2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

Just when we started to feel like we knew what was going on in the NFL, the league threw us a massive curveball in Week 14. We thought the Texans had joined the contenders list in the AFC after beating the Patriots, only to turn up lifeless at home against the Broncos. The Chargers had played close games all year, so naturally they blew out the Jaguars by 35. With the 49ers beating the Saints, the door was open for the Seahawks to seize control of the NFC playoff picture. Seattle ended up being soundly beaten by the rival Rams.

Even Eli Manning added to the fun with a return as the starting quarterback for the Giants. We are also seeing trends we are not used to seeing in the NFL. The Patriots have lost back to back games. Aaron Rodgers had another off week as Green Bay narrowly escaped a scrappy Washington team. The Steelers continue to win despite missing just about every meaningful skill position player. Football is an unpredictable sport, and there are sure to be a few more wrinkles before the playoffs get underway.

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1. Baltimore Ravens: 11-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 24-17 at Buffalo
Baltimore is now going toe-to-toe with the best the NFL has to offer. During this nine-game win streak, the Ravens have beaten the Steelers, Seahawks, Patriots, Texans, Rams, 49ers and now Bills. Lamar Jackson did not have his best game, but still threw three touchdown passes. Baltimore’s defense is playing at an elite level, holding Josh Allen to 3.7 yards per attempt. That was in addition to racking up six sacks. Until someone can stop these runaway Ravens, they will be glued to the top spot of these rankings.

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2. San Francisco 49ers: 11-2 (Last Week: 4)
Won 48-46 at New Orleans
I will admit that I was skeptical of this 49ers team despite all the wins. I knew the defense was really good, but could they find a way to win if they had to rely on the offense? Clearly, the answer is yes. This was a respectable Saints defense that Jimmy Garoppolo had a lot of success against. He spread the ball around and showed he has developed a connection with Emmanuel Sanders. San Francisco is going to be tough to stop given their ability to adjust from week to week. However, the defense mysteriously disappeared. Drew Brees had five touchdown passes and the 49ers had no sacks in the contest.

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3. New Orleans Saints: 10-3 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 48-46 vs. San Francisco
This a bitter pill to swallow for the Saints. Heading into the game, the focus was on how well New Orleans’ offense would fare against a dominant San Francisco defense. Clearly, the Saints forget to prep their own defense for the challenge. Any time you give up 48 points, a lot of things went wrong. New Orleans gave up huge chunk plays and had no way to slow down the running game, as the 49ers gained 6.8 yards per carry. All of this boils down to the Saints giving up the top seed in the NFC.

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4. Seattle Seahawks: 10-3 (Last Week: 2)
Lost 28-12 at Los Angeles
Maybe I am making too much out of one game, but this was a troubling loss for the Seahawks. The Rams have their number. Los Angeles was just a missed field goal away from knocking off Seattle earlier this year. This time around, the Rams rolled to a convincing win. The Seahawks could not get into the end zone on offense, with their lone trip coming on a pick-six. Again, it was just one game, but this is a bad sign for Seattle come the postseason, where one bad game will end your year.

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5. Kansas City Chiefs: 9-4 (Last Week: 6)
Won 23-16 at New England
Kansas City finally won in Foxborough. It wasn’t always pretty, but there is a lot to like about this performance. Patrick Mahomes did not play his best. However, he made enough plays in the first half for the defense to close things out. It was a rough night running the ball as well, making this defensive showing even more impressive. The Chiefs appear to be back on track after some midseason struggles. Assuming Mahomes can get back to full strength, this team will be poised for a deep playoff run.

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6. New England Patriots: 10-3 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 23-16 vs. Kansas City
Simply stated, New England was outplayed. There is no question the Patriots ended up on the wrong side of a couple of bad calls on Sunday. However, that does make up for what was another poor outing for the offense. Jakobi Meyers dropped passes, Tom Brady missed throws and Sony Michel managed eight yards on five carries. New England has now lost against the other three teams currently leading their divisions in the AFC. Between injuries and declining play, this team is at risk of missing out on a first-round bye in the playoffs.

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7. Green Bay Packers: 10-3 (Last Week: 7)
Won 20-15 vs. Washington
It was another questionable outing by the Packers, failing to put away a team it should have battered. Green Bay got off to a hot start, but that quickly fizzled into a slugfest. The passing game continues to underwhelm, as Aaron Rodgers finished under 200 yards passing again. Aaron Jones made up for a lot of that with 134 yards and a touchdown. At some point though, it would be good to see the Packers get back to beating up on teams lower down in the standings, especially starting rookie quarterbacks. Green Bay finishes with three straight divisional games, so the margin for error is going to disappear quickly.

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8. Minnesota Vikings: 9-4 (Last Week: 9)
Won 20-7 vs. Detroit
Minnesota rode its defense to a comfortable victory over Detroit. It wasn’t flashy, but there was never a point where this game felt in doubt. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook did enough to lead the offense, but it would be good to see them pick up the pace a bit. This Lions defense had been one of the worst in the league entering the weekend, so 20 points is far from impressive. With the Vikings still trailing the Packers by a game in the NFC, Mike Zimmer needs to get this group to click in the final few weeks of the season.

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9. Los Angeles Rams: 8-5 (Last Week: 12)
Won 28-12 vs. Seattle
For the first time since the Super Bowl, the Rams looked a lot like the team who won the NFC last year. Los Angeles ran the ball 35 times and set up Jared Goff to be comfortable. The heavy run focus allowed Goff to utilize play action against a Seahawks defense that already struggles to rush the passer. Give the defense a lot of credit as well for shutting down Russell Wilson. Seattle failed to reach the end zone on offense, which is a testament to how well Los Angeles played on Sunday night. Suddenly, the Rams are back in playoff contention.

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10. Tennessee Titans: 8-5 (Last Week: 11)
Won 42-21 at Oakland
Ryan Tannehill has to win some kind of award for his performance this season. He has led an explosive offense in the second half of the year, highlighted by throwing for 391 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders. With the Texans losing to the Broncos, the possibility for a division title is more real than ever. However, the Titans will get tested in these final three games. Two games with Houston sandwich a visit from New Orleans. Time to see if Tannehill can continue to shine with the pressure on.

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11. Houston Texans: 8-5 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 38-24 vs. Denver
In terms of shocking results, this one takes the cake for Week 14. Hosting a Broncos team that has struggled all year featuring a rookie quarterback making his second career start, this should have been a comfortable victory. The Texans beat the Patriots a week ago after all. Instead, the defense made Drew Lock look like a Hall of Famer. Deshaun Watson accounted for three total scores, but he also threw a pair of interceptions. This game was 38-3 before Denver just hit cruise control the rest of the way. This was a colossal failure by Houston, as it lost ground in the AFC and the division.

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12. Buffalo Bills: 9-4 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 24-17 vs. Baltimore
A rough day from the Buffalo offense cost it a chance to knock off the kings of the NFL. Josh Allen was ineffective against a talented Ravens defense. On the flip side, the Bills actually did a pretty good job of containing Lamar Jackson. With three games left, Buffalo only trails New England by one game in the division and heads to Foxborough in Week 16 for an AFC East showdown.

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13. Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-5 (Last Week: 13)
Won 23-17 at Arizona
Pittsburgh held on for another road win with a limited offensive lineup. That is most because defensively the Steelers are playing about as well as anyone else in the league. With five sacks, three interceptions and a punt return touchdown, Pittsburgh made up for a banged up offense. Joe Haden came up with a game-sealing interception for the second week in a row. The race for the final playoff spot is going to be tight between the Steelers and Titans.

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14. Chicago Bears: 7-6 (Last Week 15)
Won 31-24 vs. Dallas
Has Mitchel Trubisky finally broken out of his funk? I think its too early to tell, but his play of late has kept the Bears’ playoff hopes alive. He tore apart a woeful Dallas defense. Chicago’s run defense did just enough to limit Ezekiel Elliott, despite giving up two touchdowns on the ground. There is still a long way to go if the Bears are truly going to reach the postseason, but they are not mathematically eliminated yet.

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15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-7 (Last Week: 18)
Won 38-35 vs. Indianapolis
Jameis Winston has become the league’s ultimate gunslinger. He racked up 456 yards passing and four touchdowns against the Colts. Winston also tossed three interceptions, including a pick-six. Still, he lead Tampa Bay to 17 unanswered points to close the game. One of the most interesting questions to be answered this offseason will be what the Buccaneers decide to at quarterback, because the former Florida State star is quite the conundrum.

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16. Philadelphia Eagles: 6-7 (Last Week: 16)
Won 23-17 (OT) vs. New York
That was ugly in every sense of the word. The Eagles slept walked through the first three quarters of this game. Philly is about as banged up as any team in football. Greg Ward was the team’s most productive wideout. If it wasn’t for Zach Ertz and Boston Scott, the Eagles would never have been able to make this comeback. This concerning win brings Philadelphia level with Dallas in the division though, meaning the season is far from over. While the Eagles have looked really rough this year, if they can get healthy in time, they might just surprise some people.

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17. Cleveland Browns: 6-7 (Last Week: 19)
Won 27-19 vs. Cincinnati
Cleveland avoided the embarrassment of losing to Cincinnati and kept its slim playoff chances afloat. Baker Mayfield had a terrible outing, completing under 50 percent of his passes. He added two interceptions to the mix as well. Thankfully the running game and defense bailed him out. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt both punched in a score, while Denzel Ward took one of Andy Dalton’s passes to the house. The Browns are not playing great football, but this was a solid win.

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18. Dallas Cowboys: 6-7 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 31-24 at Chicago
The sky is falling in Dallas as the Cowboys fall below .500. America’s team has been a mess in recent weeks, especially defensively. Mitchell Trubisky looked like one of the league’s best passers facing that Dallas secondary. On the flip side, Dak Prescott is moving the ball down the field, but too many drives have come up empty. A late surge made the scoreline look respectable, but this was another beatdown for a team lacking an identity. Despite all the well-documented problems, the Cowboys are still in control of the NFC East.

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19. Indianapolis Colts: 6-7 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 38-35 at Tampa Bay
I still don’t know the Colts lost this game. Jameis Winston threw three interceptions, including one that was returned by Darius Leonard for a touchdown. Tampa Bay had no real success running the ball either, yet Indianapolis continued to get burned by Winston through the air, squandering a 14-point second half lead. The path to the playoffs is a lot tougher now as Indy trails Houston and Tennessee by two games. This defense needs to step it up down the stretch if the Colts are going to catch either of them.

