2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

Tis the season for major rankings shake ups. Hot streaks were snapped for the Dolphins and Vikings. Playoff hopes took a hit for the Patriots and Eagles. Meanwhile, the Ravens continue to struggle with an identity crisis as their postseason dreams fade and the Lions forgot how to score heading into Thanksgiving.

Needless to say, it is hard to feel quite as excited about the Thanksgiving Day slate of games as we usually would given the rising cases of the coronavirus across the country. That means this year we will be faced with much smaller gatherings, forced to see loved ones through computer screens and likely missing out on many of our usual traditions.

It has been a hard year for all of us, so I just want to take a chance to say thank you to everyone who reads this. It is a very useful outlet for me to feel productive in this ridiculous time. It is also a distraction from all of the real world issues we all face on a daily basis. I know that is a dangerous thing to ignore the social injustice and public health crisis going on around us, but I also know it is healthy to find a release that allows you to return to those much more serious and pressing issues with a renewed sense of energy.

So this holiday season, more than ever, I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for my family and friends who continue to support me and keep me sane. And, as always, I am thankful for football.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 10-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 27-3 at Jacksonville
The target on Pittsburgh’s back continues to grow. Having won 10 straight, the Steelers are winning games in different ways each week. Chase Claypool, Benny Snell Jr. and Eric Ebron each found the end zone. Defensively, Pittsburgh bent, but never broke. Four interceptions of Jake Luton made life very easy on the offense and kept the Jaguars out of the end zone. The intensity will escalate quickly with a desperate Ravens team visiting on Thanksgiving night. The Steelers could just about wrap up the division with a win.

Chiefs Logo

2. Kansas City Chiefs: 9-1 (Last Week: 2)
Won 35-31 at Las Vegas
There is clearly something tricky for the Chiefs when it comes to facing the Raiders. Patrick Mahomes struggled in the first half, throwing an interception just before halftime. Kansas City’s offense found its footing in the second half, but the defense never seemed to get on track. Derek Carr tore up the secondary for three touchdowns and 8.9 yards per attempt. The Chiefs will be happy to move on with a win and avenge their one loss off the season, but this is not a team that Kansas City will want to see a third time.

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3. New Orleans Saints: 8-2 (Last Week: 4)
Won 24-9 vs. Atlanta
Who needs Drew Brees? Apparently not Sean Payton, who picked up his sixth win over the past two years while starting a backup quarterback. While it wasn’t always pretty, Taysom Hill also validated Payton’s faith in him. While he was most impactful as a runner, Hill was highly effective as a passer. Completing 18-of-23 passes for 10.1 yards per attempt is more than good enough for the Saints to win games. It helped that the defense stepped up big time, intercepting Matt Ryan twice and limiting the Falcons to just 52 yards rushing. New Orleans also sacked Ryan eight times as Atlanta never reached the end zone. It might be a bit of an unconventional approach, but the Saints are still going to be a very tough team to beat.

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4. Green Bay Packers: 7-3 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 34-31 at Indianapolis
Green Bay led 28-14 at halftime, then proceeded to score just three points between the second half and overtime. Turnovers killed the Packers and most were self inflicted. A botched snap on the first drive cost Green Bay points. Aaron Rodgers got greedy and forced a pass to Davante Adams that was intercepted. Indy’s field goal to take the lead was set up by a Packers fumble on the kickoff return. Then of course, Marquez Valdes-Scantling coughed it up on the second play of overtime to set up the Colts’ winning field goal. Sloppy mistakes cost the team a chance at a road win against one of the AFC’s top teams. Now, the Packers are looking up at the Saints and Seahawks in the standings.

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5. Buffalo Bills: 7-3 (Last Week: 8)
Bye Week
Buffalo got a week off to put the heartbreak of last week’s loss behind them. That was made significantly easier by watching the Cardinals lose their next game. The Bills also now enjoy a full-game lead in the division thanks to a loss by the Dolphins and the Patriots shrink further into the background after they lost as well. In a season that seems to lack too many dominant teams, I don’t know that Buffalo is going to fill the void, but it sure has an opportunity it can take advantage of.

6. Los Angeles Rams: 7-3 (Last Week: 14)
Won 27-24 at Tampa Bay
Los Angeles is flying under the radar, but at 7-3, the Rams lead the NFC West and hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff race. Jared Goff is spreading the ball around and getting it out quickly. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods went off on the Buccaneers secondary. This offense still has the tendency to disappear too often, but the top-end potential of this team is a Super Bowl champion. If this defense continues to play at this high of a level, the Rams are going to be very tough to knock out in the postseason.

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7. Seattle Seahawks: 7-3 (Last Week: 11)
Won 28-21 vs. Arizona
For the first time all season, Seattle’s defense showed up to play. The addition of Carlos Dunlap paid some major dividends on Thursday night, coming up with the game-winning sack on Kyler Murray. Holding the Cardinals to just 21 points is actually a pretty big accomplishment. Without question, the Seahawks’ defense is still a weakness for this team. Seattle needs a performance like that to occur a bit more frequently to really look the part of a complete team.

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8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7-4 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 27-24 vs. Los Angeles
Another primetime game and another failed test for the Buccaneers against a playoff contender. Tom Brady threw a pair of interceptions, including one on Tampa Bay’s final drive of the game trailing by three. He got very little help from his running game. The Bucs rushed for just 42 yards and 2.3 yards per carry as everything fell on Brady to create down the stretch. Tampa’s run defense did it’s job almost before hitting the field. Los Angeles kept throwing the ball, but it was a masterclass in route running and offensive scheming. This is a close loss to a good team, but those will end your season in January.

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9. Indianapolis Colts: 7-3 (Last Week: 12)
Won 34-31 vs. Green Bay
Sunday was a statement win for the Colts. The Titans had been the only decent team Indianapolis had beaten all season up to this point. Losses to the Ravens, Browns and Jaguars definitely made it hard to trust the Colts as well. The defense did catch a few breaks, but making opportunistic plays is crucial to winning football games. Still, it is unlikely any of Indy’s opponents will commit four turnovers again any time soon. There was an air of good fortune surrounding this win, but Indy needs to take the lucky break and build momentum from it heading into the home stretch of what looks to be a very tight divisional race.

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10. Miami Dolphins: 6-4 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 20-13 at Denver
Well, that certainly took the wind out of Miami’s sails. Riding high on a five-game win streak, the Dolphins were bullied by a much more physical Broncos team. Tua Tagovailoa was sacked six times and eventually benched. He finished with just 83 yards passing. The Dolphins defense made just enough big plays to give Ryan Fitzpatrick a chance, but he threw a game-ending interception in the end zone on Miami’s final drive. To be that close is impressive given how thoroughly the ‘Fins were outplayed. Denver ran for 189 yards at 5.7 yards per carry and Drew Lock was averaging nine yards per attempt. It was a humbling reality check for Brian Flores’ squad.

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11. Arizona Cardinals: 6-4 (Last Week: 7)
Lost 28-21 at Seattle
It was a bit of an off week for the Cardinals. Perhaps, Arizona had a bit of a letdown following an emotional win the week before. DeAndre Hopkins hauled in that ridiculous Hail Mary. Kyler Murray had a muted performance by his standards. The Cardinals entered Week 11 as the league’s top rushing team. Arizona finished with just 57 yards, more than 100 yards below its season average. This team is still on the rise, but the Cardinals took a major hit in the division standings.

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12. Las Vegas Raiders: 6-4 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 35-31 vs. Kansas City
No team has been able to challenge the Chiefs this year. No team other than the Raiders that is (and maybe the Panthers, weirdly enough.) Las Vegas took Kansas City to the wire, making Patrick Mahomes look mortal doing so. Derek Carr played nearly flawless. The interception on Vegas’ final drive put a damper on his outing, but the Raiders were in a pretty bleak situation before that play ever occurred. If nothing else, it shows that the biggest threat to the Chiefs returning to the Super Bowl might just be Jon Gruden’s squad.

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13. Tennessee Titans: 7-3 (Last Week: 14)
Won 30-24 at Baltimore
While maybe not as impressive a win as it would have seemed a few weeks ago, Tennessee bounced back nicely against Baltimore. Ryan Tannehill looked sharp and A.J. Brown looked damn near unstoppable at times. If that wasn’t good enough, Derrick Henry pulled off some late-game magic and Corey Davis went over 100 yards receiving again. The most impressive performance of the day though came from the Titans’ defense. Holding the Ravens to 3.9 yards per carry and containing Lamar Jackson was crucial. This was around the time last year that everything seemed to click for the Titans, so if this team can rediscover some of its 2019 magic, look out.

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14. Baltimore Ravens: 6-4 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 30-24 vs. Tennessee
What is wrong with the Ravens? The offense that dominated every team it faced a year ago looks lost. Lamar Jackson has dropped off a cliff. Baltimore’s offense is struggling to get receivers open and the offensive line is incredibly banged up. Now, Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins are out after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thanksgiving against the Steelers. Baltimore is running out of time to turn things around. A loss to Pittsburgh would put the Ravens’ playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.

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15. Cleveland Browns: 7-3 (Last Week: 15)
Won 22-17 vs. Philadelphia
The marriage between Kevin Stefanski and the Browns’ offense feels like a perfect match. Stefanski wants to establish the run and use it to take the pressure off his defense and his quarterback. With both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt healthy, it is hard to find a way to stop that duo. Even though Hunt struggled running the ball against Philadelphia, Chubb rumbled for over 100 yards. Baker Mayfield didn’t exactly play well, but he avoided making too many mistakes. The defense came up with big plays when needed. Cleveland still does not really scare too many opposing teams, but it continues to grind out wins.

