New England remains at the top spot, despite the loss. But there are plenty of changes in this version of the NFL Power Rankings than the last time, including a new bottom. Now that we’re entering Week 10, it’s time to really try and put things into their proper playoff perspective.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 1: Definitely above the rest, we think
1 New England Patriots (8-1; +172 point differential)
There are probably other power rankings out there that sold this week as being the one with “a new team on top,” or whatever. Not here. Sure, it was a relatively ugly loss. But it was a good loss to a good opponent, nonetheless. We will, however, be monitoring this situation very closely as the Patriots now start a run that goes, in order: at Eagles, vs Cowboys, at Texans, vs Chiefs. Over the span of the next four weeks, we’re going to learn a lot about the Pats, one way or another.
2 San Francisco 49ers (8-0; +133)
It’s tempting to put them number one. But their schedule has still been really weak, there’s no way around it. They play up the “nobody believes in us” stuff to a degree. In hindsight, it was legit at the beginning of the season, but calling them the second-best team in the league right now is plenty respectful. A game against the Seahawks this week could confirm or confuse our beliefs on this team.
3 New Orleans Saints (7-1; +39)
Well, they made it through the Brees injury fine. Now they have a chance to pad their record with games against the lowly Falcons followed by the Bucs on the road. The NFC South is pretty much the Saints’ to have at this point, but it doesn’t hurt both those games are in-division, either. Look for this team to hold steady over that span and possibly go up a spot or two here.
4 Baltimore Ravens (6-2; +72)
Wins over the Seahawks and Patriots in back-to-back weeks is about as impressive as it gets. Baltimore also has a golden opportunity to tack on another win against the Bengals this week. If it wasn’t for that really perplexing loss to the Browns, they’d have a solid case at being number one. They’re playing as well as anyone, but need to prove they can sustain it.
Lamar Jackson is the youngest QB in the Super Bowl era to defeat a team that entered the game 8-0 or better. pic.twitter.com/nOqZxFP6ho
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 4, 2019
5 Green Bay Packers (7-2; +37)
Sunday’s loss to the Chargers was just a no-show by the Packers. No other way to put it. How they respond to that performance – or lack of – could tell us more about Green Bay than the game itself.
6 Kansas City Chiefs (6-3; +48)
After an impressive win over the Vikings on Sunday, the Chiefs could probably get away with sitting Mahomes one more week as they have the Titans in Week 10. However, if he’s healthy, he’ll most likely play no matter the opponent. With three losses, it’s hard to rank Kansas City any higher but with Mahomes right they have best-team-in-the-league potential.
7 Seattle Seahawks (7-2; +18)
The two losses to the Saints and Ravens are nothing to be ashamed of. Still, Seattle almost gets downgraded for their division. With the 49ers still undefeated, there’s a limit to how high we can rank a team that isn’t winning their division. But that could change as the two NFC East powerhouses collide this week.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 2: Missing something
8 Houston Texans (6-3; +47)
The offense looks to be improving but it’s still fair to wonder if the defense can hold up after losing J.J. Watt. A game at Baltimore this week should point us in the right direction in regards to that question about Houston’s defense.
9 Dallas Cowboys (5-3; +85)
Dallas won their first three, dropped their next three, and are now riding a two-game win streak into a home game against the Vikings. They could still have a Super Bowl-type ceiling but they need to find some semblance of consistency to get there.
10 Buffalo Bills (6-2; +27)
A win against Washington, which the Bills accomplished in Week 9, doesn’t say much either way. Though the record here is still very good, it’s looking like Buffalo is a team that’s trending down a bit, which wouldn’t be a surprise.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) November 3, 2019
11 Philadelphia Eagles (5-4; +11)
It’s almost like there are two different versions of the Eagles and they’d prefer to play as the bad one, but when they resist that urge and play as the good version, they’re a really good team.
12 Los Angeles Rams (5-3; +40)
A lot has changed since this team beat New Orleans in Week 2. That still holds up as a really impressive win, but the Rams are just 3-3 since. Things haven’t lined up in L.A. the way they’ve wanted them to, but they’ve bought themselves a little bit of time to figure it out. Not too much more, though, with the 49ers and Seahawks both in their division, the Rams are really behind the proverbial 8-ball.
13 Minnesota Vikings (6-3; +76)
Minnesota was picking up steam before losing to a Mahomes-less, but still-solid Chiefs team. They’re in second place in a division most thought was the NFL’s most competitive a couple of weeks ago. That opinion has probably changed in a majority because there are questions about every team in the NFC North right now, the Vikings not the least of which.
