It’s been a while since the last power rankings were released here at The Sports Guys Site. Many things have happened in the league since then. The Falcons, Lions, and Titans were all in the top five back then. Aaron Rodgers was still playing, as was Odell Beckham Jr. and JJ Watt. The Chargers and Saints were in limbo, while the Rams and Seahawks were traveling in the middle. Yikes, how things have changed.
Here are this week’s power rankings.
*Note: Since the list hasn’t been updated in a while, the normal “change” references are rendered unimportant.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are soaring right now (no pun intended). The injury to Jason Peters will clearly be a blow to the offense, but with more weapons emerging Carson Wentz will have plenty to work with. The defensive front is as fearsome as any in football, and the secondary will get better. In fact, Ronald Darby did practice a bit this week.
2. New England Patriots
The Patriots are certainly finding their offensive identity. The quick hitters to running backs continue to be effective, and Tom Brady is still slinging it at a very high level. It’s hard to gauge the defensive performance only because the Falcons have been a different team this season. However, with Belichick and Patricia making adjustments, they should be just fine.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
This Steelers team is a very resilient bunch. They are starting to figure out who they want to be offensively. As long as Le’Veon Bell stays healthy, they can rely on him to be the catalyst on offense. Big Ben certainly isn’t the usual Ben we are used to, but with Antonio Brown around, they will be fine. The defense is getting better, especially up front. TJ Watt is putting together a very nice rookie campaign, and second year lineman Javon Hargrave is carving out a good role as well.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs aren’t going anywhere despite back-to-back losses. They are still explosive on offense, and Kareem Hunt is still putting up gaudy numbers week in and week out. The offensive line will only get healthier as well. Defensively, Bennie Logan has been a big add for the run defense. The issue lies in the secondary. The good news is that Steven Nelson has been practicing this week.
5. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks look like they are getting their late season form as they usually do around this time. The offensive line actually held up well against a fearsome Giants front, and that gave Wilson time to carve up the Giants. The defense will get help from the signing of Dwight Freeney. They are once again serious contenders in the NFC.
6. Los Angeles Rams
It’s time to start talking about the Rams as serious threats in the NFC. The offense once again looked good with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley running the show. The better news is that their defense is gaining steam under Wade Phillips. He is dialing up pressure in creative ways. They made the Cardinals look like a college team in London and they will only get better on both sides.
7. Minnesota Vikings
It’s impressive that the Vikings have risen to a rank this high without Sam Bradford, Dalvin Cook, and a couple weeks without Stefon Diggs. Yet, here they are. Case Keenum continues to be enough for this Vikings team on offense. Their weapons in the passing game are the guys keeping them on the scoreboard. Their defense is still excellent, with Xavier Rhodes and Danielle Hunter both on the rise.
8. New Orleans Saints
Surprise! Actually, believe it or not, I had the Saints as a playoff team. They may not make it, but this is a different Saints team. Drew Brees still leads a great offense with a two headed monster at running back. The defense is winning on the line, and the secondary is much improved. Also, how about this draft class? Marshon Lattimore is the favorite for defensive rookie of the year. Ryan Ramczyk is a very nice player to have on the right side of the line. Plus, Alvin Kamara is a dynamic presence at running back.
9. Buffalo Bills
The Bills are still hanging around by running the football and playing defense. In the case against Tampa Bay, the defense made a play at the end. LeSean McCoy is the driving force on offense, but Tyrod Taylor is playing turnover-limiting football. The defense is winning at the point of attack, and rookie Tre White is another in the defensive rookie of the year running.
10. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are definitely in the thick of things. This past week the offense showed its capability with Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield. Dak Prescott continues to play well as well, and the defense generated pressure all afternoon against the Niners. Let’s not forget about the return of Sean Lee. His presence has a huge impact on the defense. The key comes down to whether the secondary can hold up down the stretch.
11. Washington Redskins
Two of the losses for Washington have come against Philly. Their third is a game they could have won against the Chiefs. The Redskins are a team many (including myself) doubted coming into the season. The offense is still running smoothly and they are getting healthier outside. However, as they get healthy outside, the injury report continues to grow. Three tackles and Josh Norman highlight the long list. They have a big game coming up against Dallas.
12. Jacksonville Jaguars
The defense is absurd up front. Calais Campbell has ignited a defensive line that is loaded with potential. Suddenly, Dante Fowler has come alive. Yannick Ngakoue is becoming a force. The secondary is also lock down. Jalen Ramsey has quickly become a top corner in the league. The crazy part is the offense. Leonard Fournette is beginning to dominate, but how about Blake Bortles? He is turning it over less, which is what the Jags need to continue to contend.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are finally becoming the team many expected at the start of the season. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are the best duo off the edge right now, and the secondary is tightening their grip as one of the best in football. With the presence of first rounder Mike Williams on offense, they only get more dynamic. Teams should be taking notice, especially their division foes.
14. Houston Texans
DeShaun Watson is playing very well for the Texans thus far. His presence is making running the football easier. With Duane Brown returning, the protection should also improve. The defense still has the pieces to combat the losses of Watt and Whitney Mercilus. The good news is that the division is up for grabs.
15. Detroit Lions
The Lions are slowly fading from playoff contention. The defense isn’t limiting big plays, and the offense made too many mistakes against New Orleans two weeks ago. Now, the Lions have to deal with no Golden Tate for a short time. They must go back to running the football, controlling the clock, and getting pressure defensively. A tough match-up with Pittsburgh looms.
