Finally! We had some exciting results in the NFL for the first time in a while. The Patriots went down, the 49ers had a nail-biter and the Seahawks went to overtime. Lamar Jackson showed off his skillset once again, the Packers fell apart on the west coast and the Chiefs proved they could win without Patrick Mahomes. Overall, it was a wild week of football.
With so many important results, the rankings got a good shake up this week, including a new team at the top. Another slate of important games awaits, so there is plenty more to come in the near future. Let’s dive into all the action from this weekend.
1. New Orleans Saints: 7-1 (Last Week: 2)
It is good to be on top. New Orleans took the week off and moved to the top of the power rankings. Funny how that happens. It does have a loss this year, but the Saints are capable of playing at a higher level than anyone else in the NFL right now. The defense plays lights out and with the offense finally getting healthy, we will see this team at full strength. There is a lot of season left to play, but the team to beat currently resides in NOLA.
2. San Francisco 49ers: 8-0 (Last Week: 3)
Won 28-25 at Arizona
And then there was one. San Francisco is the only undefeated team left in the NFL after New England suffered its first loss of the year. The 49ers were tested by a plucky Cardinals team on Thursday night, but emerged with its eight win of the season. Jimmy Garoppolo tore up what has been a bad secondary, but it was still good to see him get into a groove. He had four touchdown passes in a good offensive showing. San Fran might get its best test of the year yet with a visit from Seattle on Monday Night in Week 10.
3. Baltimore Ravens: 6-2 (Last Week: 5)
Won 37-20 vs. New England
Talk about a statement win. The Ravens certainly managed that with a convincing victory over the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. If not for a couple of untimely fumbles, this might have been a real blowout for Baltimore. Lamar Jackson showed once again why he is so difficult to gameplan for and the defense continues to make game-changing plays. For the third straight week, Marlon Humphrey returned a fumble for a touchdown. The AFC suddenly looks very interesting now that the Ravens have inserted themselves into the conversation.
4. New England Patriots: 8-1 (Last Week: 1)
Lost 37-20 at Baltimore
After playing easily the softest schedule in the league through the first eight weeks, Baltimore punched New England in the mouth. There are real concerns with this offense’s ability to protect Tom Brady and play from behind. Brady threw the ball 46 times as the Patriots could not use the run to control the clock. Defensively, the Pats had no answer for Lamar Jackson, specifically running the ball. After dominating to start the year, New England is suddenly giving up almost 100 yards per game on the ground, surrendering over 150 in back-to-back contests. Championships aren’t won in November, but this was a troubling loss.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: 6-3 (Last Week: 6)
Won 26-23 vs. Minnesota
You got the feeling that Kansas City was capable of hanging with tough teams even without Patrick Mahomes last week against Green Bay. The Chiefs followed that up with a massive win over the Vikings. Moving to 6-3 feels much different than falling to 5-4. It was not a perfect outing, as KC struggled to run the ball outside of a 91-yard outburst from Damien Williams. Excluding that run, the Chiefs averaged 3.3 yards per carry. At the end of the day though Kansas City can just be happy it has Harrison Butker.
6. Seattle Seahawks: 7-2 (Last Week: 7)
Won 40-34 (OT) vs. Tampa Bay
Well that was much too close for comfort. Seattle trailed for much of this contest and looked incapable of stopping Jameis Winston. The 34 points were the most the Seahawks have given up all season. Miscues played a role as well. Chris Carson fumbled yet again and Jason Myers missed three kicks in total. It is good to see Seattle can overcome these mistakes, but it also goes to show how vulnerable the defense can be against a team that can stretch the field. A Monday Night Football divisional battle with the undefeated 49ers awaits.
7. Green Bay Packers: 7-2 (Last Week: 4)
Lost 26-11 at Los Angeles
That was flat out ugly. I don’t know the last time I saw the Packers offense play like that. Aaron Rodgers was seemingly always under pressure and the group as a whole showed very little cohesiveness. Much of the game just felt disjointed from an offensive standpoint. Defensively, the inability to stop the run showed up again as Green Bay gave up 159 yards to a team that entered the game averaging under 70 yards per contest. These are the type of outings the Packers are liable to have given the holes on the roster, but they cannot afford to let them become a regular habit.
