NFL Power Rankings for Week 10 (Nov. 7th, 2013)

sean-smith-chiefsThis past weekend’s NFL action was filled with a number of surprises, which made for extremely exciting storylines. The Dolphins knocked off the Bengals, the Jets beat the Saints, Washington beat San Diego and a Jay Cutler-less Bears team downed the Packers. This is a complete turnaround from last week, when there were hardly any upsets. And this means that our Week 10 power rankings will be much more entertaining, with quite a few teams moving around.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0); beat Buffalo 23-13, retains same ranking – This wasn’t the Chiefs’ best defensive effort from a yardage perspective, as they gave up 241 yards on the ground to CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. However, the defense came up with two big scores – one on a Tamba Hail fumble recovery and the other on a Sean Smith 99-yard interception return. And this was all they’d need against the Bills.

2. Denver Broncos (7-1); bye week, retains same ranking – The Broncos didn’t play, and nobody did anything significant enough to overtake them for the second spot. Peyton and company travel to San Diego this week in what could be a tough matchup against their division rival.

3. Seattle Seahawks (8-1); beat Tampa Bay 27-24, retains same ranking – For the second week in a row, Seattle was in a tight game against a subpar opponent. This time, Seattle had to claw their way back from an early 21-0 deficit. But thanks to some strong play by Russell Wilson down the stretch, Seattle was able to pull out another victory.

 ty-hilton-touchdown4. Indianapolis Colts (6-2); beat Houston 27-24, moves up one spot – The Colts were in a very similar position to the Seahawks: having to rally against a bad team. In the Colts’ case, it meant overcoming an 18-point deficit thanks to three touchdown passes from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton.

5. San Francisco 49ers (6-2); bye week, moves up one spot – Given the way San Francisco played in weeks leading up to their bye week, they may be playing the best football of anybody in the NFC right now. With a strong running game, a quarterback who can run, and a very good defense, the 49ers will be tough to beat in the playoffs.

6. New Orleans Saints (7-2); lost to New York Jets 26-20, drops two spots – Losing to the Jets on the road isn’t such a terrible thing. But with the Colts and San Francisco continually winning, it’s hard to keep the Saints above them after this loss. It certainly shouldn’t keep New Orleans from winning the NFC South, though.

7. New England Patriots (7-2); beat Pittsburgh 55-31, moves up two spots – Look who’s back! With a healthier team, the Patriots piled up over 600 yards of total offense against the Steelers, including 432 passing yards and four TD’s by Tom Brady. His tight end, Rob Gronkowski, also put up 141 receiving yards and one touchdown on a career-high nine catches.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3); lost to Miami 22-20 (OT), drops one spot – Just when Andy Dalton starts to look like a franchise quarterback, he follows it up with a poor performance by throwing three picks and no touchdowns. This team still has plenty of weapons, though, and can’t be counted out moving forward.

9. Detroit Lions (5-3); bye week, moves up one spot – Detroit visits Chicago with first place in the NFC East on the line. The offense is clicking after the come-from-behind win against Dallas, so expect the Lions to score plenty of points in this pivotal game.

dwayne-harris10. Dallas Cowboys (5-4); beat Minnesota 27-23, moves up two spots – One week after allowing Detroit to beat them with less than a minute left, Dallas staged their own comeback to beat Minnesota. Tony Romo found Dwayne Harris in the end zone with 35 seconds left for the go-ahead score. This victory keeps the Cowboys a game ahead of Philadelphia in the NFC East.

11. Chicago Bears (5-3); beat Green Bay 27-20, moves up two spots – Few people gave the Bears a chance to win at Lambeau Field with Jay Cutler sidelined. But Chicago knocked Aaron Rodgers out of the game with a shoulder injury and proceeded to shut down Green Bay. Now they’ve forced a three-way, first-place tie in the NFC North standings.

12. Green Bay Packers (5-3); lost to Chicago 27-20, drops five spots – Green Bay is still a good football team without Rodgers. But with number 12 sidelined for 4-6 weeks, simply being “good” might put Green Bay behind Chicago and Detroit in the North. Look for Eddie Lacy and James Starks to carry the load while Rodgers is out.

13. Arizona Cardinals (4-4); bye week, moves up one spot – Arizona’s compass is pointed north since they come out of the bye week with games against Houston and Jacksonville. Of course, nothing in the NFL is guaranteed, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Cardinals move to 6-4 soon.

