2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

And then there was one. With the Titans and Seahawks losing in Week 7, the Steelers are now the only team yet to suffer a loss this season. Unsurprisingly, they find themselves at the top of this week’s power rankings.

It was a wild week of action. From late-game heroics by Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford to back-breaking miscues by Russell Wilson, Stephen Gostowski and the comedy group known as the Atlanta Falcons. Week 7 was definitely not short on entertainment.

The chaos resulted in a massive shake up in these rankings. Teams like the Buccaneers and Cardinals saw big jumps following their impressive victories while teams like the Raiders and Bears dropped significantly after disappointing performances. Here is how everything shakes out heading into the league’s midway point.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 27-24 at Tennessee
Unlike last week, Steelers fans had to sweat this game out. Pittsburgh almost blew a 17-point halftime lead and only won the game in regulation because Stephen Gostkowski missed the potential game-tying field goal. Ben Roethlisberger still could have won the game, but momentum was definitely swinging in Tennessee’s direction at that point. Not to mention, Big Ben threw interceptions in the game. As it stands, the Steelers are now the only perfect team left in the NFL. Pittsburgh has been battled tested up to this point, but it faces its biggest challenge yet with a trip to Baltimore up next.

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2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-2 (Last Week: 7)
Won 45-20 at Las Vegas
So, that was not a one-time showing. The Buccaneers blew the doors off the Raiders just one week after demolishing the Packers. There is no question this team is playing the best football of any team in the NFC, if not the whole league. Tom Brady is looking like the Hall of Famer we saw for so many years in New England. Defensively, this team has playmakers at all three levels. Tampa has the stingiest run defense in the league right now, allowing just 66 yards per game. If the Bucs can keep this form up, they are going to be nearly impossible to stop.

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3. Kansas City Chiefs: 6-1 (Last Week: 3)
Won 43-16 at Denver
Patrick Mahomes loves the snow. You would never know it was adverse weather conditions with how well the Chiefs’ offense operated on Sunday. Mahomes looked sharp, even if he didn’t have to do too much. Le’Veon Bell showed some flashes as well in his Kansas City debut. Defensively, this Chiefs’ secondary continues to impress. Daniel Sorensen came up with a pick-six and Tyrann Mathieu also intercepted Drew Lock. KC also forced four fumbles, recovering two of them. There might not be as much chatter about the Chiefs right now because the Steelers are still unbeaten, but make no mistake, this team is playing some great football. Now, Andy Reid’s squad gets a bye week … I mean plays the Jets in Week 8.

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4. Green Bay Packers: 5-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 35-20 at Houston
Green Bay did not dwell on it’s loss to Tampa Bay, instead taking care of Houston in convincing fashion. Aaron Rodgers was on fire, targeting Davante Adams early and often. Jamal Williams had a strong showing as well in place of the injured Aaron Jones. Defensively, the Packers did the one thing they have struggled to do for the past two years by stopping the Texans’ running game. Houston easily own the worst rushing attack in the league, but even then, Green Bay held it below its season average. With a loss by the Bears, the Packers are back on top in the NFC North. They now face a divisional foe in the Vikings coming off a bye week.

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5. Baltimore Ravens: 5-1 (Last Week: 5)
Bye Week
Baltimore got a well-earned bye week at a great time. No, the Ravens are not currently contending with a number of injuries at key positions, but instead they got a chance to rest up ahead of a showdown with the Steelers. Baltimore has a chance to essentially eliminate Pittsburgh’s undefeated start. A win for the Ravens would vault them atop the AFC North. It should be a great game, as it almost always is between these two teams, and one that carries major playoff implications.

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6. Seattle Seahawks: 5-1 (Last Week: 2)
Lost 37-34 at Arizona
It was an uncharacterisitcally turnover prone night from Russell Wislon. He threw three interceptions, including one that sunk Seattle’s chances in overtime and set up Arizona’s game-winning field goal. The Seahawks were definitely a little shorthanded. Jamal Adams was out and Chris Carson left during the game. Still, Seattle had every chance to close this game out. Arizona scored 10 points in the final 2:28 to force overtime. Wilson had two chances to lead a game-winning drive in overtime, both came up empty. The lack of a pass rush proved to really costly again, as the defense could not bring down Kyler Murray all night. A three-point loss to a division rival is not a major red flag, but this game highlighted Seattle’s biggest Achilles heal.

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7. Tennessee Titans: 5-1 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 27-24 vs. Pittsburgh
Tennessee made a valiant comeback bid, but it proved to be too little, too late. Stephen Gostkowski missed a potential game-tying field goal in the final minute of play that sealed the Titans’ fate. The defense made plays, including three interceptions of Ben Roethlisberger, but could not find a way to get off the field on third down. Mike Vrabel’s team ranks dead last in defensive third-down conversion rate. Pittsburgh dominated time of possession to take a 24-7 lead at halftime. The fact that Tennessee found a way to climb back into this game was impressive. Don’t write the Titans off for losing a close game. This team has shown it can hang with the best of the best.

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8. Arizona Cardinals: 5-2 (Last Week: 13)
Won 37-34 vs. Seattle
Up to this point, it seemed like the Cardinals were mostly feasting on cupcakes or teams struggling with injuries. What Arizona managed to accomplish in the fourth quarter and overtime of this game shows it has the ability to hang with the top dogs as well. Kyler Murray continues to put up video game-like numbers. DeAndre Hopkins looks close to unguardable. The defense … looks very porous. It also made just enough plays to pull out the win. Russell Wilson had three interceptions coming into the game. He threw that many on Sunday night. Arizona is a serious playoff contender this season.

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9. New Orleans Saints: 4-2 (Last Week: 9)
Won 27-24 vs. Carolina
Even without its top two receivers, Drew Brees looked sharp in an important win. Carolina challenged New Orleans’ defense consistently, but the unit did just enough to hold on. With the possibility of getting both Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas back next week, this offense could look even better going forward. Unfortunately, there are no reinforcements coming for a defense that struggled to prevent big plays again. With how good the Buccaneers have looked in recent weeks, the Saints could be in trouble if they don’t step it up.

10. Los Angeles Rams: 5-2 (Last Week: 12)
Won 24-10 vs. Chicago
This defense looked incredible on Monday night. The Rams did not allow an offensive touchdown in a drubbing of the Bears. Los Angeles racked four sacks and two interceptions, proving every Chicago critic right, at least for one week. Jared Goff and the offense did more than enough to get the win, even if it was not a spectacular showing. Outside of a Robert Woods fumble, it took care of the football. It would be nice to see the Rams pick up some bigger plays and just look a bit sharper on offense, but this is a win the organization can be proud of.

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11. Buffalo Bills: 5-2 (Last Week: 11)
Won 18-10 at New York
Boy, was that ugly. Buffalo pulled a Denver, kicking six field goals without scoring a touchdown to beat an AFC East team. While the Bills’ defense looked sharp against a terrible Jets’ offense, the offense was incredibly sloppy. Josh Allen lost a fumble and the team finished 3-for-11 on third-down conversions. Zack Moss did look pretty sharp in his return from injury though, picking up 72 yards on 10 total targets. Buffalo now gets to face a reeling New England squad. A win would truly signify the end of the Patriots’ reign, seeing as the Bills have not beaten the Pats since 2016.

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12. Indianapolis Colts: 4-2 (Last Week: 14)
Bye Week
Indianapolis looked like they might just unraveling following its loss to Cleveland. Cincinnati jumped out to a 21-0 lead. It felt like that was when Philip Rivers and company finally woke up. The Colts were extremely lucky to be facing an inexperienced team like the Bengals. Otherwise, this would have been a blowout. The defense locked down and gave Rivers a chance to lead a comeback. Give him credit for successfully seeing it through, but it is a little concerning that he needed to lead a three-score comeback against a one-win team in the first place.

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13. Las Vegas Raiders: 3-3 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 45-20 vs. Tampa Bay
That win over the Chiefs is starting to look like a fluke. Las Vegas got shelled by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. He tossed four touchdown passes and racked up 369 yards. The Raiders were powerless to stop him, failing to come up with a turnover or a sack in the contest. For the offense, it was a brutal game for Josh Jacobs. He managed just 17 yards on 10 carries as Tampa shut down the running game. Derek Carr deserves some praise for his performance, but it is hard to feel good about anything that happens in a 25-point loss.

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14. Chicago Bears: 5-2 (Last Week 10)
Lost 24-10 at Los Angeles
Looks like everyone who doubted the Bears as a legitimate contender was right. Chicago’s offense was lifeless on Monday night, posting three points. The Bears’ lone touchdown came on the defensive side, well after the game had been decided. Nick Foles fell apart in the red zone all night, David Montgomery struggled and the offensive line did not do much blocking. Chicago is one of three teams with a winning record, but a negative point differential. This team might need to make some adjustments to personnel or scheme or something, because the Bears currently rank 27th in scoring.

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15. Miami Dolphins: 3-3 (Last Week: 16)
Bye Week
Brian Flores can add first shutout of the 2020 season to his resume. There should probably be an asterisk next to it indicating the shutout came against the Joe Flacco-led Jets’ offense. Myles Gaskin had another solid outing as the lead back, which is a great sign for the offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick was his usual gunslinger self, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. We even got a glimpse at the future! Tua Tagovailoa saw a little bit of mop up duty at the end of the contest. Miami is suddenly one game back in the AFC East. Could this team possibly be making a playoff push a year earlier than most expected?

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16. San Francisco 49ers: 4-3 (Last Week: 17)
Won 33-6 at New England
San Francisco has firmly put that blowout loss to Miami in its rearview mirror. Back-to-back impressive wins over the Rams and Patriots got this team back on track. Kyle Shannahan’s offense ran all over the Pats’ defense, nearly finishing with 200 yards. Unfortunately, Jeff Wilson, who accounted for 112 rushing yards and three touchdowns, exited with injury and will be out for a few weeks. Defensively, this team looked like it rediscovered its 2019 form with four interceptions. New England barely managed 250 yards of offense and failed to find the end zone. There are still some red flags despite the lopsided scoreline. Jimmy Garoppolo only threw five incompletions on Sunday, but two of them were interceptions. He must take care of the football in the second half of the season.

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17. Cleveland Browns: 5-2 (Last Week: 18)
Won 37-34 at Cincinnati
This was a costly loss for the Browns. Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. It marred what was an impressive bounce back performance from Baker Mayfield. He almost carried over the same issues that plagued him in Pittsburgh when his first pass went to the wrong team. Instead, he settled down and threw for five touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 11 seconds remaining. Cleveland’s defense had mixed results. It forced two turnovers and picked up four sacks, but surrendered over 400 yards to Joe Burrow. With five wins, the Browns can certainly think about the postseason, but they still have a lot to work on.

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18. Carolina Panthers: 3-4 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 27-24 at New Orleans
Teddy Bridgewater played way better, but it was still another loss for Carolina. The ground game disappeared as the Panthers finished with just 37 yards rushing. At 2.6 yards per carry, this was a rough outing for the offense. DJ Moore did stretch the field for a 74-yard score though to make the numbers look a bit more respectable. The defense did not fare much better, allowing Drew Brees to have a great game. This team is incredibly young, so you expect growing pains. Carolina is close, it just isn’t playing complete games right now.