8. Los Angeles Rams: 5-3 (Last Week: 9)
A week off was much needed for this Rams team that has struggled through the first half of the season. I say struggled, but this group is still 5-3. The biggest thing missing from last year’s success is the rushing attack. That sets up just about everything else in this offense and keeps Los Angeles’ defense well rested. A date with the Steelers is up next and that should give us a lot of information about which direction the Rams are headed.
9. Minnesota Vikings: 6-3 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 26-23 at Kansas City
In a week where the offense actually played fairly well, it was the defense that let Minnesota down. This has to be chalked up as a disappointing loss after scoring 23 points and facing the Matt Moore-led Chiefs. It was the big plays that killed the Vikings, allowing a 91-yard touchdown run to Damien Williams and a 41-yard touchdown catch from Tyreek Hill. This is a team that feels good enough to reach the playoffs, but at the same time has no chance of actually winning the Super Bowl. It simply does not show up in big games.
10. Dallas Cowboys: 5-3 (Last Week: 10)
Won 37-18 at New York
It was a bit of a rocky start, but Dallas turned in a solid second-half performance. Dak Prescott played really well after throwing an interception on his pass of the night. The ground game showed up big time with 172 yards rushing and the Cowboys forced three Daniel Jones turnovers. Dallas controls the division right now, but next week features a visit from the Vikings for a big-time NFC showdown.
11. Houston Texans: 6-3 (Last Week: 12)
Won 26-3 at Jacksonville (London)
This was the type of performance many have wanted to see from the Texans. Against a tricky Jacksonville outfit, Houston took care of business. The Texans ran the ball well, Deshaun Watson played extremely efficiently and the defense came up with a bunch of turnovers in an important divisional win. With the Colts losing, they take back over the lead in the AFC South. Houston has to feel good about where it stands.
12. Buffalo Bills: 6-2 (Last Week: 13)
Won 24-9 vs. Washington
Hey Buffalo Bill(s)! You are now 6-2 and looking like a playoff team. Beating Washington is nothing to write home about, but it was an important bounce-back win. The defense fared well against a rookie quarterback, but struggled to stop the run for the second straight week. This next stretch of games is important as Buffalo makes its postseason push. With a tough final few games, beating the Browns, Dolphins and Broncos is going to be crucial.
13. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-4 (Last Week: 14)
Won 22-14 vs. Chicago
It certainly wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles gutted out another win to move back above .500. The victory came at a cost as now it sounds like DeSean Jackson is done for the season with an injury. Still, there were some very positive signs here. The defense played well once again against what has been an inept Bears offense. Philly held Chicago to just nine yards of offense in the first half. However, the offense could not find a way to put this one away. The Eagles should be able to build a more commanding lead when the defense plays as well as it did. New England follows a bye week, so Doug Pederson will have to have this team firing on all cylinders.
14. Carolina Panthers: 5-3 (Last Week: 16)
Won 30-20 vs. Tennessee
Carolina bounced back with a convincing win over Tennessee. It was far from perfect, but it was another MVP-type performance from Christian McCaffrey. The defense made its fair share of plays as well with two picks, a fumble recovery and four sacks. It is hard to know how to assess this team. The Panthers have won five of their last six, but the loss was a 38-point drubbing by the 49ers. Carolina has another huge game coming up against a reeling Green Bay side looking to rebound after a shocking loss of its own.