14. Carolina Panthers (5-3); beat Atlanta 34-10, moves up three spots – The Panthers have turned their season around thanks to a four-game winning streak. Defense has been the key to this run, which, in this particular game, included three interceptions of Atlanta QB Matt Ryan. Carolina is now a formidable team, especially with Jonathan Stewart back from injury.

15. San Diego Chargers (4-4); lost to Washington 30-24 (OT), drops four spots – The Chargers may have seen their playoff chances go out the window with this loss. They now move into the meat of their schedule, and it won’t taste good. Two games against both Denver and Kansas City loom ahead.

16. New York Jets (5-4); beat New Orleans 26-20, moves up two spots – Nobody can figure the Jets out. One week, they lose by 40 to the Cincinnati Bengals; the next week, they’re beating a team that’s contending for the NFC title. New York seems to have found an offensive identity in running the ball more with Chris Ivory.

17. Tennessee Titans (4-4); beat St. Louis 28-21, moves up two spots – Chris chris-johnsonJohnson looked like the player that amazed people two years ago after racking up 150 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Shonn Greene adds another dimension to the running game and could help preserve Johnson down the stretch.

18. Miami Dolphins (4-4); beat Cincinnati 22-20 (OT), drops one spot – What should be a celebratory week for the Dolphins after their big victory over Cincinnati has turned into a nightmare. Richie Incognito’s bullying of Jonathan Martin has likely left both linemen done for the season (or career in Incognito’s case). And there are rumors that Miami assistant coaches could be on the chopping block too.

19. Cleveland Browns (4-5); beat Baltimore 24-18, moves up three spots – As long as Brandon Weeden isn’t quarterbacking this team, it seems like the Browns have a chance to win. This is especially the case when Jason Campbell throws for three touchdowns!

20. Baltimore Ravens (3-5); lost to Cleveland 24-18, drops five spots – These Ravens definitely don’t look like repeat Super Bowl champions. Their traditionally strong running game has hit rock bottom, as evidenced by Ray Rice’s 17 yards on 11 carries.

21. Washington Redskins (3-5); beat San Diego 30-24 (OT), moves up three spots – After starting the year a dismal 0-3, Washington has now won three out of their last five to improve to respectability. This effort was led by fullback Darrell Young, who literally came out of nowhere (2 car. on the season) to score three touchdowns.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5); beat Oakland 49-20, moves up five spots – It’s hard to tell if Nick Foles is the guy who looked completely lost running Chip Kelly’s read option three weeks ago, or an ultra-talented QB of the future. This time around, he most definitely looked the latter part.

23. Oakland Raiders (3-5); lost to Philadelphia 49-20, drops three spots – Just when the Raiders looked like they had something special going, they give up an NFL-record-tying seven TD passes to Nick Foles. They’ll try to re-create the magic as they face the Giants.

24. New York Giants (2-6); bye week, moves up two spots – The Giants seek their third win in a row against a Raiders team that’s traveling across the country. They’ll get a boost from RB Andre Brown, who’ll play his first game this year.

25. Atlanta Falcons (2-6); lost to Carolina 34-10, drops four spots – Any delusions of a mid-season turnaround were cut down with this loss. Matt Ryan has now thrown seven interceptions in his last two games.

26. Houston Texans (2-5); lost to Indianapolis 27-24, drops one spot – Houston really let this one slip through their fingers, as they were leading 21-3 at the half. A healthy Arian Foster would’ve enabled them to grind out the clock and grab a victory. The good news is that head coach Gary Kubiak is expected to be coaching again by Week 11 after collapsing at halftime.

27. Buffalo Bills (3-6); lost to Kansas City 23-13, drops one spot – The Bills were actually controlling this game with a strong running effort (241 RYDS). The defining moment came when Jeff Tuel threw an interception at the Chiefs 1-yard line that went all the way back for a touchdown.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6); lost to New England 55-31, retains same ranking – After giving up a franchise-record 55 points, it’s clear that Pittsburgh needs to go into full-on rebuilding mode.

29. St. Louis Rams (3-6); lost to Tennessee 28-21, retains same ranking – St. Louis has now lost their third game in a row and appears to once again be headed for a high pick in next April’s draft.

