NFL Power Rankings 2018: Week 9

Patriots Logo

1. New England Patriots: 7-2 (Last Week: 2)
Welcome back to the top of the power rankings New England. For the first time since week 1, there is a team other the Rams on top. After the convincing win over the Packers, it is well deserved. Holding an Aaron Rodgers-led offense to just 17 points is a big deal. Without Gronk, without Sony Michel, the Patriots continue to find more offensive playmakers, as they always do.

Saints logo

2. New Orleans Saints: 7-1 (Last Week: 4)
Down go the Rams! Sean Payton and Drew Brees shredded the Los Angeles defense to the tune of 45 points. The Saints offense looked nothing short of unstoppable in the first half of this game. Giving up 35 points wasn’t great, but New Orleans did a good job containing Todd Gurley. The Saints head to Cincinnati looking to continue its run as the hottest team in the league.

Chiefs Logo

3. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-1 (Last Week: 3)
Maybe this win was not as convincing as many expected. After all, the Browns were down by just six in the third quarter. The Chiefs still look explosive on offense and the defense is looking marginally better than it did when it opened the season. Patrick Mahomes is a beast. This team has more elite weapons than any other offense in the NFL between Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. Throw in Sammy Watkins and this offense is truly scary.

Rams logo

4. Los Angeles Rams: 8-1 (Last Week: 1)
The Rams spent the offseason loading up on defensive weapons. It fell apart in New Orleans. Marcus Peters looked terrible trying to contain Michael Thomas. No sacks recorded and a whopping 45 points allowed is a tough thing to justify for a team with so much talent on the defensive side of the ball. Even with a prolific offense, Los Angeles will need to improve its play on the back end to win a Super Bowl.

Panthers logo

5. Carolina Panthers: 6-2 (Last Week: 5)
The Panthers are coming to primetime! Following a shootout win over the Buccaneers, courtesy of a 35-point first half, Carolina now hosts Pittsburgh on Thursday night in a cross-conference showdown. Norv Turner continues to find new ways to utilize this unconventional group of playmakers. If the defense can find a way to slow down James Conner, Carolina will emerge with another important victory as it tries to keep pace with New Orleans.

Chargers logo

6. Los Angeles Chargers: 6-2 (Last Week: 6)
Can someone find the Chargers a quality kicker? Caleb Sturgis struggled again, missing an extra point and a field goal, but Los Angeles held on for a tight win in Seattle. But I’ve buried the lede here, the Chargers join a pretty exclusive list of teams to go to CenturyLink and emerge with a victory. Los Angeles faces two struggling divisional opponents next in Oakland and Denver with an eye on the division crown.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo

7. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-2-1 (Last Week: 7)
This team is starting to resemble the 2006 Steelers, on offense at least. They have a pair of dynamic receivers and an explosive running game to lean on. Ben Roethlisberger was on that team too. Pittsburgh is hitting on all cylinders now and earned another hard-fought win over the Ravens. A short week looms though with Big Ben nursing some injuries. It will be a tough test in Charlotte for Mike Tomlin and company.

Vikings logo

8. Minnesota Vikings: 5-3-1 (Last Week 8)
As you are reading this, Matt Stafford was just sacked again by the Vikings defense. Minnesota racked up a franchise record 10 sacks against Detroit on Sunday. Danielle Hunter returned a fumble for a touchdown as well. For the first time all season, Adam Thielen failed to pick up 100 yards receiving, which isn’t really a big deal when your team wins 24-9. He still scored a touchdown.

Eagles Logo

9. Philadelphia Eagles: 4-4 (Last Week: 9)
The Eagles have to be feeling pretty good about themselves right about now. Washington is dealing with a ton of injuries and coming off a loss. The Cowboys dropped a key game at home after picking up Amari Cooper. Philly also added Golden Tate at the deadline to make this offense even more lethal. The Eagles are going to be a team no one wants to face in the postseason.

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10. Chicago Bears: 5-3 (Last Week: 11)
Chicago battered possibly the worst quarterback in NFL history once again. Nathan Peterman now has more touchdown passes to opposing teams than to his own. Looking at this game from a statistical standpoint, it seems impossible the Bears put up 41 points.  The offense produced just 190 yards of total offense. Goes to show how bad the Bills offense was and how good the Bears defense can be. Chicago will get a tougher test as the Lions come to town.