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19. New England Patriots: 2-4 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 33-6 vs. San Francisco
Ouch. The Patriots got punched in the mouth on Sunday and had absolutely no response. Cam Newton tossed three interceptions. Jarrett Stidham threw another one in relief. San Francisco also ran over the defense, racking up 197 yards and averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The team that looked like it was ready to compete for another AFC East title over the first few weeks of the season is nowhere to be found right now. A crucial matchup with Bills is up next. This team genuinely might just like the talent to compete right now.

20. Los Angeles Chargers: 2-4 (Last Week: 20)
Won 39-29 vs. Jacksonville
Justin Herbert is a beast! Ok, maybe the Jaguars defense makes every opposing quarterback look incredible, but this was a great showing from the Chargers’ rookie. He aired it out for 347 yards, led the team in rushing with 66 yards and scored four total touchdowns. His connection with Keenan Allen was on full display as well. This team is not ready to contend for the division title yet, but it certainly feels like Los Angeles is headed in the right direction.

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21. Detroit Lions: 3-3 (Last Week: 24)
Won 23-22 at Atlanta
Detroit has quietly gotten back to .500 with back-to-back wins over reeling teams. However, that win over Arizona is looking better and better. Matthew Stafford came up clutch with a game-winning touchdown pass on the final play of the contest. He got some help from poor clock management on the side of the Falcons, but it was still an impressive drive. The Lions get a chance to prove themselves in Week 8 against the Colts.

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22. Philadelphia Eagles: 2-4-1 (Last Week: 23)
Won 22-21 vs. New York
Welcome back atop the NFC East! Philadelphia picked up a scrappy win over New York on Thursday Night Football. Let’s be honest, this team is not very good right now. The Eagles are struggling to win games against the worst teams in the league. However, these wins are important right now given all the injuries. If Philly can get a couple more starters back along the offensive line, this team might be close to the middle of the pack than it has show in recent weeks.

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23. Houston Texans: 1-6 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 35-20 vs. Green Bay
Get Deshaun Watson some help! He posted a dominant 93.2 QBR and his team lost in overtime without getting the ball. If that’s not a compelling reason to revisit NFL overtime rules, I don’t know what is. Back to Watson. He played a much smarter game, avoiding the risks he took the week before, but still could not overcome the Texans’ defensive deficiencies. After watching David Johnson run the ball 19 times for just 57 yards, Houston fans probably want to fire Bill O’Brien again. It is going to be a long few seasons while the Texans work to turn the team around.

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24. Atlanta Falcons: 1-6 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 23-22 vs. Detroit
How do the Falcons keep doing this? Atlanta found yet another way to blow another game, but they deserve style points for this one. Todd Gurley attempted to keep himself out of the end zone in order to let the Falcons run the clock more, but could not stop himself from scoring. As a result, Detroit drove the length of the field and scored on the final play to stun Atlanta yet again. This team could very easily be 4-3 with some better clock management and knowing how to recover onsides kicks. The talent is there, at least on offense. This team is heading for a very interesting offseason.

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25. Denver Broncos: 2-4 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 43-16 vs. Kansas City
Denver didn’t really need a ton of offense to take down New England. Beating the defending champs requires a lot more offense. Drew Lock struggled again, tossing a pick-six. He got plenty of help from the running game with 177 yards on the ground, but Melvin Gordon coughed it up twice. Overall, this was a clear reminder that the Broncos are still building up this young core. Competing with the Chiefs just is not possible for this group right now.

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26. Minnesota Vikings: 1-5 (Last Week: 26)
Bye Week
Minnesota got a much-needed week off to refocus and hopefully fix some of the many problems it has had this year. Kirk Cousins has been a turnover machine through his first six games. The secondary is also one of the worst in the league due to injuries and inexperience. Thankfully, Dalvin Cook should be back after sitting out Week 6’s contest. The playoffs feel very far away for the Vikings, who are already cutting ties with veterans like Yannick Ngakoue, who they traded for in September.

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27. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-5-1 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 37-34 vs. Cleveland
Cincinnai opened the game defensively with an interception of Baker Mayfield. Someone clearly forgot to inform them that the game would keep going. Mayfield torched the secondary for five touchdowns, all of them coming after Odell Beckham Jr. had left with an injury. On the offensive side, Joe Burrow continued to do his best Superman impression despite his pathetic offensive line and lackluster running game. Joe Mixon’s absence was apparent as the Bengals never really got into a rhythm running the ball. With one win in seven games, the outcomes don’t really matter from here on out. Cincinnati just needs to determine who is worth keeping around Joe Burrow and if Zac Taylor really is the best person to coach him.

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28. Washington: 2-5 (Last Week: 30)
Won 25-3 vs. Dallas
Don’t look now, but Washington is a half-game back of the division lead and a playoff spot. Given that the team has played three quarterbacks so far this season and allowed the third most sacks in the league, that is truly remarkable. It helps to play in the NFC East, especially against a Cowboys team playing Ben DiNucci after Jon Bostic made a blatantly illegal hit to knock Andy Dalton out of the game. Antonio Gibson had a nice day while Kyle Allen continues to settle into the starting quarterback role. Ron Rivera is definitely reshaping this organization and has so far lead a talent-deprived roster to two divisional wins.

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29. Dallas Cowboys: 2-5 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 25-3 at Washington
Losing Andy Dalton to a horrific hit definitely shifts the blame somewhat for the three points managed in this game, but Dallas still disappointed even with Dalton on the field. The former Bengals quarterback averaged 3.9 yards per attempt and completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes before he left. The banged up offensive line continues to be an issue as well. Ezekiel Elliott did not have much running room and Cowboys quarterbacks were sacked six times. Dallas is entering fire sale mode now, despite the fact it is only a half-game back of the division lead. Planning for the future is definitely the move for this franchise given where it stands right now.

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30. New York Giants: 1-6 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 22-21 at Philadelphia
This game pretty much summed up the Giants entire season up to this point. The team lost its starting running back due to injury, the offense slept walked through most of the game and the defense played better than expected to keep things competitive. To top it all off, Daniel Jones became a GIF when he tripped over absolutely nothing to rob himself of a nearly 90-yard touchdown run. Giants fans can take solace in knowing their team was close to pulling off a win that would have moved them atop the NFC East, but instead, they can keep looking at mock drafts.

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31. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-6 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 39-29 at Los Angeles
Once again, Jacksonville’s defense made the opposing quarterback look like the league MVP. The Jaguars defense is allowing the third most yards and fifth most points per game in the league. The poor defensive performance wiped out a sensational effort from James Robinson, who accounted for 137 total yards and two touchdowns. The offensive line failed to protect Gardner Minshew once again as this team continues to get dominated in the trenches. Doug Marrone and his coaching staff are definitely on thin ice.

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32. New York Jets: 0-7 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 18-10 vs. Buffalo
Even when the Jets do things well, they still mess it up. New York held Buffalo without a touchdown but still managed to lose by eight thanks to a pitiful offensive performance. Sam Darnold struggled in his return from injury, throwing for a meager 120 yards and tossing a pair of interceptions. Adam Gase even passed off the play-calling duties, which clearly had almost no effect on the offense. There is some silver lining here. For the second straight week, the defense stepped up well on third down. The Bills and Dolphins combined to go 4-for-22 on third down over the past two weeks. This team is still headed for Trevor Lawrence, but it is nice to find a positive for how it is playing right now.

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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

What a week! From start to finish, it was a wild slate of football games. There were some shocking results. Denver shutdown New England for a surprising victory and Tampa Bay blew the doors off Green Bay. There were some thrilling finishes as well. Tennessee needed overtime to hold off Houston. Washington and Philadelphia came up short after failing to convert two-point attempts. We also finally got some Tua Time!

The Fins shutout the Jets to continue New York’s embarrassing season. Tua Tagovailoa saw his first NFL action late in the game and had a truly wholesome moment after playing football for the first time since he suffered his devastating injury in 2019. Following the win, Tua walked back onto the field, he sat down on the 15-yard line and he FaceTimed his parents. They could not be there to watch him play because of the pandemic. It felt like a really relatable moment for all of us still struggling with the impact of COVID-19.

For the third straight week, the team that I moved atop the rankings lost and opened the door for a new team at No. 1. This week offered a massive shakeup the pecking order. Pittsburgh tries its hand at the top. I have a feeling this type of chaos will not stop any time soon.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-0 (Last Week: 5)
Won 38-7 vs. Cleveland
Beating the Browns, doesn’t get you to be No. 1. Winning by 31 to stay among the NFL’s final three unbeaten teams does. It is hard to find a clear weakness for this team. They are deep at the skill positions, block well and spread the ball around on offense. Defensively, this might be the best unit in the NFL. Only the Ravens are allowing fewer points per game at this point, but the Steelers are allowing way fewer yards per game and forcing more turnovers per game. Pittsburgh now has a huge showdown between undefeated teams with the rescheduled Tennessee game up next. Baltimore is after that.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 5-0 (Last Week: 2)
Bye Week
Without playing Seattle cemented its spot atop the NFC. Green Bay suffered its first loss of the year. Los Angeles falling to San Francisco extends Seattle’s lead atop the NFC West as well. Few teams are playing as well as the Seahawks have so far this season. If the defense can get things together on the bye and even improve to the league average, Seattle will be a Super Bowl contender. That defense is still concerning though. It ranks 32nd in yards allowed per game and 18th in points allowed per game.

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3. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-1 (Last Week: 3)
Won 26-17 at Buffalo
Kansas City put its first loss in 11 months behind it with a convincing victory. It wasn’t a dazzling victory, but the Chiefs controlled the clock with a devastating ground game. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a big night, finishing with 161 rushing yards. As a team, KC finished with 245 yards running the ball, which was more yards than it did passing. Patrick Mahomes was still his same, lethal self, taking care of the football and tossing a pair of touchdown passes. We will see this team playing late into January at least, barring a slew of injuries.

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4. Green Bay Packers: 4-1 (Last Week: 1)
Lost 38-10 at Tampa Bay
Well that was incredibly short lived. The Packers only get one week atop the power rankings before they crash back down. Aaron Rodgers struggled, the running game was abandoned and the defense collapsed. It was honestly just a worst-case scenario on both sides of the ball for Green Bay. This was shades of San Francisco last season. The Packers simply cannot find a way to contend with the league’s elite defenses.

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5. Baltimore Ravens: 5-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 30-28 at Philadelphia
Baltimore looked to have this game all wrapped up. Leading 24-6 on the road, the Ravens took their foot off the gas a bit too soon. The Eagles managed 22 points in the fourth quarter and were a botched two-point conversion away from tying the ball game. In addition to the defense’s inability to really close things out against the most injured offense in the NFL, Lamar Jackson needs some help. He went MVP mode with 108 yards rushing on just nine carries, but Ravens’ running backs managed just 2.7 yards per rush on their 28 attempts. The passing game was also inconsistent. This team needs a go-to playmaker outside of Jackson. So far, no one has stepped up to fill that role.

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6. Tennessee Titans: 5-0 (Last Week: 7)
Won 42-36 vs. Houston
Divisional games are always tricky. Tennessee learned that, but just managed to hang on against Houston. Derrick Henry turned in one of the best performances of any running back in the past decade. 264 total yards and two touchdowns is incredibly impressive. Ryan Tannehill balled out as well with four touchdown passes. The Titans can score. It is up to the defense start making some stops. Deshaun Watson carved up the secondary even though the Texans cannot run the ball. Houston also went three for three on fourth down and Tennessee didn’t force a turnover. This was an important win, but there is a lot Mike Vrabel’s squad still needs to focus on.

