ALEX MARVEZ (Foxsports.com)
1. Atlanta _ Lost amid the Andy Reid/Mike Vick drama was Atlanta’s standout play in a 30-17 road win in Philadelphia.
2. New York Giants _ The Giants remain the NFL’s worst houseguests because of their uncanny road success in places like Dallas. New York has now won four straight games inside Jerry World following last Sunday’s 29-24 thriller.
3. Chicago _ The Bears seemed uninterested against inferior opposition until rallying for a 23-22 win over Carolina.
4. Houston _ The Texans enter Week 9 as the AFC’s only one-loss team.
5. San Francisco _ 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns) continued to shine as one of the NFL’s most improved players in Monday night’s 24-3 road victory over Arizona.
6. New England _ No opponent humiliates Jeff Fisher like the Patriots. Including last Sunday’s 45-3 blowout in London, the Patriots have now outscored Fisher-coached teams (St. Louis and Tennessee) by a 109-23 margin in the past three matchups.
7. Green Bay _ The Packers were lucky to sleep walk through a 24-15 win over Jacksonville.
8. Denver _ Peyton Manning is hitting his stride again, but don’t ignore a complementary running game led by Willis McGahee and rookie Ronnie Hilliard that can take advantage of nickel and dime defensive looks. A 34-14 blowout of New Orleans on Sunday night was proof.
9. Pittsburgh _ Jon Dwyer’s plodding rushing style is the opposite of slashing ex-Steelers running back “Fast” Willie Parker. But the two share this in common: No Steelers running back since Parker in 2008 has posted consecutive 100-yard games until Dwyer reached triple digits in last Sunday’s 27-12 thumping of Washington.
10. Baltimore _ Considering their road struggles this season, the Ravens could be in trouble Sunday against a Cleveland Browns squad that is starting to find its groove.
11. Miami _ A 30-9 thrashing of the New York Jets was the best showing yet from the NFL’s most pleasant surprise.
12. Minnesota _ The Vikings face two challenges in the second half of the season: Getting second-year quarterback Christian Ponder back on track and compensating for the loss of cornerback Chris Cook (wrist).View Entire Story
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