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20. Denver Broncos: 5-8 (Last Week: 21)
Won 38-24 at Houston
The Drew Lock era picked up a monumental win over the Texans. The Broncos had easily their best offensive game of the year in a thrashing. Lock looked great, as did fellow rookie Noah Fant. Defensively, Denver took its foot off the gas after building a 35-point lead, but this was a real showcase of how good the unit can be. This final stretch could go a long way in building a bright future for the Broncos.

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21. Los Angeles Chargers: 5-8 (Last Week: 23)
Won 45-10 at Jacksonville
Finally, the Chargers featured in a lopsided game. Los Angeles blew the doors off an overmatched Jacksonville squad. Austin Ekeler accounted for over 100 yards rushing and over 100 yards receiving. The contest got so out of hand that Tyrod Taylor made an appearance and threw a touchdown pass. This is the type of showing the Chargers have been waiting for all year long. It is likely too little too late, but it certainly gives them something to build on.

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22. Atlanta Falcons: 4-9 (Last Week: 24)
Won 40-20 vs. Carolina
Once again, Atlanta dominated Carolina. Matt Ryan carved up the Panthers secondary, while Devonta Freeman and Brian Hill turned in solid performances on the ground. With four forced turnovers, this was a complete showing. The struggles for the Falcons this year have been around keeping everyone healthy, evidenced by the latest news that Calvin Ridley is done for the rest of the season. There is talent on this roster, Atlanta just can’t seem to get everyone on the field together.

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23. Oakland Raiders: 6-7 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 42-21 vs. Tennessee
Things have gone sideways in Oakland. After a 6-4 start, the Raiders have lost three straight in incredible fashion. The latest one secured the AFC West for Kansas City. The offense played reasonably well in Josh Jacob’s absence, but the defense has fallen off a cliff. Ryan Tannehill shredded the secondary and Derrick Henry ran all over the front seven. Tennessee is certainly headed in the right direction, but Oakland offered little resistance.

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24. Carolina Panthers: 5-8 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 40-20 at Atlanta
It was another uninspiring day for the Panthers defense. Turns out that firing Ron Rivera did nothing to solve the problems currently facing this team. It is clear Carolina needs Cam Newton back and desperately needs to find some more talent to add to the secondary. Getting blown out by a combined total of 46 points by Atlanta is just a sign of how far this team needs to go in order to get back on track.

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25. Arizona Cardinals: 3-9-1 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 23-17 vs. Pittsburgh
It was a bit of a bounce back for the Cardinals despite the final result. However, the same issues cropped up once again. Kyler Murray took five sacks and tossed three interceptions. Defensively, Arizona played one of its better games of the year, but it was against a decimated Pittsburgh offense. In the end, the errors and inexperience proved to be too much as the Cardinals dropped their sixth straight contest.

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26. Washington: 3-10 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 20-15 at Green Bay
It was ultimately a loss, but honestly this was closer than Washington ever should have been with Green Bay. There are some brutal stats in this game for Dwayne Haskins and company. Aaron Jones outrushed the entire Washington team and the offense as a whole barely managed over 250 yards. Defensively, Bill Callahan has this team playing the best it has all season. Four sacks coupled with holding Aaron Rodgers under 200 yards passing, Washington has plenty to hang its hat on. Now if only Haskins would start to show signs that he is taking the next step.

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27. New York Jets: 5-8 (Last Week: 30)
Won 22-21 vs. Miami
This team is unbelievably banged up. With Le’Veon Bell, Jamal Adams, most of the offensive line and a good chunk of the defense unavailable, this was a gutty performance. On one hand, New York held Miami out of the end zone, giving up seven field goals. On the other, Sam Darnold had an uneven performance, but it ultimately ended in a win. The Jets still have plenty of holes on the roster, but they are starting to identify a decent base to rely on going forward.

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28. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-9 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 45-10 vs. Los Angeles
Turning the offense back over to Gardner Minshew did not provide much of a spark. The Jaguars got steamrolled at home in an embarrassing meeting with the Chargers. Jacksonville has to do a better job establishing the run and figure out what happened to its once-dominant defense. With five straight losses and a mess of problems, it would not be a surprise to see the team move on from coach Doug Marrone at the end of the year.

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29. Miami Dolphins: 3-10 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 22-21 at New York
At least Miami knows it has a good kicker. Otherwise, this was a disappointing follow up to knocking off the Eagles the week prior. Ryan Fitzpatrick did his best to power a lackluster offense, leading the team in rushing. It was also a bit ridiculous to not see more of DeVante Parker against a banged up Jets secondary. No one expected the Dolphins to be competitive this season, but now that they have shown the capability, it is tough to stay positive when they drop games like this.

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30. Detroit Lions: 3-9-1 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 20-7 at Minnesota
If there is any team wishing for the season to end right now, it is the Lions. With Matt Stafford and Jeff Driskel hurt, David Blough has been thrust into action. He proved to be outmatched by a good Vikings front seven on Sunday, taking five sacks, including three at the hands of Danielle Hunter. It is hard to judge this team right now given the lack of talent it has to work with, but that doesn’t make the slow crawl to the end of the year any less painful.

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31. New York Giants: 2-11 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 23-17 (OT) at Philadelphia
For one half, it looked like Eli Manning was going to channel some of that mind-boggling magic as he has done so often throughout his career. Instead, the offense flopped in the second half and the defense could not hold on to see the game out. There were some positive signs as Darius Slayton continues to look like a diamond in the rough, but the secondary is still a joke and Saquon Barkley still has not been able to get back into the same groove he was in a year ago. Given how far this young team feels from competing right now, the result is probably a good thing. Chase Young is well within reach.

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32. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-12 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 27-19 at Cleveland
Cincinnati could not find a way to string together wins, but played tough in the loss. Andy Dalton is clearly not the future at quarterback, but his play relative to Ryan Finley indicates Finley isn’t the future either. This team seems like a lock for a top-two pick, meaning they should have their preference of the current college quarterbacks. There is a very good chance we will see Joe Burrow suiting up for the Bengals in the not-too-distant future.

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2020 NFL Mock Draft: Tua still top 5?

This is the time of year where the draft buzz is starting to get real. Players are beginning to announce their decisions to enter the draft or stay at school, while conference championships and bowl games offer a final chance to showcase their abilities. Some major injuries have rocked the college football world since the last time I did a mock draft, most notably Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury. It puts his draft stock in question and opens the door for him to return to Alabama next year, which would completely change the outlook of college football in 2020.

The draft order here is determined by the current NFL standings, with the exception of the Cowboys, who would have to be in the playoffs as a division winner. Playoff teams are sorted separately from teams that miss the postseason. Anyway, if you don’t like where your team is currently picking, be mad at them, not me, for not playing well enough this season. Let’s dive in.

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1. Cincinnati Bengals (1-11) – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The rise is officially complete. It would be an upset if Joe Burrow was not the first overall pick at this point. He is the clear Heisman front runner and has played lights out against great competition. Burrow could either take over right away, or sit behind Andy Dalton during the final year of his contract. Cincinnati has to find it’s quarterback of the future in this draft, because it is definitely not Dalton or Ryan Finley.

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2. New York Giants (2-10) – Chase Young, EDGE, 
Things have gone downhill in New York, but this would be the king of all consolation prizes after another rough season. Chase Young is the best edge prospect since Von Miller. He is an elite pass rusher who is continuing to develop his pass rush moves and he sets the edge well against the run. He does exactly what you want and would seamlessly transition into the Giants’ 4-3 front.

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3. Washington (3-9) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
While Terry McLaurin has been a stud this season for Washington, Dwayne Haskins is going to need some more weapons to work with. Jerry Jeudy is a polished route-runner with underrated athleticism. He won’t light up the radar gun like teammate Henry Ruggs, but he is a complete receiver. Expect him to be the first receiver off the board in every mock draft you see.

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4. Miami Dolphins (3-9) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama
The drop for Tua Tagovailoa is not very far. Despite the injury, I think Miami would be willing to roll the dice on the Alabama quarterback recovering in time to start the 2021 season. Tagovailoa has a ton of talent and clear poise in the pocket. The Dolphins have a veteran stopgap in Ryan Fitzpatrick that should hold them until Tua is ready to take over the starting job.

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5. Atlanta Falcons (3-9) – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Despite a second-half resurgence from the Falcons pass rush, Atlanta could use an infusion of talent along its defensive front. A.J. Epenesa has some traits that remind you of J.J. Watt, though he definitely does not have the same motor. Epenesa played better in the second half of the year, but didn’t take the same leap many expected given his increased playing time. His size and skill set should be enough to keep him in the top-10.

Lions Logo6. Detroit Lions (3-8-1) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
As the Lions season continues to spiral out of control, Detroit is suddenly well positioned to grab the top corner in the class. Jeffrey Okudah is a beast with true lockdown corner potential. He breaks well on the ball and shows a clear understanding for route combinations. Okudah can sometimes be a bit overaggressive, but has the athleticism to usually make up for that. He would bolster a Lions secondary currently giving up the third-most pass yards per game.

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7. Arizona Cardinals (3-8-1) – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Arizona has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Everyone has posted monster numbers against the Cardinals this season. The front seven is actually coming into form, but they could use some playmaking ability across the board. Isaiah Simmons is the versatile chess piece the defense needs. He can drop in coverage, thanks to his time spent as a safety, but can play closer to the line as a linebacker as well. He should matchup well with “move” tight ends and can wreak havoc in opposing backfields.

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8. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Jacksonville has had all sorts of problems following a 4-4 start. The defense has fallen apart in no small part due to an inability to stop the run. Derrick Brown can help plug up the middle of the field on early downs and apply pressure from the interior of the offensive line in passing situations. He is a complete defensive lineman who should have no problem sliding up and down the line for the Jaguars. This team is at its best when its defense is playing well.

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9. New York Jets (4-8) – Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia
The Jets offense has been inconsistent this season and Sam Darnold has been consistently running for his life. New York has also really struggled to run the ball effectively this season. It is time for this franchise to address the left tackle position, which has been a revolving door since D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired. Andrew Thomas is a rock solid prospect. He will make his 51st start on Saturday in the SEC championship game. He should offer some stability at a crucial position.

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10. Los Angeles Chargers (4-8) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
What is the succession plan to Philip Rivers in Los Angeles? Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick are the other two quarterbacks on the roster. Neither one of them has done anything to indicate they are the future at the position. Rivers has struggled a lot this year and has to be thinking about retirement soon. He will turn 38 over the weekend and his play is clearly slipping. Justin Herbert has certainly had his struggles this season, but he has the physical tools to develop into a future starter. This might be a bit early for him, but LA has to be aggressive in finding its next quarterback.

