Dan Pompei's NFL power rankings

Last week's rankings in parenthesis.

1. Cardinals (1): They have won eight in a row at home. Even if a lot of the victories have been ugly, they still count.

2. Falcons (2): Successful teams always catch breaks. The Falcons caught one Sunday, and then they showed they could capitalize.

3. Texans (3): They might be the most complete team in the league, as they can beat an opponent any way conceivable.

4. Ravens (4): They should be well-rested and more dangerous than before when they play the Chiefs.

5. 49ers (5): Now they get three straight at home and could be 7-1 at the midway point.

6. Eagles (8): In a pass-happy league, there is something to be said for the team that might have the best pass defense.

7. Packers (7): The Packers might have saved their season Sunday, or, more accurately, Saints kicker Garrett Hartley might have saved the Packers' season.

8. Patriots (9): Even when they don't have all hands on deck, this team still can flex its offensive muscle with anyone.

9. Bears (10): The Bears finally have a really impressive victory; now they need to string a few together.

10. Giants (6): Eli Manning can't always pull the rabbit out of his hat, but he can most of the time.

11. Chargers (11): The Chargers keep winning the ones they are supposed to win.

12. Bengals (15): Three straight victories has the Bengals trending up. We'll see if the trend continues against the Dolphins.

13. Vikings (18): They keep answering challenges very impressively, but we still need to see more from Christian Ponder and company.

14. Broncos (16): Peyton Manning gets another shot at Tom Brady next weekend. He could use Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison.

15. Cowboys (13): They are a little nicked up on defense, but they also are completely out of sync on offense.

16. Steelers (14): Most teams don't like an early week off, but it looks like theirs came at a good time.

17. Seahawks (12): The Seahawks are starting to look like one of the most inconsistent teams in the league: Capable of winning the ones they aren't supposed to win, and capable of losing the ones they are supposed to win.

18. Redskins (24): With RGIII, they rank 18th; without him, they would rank 118th.

19. Lions (17): If there is a way to lose, the Lions apparently will find it. This is one of the NFL's most enigmatic teams.

20. Bills (19): If Mario Williams doesn't start picking it up, there are going to be a lot of 2013 free agents who suffer because, so far, Williams has been an argument against spending big money.

21. Jets (21): It may not be Tebow time yet, but it will be soon if the Jets continue down current path.

22. Rams (27): If they go as far as Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein takes them, they will go pretty far.

23. Chiefs (20): The sharks have begun to circle Matt Cassel. He needs to pick it up against the Ravens.

24. Buccaneers (22): Good news: Josh Freeman might be starting to click.

25. Panthers (23): They can make a great statement if they can bounce back from their crushing loss to the Falcons.

26. Dolphins (30): If Cameron Wake could play on both sides of the ball, the Dolphins could be a contender.

27. Raiders (25): Unless they figure out how to contain a premier quarterback, they have no chance.

28. Titans (26): At least Chris Johnson got rolling Sunday. But the Titans have bigger issues.

29. Jaguars (28): Their offense is a train wreck and their defense is struggling. Other than that, the Jags are OK.

30. Colts (29): Maybe they can win one for Chuck Pagano this week.

31. Saints (31): You might argue they deserve some credit for almost beating the Packers, but the Saints need to show they can win before they get any credit.

32. Browns (32): They keep getting close. Too bad for them this isn't horseshoes.

CHICAGO