1. Atlanta Falcons 8-1 (Last week, 1): The Falcons won’t be finishing this season undefeated, but they remain in the top spot. Again, this is just a formality at this point, as Atlanta will have to show it can win in the playoffs.
2. Chicago Bears 7-2 (Last week, 2): Holding the Houston Texans to just 13 points was an accomplishment for the Bears’ defense, but the injury to Jay Cutler stunted any sort of offensive attack. But defense wins games in this league, keeping the Bears at No. 2.
3. San Francisco 49ers 6-2-1 (Last week, 4): The 49ers showed some guts in coming back late without Alex Smith, but a tie to the Rams is weak. That tie will likely have an impact on playoff seeding.
4. New York Giants 6-4 (Last week, 3): The Giants have hopefully played their worst football of the season heading into a much-needed bye week. The schedule gets very tough in the coming weeks.
5. Green Bay Packers 6-3 (Last week, 5): Green Bay comes off their bye to take on the division-rival Lions. The Bears’ loss keeps the Packers alive in the NFC North race.
6. New Orleans Saints 4-5 (Last week, 8): The Saints are a new team from their 0-4 start, and if they keep up this pace, they’ll compete for a wild card spot.
7. Seattle Seahawks 6-4 (Last week, 6): The Seahawks won big at home, but until they prove they can win on the road, it’s tough to believe in this team.
8. Minnesota Vikings 6-4 (Last week, 7): Minnesota earned an important home victory over the Lions, which keeps them very much in the playoff hunt.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-4 (Last week, 10): The Buccaneers just keep playing well. They’re on the outside looking in and still have two games against the Falcons and one against the Saints. But maybe they can make a run.
10. Dallas Cowboys 4-5 (Last week, 12): The Cowboys earned a win in the inept bowl against the Eagles. They’re still two games behind the Giants, but if Big Blue doesn’t pick up the pace, Dallas will be in the mix for the NFC East title.
11. Detroit Lions 4-5 (Last week, 9): The Lions are a very inconsistent team that has the weapons to be a good team but just can’t seem to put back-to-back good games together.
12. St. Louis Rams 3-5-1 (Last week, 15): The Rams put up an impressive performance for three quarters against the 49ers but collapsed late. Even so, they had a chance to win in overtime but missed the field goal and settled for a tie.
13. Arizona Cardinals 4-5 (Last week, 11): The Cardinals will look to snap their five-game losing streak coming off their bye week.
14. Washington Redskins 3-6 (Last week, 14): The Redskins have three straight divisional games. A sweep would be difficult, but winning 2-of-3 would really shake things up in the NFC East.
15. Philadelphia Eagles 3-6 (Last week, 13): The Eagles really are a hapless bunch. Depending on Michael Vick’s injury status, maybe Nick Foles can at least inject some life into the franchise. Andy Reid’s future in Philly is very much clouded.
16. Carolina Panthers 2-7 (Last week, 16): A road win at the Redskins in Week 9 could have turned the Panthers’ season around, but they were embarrassed at home by the Broncos this week.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.