2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

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

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

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

Patriots Logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eagles Logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lions Logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giants Logo

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

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

Bengals Logo

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

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

Consistency. It’s what every NFL team hopes to achieve. It’s what each coach wants from his players. It’s what fans count on every week of the season. Turns out it’s also very hard to find these days. After two months with the Patriots atop the power rankings, we have a new team taking over the top spot for the second time in as many weeks. The Saints suffered a shocking loss to the Falcons. The 1972 Dolphins can finally pop their champagne following the 49ers’ loss on Monday as there are no more unbeaten teams. That turned out to be one of the all-time great contests between Seattle and San Francisco, resulting in a game-winning field goal in overtime as time expired.

It was truly a bizarre week, as the Falcons, Browns, Dolphins and Jets all won. Miami is actually on a winning streak right now, as hard as that is to believe. Possibly lost in all of this is the fact the Titans stunned the Chiefs. There is a ton to unpack from this weekend of action. All the chaos led to a massive overhaul of these very power rankings, as you can see below, starting with a completely reordered top five.

Ravens logo

1. Baltimore Ravens: 8-2 (Last Week: 3)
Won 49-13 at Cincinnati
Welcome to the top spot Baltimore. After dismantling the Patriots in primetime, the Ravens battered the Bengals to continue their dominance in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson looks like something out of a video game as he accounted for four more touchdowns on Sunday, including potentially the best run of the season. Champions aren’t crowned in November, but that has to be the mindset of this team right now given the current level of play.

Patriots Logo

2. New England Patriots: 8-1 (Last Week: 4)
Bye Week
Giving New England a bye week almost feels unfair considering who it has at head coach. Bill Belichick is the king of midseason adjustments, which is why he has six Lombardi trophies hanging out in his facility. The Patriots have a tough stretch upcoming with the Eagles, Cowboys, Chiefs and Texans all on the schedule. There is a very good chance the Pats go 3-1 in that span and cruise to another number-one seed in the conference thanks to changes made by this coaching staff during the week off.

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3. Seattle Seahawks: 8-2 (Last Week: 6)
Won 27-24 (OT) at San Francisco
For the second straight week, Seattle needed overtime to come out on top. The Seahawks survived a 12-round heavyweight thriller with the 49ers on Monday Night Football to slay the final unbeaten team in the league. Russell Wilson spent a good chunk of the game running from the San Francisco defensive line and very nearly cost Seattle the win with an interception in overtime. In the end, it was the defense who made some critical plays to put Pete Carroll’s crew in position to come out on top. Don’t look now, but the Seahawks are perfect this year on the road.

49ers Logo

4. San Francisco 49ers: 8-1 (Last Week: 2)
Lost 27-24 (OT) vs. Seattle
Undefeated no more, the 49ers can put history behind them and refocus after a bitter loss to their division rival. This defense is the best in the NFL, led by clear Rookie of the Year candidate Nick Bosa. However, that is not the area most critics are worried about with this team. It was another rocky performance from Jimmy Garoppolo. He was not on target with a number of throws, including a few passes that should have been intercepted. Losing Emmanuel Sanders certainly did not help matters, but Garoppolo does not look like a quarterback capable of leading this team to a championship at the moment.

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5. New Orleans Saints: 7-2 (Last Week: 1)
Lost 26-9 vs. Atlanta
This is what I get for moving the Saints to the top of the power rankings. New Orleans turned in by far its worst performance of the year. The offense was an absolute dud against Atlanta, giving up six sacks and failing to find any sort of rhythm. Drew Brees looked like a quarterback past his prime trying to carry an undermanned offense. They completely abandoned the run as well with just 11 attempts on the ground. All of the concerns people had about the Saints showed up at the same time, resulting in a resounding flop. One divisional loss far from sinks hopes of a title chase, but it provides a reality check for Sean Payton and company.

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6. Green Bay Packers: 8-2 (Last Week: 7)
Won 24-16 vs. Carolina
Green Bay bounced back in the snow by stymieing Christian McCaffrey on the goal line as time expired. Aaron Jones had another ridiculous day with three touchdowns on just 13 touches. The defense came up with a pair of takeaways to preserve the lead. This does not feel like the Packers we are used to seeing with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, but they are winning a lot of games with this new style of play. In crunch time, we have seen how dominant the former MVP still can be when needed.