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11. Denver Broncos (4-8) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Courtland Sutton has been playing lights out in recent weeks. Looking down the rest of the depth chart, there is not really much for Drew Lock to work with. Adding CeeDee Lamb, whose play style reminds me of DeAndre Hopkins, would provide a massive boost to the Denver offense. He is a dynamic playmaker with the potential to take it to the house whenever he touches the ball. Lamb has great hands and the type of athleticism to become an instant contributor for any team at the next level.

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12. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
While the secondary is a clear need, Philadelphia needs some more reliable options at receiver. As the year has rolled on, the Eagles have tried filling holes by bringing back veterans the team had previously parted ways with. Given that DeSean Jackson is already on the roster, this might seem redundant, but relying on the oft-injured 32-year-old speedster is not a great plan. Henry Ruggs is the fastest player in college football right now and would provide a much-needed spark to this offense. He should open up tons of things underneath for Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey given his route running and big-play tendencies.

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13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
While Tampa Bay has succeeded in stuffing the run this season, the secondary is still a mess. The Buccaneers cut Vernon Hargreaves, whom they spent a first-round pick on in 2016. Grant Delpit hasn’t been quite as polished as I expected entering the year, but he is still a solid cover man with good instincts. He comes from a program that prepares defensive backs very well for the next level. Expect him to be a high-level starter within a few years for the Bucs.

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14. Cleveland Browns (5-7) – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
Cleveland needs offensive line help. Just ask Baker Mayfield, who has been sacked 32 times in 2019. With the Browns potentially needing an upgrade at three of their five starting line spots, Alex Leatherwood is a good fit. He has played extremely well at left tackle for Alabama this year after starting at right guard all of last year. He has the versatility to slot where Cleveland thinks it needs the most help.

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15. Carolina Panthers (5-7) – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
It is hard to know exactly which direction Carolina will head right now after firing Ron Rivera. Overall, the Panthers need some run defense help. They did give up almost 250 yards on the ground to Washington in Week 13. Javon Kinlaw is a disruptive defensive playmaker in the middle of the line. He eats up double teams at South Carolina and still finds a way to make his impact felt. Kinlaw moves well given his massive frame (6’6″, 310 pounds) and should help get Carolina’s defense back on track quickly.

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16. Oakland Raiders via Chicago Bears (6-6) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
It is no secret Mike Mayock likes Clemson players. He drafted three last year in Clelin Ferrel, Trayvon Mullens and Hunter Renfrow. He would do well to take another one in Tee Higgins given the lack of talent Oakland has at receiver. Higgins is a huge body at 6’4″ and presents a huge catch radius. He needs to improve his route running, but his athleticism makes up for the occasional lack of separation. Higgins could give Derek Carr a reliable possession receiver who is a huge asset in the red zone. Don’t underestimate his ability to stretch the field either.

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17. Indianapolis Colts (6-6) – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
While Indy could definitely use a receiver, this is a deep draft for them and the Colts have pressing needs elsewhere. Yetur Gross-Matos is a high upside pass rusher who uses his hands well to set up his pass rush moves. He had back-to-back eight-sack seasons at Penn State and should help out right away as a situational pass rusher. Indianapolis could save nearly $10 million in cap space if it decides to move on from Justin Houston this offseason as well. Pass rusher feels like a position the Colts should highlight.

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18. Oakland Raiders (6-6) – CJ Henderson Jr. CB Florida
There is no question Oakland needs help in the secondary. The Raiders have been torched the past two weeks by the Jets and Chiefs. There is a general lack of talent at the corner position, especially after jettisoning Gareon Conley midseason. With CJ Henderson still on the board, the Mike Mayock can swoop and nab a future starter at the position. Henderson closes well on the ball and has long arms to make plays in coverage. He needs to improve his bump-and-run play, but he would help a struggling unit slow down opposing offenses.

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19. Tennessee Titans (7-5) – Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
Tennessee doesn’t seem to have a long-term solution at quarterback, but with the first three off the board, taking anyone here would be a reach. Instead, the Titans should bolster what has been a disappointing offensive line this season. Tristan Wirfs has experience across the offensive line. Many scouts see him as a tackle. I think he projects best as a guard, but he could be one of the best in the league given his size and blocking ability. I think Tennessee’s offensive line will improve organically, but adding Wirfs would help speed up that process and lean into the team’s strength of running the ball.

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20. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (7-5) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
No one is going to step in and replace Jalen Ramsey from Day 1. That is just unrealistic. However, Trevon Diggs has all the physical tools and experience to turn into a really good corner in the NFL. He is taller for the position at 6’2″, but still has the quickness to make plays on the ball. A.J. Bouye is still in town, but in the current NFL, no team is going to get by with only one starting caliber corner. Diggs should be capable of taking over the other starting spot across from Bouye right away.

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21. Dallas Cowboys (6-6) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Another taller corner at 6’1″, Paulson Adebo has had a great career at Stanford. He has four interceptions in each of his past two seasons and does a good job locking up opposing receivers. He is a physical defensive back who would add a bit of swagger to this Dallas secondary. With all the uncertainty around Byron Jones’ future, picking up another talented corner definitely wouldn’t hurt a Cowboys defensive backfield that hasn’t played its best this year.

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22. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) – Jedrick Wills, OT Alabama
After taking Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins can pair him with his current right tackle (Tua is a lefty) at Alabama. Miami definitely could use some help at the tackle positions and Jedrick Wills can play either one. He fits the size profile of a prototypical NFL tackle at 6’5″, 320 pounds. Wills has made 26 straight starts for the Tide and shows good power in his game. His addition would help soften the blow of trading away Laremy Tunsil this past offseason.

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23. Minnesota Vikings (8-4) – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
At the beginning of the year, Minnesota’s concerns were mostly on offense primarily regarding the wide receiver depth and offensive line play. As the year’s gone on, it has been the defense that looks like it could use some improvement. The Vikings have a need at defensive tackle, but should opt instead to find a corner capable of playing across from Xavier Rhodes. Kristian Fulton fits that mold with good hand usage and speed guiding his game. He tracks the ball well downfield and is aggressive in closing underneath. He might not be the most physical corner in the world, but he can still come up to make tackles when needed.

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24. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
It is hard to have a ton of faith in Kansas City’s current cornerback tandem of Charvarius Ward and Breshad Breeland, granted Kendall Fuller is working his way back from injury. The Chiefs’ biggest weakness for the past two seasons has been the secondary. With the addition of Juan Thornhill, the safety spots are set, but KC needs to pick up a talented corner. The best one available here is Bryce Hall. He suffered an ankle injury that ended his season in October, but he has the skill set to transition quickly to the next level. Hall tracks the ball well in flight and high points it in coverage. He is one of the best cover corners in college football.

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25. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (8-4) – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Miami opts to keep rebuilding its offense here with the selection of D’Andre Swift. Ever since trading away Kenyan Drake, the running back position has been in flux. Swift has game-breaking ability and would be a huge plus to Dolphins’ ground game. He is an excellent runner, but also brings a lot to the table as a receiver. He has 70 catches in his career. A rookie quarterback’s best friend is always a good ground game and Swift will help Miami build that around Tua Tagovailoa.

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26. Buffalo Bills (9-3) – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Josh Allen has taken a big step in his development as a passer this season with a slight upgrade in the talent around him. He still needs more weapons though, as the collection of John Brown, Cole Beasley and Dawson Knox is not going to cut it long term. Enter Justin Jefferson, who looks like the real deal in his breakout season with LSU. With over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns this year, he is drawing a lot of attention. He has good size at 6’3″ and definitely has the speed needed to find separation in the NFL.

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27. Green Bay Packers (9-3) – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t really looked like Aaron Rodgers this year, save one incredible masterpiece against the Raiders. He has failed to top 250 yards seven times this year, which is incredibly unRodgers-like. While it is clear Green Bay is more committed to running the ball, it needs a boost at receiver as well. Laviska Shenault Jr. has the playmaking capability to make an immediate impact. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands and is aggressive in snatching it out of the air. He feels like the type of player Rodgers could get in sync with very quickly, giving headaches to opposing defensive coordinators across from Davante Adams.

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28. San Francisco 49ers (10-2) – Tyler Biadasz, OL Wisconsin
Kyle Shannahan wants to run the ball. He wants to do it a lot and do it effectively. He has a pretty good stable of running backs, but could use some new blood opening up holes for them. Tyler Biadasz is the best interior linemen in the country right now. He is an excellent pass blocker and has the strength to open up running lanes inside. If Biadasz can clean up some of the technical side of his game, he will be a slam-dunk pick here.

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29. New England Patriots (10-2) – Creed Humphrey, G, Oklahoma
Isaiah Wynn’s return has definitely helped New England’s offense, but the interior of the line is still a mess. Go back and watch Tom Brady throwing the ball away because of the interior pressure over and over again against the Texans if you don’t believe me. Creed Humphrey would help resolve those problems given his consistent play. He is young as just a redshirt sophomore, but he should be capable of stepping in and starting from Day 1.

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30. Seattle Seahawks (10-2) – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Even with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah, the Seahawks need more help up front. Seattle has the fourth fewest sacks in the league this year, edging only Miami, Cincinnati and Atlanta. On top of that, both Clowney and Ansah are free agents this offseason. Curtis Weaver is a hard-working pass rusher with an exciting blend of power and speed. He has the fifth-most sacks in college football this season with 14. Expect him to rise into the top 20 if he runs well at the combine.

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31. Baltimore Ravens (10-2) – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
This offense in Baltimore is built around Lamar Jackson, and he could use some more pass catchers around him. After spending a first rounder on speedster Marquise Brown last year, the Ravens could swoop in for another talented receiver in Tylan Wallace. The Oklahoma State standout is a great threat downfield thanks to his ability to rise above defenders and make plays. He needs to work on his route tree a bit coming out of a wide open system, but he offers a reliable target with athletic upside to make plays in the red zone.

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32. New Orleans Saints (10-2) – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Michael Thomas is the best receiver in the NFL right now, but the Saints don’t really have anyone to pair with him. The combination of Ted Ginn, Austin Carr, Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris don’t really provide a ton to work with. Jalen Reagor is a dynamic playmaker who can stretch the field and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He will make tough catches in traffic and if he can get into the open field, few defenders can catch him. Reagor would be a lot of fun to watch in Sean Payton’s offense.