30. Minnesota Vikings (1-7); lost to Dallas 27-23, retains same ranking – After giving up a last-minute win to the Cowboys, Minnesota players were questioning both of their coordinators. Defensive players were especially peeved that they only ran three-man rushes during the Cowboys game-winning, 90-yard drive.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8); lost to Seattle 27-24, retains same ranking – This team can’t even win when they’re practically gifted a 21-0 lead. Seattle dominated the remainder of the game and kept Tampa Bay winless.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8); bye week, retains same ranking – After a week to rest, maybe Jacksonville can come out and be more competitive throughout the second half of the season.

NFL Power Rankings for Nov. 1st, 2012

Last week was one for the favorites since most of the NFL’s top teams were able to win. This being said, there are few changes in the NFL power rankings from our perspective. Nevertheless, there are a few changes within our top 10 so let’s review them and discuss who’s at the top.

1. Atlanta (7-0) – The Eagles never stood a chance last game as the Falcons took control on the road early and never let up. Matt Ryan tossed three touchdowns for Atlanta while the defense held Michael Vick to a rather mediocre day. All in all, this is easily the league’s best team right now.

Last Game: 30-17 win over Philadelphia.
Next Game: vs. Dallas Cowboys

2. San Francisco 49ers (6-2) – QB Alex Smith quieted the critics by completing 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. Assuming he could play like this every week, the Niners would have no weaknesses on either side of the ball thanks to an annihilating defense.

Last Game: 24-3 win over Arizona
Next Game: vs. St. Louis (Nov. 11)

3. Houston Texans (6-1) – The Texans get a nice tune-up game coming off the bye week as they face Buffalo at home. Running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate are no doubt chomping at the bit to run all over the porous Bills defense. Looking past this game, the big question will be how well QB Matt Schaub can move the ball when Houston is in close games.

Last Game: Bye
Next Game: vs. Buffalo Bills

4. Chicago Bears (6-1) – A come-from-behind victory over the one-win Panthers doesn’t exactly look pretty on your resume. So while the Bears could easily be second or third on our rankings, they’re sitting at fourth as of now. They could be a lot lower had Carolina not made several huge mistakes to help Chicago out.

Last Game: 23-22 win over Carolina
Next Game: at Tennessee

5. New York Giants (6-2) – The G-Men got off to a hot start last week thanks to the three early interceptions that Tony Romo threw. However, the Dallas QB came storming back to throw for 437 yards and nearly lead the Cowboys back. In any case, New York added another win and stays put at number five in our power rankings.

Last Game: 29-24 win over Dallas
Next Game: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. Green Bay Packers (5-3) – An unimpressive home win over the injury-ridden Jacksonville Jaguars doesn’t make Green Bay look like a powerhouse. However, star receiver Jordy Nelson was out of this one, and the Packers were still able to do what they needed for a W. Another home victory over the reeling Cardinals would certainly help the Pack keep pace with Chicago in the NFC North.

Last Game: 24-15 win over Jacksonville
Next Game: vs. Arizona Cardinals

7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – The Ravens got a much-needed bye week to heal their wounds and hopefully climb back to Super Bowl contender status. They have a solid chance to win on the road at Cleveland this week and maintain control over the AFC North.

Last Game: Bye
Next Game: at Cleveland Browns.

8. New England Patriots (5-3) – St. Louis hasn’t been an easy opponent for teams this year, but the Patriots certainly made the Rams look bad in a blowout victory. Tom Brady tossed four TD’s while Stevan Ridley ran wild for 127 yards against a normally-stout run defense. If only the Patriots could stay consistent…

Last Game: 45-7 win over St. Louis
Next Game: vs. Buffalo (Nov. 11)

9. Denver Broncos (4-3) – The Broncos make their first appearance in our power rankings thanks to a 34-14 drubbing of the Saints. Okay, so maybe everybody has been beating up on New Orleans, but one can’t deny Denver’s lethal offensive group of QB Peyton Manning, WR’s Demaryius Thomas and Erik Decker, and RB Willis McGahee. Rookie Ronnie Hillman is also beginning to look like yet another weapon on this team too.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) – Is the Steelers defense beginning to return back to their old, vaunted form? Judging from the way they shut down RGIII and the Redskins, perhaps the Pittsburgh D is back. If the Steelers can maintain a consistent running game, they could challenge the Ravens for the AFC North crown. This team faces an extremely tough test against the Giants in New York on Sunday.