16. Carolina Panthers
Talk about a tale of two teams. The Panthers certainly aren’t the team they were a few weeks. The offense has stalled. They aren’t getting enough production from the running back spot between the tackles, which leaves them with second and third and longs. Cam Newton is struggling right now, and the offense is following suit. The defense is just fine, but they can’t continue to turn in clunkers like they did against Chicago.
17. Atlanta Falcons
This is another team who isn’t themselves. The Falcons made the Patriots look like the ’85 Bears (’13 Seahawks? Maybe the ’00 Ravens? Ehh, not the point) on Sunday night. The offense clearly isn’t the same with Steve Sarkisian at the helm of calling plays. Matt Ryan is missing throws that he makes. Also, what was with the wide receiver jet sweep on fourth and goal from the one yard line? Ridiculous, that’s what it was. The defense did their job limiting the Pats offense. The offense just isn’t the same. It’s like they’re caught in a fog (had to).
18. Tennessee Titans
The Titans barely hung on in Cleveland on Sunday. That isn’t exactly something you want to hear. Marcus Mariota is still playing well, but their running game really didn’t get going against Cleveland. The defense still isn’t top notch, and that will show against teams that aren’t the Browns. Not sure if this is their year.
19. Miami Dolphins
They picked up a key win against the Jets. Before he got hurt, Jay Cutler looked very good. Yes, Matt Moore came in and did fine, but he has more limitations than Cutler. The good news is, if they can run the ball down teams’ throats and play better defense, they have a chance to hang around down the stretch.
20. Chicago Bears
Eddie Jackson was a very nice draft pick for the Bears. The two touchdowns were right-place-right-time plays, but he has great instincts and plays well near the line of scrimmage. The front seven can really get after teams as well. Mitchell Trubisky didn’t do much at all Sunday, thanks to the defense. However, he does have two very good running backs to lean on. They aren’t necessarily out of the division race at this point.
21. Denver Broncos
Horrible loss for the Broncos this week. Getting blanked by the Chargers raises many questions about the offense. Trevor Siemian needs to play better and they need to run the ball more effectively. The defense did just fine keeping them in the game, and they will give them all the chances in the world to win. It’s about stepping up and playing better on offense.
22. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders got a win they desperately needed, even if it took a few tries there at the end. The offense finally exploded into what everyone expected it to be. Amari Cooper has that kind of potential every week. When he’s on, Jared Cook stretches the field, and Michael Crabtree is Michael Crabtree, they can put 30 up any week. The issue is giving up more than five yards per play on defense. That could be their downfall down the stretch.
23. Green Bay Packers
The good news? The defense held Drew Brees and company under 30 points and Aaron Jones was a nice draft pick. The bad? Play calling and a conservative plan. Brett Hundley isn’t Aaron Rodgers, but my goodness. You need to give him more opportunities to throw down the field. Luckily, they have a bye week to sort out the mess that was the offense against New Orleans.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
The crazy part here is that the Bengals are still a longshot for the playoffs. AJ Green is dominating defenses, and Joe Mixon is starting to get more carries. On defense, their front is very good. Carl Lawson is playing extremely well off the edge, and Carlos Dunlap is doing his part on the other side. “Redshirt rookie” William Jackson held his own in the secondary against Pittsburgh. They just need to come together and play a full game.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Right now, expectations aren’t coming to fruition for the Bucs. The offense played well against the Bills, but the defense still can’t get a pass rush or cover in the secondary. They can’t expect to go win shootouts every single week. With the defense how it is, the Bucs need to run the ball more effectively to keep their defense off the field more. The good news is they aren’t done yet. Many division games are on the horizon.
26. New York Jets
Tough blow for the Jets, who basically gave it away on Sunday. The defense is playing well, especially in the secondary with Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. They are running the ball well and Josh McCown is doing fine. Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been huge for them in the passing game. They are outperforming expectations, but they aren’t a playoff team.
27. Arizona Cardinals
An absolutely ugly loss on Sunday. They will continue with Drew Stanton after Carson Palmer broke his arm on Sunday. The “Adrian Peterson is back” narrative is now crawling. The offense won’t be as explosive without Palmer, and the defense is struggling to deal with injuries.
28. Baltimore Ravens
No excuses here. The Ravens have to get something going on offense. I actually don’t even know what else to say about this team. They have a chance to turn things around a bit coming up against the Dolphins. On to the next one.
29. Indianapolis Colts
Losing a great rookie like Malik Hooker is killer for the Colts. That secondary is bad without him. Like, really bad. Like they made Blake Bortles look decent bad. They also aren’t performing well in the trenches. Allowing double digit sacks to the Jags didn’t help, and they couldn’t contain TJ Yeldon in the ground game. This is a team that needs help in the draft.
30. New York Giants
Not a lot of words here. The Giants struggled even before they lost both Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall. It didn’t look any better on Sunday. Plus, the defense couldn’t generate pressure, which left their defensive backs on an island all afternoon. The good news is that they certainly found a stud in Evan Engram.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Real tough one to swallow for the Niners. They couldn’t contain Elliott and didn’t win much up front against a Cowboys line that, while still very solid, isn’t what they were last season. CJ Beathard didn’t look awful in his first official start. The offensive line is a work in progress, but Beathard made some plays on the run and with his legs.
32. Cleveland Browns
The one positive about the Browns is how good their defensive front is. They are giving teams fits at the point of attack. They aren’t letting many people run on them. So, hats off to them there. However, the quarterback situation has to stop being a revolving door. Play one guy and stop switching in between games and every other week. Change looks likely to come after this season.
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