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16. Carolina Panthers: 4-7 (Last Week: 20)
Won 20-0 vs. Detroit
Shoutout to P.J. Walker. In August of 2019, the Colts waived their former undrafted free-agent signing and added him to their practice squad. This past spring, Walker starred for the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL. On Sunday, Walker made his first NFL start and led the Panthers to a win. In addition to Walker, Carolina’s defense deserves a lot of credit for snapping this five-game losing streak. The Panthers join the Dolphins as the only teams to register a shutout this season. It was a big step in the right direction for a very young defense, holding Detroit to just 185 yards of offense. If this is what Carolina can do without Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey, I’m excited to see them at full strength.

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17. Chicago Bears: 5-5 (Last Week 19)
Bye Week
Like it has for pretty much the entire season, Chicago enters Week 12 with a question mark at quarterback. That’s a really bad place to be heading into a matchup with an angry Aaron Rodgers. Both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles are dealing with injuries. Even healthy, neither has been very good this year. Chicago’s only other option is Tyler Bray. It’s not like this is a new problem, but if the Bears have any hope of salvaging what is left in their season, they need someone to step up at quarterback.

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18. Denver Broncos: 4-6 (Last Week: 22)
Won 20-13 vs. Miami
Well, I did not see this coming. Namely because I picked the Dolphins in my survivor pool. The Broncos were fresh off a blowout loss to the Raiders and hosting one of the hottest teams in the NFL. On Sunday though, Denver looked like the ’85 Bears. The Broncos racked up six sacks and Justin Simmons came up with the game-sealing interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone. Yes, this defense played so well, it forced the Dolphins to bench their rookie quarterback. Offensively, Denver moved the ball well, but definitely could have come away with a few more points. It is hard to figure out how the team that averaged nine yards per pass and 5.7 yards per run managed just 20 points. Still, the Broncos will be happy to take the win and show some of the potential many saw entering the season.

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19. San Francisco 49ers: 4-6 (Last Week: 21)
Bye Week
I don’t know that a team has ever needed a bye week more than the 49ers did. Coming off the break, there is some optimism that Deebo Samuel, Tevin Coleman and Jerrick McKinnon all return to action in Week 12. That won’t solve all that ails this team, but considering that Kyle Shanahan had next to no offensive weapons to work with last time out, that trio returning will be a welcome improvement. San Francisco faces a tough matchup with Los Angeles. The Rams have won against the Seahawks and Buccaneers in back-to-back weeks. If 2020 has taught us anything though, it is to never rule out anything. Except maybe the Jets winning a game.

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20. Minnesota Vikings: 4-6 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 31-28 vs. Dallas
Minnesota’s recovery tour just went off the rails. A loss at home to Dallas was definitely not part of this script. The Vikings missed a golden opportunity to get to .500 and put pressure on the Cardinals for the final playoff spot. Instead, they fell two games back in the playoff chase and will potentially miss Adam Thielen after he was played on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Minnesota has been dealing with inexperience and absences on defense all year. Those issues showed up in critical moments down the stretch as Andy Dalton piloted a game-winning drive. There is still a chance for the Vikings to rebound, but this feels like a big blow to their postseason hopes.

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21. New England Patriots: 4-6 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 27-20 at Houston
Just when it seems like the Patriots had finally turned the corner, they lay an egg against the hapless Texans. Up to this point, Houston had not beaten anyone other than Jacksonville. Unfortunately for New England, Deshaun Watson broke out his Superman cape en route to a ridiculous performance. The Pats’ defense had no answer for him, even with Stephon Gilmore back in the fold. All season, I have made excuses for this team lacking the depth or top-end talent it was used to having due to opt outs or injuries. Those issues did not go away, but New England let them take over again on Sunday. This is a setback I don’t know if the Patriots can recover from.

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22. Atlanta Falcons: 3-7 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 24-9 at New Orleans
Even without Drew Brees, the Falcons’ defense could not stop the Saints. While that was true, it was the offense that was even more disappointing. Matt Ryan had an abysmal game. He also spent much of it picking himself off the ground. New Orleans’ defense sacked Ryan eight times in the contest. In addition to not pass block, Atlanta’s offensive line did not run block either. The Falcons front office has invested draft picks, cap space and time to building an offensive line, but until that finally gets fixed, this team is going nowhere.

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23. New York Giants: 3-7 (Last Week: 25)
Bye Week
Don’t look now, but the Giants might just be rounding into form. I know that statement doesn’t usually apply to a 3-7 team, but New York designated both Xavier McKinney and Oshane Ximines for return from the IR this week. Those two could be real difference makers on a defense that has been surprisingly good this year. It doesn’t solve Daniel Jones’ terrible decision making at quarterback, but hopefully it means he will be asked to do less. The Giants have a tough final six games, but they might just be able to grind out a division title.

24. Los Angeles Chargers: 3-7 (Last Week: 26)
Won 34-28 vs. New York
It was ugly and fittingly weird, but the Chargers finally snapped their losing streak. Justin Herbert put on a showcase, albeit against a bad Jets defense. Keenan Allen balled out as well, finishing with 16 catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. The running game was a bit of a red flag, picking up 29 yards on 26 carries. There is some speculation that Austin Ekeler could return soon though, which would be a huge boost down the stretch. Los Angeles still has a ton of question marks left to answer before this team is ready to compete, but there is no question it has its franchise quarterback.

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25. Washington: 3-7 (Last Week: 28)
Won 20-9 vs. Cincinnati
I don’t care which team you are a fan of, it is good to see Alex Smith win a football game. He actually took a backseat to the running game and defense, but Washington looked in control throughout the game. Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin continue to shine. The front seven looks pretty dynamic as well. With a veteran quarterback and a defensive line capable of generating pressure without blitzing, Washington might just have the pieces in place to run the table. Stranger things have happened and this team is right in the thick of the NFC East race.

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26. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-6-1 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 22-17 at Cleveland
I am running out of excuses for Carson Wentz. Sure, he doesn’t have a great supporting cast, but he is just playing bad football right now. Maybe it is because he has been sacked on a higher percentage of his dropbacks than any quarterback in the league that he is pressing. Still, Wentz leads the league in turnovers by a wide margin. OK, so maybe I’m not totally done making excuses for Wentz, but come on, he is being hung out to dry every week. Philly needs to find a way to protect him and take some of the pressure off. Running the ball a bit more seems like a good place to start. Despite yet another brutal loss, the Eagles have not done anything that cannot be undone. This team somehow still controls its playoff destiny in the worst division maybe ever.

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27. Houston Texans: 3-7 (Last Week: 29)
Won 27-20 vs. New England
On one hand, I want to focus on the greatness of Deshaun Watson. It has unquestionably been overlooked this year in a lost season for the Texans. His playmaking skills were on full display as he threw for 344 yards, tossed two touchdowns and added another one on the ground. On the other hand, please someone get this man some help! Watson led the team in rushing with just 36 yards. He lost his top receiver this offseason in one of the worst trades ever. His starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil was out with an illness. Despite all of that, he was great. With no first-round pick, Houston has no incentive to tank. It can just sit back and watch Watson go off for now, perhaps while designing some offseason plans to rebuild his supporting cast.

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28. Detroit Lions: 4-6 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 20-0 at Carolina
In general, you don’t really want to share any of the same accomplishments as the Jets. That is especially true this season, but Detroit joins New York as the only teams to be shutout this season. I know that Matthew Stafford is not at 100 percent and the Lions were missing Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola, but come on. Nothing? This is a Panthers’ defense starting four rookies, with about three more that see significant playing time. Carolina does not have one of the league’s top defenses, yet Detroit was completely stymied. On top of all that, I lost my fantasy matchup this week because I started Matt Prater, who got me -1 points.

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29. Dallas Cowboys: 3-7 (Last Week: 30)
Won 31-28 at Minnesota
The Red Rifle returns! Andy Dalton made his triumphant comeback with a three-touchdown performance, leading Dallas to victory in the process. He was far from flawless, but stepped up when his team needed him to late in the game. Ezekiel Elliott finally broke out of his slump, topping the century mark rushing and adding a receiving touchdown. With every team sitting at three wins in the division, Dallas controls its own destiny just as much as any of them. A healthy Dalton definitely gives them the best chance to win this wonky division and make an improbable playoff appearance.

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30. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-7-1 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 20-9 at Washington
Sunday was hard to watch for Bengals fans. Joe Burrow continued to battle despite his pourous offensive line. He was ultimately carted off with a knee injury that turned out to be a torn ACL and MCL with additional structural damage. There is no positive way to spin this one. Given the extent of the injury, Burrow’s status for the 2021 season is already in doubt. Cincinnati was not going to be winning the AFC North any time soon, but this is a major blow to the team’s rebuild and a gut punch to a franchise that finally felt like it had begun to turn the corner. Here’s hoping that Burrow will make a full recovery as soon as possible.

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31. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-9 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 27-3 vs. Pittsburgh
So, maybe Jake Luton isn’t the answer at quarterback either. It might seem a little harsh to make that assessment after facing the Steelers’ defense, but four interceptions, 4.1 yards per attempt and a completion percentage below 50 are bad no matter how good the opposing defense is. James Robinson continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year, but the wide margin made it hard for the Jaguars to stay committed to the ground game. It is hard to find too many positives in a 24-point loss, but at least several two-win teams around the league won this week, strengthening the Jags chances as a top-five draft pick.

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32. New York Jets: 0-10 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 34-28 at Los Angeles
The Jets tank job for Trevor Lawrence stretched into its 10th week. New York became the first team eliminated from the playoffs, meaning fans can now start studying mock drafts until next April (as if we haven’t already been doing that since Week 3.) At least this week was entertaining. Breshad Perriman hauled in a long touchdown pass and the ageless wonder Frank Gore found the end zone as well. Still, I’ve just reached the point where it is hard to find any joy in watching this team any more.
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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

The top two teams stayed the same, but there was movement seemingly everywhere else in these rankings. With an overhaul happening in the middle of the pack, it is getting hard to separate the contenders from the pretenders. For now, let’s just dive into how the league stands after Week 10.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 36-10 vs. Cincinnati
Pittsburgh flexed its collective muscles in a dominant win over the Bengals. Ben Roethlisberger had no problem playing in windy, cold conditions, tossing four touchdowns. The defense continues to look like the best in the league. Joe Burrow deserves credit for getting up given that he was hit eight times in the game and sacked four times. It would be good to see this running game get back on track at some point. The Steelers are going to need to control the clock and move the sticks in bad weather as the season wears on.

