Falcons 8-0 (Last week, 1): It wasn’t exactly pretty, but the Falcons earned the win over the Cowboys. They’ll on the division-rival Saints this week.
2. Chicago Bears 7-1 (Last week, 4): Chicago’s defense has been unstoppable, and the team blew out the Titans on the road last Sunday.
3. New York Giants 6-3 (Last week, 2): The Giants suffered a loss late, but they are still ranked above the 49ers due to their head-to-head match-up.
4. San Francisco 49ers 6-2 (Last week, 3): The 49ers are coming off their bye week and will host the St. Louis Rams.
5. Green Bay Packers 6-3 (Last week, 5): The Packers head into their bye week with four straight wins. Green Bay is currently sitting in the first wild card spot.
6. Seattle Seahawks 5-4 (Last week, 7): The Seahawks are 4-0 at home and will host the Jets this weekend. It’s a recipe for another home win.
7. Minnesota Vikings 5-4 (Last week, 6): The Vikings have returned to earth after their 5-2 start but are still alive in the playoff hunt.
8. New Orleans Saints 3-5 (Last week, 15): If only the Saints could play some defense, they’d be challenging the Falcons for tops in the NFC West. Don’t be surprised if the Saints somehow sneak into the playoffs.
9. Detroit Lions 4-4 (Last week, 12): The Lions are coming off back-to-back wins and will visit Minnesota in a huge NFC North battle.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-4 (Last week, 13): Tampa Bay had a statement win by traveling cross-country and beating the Raiders. Greg Schiano has seemed to turnaround a rough start, but he’ll have a long way to go.
11. Arizona Cardinals 4-5 (Last week, 9): The consecutive loss count for the Cardinals has now reached five. They’ll have a much-needed bye this week.
12. Dallas Cowboys 3-5 (Last week, 10): Dallas’ season is quickly slipping away. They had every chance to beat the Falcons but can’t seem to get out of their own ways.
13. Philadelphia Eagles 3-5 (Last week, 11): “Dream Team?” I think not. Even with a mobile quarterback in Michael Vick, you need some semblance of an offensive line to block.
14. Washington Redskins 3-6 (Last week, 8): The Redskins took a big fall this week. Yes, they’re still a work in progress, but you can’t lose at home to the Panthers.
15. St. Louis Rams 3-5 (Last week, 14): St. Louis will be coming off its bye. A few consecutive wins could be them right in the hunt for a wild card spot.
16. Carolina Panthers 2-6 (Last week, 16): Sure, Carolina beat the Redskins, but they’ll remain at the bottom for now, at least until the Eagles or Cowboys wind up in that spot.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.