Consistency. It’s what every NFL team hopes to achieve. It’s what each coach wants from his players. It’s what fans count on every week of the season. Turns out it’s also very hard to find these days. After two months with the Patriots atop the power rankings, we have a new team taking over the top spot for the second time in as many weeks. The Saints suffered a shocking loss to the Falcons. The 1972 Dolphins can finally pop their champagne following the 49ers loss on Monday as there are no more unbeaten teams. That turned out to be one of the all-time great contests between Seattle and San Francisco, resulting in a game-winning field goal in overtime as time expired.
It was truly a bizarre week, as the Falcons, Dolphins and Jets all won. Miami is actually on a winning streak right now, as hard as that is to believe. Possibly lost in all of this is the fact the Titans stunned the Chiefs. There is a ton to unpack from this weekend of action. All the chaos led to a massive overhaul of these very power rankings, as you can see below, starting with a completely reordered top five.
1. Baltimore Ravens: 8-2 (Last Week: 3)
Won 49-13 at Cincinnati
Welcome to the top spot Baltimore. After dismantling the Patriots in primetime, the Ravens battered the Bengals to continue their dominance in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson looks like something out of a video game as he accounted for four more touchdowns on Sunday, including potentially the best run of the season. Champions aren’t crowned in November, but that has to be the mindset of this team right now given the current level of play.
2. New England Patriots: 8-1 (Last Week: 4)
Giving New England a bye week almost feels unfair considering who it has at head coach. Bill Belichick is the king of midseason adjustments, which is why he has six Lombardi trophies hanging out in his facility. The Patriots have a tough stretch upcoming with the Eagles, Cowboys, Chiefs and Texans all on the schedule. There is a very good chance the Pats go 3-1 in that span and cruise to another number-one seed in the conference thanks to changes made by this coaching staff during the week off.
3. Seattle Seahawks: 8-2 (Last Week: 6)
Won 27-24 (OT) at San Francisco
For the second straight week, Seattle needed overtime to come out on top. The Seahawks survived a 12-round heavyweight thriller with the 49ers on Monday Night Football to slay the final unbeaten team in the league. Russell Wilson spent a good chunk of the game running from the San Francisco defensive line and very nearly cost Seattle the win with an interception in overtime. In the end, it was the defense who made some critical plays to put Pete Carroll’s crew in position to come out on top. Don’t look now, but the Seahawks are perfect this year on the road.
4. San Francisco 49ers: 8-1 (Last Week: 2)
Lost 27-24 (OT) vs. Seattle
Undefeated no more, the 49ers can put history behind them and refocus after a bitter loss to their division rival. This defense is the best in the NFL, led by clear Rookie of the Year candidate Nick Bosa. However, that is not the area most critics are worried about with this team. It was another rocky performance from Jimmy Garoppolo. He was not on target with a number of throws, including a few passes that should have been intercepted. Losing Emmanuel Sanders certainly did not help matters, but Garoppolo does not look like a quarterback capable of leading this team to a championship at the moment.
5. New Orleans Saints: 7-2 (Last Week: 1)
Lost 26-9 vs. Atlanta
This is what I get for moving the Saints to the top of the power rankings. New Orleans turned in by far its worst performance of the year. The offense was an absolute dud against Atlanta, giving up six sacks and failing to find any sort of rhythm running the ball. Drew Brees looked like a quarterback past his prime trying to carry an undermanned offense. They completely abandoned the run as well with just 11 carries. All of the concerns people had about the Saints showed up at the same time, resulting in a resounding flop. One divisional loss far from sinks hopes of a title chase, but it provides a reality check for Sean Payton and company.
6. Green Bay Packers: 8-2 (Last Week: 7)
Won 24-16 vs. Carolina
Green Bay bounced back in the snow by stymieing Christian McCaffrey on the goal line as time expired. Aaron Jones had another ridiculous day with three touchdowns on just 13 touches. The defense came up with a pair of takeaways to preserve the lead. This does not feel like the Packers we are used to seeing with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, but they are winning a lot of games with this new style of play. In crunch time too, we have seen how dominant the former MVP can be when needed.