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2. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-1 (Last Week: 2)
Bye Week
Kansas City got to take a week off to recharge before the home stretch. Sure, the Chiefs would like to earn home field advantage and a first-round bye, but they travel well. Kansas City ranks second in yards per game and points per game offensively. Its point differential is best in the league. The often overlooked defense ranks in the top 10 in points and yards allowed. Giving Andy Reid an extra week to prepare for the one team in the league to beat his side this year feels unfair. Topping the Raiders would be a nice revenge game for the Chiefs.

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3. Green Bay Packers: 7-2 (Last Week: 4)
Won 24-20 vs. Jacksonville
Winning by only four, at home, against the Jaguars is not a great week. Green Bay slogged to a win in an ugly contest. The Packers once again struggled to stop the run and needed the defense to shut down Jacksonville’s potential game-winning drive to seal the contest. In short, this was way too close for comfort. Still, Green Bay extends its lead atop the NFC North and currently holds the top spot in the conference. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but the Packers have to be happy about where they stand.

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4. New Orleans Saints: 7-2 (Last Week: 5)
Won 27-13 vs. San Francisco
Don’t panic! Yes, Drew Brees is out for a few weeks, turning things over to Jameis Winston. This also happened last year and Teddy Bridgewater went 5-0 as the fill-in starter. It is far from a guarantee Winston has the same success, but the Saints are finally healthy, outside of Brees of course, and have just one game remaining on the schedule against a team with a winning record. Winston looked solid as well in his limited duties in the second half. This is where Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook need to step up to make life easier on their new quarterback.

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5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7-3 (Last Week: 8)
Won 46-23 at Carolina
Tampa Bay bounced back in a big way. Tom Brady took care of the football and tossed three touchdowns. Ronald Jones made his presence felt by ripping off the longest run of the season by any player en route to a 192-yard performance. The Buccaneers’ defense was far from perfect, but made key stops to allow the offense to pad the lead. It was nice to see this team bounce back after a terrible Week 9 loss. The Bucs now head into a Monday night showdown with a tough Rams defense. If Tampa is going to win the division, it is going to build a lead while Drew Brees is out for New Orleans.

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6. Miami Dolphins: 6-3 (Last Week: 10)
Won 29-21 vs. Los Angeles
The Tua Tagovailoa hype train has to be closed to full if it isn’t full already. Miami’s rookie quarterback led the Dolphins to a fifth-straight win and third in a row with him under center. The Fins continue to get big plays from their special teams. A blocked punt and big returns from Jakeem Grant sparked the offense. Defensively, Miami continued it’s bend, don’t break approach. Xavien Howard came up with a crucial interception to flip momentum. Overall, this Dolphins team is extremely well coached and looking like a tough team to beat. It will be interesting if this group is just happy to be here or has its eyes set on a division title.

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7. Arizona Cardinals: 6-3 (Last Week: 11)
Won 32-30 vs. Buffalo
Oh my goodness! DeAndre Hopkins made the catch of the year to deliver one of the most thrilling finishes we have seen in quite some time. Kyler Murray deserves credit for making an incredible throw as well. Arizona might not be at the top of the contender heap, but this offense is one that no team wants to face right now. The Cardinals lead the league in rushing, thanks in large part to Murray scrambling. If the defense can step up down the stretch, there is no reason Arizona can’t win a division title and more this season.

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8. Buffalo Bills: 7-3 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 32-30 at Arizona
That was a heart-breaker. Buffalo seemed like it had pulled off a stunning, game-winning drive of its own. Stefon Diggs continues to excel in this Bills offense and deserves a lot of credit for helping Josh Allen take the next step in his development. His touchdown to put the Bills up 30-26 with just 32 seconds remaining seemed like the dagger. You have no doubt seen the DeAndre Hopkins catch by now. It is a tough pill to swallow and it doesn’t make this loss count any less, but Buffalo still played a really good game on the road after a cross-country flight. It is hard to find two teams much further apart than the Bills and Cardinals. Sean McDermott needs to refocus his team quickly though and build on the positives with the red-hot Dolphins closing in on a the Bills’ division lead.

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9. Baltimore Ravens: 6-3 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 23-17 at New England
What happened to this offense? Baltimore still ranks second in rushing yards per game, but only the Jets are averaging fewer pass yards per game. The Ravens are outside the top ten in scoring as well. Something just seems off about the unit as a whole. Poor weather in New England did not help, but Lamar Jackson continues to look shaky throwing the football. The offensive line has not played great either, with Matt Skura in particular having a really bad game on Sunday. There is still plenty of time to right the ship, but with the AFC loaded up with six-win teams, Baltimore’s margin for error is small.

10. Los Angeles Rams: 6-3 (Last Week: 14)
Won 23-16 vs. Seattle
Defense wins championships and possibly division titles for the Rams. Los Angeles accounted for six sacks and three turnovers as it shut down Seattle’s high-scoring offense. The running game did the scoring while Jared Goff put up some solid numbers, even if he didn’t find the end zone. Los Angeles heads into a tough stretch of games, starting with the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. The defense has proven it is championship caliber. If the offense can reclaim its 2018 form, the Rams are Super Bowl contenders.

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11. Seattle Seahawks: 6-3 (Last Week: 7)
Lost 23-16 at Los Angeles
For the second time this year, Russell Wilson has imploded in a critical NFC West matchup. He tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble. Those turnovers were likely the difference in a one-score game. Los Angeles had its way with the Seahawks offensive line as well, racking up six sacks. The return of Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde should help, but the level of concern is rising in Seattle. Since starting 5-0, the Seahawks have dropped three out of four and seem to be slowly falling apart. The place to start is taking care of the football. Wilson has ten turnovers in Seattle’s three losses this year. With a rematch against the Cardinals coming up on a short week, a solution needs to emerge fast.

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12. Indianapolis Colts: 6-3 (Last Week: 13)
Won 34-17 at Tennessee
While it has been a bit of a rocky season for Indy, this definitely qualifies as a high point. The Colts move atop the division following a convincing win. Philip Rivers bounced back with an efficient outing. Nyheim Hines stepped up to lead the backfield. Rookie receiver Michael Pittman had his best game yet with 101 yards through the air. Indianapolis’ defense did not really have an answer for Derrick Henry, but after building a big lead, Henry was out of the equation. Ryan Tannehill had little success completing passes as the Titans tried to chase this game. Indy had a clear gameplan and executed it to perfection.

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13. Las Vegas Raiders: 6-3 (Last Week: 12)
Won 37-12 vs. Denver
This felt very much like a Raiders style win. Las Vegas pounded the rock to the tune of 203 yards and five yards per carry. Not to mention the four touchdowns Josh Jacobs and Devonte Booker punched in. Derek Carr didn’t do much, but he wasn’t asked to do much. Meanwhile, the defense made Drew Lock’s life miserable, intercepting four of his passes and sacking him twice. The Raiders offensive line had a stellar game, clearing massive holes to run through and not allowing Carr to be hit let alone sacked when he dropped back to pass. If Jon Gruden can replicate this style of play, the Raiders will be tough to beat.

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14. Tennessee Titans: 6-3 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 34-17 vs. Indianapolis
Tennessee was truly beaten in all three phases to open Week 10. Special teams gaffes, defensive errors and lackluster offensive production led to a long night. The Titans have had their identity rooted as a hard-nosed, grind it out team, but the defense has not lived up to that. Tennessee is giving up nearly 400 yards per game and it’s 26.1 points allowed puts them in the bottom half of the league. If the defense is going to continue to flounder, Ryan Tannehill must step up. The former Dolphins quarterback accounted for 5.7 yards per attempt on just 27 passes against Indy. He needs to start playing like the franchise quarterback they are paying him to be.

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15. Cleveland Browns: 6-3 (Last Week: 15)
Won 10-7 vs. Houston
Kevin Stefanski is already reshaping the Cleveland Browns just nine games into his tenure as head coach. Nick Chubb and Karrem Hunt ran the ball 38 times and totaled 258 yards of offense in an old-school affair. The Browns’ defense got an assist from the weather, but held the Texans in check. Deshaun Watson managed only 163 yards passing as the whole team was held under 250 yards of offense. It was not pretty, but it kept Cleveland level in the playoff race.

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16. Minnesota Vikings: 4-5 (Last Week: 20)
Won 34-20 vs. Detroit
Minnesota ground out a vital victory on Monday Night Football to stretch it’s winning streak to three. The Vikings have a real chance of making a playoff push, sitting two games back of a potential wildcard spot. Even though Dalvin Cook had an off night, the offense did just enough to eke out a win. It was another strong showing from this defense, despite all the missing players in the secondary. Chicago has a tendency of making every opposing defense look good, but it was still important for Minnesota to execute. With three home games against the Cowboys, Panthers and Jaguars up next, it is very possible the Vikings continue this run to a 7-5 record.

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17. New England Patriots: 4-5 (Last Week: 23)
Won 23-17 vs. Baltimore
After almost needing overtime to beat the winless Jets, the Patriots told everyone to calm down about the death of the dynasty by beating the Ravens. This game far from erases every doubt surrounding the team, but New England showed grit and determination to pull off the upset. Damien Harris led the running game as he continues to emerge as a feature back. Cam Newton took care of the football again to help his defense out. Not being forced into any sudden change situations, New England’s defense played lights out. They held the league’s leading ground attack well below its season average and limited big plays. A loss would have effectively ended this team’s season, but now, the Patriot’ playoff hopes have new life.