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7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-2 (Last Week: 16)
Won 38-10 vs. Green Bay
After an ugly loss on a Thursday night, Tampa Bay finally looked the part of the Super Bowl contender many expected at the beginning of the season. This defense might just be the best in the NFL, allowing the fewest yards per game through six weeks. Ranking them ahead of the Bears is more about what the Buccaneers look like at full strength. Getting Chris Godwin back helped the offense for sure. Mike Evans also looked a bit healthier. Smacking the previously undefeated Packers by 28 is a huge step in the right direction for Bruce Arians. A really interesting matchup with the Raiders is up next.

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8. Las Vegas Raiders: 3-2 (Last Week: 10)
Bye Week
This feels like where there is a clear drop off from the NFL’s elite to whatever you want to label the next tier. That’s not to say the Raiders are locked into this spot. Las Vegas is the only team to beat Kansas City since this past November. That’s a pretty big notch in their belt. However, losses to the Patriots and Bills show there is work to do. The defense still has a long way to go. It ranks 26th in yards per pass and 25th in yards per run allowed. Most teams know they can at least shutdown one facet of the opposing offense. So far, the Raiders have not shown the ability to slow down either. That is going to hold Las Vegas back as the season wears on.

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9. New Orleans Saints: 3-2 (Last Week: 11)
Bye Week
New Orleans gets a much needed week off with a chance to get healthy at a few key positions. Michael Thomas should finally return. Deonte Harris should be back returning punts as well and Janoris Jenkins will bolster the secondary. In addition to getting healthy, Sean Payton needs to refocus the team as a whole. The Saints have not felt like a Super Bowl contender up to this point. Even in their wins, New Orleans has not looked convincing. On one hand, being 3-2 without playing their best football is somewhat reassuring, assuming they can flip the switch and start playing much better.

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10. Chicago Bears: 5-1 (Last Week 15)
Won 23-16 at Carolina
Give this defense credit. Khalil Mack and company got after Teddy Bridgewater all afternoon. Chicago racked up four sacks and had him scrambling quite a bit. The defense also held Mike Davis, who had been playing really well in Christian McCaffrey’s absence, to just 2.9 yards per carry. This truly feels like a championship caliber defense. Unfortunately, the offense is still suspect. Nick Foles has looked nothing shy of terrible so far. He has one reliable receiver in Allen Robinson. The running game is basically non-existent. The Bears managed 63 yards and 2.5 yards per carry against a defense that was giving up 133 yards per game entering the contest. As Foles said, winning ugly is better than losing pretty, but at some point, it would be nice to see the offense put things together.

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11. Buffalo Bills: 4-2 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 26-17 vs. Kansas City
I know I asked it before, but I will ask it again: What happened to the Buffalo defense of 2019? The Bills allowed 103 yards per game last season, good for 9th in the league. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and company ran all over the defense on Monday to the tune of 245 yards. Patrick Mahomes wasn’t quiet either, going 21-for-26 passing with 225 yards and two touchdowns. Buffalo only managed to sack him once. Offensively, it was definitely a lackluster showing. Josh Allen only competed 14 passes and once again the running backs failed to produce much. After a great start, it is important for the Bills to bounce back now and not let this streak get much longer.

12. Los Angeles Rams: 4-2 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 24-16 vs. San Francisco
Will the real Rams offense please stand up? Week 4 saw this team finish with just 17 points. A week ago, L.A. dropped 30 on Washington. Back home against a reeling San Francisco defense, Sean McVay’s group was held to just 16 points. At 4-2, there is no reason to panic, but it would be nice for Jared Goff to stabilize the offense. That 2018 season is starting to feel like a really long time ago.

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13. Arizona Cardinals: 4-2 (Last Week: 13)
Won 38-10 at Dallas
Arizona took care of business on Monday Night Football with a convincing performance. Yes, it came against a terrible Cowboys team, but the Cardinals dominated. Kyler Murray struggled a lot throwing the football against possibly the worst secondary in the NFL. He completed just nine passes in the contest despite throwing it 24 times. Murray did make plenty of plays with his legs though and the defense made sure he didn’t need to be perfect. The Cards defense force three turnovers and finished with sacks, even without Chandler Jones. Kliff Kingsbury’s crew is gaining momentum.

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14. Indianapolis Colts: 4-2 (Last Week: 14)
Won 31-27 vs. Cincinnati
Indianapolis looked like they might just unraveling following its loss to Cleveland. Cincinnati jumped out to a 21-0 lead. It felt like that was when Philip Rivers and company finally woke up. The Colts were extremely lucky to be facing an inexperienced team like the Bengals. Otherwise, this would have been a blowout. The defense locked down and gave Rivers a chance to lead a comeback. Give him credit for successfully seeing it through, but it is a little concerning that he needed to lead a three-score comeback against a one-win team in the first place.

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15. New England Patriots: 2-3 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 18-12 vs. Denver
What in the world was that? If you knew the Patriots kept the Broncos out of the end zone, you would have assumed New England won comfortably. Bill Belichick is the king of bye weeks after all and the team had an extra week to prep. Yet, Cam Newton returned and somehow the offense looked much worse than it did even before the bye week. Newton was successful with his legs, but two interceptions and four sacks taken tanked the passing game. The defense did it’s job, forcing two interceptions and holding Denver to six field goals. Make no mistake, this is a setback for the Patriots. I think they will turn it around, but this was a concerning loss.

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16. Miami Dolphins: 3-3 (Last Week: 17)
Won 24-0 vs. New York
Brian Flores can add first shutout of the 2020 season to his resume. There should probably be an asterisk next to it indicating the shutout came against the Joe Flacco-led Jets’ offense. Myles Gaskin had another solid outing as the lead back, which is a great sign for the offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick was his usual gunslinger self, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. We even got a glimpse at the future! Tua Tagovailoa saw a little bit of mop up duty at the end of the contest. Miami is suddenly one game back in the AFC East. Could this team possibly be making a playoff push a year earlier than most expected?

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17. San Francisco 49ers: 3-3 (Last Week: 23)
Won 24-16 at Los Angeles
Talk about quieting the doubters. San Francisco bounced back big time with a vital win to staying in the playoff race. The defense made an about face, holding Los Angeles to 16 points. Jimmy Garoppolo reasserted himself as the clear leader of the offense with three touchdowns in the first half and an overall impressive performance. The offensive line deserves recognition as well, not allowing a single sack against a talented front seven. Unfortunately, the injuries keep piling up, as Raheem Mostert heads back to the IR. The 49ers face a motivated Patriots team in Week 7.

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18. Cleveland Browns: 4-2 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 38-7 at Pittsburgh
I would not want to be Baker Mayfield right now. He had a terrible performance against Pittsburgh and got hit, a lot. The Steelers tallied eight quarterback hits in the game. The former No. 1 pick also threw two interceptions, including a horrible pick-six. He didn’t get a tremendous amount of help from his running game, but Cleveland essentially had to abandon it after trailing 24-7 at halftime. For the second time, the Browns have come up against the elite teams in the AFC North and have walked away thoroughly embarrassed. This team has a lot of growth to do.

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19. Carolina Panthers: 3-3 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 23-16 vs. Chicago
Injuries finally caught up with Carolina. Obviously, Christian McCaffrey is still out. Eli Apple and Curtis Samuel joined him on the sideline. Teddy Bridgewater’s supporting cast totally failed him as a result. He was sacked four times and Mike Davis got stonewalled repeatedly. Bridgewater deserves some criticism as well, tossing two interceptions. Defensively, the Panthers actually took some big steps forward. Holding David Montgomery to just 2.5 yards per carry is not overly impressive, but it was a good sign of growth for a very young unit.

20. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-4 (Last Week: 20)
Bye Week
Los Angeles has quickly become one of the most entertaining rebuilding teams to watch. Justin Herbert has had his fair share of growing pains, but has handling the starting role well. Especially when you consider that he has missed Austin Ekeler and, at times, Keenan Allen, Herbert has been better than advertised. Defensively, the Chargers are close, but not quite there yet. They have some talented edge rushers, but that has not translated to defensive success. However, L.A. gets a very favorable matchup against the Jaguars next.

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21. Atlanta Falcons: 1-5 (Last Week: 25)
Won 40-16 at Minnesota
Maybe the Falcons should have cleaned house sooner if this was the response they were going to get. It helped to play a young Vikings defense, but putting up 40 is a great sign for the rest of the season. It might be a bit too late for Atlanta to really make a postseason push, but this team looked a lot more competitive in all three phases. It’s great to see Matt Ryan and Julio Jones go off, but the defense is the real key here. It got key stops on fourth down, picked off Kirk Cousins three times and held Minnesota to just 32 rushing yards. The Falcons have been incapable of stopping any up to this point, so this is a good sign. Now interim coach Raheem Morris needs to find a way to build on it.

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22. Houston Texans: 1-5 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 42-36 at Tennessee
Get Deshaun Watson some help! He posted a dominant 93.2 QBR and his team lost in overtime without getting the ball. If that’s not a compelling reason to revisit NFL overtime rules, I don’t know what is. Back to Watson. He played a much smarter game, avoiding the risks he took the week before, but still could not overcome the Texans’ defensive deficiencies. After watching David Johnson run the ball 19 times for just 57 yards, Houston fans probably want to fire Bill O’Brien again. It is going to be a long few seasons while the Texans work to turn the team around.

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23. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-4-1 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 30-28 vs. Baltimore
Honestly, you could take most of what I just wrote about Deshaun Watson and apply it to Carson Wentz. No, Wentz is not as good as Watson, but if I am going to criticize Watson’s supporting cast, I need to rip Wentz’s apart. Wentz was sacked six times. His starting wide receivers are Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward and John Hightower. His starting running back became Boston Scott after Miles Sanders exited with an injury. Zach Ertz is out for three-to-four weeks as well. Four of his original five starting offensive lineman were also hurt. Somehow, Wentz staged a massive comeback bid, coming up just a two-point conversion short of forcing overtime. I know every team is battling injuries this season, but it seems like the Eagles are dealing with more than any other team. After several seasons of injuries at key positions, it might be time for the organization to look into why it keeps happening.

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24. Detroit Lions: 2-3 (Last Week: 26)
Won 34-16 at Jacksonville
The Lions built an early lead and held onto it! This is some of the best defense Detroit has played all season. It started with shutting down the run game, holding Jacksonville to just 44 yards on the ground. Matt Patricia’s team also came up with two turnovers as well. Even if this is the type of performance we would expect from the Lions facing one of the worst offenses in the league, it is important that they met expectations. That is something they have struggled to do quite a bit this season.

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25. Denver Broncos: 2-3 (Last Week: 28)
Won 18-12 at New England
Drew Lock was back in action, but honestly that didn’t really seem to matter. Denver failed to score a touchdown and Lock looked awful. He completed under 50 percent of his passes and threw two frustrating interceptions. He kept offering the Patriots a way back into the game. Thankfully, the defense played lights out. Between the four sacks, three forced turnovers and five tackles for loss, it was one of the best showings we have seen from the Broncos in years. Imagine how good this team could be if the offense got on track.