For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had a loaded week of games, including three on turkey day. There were a ton of notable results this week. The Ravens edged the 49ers to maintain their spot atop the power rankings. Seattle downed Minnesota and moves into first place in the NFC West with San Francisco losing. Baltimore also takes over in the AFC with New England falling in Houston.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Jets made the wrong kind of history by becoming the first team to lose two games in one season against teams that entered the game with an 0-7 or worse record. The Bengals can celebrate like they just won the Super Bowl, because they avoid joining the Browns, Buccaneers and Lions in the winless season club, but still hold onto the first overall pick at the moment. This might be the most active week yet in terms of teams shifting in the rankings. They look almost unrecognizable compared to a week ago given all the significant results.

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1. Baltimore Ravens: 10-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 20-17 vs. San Francisco
Week after week, Baltimore continues to show why it is the toast of the NFL right now. There is a mess of teams sitting at 10-2 right now, but the Ravens look the best of the bunch, besting the 49ers in some miserable weather on Sunday. It was far from a dominant showing, but Lamar Jackson continued to wow and the defense stepped up big time to make some critical plays. It felt like an old-school contest with both teams eclipsing the 150 yard-mark on the ground. Justin Tucker hit the walk-off winner and the road to the Super Bowl might just run through Baltimore.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 10-2 (Last Week: 2)
Won 37-30 vs. Minnesota
Seattle’s impressive run continues despite a near collapse. The Seahawks definitely let Kirk Cousins and company back into the game with a couple of costly mistakes, but made enough plays down the stretch to seal the win. The run game carried Seattle much of the night, finishing with 218 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It allowed the Seahawks to dominant time of possession at a nearly two to one ratio. Pete Carroll has this team atop the NFC West and in line for a first-round bye, but it cannot afford any slip ups with how tight the conference is at the moment.

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3. New Orleans Saints: 10-2 (Last Week: 5)
Won 26-18 at Atlanta
The end of this game got very interesting in all the wrong ways for Saints fans, but the defense held on for a significant victory. New Orleans sacked Matt Ryan nine times and locked up the NFC South in the process. Pair that with a loss by the 49ers and suddenly the Saints can think about homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Those two teams will face off in the Bayou in the biggest matchup of Week 14. Winner will likely get that coveted first-round bye.

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4. San Francisco 49ers: 10-2 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 20-17 at Baltimore
This was a tough way to lose given how well the defense played. Lamar Jackson tore up the 49ers on the ground, but San Francisco did a good job limiting him as a passer. Jimmy Garoppolo just could not find a way to spark the offense in the second half. It has been a great start to the season for San Francisco, and losing on the road to a top team is forgivable, but the offensive showing left a lot to be desired. Suddenly, San Francisco is facing the prospect of a road playoff game after leading the conference heading into the weekend.

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5. New England Patriots: 10-2 (Last Week: 4)
Lost 28-22 at Houston
Welcome to the point in the year where everyone panics about the Patriots. It is happening a little later than usual, and this time might actually be warranted. Despite the final scoreline, New England trailed 28-9 in the fourth quarter of this game. A late push almost saw the Pats come all the way back, but it is clear this offense is not in a good place. Tom Brady struggled for most of the game, while the defense was far from dominant. There isn’t really much of a resume to make you think this team is ready to contend either, with only two wins over teams currently above .500. With Kansas City up next, the Patriots need to get back on track fast if they hope to hang onto that first-round bye.

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6. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-4 (Last Week: 7)
Won 40-9 vs. Oakland
This felt like the weirdest Chiefs’ dominant performance in recent memory. Patrick Mahomes barely completed 50 percent of his passes, threw for one touchdown and was held under 200 yards passing. Kansas City did not break 100 yards rushing and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Naturally, KC won by 31. The Chiefs defense led the way, forcing three turnovers. It was a bizarre game, but the result is all that matters as Kansas City builds a cushion in the AFC West. A showdown with the Patriots awaits.

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7. Green Bay Packers: 9-3 (Last Week: 8)
Won 31-13 at New York
The Packers did what they needed to do in dominating the Giants. There were still some signs of recovering from last week’s beatdown against San Francisco. It took Green Bay a long time to truly put the game out of reach and the ground game struggled a lot in the snow. Aaron Rodgers was red hot despite the wintry weather, tossing four touchdowns. The Pack are back on track heading into the final four games of the regular season.

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8. Houston Texans: 8-4 (Last Week: 9)
Won 28-22 vs. New England
Welcome to the party Houston. The Texans announced themselves as contenders on Sunday night by taking down the reigning champs. While they almost blew it, this was truly a dominant display. Deshaun Watson was masterful and the defense did a good job of frustrating Tom Brady for most of the night. I’m sure Bill O’Brien will have much to say about the near collapse, but the win keeps Houston atop the AFC South.

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9. Minnesota Vikings: 8-4 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 37-30 at Seattle
Minnesota dug itself another hole, and this one was too deep to climb out of. The Vikings will have no one to blame but themselves after committing a number of errors that ultimately cost them a chance to win. Dalvin Cook had a game to forget, but Mike Zimmer did not do enough to establish the run in this game. There were things to like from this outing though, as Minnesota hung tough on the road with one of the best teams in the NFC. Close only counts in horseshoes, but the Vikings have easily-identifiable areas for improvement.

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10. Buffalo Bills: 9-3 (Last Week: 11)
Won 26-15 at Dallas
Don’t look now, but the Bills are just one game behind the Patriots in the AFC East. Can Buffalo really start thinking about its first division title since 1995? It might be a bit early for that, but beating the Cowboys on Thanksgiving keeps those dreams alive. Josh Allen played great, accounting for two scores and no turnovers. Devin Singletary continues to emerge as a true multi-use back as well. Defensively, the Bills gave up a ton of yards, but forced two turnovers. Buffalo gets it biggest test yet with a visit from Baltimore on the horizon.

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11. Tennessee Titans: 7-5 (Last Week: 12)
Won 31-17 vs. Indianapolis
Are the Titans for real? Tennessee currently sits just outside the AFC playoff picture and is just a game back of Houston in the division. The Titans also own a win over the Chiefs this year as well. Ryan Tannehill is 5-1 as the starter as he and Derrick Henry continue to revitalize this offense. The defense continues to make big plays as well with two interceptions and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. Tennessee will get a chance to prove itself in this final stretch with games against Oakland and New Orleans and a pair of contests with Houston remaining.

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12. Los Angeles Rams: 7-5 (Last Week: 14)
Won 34-7 at Arizona
These are the Rams we expected to see for most of this season. Jared Goff threw the ball all over the yard, hitting the 300-yard mark before halftime, and finishing with 424 and a pair of scores. Los Angeles had a productive day running the ball as well, led by Todd Gurley. This might have been against one of the worst defenses in the league, but it keeps LA’s playoff hopes alive and provides something to build on moving forward.

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13. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-5 (Last Week: 15)
Won 20-13 vs. Cleveland
Pittsburgh won again and I’m still extremely confused as to how. The offense is missing it’s starting quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Delvin Hodges made his first NFL start against the Browns and led them to an important victory. The defense got after Baker Mayfield and Joe Haden pulled the plug on his former team’s comeback bid with a late interception. Pittsburgh is holding onto the final AFC playoff spot at the moment, but must face the Bills and Ravens to close the season.

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14. Dallas Cowboys: 6-6 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 26-15 vs. Buffalo
Dallas got punched in the mouth on Thanksgiving, losing the third of its last four games. That once prolific offense struggled to put up points for the second week in a row as well. The deficit was really instrumental in how this game unfolded. After falling behind early, the Cowboys had to abandon the run. That played right into the Bills’ hands, who have a great secondary, but are suspect against the run. Dallas is somehow still comfortably leading the NFC East, but this team has first-round exit written all over it right now.

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15. Chicago Bears: 6-6 (Last Week 20)
Won 24-20 at Detroit
Are the Bears finally on the right track? Maybe. Their jump in rankings is more about the teams around them struggling and less about them. So many teams on the outside of the playoff bubble lost this week, but Chicago pulled out a much-needed victory. Even though Detroit’s defense is terrible, it was good to see Mitchell Trubisky excel. He finally got over the 300-yard mark passing on the year. The Bears are truly a long shot to reach the playoffs, but they have another winnable game coming up when they face the Cowboys.

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16. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-7 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 37-31 at Miami
The spiral continues for Carson Wentz and the Eagles. Philly dropped its third game in a row with a devastating loss to Miami. Wentz actually played fairly well, with his interception coming on a Hail Mary that was batted around to end the game. It was the Eagles defense that had absolutely no answer for Ryan Fitzpatrick and DeVante Parker. Parker had 159 yards and two touchdowns, while Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles still control their playoff fate, but this team seems to have a new unit that falls apart every week.

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17. Indianapolis Colts: 6-6 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 31-17 at Tennessee
In what was a clear litmus test for both teams in this contest, Indy proved once again that injuries and kicking woes were too much to overcome. With Marlon Mack and T.Y. Hilton still out, this offense is playing with a skeleton crew. It is a testament to this team’s core that they are still competitive and sitting at .500, but the Colts need to get healthy to really make a playoff push. It might not take anything more than a 9-7 record to reach the postseason in the AFC after all.

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18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-7 (Last Week: 21)
Won 28-11 at Jacksonville
Jameis Winston failed to throw a touchdown pass and the Bucs won by 17. This defense came to play, chasing Nick Foles from the game. Tampa came up with three turnovers and scored a touchdown on one of them. Peyton Barber punched in a pair of touchdowns as well. There is definitely something to be excited about for this club after winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. It is not out of the question for the Buccaneers to win out, but it is just as likely they finish 0-4. Time to see if Tampa Bay can find some consistency.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 5-7 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 20-13 at Pittsburgh
It was another frustrating loss for the Browns, who lost all the momentum they had built in recent weeks. Pittsburgh was about as beat up and inexperienced at key positions as Cleveland could have hoped, but it could not make that matter. Baker Mayfield was uninspiring. Nick Chubb had a subpar game. The Steelers also got to Mayfield five times in the contest. Considering the expectations for this team, specifically the offense, heading into the year, Freddie Kitchens is in some hot water with this latest performance.

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20. Oakland Raiders: 6-6 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 40-9 at Kansas City
Oakland entered Sunday with a chance to take the lead in the AFC West. Instead, the Raiders laid an egg for the second week in a row, getting blown out in a game they needed to win. It was an awful performance from the offense. It committed three turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. After a second-straight lackluster performance, Oakland has to stop worrying about the playoffs and simply focus on executing. The AFC’s final playoff spot is still up for grabs, but the Raiders will have no shot at it if they keep playing in their current form.

