1 -- NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (Up one spot)
After much consternation last week about whether to put the Patriots over the Saints, our wrong decision has been smacked across the face. Drew Brees put on another passing exhibition in a beatdown over the terrible Bengals. The Saints still have some lingering questions about their own defensive unit, but they're -- to me -- the most dangerous team in the league right now. They can show their ability to deliver a knockout this weekend at home against the defending Super Bowl champions.
2 -- KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (Up one spot)
I watched with some intrigue their most recent victory over the hapless Cardinals. The KC offense can reinvent itself on the fly, and that should worry a lot of their future opponents. The anticipated return of receiver Sammy Watkins should go a long way to keep this offense moving along nicely on Monday night when they face the Rams.
3 -- LOS ANGELES RAMS (Up one spot)
They got back to business over the weekend with a hard-fought, well-earned win against the Seahawks. QB Jared Goff's 5-to-1 TD to INT ratio in the last five games is an intimidating stat. The loss of WR Cooper Kupp is enormous, if for no other reason but to limit the amount of available weaponry. A most intriguing matchup on Monday Night Football as the Rams host the Chiefs to see which team might have a better claim to being the big dog.
4 -- LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (Up one spot)
It's not difficult to make the Raiders look foolish, but it's another thing to be the most disrespected team around the league, let alone your hometown. What has impressed me most about the play of QB Philip Rivers has been his decision making and the realization he doesn't have to do it all on his own. Last season, Rivers had ten games in which he'd attempted more than 35 passes. Through nine games this season, he's done that only twice.
5 -- PITTSBURGH STEELERS (Up three spots)
Maybe the end of the LeVeon Bell storyline is what this team needs going forward. I loved their win last week against Carolina and they have a chance to exact some revenge from last year's postseason against a struggling Jacksonville this weekend.
6 -- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (Down five spots)
OK, we were wrong about vaulting the Patriots into the top spot. We've already admitted as much above... Still not willing to dump them completely just yet. The bye week might be coming at the perfect time, but there are some kinks in their armor and the luster may be wearing off. That said, they'll most likely get Gronkowski and Michel back in the lineup next weekend and four of their final six games this season are against division "rivals". The home field advantage they've enjoyed so much during the postseason in recent years may be slipping away from them.
7 -- HOUSTON TEXANS (Up two spots)
Moving up in the charts off a bye week is a bit of a rarity, but coming off a hard-fought win at Denvertwo starts back and in the midst of a six-game win streak, I'll allow it. Facing a tough opponent on the road in the nation's capital this weekend, stars on both sides of the ball should be at their well-rested best.
8 -- CHICAGO BEARS (Up two spots)
If you're still not a believer, you might want to be. Mitch Trubisky is the best second-year QB in the league you've never heard of and his confidence is growing with each game, with an 11-4 TD/INT ratio since coming off the early season bye week. Winners of three straight, they can stamp their ticket with a home win Sunday night over the Vikings.
9 -- WASHINGTON REDSKINS (New to list)
Gotta be honest, didn't see this one coming. As is normally the case with any team led by Alex Smith, it's never pretty, never flashy, never gonna be the stuff of inspiration. But it is consistent. The rest of the NFC East is a trainwreck and what the Redskins do may not be the stuff highlight reels were made of, but it is effective. They play for real this weekend at home against a rested and motivated Texans team.
10 -- TENNESSEE TITANS (Returns to list)
The miscues in the loss to the Chargers a couple weeks back have been forgotten, and QB Marcus Mariota is slowly putting together a little energy to this team. Could be an important win last weekend against the Patriots, and with a pair of division rival games coming up, a chance to make things very interesting in the AFC South.
REMOVED FROM LIST
THE UPDATED FOX FLUSH
AFC - NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
(Already flushed: Houston, Oakland, NY Jets, Pittsburgh, Miami, Denver, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Cleveland)
NFC - PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
(Already flushed: Atlanta, Seattle, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Dallas, San Francisco, Arizona, Detroit, Green Bay)