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26. Minnesota Vikings: 1-5 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 40-16 vs. Atlanta
Any optimism I had about this team after a great showing despite the final result against Seattle evaporated on Sunday. Kirk Cousins had a nightmare performance and the ground game shockingly disappeared. Between Cousins’ three interceptions and the Vikings averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, it was rough afternoon. The secondary looked lost as well. Matt Ryan played well, but his receivers were also routinely wide open. On the bright side, Minnesota succeeded in stopping the run. That is little consolation when the scoreline is this lopsided.

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27. Dallas Cowboys: 2-4 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 38-10 vs. Arizona
Jerry Jones better open up his checkbook and pay Dak Prescott whatever the hell he wants. Ezekiel Elliott looks rattled, Andy Dalton looks overmatched and the offensive line looks like a revolving door. On the other side of the ball, the Jets might even be able to score 20 points against the Cowboys defense. Somehow, Dallas still holds a playoff spot right now by virtue of leading the NFC East. There is still time for Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore to bring Andy Dalton up to speed. However, the defense needs a jolt. It might be early, but Mike Nolan’s job should be under scrutiny. There is no reason this unit should be as bad as it has been through six games.

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28. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-4-1 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 31-27 at Indianapolis
For about 25 minutes, it looked like the Bengals were en route to a big win over a solid AFC opponent. Instead, Cincy blew a 21-0 lead, almost before reaching halftime. Joe Burrow and the offense managed just a field goal in the final 38 minutes of the game. The inability to run the football made it very difficult to protect the lead. 2020 was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the Bengals, but that does not mean that blowing massive leads does not sting.

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29. New York Giants: 1-5 (Last Week: 31)
Won 20-19 vs. Washington
It almost pains me to move the Giants up after winning. Daniel Jones managed 112 yards passing, but did show out as a running, leading the team with 74 yards. The rest of the offense did not really do much. Devonta Freeman managed three yards per carry. Kaden Smith led the team in catches with just three receptions. Darius Slayton led the team in receiving yards despite leaving in the first half with an injury. Thankfully, this continually improving Giants defense made just enough plays to drag the offense to victory.

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30. Washington: 1-5 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 20-19 at New York
No matter how you spin this, Washington looked terrible on Sunday. Kyle Allen played decently well, but still committed two turnovers. The running game was passable. Still, they somehow only managed 19 points and needed a game-winning drive to even have a chance. Defensively, Washington looked good, but that honestly might have been more about how bad New York was playing than how well Ron Rivera’s club was executing. This just has the feel of a lost season for this franchise.

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31. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-5 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 34-16 vs. Detroit
After thinking Gardner Minshew may be the answer at quarterback early in the season, I am becoming more convinced Jacksonville just needs to hit the reset button on the franchise. Just clear everyone out. Dave Caldwell should be gone. Doug Marrone and the whole coaching staff needs to go. Maybe Jay Gruden can stay. Overall, this is just a team lacking talent, and it is showing. It makes that Week 1 win over the Colts even more difficult to understand.

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32. New York Jets: 0-6 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 24-0 at Miami
The Jets really rank 33rd in overall football power rankings at this point. I am pretty sure Clemson would be able to beat them at this point. New York would have the advantage at a few spots, but most of this Clemson roster is eventually headed to the NFL. There is no question Dabo Swinney is a better coach than Adam Gase. I honestly don’t even need to talk about how the Jets played on Sunday. Look at the scoreline, that should tell you everything you need to know. On the flip side, Clemson just hung 73 on Georgia Tech. There is a real chance the Tigers could beat the Jets if they faced off at a neutral site. I’m just hoping the Clemson-New York connection continues when the Jets use the first overall pick to take Trevor Lawrence. Knowing this franchise, they will find a way to mess it up somehow.

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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

If you are a fan of drama, you got lots of it in Week 5. After the Cowboys failed to reach a long-term deal with Dak Prescott during offseason, Prescott suffered a compound ankle fracture, ending his season. Conversely, Alex Smith suited up in his first NFL game since suffering a horrific leg injury of his own in November 2018. The league schedule got reorganized, undefeated teams, including the defending champs, lost and we even got Tuesday Night Football. Week 5 had a little bit of everything.

Given that it was such an unpredictable and wild week, the rankings underwent a massive overhaul, starting with a new team at the top. With injuries and uncertainty continuing to hang over this 2020 season, there is a good chance this order will change dramatically again as soon as next week.

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1. Green Bay Packers: 4-0 (Last Week: 3)
Bye Week
This is a nice setup for the Packers. Take the week off an move atop the Power Rankings. Green Bay has been dominant through its four games and it is not at full strength yet. Davante Adams has been banged up, but should be back at 100% starting in Week 6. Eventually, Allen Lazard will be back as well. The Packers defense still could use some improvement against the run, but this secondary is quietly one of the better units in the league.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 5-0 (Last Week: 2)
Won 27-26 vs. Minnesota
Seattle got hot in the third quarter and scored three touchdowns in under two minutes. Outside of that stretch, the Seahawks looked outmatched against the Vikings. Russell Wilson worked a bit of late magic just to pull off a one-point win against a one-win team. The defense has been an issue all year long. However, the run defense was a strong point, up until Minnesota racked up 200 yards, even with Dalvin Cook missing the second half. Seattle was a bit lucky to stay unbeaten, but there is something to be said for showing ability to win close games.

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3. Kansas City Chiefs: 4-1 (Last Week: 1)
Lost 40-32 vs. Las Vegas
The streak is over. Kansas City lost its first game since November as the defense fell apart. Derek Carr racked up 346 yards and three touchdowns, including two of over 50 yards. The Chiefs are still top in the AFC West though despite the loss. Sometimes a loss like this can help refocus a team. After all, it has been almost a year since Andy Reid’s team came out on the losing end. They will get a Bills team that is out to prove it is for real after dropping its first game of 2020.

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4. Baltimore Ravens: 4-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 27-3 vs. Cincinnati
Baltimore reminded everyone that while Joe Burrow might be the first overall pick and the Bengals are headed in the right direction, it is going to be a few years before they can really compete in the AFC North. The Ravens sacked Burrow an outrageous seven times and held the Bengals to just 2.5 yards per carry. Add in three forced turnovers, and this looked like the defense we saw down the stretch last year. Now if only the offense could get back to it’s 2019 form.

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5. Pittsburgh Steelers: 4-0 (Last Week: 7)
Won 38-29 vs. Philadelphia
For the first time in 41 years, the Steelers are 4-0. For a franchise that has been so consistently in the top half of the league, it is hard to believe 1979 was really the last time Pittsburgh won four straight to open the season. Winning the battle of Pennsylvania was a bit ugly at times, Miles Sanders did rip off a 74-yard TD run after all, but Chase Claypool came to the rescue. He put on a performance for the ages, complete with four touchdowns. I don’t know how this front office continue to find incredible talent at receiver in seemingly every NFL draft.

6. Los Angeles Rams: 4-1 (Last Week: 10)
Won 30-10 at Washington
That looked a lot better than the week before. Los Angeles blew the doors of Washington in a really impressive showing. Jared Goff had a stellar day as the offense bounced back and the defense continued its dominant start to the season. Only the Steelers have more sacks per game so far than the Rams. This is shaping up to be one hell of a fight in the NFC West.

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7. Tennessee Titans: 4-0 (Last Week: 11)
Won 42-16 vs. Buffalo
Well that was a statement win if I’ve ever seen one. Tennessee dismantled Buffalo in a rare Tuesday night game to put the league on notice. While the Titans did struggle a little bit earlier this season, this was the same team that reached the AFC Championship game and had an early lead against the Chiefs in said game. They sure looked like that against a previously undefeated Bills team. With A.J. Brown back, it is time to start respecting the Titans.

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8. Buffalo Bills: 4-1 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 42-16 at Tennessee
Missing Tre’Davious White, John Brown and Zack Moss certainly hurts, but losing by 26 is inexcusable. This was a beatdown for Buffalo and a reminder that this team still is still building. The Bills have not had a playoff win since 1995. Hopefully, a loss like this will allow them to refocus. One game hardly ever defines a season. This might just be a speed bump on the Bills’ path to postseason success. They will get a chance to bounce back in a huge way as soon as this week. Buffalo hosts Kansas City in Week 6.

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9. New England Patriots: 2-2 (Last Week: 7)
Bye Week
New England got a very unexpected bye week, which probably threw off some preparations and planning, but will hopefully allow the team get back to full strength. It was clear the offense was not the same without Cam Newton. Stephon Gilmore hit the reserve/COVID list as well. Another week to prepare for the Broncos likely isn’t really what Bill Belichick needs, but getting his two best players back is.

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10. Las Vegas Raiders: 3-2 (Last Week: 15)
Won 40-32 at Kansas City
Welcome to the top 10 Las Vegas. Knocking off the defending champs was a great way to prove that the Raiders truly belong in the playoff conversation. It was one of the best games Derek Carr has ever played. Now the defense didn’t do a ton to help, but they did just enough. If Las Vegas can somehow find a way to produce like this offensively on a more consistent basis, this team could be scary. It is almost unfortunate the Raiders are heading into a bye week with all of the momentum they gained from this win.

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11. New Orleans Saints: 3-2 (Last Week: 8)
Won 30-27 vs. Los Angeles
This was nearly a major set back, but Drew Brees and the offense did just enough to squeak by the Chargers. However, it is hard to completely ignore the Saints’ first half struggles. Los Angeles led 20-3 late in the second quarter. Justin Herbert, in just his fourth career start, threw for four touchdowns against the defense. That should be a red flag for this team going forward. The Saints seem to be hanging on right now, hoping that the return of Michael Thomas is going to save them. I am starting to worry this team might not really be a contender after all.

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12. Cleveland Browns: 4-1 (Last Week: 16)
Won 32-23 vs. Indianapolis
It is hard to believe that this is the same team that got walloped by the Ravens in Week 1. Cleveland is capitalizing on an opportunistic defense and scoring at a really impressive rate. The Browns currently rank fourth in the league in scoring. What makes this win even more impressive is that they did it without Nick Chubb. I don’t think Cleveland is ready for contender status yet, but this team is one that no one should want to face right now. This style of play is hard to beat, but it is equally as hard to sustain.

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13. Arizona Cardinals: 3-2 (Last Week: 14)
Won 30-10 at New York
Nothing like a good old pick-me-up to wash away a two-game losing streak. Kyler Murray wasn’t perfect, but Arizona did more than enough to batter New York. Then again, everyone has crushed the Jets this year. Still, the defense played well enough. Now it is time for the Cardinals to prove they are really a playoff-caliber team. Facing a Cowboys team without Dak Prescott might not seem like a huge test, but Dallas has a ton to play for and Arizona better not sleepwalk through that game.

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14. Indianapolis Colts: 3-2 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 32-23 at Cleveland
What on Earth should we make of the Colts at this point? At first glance, it is easy to say the defense should have played better when you see it gave up 32 points. However, it is hard to ask more of a unit that had two interceptions and held the NFL’s top rushing team to just 3.8 yards per carry. Instead, it was Philip Rivers who once again proved not to be up to the task. With two interceptions, including a pick-six, a safety given up and no touchdown passes, Rivers cost the Colts an important game in the AFC wildcard race. I have said it before and I will say it again. Indianapolis has a roster ready to contend, they just don’t have a quarterback who can lead them to a championship.