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21. Denver Broncos: 4-8 (Last Week: 27)
Won 23-20 vs. Los Angeles
Drew Lock played much like you would expect from a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start. He had some good plays mixed with some bad and really didn’t light up the box score. Lock did push the ball downfield and make some tough throws to lead the Broncos to a victory. Without Von Miller or Bradley Chubb, the defense still played well and made enough plays to give Denver a chance to win. With injuries piling up, these final four games represent nothing more an evaluation period for young players, mostly notably Lock.

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22. Carolina Panthers: 5-7 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 29-21 vs. Washington
I wanted to drop Carolina even further after this dismal performance, but so many teams around them in the rankings also lost. Saw what you want about Kyle Allen, I expected a lot more from this defense. The Panthers gave up 248 yards rushing, 8.3 yards per carry and three rushing touchdowns. Considering Washington is playing with a rookie quarterback, this is completely unacceptable. Carolina is in free fall right now after losing four straight and looking like it might be headed for a rebuild of some kind.

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23. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-8 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 23-20 at Denver
Los Angeles lost its eighth game of the season and its eighth one by fewer than eight points. This last one was unbelievably unlucky considering the controversial pass interference call that set up the Broncos winning field goal. Defensively, the Chargers need more out of their front seven playing against a rookie quarterback in his first start. LA hit Drew Lock exactly zero times. It has been a lost season for the Chargers, who may have to start thinking about moving on from Philip Rivers.

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24. Atlanta Falcons: 3-9 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 26-18 vs. New Orleans
After an uninspiring first 55 minutes, the Falcons suddenly sprang to life and almost made an unthinkable comeback. In the end, Atlanta dropped to 3-9. The patchwork offensive line gave up nine sacks to the Saints and failed to open too many holes for the run game. It has been another injury-plagued year that will end in disappointment. Atlanta will have some major questions surrounding the franchise this offseason.

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25. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-8 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 28-11 vs. Tampa Bay
Nick Foles has only played three games for the Jaguars, but looks like he might be a very expensive mistake. Doug Marrone pulled the former Super Bowl MVP in favor of Gardner Minshew. The offense responded better under Minshew and finally stopped turning the ball over. The 2017 AFC championship game feels like a lifetime ago now and Jacksonville feels much closer to a rebuild than it does a return to the postseason.

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26. Arizona Cardinals: 3-8-1 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 34-7 vs. Los Angeles
Even when they weren’t winning, it was easy to highlight the positives in every performance for Arizona. That was much harder to do on Sunday. The Cardinals were overmatched by a Rams team that seemed very prepared for the matchup. The secondary continues to rival the worst in the league after giving up an astronomical number of yards to Jared Goff in the first half. Kyler Murray also looked lost and confused for much of the game, taking six sacks and tossing an interception. Expectations were never high for Arizona this year, but performances like this should not be happening.

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27. Washington: 3-9 (Last Week: 28)
Won 29-21 vs. Carolina
Wait. Washington has won back-to-back games? Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice powered the offense to an impressive win. Dwayne Haskins continues to look very raw, missing on a lot of passes and showing lots of room for improvement. Still, he avoided turning the ball over, which has to count for something. There is no way this team will rush for nearly 250 yards every week, but this looks like a winning formula.

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28. Miami Dolphins: 3-9 (Last Week: 31)
Won 37-31 vs. Philadelphia
Miami definitely isn’t tanking anymore after taking down the Eagles. The Dolphins still have a long way to go, but Brian Flores deserves a lot of credit for this team’s recent success. Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to make plays for an offense lacking proven playmakers and DeVante Parker played the best game of career. The defense did just enough to hang on for the win. The result won’t really mean much in the standings, but it a sign this team is headed in the right direction.

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29. Detroit Lions: 3-8-1 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 24-20 vs. Chicago
I’ve got to give the Lions a lot of credit. Most teams would’ve folded heading into a divisional game on a short week with an undrafted rookie quarterback making his first start. Instead, Detroit was incredible competitive and actually looked fairly polished offensively, given the circumstances. Having Kenny Golladay made that easier, but when David Blough and and Bo Scarborough are doing a lot of the heavy lifting, this was impressive. The defense is still a mess, but that’s nothing new. The Lions are approaching things with 2020 vision.

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30. New York Jets: 4-8 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 22-6 at Cincinnati
Welcome back to the roller coaster ride that is the New York Jets. After battering a playoff-hopeful Raiders team, the Jets looked lifeless against a winless Bengals team. It is clear Adam Gase is still struggling to figure out how game plan for the talent he has available. Injuries have decimated this roster, but that humility remains the same. New York continues to end up on the wrong side of historic losses and the list of offseason needs continues to grow.

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31. New York Giants: 2-10 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 31-13 vs. Green Bay
Not to be outdone by the inept Jets, the Giants were overmatched in a snow storm on Sunday. The Packers are a very good opponent, but there is a lot to be concerned about with this team. Saquon Barkley seems to have regressed from last season. Daniel Jones had a rough outing, but those are to be expected from a rookie quarterback. The larger issues exist on defense, where New York offered little resistance for Aaron Rodgers. It is hard to stop the future Hall of Famer, but this was another questionable showing defensively.

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32. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-11 (Last Week: 32)
Won 22-6 vs. New York
It finally happened! The Bengals will avoid the company of the Browns, Lions and Buccaneers after winning their first game of the year. Predictably, it was against the Jets. Andy Dalton looked pretty sharp in his return to the starting lineup. His stats don’t even do his performance justice given how many touchdown passes Cincinnati dropped in the contest. This probably doesn’t save Dalton’s job long term, but it does buy him credit from grateful fans who are undoubtedly thankful to avoid that embarrassing bit of history.

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

Everything is starting to come into focus, in the NFC that is. We pretty much know who the six playoff teams will be, with only the qualifier from the NFC East seeming uncertain. We even got some clarity as to how the top teams stack up with the 49ers thrashing the Packers in primetime. There is a two-game gap though between the Vikings, who currently hold the second wildcard spot in the conference, and everyone else chasing them. There is still lots to play for down the stretch, but I feel confident in saying that collection of seven teams will make up the six who feature in the postseason.

On the AFC side of things, this is absolute anarchy. There are four teams tied at 6-5 right now, and honestly none of them even feel all that deserving of the second wildcard spot. The Steelers currently hold that position, but given how shaky that offense is, they might not have it for long. Even the current division winners feel a little murky, as Kansas City and Houston both own the same record through 11 games. I say it all the time, but these rankings have truly felt like guesswork this year. There has been a reshuffling of the top five and some heavy movement in the middle of the rankings so let’s dive in.

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1. Baltimore Ravens: 9-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 45-6 at Los Angeles
There really are not enough adjectives to describe how dominant the Ravens look right now. Baltimore outscored the two teams that featured in last year’s Super Bowl 92-26. That is astounding. Lamar Jackson was on fire again, this time throwing five touchdown passes. The defense swallowed up Jared Goff and kept this Rams team from ever getting into a rhythm. This is a confident outfit that is clearly out to prove it is the best in the league. I can’t think of a team that coaches want to face less right now than Baltimore.

Seahawks logo2. Seattle Seahawks: 9-2 (Last Week: 3)
Won 17-9 at Philadelphia
Is it just me, or is this team starting to feel a little bit like those Seattle teams from around 2013. The Seahawks rode their ground game and smothering defense to a gritty road win. It was far from perfect, as Russell Wilson was sacked six times. The defense more than made up for it though with five forced turnovers. There are several reasons why this season has been impressive for Seattle, but its 6-0 road record might top the list. That bodes well for a team currently holding a wildcard spot. (It is ridiculous that Seattle is currently in a wildcard spot, but that’s the NFL for ya.)

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3. San Francisco 49ers: 10-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 37-8 vs. Green Bay
San Francisco is not messing around. I don’t know if Jimmy Garoppolo heard all the questions being raised about his ability to show up against teams that weren’t the Cardinals, but he sure answered a lot of them with this performance. It was truly a full team effort, but Garoppolo had 253 yards passing and two touchdowns on just 20 attempts. The 49ers were also very happy to get George Kittle back, who had a monster game. This firmly puts San Francisco in the driver’s seat in the NFC, but they can hardly afford a slip up with Seattle holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

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4. New England Patriots: 10-1 (Last Week: 2)
Won 13-9 vs. Dallas
It is officially time to panic for this Patriots offense. Tom Brady threw the ball 37 times and failed to crack 200 yards passing. The Cowboys defense he faced on Sunday is not good enough for that to be happening. New England’s defense is more than capable of bailing the offense out from time to time, but this team is going to need to start scoring more points. After all, it is heading into big games down the stretch with Houston, Kansas City and Buffalo all on tap.

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5. New Orleans Saints: 9-2 (Last Week: 5)
Won 34-31 vs. Carolina
That was entirely way too close for comfort for Saints fans. New Orleans had this game all but wrapped up, but kept finding ways to let Carolina back into it. The talent for this group is undeniable, but it needs to find more consistency. That is going to start with the defense based on this game. Drew Brees and company played about as well as you could’ve hoped. Cameron Jordan and friends need to do more after allowing Kyle Allen to toss three touchdowns against them.

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6. Minnesota Vikings: 8-3 (Last Week: 7)
Bye Week
Minnesota has to like how the cards have fallen in recent weeks. The Vikings now control their own fate and could even earn a home playoff game with a win over the Packers later in the year. With a week off to get Adam Thielen back to full strength, Minnesota has to feel very good about where it stands in a loaded NFC. A litmus test against Seattle is the first thing this team will get coming off the bye. While the focus for both teams will be on winning their respective divisions, this game could decide the seeding of the two NFC wildcard teams come the end of the season.

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7. Kansas City Chiefs: 7-4 (Last Week: 8)
Bye Week
This hasn’t been how the Chiefs wanted the follow up season to go after reaching the AFC Championship. Injuries have knocked them off course a bit, but Kansas City is still very much in control of it’s playoff fate and lurking in the AFC. While much has been made about the Patriots defense and MVP-favorite Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes still commands what can be the most explosive offense in the league. Fans just have to hope Andy Reid was able to fix the defense on the bye week. An important meeting with Raiders, who sit just a game back in the division despite their meltdown against the Jets, is next. A rematch of that AFC title game with the Patriots follows that divisional clash.

