NFL Week 10 Power Rankings
With 10 weeks done in the NFL, we’re starting to see a more complete playoff picture. But while it was a fun week, it really screwed up some parts in my rankings. The biggest problem this week was rearranging the top 10 after the Ravens, Seahawks, Bills, and Titans all lost, so there are some interesting moves around that area. I didn’t want to move some teams as much or as little as I did, but sometimes that’s the way the cards fall.
The NFC East is back at it once again, and by “back at it” I mean throwing away all logic about who should win and who should not. Every team there is so incredibly inconsistent that it’s impossible for me to plan where they’re going to end up.
Meanwhile, the AFC East and North winners were supposedly locked prior to the season, with everyone expecting the Bills and Ravens to grab them easily, but the past few weeks have shaken up our estimations. The biggest game this week might have been the Ravens and the Patriots, and I’m not sure who the contest says more about. We’ll see in the coming weeks.
For now, here’s what I got. Let me know what you think by Tweeting at me (@AidanCharde).
32. New York Jets (LW: 32) =
For the first time this season, the Jets didn’t lose! Of course, they didn’t play either, but I think New York fans will take all the small victories that they can. And once again, I’ve run out of bad things to say about this team, so forgive me if this is a bit shorter than most of the other entries. Jets, get it together so you don’t ruin Trevor Lawrence next year. Please.
31. Washington Football Team (LW: 30) -1
Washington seems unable to win, but the bigger storyline this week is that Alex Smith made his first start since the gruesome leg injury he suffered almost exactly two years ago. He played admirably, tossing nearly 400 yards with no picks, but didn’t throw a touchdown either. Antonio Gibson had a solid day for the Football Team, although they haven’t been using him enough in my opinion. He’s a great player and has the potential to be a franchise running back.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 31) +1
Jake Luton came back down to Earth this week after a great debut, but the Jaguars still managed to keep it really close against one of the best teams in the league. James Robinson’s 109 rushing yards helped the team and Keelan Cole had a great punt return touchdown, but it really came down to letting up a 78-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Valdez-Scantling that cost the game, since the defense played pretty well the whole contest.
29. Detroit Lions (LW: 29) =
I think the Lions will take this win, even if they did need a stupid mistake by Chase Young to do it. That roughing the passer penalty with 12 seconds to go gave the Lions what they needed to kick the game winning field goal. Not to take away from Stafford, of course, who had his best game of the season and added yet another game winning drive to his resume, or D’Andre Swift, who had his breakout game totalling 149 yards and a touchdown. There are some stars on this team, but I still think Patricia has got to go for them to be contenders.
28. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 27) -1
I hate moving teams around during their bye week, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. The Cowboys are probably not going far if they can make the playoffs, but they might be set up for a home playoff game after Philly lost this week. Seven wins will probably be good enough for the NFC East winner, maybe even six, which is in reach for the Cowboys. Unfortunately, it’s also in reach for the Eagles and Giants, so they have some work to do.
27. Los Angeles Chargers (LW:26) -1
In what was maybe Justin Herbert’s worst performance of the season, he failed to throw for over 200 yards for the first time in his young career and the Chargers fell short once again. But this game, like every Chargers game, can’t be pinned on Herbert, who was the brightest spot on a mediocre offense. And considering they were playing one of the top defenses in the league, it was a commendable performance that should give hope to every Chargers fan. Herbert will be the quarterback of the future here so long as they can build a team around him.
26. New York Giants (LW: 28) +2
The Giants are coming off of two straight wins, and were pretty close to that streak being five games if one play went differently against the Bucs and Eagles. They are back in the NFC East conversation, sitting just half a game behind Philly. The bad news? Their remaining games include the Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns, and Ravens...in back-to-back (to-back-to-back) weeks. Hopefully the upcoming bye week can give them the time they need to get at least three more wins.
25. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 25) =
Atlanta might have lucked out during the bye week. They play the Saints twice in the next three weeks, but Drew Brees is unlikely to play in either of them after a rib and lung injury. That doesn’t mean they get an easy win, but it gives them a chance to steal at least one like they always do and shake up the division. The Bucs and Saints are separated by just half a game right now, so the Falcons have a chance to play spoiler here. It’s going to be fun to watch the way this division ends.
24. Houston Texans (LW: 23) -1
The good news for the Texans: they held an elite offense to just 10 points. The bad news: they only scored seven against a bad defense. The offense really just failed to get a spark going on the ground and in the air, while the return of the two headed monster for the Browns proved to be too much for the defense to manage. I’m severely disappointed in the way the Texans have played this year after looking like legit contenders at the end of last season. It turns out trading one of the best receivers in the NFL and replacing him with a washed-up speedster isn’t the best idea.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 22) -1
I realistically should put the Eagles down further, but they’re really the only team in the NFC East to have a major win so far this season, which means they get to stay up here for a bit longer. Philly had a chance this week to make some separation in the division, but they couldn’t hold on against the Giants and now cling to a narrow lead. Boston Scott’s 56-yard touchdown was fun to watch at least?
22. Denver Broncos (LW: 21) -1
The run game this season for Denver has been incredibly disappointing. Bringing in Melvin Gordon was supposed to make this team unstoppable on the ground, but they can’t seem to get anything going. And without Courtland Sutton, it’s hard for the two rookie receivers and a second-year quarterback to carry the team alone. The defense has been playing admirably all season, but they couldn’t stop Josh Jacobs or Devontae Booker this week, which proved to be important since they didn’t let the Raiders do anything in the air. An unfortunate performance in an unfortunate season.
21. Chicago Bears (LW: 20) -1
I really should be putting the Bears way further than this after such a terrible performance against the Vikings. Minnesota didn’t even explode on offense as they have the past few weeks, which is why the loss should be pinned on Nick Foles. Maybe Trubisky isn’t the long-term answer, but he’s a lot better than the way Foles is playing right now and he deserves another shot. The only reason they were in this game at all is because Cordarrelle Patterson is the best kick returner since Devin Hester.
20. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 24) +4
While the Bears have plummeted after a good start, the Vikings have risen a lot after a really bad start. The team has won three straight and is sitting at 4-5 with some solid wins beneath their belt as well as some losses that were very nearly wins. Dalvin Cook has emerged as an MVP contender (or OPOTY at the very least) and has really been the one carrying them (no pun intended), putting up 100+ total yards in three consecutive games. But the efforts of rookie Justin Jefferson cannot go unnoticed. He broke out a few weeks ago, but the return of Cook made the Bears forget about him and led to him putting up 135 receiving yards. He is one impressive receiver.
19. Carolina Panthers (LW: 17) -2
This game was a must-win if the Panthers wanted a chance of staying alive in the division, and through the first half, it looked like they were going to pull off the upset. But a perfect punt early in the third wasn’t enough as Ronald Jones beat the entire defense to rumble 98 yards downfield for a score, and they never recovered. The Bucs scored on every possession in the game except for a fumble on their first drive and the final kneel, which usually leads to a win. No CMC once again did hurt Carolina, but they should have played better after holding the Chiefs close last week.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 18) =
Some might say I have the Bengals too high, and they’d probably be right. But no one really expected them to come into Pittsburgh and beat the last undefeated team, and even though it was a blowout, I didn’t want to drop them. Joe Burrow has played well, and he looks like the future of the Bengals, which is a positive for them going forward. But where is AJ Green? Where is Tyler Boyd? Burrow is being asked to do way too much for this team that isn’t performing up to par on offense or on defense, and he can’t take that blame.
17. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 15) -2
If you look at the stats out of context, you probably would have guessed the 49ers won this game. Nick Mullens passed for 247 yards compared to Drew Brees’ 76, Michael Thomas only caught two passes for 27 yards, and Alvin Kamara was held to 15 yards on the ground. So what gives? Well, the Saints were aided by great field position after two muffed punts, and Mullens threw two costly picks. But the defense held strong multiple times, forcing five punts and two field goal attempts to a Saints offense that can be scary good.