Texans logo

11. Houston Texans: 6-3 (Last Week: 12)
Ugly as it might have been, the Texans emerged from Denver with another win. Houston is riding a six-game winning streak and it is games like this that set apart contenders from pretenders. Beating the 3-6 Broncos is not particularly impressive, but gutting out a tough game when you aren’t playing your best is important. Houston has a week off now to further integrate Demaryius Thomas into the passing game.

Bengals Logo

12. Cincinnati Bengals: 5-3 (Last Week: 14)
The news regarding A.J. Green is not sounding too good as he is headed for a specialist this week to examine his foot. With their top playmaker on the shelf, Andy Dalton is going to need to rely on his ground game. The Bengals are still right in the mix for a playoff spot, but the work becomes harder with all the injuries that are piling up. Good luck keeping up with the Saints offense.

Falcons logo

13. Atlanta Falcons: 4-4 (Last Week: 16)
Matt Ryan is putting up MVP-caliber numbers and the Falcons are benefiting from it. Atlanta blew out Washington on the road. Perhaps the most impressive thing was holding Adrian Peterson, fresh off his best game of the season, to just 1.9 yard per carry. If the defense can play at this level on a consistent basis, expect the Falcons to be legitimate contenders for a wildcard spot.

Washington made up logo

14. Washington: 5-3 (Last Week: 10)
It was an ugly loss at home to the Falcons. Washington is extremely banged up along the offensive line and at receiver. When the ground game completely disappears on top of that, it is a recipe for disaster. Adding Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at the deadline was supposed to sure up the defense as well. Initial returns don’t look great as Matt Ryan torched the secondary for 350 yards and four touchdowns. Washington still leads the NFC East, but this does not feel like a playoff team.

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15. Baltimore Ravens: 4-5 (Last Week: 13)
Baltimore’s schedule has been brutal the last few weeks, facing the Saints, Panthers and Steelers. While that may be true, that stretch also taught us a lot about this team. The Ravens clearly are not on the same level as those top teams. The offense does not have enough firepower to compete with the top clubs in the league. Joe Flacco is not getting it done and Alex Collins is not good enough to compensate for it. The middling group of receivers does not help either. A much-needed bye week should give Baltimore time to regroup and reformulate the offense.

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16. Seattle Seahawks: 4-4 (Last Week: 15)
That was a disappointing showing from the Seahawks. If not for a couple of missed kicks by Caleb Sturgis, Seattle would never have been in a position to win at the end against Los Angeles. On top of that, David Moore dropped the ball on the final play of the game. It would have been a huge week to win in order to close the gap on the Rams following LA’s first loss of the year. Instead, Seattle will continue to hunt a wildcard spot.

Titans logo

17. Tennessee Titans: 4-4 (Last Week: 23)
The Titans pulled off a solid win over the Cowboys in a tough environment on Monday night. It keeps Tennessee in the thick of the playoff chase. The Titans are second in the division trailing only the Texans. While it is easy to doubt Tennessee’s credentials as a playoff threat, this team won a game in the postseason last year and has some young pieces that are clearly improving. If the offense can play turnover free, we’ve seen the defense win games for them already this season.

Packers logo

18. Green Bay Packers: 3-4-1 (Last Week: 17)
Another tough loss for the Packers raises questions over how good this team really is in 2018. The defense was gashed early and often by the combination of James White and Cordarrelle Patterson. Josh Gordon took the top off the defense after that. It is clear that while this defense has made strides, it still has a long way to go before Green Bay is back to contender level. If the Packers lose to Miami, put this team in full on panic mode.

Dolphins logo

19. Miami Dolphins: 5-4 (Last Week: 21)
In the midst of some exciting result across the league, I feel bad for anyone else who had the misfortune of watching the Dolphins and Jets. Miami managed to outlast New York on a rain-soaked field in a game where no offensive touchdowns were scored. The defense picked off Sam Darnold four times, but the Dolphins offense was terrible. Brock Osweiler threw for 139 yards and the ground game averaged 2.4 yards per attempt. Ryan Tannehill could be back this week, but that is far from a guarantee things will improve.