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15. Chicago Bears: 4-1 (Last Week 17)
Won 20-19 vs. Tampa Bay
Perhaps I am still sleeping on the Bears, but this proved to me that this team is definitely better than I initially thought. This defense means business and Nick Foles might be able to do just enough to help it grind out some wins. It will be interesting to see what Chicago decides to do next. They are a likely suitor for Le’Veon Bell given David Montgomery’s struggles and the injury to Tarik Cohen. Will the front office swing for the fences on a player who comes with an oversized personality? If the Bears are serious about competing, they might have to.

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16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-2 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 20-19 at Chicago
This week, Tom Brady took care of the football, but the offense still could not finish drives. You aren’t going to win too many games when you have to settle for four field goals and manage only one touchdown. It is important to cut the Buccaneers a little bit of slack. Chris Godwin and Justin Watson were both out, although, Tyler Johnson stepped up well in their absence. Ronald Jones also had arugably the best game of his professional career. Still, the team stalling in the red zone that many times is concerning, no matter how good the defense was on the other side of the ball.

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17. Miami Dolphins: 2-3 (Last Week: 22)
Won 43-17 at San Francisco
Miami came out swinging and boy did it land a haymaker. The team benefited a bit from facing a rusty Jimmy Garoppolo, but that should not take away from how thoroughly the Dolphins dominated this game. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked unstoppable, posting an unbelievable 99.1 QBR. Defensively, Miami forced three turnovers and registered five sacks. This is the type of win that can build momentum, which means the Jets are in a world of trouble come Week 6.

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18. Carolina Panthers: 3-2 (Last Week: 20)
Won 23-16 at Atlanta
I would have likely laughed at you five weeks ago if you told me the Panthers would have won three straight to take a share of the NFC South lead. I would have laughed harder still if you told me all three wins would have come without Christian McCaffrey. Yet, here we are. Carolina is finding its groove. This young defense is learning on the job and seems to be improving from week to week. Teddy Bridgewater looks like a franchise quarterback, smartly and efficiently leading the offense. It is too early to crown anyone yet, but the Panthers have to feel really good about their offseason remodel.

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19. Minnesota Vikings: 1-4 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 27-26 at Seattle
Minnesota might be the best 1-4 team I have seen in a while. In their past three games, the Vikings have lost by a single point twice and picked up their first win of the year. Believe it or not, Minnesota largely dominated this game. They had a 13-0 at halftime. Then the wheels fell off for about two minutes and the Vikings were down 21-13. That cannot happen, nor can it be overlooked in evaluating this team. Mike Zimmer has this team competing with some of the best of the league, but he needs to see the results start going his way soon, or he will be out of a job.

20. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-4 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 30-27 at New Orleans
Here is a quick peek inside my process. Every week, I copy the entirety of last week’s rankings and paste it into a new document to start editing. It usually works really well, but it almost caused an issue this week. That’s because the Chargers blew a close game in which they had a huge first-half lead against an NFC South team. It is hard to know which aspect of this game to focus on. Despite another disappointing result, which mostly boils down to two missed kicks, Justin Herbert was sensational. If Los Angeles finishes 1-15, but knows it has it franchise quarterback, this season will be a success.

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21. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-3-1 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 38-29 at Pittsburgh
Philly needs help in its secondary. Ben Roethlisberger threw for three touchdowns and the Eagles surrendered 38 points. It is time to pick up the phone and call Earl Thomas, Eric Reid or some other free agent for assistance. It is costing them their ability to run the ball too because they are going down early in games. Granted, outside of a 74-yard run from Miles Sanders, the second-year back managed just six yards on 10 additional carries. The Eagles look like they are in a lot of trouble.

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22. Dallas Cowboys: 2-3 (Last Week: 24)
Won 37-34 vs. New York
There is really no positive way to spin this. What happened to Dak Prescott flat out sucks. However, Dallas is about as well positioned as it could be for an injury at quarterback. Andy Dalton is experienced and a solid spot starter. Given how bad the rest of the NFC East looks and the skill position players he has available to him, the Cowboys are still likely the favorite in the division. It is going to be interesting to watch this team going forward.

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23. San Francisco 49ers: 2-3 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 43-17 vs. Miami
Oh boy. This is bad. In addition to the mounting injuries, San Francisco now has a quarterback controversy on its hands. Jimmy Garoppolo might have been rusty, but he looked terrible in his return from injury. For the second straight week, C.J. Beathard looked better in relief of the game’s original starter. Granted, he didn’t play a whole lot better. Additionally, the defense is a mess, the offensive line is struggling and I don’t know where the 49ers are going to get reinforcements from. Things are only going to get harder with the Rams up next.

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24. Houston Texans: 1-4 (Last Week: 25)
Won 30-14 vs. Jacksonville
The post-Bill O’Brien era got off to a good start. Shoutout to Romeo Crennel for picking up his first win as a head coach since 2012. Even David Johnson looked pretty good, topping 100 yards in the win. There were still some troubling signs. Deshaun Watson took a lot of risks in this game, resulting in a pair of interceptions. Thankfully, the defense stepped up and Watson threw three touchdowns to help make up for the mistakes. Houston gets a fresh start, but I still don’t think the pressure is totally off. This team has no incentive to lose this year without a first- or second-round pick in the upcoming draft. I expect the Texans to keep fighting to get better with the part they currently have.

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25. Atlanta Falcons: 0-5 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 23-16 vs. Carolina
It was only a matter of time, but another disheartening loss cost Dan Quinn his job. General manager Thomas Dimitroff went with him. Arthur Blank even went as far as to cast doubt on Matt Ryan’s future with the franchise following this loss. Atlanta’s famed offense of first-round picks once again failed to put up points and the defense can’t stop a nosebleed. While one loss rarely defines a season, this has the potential to be a pretty memorable one if the Falcons decide to move on from Ryan in the offseason.

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26. Detroit Lions: 1-3 (Last Week: 27)
Bye Week
We have seen Bill O’Brien and Dan Quinn kicked to the curb in successive weeks. Will Matt Patricia be next? A loss to the Jaguars might just seal his fate. Patricia was brought in from New England to instill a winning culture and build a championship-caliber defense. With a 10-25-1 record in two-plus seasons and the Lions ranking last in rushing yards allowed per game and 29th in points allowed per game, I think it is safe to say he has failed to do both those things. Keep in mind, Detroit fired Jim Caldwell after a 9-7 season to hire Patricia.

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27. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-3-1 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 27-3 at Baltimore
The high of the first win of the season and the first win of Joe Burrow’s career faded very quickly on Sunday. Burrow spent much of the game running for this life, taking seven sacks and getting absolutely no help from his ground game in the process. Defensively, it was a different story. Cincy held Lamar Jackson in check all afternoon. The reigning MVP finished with 4.9 yards per attempt passing and an interception. That doesn’t really make losing 27-3 to your division rival feel any better, but it is nice to have a silver lining.

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28. Denver Broncos: 1-3 (Last Week: 28)
Bye Week
Few teams benefit as much from a week off as the Broncos. Denver gets a chance to allow KJ Hamler, Noah Fant, Jeremiah Attaochu, Mike Purcell and maybe even Drew Lock a chance to get back on the field in Week 6. Lock would obviously be the most significant development. While the defense was able to overcome Brett Rypien’s three interceptions against the Jets, that is a much tougher task against the Patriots. Denver still has an outside shot at a playoff run. Dropping to 1-4 makes that outlook a whole more bleak.

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29. Washington: 1-4 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 30-10 vs. Los Angeles
As just about everyone did this week, let me take a moment to acknowledge the incredible feat that Alex Smith accomplished in returning football. He took it a step further by weathering an onslaught from the Rams defense. Aaron Donald along had four sacks. Los Angeles’ defense racked up eight in total, with Smith taking six of them. The offensive line has deteriorated quickly in Washington and no matter who is at quarterback, I don’t see things getting better before it is stabilized.

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30. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-4 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 30-14 at Houston
That Week 1 win over that Colts feels awfully long ago right about now. Jacksonville has a pedestrian defense with no pass rush. Offensively, the team moves the ball up and down the field, but does not score anywhere near enough points. It is hard to pinpoint exactly where the main issue lies with this team. It is much easier to see now why everyone expected the Jaguars to end up with the first overall pick.

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31. New York Giants: 0-5 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 37-34 at Dallas
While it was a bitterly close against a division rival, it was good to see the Giants’ offense show signs of life. Granted, it might have been against the worst defense in the NFL, but beggars can’t be choosers. On the flip side, Daniel Jones continues to struggle with ball control. He was strip sacked and the fumble was returned for a touchdown. Miraculously, Jones did not throw a touchdown pass, despite New York finishing with 34 points. Ultimately, this team cannot find a way to win, even with the Cowboys rolling out their backup quarterback.

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32. New York Jets: 0-5 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 30-10 vs. Arizona
Adam Gase Watch enters what feels like a sixth year. The Jets lost by double digits yet again and barely looked competitive against a reeling Cardinals team. To top that off, New York released Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday night after failing to find a trade partner for him. The franchise knows it is destined for a top-five pick and a potential reset on its rebuild. The sooner the team decides to move on from Gase so it can start evaluating players like Sam Darnold and Lamical Perine, the better.

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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Four weeks down and we know a lot more about the NFL than we did at the beginning of September. Some things have stayed the same. Kansas City is clearly the best team in the league and the Jets are unquestionably the worst. Others have changed quite a bit. The Bills are a Super Bowl contender while the Cowboys look like a big pretender.

The league also spent much of the week dealing with the fallout of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Titans had 18 players and staff members test positive for the coronavirus. Jeffery Simmons tested positive as recently as Monday, which puts Tennessee’s Week 5 game vs. Buffalo in jeopardy. With their game this week against the Steelers already postponed, this could be a real headache for the league office.

On top of that, Cam Newton tested positive on Saturday for the virus, ruling him out of Week 4’s matchup with the Chiefs. It also caused the game to be delayed to Monday night from it’s original Sunday afternoon start time.

In the midst of the health concerns, players still found a way to remind everyone about what is truly important. Za’Darius Smith did it best with a simple, but powerful message for Breonna Taylor written on his undershirt. Important reminder to everyone that there are much bigger things than football.

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1. Kansas City Chiefs: 4-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 26-10 vs. New England
Patrick Mahomes and company were not quite as dynamic as we have come to expect, and yet the Chiefs still coasted to victory. Kansas City is a much more well-rounded team this season. The defense has allowed only 17.5 points per game so far, the second best average in the league. Sure, they got an easier assignment facing a Cam Newton-less Patriots offense in Week 4, but this came one week after shutting down Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. At the quarter mark of the regular season, there is a distinct gap between the Chiefs and every one else in the NFL.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 4-0 (Last Week: 2)
Won 31-23 at Miami
Russell Wilson had a disappointing game by his standards. With only two touchdowns and his second interception of the season, Wilson needed some help from the defense. Seattle’s secondary was not perfect, but two timely interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick were enough to hold off the resilient Dolphins. This was a tricky game for the Seahawks, who played in the early window after traveling 3,300 miles. Taking care of business is always important as Russ and company stay unbeaten.

