1. Patriots (6-0; last week No. 1): The process isn’t always pretty, but the outcome always is.
2. 49ers (5-0; No. 6): It’s starting to feel like 1981 all over again.
3. Saints (5-1; No. 2): Thumb . . . flexing . . . intensifying.
4. Seahawks (5-1; No. 3): When Earl Thomas returns this weekend, maybe Pete Carroll will give him the finger.
5. Packers (5-1; No. 4): Aaron Rodgers finally has mastered the flat facial expression after a teammate fails to make a catch. Long ago, he mastered the art of throwing a football.
6. Bills (4-1; No. 8): Second best team in the AFC? Second best team in the AFC.
7. Ravens (4-2; No. 10): The most physcially reckless quarterback since RGIII is, coincidentally, backed up by RGIII.
8. Texans (4-2; No. 18): Coaching the Texans is a simple proposition -- let Deshaun Watson do his thing.
9. Chiefs (4-2; No. 5): After losing to the Colts and Texans at home, the Chiefs should be very happy they’re not in the AFC South.
10. Panthers (4-2; No. 13): The next time your favorite team starts 0-2, think about the 2019 Panthers.
11. Vikings (4-2; No. 14(tie)): It’s not a prime-time game at Detroit, but it’s precisely the kind of big spot in which Kirk Cousins has continuously gacked in the past.
12. Rams (3-3; No. 7): The Rams paid Todd Gurley a year too early; did they pay Jared Goff a year too early, too?
13. Cowboys (3-3; No. 9): Jerry Jones supports his coach completely and unconditionally, until the moment he doesn’t. That moment could be coming.
14. Eagles (3-3; No. 11): Doug Pederson believes that the Eagles are going to win on Sunday, and he defintely does not guarantee it.
15. Bears (3-2; No. 14(tie)): The Bears may have set the bar too high based on the first year of Matt Nagy’s tenure.
16. Raiders (3-2; No. 14(tie)): Don’t look now, but the Raiders are closing in on the top of the AFC West.
17. Colts (3-2; No. 17): Round One of the AFC South championship happens this weekend.
18. Lions (2-2-1; No. 12): Yes, they got screwed. If they’d gotten touchdowns instead of field goals, the bad calls wouldn’t have mattered.
19. Steelers (2-4; No. 24): Devlin Duck, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Howard the Duck; with the defense playing like that, anyone could have played quarterback and won.
20. Broncos (2-4; No. 26): With a win on Thursday night, they could go from potential sellers to potential buyers at the trade deadline.
21. Browns (2-4; No. 19): The only trophy the Browns will get this year is the Worst Job Managing Expectations award.
22. Jets (1-4; No. 29): Once (vs. the Cowboys) is an accident, twice (against the Patriots) would be a WTF moment.
23. Chargers (2-4; No. 20): It was embarrassing to have so many Steelers fans at a home game. And it will be even worse when that same ratio shows up at a much, much larger stadium.
24. Jaguars (2-4; No. 21): It’s time to get what they can for Jalen Ramsey. (Spoiler: A lot.)
25. Titans (2-4; No. 22): It’s time to get what they can for Marcus Mariota. (Spoiler: Not much.)
26. Buccaneers (2-4; No. 23): Eventually, Jameis Winston will always do Jameis Winston things.
27. Giants (2-4; No. 25): Pat Shurmur’s decision to punt while down by 14 with seven minutes left proves yet again that the Giants are far more concerned with perception than reality.
28. Cardinals (2-3-1; No. 28): The most intriguing team in the NFL is quietly racking up the wins, albeit against really bad teams.
29. Falcons (1-5; No. 27): Arthur Blank was going to fire Dan Quinn after losing to Atlanta, but the far greater punishment will be having to actually coach the Falcons against the Rams and Seahawks.
30. Bengals (0-6; No. 30): A Cincinnati radio station has a new contest. First place is two tickets to Sunday’s home game against the Jaguars. Second place is four.
31. Washington (1-5; No. 32): The interim coach bump barely delivers what surely will be one of the only wins of the year.
32. Dolphins (0-5; No. 31): They continue to win by losing.