The good teams are really good, the bad teams are really bad, and everyone else is a muddled mess. Injuries are taking their toll and bye weeks are coming into play as we get ready for the 2015 playoff push. Which teams have their teams playing well, and which teams have to make some adjustments to get back into the fold?
31. Detroit Lions (1-7, Previously #28) - Jim Bob Cooter's offense didn't really look any different than Joe Lombardi's... I'm not quite sure how Jim Caldwell still has a job, at this point. Calvin Johnson, sorry about your wasted talent.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5, Previously #30) - They picked up a win before their week 8 bye, but they'll have to do it another time or two, if they want to get out of the bottom tier.
29. San Francisco 49ers (2-6, Previously #26) - Each passing week, it becomes even harder to figure out how this team beat the Minnesota Vikings. So far, they've only really been competitive in three games, and have failed to score more than 7 points in 50% of their games this season.
28. Chicago Bears (2-5, Previously #27) - You never want to talk about draft position this early... but I think the Bears did themselves a favor by surrendering 10 points in the last 2 minutes for the loss. Even with a win, this Bears team isn't good enough to finish out the wildcard race, and then be competitive with the better teams in the playoffs. The worst thing they could do is win a few games and slide down to the middle of the draft.
27. Houston Texans (3-5, Previously #32) - They've beaten Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Tennessee... and that's good enough to have them tied for first in the AFC South. Unfortunately, all their games aren't against the bottom tier teams in the NFL, something they will find out after their week 9 bye when they face the Bengals, Jets, Saints, Bills, and Patriots in consecutive weeks.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4, Previously #29) - This team hasn't been that good, with losses to the Titans and Houston, but man have they shown up against the NFC South. The Bucs have looked better as the season has gone on, but I still find it hard to imagine them making a playoff push, this season. Lovie Smith has shown enough to stay off the hot seat, at least.
25. San Diego Chargers (2-6, Previously #14) - The Chargers are the anti-Falcons of the 2015 season; they just keep losing close games. Sharing a division with Denver and Oakland, the Chargers have dug themselves a big hole. They have a golden opportunity to start climbing out, when they face the Bears (with Forte injured) on Monday.
24. Baltimore Ravens (2-6, Previously #25) - They got their second win of the season, but also lost Steve Smith for (at least) the rest of the year. With how the AFC has been playing out, they can likely only lose one more game, if they want to make the playoffs. With no Steve Smith (and how the team was playing even with him), I don't see that happening.
23. Cleveland Browns (2-6, Previously #24) - Another week, another loss. The Browns are struggling, and those struggles will likely continue, with games in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before their bye week. While Josh McCown hasn't been the reason for the struggles, you might as well start throwing Johnny Manziel out there to see if he can show something, at this point in the season.
22. Dallas Cowboys (2-5, Previously #21) - The Cowboys are now 0-5 without QB Tony Romo. The good news is, he has started throwing the ball and appears to be on track to get on the field in the somewhat near future (he's eligible for return week 11). The bad news is, they will be without him for another big NFC East showdown against the Eagles on Sunday night.
21. Indianapolis Colts (3-5, Previously #20) - This team has played like garbage, luckily the division they are in is comprised of even stinkier garbage. The Colts have yet to win a game outside of the AFC South division, but sadly, a 6-10 record might end up being enough to win it.
20. Washington Potatoes (3-4, Previously #22) - Not a bad bye week for the Washington team, seeing that the Giants and Cowboys both took losses. They come out of their bye week just 1/2 a game out of the division lead, but they'll face a tough test when they play guest to the Patriots this week.
19. Kansas City Chiefs (3-5, Previously #23) - Kansas City has picked up a couple nice wins in a row, and have done so without Jamaal Charles. Alex Smith played like a legitimate (and good) duel threat QB last week, but it was also against the Lions. They will be on bye this week, but have a very important stretch on the other side, with 3 of their next 4 games on the road against divisional rivals.
18. Miami Dolphins (3-4, Previously #19) - That's why you shouldn't start talking about turning the corner after beating two of the worst teams in the league. The Dolphins went back to their losing ways, when faced with an actual NFL opponent. Up next they have a pivotal match up against the Bills, with both teams trying to stay alive in the AFC wildcard picture.
17. Seattle Seahawks (4-4, Previously #16) - Seattle is now .500, but their four wins have come against teams with two wins or less. They'll have a chance to sort things out heading into their bye, with an opportunity to prove they can beat a winning team when they face the Cardinals in week 10.