14 Indianapolis Colts (5-3; +5)
It looks like Jacoby Brissett will be okay in due time. And their next two are against the Dolphins and Jaguars, so whether Indy has their QB or not, they should at least split. The Colts are one of the teams lining up for a competitive AFC wild-card race (if they don’t win the AFC South), and as long as Brissett stays on the field this team should expect the postseason.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 3: Still could go either way (and it’s fun to guess which way it will go)
15 Carolina Panthers (5-3; +5)
Without Cam Newton, this is a team kind of stuck in the middle of two plans. Normally, a team as QB-dependent as Carolina would cash in on a season in which their quarterback missed extended time. But with Christian McCaffery playing at an MVP-level and a defense built to win now, the Panthers are in a position to go for it even with Newton on the shelf.
16 Los Angeles Chargers (4-5; +15)
The AFC wild-card race is kind of – and should be – a fascinating watch. Even more so now that the Chargers have put themselves in a position to be in the race.
17 Oakland Raiders (4-4; -34)
While the Raiders are at .500, the negative point differential probably tells you which side they’ve been trending on. The winner of this week’s Chargers-Raiders game will unquestionably be in the AFC wild-card race. The loser … well, not so much.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5; -13)
It’s not too late for Jacksonville to make a run at a playoff spot as they turn back to Nick Foles at QB. And Foles knows a thing or two about late-season playoff pushes. But this team is significantly worse than those Eagles teams, so it may not happen this year for Foles & Co.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) November 5, 2019
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 4: Too much to overcome
19 Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4; +7)
Kudos to the Steelers for continuing to make a strong push to be competitive after everything the organization has been through in regards to departures and injuries. It’s just not happening this year, though. If it goes bad enough to cost Mike Tomlin his job remains to be seen, however.
20 Tennessee Titans (4-5; +3)
The Titans secretly have a really tough schedule. As if their stagnant offense wasn’t enough of a barrier to any chances at the playoffs, being 4-5 with games against the Chiefs and Colts two of the next three weeks could be enough to end all hope.
21 Denver Broncos (3-6; -21)
Many came into the season wondering if Joe Flacco was the answer at quarterback. Now it looks like they’ll be turning to Brandon Allen. Flacco looked to be righting the ship a bit after the team got off to an 0-4 start, but with Allen at the helm, it would be wrong to expect much more winning out of Denver this season.
22 Detroit Lions (3-4-1; -13)
The winner of Week 10’s Lions-Bears game will have a fading – but remote – chance at the playoffs still. The loser will be faced with offseason question-asking about the long-term plan of the franchise already. Even if neither team goes on to the postseason, this is a pretty weighty game between NFC North rivals.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 5: Opposite ends of the NFL spectrum
23 Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1; -56)
The Cardinals are sort of dangerous in a baby animal-type way. They don’t quite know their own power at this point (which is limited at this time anyway) but when they grow into what they should become, Arizona could be terrifying, in a good way.
24 Chicago Bears (3-5; -2)
This Mitchell Trubisky thing has just gotten sad. All the way around, for pretty much everybody involved.
25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6; -22)
Tampa might not be very good, but they definitely make the NFL more interesting. On any given week, the Bucs could be completely inept or score 50. Too much of the former and not enough of the latter has this team with just two wins.
26 Cleveland Browns (2-6; -53)
Spoiler alert: the Browns’ situation isn’t going to improve any time soon.
27 New York Giants (2-7; -79)
Ladies and gentlemen, you’re the undisputed best team in New York!
28 Atlanta Falcons (1-7; -85)
At this point, it’s more thought-provoking to wonder how Atlanta beat Philly in Week 2 than it is to spend too much time pondering how the Falcons got this low in the first place.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 6: I said ‘good day’
29 Washington Redskins (1-8; -111)
A 1-8 shouldn’t have three teams ranked below them, but here we are.
30 Cincinnati Bengals (0-8; -86)
Unlike the two struggling teams below here and the one team above, who are all obviously tanking, the Bengals had the decency to let the season die a natural death.
31 Miami Dolphins (1-7; -153)
We thought you could write the Dolphins into the bottom spot all season in cement. Oh, how we underestimated the power of the Jets’ ineffectiveness.
32 New York Jets (1-7; -115)
This is a franchise famous for losing outside of one season decades ago. But even as such, losing to the Dolphins like they did last Sunday has to register on the worst losses this organization has had to endure. It’s not the toughest loss but is somewhere hovering around that conversation.
I’m sure this is recency bias speaking, as they have provided me a lifetime filled with despondency and angst, but I cannot recall a time I was more disgusted with the New York #Jets than I am right now.
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) October 29, 2019