16. New England Patriots (LW: 19) +3
After four straight losses, the Patriots have snuck back into the divisional conversation with two straight wins and a few winnable games left in the season. New England is actually really close to being 7-2 instead of 4-5 when you think about it: they were a play away from beating the Seahawks, could have beaten the Chiefs if they had Newton, and probably should have beaten the Broncos. The team is by no means good, but look at the roster they’re playing with. JC Jackson, who got snubbed on the Pro Bowl ballot initially, is by far the best player on this team right now, and the offense is brutally weak. It’s no surprise that they’re not the dominant team they once were.
15. Cleveland Browns (LW: 16) +1
Nick Chubb being back gave this team a lot of life right when they needed it. The passing game has struggled to get going ever since the Browns lost OBJ and it didn’t come back this week, so Chubb was able to carry the team to victory. Even though the Browns only scored 10 points (which should have been 17 if Chubb wasn’t selfless), their defense held strong to keep the win. Plus, with the Ravens losing, Cleveland is now tied for second in the division and the third Wild Card spot, which they could easily take. Looking at their roster, it’s entirely possible that the Browns could finish the season 6-1, though 4-3 is somewhat more realistic. But those numbers should be good enough to take them to the postseason.
14. Tennessee Titans (LW: 9) -5
After five weeks and some great wins, the Titans were a popular choice for best team in the league. But since then, they’ve gone 1-3 with the lone win coming over the Bears. This loss gave Indy the tiebreaker and lost them the top spot in the AFC South, in large part thanks to another weak performance from Ryan Tannehill. Derrick Henry is still the best running back in the AFC, but he can’t do enough alone to keep Tennessee afloat. Their next game against the Colts is on the 29th, and that is a must win if they want to get back to the playoffs.
13. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 14) +1
The Rams finally got the impressive win they needed, but I still don’t feel comfortable moving them up too far for a few reasons. First, they’ve only won two games outside of the NFC East. Second, while they did beat the Seahawks, that team has been floundering for a few weeks now and might not be as good as we thought they were. But regardless, Los Angeles got a big win that pulled them into a three-way tie for first. If they can hold on and hope that the Cardinals lack of experience pushes them out of the top, LA could very easily take the best division in the NFL.
12. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 4) -8
Like I said at the top of this article, I’m still trying to figure out whether Sunday Night’s game says more about the Ravens or the Patriots. Or maybe it was just the downpour that threw Baltimore off their rhythm. Whatever happened, it was not a loss the Ravens could afford right now. It drops them to the final spot in the playoffs and puts them three games back from the division lead, so making the playoffs is no longer a sure thing. Lamar is playing fine, but the receivers aren’t getting enough separation for him to throw it, which means he’s taking sacks or getting short runs way too often.
11. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 11) =
Josh Jacobs had his best game of the season in a 37-12 blowout over the Broncos that keeps the Raiders in playoff contention. The 6-3 record is good enough to get the 7 seed right now, but they’re not alone in that endeavor. That being said, Las Vegas has one of the most underrated rosters in the league and has already beaten some worthy contenders in the Chiefs and Saints. Jacobs is the key to success right now; they haven’t lost a game when he’s put up over 75 yards on the ground, which he’s done five times this season. Keep feeding him the ball, then throw it to Waller, Renfrow, and Ruggs when he gets tired.
10. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 12) +2
For the first time since Andrew Luck retired mid-game last year, the Colts actually have some sort of long-term hope. A strong win over their division rivals is not only a confidence booster, but also puts them in line to win the division. And while Philip Rivers is definitely not the quarterback he once was, the defense has been phenomenal this season and is a large reason why Indianapolis is in the spot they’re in.