Denver_Broncos

20. Denver Broncos: 3-6 (Last Week: 19)
Denver had a chance to pull off a meaningful win and draw closer to .500. Brandon McManus missed the game-winning field goal and the Broncos fall deeper into the hole it dug themselves. Denver has lost six of seven, with the lone win coming against the hapless Cardinals. The pressure has to be on inside that locker room to show signs of improvement. However, considering Demaryius Thomas was just shipped out, it is not surprising to see this team struggle to score points.

Lions Logo

21. Detroit Lions: 3-5 (Last Week: 18)
Despite the ridiculous amount of money Matthew Stafford makes, Monday morning was a good day to not be him. He was hit 17 times in Minnesota. Detroit is looking less like a wildcard team and more like a team destined to draft in the top 10. If the offense cannot find a way to get into the end zone, it is going to be hard to win games down the stretch.

Cowboys logo

22. Dallas Cowboys: 3-5 (Last Week: 20)
No one is going to admit to it yet, but this week might just be the beginning of the end for Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott in Dallas. The Cowboys failed to show up coming off a bye for a major home game against a beatable Titans team. Amari Cooper seems like a worthwhile addition, but given that Dallas will be picking in the top 12 most likely, it seems like a high price to pay for a team still desperately needing to fill holes across the roster. Dallas is 0-4 on the road so far, which doesn’t bode well for a playoff push.

Jaguars logo

23. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-5 (Last Week: 22)
What if I told you that through nine weeks of the NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars would be in last place in the AFC South? Hard to believe, but based on division record, the Colts own the tiebreaker over the Jags. That could all change this week when Jacksonville takes on Indy, especially with the rumors Leonard Fournette could be back on the field.

Colts logo

24. Indianapolis Colts: 3-5 (Last Week: 24)
Indianapolis is entering a vital stretch where it will face either divisional foes or fellow wildcard bubble teams in the AFC over the next six weeks. In a lot of ways, the Colts control their destiny more than several other playoff hopefuls. It starts with a crucial matchup against Jacksonville. A win there and the Colts are in business. A loss would make hopes of a playoff berth fairly bleak.

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25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-5 (Last Week: 25)
The problem with the Buccaneers is not the offense. Tampa put up 28 points against a good Panthers defense. It also allowed 42 though, including 35 in the first half. No matter how much of a gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick may be, it is hard to overcome a 35-14 halftime deficit. There is no question that Tampa is in preparation mode for next season and based on how many key positions it needs to figure out, it might be a while before the Bucs turn it around.

Browns logo

26. Cleveland Browns: 2-6-1 (Last Week: 26)
Considering how poorly the Bengals fared against the Chiefs just a few short weeks ago, this could’ve been much worse. A 16-point loss is nothing to be proud of if you are Cleveland, but there were signs of potential on offense with Duke Johnson finally showing up. The defense was pretty poor and the offensive line made some notable mistakes. Let’s keep in mind this team won one game over the previous two years. It is going to take a bit of time to get back on track.

Jets logo

27. New York Jets: 3-6 (Last Week: 27)
It is just his rookie season, but there have to be some red flags rising in regard to Sam Darnold. He leads the NFL in interceptions with 14. That is four more than both Case Keenum and Jameis Winston, who are the next highest on the list. His completion percentage of 55 is also troubling. While all the rookies have struggled to complete passes, Darnold seemed to stare down coverages in Miami and launch passes into windows that did not exist. It was a week to forget, but if the Jets lose to the Bills at home this week, it could spell some major changes for this franchise.

Giants Logo

28. New York Giants: 1-7 (Last Week: 28)
For just the second time this season, the Giants did not lose. New York also didn’t play, but let’s not get too technical here. This front office is in the process of cleaning house. It seems like Eli Manning will be gone at the end of the season. Unfortunately, the Giants don’t appear to have too many building blocks currently in house.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

29. Arizona Cardinals: 2-6 (Last Week: 30)
A week off for the Cardinals gives a nice breather to their rookie quarterback. Josh Rosen has been a lot of what was advertised so far. Clearly this team is a few years away from competing for anything, especially with Seattle and Los Angeles in their division. This week isn’t going to be too pretty though with a trip to Arrowhead on the docket to face the Chiefs. Maybe Rosen can learn something from watching Patrick Mahomes and the blistering Kansas City offense.