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18. Atlanta Falcons: 3-6 (Last Week: 17)
Bye Week
It is still a long shot, but the Falcons are not out of the playoff picture. The road to get there will be tough, but it might have gotten a little easier. Atlanta is set to face New Orleans twice in the next three weeks. Drew Brees is out for at least one and possibly both of those contests, meaning the Falcons will face Jameis Winston instead. They split their two meetings with Winston’s Buccaneers in 2019 and intercepted him four times. Atlanta is likely going to need to win both those games and beat the Raiders to have any shot at playing meaningful games in January.

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19. Chicago Bears: 5-5 (Last Week 16)
Lost 19-13 vs. Minnesota
Bad just got worse for the Bears. In what was already a rough offensive showing, Nick Foles was carted off the field in the final minute of Chicago’s loss. His status for Week 11 and beyond is unclear. Tyler Bray stepped in with Mitchell Trubisky still dealing with a shoulder injury. It did not go well. The Bears’ losing streak is at four now as the offense continues to sputter. Even with a chance to still reach the postseason, I believe the team’s focus has shifted to finding its quarterback of the future this offseason.

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20. Carolina Panthers: 3-7 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 46-23 vs. Tampa Bay
Thankfully, Teddy Bridgewater’s injury is not serious. That was about the only good news to come out of this game. Carolina got pushed around by Tampa. Tom Brady picked apart the young defense and Ronald Jones gashed them for a 98-yard touchdown run. The offense missed Christian McCaffrey, who has already been ruled out for Week 11 vs. the Lions. It is important to remember this is a rebuilding year for the Panthers, but five-game losing streaks are hard no matter what your season expectations.

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21. San Francisco 49ers: 4-6 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 27-13 at New Orleans
San Francisco dragged it’s injury-decimated roster to New Orleans and lost in disheartening fashion. Nick Mullens threw two interceptions, the running game was nonexistent and the defense could not contain Alvin Kamara. At this point, the 49ers are just evaluating their depth and aiming to give playing time to younger players. This has been a lost season with all the injuries. The fact that San Francisco has four wins is remarkable and speaks to the talent throughout this team. Still, it is hard to see things turning around with so many key players missing.

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22. Detroit Lions: 4-5 (Last Week: 25)
Won 30-27 vs. Washington
Detroit almost blew another massive lead, but Matt Praeter’s heroics likely saved Matt Patricia’s job. He nailed a 59-yard field goal as time expired to win the game. It almost distracts you from the fact the Lions led this game 24-3 before giving up 21 unanswered points. Matthew Stafford had a stellar performance, hooking up with Marvin Jones Jr., D’Andre Swift and Marvin Hall on touchdown passes. Obviously, the blown lead is cause for concern, but Detroit can feel better trying to solve that issue after a win.

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23. Denver Broncos: 3-6 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 37-12 at Las Vegas
Denver had another slow start and this time never actually got going at all. Drew Lock had a day to forget with four interceptions. The defense got bowled over by the combo of Josh Jacobs and former Bronco Devonte Booker. This was a dud across the board and it raises some serious questions about this team. The team has faced some crucial injuries and opt outs, but the Broncos’ recent sluggish starts are concerning. It seems like this team is not learning from the mistakes it is making, instead, repeating them each week. If this slump continues, Vic Fangio’s seat could get pretty warm.

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24. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-5-1 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 27-17 at New York
Just when it seemed like the Eagles were ready to coast to an NFC East title, they laid an egg in a crucial game. Philly still leads the division by virtue of having two fewer losses than New York, but this does not bode well for the team’s future. Carson Wentz was horrible, the defense could not stop the run and the offensive line still didn’t play well. The excuses for the Eagles’ shortcomings are getting old. No one in this division truly deserves a playoff spot at this stage, but it is becoming clear Philly has a lot of work to do in order to even fall into a division title.

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25. New York Giants: 3-7 (Last Week: 28)
Won 27-17 vs. Philadelphia
Don’t ask me how, but the Giants have a legitimate shot of reaching the playoff. This win swung the whole divisional race. Dropping to 2-8 while the Eagles moved to 4-4-1 might have felt insurmountable. Now, New York is right in the hunt. Daniel Jones is FINALLY playing some turnover-free football. Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris formed a solid tandem in the backfield. Meanwhile, the defense suddenly looks pretty good. The Giants have allowed more than 26 points only twice this season. New York’s upcoming schedule is tough, even with Cincinnati up next. Just because the Giants have a chance to reach the playoffs doesn’t mean it is likely.

26. Los Angeles Chargers: 2-7 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 29-21 at Miami
I could probably leave most of the Chargers recap from last week in place considering how predictable they have become. Los Angeles lost another one-possession game in which it felt like it could have come out on top if not for a crucial mistake or two. A blocked punt and a poorly timed interception doomed the Chargers this time around. Justin Herbert struggled a bit in his worst outing of the season, failing to top 200 yards passing. No one’s job should be in jeopardy, but it would relieve a lot of pressure if L.A. could just win a close game.

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27. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-6-1 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 36-10 at Pittsburgh
The growing pains for this young team were on full display in smackdown in Pittsburgh. Joe Burrow struggled to find open receivers and spent much of the game picking himself off the dirt. Defensively, Cincinnati was a mess. Big Ben had his way with the secondary even though the Steelers had no established running game. As this season drags on, the Bengals must identify other ways to measure success, because games like this are discouraging. This team is on the right path though and simply needs to stay the course.

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28. Washington: 2-7 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 30-27 vs. Detroit
Alex Smith came very close to engineering one of the comebacks of the season. Smith threw for 390 yards and took care of the ball this week, but it was not enough to overcome Washington’s poor start. The team had to abandon the run game after trailing by 21 points, but that is something Ron Rivera needs to prioritize going forward. Washington is way more focused on the future than any success this year. That being said, they are still in the playoff conversation given how weak the NFC East is.

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29. Houston Texans: 2-7 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 10-7 at Cleveland
This might have been the most painful weekend Texans fans have experienced in quite some time. Their team managed just seven points in a depressing loss to the Browns. A few hours later DeAndre Hopkins made one of the best catches in recent memory to seal an improbable win for the Cardinals. The infamous Hopkins-David Johnson trade already looks like one of the worst in NFL history. For Hopkins to be second in the league in receiving yards on a 6-3 team while David Johnson sits on IR as Houston’s offense flounders is particularly agonizing.

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30. Dallas Cowboys: 2-7 (Last Week: 30)
Bye Week
Dallas faces one of the most interesting offseasons of any team in recent memory. Heading for a top-five pick in a quarterback-rich draft, the Cowboys could easily draft their quarterback of the future. However, the team already believes it has its long-term answer at quarterback in Dak Prescott. He is a free agent after the season and the two sides already had one rocky summer of negotiations. Keeping Prescott and trading down is likely the more popular option here, but this is one of the teams to watch when the season ends.

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31. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-8 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 24-20 vs. Green Bay
It was quite the fight from Jacksonville, but ultimately the Jaguars could seal the deal. Jake Luton was decent in his first start. James Robinson continued his campaign to win offensive rookie of the year. The defense played surprisingly well against what is usually one of the best offenses in the NFL. If that Jaguars team shows up more consistently, Jacksonville could be in for a turnaround as early as next year.

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32. New York Jets: 0-9 (Last Week: 32)
Bye Week
New York took a week off from disappointing their fans to get healthy for the home stretch. At this point, there are several fans rooting for the Jets to lose out, ensuring they land Trevor Lawrence. The Jets would be hard pressed to pick up many wins heading into a second half where it has the fourth-highest strength of schedule of any team in the league. Given the inept coaching and overall lack of talent on the roster, I fully expect for the Jets to lose every time they take the field.

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2021 NFL Mock Draft: How many quarterbacks join Trevor Lawrence in first two rounds?

10 weeks into the NFL season, we still have no idea what the draft order is going to look like, but we have a pretty clear sense for what team’s biggest needs are at this point.

The number of teams that feel like they could make a quarterback change this year is outrageous. The Jets, Jaguars, Washington, Cowboys, Giants, Vikings, Falcons, 49ers, Patriots, Bears, and Colts all have question marks at the position beyond this season. The Steelers, Saints and Buccaneers all need to identify the successor to their future Hall of Fame passer nearing the end of his career.

Now this is shaping up to be a great quarterback draft, but not every one of those teams is going to draft a quarterback in the first round. Players like Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, Sam Darnold and Dwayne Haskins could all be starting for different teams next year as well. Trying to predict too much is meaningless at this stage, so I will stick to just mocking draft picks in this one.

This current draft order is from Tankathon before the Vikings and Bears meet on Monday Night Football. Let’s get started!

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1. New York Jets (0-9) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Yes, Sam Darnold was never really given a chance to succeed in New York. I believe he will be successful somewhere else, Pittsburgh perhaps, but there is really not argument to keep him and pass on Trevor Lawrence at this point. Sure, Joe Douglas could probably net a bounty of picks, but with four first-round selections already over the next two years and Lawrence looking like the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, taking the golden boy from Clemson just makes too much sense. Netting a pair of mid-round picks for Darnold should hopefully allow Douglas to set Lawrence up for success in a way that the Jets never could for Darnold.

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2. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
It does not look like Jake Luton is the answer at quarterback either. Jacksonville has arguably the least talented roster in the league. This franchise needs to full hit the reset button. Justin Fields is a great player to rebuild around. He tossed 42 touchdowns to just one interception in 2019. He is completing an absurd 86.7% of his passes through three games. It is fun to daydream about Trey Lance’s potential, but Fields looks to be the smarter choice at this stage.

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3. Dallas Cowboys (2-7) – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
Dallas will feel it has hit the lottery here. The Cowboys have a choice to draft a rookie and rebuild, or trade back with a quarterback-needy team and demand a haul to get in front of Washington. I did not allow trades in this mock draft, but the phones in Dallas would be lighting up with offers at this point. With the Cowboys forced to stand pat, they address their struggling secondary. Byron Jones’ departure created a massive hole. Patrick Surtain is the most talented corner in the draft and should be a Day 1 starter.