9. Buffalo Bills (LW: 8) -1
I won’t blame the Bills for this loss, especially because it was impressive that they were in the game as long as they were. The Cardinals have a great offense, and it was close most of the way. Plus, Josh Allen had an incredibly clutch game-winning drive that would have been memorable if not for an improbable Hail Mary from Kyler Murray. Buffalo has to take away the solid defensive performance from this game, though it wasn’t perfect, and use the unlucky ending to fuel their next few weeks.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 13) +5
I really did not want to bump up Tampa Bay this much, but the surrounding teams made it hard to organize things. I wasn’t too impressed by the game like some other people were, but it was a nice bounce back from the spanking they got at the hands of the Saints the week before. Tom Brady played well, but the defense was what really got them the win. A week after being eaten up on the ground and in the air, they held strong through most of the second half to keep the Panthers from staying in it.
7. Miami Dolphins (LW: 10) +3
It’s weird that I have the Dolphins this high up on my list in 2020. It’s even weirder that I don’t really regret it. Tua Tagovailoa is playing good enough, but the defense is what makes this team so scary. The problem? They’ve benefited from big defensive or special teams plays a lot recently, which they can’t count on every week. It’s not a bad thing, but that’s not a sustainable method of winning. Regardless, they’re half a game back from the Bills in the AFC East and I don’t think it’s out of the question that they could jump Buffalo by the end of week 17 for the top spot.
6. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 5) -1
Nothing looked good for Seattle this week, but especially Russell Wilson. It almost seems like he doesn’t want to win the MVP. The Seahawks are still a good team, don’t get me wrong, but they’ve had so many defensive struggles that it’s been honestly hard to watch them sometimes. Now it seems like the offense is starting to struggle too. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are either amazing or get shut down, and the run game is mostly nonexistent. I still think they’re the most likely team to win the division, though, especially with the Cardinals coming up this week.
5. Green Bay Packers (LW: 6) +1
Last year, Green Bay went 13-3 without an impressive performance. This year, they’ll probably have a similar record and, while they’ve had some good performances, they’ve also had some truly terrible ones. The only reason they didn’t lose to the Jaguars was because of Jake Luton, and I really wanted to drop them here. They’re fortunate that the Seahawks lost, because I could see the Packers moving down several spots if I was able to do it. Aaron Rodgers is not the GOAT.
4. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 7) +3
One of the luckiest catches (and one of the most impressive throws) this season capped off a great performance by the entire Cardinals team and really rubbed salt in the wound of Texans fans who miss DeAndre Hopkins. The defense had some struggles, especially late in the game when they let up a (nearly) game-winning drive to Buffalo, but Kyler Murray was able to once again do what he’s done all season: be the MVP. I’ve joked about it before, but he really could be the best player in the league right now.
3. New Orleans Saints (LW: 3) =
The Saints won, but I won’t be talking about that too much here. Of course, the big storyline is Drew Brees going down for upwards of three weeks with broken ribs and a collapsed lung after a big hit on Sunday, which puts the team in a weird place. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are good players, but they’re not better than Brees, which is why it’s fortunate that New Orleans gets to play their next three games against the Falcons, Broncos, and Falcons again. But in such a tight division and conference, even one loss could really mess up the postseason plans for the Saints.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 2) =
Because of the track record of the Steelers playing significantly worse teams this season, I kind of expected this game to be close. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, it was not. It was the blowout win they needed after escaping Dallas with a win last week, and even though it was against a bad team, it’s always a good morale booster to have such a big win. With a Ravens loss, that puts the Steelers three games up in the AFC North and they could very well clinch it in the next few weeks. But Baltimore and Cleveland still have some fight in them, so don’t count anyone out quite yet.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 1) =
In the same way that it’s hard to come up with new things to make fun of the Jets for, it’s become difficult for me to find new things to praise the Chiefs for. Last week showed that they really needed a bye week after an okay Carolina squad nearly pulled off the upset. I think that the week off will do them some good so that they can come back next week against the Raiders, the only team to beat them this year, and solidify their spot in the division. If Las Vegas wins though, it might drop morale so low that they could lose a few spots in the playoff picture.