Oct 13, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs with the ball during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-20. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
24. Carolina Panthers (2-3) ▲4
Even though the Vikings are terrible, walking into the Metrodome and beating down the home team 35-10 is something to build off of, especially since the Vikings had a bye week to prepare. Cam Newton had a nice bounceback game, but can he build that into something consistent, or will he continue to be as unpredictable as his apparent mood swings?
23. Oakland Raiders (2-4) ▼1
This team has speed and talent in bunches, but the undefeated Chiefs were a bit too tall an order for a team just starting to figure out their identity. I maintain that they probably aren’t playing more than 16 games this season, but the development of Terrelle Pryor has been a fascinating thing to behold. Al Davis’ final draft selection may turn out to be one of his best.
22. New York Jets (3-3) ▼4
So, which is it? Is this the team that beats the Falcons, or the one that loses to the Steelers? Granted, neither of those teams looks great right now, so maybe the 3-3 record is more a function of schedule than anything. Inconsistency has to be expected with a rookie quarterback, but if Geno Smith wanted to build on the momentum of his strong game in Atlanta… well, he didn’t.
21. Houston Texans (2-4) ▼7
Matt Schaub may be the problem, but pulling him certainly isn’t the solution. T.J. Yates kept the Texans’ pick-six streak alive with a 98-yard toss to Alec Ogletree. I’ve been giving the Texans the benefit of the doubt, but no more. They haven’t shown anything to prove they’re even a good team, much less elite.
20. Arizona Cardinals (3-3) ▼1
They gave the 49ers a run, but ultimately lost by double-digits. The Cardinals have some good things going, especially with rookie running back Andre Ellington, but they’re obviously not there yet. They need to get better play out of their offensive line, and probably a quarterback who isn’t quite so obviously a stopgap.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) ▲6
It wasn’t pretty, but wins don’t have to be. The Eagles took care of business against the winless, MRSA-infected Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move back to .500. They’re very much in play for a playoff spot in the weak NFC East, but open question: Does Michael Vick still have the starting job?
18. Cleveland Browns (3-3) ▼3
The weird thing is, Brandon Weeden seems to have all the tools of a solid quarterback. He can make the throws, locate the ball, and at times, he picked apart the Lions secondary. But when the Lions put him under pressure, his accuracy evaporated, and he made some of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen from a quarterback. This Browns team is good, but they need Weeden to play within himself, even if that means being a game manager.
17. St. Louis Rams (3-3) ▲9
Admittedly, they came into the game with the same record, but the Rams blowing out the Texans has to be considered one of the surprises of the week. Very quietly, the Rams have put together a string of solid games and are back to .500. The NFC West might be a little beyond them with the juggernaut 49ers and Seahawks to overtake, but they could make some noise this season yet.