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7. Minnesota Vikings: 7-3 (Last Week: 9)
Won 28-24 at Dallas
Kirk Cousins won a big game for the Vikings! He might not have had gaudy numbers, but the Michigan State product turned in one of his better showings off the season. Dalvin Cook took on a massive workload, despite a lack of overall efficiency. The defense deserves some praise too after making Ezekiel Elliott feel like an afterthought. With Adam Thielen and Trae Waynes out, this was a massive win for a Minnesota team currently controlling the wildcard conversation.

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8. Kansas City Chiefs: 6-4 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 35-32 at Tennessee
It may be time to start wondering how much of a Super Bowl contender these Chiefs really are. Losing to the Packers without Patrick Mahomes is one thing. Falling to the Titans in the MVP’s return is another. Defensively, Kansas City seemed to regress after all the progress is had made in recent weeks. Derrick Henry tore apart the interior of that line on the ground. Mahomes is now capable of working his magic once again, but he needs some help from that floundering defense.

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9. Houston Texans: 6-3 (Last Week: 11)
Bye Week
With Indianapolis losing to Miami, Houston can once again breathe easy atop the AFC South. Deshaun Watson has been playing lights out, even if he is being overshadowed by some of the other great quarterbacks around the league. We will get a chance to see him go up against one of those great quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson when the Texans take on the Ravens this week. With the Colts and Patriots to follow, this is a crucial stretch for Bill O’Brien’s team.

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10. Dallas Cowboys: 5-4 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 28-24 vs. Minnesota
No matter how many toe-tapping grabs Amari Cooper comes up with, the Dallas defense needs to play better in order for the Cowboys to win. Dak Prescott looked sharp, but Minnesota completely shut down Ezekiel Elliott. In fact, Dallas as a team managed just 50 yards on the ground. For as good as Prescott has been playing, the Cowboys need to be able to run the ball and keep their defense well rested. They also might want to consider covering Kyle Rudolph in the red zone if these two teams meet again.

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11. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-4 (Last Week: 16)
Won 17-12 vs. Los Angeles
If the Steelers somehow reach the playoffs, Mike Tomlin should be a lock for Coach of the Year. Without Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh has channeled the Steelers of old with stifling defensive play. Minkah Fitzpatrick is making a real case for Defensive Player of the Year after an interception, a fumble recovery and a touchdown on Sunday. Pittsburgh has climbed over the .500 mark and continues to rise to whatever challenge comes its way. After winning five of its last six, with the lone loss coming to the Ravens, this is one of the hottest teams in football.

Eagles Logo

12. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-4 (Last Week: 13)
Bye Week
Philly had to enjoy watching Dallas fall on Sunday Night Football to bring those two teams level in the division standings once again. While that is an encouraging sign, the Eagles still have a lot to be concerned with. This offense has struggled to find consistency this year, in part because of injuries, but also due to uneven play from key players. The backfield duo of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders has been better in recent weeks, but Carson Wentz has not looked like the big-money quarterback Philadelphia was hoping for when it signed him to that massive extension. Coming off the bye, this group needs to start scoring points more frequently.

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13. Los Angeles Rams: 5-4 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 17-12 vs. Pittsburgh
The offensive struggles continued for the Rams as Jared Goff cost this team a chance at winning. It was one of his worst performances in a season full of disappointment. The offense managed just 12 points and failed to rely on Todd Gurley when he clearly was in a groove. He finished with 73 yards on just 12 attempts while Goff threw the ball 41 times. Defensively, Los Angeles is playing well enough to win games. For a team and a head coach in Sean McVay that made it’s name last year as an offensive juggernaut, this year continues to be the ultimate letdown.

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14. Oakland Raiders: 5-4 (Last Week: 17)
Won 26-24 vs. Los Angeles
Far from the most reassuring win of all time, the Raiders move within a game of the Chiefs for the AFC West lead. Derek Carr is playing his best football in years and Josh Jacobs looks like the clear frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Defensively, this is more of a bend, but don’t break group. However, the improved pass rush and defensive scores go a long way to making Oakland look like a team to watch as the playoff picture comes together.