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3. Green Bay Packers: 4-0 (Last Week: 3)
Won 30-16 vs. Atlanta
Don’t look now but the Packers are 4-0 and seem to be gaining momentum. This team has not been at full strength in recent weeks, but that has not stopped them from comfortably winning football games. Green Bay’s has outscored opponents by an average of 12.75 points per games, the best mark in the league. With a bye week coming up, Davante Adams has a chance to get back to 100 percent before the Packers get a showdown with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

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4. Baltimore Ravens: 3-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 31-17 at Washington
That is much more like it. Granted, Baltimore played a much worse opponent in Week 4 than the undefeated Chiefs, but this was the style of play we have grown accustom to for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson was off and running, including a career-long 50-yard touchdown run. Mark Andrews dominated the red zone with two touchdowns of his own. The defense also had a good outing with a forced fumble and three sacks. Baltimore is capable of playing even better than this, but this performance was more than enough to take care of Washington.

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5. Buffalo Bills: 4-0 (Last Week: 5)
Won 30-23 vs. Las Vegas
The Buffalo Bills are here to stay. Buffalo is 4-0 for the first time in 12 years. Strangely, the offense continues to carry this group. After a season where the Bills defense finished third in yards allowed and second in points allowed, coach Sean McDermott cannot run it back. Buffalo is giving up 25 points per game and the sixth-most passing yards in the process. If McDermott can get the defense back to its 2019 form, this might be the best team in the league.

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6. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-0 (Last Week: 7)
Bye Week
It was an unexpected bye week for the Steelers. With the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak, their Week 4 matchup was pushed to Week 7 instead. It gives the Steelers a chance to recharge before heading into a brutal 13-game stretch (not including the playoffs) without a break. Pittsburgh should still reach the postseason regardless, but the task certainly becomes tougher with this new schedule.

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7. New England Patriots: 2-2 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 26-10 at Kansas City
Cam Newton might have earned some MVP votes after we saw how badly the Patriots offense struggled without him. Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham combined for four turnovers, including a horrible pick-six on a Julian Edelman dropped pass. Lost in the lackluster showing was that New England could still run the ball. The Pats racked up 185 yards on 5.1 yards per carry. Defensively, this was a solid showing as well. Take away the pick-six and the Chiefs offense only managed 19 points. A healthy Newton will get this team back on track.

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8. New Orleans Saints: 2-2 (Last Week: 8)
Won 35-29 at Detroit
It was not perfect or pretty, but New Orleans got the job done to get back to .500. On one hand, you have to worry about how slow the team started. Going down 14-0 to Detroit is not a great sign. On the flip side, the Saints then rattled off 35 unanswered points before the Lions finally climbed back into it. Drew Brees was fantastic, posting an 88.2 QBR in the win. New Orleans still has a lot to work out going forward, but Michael Thomas should return to face the Chargers. That should make things run a whole lot smoother.

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9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-1 (Last Week: 9)
Won 38-31 vs. Los Angeles
I never thought I would write this, but if Tom Brady could just take care of the football, the Buccaneers would be winning games a lot more comfortably. But it’s 2020, so anything can happen. Brady threw yet another pick-six against the Chargers and the Bucs got off to a very rocky start, trailing 24-7. Los Angeles made enough mistakes to let Tampa back into the game though. Brady took advantage and finished the day with five touchdown passes. There are clear signs of how dominant this offense could be when healthy and clicking. I don’t know if we have seen a complete game from this Buccaneers team yet, which is scary considering the 3-1 record.

10. Los Angeles Rams: 3-1 (Last Week: 10)
Won 17-9 vs. New York
This was ugly. Los Angeles’s offense looked great on the first drive of the game and then disappeared for pretty much the rest of the contest. If not for the fact they were facing an inept Giants offense, the Rams likely would have lost this contest. Jared Goff had a pedestrian day, totaling 200 passing yards and a touchdown. The revived run game fell apart as well to the tune of 2.5 yards per carry. Give the defense credit for holding things down with five sacks and an interception, but L.A. needs to play better than this.

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11. Tennessee Titans: 3-0 (Last Week: 12)
Bye Week
The Titans will be a very interesting team to watch over the next few weeks. The league is investigating whether or not Tennessee violated coronavirus protocols in the lead up to Week 3. With more players continuing to test positive, it is possible their Week 5 game will be pushed back after the team already took an unexpected bye in Week 4. Mike Vrabel says the team has been embracing the virtual preparation, but I have to imagine there is going to be some rust to knock off once the Titans finally return to the field.

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12. Indianapolis Colts: 3-1 (Last Week: 14)
Won 19-11 at Chicago
The Colts defense looks like the real deal. Indianapolis has the second-best point differential in the league, tied with the Chiefs. Allowing a league-low 56 points through four games makes that possible. All of that should be taken with a grain of salt though. Indy has faced the Jaguars, Vikings, Jets and Bears. They have a combined record of 5-11 so far. The Colts face a much better test against the red hot Browns, fresh off a 49-point outing in Dallas. If the defense shuts down Baker Mayfield and company, then they will earn their spot among the NFL’s elite.

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13. San Francisco 49ers: 2-2 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 25-20 vs. Philadelphia
The injury bug finally caught up to the 49ers. Even with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle back in action, it was the absence of Jimmy Garoppolo that loomed large in San Francisco’s loss. Nick Mullens threw two interceptions, including the game-clinching pick-six. C.J. Beathard replaced him and sparked the offense, but it was too little, too late. The defense did its best despite playing shorthanded. Picking up three sacks and holding the Eagles offense to just 18 points is enough to win in most weeks. While the loss is disappointing, better days are on the horizon for the 49ers.

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14. Arizona Cardinals: 2-2 (Last Week: 11)
Lost 31-21 at Carolina
Arizona crumbled again as Kyler Murray continues to struggle. After two weeks as the league’s exciting young team, the Cardinals have fallen apart in back-to-back weeks. Murray does not deserve all the blame. The defense could not contain Teddy Bridgewater or slow down the running game. Arizona has a lot of young pieces playing in key positions, but this was still a letdown. The Cardinals should find the cure to all that ails them in Week 5. A trip east to face the Jets should get them back on track.

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15. Las Vegas Raiders: 2-2 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 30-23 at Buffalo
It was another close, but not good enough type performance from the Raiders. Derek Carr was spectacular, but the defense could not slow down Josh Allen. Carr also did not get much help from a usually reliable running game. Josh Jacobs managed an unimpressive 3.2 yards per carry. Las Vegas also lost the turnover battle 2-0, which was likely the difference in the game. One sack and zero turnovers is simply not enough from the defense. The Raiders are still very much in playoff contention, but definitely feel like they are on the fringes of that conversation.

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16. Cleveland Browns: 3-1 (Last Week: 19)
Won 49-38 at Dallas
Wow. For a lot of reasons, wow. Cleveland dropped 49 points on Dallas, by far the most in Week 4 and the most by any team so far this season. By the scoreline, this game looks like an old fashion shootout. However, the Browns led 41-14 entering the fourth quarter. The Cowboys cut that lead all the way down to three before Odell Beckham Jr. finally put the game away. Turnovers continue to be the key to Cleveland’s success. It owns a league-best +6 turnover margin through the first four games. There is still some bad news though. Nick Chubb is going to be out for an extended stretch. Thankfully, the Browns have one of the deepest backfields in the league. They will need it heading into a matchup with the Colts.

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17. Chicago Bears: 3-1 (Last Week 17)
Lost 19-11 vs. Indianapolis
The Nick Foles era didn’t get off to the best of starts. The veteran quarterback had his own shortcomings, averaging only 5.9 yards per attempt and throwing an interception. He got absolutely no help from his running game though. Chicago averaged a woeful 1.8 yards per carry. It went up against a tough Indianapolis defense, but that level of inefficiency is unacceptable. On the other side of the ball, the defense that Matt Nagy keeps praising needs to step up. One sack and no forced turnovers is not good enough for a team that boasts Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, Eddie Jackson and Robert Quinn. The Bears definitely look a lot more like pretenders than contenders after Week 4.

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18. Minnesota Vikings: 1-3 (Last Week: 23)
Won 31-23 at Houston
Good to see Minnesota finally get in the win column. The Vikings rode their offensive formula to success: feed Dalvin Cook and don’t ask Kirk Cousins to do too much. Minnesota threw the ball just 22 times in the win, but put up 31 points in the process. Cook rumbled for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, clearly leading the way for the offense. Not to be overlooked though, Adam Theilen and Justin Jefferson both went over the 100-yard mark as well. This type of big-play attack off play action feels sustainable, even against better competition.

19. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-3 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 38-31 at Tampa Bay
The Chargers looked poised to shock the NFL. Leading 24-7 with halftime closing in, Los Angeles was nearly halfway through what would have been a statement victory. This was only two weeks after the Chargers had nearly knocked off the defending champs after all. Youth and inexperience showed up again though for L.A. Tampa outscored them 31-7 the rest of the way. Losing by seven to the Buccaneers is not a bad result, but the Chargers still have a bitter taste in their mouth. On the bright side, Justin Herbert is continuing to look like a franchise quarterback in just his third NFL start. He needs to step up with Austin Ekeler out for the next four to six weeks.

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20. Carolina Panthers: 2-2 (Last Week: 26)
Won 31-21 vs. Arizona
No Christian McCaffrey, no problem! That’s not exactly fair to the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, but Carolina moved to 2-0 without their superstar running back. Teddy Bridgewater tore up the Cardinals defense and the combination of Mike Davis and Reggie Bonnafon continue to do their best to shoulder the load with McCaffrey out. Defensively, the Panthers frustrated Kyler Murray. He might have finished with three touchdown, but he lost a fumbled and managed just 4.3 yards per passing attempt. Turns out Carolina might not be tanking for Trevor Lawrence after all.

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21. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-2-1 (Last Week: 24)
Won 25-20 at San Francisco
It wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles earn an all-important win on the road to (somehow) move atop the NFC East. Despite the horrendous start from the Eagles offense this season, it’s almost as if the past three games don’t matter because Philly is back in the driver’s seat in the division. Injuries continue to plague the team, with the offensive line and receiving corps completely banged up. If the Eagles can slowly start to get healthy, specifically getting Lane Johnson, DeSean Jackson and Jason Peters back, this team should have what it takes to reach the postseason in a historically weak NFC East.

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22. Miami Dolphins: 1-3 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 31-23 vs. Seattle
Miami hung tough once again with one of the best teams in the NFL. That won’t count for much come the end of the season, but it gives Brian Flores plenty to focus on as he continues to rebuild this roster. The negative side of Ryan Fitzpatrick showed up on Sunday. His two interceptions were likely the difference in the game. A 10-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter was nice, but it was way too late for that to be the only Dolphins drive that resulted in a touchdown. Miami feels really close to breaking through to the next level, but there is still work to be done.

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23. Atlanta Falcons: 0-4 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 30-16 at Green Bay
In a nice change of pace, the Falcons never had a lead to blow in a disappointing loss to the Packers. Green Bay looks like one of the best teams in the NFL, but other clubs have had no trouble putting up big numbers on that defense. Atlanta’s offense never really got into gear. Julio Jones left with a hamstring injury. Calvin Ridley was inexplicably held without a catch. Matt Ryan was left turning to former undrafted free agent Olamide Zaccheaus in big moments. The defense was a mess, but it is hard to defend Aaron Rodgers when the entire secondary is injured. Jaylinn Hawkins and Damonate Kazee joined Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen among the many injured Falcons defensive backs. At some point though, Dan Quinn has to be held accountable and his seat is only getting warmer.