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4. Washington Football Team (2-7) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Conversely, this might be worst-case scenario for Washington. Needing a quarterback in a draft that feels like it has a clear top three prospects and needing to make a trade with a division rival to secure one is an unenviable situation. Some will point to Zach Wilson as a potential option if Lance is gone, but I think there is a clear gap between the two right now. Lance has one of the prettiest deep balls I’ve seen in awhile. There is no quarterback that missed out on a chance to cement his draft stock more than Lance after a matchup with Oregon was canceled and his school’s season was moved to the spring. It will be interesting to see how teams view him after just one season as a starter in the FCS.

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5. Los Angeles Chargers (2-7) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Things have been rough for Chargers fans as the team continues to lose in agonizingly close fashion. Still, the future is bright in L.A. with the quarterback of the future in Justin Herbert. And if all these close losses result in the Chargers landing Penei Sewell, I think it will be worth the suffering. Sewell is the clear top lineman prospect in this draft and could go sooner if not for the clear need at quarterback. At 6’6″, 330 lbs, Sewell certainly looks the part of a NFL left tackle. We won’t see him again until the predraft process, but he should be going in the top 10 of every mock draft.

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6. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (2-7) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The future is now! Tua Time is off to a great start in Miami. What makes it more exciting is having the Texans’ first-round pick this year to help bolster this roster no matter how much success the Dolphins continue to have. The clear need on this team is for a receiver. DeVante Parker has had his moments, but has never established himself as a true No. 1 target. Injuries and opt outs have decimated Miami at the position as well. Ja’Marr Chase would change all of that. Coming off one of the best statistical seasons in college football history, Chase opted out of 2020 and declared for the draft. His playmaking ability would take this offense to the next level.

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7. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Cincinnati is still clearly a rebuilding team. They have needs across the board, but grabbing the top edge rusher in the class is a good way to bolster the defense. The Bengals have struggled to get to the quarterback all season. Cincinnati ranked 29th in pass rush win rate heading into Sunday and have registered just 11 sacks in nine games this season. Gregory Rousseau can lineup outside or inside and press the pocket. He dominated college football as a redshirt freshman before opting out of 2020. Rousseau could just have been a one-season wonder, but his measurables make it easy to project him having success at the next level as well.

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8. New York Giants (3-7) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
When you think about some of the greatest defenses in Giants history, they were routinely led by great linebackers. The Giants of the 80s and 90s featured stars such as Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, Harry Carson and Pepper Johnson. While not quite at the same level, even the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl winning teams had good linebacker play. It is something this franchise has lacked for way too long. Micah Parsons should help restore this defense to its former glory. New York has actually taken huge strides as the year has rolled on, but could still use a dynamic playmaker like Parsons at the center. His sideline-to-sideline ability and potential as a three-down player makes him a great value here.

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9. Carolina Panthers (3-7) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
James Bradberry is gone. The combination of Rasul Douglas and Donte Jackson isn’t really getting the job done. Adding Caleb Farley should bolster this secondary. He is physical and long. He was arguably the ACC’s top corner in 2019. He continues a string of players selected here that opted out of 2020. His tape from a year ago was impressive. If Farley shows out at the combine, he could easily be the first corner selected in 2021.

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10. Atlanta Falcons (3-6) – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Atlanta spent a first-round pick on A.J. Terrell last year, but still needs all kinds of help in the secondary. Shaun Wade spent much of 2019 as Ohio State’s nickel corner, but has moved outside for 2020. He has the size at 6’1″ to play on the outside, but his experience in the slot only increases his value. He would be a a welcome addition to the Falcons’ cornerback group regardless of who is the head coach next year.

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11. Denver Broncos (3-6) – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Has Garett Bolles finally figured it out? He has yet to allow a sack this season, but he has still committed five penalties according to Pro Football Focus. He is also 28 and his contract is up at the end of the year. I don’t see Bolles earning a long-term deal, but perhaps he will take a one-year prove it type offer. Regardless, Denver could use some help on the offensive line. Samuel Cosmi looks the part of an NFL tackle. At 6’7″, 309 lbs, he is not someone you want to mess with. He moves well and should be able to hold up on the perimeter at the next level. Consider him the potential long-term solution at left tackle once Ja’Wuan James returns to play on the right side.

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12. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Minnesota seems to finally be leaning into this ball control, run-focused offense. It has worked extremely well for the Vikings in recent weeks. So why not open some more running lanes for Dalvin Cook? Wyatt Davis is exactly the type of nasty player you want on the interior of your offensive line. He finishes plays and can move well in space. He would be a welcome addition to a unit that has lacked consistency this year.

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13. San Francisco 49ers (4-6) – Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
Could San Francisco move on from Jimmy Garoppolo? It is certainly possible, but I think they will give him one more year with a, hopefully, healthy supporting cast. The 49ers are just one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Garoppolo is not the reason they are winning, but they know they can win with him. I think bolstering the roster around him is the best bet for 2021. They can still move on from him for next to no dead money after the 2021 season. Adding a player with Israel Mukuamu’s unique skill set could make the difference. Richard Sherman can’t play forever and Mukuamu has even been taking some snaps at safety this year. His size allows him to match up with tight ends or receivers and his potential is through the roof. He needs to clean up things like footwork and hand placement, but those are coachable aspects of his game.

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14. Detroit Lions (4-5) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola are all free agents after the season. It is unlikely all three return. It is possible none of them return. Even if Golladay is back, he will need someone to play across from him. Jaylen Waddle was in the midst of a Heisman-type year before suffering a season-ending injury. His electric speed, playmaking ability and route-running skill make him a player ready to contribute on Day 1 and capable of adjusting to whatever is needed of him in a given week. He also brings the added bonus of special teams play. Matt Stafford would have a lot of fun in this offense with Golladay and Waddle.

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15. New England Patriots (4-5) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Is it too soon to kill the Cam Newton experiment? New England’s offense has been far from reliable this year, but Newton does not have much around him. His receivers are among the least proven in the league. He gets essentially zero production out of the tight end. His running backs have been banged up. It is easy to make excuses for Newton’s occasional poor play, but he will need to keep winning games to keep his job. I think the Patriots will look to find the long-term solution in the draft. Zach Wilson has come from off the radar to generating top-five hype. He seems to have put the struggles of 2019 behind him. If he can perform like this down the stretch, it should be enough to make people overlook his lackluster first two seasons of college ball.

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16. Chicago Bears (5-4) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Chicago is in free fall right now. Another loss could see them enter the Zach Wilson sweepstakes as well. With Wilson off the board, Chicago gets aggressive in taking Mac Jones. Much like Wilson, Jones seems to have turned the corner in his development, improving his numbers significantly from the year before. He is playing really high-level football right now, airing it out all over. He has a chance to go even higher if he can maintain this level of production.

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17. Cleveland Browns (6-3) – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
Myles Garrett needs some help along that defensive line and Marvin Wilson is the best player available to give it to him. Wilson has not been quite as dominant this season as he was in 2019 before an injury ended his season. While the disruptive plays might not be happening quite as frequently, Wilson is still capable of making them. His athleticism is apparent on film and he could be a contributor early on for this Browns defense.

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18. Tennessee Titans (6-3) – Rondale Moore, WR Purdue
With Corey Davis set to be a free agent at the end of the year, wide receiver could be a big need for the Titans this offseason. While Tennessee already has A.J. Brown, adding a playmaker like Rondale Moore could really change the offense. Moore’s electric speed and incredible playmaking ability would force the defense to be more honest in pass coverage, opening even more running room for Derek Henry. Surrounding Ryan Tannehill with talent feels like an appropriate focus given how much money the Titans are paying him now.

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19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
This has been a season to forget for the Eagles. Injuries, bad secondary play and an overtaxed Carson Wentz have decimated Philadelphia this season. Despite all their clear flaws, the Eagles still hold a playoff spot at the moment by virtue of winning the hapless NFC East. With them picking at the end of the teens, Philly misses out on some of the top-end talent in this draft. I should not be throwing that much shade at Jaycee Horn. He excels in man coverage, possesses NFL pedigree and seems to look, dare I say it, pro ready.

20. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (6-3) – Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
When was the last time the Jets had a reliable pass rusher? It has been a long time. New York definitely needs to surround Trevor Lawrence with more talent, but it would also be good if he didn’t have to score 30 points every game in order to win. Patrick Jones II has dominated the ACC over the past two years with 16.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in his past 19 games. He has the size to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, or he could bulk up a little bit and be a 4-3 end if the Jets change schemes after this season. Either way, he would provide a huge boost to a terrible defense.

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21. Arizona Cardinals (6-3) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
Chandler Jones cannot play forever. He will be 31 next season coming off a torn bicep injury. Arizona has been solid getting after opposing quarterbacks even without Jones this season, but adding another edge rusher would be wise. Hasson Reddick is a free agent after the season. Enter Quincy Roche, starring at Miami this year after three seasons with Temple. His sack numbers are down in 2020, but he still has racked up 50.5 tackles for loss in his collegiate career, including 11 this year. He is disruptive and would benefit from playing exclusively on the outside. Miami has taken to kicking him inside this year a little too often.

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22. Miami Dolphins (6-3) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Let’s just make Tua Tagovailoa as comfortable as possible in Miami and give him his old backfield mate Najee Harris to play with. Miles Gaskin has been a nice revelation this year, but he is not a feature back. Harris brings a great blend of power, agility and pass catching ability to an offense that could use a proven playmaker. Surrounding Tagovailoa with Harris and Ja’Marr Chase would make this a very exciting offense to watch.

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23. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
It is a passing league and that also means you have to defend the pass. The Colts have done that really well in 2020, but Malik Hooker is a free agent and Indy will have a need at safety next year. Grabbing the best ball-hawking defender in this class is a nice way to fill that spot. Andre Cisco had a ridiculous 13 interceptions in 24 career games at Syracuse. He has some work to do as a tackler, but he has the range to play single-high safety. His playmaking ability makes him a great value towards the end of Round 1.

