A month into the NFL season and we're starting to get a clearer picture of what the rest of the year will look like. The Texans and Falcons, for example, are going to be really, really good. Same with the Ravens and 49ers. The Cardinals will continue to surprise the crap out of you, the Saints will continue to disappoint and the Jets' season will be a roller coaster.
There are few things we know for certain but one of them is that the Texans are the NFL's best team, followed by the Falcons. The order of those two could change but these are your two best NFL teams.
We start in Houston...
1. Houston Texans (LW: 2, 4-0): The Texans have won their games by 20, 20, six and 24 points this year. And even the six-point game against the Broncos wasn't as close as the score indicates. The Texans are going to wrap up their division early this year if they keep winning and the rest of the AFC South keeps losing. Big games coming up later this month against Green Bay and Baltimore.
2. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 1, 4-0): Like the Texans, the Falcons are way out ahead of their division and will probably have it wrapped up early. Atlanta looks like the real deal from top to bottom. This could be the year it gets over the playoff win hump.
3. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 3, 3-1): I want to say this is the most complete team in the NFL. I don't think that would be fair to Houston and Atlanta, but the Ravens are very close to that. There's not a clear weakness on the team.
4. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 4, 3-1): How do you follow up your first loss of the year? By going into the Meadowlands and embarrassing the Jets, 34-0. I bet that felt good.
5. Chicago Bears (LW: 8, 3-1): I thought I might've had them too high last week, but their 16-point victory over Dallas makes me look smart.
6. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 9, 4-0): They keep winning but not of the Texans' blowout variety. You can see the flaws -- the lack of a run game and the leakiness along the offensive line (Cameron Wake anyone?). But they're going to remain up here until they start losing games.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 10, 3-1): Your NFC East leaders. That defense is salty. Games coming up against the Steelers (in Pittsburgh), Lions and Falcons will help us understand how high this team should be ranked.
8. Green Bay Packers (LW: 6, 2-2): That Saints game was a little too close for comfort, but they now have to worry about their own division. The Bears look like one of the best teams in football and the Vikings would be the biggest surprise if it weren't for the Cardinals.
9. New England Patriots (LW: 7, 2-2): 52 points in Buffalo seems expected. They're back to .500.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 13, 3-1): Mentioned this last week, but the Bengals are poised to start 5-1 with games coming up against the Dolphins and Browns. Time to take them seriously.
11. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 19, 3-1): They started the season near the bottom in our initial power rankings a month ago. Oops. They're an Andrew Luck game-winning drive away from being undefeated. Imagine that.
12. San Diego Chargers (LW: 15, 3-1): 17-0 against the Chiefs before the first quarter was over. Six turnovers will do that to you. San Diego looks like the best team in the AFC West.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 11, 1-2): Idle week for Pittsburgh but next week's game is big: vs. Eagles.
14. New York Giants (LW: 5, 2-2): Too low? No. 5 was probably too high last week.
16. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 12, 2-2): I crowned them too early. 16th is a good spot for them. The defense can win you games, but the offense needs a little work.
18. Washington Redskins (LW: 21, 2-2): RGIII is still fun to watch. The defense, while getting better last week, is not so fun to watch.
19. Buffalo Bills (LW: 17, 2-2): The Bills are right there, tied for first place in the AFC East despite the loss to New England. Unfortunately for them, they go on the road to face two of the NFL's best teams -- 49ers and Cardinals.
20. Detroit Lions (LW: 20, 1-3): At Philly after their bye. Then at Chicago. Is a 1-5 start coming?
21. New York Jets (LW: 16, 2-2): Talk about a beat down. At home, too. If only the Jets had a quarterback on their roster who could solve all their problems.
22. St. Louis Rams (LW: 28, 2-2): There we go. I've been on the Rams bandwagon since early this season and now they have a chance to move past .500 -- that's a big deal in St. Louis -- by beating Arizona this weekend.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 23, 1-3): Suddenly they need a win to keep pace in the NFC South. They're already down three games to the Falcons and we're only two days into October.
25. Tennessee Titans (LW: 26, 1-3): Chris Johnson blew up for 141 yards. Titans lose by 24. Kinda says it all there.
26. Carolina Panthers (LW: 27, 1-3): Glad I'm not one of those people who were hyping the Panthers as a playoff team in 2012 (. . . maybe I was).
27. Miami Dolphins (LW: 29, 1-3): That's two overtime losses that they had a shot at winning. This team is better than I thought, which is to say they're not the worst team in the NFL.
28. New Orleans Saints (LW: 22, 0-4): So this is where it comes to. The 28th ranking for the mighty Saints. The only argument here is whether they should be lower.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 25, 1-3): Yes, the Chiefs beat the Saints so they should be ahead of them, but Kansas City has looked so miserable in its three other games, all blowout losses. The Chiefs apparently like to lose in style.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 31, 1-3): The Jags have scored more than 23 points one time since 2010.
31. Oakland Raiders (LW: 30, 1-3): I expect to get some flack from Raiders fans because I'm a Chiefs fan making this ranking. But the 29th ranked offense and 28th ranked defense . . . I can make a good argument for Oakland at No. 31.
32. Cleveland Browns (LW: 32, 0-4): The Browns and Saints remain as the NFL's only winless teams.