15. Indianapolis Colts: 5-3 (Last Week: 11)
Lost 26-24 at Pittsburgh
Indy lost Jacoby Brissett early and that proved to be the difference in the contest. Sure, Brian Hoyer played well in relief, but he tossed a back-breaking interception that was returned 96 yards for a touchdown. No game is decided by one play, but that momentum swing was huge in what proved to be a two-point affair. Adam Vinatieri also botched the potential game-winning field goal to ice things for a hurting Colts team. Brissett’s status will determine if this team still has hope of winning a division title.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers: 4-4 (Last Week: 20)
Won 26-24 vs. Indianapolis
Flash back to six weeks ago when Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out the rest of the year and the struggling Steelers looked destined for a top-five pick. Well it turns out that Minkah Fitzpatrick trade worked out pretty well for them and now Pittsburgh is back to .500. It hasn’t always been pretty, as the Steelers had to sweat out a missed field goal to squeak by the Colts, but they are winning. Good offensive line play and opportunistic defense has Pittsburgh back on track. This banged up team is building momentum and certainly has its eye set on a postseason run.
17. Oakland Raiders: 4-4 (Last Week: 21)
Won 31-24 vs. Detroit
The Raiders defended the Black Hole in an impressive offensive showing. Derek Carr balled out with 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He spread the ball around and got a lot of help from Josh Jacobs, who rumbled for 120 yards and two scores. One week after challenging Houston, Oakland got an important home win to get back to .500. The upcoming Thursday night game against the Chargers is going to be huge in determining which team can challenge for a wild card spot.
18. Detroit Lions: 3-4-1 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 31-24 at Oakland
After a positive start to the year, all of the issues that seem to regularly plague the Lions defense have returned. Derek Carr shredded the secondary and the front seven could not slow down Josh Jacobs. Matt Stafford threw for over 400 yards and tossed three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the porous defense. Seemingly out of the divisional race, Detroit has to hope it can right the ship and make a run at the wild card in the NFC.
19. Tennessee Titans: 4-5 (Last Week: 18)
Won 27-23 vs. Tampa Bay
The Ryan Tannehill experiment went a little bit sideways on Sunday, but maybe it’s not fair to put all the blame on him. He has his share of it after throwing two interceptions, but the defense had no answer for Christian McCaffrey. He racked up 166 yards of offense and scored three touchdowns. I know he is really good, but you would think Tennessee might devote a bit more of its gameplan to stopping him. Regardless, the Titans playoff hopes got dented in the loss.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-5 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 26-3 vs. Houston (London)
Jacksonville might have had its worst game of the season in London. The offense managed a meager three points and Gardner Minshew looked very much like a rookie sixth-round pick. Credit the Texans for bottling up Leonard Fournette, but the Jaguars just never got in sync. Whether it was turnovers or lack of execution, they could not find a way to stay on the field. The defense didn’t do them any favors either, giving up 216 yards on the ground. A week off is much needed to solve some of these alarming issues.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-5 (Last Week: 24)
Won 26-11 vs. Green Bay
Is it possible the Chargers are on a winning streak? In easily the most stunning result of the week, Los Angeles beat up Aaron Rodgers and completely grounded this high-flying offense. Rodgers will be having nightmares about Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram all week. Offensively, the Chargers really committed to the run, rushing it 38 times to keep Rodgers off the field. If this is the type of performance LA can turn in on a weekly basis, the playoffs are not out of the question just yet.
22. Arizona Cardinals: 3-5-1 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 28-25 vs. San Francisco
Arizona certainly gave San Francisco a Halloween scare on Thursday night with a huge comeback that came up short. The secondary is still a mess, but the offense played lights out against one of the best defenses in the league. Kyler Murray looked comfortable and Kenyan Drake had a monster debut with 162 yards from scrimmage. There is still plenty of room for growth, but the Cardinals are quickly becoming one of the most entertaining teams to watch and a real threat to upset contenders.
23. Denver Broncos: 3-6 (Last Week: 25)
Won 24-19 vs. Cleveland
The Brandon Allen era started on a high note with Denver holding off Cleveland in an ugly game. Courtland Sutton made one of the catches of the year and Noah Fant ripped off a dominating catch and run to propel the offense. The defense was disruptive and did just enough to hold off a late Browns rally. It was a much-needed win for a team struggling with injuries and identity. One easy fix would be handing the ball to Phillip Lindsay more. He had nine carries for 92 yards on Sunday. Both the new starting quarterback and my fantasy team would appreciate a heavier dose of him next week.