49ers Logo

30. San Francisco 49ers: 2-7 (Last Week: 32)
It was a lot of fun to watch Nick Mullins tear apart Oakland on Thursday night, but the 49ers won a game against another basement dweller and potentially cost themselves an opportunity to draft Nick Bosa. This team has some talented pieces, most of which are hurt. A chance to add a talent like Bosa along the defensive line is rare, especially for a team that seems set at quarterback. There is always a chance Bosa could slide after not playing for most of the college season, but he seems to be a lock as a top three pick.

Bills logo

31. Buffalo Bills: 2-7 (Last Week: 29)
Nathan Peterman is pretty much solidified himself as the worst quarterback I have ever seen play a game of football in my life. He has 12 interceptions to just three touchdowns in his career and a completion percentage south of 50. Sure, he has a rough supporting cast, but this is just awful quarterback play. The Bills really can’t wait for Josh Allen to get back under center.

Raiders logo

32. Oakland Raiders: 1-7 (Last Week: 31)
This week on “Are the Raiders Trying to Lose?” the answer seemed to be pretty clearly yes. A quarterback most of the country had never heard of torched the Oakland defense and the offense failed to generate much of a spark against a pedestrian 49ers defense. Jon Gruden is doing a great job of tearing the team down. Time to see if he can rebuild it.

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NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
Another week, another dominant victory. Tom Brady is a legitimate MVP candidate despite missing the first four games of the season. Jamie Collins might be gone, but this defense should keep humming along. Revenge against Rex Ryan is always nice too for Bill Belichick.

Cowboys logo2. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 2)
The Cowboys have played half of their schedule and have a 2.5 game lead over the rest of the NFC East. Overtime was required for Dallas to oust Philly, but the 4th quarter Dallas put together cannot be overlooked. The biggest question now is who deserves Rookie of the Year, Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliot.

Denver_Broncos3. Denver Broncos (Last week: 6)
Three weeks ago, Denver had lost two straight and seemed to be slipping. Fast forward to now where they sit at 6-2 with solid wins over Houston and San Diego. The Patriots have the early lead, but the Broncos are hanging around in the AFC.

Raiders logo4. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 9)
The Raiders actually lead the AFC West right now, but a matchup with Denver on Sunday will decide who gets that designation. Oakland won this weekend despite setting a record for the most penalties in a game. That’s impressive, but also concerning.

Falcons logo5. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 10)
Talk about a fourth quarter comeback. Atlanta slowed down the Packer offense in the second half and moved themselves to 5-3. Atlanta has shown that they are going to be competitive this year against anyone.

Chiefs Logo6. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 7)
Somehow, the Chiefs are in third place in the AFC West with a 5-2 record. That’s a testament to just how good this division is this year. Even if Alex Smith and the backfield are banged up, Kansas City has always won with defense and will continue to going forward.

Seahawks logo7. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 3)
Seattle has only one win against a team with a winning record so far this season. A tough road loss to the Saints means that the Seahawks return home for a Monday night matchup with the Bills at 4-3-1. AKA not where anyone thought they would be right now.

Vikings logo8. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 4)
The loss to the Eagles seemed like an anomaly, until Minnesota laid an egg on Monday Night Football. It might have been a divisional game, but a loss to the Bears really hurts. The Vikings suddenly look like a team with a lot of question marks on the offensive side of the ball.

Packers logo9. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)
Green Bay came within about a minute of beating the Falcons for what would have been an impressive road victory. Considering that Ty Montgomery, James Starks and Randall Cobb were out with injury, the Packers had a strong offensive showing. Minnesota’s loss leaves the Packers just a game out of first in the NFC North, but they need to be much more consistent down the stretch.

Eagles Logo10. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 8)
It was a solid week, but still a loss to a division rival. Dallas now has a commanding lead in the NFC East halfway through the season. Carson Wentz is still playing well, but the ground attack could use a bit of a boost.

Washington made up logo11. Washington (Last week: 13)
A tie over in London wouldn’t suggest for Washington to move up, but after losses by both Arizona and Detroit, this seems fitting. Washington is still right in the mix for a wildcard spot in the NFC, with this offense leading the way averaging the third most yards per game.