Packers logo8. Green Bay Packers: 8-3 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 37-8 at San Francisco
Relax? This is the type of game that we could look back on as a turning point in the Packers season. Falling to 8-3, that actually drops Green Bay behind San Francisco, New Orleans and Seattle record wise, meaning that the climb to a first-round bye in the playoffs is steep. The Pack also suddenly find themselves level with the Vikings in the divisional standings. It was a failure to launch across the board, as the offensive line fell apart and the defense got pulled apart by Jimmy Garoppolo. Aaron Rodgers also had the least efficient game of his career. This team has the talent to rebound and finish strong, but this was a clear barometer for the contender status of two elite NFC teams. Clearly, San Francisco has the edge.

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9. Houston Texans: 7-4 (Last Week: 11)
Won 20-17 vs. Indianapolis
This was a gutsy win for the Texans as they reclaimed their spot atop the AFC West. The defense showed up in a big way, shutting down the Colts pass attack and doing just enough to protect a slim lead in the late stages of the contest. Houston showed it could move the ball all night, but that only translated to two touchdowns. Given how leaky the defense can be, Deshaun Watson will have to lead the offense on more drives that finish in the end zone.

Cowboys logo10. Dallas Cowboys: 6-5 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 13-9 at New England
In likely the ugliest game of the weekend, and that’s saying something, Dallas really could not find a way to get into gear. The defense played fairly well, holding the Patriots to just 13 points. Given how explosive the offense can be, the Cowboys should have had no problem rolling to a victory. Give New England’s defense (and the refs) some credit for shutting down Dallas’ offense, but Jerry Jones made it very clear the expectations are higher for this group. The caliber of defense the Cowboys face won’t get any easier either with the Bills up next.

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11. Buffalo Bills: 8-3 (Last Week: 15)
Won 20-3 vs. Denver
Lost in the incredible seasons we are seeing in San Francisco and New England, Buffalo boasts one of the best defenses in the league. The Bills held Brandon Allen and the Broncos to just 148 yards of total offense on Sunday. It was a stellar day running the ball as well. As a team, Buffalo racked up 244 yards rushing and saw Frank Gore pass Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list. The Bills have benefited from a soft schedule, but they will get a chance to prove themselves with the Cowboys, Ravens and Patriots all left to play before the season is over.

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12. Tennessee Titans: 6-5 (Last Week: 17)
Won 42-20 vs. Jacksonville
Every once in a while, particularly against the Jaguars, Derrick Henry turns in one of the best performances we will see during a given season by a running back. He shredded Jacksonville again on Sunday, this time for 159 yards and two touchdowns. That included a 74-yard rumble as well. Ryan Tannehill also put together a stellar statline with 259 yards and two touchdowns on just 18 throws. The former Dolphin averaged an outrageous 14.4 yards per attempt. The biggest challenge facing the Titans is playing at this level consistently, but their last two games have been impressive.

Eagles Logo

13. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-6 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 17-9 vs. Seattle
It was another rough offensive outing for the Eagles, who finally got into the end zone in garbage time in a losing effort. Honestly, the ultimate frisbee exhibition that took place at halftime was more entertaining than most of the game. (Seriously, check it out.) Without Alshon Jeffrey or Jordan Howard, Carson Wentz struggled to get the ball moving. For as much as he has struggled this year, Wentz really has not had a whole lot around him. If this season has shown anything, its that Philly really lacks depth at some key positions on both sides of the ball. The schedule gets a whole lot easier going forward. Win out, and the Eagles are in the playoffs, no matter what.

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14. Los Angeles Rams: 6-5 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 45-6 vs. Baltimore
I don’t think too many people expected the Rams to actually beat the Ravens, but I was among those who thought they might at least be competitive. This looked like a college game between a Power-5 school and a team playing in the FCS. Los Angeles had absolutely no answer for Lamar Jackson or really anyone on the Baltimore offense all night. Jared Goff continued his killer impression of a helpless rookie quarterback as well. The Super Bowl hangover doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon for this group.

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15. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-5 (Last Week: 14)
Won 16-10 at Cincinnati
How in the world do the Steelers keep winning games? It is almost inconceivable that Pittsburgh has a winning record. JuJu Smith Schuster and James Conner both sat out due to injury. Mason Rudolph turned in a dud against the Cincinnati, so Mike Tomlin elected to bench him for Delvin Hodges. Hodges threw the go-ahead touchdown in Rudolph’s place and has the inside track to start next week against the Browns. All of that should be a recipe for disaster, but it wasn’t. Maybe that’s just how bad the Bengals are. It was far from pretty, but they don’t award style points in the NFL.

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16. Oakland Raiders: 6-5 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 34-3 at New York
On Sunday, the 2019 Raiders looked like the 2018 Raiders. Oakland’s defense laid an egg and there was little life from the offense. Overall, Jon Gruden’s crew was undisciplined and unprepared. This was a major setback for a team that had been trending in the right direction of late. The loss will ultimately prove inconsequential if the Raiders can get back on track and beat the Chiefs this week. There is still plenty for Derek Carr and company to play for.

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17. Indianapolis Colts: 6-5 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 20-17 at Houston
Indy’s playoff chances and hopes of winning the division took a major blow with this loss, as Houston now controls the AFC South. There probably should have been a review at the end of this game as to whether or not Darius Leonard recovered a loose ball that would’ve given the Colts another chance to complete their comeback. That said, Jacoby Brissett needs to play better than he did on Thursday considering how well the run game and defense performed. He did have a rushing touchdown, but only managed 152 yards through the air against one of the worst secondaries in the league.

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18. Carolina Panthers: 5-6 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 34-31 at New Orleans
This was a much better performance from Carolina after having the doors blown off by Atlanta last week. Close only counts in horseshoes, but hopefully this can help this group build some momentum for the home stretch. The Panthers came an inexplicable missed field goal away from taking a late lead against the Saints. They clearly need to finish the job, but as long as Christian McCaffrey keeps playing like a beast, this team is going to have a chance to win.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 5-6 (Last Week: 19)
Won 41-24 vs. Miami
And just like that, the Browns are one game out of the playoffs. It is incredible how this team has begun to turn things around. Beating Miami is nothing particularly impressive, but Cleveland did it in convincing fashion. Half the battle is beating the teams you should beat. Baker Mayfield finally seems to be settling into the offense this year. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. both had great games and the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt has been extremely productive. With a weak schedule remaining, the postseason is in reach.

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20. Chicago Bears: 5-6 (Last Week 22)
Won 19-14 vs. New York
If someone finds the Bears offense from last year, I think Matt Nagy might be willing to pay a lot of money to get it back. The running game was ineffective, managing just 2.5 yards per carry. Mitchell Trubisky struggled again, but Chicago gritted out a win to stay in the playoff conversation, kind of. It would take something of a miracle for the Bears to reach the postseason given that the Vikings are holding down the final wildcard spot with an 8-3 record. While everyone wants to blame Trubisky for the team’s woeful offense, the complete disappearance of a running game is playing a huge part. That Jordan Howard trade is looking worse by the week.

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21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-7 (Last Week: 25)
Won 35-22 at Atlanta
There has been no quarterback as polarizing as Jameis Winston this year. In one moment, he is throwing two early interceptions. The next, he is playing flawless football and leading the Buccaneers to a win over a division rival. Winston far and away leads the NFL in interceptions, something he is going to have to change if he is going to remain the long term starter in Tampa Bay. It does not seem like Bruce Arians has any plans to move on from him though, so the Bucs will ride it out with the gunslinger.

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22. Atlanta Falcons: 3-8 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 35-22 vs. Tampa Bay
The bad Falcons defense is back. Atlanta came up with two early interceptions of Jameis Winston, but it was all downhill from there. Winston had a ridiculous 11.2 yards per attempt as he finished with 313 yards and three touchdowns. Without a running game, the Falcons put a lot of faith in Matt Ryan, and he really didn’t deliver. He spent much of the game running for his life, as the Bucs brought him down six times, hitting him 13 times in total. This team has been one of the most frustrating ones in the league this year. With Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, expectations were much higher than a 3-8 start.

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23. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-7 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 42-20 at Tennessee
It has been two weeks since Nick Foles has returned and the Jaguars played their worst football of the year. Now, it isn’t fair to blame this all on Foles because it has been the defense that has disappeared. Jacksonville’s once vaunted unit has given up 75 points over the past two weeks. Playoff hopes have all but disappeared on this three game losing streak. Doug Marrone’s seat is definitely getting a bit warmer as well. The only real positive is the continued emergence of Leonard Fournette as a complete back. He had 97 yards and two touchdowns rushing, but also accounted for 62 yards receiving on nine catches.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)24. Arizona Cardinals: 3-7-1 (Last Week: 26)
Bye Week
Despite the less than stellar record for Arizona, this team has taken major strides from where it was a year ago. Kyler Murray has looked the part of a franchise quarterback and the offense has a lot more depth at the skill positions than it did last season. That opens up the Cardinals to focus on shoring up the offensive line and adding to a middling secondary. Despite the offensive successes, Arizona has one of just three defenses giving up over 400 yards per game. There is still a ways to go, but the foundation is in place.

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25. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-7 (Last Week: 27)
Bye Week
A week off for the Chargers was much needed after Philip Rivers’ Monday night meltdown in Week 11. Los Angeles has a shot at the playoffs simply because it is not mathematically eliminated yet. While it might not be possible for Anthony Lynn to get all the way to the postseason, the defense will finally get Derwin James back. That should be a much-needed boost to help stabilize what has been an underperforming unit all season long. If the Chargers are going to run the table, they will have to start by beating the Broncos in Denver.

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26. New York Jets: 4-7 (Last Week: 28)
Won 34-3 vs. Oakland
Games like this are why I am not a gambling man. The Jets had been playing better in recent weeks, but I don’t think anyone saw a 31-point beatdown of the Raiders coming. Sam Darnold played lights out and the defense battered Derek Carr. They might have only sacked Carr once, but they hit him six times. What was more shocking was actually the offensive line on the other side of the ball. New York has surrendered the third most sacks in the league this year, but only allowed Darnold to be hit once on Sunday. With the hapless Bengals on tap, the Jets have a real shot to stretch this streak out to four in a row.

Denver_Broncos27. Denver Broncos: 3-8 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 20-3 at Buffalo
The Drew Lock era is drawing near. In what has been a lost season for the Broncos, Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen have both tried, and failed, to spark a lifeless offense. There is a possibility the rookie from Missouri will make his first appearance against the Chargers. He has spent the entire season on injured reserve. Lock can’t be expected to solve all this team’s offensive woes, but anything has to be better than the pathetic 134 yards Denver managed in Buffalo.

