1. LOS ANGELES RAMS (No change)
There may still be a tweak or two needed defensively, but so long as they continue to possess the weapons they currently have on display, it'll take someone very special, or something very quirky, to knock them off their pedestal.
2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (No change)
Again, the narrative from just three weeks ago has changed. The offense has clearly learned to gel, even without Rob Gronkowski last week. Like the team above them, the Patriots are still answering questions defensively, but a big game this week against Buffalo might cure those problems as well.
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (No change)
Not sure how much the addition of Eli Apple will help them in the second half of the season, but it shows a willingness of the front office to address a (still glaring) concern going forward. Gutsy win this past weekend over a formidable defensive unit. The real acid test is coming up, with games against Minnesota and the Rams coming up.
4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (No change)
Not sure if the defensive effort by the Chiefs was a sign of their improvement or a sign of a deteriorating Bengals attack, but we're willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Still way too many weapons to ignore on this offense.
5. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (No change)
The talking points of the decision of Titans coach Mike Vrabel at the end of this game to go for 2 underscore what the Chargers accomplished in the win. They won on the road (and across an ocean no less) without their top running back and a moderate performance from starting QB Philip Rivers. Defensively one of the more underrated teams in the top 10.
6. CAROLINA PANTHERS (Up three spots)
An impressive road win, coming from behind, against the defending champions and utilizing the strength of this team, which is still Cam Newton's ability to make plays happen. A big opportunity to keep pace in the standings coming up with a home game against the Baltimore Ravens will show us what we need to know about this team.
7. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Down 1 spot)
Perhaps I'm being stubborn about the defending champs, but I keep expecting this team to start taking those strides we saw in the tail end of last season. The "Super Bowl Hangover" isn't a legitimate excuse anymore. Lost in the storyline of the game against Carolina is the performance of QB Carson Wentz, who went 30 for 37 with 310 yards. Not lost in that storyline? The 4 sacks.
8. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (Down 1 spot)
And still no sign of LeVeon Bell, who may or may not ever suit up for this team. Time to embrace James Connor as the featured back on this team. A chance to exorcise some demons -- or at least to take out some frustration if nothing else -- this weekend against the Browns.
9. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (Up 1 spot)
Still learning to overcome the disappointing comeback effort of running back Dalvin Cook, who still is on the injury report and remains a question mark this weekend. Kirk Cousins has been "workmanlike" for the most part this season and Adam Thielen has been money for them this season.
10. BALTIMORE RAVENS (Returns to list)
I'm staying with my gut on this team. Defensively, a solid effort all around against one of the most explosive offenses this season, and only a rare missed extra point away from taking that team to overtime. We'll know a lot more about them this weekend at Carolina, but I'm sticking with these guys as my original AFC North champions until I'm proven otherwise.
REMOVED FROM LAST WEEK'S LIST
THE UPDATED FOX FLUSH
AFC - CINCINNATI BENGALS
(Already flushed: Houston, Oakland, NY Jets, Pittsburgh, Miami, Denver)
NFC - ARIZONA CARDINALS
(Already flushed: Atlanta, Seattle, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Dallas, San Francisco)