24. Chicago Bears: 3-5 (Last Week 19)
Lost 22-14 at Philadelphia
This tumultuous season hit another bump in the road as the offense found a new low. Chicago gained nine yards of total offense in the first half against Philly. Nine! Matt Nagy has gone from looking like a guru to snapping at reporters about playcalling. Mitchell Trubisky is making a case for the worst quarterback in the league still starting this year. It was a better second half, but the Bears dropped another one and look nothing like the group we saw reach the postseason a year ago.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-6 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 40-34 (OT) at Seattle
It is weeks like this that make it difficult to envision the Buccaneers moving on from Jameis Winston this offseason. He threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He did fumble once, but this was a really good game from Winston. The defense was nowhere to be found, allowing Russell Wilson to toss five touchdown passes. It is very clear where Tampa’s weaknesses lie. Still, this team went on the road and pushed Seattle to overtime. There is something to be said for that.
26. Cleveland Browns: 2-6 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 24-19 at Denver
Turns out the Browns are still the Browns. One week after falling apart against the Patriots, an acceptable thing to do, this team lost to Brandon Allen making his first career start. Baker Mayfield has broken down mechanically because he always looking for the rush. He is not getting the ball to his best playmakers in big moments either, as Odell Beckham Jr. should definitely be getting more targets. Cleveland is extremely undisciplined and looks like a trainwreck. Freddie Kitchens needs to get this team back on track or risk losing his job after just one year.
27. New York Giants: 2-7 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 37-18 vs. Dallas
If you only look at the scoreline, it is easy to assuming Dallas simply blew out New York on Monday Night Football. However, the Giants were in this contest for a while. They had some early opportunities to build a lead at home, but squandered them with poor play in the red zone. A late defensive touchdown for the Cowboys made the result look even more comfortable. It is clear the Giants are close to breaking through the next tier in the NFL, but that will require them to take full advantage of their opponents’ mistakes.
28. Atlanta Falcons: 1-7 (Last Week: 29)
Atlanta has had one of the most disappointing first halves of any team in the league, right up there with Cleveland and Chicago. There are a lot of the major building blocks already in place for this franchise with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and a decent offensive line. The defense has been what is holding this team back, failing to generate any sort of pass rush. Injuries have also decimated the Falcons this year, but hopefully that allows them to build some depth for years to come.
29. Washington: 1-7 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 24-9 at Buffalo
Dwayne Haskins finally got his first NFL start and it went about as well as you could’ve imagined. Washington failed to score a touchdown and did not threaten much through the air. This was facing a good Buffalo defense, so maybe all Haskins needs is a bit of patience. Adrian Peterson did turn back the clocks though with a 110-yard performance rushing. If Haskins can get into a bit of rhythm, the ground game is good enough to do most of the heavy lifting for this offense to start producing touchdowns.
30. Miami Dolphins: 1-7 (Last Week: 32)
Won 26-18 vs. New York
It finally happened! The Dolphins won a football game in the regular season. It has been a long time coming honestly, as Miami has been building throughout the course of the year. Despite the struggles this season, the Dolphins have a few young players emerging in crucial roles. Unfortunately, Preston Williams went down with a season-ending injury. The offensive line is still getting a bit better and there are some signs of life on defense. This might not be the last game the Dolphins win this year.
31. New York Jets: 1-7 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 26-18 at Miami
This team is once again the laughing stock of the NFL. If not for what is looking more and more like a fluky win over the Cowboys, this team would be hurdling towards the first overall pick. Sam Darnold definitely has regressed since his rookie season. The offensive line is completely out of sync and the secondary looks hopeless. Adam Gase is on thin ice already and if this team does not show any signs of improvement, he will be out of a job at the end of the year.
32. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-8 (Last Week: 31)
It might’ve been a week off for the Bengals, but they suddenly find themselves as the lone winless team in the NFL. Cincinnati should get a boost when A.J. Green does finally return from injury. Zac Taylor has the second half the season to start building a core for this team to lean on in the future. It is all about trying to build for the next few years and hopefully finding a way to win at least one game in the process.