Washington made up logo28. Washington: 2-9 (Last Week: 31)
Won 19-16 vs. Detroit
Dwayne Haskins got his first NFL as a starter and he was so excited he forgot to come back on the field for the final snap. Instead, he was taking a selfie with a fan. Haskins actually didn’t play very well, completing just 13 of his 29 passes and committing two turnovers. He turned it up on the final two drives, but it was another lackluster outing. Defensively, Washington came up with four takeaways to make up for the offense’s poor play. It wasn’t confidence inspiring and all this win really does is hurt the team’s draft position.

Lions Logo

29. Detroit Lions: 3-7-1 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 19-16 at Washington
It has been a trying season for Detroit. After an impressive start, the Lions have gone 1-7. Matt Stafford is working through a serious back injury and far from certain to return this year. Kerryon Johnson is on the shelf as well. However, the bigger problem is the struggling defense that is giving up nearly 400 yards per game. Matters weren’t helped by Jeff Driskel having his worst game to date in Washington,  as he tossed three interceptions. If Detroit continues to spiral, Matt Patricia’s job will be in danger.

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30. New York Giants: 2-9 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 19-14 at Chicago
Expectations that Daniel Jones would turn this franchise around were outlandish, but this has been a humbling season. Saquon Barkley looks nowhere near as explosive as he did a year ago and injuries have decimated the receiving core. Jones did throw two touchdowns on Sunday, but managed a paltry 4.2 yards per attempt and finished with 150 passing yards. Defensively, this team is relying on two rookies at corner, who have both had very tough seasons. New York has to focus on developing those young players to build a foundation for the future.

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31. Miami Dolphins: 2-9 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 41-20 at Cleveland
The hope Miami built during that two-game stretch has completely vanished with noncompetitive losses to Buffalo and Cleveland. The Dolphins defense has given up 78 points in the past two games. Ryan Fitzpatrick has had no support in the running game, leading the team with 45 yards. This roster has been stripped down to the bare bones, so it should come as no surprise Miami is struggling, but there is still a laundry list of offseason needs the front office will have to attempt to fill.

Bengals Logo

32. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-11 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 16-10 vs. Pittsburgh
Rock bottom just keeps getting lower for this group. Somehow Devlin Hodges came in to lead the Steelers to a win. If you are looking for positives, the Bengals lost by six points after losing by seven the week before. The defense has actually played alright, but the offense has had the wheels fall off even worse than usual. Andy Dalton is going to be back under center against the Jets this week.

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

Every team in the NFL could learn something from the Ravens at this point. Baltimore has committed to running the football on a regular basis, and it’s working. Actually, the best teams in the league right now rely heavily on their ground games. San Francisco, Minnesota, Seattle all run the ball well week in and week out. In fact, none of the top 11 teams in rushing yards per game are below .500. There are a few teams that could really use a good dose of ground and pound, like Rex Ryan used to say. The Bears, Rams and Chargers all have quarterbacks clearly struggling right, yet keep throwing the ball way more than they should.

All that being said, everyone is looking up at the Ravens once again. It was a pretty drab week in the NFL in terms of upsets and the like. A few came close, but Arizona, Cincinnati and Denver could not pull off the stunning result. Speaking of results, none of the top eight teams moved due to the expected outcomes of these games. Teams 9-32 saw a fair about of movement though. The middle of the NFL continues to feel like a mess right now. The level of parity in the NFL is certainly at an all-time high. Let’s dive in to all the action from this weekend.

Ravens logo

1. Baltimore Ravens: 8-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 41-7 vs. Houston
It was another dominant performance for the MVP front-runner and company. Lamar Jackson accounted for four more touchdowns en route to a blowout victory over the Texans. Baltimore looks like the most complete team in the league by a mile. The offense is clicking and seemingly unstoppable, while the defense continues to get better as the year rolls on. Shutting down Deshaun Watson is not an easy task, but the Ravens had no problem doing it. This looks like a clear challenger to the Patriots’ AFC reign.

Patriots Logo

2. New England Patriots: 9-1 (Last Week: 2)
Won 17-10 at Philadelphia
It wasn’t pretty. In fact, the offense was pretty ugly once again. For the third time this season, Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass. Now it doesn’t really matter because style points don’t win games, but there is some growing concern about this group’s ability to contend down the stretch given the lack of proven playmakers. Mohamed Sanu has integrated himself well, but New England desperately needs someone to step up during it’s final six games of the regular season.

Seahawks logo3. Seattle Seahawks: 8-2 (Last Week: 3)
Bye Week
Seattle is undoubtedly focused on itself, but it had to be hoping for a Cardinals upset of the 49ers to give the Seahawks the division lead. Russell Wilson will get a chance to play the San Francisco again, this time in Seattle, but that will have to wait until after matchups with the Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Panthers and Cardinals. This is going to be a tough final stretch for the Seahawks to reach the playoffs, despite how good they’ve already been.

49ers Logo

4. San Francisco 49ers: 9-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 36-26 vs. Arizona
For a while there, San Francisco seemed headed for a second straight loss after an 8-0 start to the year. The 49ers rallied to avoid an upset, but this was not a feel-good win. Despite the final scoreline, this was actually a one-score game. The Niners recovered a fumble in the end zone on the final play of the game to stretch out their margin of victory. Jimmy Garoppolo remains a big concern. In two games against the Cardinals, he averaged 370.5 passing yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. In his other eight games, Garoppolo averages 217.1 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He needs to step up against better competition.

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5. New Orleans Saints: 8-2 (Last Week: 5)
Won 34-17 at Tampa Bay
New Orleans proved last week’s loss to Atlanta was just a fluke with a get-right win over Tampa Bay. The Saints leaned into the best wide receiver-running back duo in the league, feeding Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Four interceptions of Jameis Winston made the offense’s job a lot easier as well. It seems like this team is back on track after a wake-up call in the form of that stunning loss, but Sean Payton has to make sure the Saints don’t slip up again with playoff seeding coming into play.

Packers logo6. Green Bay Packers: 8-2 (Last Week: 6)
Bye Week
A late-season bye week for Green Bay comes at a time when the team is finally coming together. The outlier obviously still stands after that head-scratching loss to the Chargers, but on the whole, this group seems headed in the right direction. Aaron Jones is tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns and Davante Adams finally looks like he is at full strength. Matt LaFleur still needs to find a way to patch up a mediocre run defense, but the Packers have a shot at a first-round bye. Green Bay faces San Francisco on Sunday night with massive playoff implications on the line.

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7. Minnesota Vikings: 8-3 (Last Week: 7)
Won 27-23 vs. Denver
The first half of Sunday’s game was very reminiscent of Minnesota shocking loss to Buffalo last year early in the season. In some bizarre fashion, the Vikings trailed 20-0 at halftime on Sunday, and it could have been worse. Andrew Sendejo intercepted a pass in the end zone just before half to keep it a 20-point margin. Kirk Cousins led a furious comeback as Minnesota outscored Denver 27-3 the rest of the way. While it would be easy to point and say this was a terrible start, Cousins has struggled to lead comebacks throughout his time with the Vikings. This was actually a huge confidence boost.

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8. Kansas City Chiefs: 6-4 (Last Week: 8)
Won 24-17 at Los Angeles (Mexico)
Los Angeles outgained Kansas City by 128 yards, but KC’s defense picked off Philip Rivers four times, including in the end zone to seal the victory. This was one the Chiefs had to have in order to stay atop the AFC West. Andy Reid’s team finally gets its bye week now in Week 12 with a chance to get some nagging injuries taken care of. Damien Williams and Tyreek Hill exited with injuries on Monday night. Kansas City doesn’t quite look like the team that pushed New England to the brink last year in the AFC Championship game, but they are still going to be a tough out with Patrick Mahomes under center.

Cowboys logo9. Dallas Cowboys: 6-4 (Last Week: 10)
Won 35-28 at Detroit
It was not quite as convincing as most Cowboys fans probably would have preferred, but it was still a win over an NFC opponent. Dallas now opens up a one-game lead on Philadelphia as well. Dak Prescott was masterful yet again with 444 yards and three touchdowns. However, Ezekiel Elliott went missing in action and the defense struggled to shut down Jeff Driskel. Elliott managed 45 yards on 16 carries, but did reel in a receiving touchdown. Driskel had 209 yards through the air and two touchdowns. He added 51 yards on the ground and another score. It was a win, but the Cowboys also have a few troubling trends.

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10. Oakland Raiders: 6-4 (Last Week: 14)
Won 17-10 vs. Cincinnati
In easily the worst game of the week, the Raiders edged the Bengals in an uninspiring showing. Given how well Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs played, it is hard to figure out how the offense only managed 17 points. Give the defense a ton of credit though for making Ryan Finley’s life miserable. He completed just 13 of 31 passes and suffered five sacks. Oakland’s defense has been trending up in recent weeks. Assuming this was just an off week for Jon Gruden’s offense, the Raiders seem like a real threat to the Chiefs for the division title.

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11. Houston Texans: 6-4 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 41-7 at Baltimore
We learned on Sunday that the Texans are not contenders in the AFC. In a game between two of the the top three teams according to record heading into the weekend, Houston got steamrolled by Lamar Jackson and company. Deshaun Watson had his least effective game of the year. The Texans have to do some soul searching following this loss. They lost control of the division again and the defense was exposed without J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Bill O’Brien has a ton of work to do to right the ship here.

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12. Los Angeles Rams: 6-4 (Last Week: 13)
Won 17-7 vs. Chicago
It wasn’t perfect, actually far from it, but there is a lot to like about how the Rams played on Sunday night. Sean McVay finally ran the ball. Los Angeles actually moved away from its traditional zone scheme and tried more of a power run approach. The initial returns seem positive. Todd Gurley had 97 yards even if he wasn’t the most effective in the process. Asking Jared Goff to throw the ball only 18 seems like a better plan going forward, but he has to stop making the backbreaking mistakes and throw the ball away if the Rams are going to keep winning.