16. Buffalo Bills (3-4, Previously #18) - They've had an extra week to think about that bad loss to the Jaguars, and an extra week to try to get Tyrod Taylor closer to 100%. They'll need that preparation time when they face off against the Dolphins in week 9, in what is almost a "must win" game for each team.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4, Previously #15) - With both Dallas and the Giants losing, the bye week couldn't have gone much better for this Eagles team. A season marked with up and down play, the Eagles need to come out of their bye and prove they can consistently put together good games.
14. New York Giants (4-4, Previously #12) - It's unfortunate somebody had to lose that game, but I'm glad it was these guys. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham put on a show, but the banged up defense leaked like a sieve. 4-4 is good enough to be sitting in first in the division, but Washington and Philly are just a half game back, and Dallas should be getting Romo back fairly soon. Can the Giants defense get healthy and help this team make a postseason run?
13. Atlanta Falcons (6-2, Previously #7) - The Falcons were 4-0 in games by a TD or less going into this one, they were bound to lose a close one eventually. Matt Ryan struggled woefully against the Bucs and was a big reason for the loss. Up next they have a very winnable game in San Francisco, to try to get back trending in the right direction heading into their week 10 bye.
12. New Orleans Saints (4-4, Previously #17) - Despite it coming down to a last second field goal that was only made possible due to a great punt return and a penalty, if you watched the game, the New Orleans Saints outplayed the New York Giants. Drew Brees looked good from start to finish, and a Saints kicker actually played ABOVE his level in the 4th quarter, for once. The defense was pretty shaky, but Odell Beckham, Jr, I mean, come on.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4, Previously #10) - Not only did they take a tough divisional loss, but they also lost RB Le'Veon Bell for the season. On the plus side, they did get Ben Roethlisberger back, and DeAngelo Williams played very well filling in for Bell when he was suspended, earlier this year.
10. New York Jets (4-3, Previously #5) - They suffered a loss to the Raiders, but what may be even more troublesome, both of the Jets quarterbacks got badly dinged up. With their top two QB's highly questionable for week 9, the Jets may have to bring someone in, or possibly put their Wild Card fate in the hands of 4th round rookie project, Bryce Petty. On the bright side, they lucked out with the schedule and will be facing the Jaguars.
9. Oakland Raiders (4-3, Previously #13) - The Raiders picked up their best win of the season, knocking off the New York Jets on Sunday. If the season ended today, the Raiders would be the top Wild Card team in the AFC... it's amazing what a couple good drafts can do for an organization.
8. St Louis Rams (4-3, Previously #11) - That Todd Gurley is something special. The Rams were on their way to being an "okay, but nothing special" team, before he entered the mix. In the four games since he's been fully implemented in the offense, he's had at least 128 yards in each, and the Rams are 3-1. Already boasting a good defense, this is now a team to put on notice for the second half of the season.
7. Minnesota Vikings (5-2, Previously #10) - If it wasn't for that week one loss to the 49ers, this team would be talked about as one of the best in the league. I think it's time we accept that loss for the fluke it was, and start to recognize this talented group of football players. Of course, now that I've said that, they'll probably go on a nice little losing streak.
6. Arizona Cardinals (6-2, Previously #8) - After a couple of hiccups, the Arizona Cardinals are back to being one of the best looking teams in the league. They now head into their bye week, sitting at 1st in the NFC West.
5. Carolina Panthers (7-0, Previously #6) - It was an ugly game, and a close one against a sub-par opponent... but, man, this Panthers team just keeps finding ways to win. They have a great opportunity to prove their caliber, when they play host to the Packers on Sunday.
4. Green Bay Packers (6-1, Previously #1) - In a battle of undefeated teams, someone has to lose. The offense was completely outplayed by the Broncos' talented defense. If this game showed anything, it's that it's probably a smart bet that an AFC team will win the super bowl.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (7-0, Previously #3) - The Bengals got a big win against the Steelers, though it may not have been too pretty. Now at 7-0 with a couple of nice wins, the Bengals have established themselves as a legitimate Super Bowl threat.
2. Denver Broncos (7-0, Previously #4) - This Denver Broncos defense is so good, they even make Aaron Rodgers play poorly. Their offense has been a bit of a disappointment, but they just traded for 2x Pro Bowl TE Vernon Davis to help on that front. They have the ability to prove they are the cream of the AFC, as they still have games against New England and Cincinnati, later in the season.
1. New England Patriots (7-0, Previously #2) - They absolutely dominated another divisional foe. The Patriots are cruising right along, this season. Circle week 12 on the schedule, when the Patriots travel to Denver in a game between the two best teams in the league.