7. Minnesota Vikings: 7-3 (Last Week: 9)
Won 28-24 at Dallas
Kirk Cousins won a big game for the Vikings! He might not have had gaudy numbers, but the Michigan State product turned in one of his better showings off the season. Dalvin Cook took on a massive workload, despite a lack of overall efficiency. The defense deserves some praise too after making Ezekiel Elliott feel like an afterthought. Without Adam Thielen and Trae Waynes out, this was a massive win for a Minnesota team currently controlling the wildcard conversation.
8. Kansas City Chiefs: 6-4 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 35-32 at Tennessee
It may be time to start wondering how much of a Super Bowl contender these Chiefs really are. Losing to Packers without Patrick Mahomes is one thing. Falling to the Titans in the MVP’s return is another. Defensively, Kansas City seemed to regress after all the progress is had made in recent weeks. Derrick Henry tore apart the interior of that line on the ground. Mahomes is now capable of working his magic once again, but he needs some help from that floundering defense.
9. Houston Texans: 6-3 (Last Week: 11)
With Indianapolis losing to Miami, Houston can once again breathe easy atop the AFC South. Deshaun Watson has been playing lights out, even if he is being overshadowed by some of the other great quarterbacks around the league. We will get a chance to see him go up against one of those great quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson when the Texans take on the Ravens this week. With the Colts and Patriots to follow, this is a crucial stretch for Bill O’Brien’s team.
10. Dallas Cowboys: 5-4 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 28-24 vs. Minnesota
No matter how many toe-tapping grabs Amari Cooper comes up with, the Dallas defense needs to play better in order for the Cowboys to win. Dak Prescott looked sharp, but Minnesota completely shut down Ezekiel Elliott. In fact, Dallas as a team managed just 50 yards on the ground. For as good as Prescott has been playing, the Cowboys need to be able to run the ball and keep their defense well rested. They also might want to consider covering Kyle Rudolph in the red zone if these two teams meet again.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-4 (Last Week: 16)
Won 17-12 vs. Los Angeles
If the Steelers somehow reach the playoffs, Mike Tomlin should be a lock for Coach of the Year. Without Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh has channeled the Steelers of old with stifling defensive play. Minkah Fitzpatrick is making a real case for Defensive Player of the Year after an interception, a fumble recovery and a touchdown on Sunday. Pittsburgh has climbed over the .500 mark and continues to rise to whatever challenge comes its way. After winning five of its last six, with the lone loss coming to the Ravens, this is one of the hottest teams in football.
12. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-4 (Last Week: 13)
Philly had to enjoy watching Dallas fall on Sunday Night Football to bring those team teams level in the division standings once again. While that is an encouraging sign, the Eagles still have a lot to be concerned with. This offense has struggled to find consistency this year, in part because of injuries, but also due to uneven play from key players. The backfield duo of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders has been better in recent weeks, but Carson Wentz has not looked like the big-money quarterback Philadelphia was hoping for when it signed him to that massive extension. Coming off the bye, this group needs to start scoring points more frequently.
13. Los Angeles Rams: 5-4 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 17-12 vs. Pittsburgh
The offensive struggles continued for the Rams as Jared Goff cost this team a chance at winning. It was one of his worst performances in a season full of disappointment. The offense managed just 12 points and failed to rely on Todd Gurley when he clearly was in a groove. He finished with 73 yards on just 12 attempts while Goff threw the ball 41 times. Defensively, Los Angeles is playing well enough to win games. For a team and a head coach in Sean McVay that made it’s name last year as an offensive juggernaut, this year continues to be the ultimate letdown.
14. Oakland Raiders: 5-4 (Last Week: 17)
Won 26-24 vs. Los Angeles
Far from the most reassuring win of all time, the Raiders move within a game of the Chiefs for the AFC West lead. Derek Carr is playing his best football in years and Josh Jacobs looks like the clear frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Defensively, this is more of a bend, but don’t break group. However, the improved pass rush and defensive scores go a long way to making Oakland look like a team to watch as the playoff picture comes together.
15. Tennessee Titans: 5-5 (Last Week: 19)
Won 35-32 vs. Kansas City
Of all the surprising success stories this season, Ryan Tannehill’s resurgence as a NFL quarterback might be the best one of them all. Tennessee put its hope in the Miami castoff when it decided to move on from the Marcus Mariota experiment. After taking down the Chiefs to reach .500, the Titans have hopes of making a playoff run. While I am praising Tannehill, it is really Derrick Henry who deserves recognition. The fourth-year back powered the offense with 188 yards rushing, including a 68-yard touchdown. Tennessee is going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch.