Eagles Logo

13. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-5 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 17-10 vs. New England
Injuries continue to plague the Eagles as Jordan Howard, Alshon Jeffrey and Nigel Bradham all missed the game for Philly, and it showed. Doug Pederson still is not running the ball enough, forcing Carson Wentz to throw the ball 40 times in this loss. Defensively, this was about as good of a performance as anyone could have hoped for. The Patriots might not be as prolific as they once were, but holding Tom Brady without a touchdown is impressive and holding the ground game to 3.4 yards per carry is a good sign of what’s to come. The biggest issue here is the lack of a complete game from the Eagles. Very rarely have we seen them put it all together in the same week.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo

14. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-5 (Last Week: 11)
Lost 21-7 at Cleveland
In a weird way, Mason Rudolph was the luckiest player on the field despite being hit in the head with a helmet. He was not suspended for his part in the brawl that broke out Thursday night, he did not suffer a serious injury from the helmet hitting him and the focus was shifted away from his miserable performance. Rudolph threw four interceptions in a total meltdown against the Browns defense. His constant turnovers derailed the Steelers’ postseason chase. An easy schedule still gives Pittsburgh a chance, but this was a huge mistake.

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15. Buffalo Bills: 7-3 (Last Week: 17)
Won 37-20 at Miami
After a rough offensive showing in Cleveland, Josh Allen turned in the best outing of his young career. He had three passing touchdowns and added another one on the ground without turning the ball over. John Brown continues to look like one of the best free agent signing in the league, posting nine catches for 153 yards and two scores. It was against a team lacking talent, but this was the exactly the type of performance needed to quiet some of the doubts creeping in about the Bills.

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16. Indianapolis Colts: 6-4 (Last Week: 18)
Won 33-13 vs. Jacksonville
In the on-again, off-again saga that is the Indianapolis Colts. One week after an embarrassing loss against the Dolphins, the Colts bounced back with a thorough thrashing of the Jaguars. With Jacoby Brissett coming off a knee injury, Indy gave him plenty of help. With Marlon Mack and Johnathan Williams topping the century mark, the Colts had two 100-yard rushers for the first time since 1985. It’s not all good news though, as Mack fractured his hand. He will likely miss some time. That blow could be softened if T.Y. Hilton ever returns from injury. Despite all the adversity, Indy leads the division.

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17. Tennessee Titans: 5-5 (Last Week: 15)
Bye Week
This is the definition of an average team. Tennessee has dominant wins over Cleveland and Atlanta with close wins over the Chargers, Buccaneers and Chiefs. However, the Titans are 0-2 in the division and were shutout by the Broncos earlier this year. What comes next is anyone’s guess. Derrick Henry has shown signs of being the feature back many hoped he could be and Ryan Tannehill has offered a bit of stability, but this team still doesn’t look like a true playoff contender. This will be an interesting team to watch over the final six games. It could end up in the postseason or in the top 10 of the draft.

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18. Carolina Panthers: 5-5 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 29-3 vs. Atlanta
Oh boy. Cam Newton needs to come back. I will admit I was wrong when I said Carolina could move on from Newton in favor of Kyle Allen. One game doesn’t dictate a season or a career, but Allen has shown he has a very low floor. He laid an egg Sunday against the Falcons in a game the Panthers needed to win to keep pace in the postseason hunt. It looked a lot like the dud he produced when facing the 49ers a few weeks back. Christian McCaffrey can continue to be the best player in the league, but he needs a bit of help for Carolina to win games.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 4-6 (Last Week: 24)
Won 21-7 vs. Steelers
Make it two in a row. Cleveland’s defense has come to play in the past two weeks. Unfortunately, that was all over shadowed by Myles Garrett’s ridiculous decision to rip Mason Rudolph’s helmet off his head and hit him with it. What we would’ve been talking about would be the Browns beating the Steelers and Ravens for the first times since the franchise started back up again in 1999. Instead, Cleveland must find a way to keep this momentum going without arguably its best player.

Falcons logo

20. Atlanta Falcons: 3-7 (Last Week: 27)
Won 29-3 at Carolina
I have no idea what has gotten into this Falcons defense, but they are on a roll! After no signs of life for about eight weeks, Atlanta has roared to life. The Falcons have 11 sacks over the past two weeks, which is ridiculous when you consider they had only seven through their first eight games. Whatever changes Dan Quinn is making are clearly working. With four interceptions of Kyle Allen, his defense is suddenly playing like one of the best in the league. That’s also back-to-back games without a touchdown allowed. This looks like the Falcons team I expected coming into the season.

Jaguars logo

21. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-6 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 33-13 at Indianapolis
That wasn’t quite the welcome back I’m sure Nick Foles was hoping for. The veteran quarterback was fine in his return from injury, but the defense got gashed by the ground attack. Leonard Fournette could not get going and Foles simply did not make enough plays to make up for all of that. Jacksonville is slipping away from the playoff race, but still just sits two games back of Indianapolis in the division. There is no game remaining on the schedule that feels like the Jags are going to be overmatched in, but there also isn’t one that you feel confident in them one winning. Foles will need to channel some magic if hopes of another run are going to live.

Bears logo

22. Chicago Bears: 4-6 (Last Week 20)
Lost 17-7 at Los Angeles
We might be nearing the end of Mitchell Trubisky’s time in Chicago, at least as the starter. He suffered a non-specific hip injury on Sunday, exiting in the final stages and never returning. He might have genuinely been hurt, but it wouldn’t be a shock if Matt Nagy just pulled him. The Bears have been one of the biggest let downs of the year. The offense still can’t break out of its funk and the defense isn’t good enough anymore to carry them. Chicago’s playoff hopes are all but dead at this point.

Lions Logo

23. Detroit Lions: 3-6-1 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 35-27 vs. Dallas
Jeff Driskel played better in his second week of action, but this team still really missed Matthew Stafford. Defensively, the Lions took Ezekiel Elliott out of the equation, holding him to just 45 yards rushing. Unfortunately, they forgot to account for Dak Prescott, who torched the secondary over and over again. Detroit’s defense is a real problem, which makes Matt Patricia a candidate to lose his job at the end of the year. He was supposed to be a defensive specialist coming from the Patriots, but has failed to make his mark on the unit.

Denver_Broncos24. Denver Broncos: 3-7 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 27-23 at Minnesota
For one half, it looked like the Broncos were finally putting together all the pieces to beat one of the top teams in the league. Then Denver suffered one of the worst collapses we’ve seen this side of Atlanta’s Super Bowl debacle. Defensively, there is a lot to like about shutting down Dalvin Cook, but Kirk Cousins went off after halftime. Brandon Allen struggled to make plays in the late stages. The focus can officially shift to next season now as this team evaluates young players and veterans alike to determine the best path forward.

Buccaneers logo

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-6 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 34-17 vs, New Orleans
Jameis Winston continues to show his incredible talent mixed with maddening inconsistency every week. He is setting himself up to be on a different roster next year as a backup. Four more interceptions on Sunday against the Saints see him distance himself from the pack. He has 18 on the season. Philip Rivers is next with 14. Now, he got no help from the run game. He accounted for 23 of the team’s 36 rushing yards. It also might have helped to run the ball more than eight times. There are a lot of team that need to commit to the run more often to take pressure off some of these struggling quarterbacks.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)26. Arizona Cardinals: 3-7-1 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 36-26 at San Francisco
Arizona looked competitive with San Francisco once again, but ultimately came up short again. Defensively, the Cardinals shut down what has been an unstoppable ground game from the 49ers. However, they got carved up in the secondary once again by Jimmy Garoppolo, even without George Kittle. Arizona has been much more of a challenger than its record would indicate and of all the first year coaches, Kliff Kingsbury is probably the one I feel second-most optimistic about, behind Matt LaFleur. It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals fair after a full offseason under their belts with Kyler Murray.

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27. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-7 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 24-17 vs. Kansas City (Mexico)
Pull the plug on everything in Los Angeles. I know every one of the Chargers losses this season have been by one possession, but it’s time to rebuild and restructure. Philip Rivers is in the midst of the downturn of his career. He threw four interceptions to bring his season total to 14. His touchdown percentage has plummeted and he simply looks uncomfortable making plays from the pocket, frequently pumping before actually throwing to his target. Injuries have played a role, but Rivers’ poor play is a growing issue.

Jets logo

28. New York Jets: 3-7 (Last Week: 29)
Won 34-17 at Washington
New York goes back-to-back with wins of the NFC East cellar. Sam Darnold put up a career-high four touchdown passes against a struggling Washington defense. These are the types of things that will help Adam Gase keep his job at the end of the year. If Darnold is showing signs of progression, that is going to make a world of difference. Weirdly enough, the Jets are 3-1 against the NFC East and 0-6 against everyone else. Not exactly a great sign of the success this team has had, but this was the type of game where a loss would’ve felt catastrophic. At least the defense is looking stellar. Jamal Adams is making a legitimate case to be an All-Pro.

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29. Miami Dolphins: 2-8 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 37-20 vs. Buffalo
This was coming back down to Earth in a way. It might be an odd way to explain a 2-7 team dropping to 2-8, but the loss Sunday against Buffalo snapped a two-game win streak for Miami. It was a good reminder about how far this group still has to go. There is no question the Dolphins are putting a much better product on the field now than they were at the beginning of the season. Turning this roster around will take some time. On top of that, there are some small things to get excited about, like the play of DeVante Parker and scoring at least 20 points for the third time this year.

Giants Logo

30. New York Giants: 2-8 (Last Week: 30)
Bye Week
A week off hopefully gives Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram a chance to get healthy. The offensive line has been a bit banged up as well. Thankfully, the offense has looked okay despite the injuries. Defensively, the Giants are a mess. The trade for Leonard Williams still doesn’t make any sense and the back end looks hopeless. If New York is going to win games the rest of the way, it will be by outscoring opposing offenses.

Washington made up logo31. Washington: 1-9 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 34-17 vs. New York
It was another lackluster start for Dwayne Haskins. He made some strides late in the game, but it was well out of reach by that point. It was certainly not a good week either for the Washington offensive line, which gave up six sacks and paved the way for a pathetic 2.7 yards per carry. The defense wasn’t much better, giving up four touchdown passes to Sam Darnold. Washington needs tons of help across the board. On the bright side, Derrius Guice finally came back and showed some of the promise he had in college on a 45-yard screen pass he scored. The focus is on next year and possibly even beyond for this group.

Bengals Logo

32. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-10 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 17-10 at Oakland
The world brutal comes to mind when reflecting on the Bengals game with the Raiders. Despite a decent effort defensively to hold Oakland to 17 points, Cincinnati turned in a woeful performance on offense. Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley spent much of the game running for his life and certainly does not look like the solution at the position. Barring an unexpected resurgence or some kind of otherworldly performance from A.J. Green when he finally gets back on the field, this team is going to have the first overall pick.

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