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15. Tennessee Titans: 5-5 (Last Week: 19)
Won 35-32 vs. Kansas City
Of all the surprising success stories this season, Ryan Tannehill’s resurgence as a NFL quarterback might be the best one of them all. Tennessee put its hope in the Miami castoff when it decided to move on from the Marcus Mariota experiment. After taking down the Chiefs to reach .500, the Titans have hopes of making a playoff run. While I am praising Tannehill, it is really Derrick Henry who deserves recognition. The fourth-year back powered the offense with 188 yards rushing, including a 68-yard touchdown. Tennessee is going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch.

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16. Carolina Panthers: 5-4 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 24-16 at Green Bay
Christian McCaffrey played like the MVP once again, but a lack of offensive support saw the Panthers fall. This game was a lot more than just a goal line stuff on the final play. Carolina did exactly what it should have done in giving it to its best player. This team relies so heavily on McCaffrey to carry them. Considering that it does not seem like Cam Newton is coming back, it will have to find a way to win close games with Kyle Allen at the helm.

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17. Buffalo Bills: 6-3 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 19-16 at Cleveland
This could be a sign of things to come for a Buffalo team that has had so much unexpected success this year. The Bills took a tough loss to the Browns and looked like the offensively inept team they were last year in the process. Buffalo once again put the Ball in Josh Allen’s hands too many times, failing to lean into its strength of running the football. With a challenging stretch ahead in the schedule, this team will have to find some stability on offense.

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18. Indianapolis Colts: 5-4 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 16-12 vs. Miami
The rudder has completely fallen off the boat in Indy. Despite some early success, this team looks extremely average. It even has a score differential of plus-one to help underline that point. Jacoby Brissett’s knee injury held him out of the contest and the offense could not recover. Miami has been playing better in recent weeks, but this was an inexcusable slip up from a team with hopes of winning the division. Brian Hoyer and Adam Vinatieri cost the Colts this game with a number of mistakes. Defensively, Indianapolis has a lot to hang its hat on, but this team needs a lot of help to get back on track offensively.

Jaguars logo

19. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-5 (Last Week: 20)
Bye Week
Despite the bye week, this is a week of massive change for the Jaguars. Nick Foles is slated to take over as quarterback, replacing Gardner Minshew. Foles went down with a collarbone injury during the season opener and Minshew has been in the role ever sense. Jacksonville has an unexpected quarterback controversy on its hands and could end up in a very awkward situation if Foles struggles. With chance still to make a run at a wildcard spot, the Jags need Foles to channel some of his late-season heroics.

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20. Chicago Bears: 4-5 (Last Week 24)
Won 20-13 vs. Detroit
Chicago played their best offensive game in weeks, but still did not impress with their level of play. Mitchell Trubisky took real strides with three touchdowns and no turnovers, but still only managed 173 yards passing. Progress is progress though and the Bears defense took advantage of a missing Matthew Stafford. This was a game Chicago had to win, but it far from quiets its critics. A Sunday night visit to the Rams is on tap.

Lions Logo

21. Detroit Lions: 3-5-1 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 20-13 at Chicago
With the unexpected absence of Matthew Stafford on Sunday, the Lions offense ground to an absolute halt. Jeff Driskel did not do much to fill the void. With Kerryon Johnson already out due to injury, Detroit found itself unable to get going. When healthy, this team has the chops to compete with the best in the NFC. We saw what it could do earlier this year at full strength against the Packers. However, this all but ends the Lions’ playoff hopes, especially if Stafford is not back next week. I think the front office will be investing a bit more in a backup quarterback this offseason.

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22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-6 (Last Week: 25)
Won 30-27 vs. Arizona
Tampa Bay is one of the most unpredictable teams in the league from week to week. However, this two-week stretch has been the best the Buccaneers have played this season. After pushing Seattle to the brink, Tampa edged out a hard-fought victory against Arizona. If the Bucs could ever find a way to avoid turnovers, this team might just have the potential to get on a real winning streak and create some optimism for next year.

Denver_Broncos

23. Denver Broncos: 3-6 (Last Week: 23)
Won 24-19 vs. Cleveland
Here is a team struggling to find its way with a couple of extremely talented players. Denver is lacking a clear direction forward, but with names like Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Chubb, the talent is there for a quick turnaround. There is some hope with Drew Lock near a season debut for the offensive side of things and the emergence of Courtland Sutton as a true number one receiver. Vic Fangio is going to need a stronger second half to convince the Broncos brass he is the long-term solution at head coach.