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24. Dallas Cowboys: 1-3 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 49-38 at Cleveland
Dak Prescott is putting up video game numbers, but yet the Cowboys are a botched onsides kick away from being 0-4. He is currently on pace to shatter the single-season passing record, averaging over 400 yards per game. The issue is, he is almost always playing from behind because of Dallas’ inability to play defense. Prescott dragged the team back into the game and made the final score look somewhat respectable. In the end it was the turnovers (two by Prescott and one by Ezekiel Elliott) that killed the Cowboys’ chances. Given the defensive deficiencies, Mike McCarthy might have to focus more on establishing the run to keep his own defense off the field. There is no question Prescott can dominate through the air, but Dallas is struggling to hang on in these shootouts.

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25. Houston Texans: 0-4 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 31-23 vs. Minnesota
The first NFL coach is gone. This was probably two years after it should have happened, but better late than never. I firmly believe that Bill O’Brien the general manager ruined Bill O’Brien the coach. Houston’s roster has a ton of holes, but the team has no cap space and no draft capital. Up until this year, O’Brien had been able to coach up what talent he did have and reach the playoffs each year. His house of cards finally fell though after the Texans dropped their fourth game in a row. Perhaps this will be the shock to the system Houston needs to get going in the right direction, but there is also a good chance that a long rebuild is ahead.

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26. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-2-1 (Last Week: 29)
Won 33-25 vs. Jacksonville
Book it! Joe Burrow picked up his first NFL win on October 4, 2020. Maybe one day we will look back on this as the start of a great run for the Bengals. Until then, Burrow could use some help. He benefitted from facing a lifeless Jaguars pass rush and Joe Mixon going back to his Oklahoma days, but the defense still almost blew it. It is unlikely Mixon will rack up 180-plus yards and three touchdowns every week, but it is good to see him step up and complement Burrow in this offense.

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27. Detroit Lions: 1-3 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 35-29 vs. New Orleans
After taking a week off from blowing early leads, the Lions got back to doing what they do best. Detroit went up 14-0 quickly against New Orleans and then seemingly went into hibernation for roughly two quarters. When Matt Stafford and company finally woke up, it was 35-14 and the Lions ran out of time to pull off a comeback. Overall, it was another disappointing outing for Matt Patricia’s squad. Detroit has shown it is more than capable of hanging tough with the league’s top teams, but it just can’t seem to do so for 60 minutes.

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28. Denver Broncos: 1-3 (Last Week: 27)
Won 37-28 at New York
Despite their best efforts to hand the Jets the game on a silver platter, the Broncos headed back to Denver with their first win of the season. Brett Rypien tossed three interceptions, including a pick-six to keep things interesting. Lucky for him, the defense made Sam Darnold’s life hell, racking up six sacks. Melvin Gordon also came to play, rolling for 107 yards and two touchdowns against a usually stout New York run defense. If Rypien can settled down and avoid committing so many turnovers, Denver should be fine to weather the storm until Drew Lock gets back.

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29. Washington: 1-3 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 31-17 vs. Baltimore
Another week of wondering when the Dwayne Haskins experiment is going to end is in the books. The second-year quarterback actually put up some good counting stats with 314 yards passing. However, his 31.5 QBR tells the full story. Washington finished 4-for-13 on third down as well. Unfortunately for Haskins, he is not getting any help from his running game. Washington managed a meager 69 yards rushing on a lowly 3.1 yards per carry. The best way to help a young quarterback is by establishing the run. Until the offense can do that, Haskins is going to continue to struggle.

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30. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-3 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 33-25 at Cincinnati
That Week 1 win over the Colts feels like a long time ago now. Jacksonville once again could not score enough points to keep up with its porous defenese. Gardner Minshew and company once again kept things competitive, but Joe Burrow had all day to throw and Joe Mixon tore the defense to shreds. This was always going to be a rebuilding year for the Jaguars, but I think the front office would like to see a bit more fight on the defensive side of the ball.

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31. New York Giants: 0-4 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 17-9 at Los Angeles
While there are those that still question New York’s decision to draft Saquon Barkley second overall in 2018, the former Penn State running back might just be proving his worth from the sidelines. The Giants have not scored a touchdown in either game since Barkley’s injury. Daniel Jones has picked up the slack rushing the ball in a lot of ways because of the lack of proven options at running back. The Giants actually ran the ball fairly well against the Rams, but still seemed to fall apart when they needed a big play. That is Barkley’s specialty.

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32. New York Jets: 0-4 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 37-28 vs. Denver
Another week, another disappointing loss. Perhaps more disappointing for all Jets fans is that reports surfaced almost immediately after the loss to the Broncos that the team would not be firing Adam Gase. There were even some rumblings that his job might be safe for the rest of the season. Beyond that being a huge mistake, it is killing the growth of their franchise quarterback. Sam Darnold did everything he could on Thursday night to carry the Jets to a win, but his terrible supporting cast and the horrible play calling from the sidelines once again let him down. New York does not deserve a player as loyal and committed to seeing it succeed as Darnold when it clearly has not shown the same commitment to him. The six sacks he took and sprained AC joint he suffered only serve to highlight the disparity.

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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Another week of NFL action is in the books. The Chiefs reasserted their dominance atop the league, Nick Foles reemerged as a starting quarterback and New York is really bad at football this year (well, outside of Buffalo of course).

It was also another week where the storylines of the real world clearly reached locker rooms across the league. With the news of the chargers in the case of Breonna Taylor’s murder breaking during the week, it drew a lot of reaction from athletes across all sports on social media. Players from the Washington Football Team took it a step further on Sunday with a very clear message.

Social justice continues to be a hot topic across the NFL and really every sport. I am proud of the players for making this small gesture. Breonna Taylor deserves much better than what she got.

On the football side of things, there were fewer surprising results this week. Consequentially, there is a whole lot less movement in this week’s rankings, particularly now that we have three games of work to evaluate each team off of. Let’s dive in.

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1. Kansas City Chiefs: 3-0 (Last Week: 2)
Won 34-20 at Baltimore
Clearly, I was very wrong about who the best team in the NFL was after Week 2. Kansas City smacked Baltimore in prime time to remind everyone they are still the defending champs. Patrick Mahomes was on fire, becoming the fastest player to reach 10,000 career passing yards. While Mahomes will deservedly receive most of the praise, the Chiefs defense deserves a ton of recognition for how it contained Lamar Jackson. The reigning MVP got loose on a couple of runs, but it was by far one of his most disappointing performances of his young career. KC’s defense sacked Jackson four times and forced a fumble in the process. There is a long season ahead of us still, but at this point, the Chiefs are still the team to beat.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 3-0 (Last Week: 3)
Won 38-31 vs. Dallas
Russell Wilson is on fire. He set an NFL record with 14 touchdown passes through the first three weeks of the season. He will certainly be earning at least one MVP vote this year if he stays healthy. Ignoring his statistical dominance, his value to the Seahawks is immeasurable. The Seattle secondary looks like one of the worst in the league, giving up 80 more passing yards per game than any other team in the NFL. The defense is strong against the run, but the back end needs to sure things up to have a shot at a title.

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3. Green Bay Packers: 3-0 (Last Week: 4)
Won 37-30 at New Orleans
The NFC might just run through Green Bay once again when the regular season wraps up. Holding off the Saints in convincing fashion is another notch in Aaron Rodgers’ belt. For all those who doubted the Packers’ offseason choices of drafting his successor, the move might have just worked in the best way possible. Rodgers is humming along in his second season under Matt LaFleur. Aaron Jones is on fire. Even in Davante Adams’ absence was not enough to slow down this unit.

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4. Baltimore Ravens: 2-1 (Last Week: 1)
Lost 34-20 vs. Kansas City
Well that was short lived. The Chiefs grounded the high-flying Ravens offense in an AFC heavyweight fight. Lamar Jackson mustered just 97 yards passing, the fewest of his career. Baltimore did come up with 158 yards rushing, but managed just one offensive touchdown. John Harbaugh also had no answer for Patrick Mahomes, who racked up five total touchdowns. This Ravens team was built to compete with the Chiefs to win the AFC. So far, it seems like that plan is still a major work in progress.

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5. Buffalo Bills: 3-0 (Last Week: 5)
Won 35-32 vs. Los Angeles
No one circle the wagons (after almost completely blowing the game) like the Buffalo Bills! After leading 28-3, Buffalo inexplicably went down 32-28, before Josh Allen engineered a game-winning drive. If it was not for Russell Wilson, there is a very good chance Allen would be atop the early season MVP rankings. He has been sensational and proved it against much competition on Sunday. Beating up on the Jets and Dolphins is one thing. Topping the previously undefeated Rams shows the Bills mean business.

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6. New England Patriots: 2-1 (Last Week: 9)
Won 36-20 vs. Las Vegas
New England looked pretty formidable facing a Las Vegas squad coming off the high of knocking off New Orleans. It was thanks to the run game, and this time Cam Newton got some help. Sony Michel went over the century mark. Rex Burkhead scored three touchdowns. Even J.J. Taylor added 43 yards on a surprising 11 carries. Defensively, the Patriots recovered well from Week 2 against Russell Wilson. They held Darren Waller in check and forced three fumbles. New England has a chance to make a real statement in Week 4 with a visit to Arrowhead up next.

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7. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-0 (Last Week: 10)
Won 28-21 vs. Houston
It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Steelers just keep winning. Pittsburgh shut out Houston in the second half to close out its toughest yet. James Conner rushed for over 100 yards once again. Ben Roethlisberger took care of the football as well. The defense got after Deshaun Watson, sacking him five times. The Texans have struggled so far this year, but this was a playoff team just a year ago. This win sets up a battle of unbeaten teams when the Steelers take on the Titans in Week 4.

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8. New Orleans Saints: 1-2 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 37-30 vs. Green Bay
Last week, it was the Saints offense that was cause for concern. Week 3, it was the defense that came up short. New Orleans has not looked the part of the Super Bowl contender we all expected entering the season. The Saints have had a tough schedule so far, but when you are gunning for a championship with a future Hall of Fame quarterback, you don’t get a pass for a tough schedule. A win against the Lions is a must.

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9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-1 (Last Week: 11)
Won 28-10 at Denver
The competition was not great, but Tampa handled Denver with relative ease. Tom Brady played clean, efficient football with three touchdowns to lead the offense, but it is the defense who deserves the most credit. The Buccaneers racked up six sacks, two interceptions and a safety. They also limited Melvin Gordon and the rest of the rushing game to just 42 yards at three yards per carry. This is a brand of football the Bucs will find success with, even against better competition than the banged up Broncos.

10. Los Angeles Rams: 2-1 (Last Week: 7)
Lost 35-32 at Buffalo
Los Angeles nearly pulled off one of greatest comebacks in recent memory, but could not finish the job. It is hard to know which side of this loss to focus on. The Rams came out flat and got blown out in the first half. However, they rallied to make it a game and came very closing to winning. Unfortunately, the defense could not close it out. While it seems like L.A. has rebounded from last year’s debacle, it is going to need to play better to early in games to keep pace with Seattle.

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11. Arizona Cardinals: 2-1 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 26-23 vs. Detroit
That had to be unexpected. Arizona was the up-and-coming club heading into Week 3. Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins looked unstoppable. The defense finally could make enough plays to be competitive. Instead, Murray made way too many mistakes as the Cardinals lost to a team who entered on an 11-game losing streak. His three interceptions were the biggest difference in the game. The Lions have been awful in the fourth quarter of games, but Kliff Kingsbury’s team did not get points on the board. This is still a young team with a lot to learn. Arizona does not have much margin for era as one of three NFC West squads sitting at 2-1.