16. Carolina Panthers: 5-4 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 24-16 at Green Bay
Christian McCaffrey played like the MVP once again, but a lack of offensive support saw the Panthers fall. This game was a lot more than just a goal line stuff on the final play. Carolina did exactly what it should have done in giving it to its best player. This team relies so heavily on McCaffrey to carry them. Considering that it does not seem like Cam Newton is coming back, it will have to find a way to win close games with Kyle Allen at the helm.
17. Buffalo Bills: 6-3 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 19-16 at Cleveland
This could be a sign of things to come for a Buffalo team that has had so much unexpected success this year. The Bills took a tough loss to the Browns and looked like the offensively inept team they were last year in the process. Buffalo once again put the Ball in Josh Allen’s hands too many times, failing to lean into its strength of running the football. With a challenging stretch ahead in the schedule, this team will have to find some stability on offense.
18. Indianapolis Colts: 5-4 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 16-12 vs. Miami
The rudder has completely fallen off the boat in Indy. Despite some early success, this team looks extremely average. It even has a score differential of plus-one to help underline that point. Jacoby Brissett’s knee injury held him out of the contest and the offense could not recover. Miami has been playing better in recent weeks, but this was an inexcusable slip up from a team with hopes of winning the division. Brian Hoyer and Adam Vinatieri cost the Colts this game with a number of mistakes. Defensively, Indianapolis has a lot to hang its hat on, but this team needs a lot of help to get back on track offensively.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-5 (Last Week: 20)
Despite the bye week, this is a week of massive change for the Jaguars. Nick Foles is slated to take over as quarterback, replacing Gardner Minshew. Foles went down with a collarbone injury during the season opener and Minshew has been in the role ever sense. Jacksonville has an unexpected quarterback controversy on its hands and could end up in a very awkward situation if Foles struggles. With chance still to make a run at a wildcard spot, the Jags need Foles to channel some of his late-season heroics.
20. Chicago Bears: 4-5 (Last Week 24)
Won 20-13 vs. Detroit
Chicago played their best offensive game in weeks, but still did not impress with their level of play. Mitchell Trubisky took real strides with three touchdowns and no turnovers, but still only managed 173 yards passing. Progress is progress though and the Bears defense took advantage of a missing Matthew Stafford. This was a game Chicago had to win, but it far from quiets its critics. A Sunday night visit to the Rams is on tap.
21. Detroit Lions: 3-5-1 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 20-13 at Chicago
With the unexpected absence of Matthew Stafford on Sunday, the Lions offense ground to an absolute halt. Jeff Driskel did not do much to fill the void. With Kerryon Johnson already out due to injury, Detroit found itself unable to get going. When healthy, this team has the chops to compete with the best in the NFC. We saw what it could do earlier this year at full strength against the Packers. However, this all but ends the Lions’ playoff hopes, especially if Stafford is not back next week. I think the front office will be investing a bit more in a backup quarterback this offseason.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-6 (Last Week: 25)
Won 30-27 vs. Arizona
Tampa Bay is one of the most unpredictable teams in the league from week to week. However, this two-week stretch has been the best the Buccaneers have played this season. After pushing Seattle to the brink, Tampa edged out a hard-fought victory against Arizona. If the Bucs could ever find a way to avoid turnovers, this team might just have the potential to get on a real winning streak and create some optimism for next year.
23. Denver Broncos: 3-6 (Last Week: 23)
Won 24-19 vs. Cleveland
Here is a team struggling to find its way with a couple of extremely talented players. Denver is lacking a clear direction forward, but with names like Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Chubb, the talent is there for a quick turnaround. There is some hope with Drew Lock near a season debut for the offensive side of things and the emergence of Courtland Sutton as a true number one receiver. Vic Fangio is going to need a stronger second half to convince the Broncos brass he is the long-term solution at head coach.