Giants Logo12. New York Giants (Last week: 14)
New York took the week off and as a result moved into second place in the NFC East. However, the Giants have some offensive issues to solve. They rank last in rushing yards per game and are scoring fewer points per game than the Browns. Ben McAdoo has some work to do.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)13. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 11)
Arizona fell on the road against Carolina, showing that they really are just an average team. The Cardinals rank 18th in points per game but sixth in points per game. Time for what can be a high powered offense to catch up to its defense.

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14. Detroit Lions (Last week: 12)
Detroit had a chance to take down a slumping Texans team but instead find themselves at .500 at the midway point of the season. A matchup with the reeling Vikings will show us if this was just a bump in the road after a three-game win streak for the Lions, or a sign of things to come.

Chargers logo15. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 15)
All of the statistics in the world point to the Chargers being a good team, except for their record. San Diego’s upcoming schedule of Tennessee, Miami, Houston and Tampa Bay does give them a good chance to turn that around though.

Saints logo16. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 21)
Finally, the Saints got a win against a quality opponent. It has been a rough start to the season for Sean Payton’s group, but the NFC South is still wide open, as is the NFC as a whole. The defense looked better this week, allowing fewer than 27 point for the first time since week 2.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo17. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 18)
There are rumors that Ben Roethlisberger might be closer to returning than we initially thought. Big Ben coming back to the Steelers offense makes them a force again in the AFC. And with the rest of the division slumping, Pittsburgh has to feel pretty confident.

Bengals Logo18. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 17)
Washington moved up but Cincinnati is moving down. The Bengals had a chance to force a tie atop the AFC North with Pittsburgh, but could not find a way to get the win in London. Cincy has a bye week to attempt to regain its 2015 form.

Texans logo19. Houston Texans (Last week: 23)
Someone please explain the Houston Texans to me. After looking completely helpless in Denver, Bill O’Brien turned his team around to take down a red-hot Lions team. Houston isn’t good, but they are probably good enough to win the AFC South.

Ravens logo20. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 19)
A week off gave the Ravens time to recover from the four game slide they are currently on. The division is still wide open, but Joe Flacco need to find a way to jumpstart the 26th ranked scoring offense in football.

Bills logo21. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 16)
And they are back to normal. Just two weeks after claiming a spot in the top 10, Buffalo is now back in the bottom half of the league. Back-to-back divisional losses where your defense looks helpless will do that to you.

Titans logo22. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 27)
Tennessee is very quietly sitting at .500 through the halfway point of the season. It has already surpassed its win total for 2015 and sits just a game out of first place in the AFC South. How the Titans do in this next four game stretch, with three of them on the road, will decide the outcome of their season.

Dolphins logo23. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 22)
The Fins got a week off, which have been the last thing they wanted. They had won two in a row and Jay Ajayi was on fire. Next week brings a matchup with the Jets to avoid the AFC East cellar.

Buccaneers logo24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 20)
How Tampa failed to win on Sunday is almost mind-boggling. Oakland committed 23 penalties and still beat the Buccaneers. Overall, not a good look. Winston has nine interceptions in seven games. That number needs to come down if the Bucs want to compete.

Panthers logo25. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 26)
Finally a win for the Panthers gets them back on track. Sitting at 2-5, Carolina still has a long way to go before they can really say they have righted the ship, but this was step one.

Colts logo26. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 24)
Andrew Luck needs to start getting some help. He has played well in the first half of the season for the Colts, but the lack of a run game and a pathetic defense continue to plague the Colts. Allowing 28.8 points per game means that Chuck Pagano might not have his job for much longer.

Jets logo27. New York Jets (Last week: 28)
Two straight wins for the Jets over AFC North teams puts them at 3-5. Being down 20-7 at halftime with Ryan Fitzpatrick completing 3 of his 12 passes for 30 yards will not work most weeks, so Todd Bowles has a lot of work to do to prep this team for Miami.

Rams logo28. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 25)
The Rams have shown flashes of being a competent team this season, with wins over the Seahawks and Buccaneers. But inconsistent play along with poor coaching has this team in flux as it tries to find an identity.

