By Danny O’Neil, The Seattle Times –
Last week’s rankings in parentheses
1. Atlanta (3) Falcons undefeated this season, but winless in the playoffs under Mike Smith.
2. Houston (1) Texans aren’t perfect, but then again, who is? Only the Falcons.
3. Baltimore (4) Is it really a victory when you lose LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb?
4. Chicago (5) Bears look bullish, winning past three games by a combined score of 98-27.
5. N.Y. Giants (10) No fear of a baseball precedent: Giants don’t play the Cardinals this season.
6. San Francisco (2) There’s only one Gore who’s still running this year. Frank Gore.
7. Green Bay (11) Third degree: Packers have been outscored 43-13 in the third quarter.
8. Denver (15) There were traffic cones embarrassed by Peyton Manning’s attempt at a tackle Monday.
9. New England (6) Homing Pat-tern: New England plays six of final 10 games in Massachusetts.
10. Seattle (12) Seahawks are kicking themselves over all these field goals.
11. Philadelphia (9) Juan less scapegoat? Andy Reid canned defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.
12. Minnesota (7) Jared Allen says he’s not seeing new blocking schemes: “They’re still using human beings.”
13. Washington (18) Apologies to Bryce Harper, but Robert Griffin III always has time for a clown question, bro.
14. Detroit (24) Biggest problem for the Lions? Miguel Cabrera is Detroit’s biggest hitter.
15. Arizona (8) Cardinals averaged 22.8 points first four games, 9.5 points in the past two.
16. San Diego (14) Up a river without a paddle? Nope. Chargers stick with Rivers, getting paddled..
17. Miami (20) Close encounters? Each of Dolphins’ past four games decided by four points or fewer.
18. Cincinnati (13) Safe at home? Bengals play their next three games in Cincinnati.
19. Dallas (17) Edward Scissorhands would handle the clock more delicately than Jason Garrett.
20. St. Louis (16) Pointed comparison: Rams score an average 22.3 points at home, 14.3 points on the road.
21. Tennessee (21) Titans have been outscored 204-114, largest point differential of any team in the league.
22. Pittsburgh (22) The dead horse that is the Steelers’ roster called to request the beatings stop.
23. N.Y. Jets (23) Is Mark Sanchez the Jets’ Alex Rodriguez or is A-Rod the Yankees’ Mark Sanchez?
24. Tampa Bay (25) Blount reality: LaGarrette has taken a backseat to rookie Doug Martin.
25. Buffalo (28) C.J. Spiller pretty precise for a runner who just sounds kind of sloppy.
26. New Orleans (26) Saints’ legal proceedings way more interesting than their season.
27. Indianapolis (19) Peyton Manning may be gone, but the Colts remain Wayne’s world. Reggie Wayne, that is.
28. Oakland (27) Raiders have been outscored 51-49 in first half, 97-38 in the second.
29. Carolina (29) All the money the Panthers have paid for running backs, and Cam Newton is top rusher.
30. Kansas City (30) Only lead the Chiefs have held all season came at the end of overtime in Week 3.
31. Cleveland (32) Browns outscored 91-51 in the first half, outscoring opponents 83-72 in the second.
32. Jacksonville (31) Austin Powers once lost his mojo. Jags’ MoJo simply at a loss in Jacksonville.