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24. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) – Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Baltimore could certainly use a few more edge rushers, but with the addition of Yannick Ngakoue, that can wait until sometime on Day 2. Instead, the Ravens can upgrade at center to get this offense back on track. Matt Skura has struggled this year and the offense is suffering as a result. Creed Humphrey is about as pro ready of a prospect as you can find. He has started the past three years at Oklahoma. He has blocked for mobile quarterbacks like Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. He is mean and powerful in trenches. He fits what this Ravens team wants to do and should be a nice plug-and-play option along this offensive line.

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25. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (6-3) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
If you are going to set your rookie quarterback up for success, it is important to give him the tools to grow. Pat Freiermuth is a matchup nightmare. He does not put up gaudy numbers in Penn State’s run heavy attack, but it has allowed him to showcase his blocking skills. When he does get a chance to run some routes, he has showcased great athleticism and speed for a player his size. The Jaguars have a good group of young wide receivers already, so adding a top-tier tight end is a logical next step.

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26. Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) – Carlos Basham, DL, Wake Forest
Las Vegas needs pass rushing help. However, they seem to like the combo of Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell on the outside, so let’s find an interior pass rusher for them. Carlos “Boogie” Basham burst onto the scene in 2019 with 10 sacks. He has been solid this season again with five sacks in six games for the Demon Deacons. He would be an easy fit as a three technique tackle who can collapse the pocket. Don’t overlook his disruptive skills as well. He has seven forced fumbles over the past two years. Finding someone who generates turnovers is crucial for the Raiders this offseason.

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27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) – Jalen Twyman, DL, Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay has one of the deeper, more complete rosters in the NFL, but Ndamukong Suh is a 33 and a free agent after the season is over. Finding his replacement is likely towards the top of the Buccaneers’ to-do list. Jalen Twyman is not a like-for-like replacement, but he could be a difference maker in this defense. He had an outstanding sophomore season with 12 tackles for loss and 10 sacks before opting out of 2020. He is built very much like another former Pittsburgh interior lineman named Aaron Donald. I don’t expect Twyman to live up to those standards, but he can fill that pass rushing role along Tampa’s defensive line.

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27. Buffalo Bills (7-2) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Stefon Diggs has been a welcome addition to the Bills’ offense. As a result, Josh Allen is having his best season so far. Giving Allen more weapons to work with should be the priority. Kyle Pitts is a tight end, wide receiver hybrid at 6’6″, 240 lbs. He can line up all over the formation and brings with him big-play ability. Buffalo would definitely need to bring him along as a blocker, but his upside as a receiver makes him more than worthy of a first-round selection.

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29. Green Bay Packers (7-2) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Green Bay is horrible against the run. The Packers are giving up 4.6 yards per carry and have allowed 11 rushing touchdowns so far this season. If it wasn’t for the fact that Aaron Rodgers almost always has the Packers ahead, this team could be giving up way more yards per game than they already do. Adding Dylan Moses won’t fix that, but it should make a dent. After missing all of 2019 with a torn ACL, Moses has not yet returned to his 2018 form. He is still productive with 46 tackles, including five behind the line, so far this year, but his testing at the combine and medical checks could be the difference for him come draft day.

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30. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) – Trey Smith, OT, Tennessee
If you spent $500 million on something, you would definitely have a protection plan on it. That’s what the Chiefs can do here for Patrick Mahomes by drafting Trey Smith. Mitchell Schwartz and Mike Remmers have held down the left side of the Chiefs offensive line so far, but Smith would give Kansas City a long-term solution. He has dominated in the SEC since finally returning after dealing with blood clots in his lungs. That is definitely a medical red flag for every team, but if he checks out, he could be gone well before the Chiefs are picking in Round 1.

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31. New Orleans Saints (7-2) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
It is tempting to take a quarterback here, but I think the Saints will ride it out with Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill next season. What the Saints desperately need is a long-term answer across from Michael Thomas. DeVonta Smith has been the top receiver at Alabama production wise each of the past two seasons. When you consider he played alongside Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Jaylen Waddle, that is really impressive. What drops him to the end of the first round is his size. He has not had any injury issues so far, but at 175 lbs, you worry about his durability at the next level. He is going to have to add some mass to his frame to survive in the NFL.

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32. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The dream season continues for the Steelers. They have a gritty defense with tons of playmakers. The offense is deep at every skill position. Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his playing career, but I would expect this team to go all in on surrounding him with talent in his final few years rather than find his successor in the draft right now. Alex Leatherwood is a jack-of-all-trades lineman, having played every position other than center at Alabama. Injuries have hurt the Steelers’ offensive line this year, making it clear that some depth and maybe a new starter at right tackle is necessary. Leatherwood could compete for that job right away and provide crucial depth if he is not ready to start on Day 1.

33. New York Jets (0-9) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

34. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama

35. Washington (2-7) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

36. Los Angeles Chargers (2-7) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

37. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (2-7) – Jeremiah Owusu-Karomoah, LB/S, Notre Dame

38. Dallas Cowboys (2-7) – Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington

39. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1) – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami

40. Carolina Panthers (3-7) – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

41. New York Giants (3-7) – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

42. Denver Broncos (3-6) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC

43. Atlanta Falcons (3-6) – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

44. Jacksonville Jaguars via Minnesota Vikings (3-5) – Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon

45. San Francisco 49ers (4-6) – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson

46. New England Patriots (4-5) – Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest

47. Detroit Lions (4-5) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

48. Chicago Bears (5-4) – Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota

49. Tennessee Titans (6-3) – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

50. Cleveland Browns (6-3) – Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC

51. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) – Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia

52. Arizona Cardinals (6-3) – Cade Mays, OT, Tennessee

53. Miami Dolphins (6-3) – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

54. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Seth Williams, WR, Auburn

55. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC

56. Seattle Seahawks (6-3) – Chris Rumph, EDGE, Duke

57. Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

58. Los Angeles Rams (6-3) – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

59. Buffalo Bills (7-3) – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) – Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

61. Green Bay Packers (7-2) – Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State

62. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

63. New Orleans Saints (7-2) – Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson

64. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0) – Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

Just when we started to feel like we had a good handle on what to expect in the NFL, the league threw us a massive curveball. Pittsburgh was taken the distance by Garrett Gilbert and the hapless Cowboys. Carolina pushed Kansas City to the limit. New Orleans battered Tampa Bay in a shocking 38-3 win. Josh Allen blasted the high-flying Seahawks.

Those were the top four teams in my power rankings last week. They all either won ugly or took tough losses. As a result, the rankings underwent a massive shakeup.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 24-19 at Dallas
It was ugly, but the Steelers stayed perfect. Once again, the defense came up with a pass breakup in the end zone on the final play of the game to seal the victory. Facing the Ravens, that was an acceptable outcoming. Against the Cowboys, who were starting their fourth quarterback of the season, this is a much more concerning outcome. Ben Roethlisberger seems like he is barely hanging on. He spent much of the game limping around, but magicked up three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter. The run game all but disappeared and the defense was not as sharp as recent weeks. Call it a trap game, the Steelers need to bounce back despite the win.

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2. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-1 (Last Week: 2)
Won 33-31 vs. Carolina
Patrick Mahomes is looking unstoppable again. 25 touchdowns and just one interception this year is unbelievable. He needed to be at his best against Carolina. The Panthers pushed the Chiefs to the brink. Kansas City’s usually stout defense had no answer for Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday. The running game also disappeared, as the team finished with just 30 yards on 12 carries. Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, but counting on him to go off like this every week does not feel sustainable. However, winning while not at your best is still important. KC gets the week off next to recharge.

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3. Baltimore Ravens: 6-2 (Last Week: 5)
Won 24-10 at Indianapolis
It might not be MVP-mode Lamar Jackson, but he was efficient in a solid win. The defense deserves way more of the credit in the defensive struggle. Chuck Clark returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Ravens continue to lead the league in scoring defense. Baltimore contained Philip Rivers and the passing game, holding them to just 5.2 yards per play. Weirdly enough, the Colts actually had more success per play running the ball. It is clear this team is talented, but it feels like Baltimore is not clicking yet. That could be a good thing if Jackson and the offense can recapture its 2019 form.

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4. Green Bay Packers: 6-2 (Last Week: 7)
Won 34-17 at San Francisco
No one ever wants to face Aaron Rodgers, but you really never want to face him coming off a loss. He went off for 305 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Packers to their sixth victory of the year. In a game where the running game was not at full strength due to injuries and COVID-19, Rodgers stepped up and dominated with Davante Adams. He got plenty of help from the defense too. Green Bay led 34-3 before San Francisco punched in two garbage-time touchdowns. The 49ers are the most banged up team in the league, but this was still a great win to get back on track.

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5. New Orleans Saints: 6-2 (Last Week: 8)
Won 38-3 at Tampa Bay
Mic drop. People have loved to compare Drew Brees and Tom Brady this year as the two trade the NFL’s all-time touchdown title back and forth. Brees gave himself some breathing room with four scores. The defense made sure he held that lead too, keeping Brady out of the end zone. New Orleans rolled out the perfect plan to shut him down, generating pressure without having to blitz. Brady looked uncomfortable all night long. Maybe the Saints just have the Buccaneers’ number right now, but this was a huge win to show they still deserve to be considered Super Bowl contenders.

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6. Buffalo Bills: 7-2 (Last Week: 9)
Won 44-34 vs. Seattle
After two lackluster weeks, Josh Allen and the offense woke up. The former Wyoming star aired it out for 415 yards and scored four total touchdowns. Buffalo’s defense came to play as well with five sacks and four forced turnovers from Russell Wilson. More than halfway through the season now, the Bills seem to be well on their way to a playoff appearance and potentially a division title. Miami is keeping things interest, but Buffalo has to feel really good about the football it is playing right now.