Last Game: 27-12 win over Washington
Next Game: at New York Giants

NFL Power Rankings for Oct. 25th, 2012

If there’s one glaring aspect that stands out about the NFL hierarchy this season, it’s that the NFC looks poised to win another Super Bowl. The top 10 of our power rankings is mostly comprised of NFC teams, and we don’t expect this to change much over the coming weeks. Of course, there are still some solid AFC teams that are capable of winning the Lombardi Trophy this year such as Houston, New England and Baltimore. Now let’s peg these three teams in order along with some of the other top contenders.

1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) – It’s hard to put the Falcons anywhere but number one since they’re the NFL’s lone unbeaten. The Atlanta secondary has played very well and QB Matt Ryan is in the running for league MVP. This week Ryan and his teammates visit Michael Vick and the Eagles following a bye week. We don’t look for Atlanta to lose, but perhaps some bye week rust against a solid team will make this a tough contest.

Last Game: 23-20 win over Oakland
Next Game: at Philadelphia Eagles

2. Houston Texas (6-1) – Houston can rest comfortably in their bye week after destroying the Baltimore Ravens and grabbing the AFC’s top overall spot. It’s hard to say where the Texans go from here since they have little experience with being a dominant team. RB Arian Foster and the defense remain strong, but QB Matt Schaub can be a bit inconsistent at times. However, we predict that Houston should still grab the AFC’s top seed regardless.

Last Game: 43-13 win over Baltimore
Next Game: vs. Buffalo Bills (Nov. 4th)

3. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) – QB Alex Smith has looked shaky at times lately, but he doesn’t exactly face easy defenses in the NFC West. Speaking of defense, the 49ers D hasn’t skipped a beat since last year’s NFC Championship game run. Plus the run game has been going strong, which is always nice to have when there are quarterback uncertainties.

Last Game: 13-6 win over Seattle
Next Game: at Arizona

4. Chicago Bears (5-1) – The Bears defense continues to dash the hopes of fantasy football owners who have opposing quarterbacks, running backs and wideouts. As long as QB Jay Cutler can avoid mental blunders, the Chicago D is enough to keep them in any game.

Last Game: 13-7 win over Detroit
Next Game: vs. Carolina Panthers

5. New York Giants (5-2) – Some might argue that the Giants should be higher than this. But it took a last minute 77-yard bomb from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz  to finish off the Redskins last week. Even still, a win is a win and the G-Men will be looking for early season revenge against the Cowboys on Sunday.

Last Game: 27-23 win over Washington
Next Game: at Dallas Cowboys

6. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – Ravaged by defensive injuries, the Ravens took a 43-13 beating at the hands of the Texans. QB Joe Flacco’s play didn’t inspire much confidence in the offense either. Luckily for the Ravens, they still hold a commanding lead in the AFC North and now have a bye week to overcome some injuries.

Last Game: 43-13 loss to Houston
Next Game: at Cleveland Browns (Nov. 4th)

7. Green Bay Packers (4-3) – After a slow start, QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson have suddenly caught fire over the past couple of games, and we’re hearing less groans coming from Green Bay fans. Plus the defense has been very good at creating turnovers and pressuring the quarterback.

Last Game: 30-20 win over St. Louis
Next Game: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

8. Minnesota Vikings (5-2) – Minnesota is officially this year’s surprise team after bolting out to 5-2. With this kind of record, you wouldn’t think that the Vikes are in a must-win situation against Tampa Bay this week. But two out of their following three games are road contests against the Seahawks and Bears. However, it’s hard to knock the Vikings because of upcoming games and they’ve definitely earned this spot.

Last Game: 21-14 win over Arizona
Next Game: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

9. New England Patriots (4-3) – Lately the Patriots have been the NFL’s version of a great long distance runner who sprints out to a huge lead, only to barely win at the end of the race. Last week’s overtime win over the Jets was too close for comfort after leading by quite a bit in the second half. And the four-player merry go-round at running back seems to confuse the Pats just as much as it does opponents.

Last Game: 29-26 (OT) over New York Jets
Next Game: at St. Louis Rams

10. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) – QB Russell Wilson came back down to earth after leading Seattle to a lackluster offense performance in San Francisco. However, it wasn’t all his fault since the Seahawks receivers need to hang onto the ball. Luckily the defense has remained stout and the team is eyeing a winnable game in Detroit this week.

Last Week: 13-6 loss against San Francisco
Next Week: at Detroit Lions