24. Cleveland Browns: 3-6 (Last Week: 26)
Won 19-16 vs. Buffalo
It was ugly, but that really doesn’t matter. Cleveland got a much-needed victory to essentially save their season. The Browns are still a long way from even thinking about the playoffs, but dropping to 2-7 might have genuinely led to coaches losing their jobs. Baker Mayfield and the offense finally took care of the football. Nick Chubb had 116 yards on the ground and Kareem Hunt looked promising in limited action. If Cleveland can lean on its run game the rest of the way and avoid turnovers, this team is good enough to make a playoff push.
25. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-6 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 26-24 at Oakland
The roller coaster season continued for Los Angeles with a troubling road loss in Oakland. Philip Rivers threw three interceptions and the offensive line gave up five sacks. Defensively, the Chargers did not make enough plays to compensate. On the bright side, Melvin Gordon finally showed up with his first 100-yard performance on the ground since Week 8 last year. The season is not over for LA, but the climb towards a playoff spot just got a lot steeper.
26. Arizona Cardinals: 3-6-1 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 30-27 at Tampa Bay
This was a good reminder to everyone that the Cardinals still have a ways to go before they are anything resembling a complete team. There are tons of positives to take away from this loss and it is clear that the combo of Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray can be a winning one. Christian Kirk finally showed up after a sluggish first half of the year with 138 yards and three touchdowns. Arizona has a lot of the pieces in place to compete well in the future, but lacks the depth to win tight games like this on a consistent basis.
27. Atlanta Falcons: 2-7 (Last Week: 28)
Won 26-9 at New Orleans
While the Dolphins winning two straight is unexpected, the Falcons’ road win against the Saints was the most stunning result of the weekend. After weeks of non-existent pass rush, Atlanta came up with six sacks of Drew Brees and shut down what had previously looked like a good New Orleans offense. Keeping the Saints out of the end zone is truly remarkable given how banged up the defense is at this point of the season. This win might just save Dan Quinn’s job.
28. Miami Dolphins: 2-7 (Last Week: 30)
Won 16-12 at Indianapolis
What in the world is happening? The Dolphins have shockingly won two straight games. Brian Flores took down a team who had legitimate aspirations of winning its division. This Miami defense has stepped up well in recent weeks, with three interceptions of Brian Hoyer on Sunday to show for it. The offense is still a massive work in progress, but there is a lot to like about what the Dolphins have started to build this season.
29. New York Jets: 2-7 (Last Week: 31)
Won 34-27 vs. New York
If nothing else, the Jets can point to the Giants and say that maybe their rebuild is going better than the team they share a stadium with. Or not. It’s hard to really how much a win over a two-win team means. Sam Darnold is talking about the playoffs, which is laughable considering the level of inconsistency New York has displayed on a week-to-week basis. Give the defense a ton of credit though for the plays it made to win this game. Jamal Adams was the best player on the field and no one else even came close.
30. New York Giants: 2-8 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 34-27 at New York
This brutal season continues for New York as it failed to maintain control of the city during the battle for Gotham. Daniel Jones played very well in the eventual loss, but failed to get the offense going in the fourth quarter. A lot of that has to do with some terrible play along the offensive line, as the group allowed six sacks. Saquon Barkley also had by far the worst game of his NFL career. He managed just one yard on 13 carries. Barkley’s struggles actually makes Jones’ performance even more impressive, but this Giants defense has a long way to go after giving up 34 points to arguably the worst offense in the league.
31. Washington: 1-7 (Last Week: 29)
And just like that, there is only one one-win team in the NFL. Washington got a week off and saw a lot of teams in the lower part of the standings pick up victories. This group has looked a bit more competitive in recent weeks, but will be continuing to break in a rookie quarterback in Dwayne Haskins. It will probably be a long rest of the season for Washington, but the prospect of drafting Chase Young or picking up a ton of assets in a trade with a team desperate for a quarterback has to be appealing.
32. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-9 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 49-13 vs. Baltimore
Sitting all alone as the final winless team in the league this season, Cincinnati was embarrassed by Baltimore at home. It was a rocky start to the Ryan Finley era. The rookie quarterback from North Carolina State could not get into a rhythm and committed a pair of costly turnovers. Putting a positive spin on things would be looking at Joe Mixon’s most productive game of the season and the possibility of an A.J. Green return next week.