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12. Tennessee Titans: 3-0 (Last Week: 12)
Won 31-30 at Minnesota
Another week, another questionable victory for Tennessee. Derrick Henry put the offense on his back with 117 yards and two touchdowns as Ryan Tannehill struggled. He did not have a touchdown pass and threw his first interception of the year. It took six Stephen Gostkowski field goals, including the game-winner with under two minutes to play, to dispatch the winless Vikings. The Titans defense has not been the fearsome unit we got used to seeing last year either. Mike Vrabel needs to get that side of the ball figured out with the Steelers up next.

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13. San Francisco 49ers: 2-1 (Last Week: 13)
Won 36-9 at New York
Who needs healthy players? It might help to play the two worst teams in the NFL right now in back-to-back weeks, but this was still an impressive showing from the 49ers. Nick Mullens played about as well as he could have in relief of Jimmy Garoppolo. The run game struggled a bit, but it got to be a bit predictable late in the game with San Francisco leading by multiple possessions the whole way. Defensively, three forced turnovers always makes it easier to win. Hopefully, a few of these injured players can return in Week 4 against the Eagles, but this team seems capable of hanging around even with its backups playing.

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14. Indianapolis Colts: 2-1 (Last Week: 17)
Won 36-7 vs. New York
Even if it was against the lowly Jets, this was an impressive showing from the Colts. The defense has stepped up each of the past two weeks following a brutal season opener. Xavier Rhodes came up with a pick-six as the defense intercepted Sam Darnold three times in the contest. Philip Rivers really did not have to do much to ensure a win in this one, but he finally took care of the football. Indy faces an undefeated Chicago team changing quarterbacks in Week 4. This cupcake schedule to open the season makes me very skeptical of how good this team really is at this point.

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15. Las Vegas Raiders: 2-1 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 36-20 at New England
Losing to the Patriots is not shocking, but I expected more from the Raiders after the performance we saw out of them in Week 2. Darren Waller disappeared and Derek Carr was nowhere near as productive. Even Josh Jacobs had a bit of a shaky game. The defense had no answer for the Pats ground game either, giving up 250 yards rushing. Las Vegas deserves some credit for containing Cam Newton, something teams have struggled to do so far, but that is not enough when it comes to facing the Patriots. Shutting down the primary option won’t be enough when playing most teams. Jon Gruden has a lot of work to do to get back on track in Week 4.

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16. Dallas Cowboys: 1-2 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 38-31 at Seattle
Losing close to good teams is not going to cut it for the Cowboys. There were plenty of positives for Dallas, at it scored 31 points and watched Dak Prescott spread the ball around. However, the decision to let Byron Jones leave in free agency has come back to haunt the front office. Russell Wilson has been shredding every secondary he has faced, but this was disappointing. It is clear that the Cowboys are a good team, but it has also become clear that they are not a great team. Expectations were much higher for Dallas entering the season than where they are right now.

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17. Chicago Bears: 3-0 (Last Week 21)
Won 30-26 at Atlanta
Nick Foles came to the rescue. He had some help from the team known for blowing late-game leads, but his three touchdowns in relief of Mitch Trubisky sealed the deal. Chicago is easily the most shocking 3-0 team at this stage in the season, but the Bears have not faced great competition either. If not for two fourth-quarter meltdowns and an injury to Saquon Barkley, Chicago could easily be 0-3. None of that matters to Matt Nagy, who will be focused on building momentum. This team seems comfortable winning tight games. The Bears might just have a chance at earning a playoff spot.

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18. Houston Texans: 0-3 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 28-21 at Pittsburgh
Houston was very much in this game in the first half, leading by four at the break. Then the Texans offense disappeared, failing to score after halftime. The whole team managed a woeful 29 yards rushing at 1.9 yards per attempt. On the flip side, Houston could not stop the Pittsburgh running game. Sitting at 0-3, the trade for David Johnson looks like the worst move of the offseason. The franchise desperately needs to hire a general manager to save Bill O’Brien the coach from Bill O’Brien the general manager. Houston’s schedule finally gets a little easier as they face the also winless Vikings. Desperation to earn the first win of the season for two 2019 playoff teams makes that game one worth watching.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 2-1 (Last Week: 19)
Won 34-20 vs. Washington
By now, you have no doubt heard that this is the first time the Browns are above .500 since 2014. That level of futility is truly mind boggling, but Cleveland has to hope it is finally on the right path. Baker Mayfield took care of the ball against an underrated Washington defense. Nick Chubb looked like a franchise running back as well with 108 yards and two touchdowns. The truth is, it was the defense that stepped up with five forced turnovers. It certainly made the offense’s day a lot easier. Beating the teams with the worst two records in the league a year ago does not create believers, but it is important for the Browns to win the games they are supposed to.

20. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-2 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 21-16 at Los Angeles
Hey rookie, welcome to the NFL. Justin Herbert had a much rougher second start. After taking the Chiefs to the wire, the Chargers could not find a way to edge the Panthers. Los Angeles kept it close the whole way, but the team’s four turnovers made it difficult to get any momentum going. The defense is more than good enough to contend with the best teams in the NFL. Now the offense needs to catch up. Unfortunately, the Chargers draw a really tough matchup against the Buccaneers next.

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21. Miami Dolphins: 1-2 (Last Week: 27)
Won 31-13 at Jacksonville
Brian Flores is a heck of a coach. This team came close to knocking off the Bills a week ago and now notch their first win of the year with a complete performance against the Jaguars. Ryan Fitzpatrick was incredibly efficient, completing 18 of 20 passes and adding two touchdowns. This team is young at a number of key positions, but it is clear that Flores is building each week and this team continues to look better as a result.

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22. Atlanta Falcons: 0-3 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 30-26 vs. Chicago
No lead is safe for the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears outscored them 20-0 in the fourth quarter as the Falcons blew another late-game lead in spectacular fashion. Even after falling behind, Matt Ryan had a chance to engineer a game-winning drive, but threw an interception almost immediately. With another devastating result, it is looking like Atlanta made a mistake in hanging onto Dan Quinn. With the Packers up next, the Falcons’ road to their first win is only going to get harder. This is around the spot in the rankings where I think there is a clear drop off, but it is hard to know which one of the these disappointing teams is really worse than the other.

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23. Minnesota Vikings: 0-3 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 31-30 vs. Tennessee
I don’t care if they gave Mike Zimmer an extension before the season or that Kirk Cousins is under contract through 2022. No one’s job is safe in Minnesota right now. Cousins is tied for the league lead in interceptions and the Vikings are allowing more points per game than anyone but the Falcons. For all the Vikings fans out there wondering if drafting a quarterback is possible in the 2021 draft, there is a way out of Cousins’ contract after the 2021 season that would save the team $35 million in cap space. Finding a young quarterback to learn behind him before turning the offense over to the theoretical draft pick seems extremely possible at this stage.

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24. Philadelphia Eagles: 0-2-1 (Last Week: 20)
Tied 23-23 vs. Cincinnati
I held off for the first two weeks, but now it is time to panic. Carson Wentz struggled again, with two more interceptions on Sunday. He is tied with Kirk Cousins for the most interceptions in the NFL with six through the first three weeks. The rebuilt secondary also could not slow down Joe Burrow. Give the the Eagles credit for shutting down the run as Joe Mixon averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. However, this team had clear playoff aspirations for this year. Thanks to a very weak NFC East, that is still a possibility, but Philly needs to hit the reset button after a lackluster start to the season.

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25. Detroit Lions: 1-2 (Last Week: 28)
Won 26-23 at Arizona
Ending the losing streak is huge for Matt Patricia and the Lions. Detroit finally closed out a game, outscoring Arizona 6-0 in the fourth quarter to pick up its first win since Matthew Stafford’s injury in 2019. Stafford played well and took care of the football. Adrian Peterson continues to be the most reliable option in the backfield. The talent is there for the Lions to be a competitive team. Hopefully, this allows them to flip their mentality and starting building something positive after ending this streak.

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26. Carolina Panthers: 1-2 (Last Week: 29)
Won 21-16 at Los Angeles
Matt Rhule earns his first NFL win with a gritty performance on the road. Carolina’s defense really stepped up after a disappointing first two weeks. The Panthers forced four turnovers. That coupled with Teddy Bridgewater finally getting back to ball control offense was enough for Carolina to pick up the win. Considering they managed it without their offensive superstar Christian McCaffrey, this is a good sign for how this team can cope while he is out.

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27. Denver Broncos: 0-3 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 28-10 vs. Tampa Bay
Turns out Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton make a big difference for this offense. The combination of Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien struggled to produce consistently. Driskel was also under siege, taking five sacks and losing 45 yards in the process. Even with all the injuries, Denver has to be disappointed with how it played against Tampa. Rushing for only 42 yards and failing to generate a turnover is the opposite of how you beat Tom Brady. Vic Fangio has a really tough task ahead of him.

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28. Washington: 1-2 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 34-20 at Cleveland
Reminder: Washington is still a rebuilding team. The defense played better than the scoreline would indicate. Dwayne Haskins and the offense turned it over five times. There are only so many change-of-possession situations a team can hope to survive in a given game. Ron Rivera says he remains committed to developing Haskins, who has just edged out Sam Darnold for the worst QBR in the league through three weeks. The offense needs to change course to help him improve. Only Jeff Driskel has a worse completion percentage this year. This is going to be an uphill climb.

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29. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-2-1 (Last Week: 30)
Tie 23-23 at Philadelphia
Cincinnati draws closer still to the first win of the Joe Burrow era, but it was put on hold once again after the defense gave up a late touchdown to spoil it. Burrow seems to be settling in well though as the starter with another sharp performance. Zac Taylor was much more committed to running the ball, even if Joe Mixon struggled to do so efficiently. However, the offensive line is clearly to blame for that. Philly is solid defensively, but 2.9 yards per carry and eight sacks allowed is pushing it. There is progress, but tons of room for improvement.

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30. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-2 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 31-13 vs. Miami
Time to kill the early season hype around the Jaguars. This was a poor showing in every sense of the word. Ryan Fitzpatrick tore up the defense and the Minshew magic never really kicked in. Gardner Minshew threw an interception and never found the end zone. Expectations are low for this team in 2020, but this was not the type of performance anyone expected from Jacksonville.

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31. New York Giants: 0-3 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 36-9 vs. San Francisco
The loss of Saquon Barkley hit this offense hard. Daniel Jones had one of the worst games of his young career. He had some moderate success running the ball, but got no help from his running backs. Devonta Freeman, Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis combined for just 17 yards on 10 carries. Considering this 49ers team is the most injury riddled in the league at this stage, this is a major disappointment for the Giants.

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32. New York Jets: 0-3 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 36-7 at Indianapolis
Jets players continue to defend Adam Gase after another dismal performance, but it is getting harder to ignore the critics. Sam Darnold had one of the worst games of his career, with three interceptions and a poor completion percentage. Defensively, the New York continues to excel at the stopping the run. Unfortunately, it also has shown a pattern of allowing big plays. Philip Rivers averaged 10.3 yards per attempt against the secondary. The tank of Trevor Lawrence campaign seems to be gaining steam. A loss to the Broncos on Thursday night could very well be the end of Gase’s tenure as head coach.

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