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24. Cleveland Browns: 3-6 (Last Week: 26)
Won 19-16 vs. Buffalo
It was ugly, but that really doesn’t matter. Cleveland got a much-needed victory to essentially save their season. The Browns are still a long way from even thinking about the playoffs, but dropping to 2-7 might have genuinely led to coaches losing their jobs. Baker Mayfield and the offense finally took care of the football. Nick Chubb had 116 yards on the ground and Kareem Hunt looked promising in limited action. If Cleveland can lean on its run game the rest of the way and avoid turnovers, this team is good enough to make a playoff push.

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25. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-6 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 26-24 at Oakland
The roller coaster season continued for Los Angeles with a troubling road loss in Oakland. Philip Rivers threw three interceptions and the offensive line gave up five sacks. Defensively, the Chargers did not make enough plays to compensate. On the bright side, Melvin Gordon finally showed up with his first 100-yard performance on the ground since Week 8 last year. The season is not over for LA, but the climb towards a playoff spot just got a lot steeper.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

26. Arizona Cardinals: 3-6-1 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 30-27 at Tampa Bay
This was a good reminder to everyone that the Cardinals still have a ways to go before they are anything resembling a complete team. There are tons of positives to take away from this loss and it is clear that the combo of Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray can be a winning one. Christian Kirk finally showed up after a sluggish first half of the year with 138 yards and three touchdowns. Arizona has a lot of the pieces in place to compete well in the future, but lacks the depth to win tight games like this on a consistent basis.

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27. Atlanta Falcons: 2-7 (Last Week: 28)
Won 26-9 at New Orleans
While the Dolphins winning two straight is unexpected, the Falcons’ road win against the Saints was the most stunning result of the weekend. After weeks of non-existent pass rush, Atlanta came up with six sacks of Drew Brees and shut down what had previously looked like a good New Orleans offense. Keeping the Saints out of the end zone is truly remarkable given how banged up the defense is at this point of the season. This win might just save Dan Quinn’s job.

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28. Miami Dolphins: 2-7 (Last Week: 30)
Won 16-12 at Indianapolis
What in the world is happening? The Dolphins have shockingly won two straight games. Brian Flores took down a team who had legitimate aspirations of winning its division. This Miami defense has stepped up well in recent weeks, with three interceptions of Brian Hoyer on Sunday to show for it. The offense is still a massive work in progress, but there is a lot to like about what the Dolphins have started to build this season.

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29. New York Jets: 2-7 (Last Week: 31)
Won 34-27 vs. New York
If nothing else, the Jets can point to the Giants and say that maybe their rebuild is going better than the team they share a stadium with. Or not. It’s hard to really how much a win over a two-win team means. Sam Darnold is talking about the playoffs, which is laughable considering the level of inconsistency New York has displayed on a week-to-week basis. Give the defense a ton of credit though for the plays it made to win this game. Jamal Adams was the best player on the field and no one else even came close.

Giants Logo

30. New York Giants: 2-8 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 34-27 at New York
This brutal season continues for New York as it failed to maintain control of the city during the battle for Gotham. Daniel Jones played very well in the eventual loss, but failed to get the offense going in the fourth quarter. A lot of that has to do with some terrible play along the offensive line, as the group allowed six sacks. Saquon Barkley also had by far the worst game of his NFL career. He managed just one yard on 13 carries. Barkley’s struggles actually makes Jones’ performance even more impressive, but this Giants defense has a long way to go after giving up 34 points to arguably the worst offense in the league.

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31. Washington: 1-8 (Last Week: 29)
Bye Week
And just like that, there is only one one-win team in the NFL. Washington got a week off and saw a lot of teams in the lower part of the standings pick up victories. This group has looked a bit more competitive in recent weeks, but will be continuing to break in a rookie quarterback in Dwayne Haskins. It will probably be a long rest of the season for Washington, but the prospect of drafting Chase Young or picking up a ton of assets in a trade with a team desperate for a quarterback has to be appealing.

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32. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-9 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 49-13 vs. Baltimore
Sitting all alone as the final winless team in the league this season, Cincinnati was embarrassed by Baltimore at home. It was a rocky start to the Ryan Finley era. The rookie quarterback from North Carolina State could not get into a rhythm and committed a pair of costly turnovers. Putting a positive spin on things would be looking at Joe Mixon’s most productive game of the season and the possibility of an A.J. Green return next week.

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