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7. Seattle Seahawks: 6-2 (Last Week: 4)
Lost 44-34 at Buffalo
Someone get the Seahawks a defense. Seattle was always likely to give up more points with the team letting Russell Wilson air it out, but this unit might be the worst in the NFL. Surrendering the third most points and most yards per game this season is cause for major concern. The offense had been able to make up for most of that this year, but even Wilson could not cover up the deficiencies against Buffalo. Wilson tossed a pair of interceptions and took five sacks in the game. His counterpart, Josh Allen, threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns. He also added one of the ground. For as good as this Seahawks offense has played this year, Seattle has no chance of wining the Super Bowl with its current defense.

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8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-3 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 38-3 vs. New Orleans
What in the world was that? This was touted as the clear game of the week. Tampa Bay didn’t get the memo. Tom Brady played one of the worst games of his career. He finished with three interceptions, no touchdowns and just 5.5 yards per attempt. The Buccaneers made no effort to establish the run, finishing eight yards on five attempts. One of those was a kneel down by Blaine Gabbert as well. Four called running plays is not going to cut it. Defensively, the Bucs disappointed again. Drew Brees carved them up for four touchdowns. Tampa got away with one against New York the week before. It clearly did not make the necessary adjustments. For as good as they have looked at times, going 0-2 vs. the Saints is a bad sign.

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9. Tennessee Titans: 6-2 (Last Week: 10)
Won 24-17 vs. Chicago
This defense finally showed up. It got a bit of a boost in the form of facing the Bears offense, but it was still an impressive performance. Tennessee held Chicago to just 2.8 yards per carry and forced two fumbles. One of those was returned for a touchdown as well. It turns out that it was the defense’s turn to carry the load. The Titans’ offense struggled with less than 250 yards. Ryan Tannehill only completed 10 passes the whole game. Tennessee still doesn’t seem like it is truly back on track, but this was an important win to pick up with the Colts coming to town on Thursday.

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10. Miami Dolphins: 5-3 (Last Week: 12)
Won 34-31 at Arizona
Tua Tagovailoa is undefeated as an NFL starter. Now, the sample size is just two games, but the former Alabama quarterback settled in nicely after a rocky debut. He led his team to a shootout victory over a talented Cardinals offense. Miami’s defense did just enough to hang on for the win. It is a huge swing for the Dolphins, who go from being happy to be above .500 to holding a playoff position. There is still room for improvement, but without their top two running backs, this a great sign for things to come.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

11. Arizona Cardinals: 5-3 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 34-31 vs. Miami
Kyler Murray is solidly in the MVP conversation after another stellar outing. He should have a shot at winning as well if this is the kind of help he is going to get from his defense. It is hard to argue any one player is more valuable to their team right now than Murray, who scored four touchdowns, completed 21-of-26 passes for 283 yards and racked 106 yards rushing. He did lose one fumble and that really was the difference in the game. Zane Gonzalez’s game-tying field goal fell short at the end of the game as Arizona suffered a biter defeat. There is no doubt this team is heading in the right direction, but the defense still has a lot of growing up to do.

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12. Las Vegas Raiders: 5-3 (Last Week: 13)
Won 31-26 at Los Angeles
Las Vegas was lucky to win this one. Los Angeles nearly hauled in the game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game, but it was overturned on a review. Derek Carr had a ho-hum kind of afternoon, finishing with just 165 yards passing but adding two touchdowns. The run game was reliable and effective as the Raiders rumbled for 160 yards on the ground. It wasn’t perfect and the win does not count for any less because it was close. However, Vegas looked like the worse team for much of this game. Jon Gruden has work to do with two more pivotal divisional games coming up.

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13. Indianapolis Colts: 5-3 (Last Week: 11)
Lost 24-10 vs. Baltimore
Another failed test for the Philip Rivers-led offense. Baltimore’s defense is one of the best in the league, but 10 points is not good enough for a team with playoff aspirations. There might have been some controversy regarding the late-game interception Rivers threw, but that was not the real issue of the game. Indy cannot lean into the run enough right now to compensate for it’s lackluster passing game. Frank Reich might need to change the approach for the unit heading into an important divisional game.

14. Los Angeles Rams: 5-3 (Last Week: 14)
Bye Week
The identity of the Rams has drastically changed over the past two years. Los Angeles shifted from the high-flying, offensive-minded team that reached the Super Bowl in 2018 to this gritty, lockdown defensive group we have seen in 2020. The defense is allowing the second fewest points per game this year. However, the offense has been hit or miss. Los Angeles has followed just about every impressive showing with a troubling performance. If Sean McVay can find any consistency in the second half, the Rams should be in good shape.

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15. Cleveland Browns: 5-3 (Last Week: 17)
Bye Week
Who are the 2020 Cleveland Browns? No, this isn’t an Alex Trebek tribute, although he will be sorely missed, it is a genuine question. Cleveland has a winning record at the midway point and is solidly in the playoff hunt. However, the Browns offense has been anything but reliable and the defense is struggling to contend with injuries. Cleveland has won some close games, but the losses have all been lopsided, especially in terms of offensive performance. It is hard to know exactly what to make of this group at this stage, but they will be one of the most interesting teams to watch in the second half of the year.

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16. Chicago Bears: 5-4 (Last Week 15)
Lost 24-17 at Tennessee
Remember when the Bears were 5-1? That feels like a lifetime ago after three straight losses. Each one has shared a similar theme as well. Chicago’s defense does just enough keep things close but the offense cannot pull it out. Nick Foles actually put up some solid numbers. However, he threw the ball 52 times. That is a not a winning recipe for the Bears. Foles needs more than 2.8 yards per carry from his running game and Matt Nagy needs to think about handing the playcalling duties to someone else.

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17. Atlanta Falcons: 3-6 (Last Week: 20)
Won 34-27 vs. Denver
Atlanta let Denver climb back into their game on Sunday just enough that you though another collapse was on the horizon, but the Falcons closed it out for their third win in four games. Matt Ryan looked sharp with 284 yards and three touchdown passes. Defensively, the Falcons held the Broncos out of the end zone for the first three quarters of play. Perhaps this truly was just a matter of them taking their foot off the gas. Atlanta is far from one of the league’s elite clubs at this point, but it is proving to be a tough out under Raheem Morris.

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18. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-4-1 (Last Week: 21)
Bye Week
Philly took a week off an watched as the rest of the NFC East crumbled around them. Every other team in the division has at least six losses at this point, giving the Eagles a very solid cushion. What’s more is that this team should finally be getting healthy. Alshon Jeffery, Miles Sanders and Lane Johnson are all expected to practice this week with a chance to play against the Giants. If Darius Slay can get back to full strength on the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles will be a much tougher team to deal with than the one we have seen in recent weeks.

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19. Carolina Panthers: 3-6 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 33-31 at Kansas City
Close isn’t going to cut it a whole longer in Carolina as the losing streak now hits four. However, taking the defending champs to the wire is an impressive feat. Christian McCaffrey was flying around in his return to action, although he could be back on the sideline with a shoulder injury. Teddy Bridgewater played great, posting three total touchdowns. Unfortunately, this young defense could not slow down Patrick Mahomes. It is easy to feel a lot better about the Panthers this year than last year. This are simply growing pains in the rebuild process.

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20. Minnesota Vikings: 3-5 (Last Week: 24)
Won 34-20 vs. Detroit
It is amazing what fresh legs will do for you. Dalvin Cook sat out Week 6 before enjoying his bye week. In his past two games, he has racked up 479 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns. He is now drawing MVP attention and carrying the Vikings back into playoff contention. Minnesota still has a long way to go before it can seriously think about the postseason, but there is no question this team’s outlook feels very different than it did three weeks ago.

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21. San Francisco 49ers: 4-5 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 34-17 vs. Green Bay
Injuries caught up with the 49ers again. With Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle both out against the Packers on a short week, the offense laid an egg. San Francisco managed just three points through the first three quarters. Defensively, the 49ers had no answer for Devante Adams, who finished 173 yards and a touchdown. This has been one of the few times this year that this banged up squad has been noncompetitive. That’s a credit to Kyle Shanahan, but it is hard to see how San Francisco turns things around with so many injuries at key positions.

Denver_Broncos

22. Denver Broncos: 3-5 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 34-27 at Atlanta
It was another slow start and this time the Broncos could not overcome it. Denver trailed by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter before finally starting to make things competitive. In fact, Drew Lock actually led three touchdown drives in the final quarter, but Atlanta did just enough to hold on. Denver has shown it has a talented offense and a defense capable of making big plays, but it needs to solve the issues surrounding these massive first-half deficits.

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23. New England Patriots: 3-5 (Last Week: 22)
Won 30-27 at New York
That was the opposite of convincing. The Patriots snapped a four-game losing streak but needed a last-second field goal to outlast the winless Jets. Cam Newton struggled to stretch the field all night, missing a few passes downfield. Joe Flacco pulled apart the defense without Stephon Gilmore. Once again, the running game showed up though as Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead each carried the load. It was an important victory for New England to keep its playoff hopes alive, but not one that made you feel better about the direction this team is headed.

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24. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-5-1 (Last Week: 25)
Bye Week
Hopefully, Joe Burrow is just spending his bye week in an ice bath. Only Carson Wentz has been sacked more than Burrow has this season. His offensive line has struggled in pass protection all year. However, the offense seems to hitting its stride. A win over the Titans was a showing of the potential this team holds under the former Heisman winner. With Joe Mixon given an extra week to get healthy and his receiving corp looking deep, Burrow should be in a position to put up some big numbers in the second half.

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25. Detroit Lions: 3-5 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 34-20 at Minnesota
As you read this, Dalvin Cook is still running past helpless Lions defenders. After quietly climbing back to .500, Detroit has suffered back-to-back losses where it was clear it was outmatched. The absence of Kenny Golladay clearly impacted the offense as Matthew Stafford faltered against a young Vikings secondary before exiting with a concussion. The odds that Matt Patricia is coaching this team next year continue to shrink as Detroit seems headed for another season of mediocrity.

