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1. Seattle Seahawks (2-1): With a bye week, the Super Bowl champs hold on to the top spot because … who's better? The statistics might not bear it out, but the eye test tells a story that the Seahawks are still the team to beat. Last week: 1

2. Cincinnati Bengals (3-0): There can't be many experts who predicted the Bengals as one of the final two unbeaten teams. But they've done it with defense, giving up 33 points in their three wins. Last week: 2

3. Arizona Cardinals (3-0): After a bye, the last remaining NFC unbeaten team has a tough test this week at Denver. The run defense has been stellar, but the offense has struggled, averaging 22 points per game. Last week: 4

4. Denver Broncos (2-1): Following a bye, the Broncos find themselves second in the AFC West behind the Chargers and will look to bounce back from the loss to the Seahawks. Last week: 5

5. San Diego Chargers (3-1): They found a way to dispatch the Jaguars, 33-14, after trailing late in the second quarter. Philip Rivers shined with 377 yards and 3 TDs and all of a sudden, they're leading the AFC West. Last week: 6

6. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1): After taking a 21-10 lead in the second quarter, they couldn't score again and lost to the 49ers in the final minutes, without scoring an offensive touchdown. Last week: 3

7. Detroit Lions (3-1): Without Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford found other targets, and the defense stifled Geno Smith and the Jets until a fourth-quarter touchdown. But the running game put the game away on the final drive for the second straight game. Last week: 11

8. San Francisco 49ers (2-2): A goal-line stand against the Eagles salvaged the game — and maybe the season — for a critical 26-21 win. That will quiet some of the talk about coach Jim Harbaugh losing the players' respect. Last week: 12

9. Indianapolis Colts (2-2): Andrew Luck had another big game, with 393 yards and 4 TDs in a 41-17 win over the Titans. Luck has the best numbers among quarterbacks this season, and the run game is complementing his passing prowess. Last week: 13

10. Baltimore Ravens (3-1): After an opening loss to the Bengals and the Ray Rice mess, the Ravens have improved from week to week. A home win over the Panthers is their best win of the season so far. Last week: 18

11. Houston Texans (3-1): Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't had to be a world-beater, as the defense has picked up some of the slack, including J.J. Watt's pick-six against the Bills. Last week: 17

12. Green Bay Packers (2-2): Aaron Rodgers played psychologist to Packers fans, telling them to "relax" after a slow start. The Rodgers-Jordy Nelson connection is back, and the win over the Bears will quiet the critics for at least a week. Last week: 14

13. Dallas Cowboys (3-1): Tony Romo looks pretty good after offseason back surgery, tossing three TDs and running for another in a dominating performance against the Saints. After three straight wins, the Cowboys look like contenders in the East. Last week: 19

14. Chicago Bears (2-2): With a chance to put a damper on the Packers' season, the Bears came up empty, unable to find a way to stop Aaron Rodgers. Jay Cutler (256 yards, 2 INT) was subpar, although Martellus Bennett (9 catches, 134 yards) was superb. Last week: 7

15. Atlanta Falcons (2-2): Who are the Falcons, really? It's a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance from week to week — and the true assessment is somewhere in the middle of last week's domination of the Bucs and this week's puzzling loss to the Vikings. Last week: 8

16. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2): Jamaal Charles (92 yards, TD) looked good in his return and Knile Davis (107 yards) helped a balanced offense, with Alex Smith adding three passing TDs in demolishing the Patriots, 41-14. Last week: 27

17. New England Patriots (2-2): Sure, it's hard to go into Arrowhead Stadium and get a win, but a 41-14 loss to the Chiefs? All is not well with the Patriots and it starts with Tom Brady, who has looked mediocre, at best. Last week: 9

18. Miami Dolphins (2-2): Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was adequate, throwing for 278 yards and two scores against the hapless Raiders in London. They're keeping their heads above water in a winnable East Division. Last week: 22

19. Carolina Panthers (2-2): Following a quick start, two straight losses — and giving up 75 points — have cast some doubt over the defending AFC South champs. A 38-10 loss to the Ravens with an ineffective Cam Newton is concerning. Last week: 10

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2): After the Bucs were embarrassed last week, they found a way to snatch defeat away from the Steelers in the final seconds, taking a 27-24 loss. They were outscored, 17-7, in the second half against the Bucs' 30th-ranked offense. Last week: 15

21. New Orleans Saints (1-3): It's time to press the panic button in the Bayou. The Cowboys had their way in a 38-17 win on a national stage on Sunday night and the defense is bleeding yards, allowing 452 this week. Last week: 16

22. Buffalo Bills (2-2): Quarterback E.J. Manuel was ineffective, so they'll go with backup Kyle Orton against the Lions. Their pass defense, which ranks 25th in the league, will have its hands full with the Lions' receivers this week. Last week: 20

23. New York Giants (2-2): Eli Manning turned back the clock, with an outstanding performance, going 28-of-39 for 300 yards and 4 TDs, with only one interception, dismantling Washington, 45-14. Last week: 28

24. Minnesota Vikings (2-2): With Matt Cassel on the shelf, rookie Teddy Bridgewater went 19-of-30 for 317 yards in his first career start. Jerick McKinnon helped out with 18 carries for 135 yards in dousing the Falcons, 41-28. Last week: 29

25. Cleveland Browns (1-2): A week off should help the Browns as they recharge and prepare for a winnable game this week at Tennessee. They haven't been blown out this season, as their two losses came by a total of five points. Last week: 23

26. New York Jets (1-3): The offense looked anemic during the first half against the Lions, before the run game got going. But Geno Smith and the passing game didn't look any better, as Michael Vick continues to watch from the sideline. Last week: 25

27. St. Louis Rams (1-2): They have a tough road game against the Eagles this week after a bye. The Rams rank third in passing defense, giving up an average of 187.3 yards in their three games. Last week: 26

28. Washington (1-3): After a couple of good performances, Kirk Cousins showed his inexperience, with four interceptions against the Giants. Alfred Morris and the running game didn't help the cause, with only 86 yards. Last week: 21

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3): After their horrific loss at Atlanta last week, the Bucs bounced back with a Houdini-like comeback win over the Steelers on Vincent Jackson's touchdown with seven seconds left. Last week: 32

30. Tennessee Titans (1-3): Not having injured quarterback Jake Locker didn't help against the high-scoring Colts, but Charlie Whitehurst was no match for the defense, either. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he may have overestimated his team; he might be right on that. Last week: 24

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4): There's at least some optimism with rookie QB Blake Bortles in the starting lineup. Bortles had the Jags in the lead for some of the first half, but he can't help a defense that gave up 33 to the Chargers. Last week: 30

32. Oakland Raiders (0-4): Losing rookie quarterback Derek Carr to injury isn't a good sign, but the Raiders were as atrocious in London as they have been on this side of the pond all season. Firing coach Dennis Allen is only the start to the overhaul. Last week: 31

rod.beard@detroitnews.com

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