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26. Houston Texans: 2-6 (Last Week: 27)
Won 27-25 at Jacksonville
Houston has proven it is capable of beating Jacksonville this year and not much else. To be fair, that’s something the Colts cannot claim at this point, but being 0-6 against the rest of the league is not a great look for the Texans. Deshaun Watson put together another strong performance. It was almost blown by a defense facing a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start. Had the Jaguars converted their two-point conversion, we would have been looking at a tie game with a minute and thirty seconds left to play. All in all, it is hard to feel super confident in the Texans right now.

27. Los Angeles Chargers: 2-6 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 31-26 vs. Las Vegas
Another week, another narrow Chargers loss. Justin Herbert is trying his best to drag this team to a win, but the defense has not cooperated in recent weeks. Los Angeles was gashed on Sunday for 6.2 yards per carry by Las Vegas. The Chargers may have slowed down Derek Carr, but it came at the expense of defending the run. It looked like the streak was final over with a late-game touchdown, but that was overturned. Los Angeles is showing a good amount of fight this season despite long odds, but it would be good to see them win a close game at some point.

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28. New York Giants: 2-7 (Last Week: 29)
Won 23-20 at Washington
Don’t look now, but the Giants trail the Eagles by just one game in the win column. A win over Philadelphia in Week 10 would actually breathe life into chances of a potential playoff appearance. New York was a bit lucky to hang on for this one though. Daniel Jones was hounded all day long, taking sacks and fumbling twice, although both were recovered by the Giants. It was another impressive outing for the revamped New York defense. It forced five turnovers on Sunday to seal the victory. The Giants feel much closer to a top-five draft selection than a playoff run, but they are squarely in the mix at this stage.

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29. Washington: 2-6 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 23-20 vs. New York
It was a tough loss for Washington. Kyle Allen seems set to miss a large chunk of games, thrusting Alex Smith into the starting role. While he is the feel-good story of the NFL season regardless of how he plays, his takeover in the game went anything but smoothly. Three interceptions marred an otherwise impressive performance. If Smith can return to his reliable ways, at least in his decision making, Washington should still be at least competitive in the second half of the year.

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30. Dallas Cowboys: 2-7 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 24-19 vs. Pittsburgh
Garrett Gilbert almost sparked a magical win for the Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott was hampered by a hamstring injury, leaving the offense squarely in the hands of Gilbert. He handled the task about as well as you would want for a recent practice squad member. Dallas is already thinking about the future. This team has been ravaged by injuries this season and it is time to focus on 2021.

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31. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-7 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 27-25 vs. Houston
Jake Luton’s NFL debut actually went surprisingly well, even if Jacksonville was unable to finish the job. 300-plus passing yards a touchdown and an interception are pretty solid numbers to open his career. He also added a touchdown on the ground. The Jaguars are lacking in talent, but at least they are competitive at this point. There is a good chance this team will start fresh in the offseason, but these games are still important to figure out which player are worth keeping around.

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32. New York Jets: 0-9 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 30-27 vs. New England
Just when you thought the Jets could not find a way to disappoint anyone, they found a way to do it. Joe Flacco turned back the clocks to sometime in 2012 with three touchdowns against an undermanned Patriots’ secondary. New York led by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, but ran all of four offensive plays as New England staged a massive comeback. The two drives the Jets had in the fourth quarter resulted in an interception and a three-and-out. The misery just continues for this franchise.

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Fantasy Football 2020 Waiver Wire Pickups: Allen Lazard and Jordan Reed among top options

We are entering the home stretch of the fantasy football regular season. Injuries once again rule the fantasy world with stars such as Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas set to return. On the other side, Kenny Golladay and George Kittle could miss some time. While the return of McCaffrey and Thomas crushes the fantasy value of players like Mike Davis and Tre’Quan Smith, Jordan Reed and Marvin Jones Jr. should see a nice boost in fantasy value with Kittle and Golladay out.

With so many moving part, let’s dive in to this long list of potential additions for your fantasy roster this week.

Lock is coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Chargers. (Wikimedia Commons)

Drew Lock, QB, DEN
It is not a great week to need quarterback help, but if you are truly desperate, I am high on Drew Lock for this week. He faces a Falcons defense that has struggled a lot this year. Atlanta is still allowing the second most points to opposing quarterbacks, but this defense has not been quite as porous since Dan Quinn got fired. Lock is coming off his best game of the season and finally seems to be healthy. He also has Jerry Jeudy, DaeSean Hamilton, Noah Fant and KJ Hamler to throw to, plus a good running back tandem. I don’t love playing Lock this week, but if you are dealing with bye weeks or injuries, he is my favorite widely-available option for Week 9.

Damien Harris, RB, NE
Harris has appeared on this list a few times. He seems to be settling in as the top option in this Patriots backfield. Now, there is a risk that comes with every New England running back that he will suddenly disappear from the gameplan. It has been that way for years. He is a better option in standard leagues with just two catches this season. Coming off his best game yet, he finished with 100-plus yards and a touchdown, he is worth adding to your bench as a potential flex play going forward.

Tyler Ervin/Dexter Williams, RBs, GB
Jamal Williams and A.J. Dillon are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Aaron Jones is a long shot to play on Thursday with a calf injury. Someone has to carry the ball for the Packers, right? Special teams star Tyler Ervin and practice squad rookie Dexter Williams are the only two running backs left for Green Bay. Neither is a proven commodity. Ervin has 10 total touches this season. Williams has never even registered a carry. Based on sheer volume alone, they both could be flex options if you are dealing with bye weeks or struggling to find a replacement for Mike Davis. They definitely would not be my first choice against a talented 49ers front seven, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Zack Moss, RB, BUF
Moss has ramped up each of the past two weeks since returning from injury. Week 8 was his best game yet with 81 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. He is still splitting snaps with Devin Singletary, but Buffalo has seemed determined to establish the run in recent weeks. If that trend continues and Moss can resume his role as a pass catcher, he should have some value. Depth is hard to come by at running back, so it is never a bad idea to add more.

Matt Breida/Jordan Howard, RBs, MIA
It was a bit of a surprise, but Myles Gaskin will be out for three weeks with a knee injury. That opens the door for Breida and Howard to see extended action against the Cardinals. Neither one has been overly productive this season. Howard is purely a goal line back and Breida has been ineffective. Still, with Gaskin out and a rookie quarterback making his second start, Miami will likely given them opportunities. I’m not super high on either, but the potential volume makes them intriguing.

Allen Lazard, WR, GB
Welcome back from the IR Allen Lazard. Green Bay is on a short week, so he might not be heavily involved in Week 9, but Lazard is definitely a player worth stashing. He put up 50 fantasy points over his first three games. Just for some context, his 17.3 points per game average is better than Tyler Boyd’s and just trails Stefon Diggs and Keenan Allen. That is the type of player we are talking about here. Perhaps you aren’t ready to start against the 49ers, but you better believe you will be when he plays the Jaguars in Week 10.

Mike Williams, WR, LAC
If you are playing Mike Williams roulette, you likely aren’t doing very well. After a huge performance against the Saints in Week 5, he was a popular add. Many excitedly started him against the Jaguars following the bye week only for him to post a woeful one-catch, four-yard stat line. With people moving on from him after looking like a flash in the pan, Williams naturally put five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in Week 8. He is a tricky player to navigate right now, but his upside in any given week makes him worth having on your roster.

Darnell Mooney, WR, CHI
The rookie from Tulane has carved out a role for himself in this Bears offense. Since Week 3, Mooney has earned at least five targets in every game. His production has been a bit more hit-and-miss, but he draws a favorable matchup with the Titans secondary this week. Coming off his best game of the season, I think you could consider making Mooney a flex play in Week 9. There is definitely some risk here given Nick Foles’ inconsistent play, but I like Mooney’s upside.

Danny Amendola/Marvin Jones Jr./Marvin Hall, WRs, DET
Kenny Golladay will be out for Week 9’s matchup with the Vikings. Minnesota is allowing the third most points to opposing receivers in fantasy. That opens the door for Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola to have meaningful roles in the offense against a favorable matchup. If you are in a standard league, grab Jones, who is a red zone threat that can score a lot of touchdowns. Amendola is probably a better fit in PPR settings given his style of play. The wildcard here is Marvin Hall, who emerged as Detroit’s big-play threat after Golladay exited. He had four catches for 113 yards against the Colts. If you are looking for a boom-or-bust option, I would target Hall.

Bourne racked up eight catches for 81 yards in Week 8. (Wikimedia Commons)

Kendrick Bourne, WR, SF
I might actually give 49ers receivers a boost with Jimmy Garoppolo out. Nick Mullens looked comfortable in relief and Bourne benefited. With George Kittle out as well, Bourne figures to star again. He racked up 59 yards in garbage time, which is significant because that is when Mullens took over at quarterback. He and Brandon Aiyuk are the clear top two options in this passing game heading into Thursday’s matchup with the Packers. (Editor’s note: Bourne has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Thursday’s game against Green Bay. Trent Taylor and James Richie seem set to start at receiver.)

Jordan Reed/Ross Dwelley, TEs, SF
George Kittle is out for the next eight weeks, so these two are more than just one-week fill ins. Reed had a huge two-touchdown game when Kittle was out in Week 2. Unfortunately, he got hurt the following week. He is expected return from IR in time to face the Packers, but he may be a bit rusty. Dwelley is not much of a pass catcher, but if Reed is unable to go for any reason, he should see enough volume to warrant consideration. I would prioritize Reed over Dwelley, but both could be valuable in deeper leagues.

Trey Burton, TE, IND
It is dangerous to chase touchdowns in fantasy football. Rarely is a reliable metric to predict player’s performances. However, Burton has scored in back-to-back games and is seeing a lot of attention in the red zone. He actually has a rushing touchdown in each of his past two games. Burton is part of a fairly crowded tight end room with Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle both healthy now. Burton is still the clear leader though and could be an interesting depth option or starter in deeper leagues.