Bears logo29. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
Chicago just got a statement win for John Fox against Minnesota. It won’t really do much for them this season, as they sit at 2-6 right now, but it is a huge boost for the future. Jay Cutler played the best football we’ve seen him play in some time and Jordan Howard tore apart a very good Vikings defense. This gives the Bears something to build on.

Jaguars logo30. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 29)
Another rough week for Jacksonville. The Jags were blown out through three quarters until they scored late to make the game seem competitive. Gus Bradley is on the hot seat and he knows it. I think these next two weeks against Kansas City and Houston will decide his future.

49ers Logo31. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 30)
Now the only one win team in football, San Francisco needs to find some offensive weapons not named Carlos Hyde. This season seems pretty far gone and Chip Kelly has to be thinking about next year at this point, most notably about which quarterback he would like to draft in April.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
There was hope for Browns fans for a good chunk of Sunday. But then that completely disappeared and the Cubs beat the Indians. Now, Browns fans are facing a Game 7 with a possibility of blowing a 3-1 lead in the World Series. We all know how quickly the sports world tends to forget about that.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
New England took advantage of the Steelers missing Ben Roethlisberger. LeVeon Bell was contained. As was Antonio Brown. Tom Brady continues to look sharp. This division looks like it still belongs to the Patriots.

Cowboys logo2. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 4)
Dallas moves up due to the ineptitude of the Seahawks and Vikings, even though they were on a bye. The Cowboys return to action Sunday night against Philly for a chance to control the NFC East.

Seahawks logo3. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 3)
It is hard to find too many positives from a 6-6 tie. At the same time, Seattle’s defense looked outstanding throughout the entire game. Limiting David Johnson’s big plays and making Larry Fitzgerald a non-factor. That defense will get tested again this week with a trip to the Super Dome to play the Saints.

Vikings logo4. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
The last of them falls. Minnesota is no longer undefeated and Sam Bradford looked mediocre this weekend. That does not wipe out what he has done to this point, but reminds us all that he is prone to this type of outing from time to time.

Packers logo5. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 6)
He didn’t need to say it this time around, but the Packers relaxed and turned in a phenomenal second half to soundly beat the Bears. Green Bay hasn’t solved everything, but they are suddenly just a game out of the NFC North lead though and look like they are heading in the right direction.

Denver_Broncos6. Denver Broncos (Last week: 8)
Denver got back on track Monday night with a quality win over Houston. The defense did not allow a touchdown. C.J. Anderson ran well and Trevor Siemian did just enough to propel the Broncos to a win. The AFC West looks deadly right now.

Chiefs Logo7. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 10)
Kansas City hung on for a solid home win over New Orleans on Sunday. Between Spenser Ware, Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West, the Chiefs have an embarrassment of riches. Alex Smith is still driving this bus and its working for Andy Reid’s team.

Eagles Logo8. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 11)
Speaking of Andy Reid, his former offensive coordinator Doug Peterson just knocked off the last undefeated team in the league. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but that Eagles defense is looking better every week.

Raiders logo9. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 12)
It’s hard to place Oakland. They have a mediocre point differential, but lead the AFC West with five wins. If the season ended today, they would have a bye to the divisional round of the playoffs. With four divisional games left this year, the West if far from won.

Falcons logo10. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 5)
I gave Atlanta something of a pass last week following a two-point loss. This week’s loss was only three points, but it was at home having been outscored 16-3 in the second half and overtime. The Falcons aren’t in free fall, but they need to start closing out games.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)11. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 13)
Well not losing is better than losing. But winning is better than not winning. Arizona had a number of chances to win at home against Seattle. That would’ve been a huge win for divisional purposes. Instead, Arizona is .500 through seven weeks.

Lions Logo

12. Detroit Lions (Last week: 18)
That’s three straight for the Lions, who suddenly have a winning record. A trip to see a struggling Houston outfit gives Detroit a chance to stretch this win streak to four. Running back is still a revolving door, but the Lions have a shot right now.

Washington made up logo13. Washington (Last week: 7)
Like I said, Washington probably isn’t the number seven team in the league. They proved that this week with a fourth quarter collapse against Detroit. Matt Jones continues to be streaky and that Jordan Reed injury needs definitely limits this offense’s potential to be successful.

Giants Logo14. New York Giants (Last week: 14)
Now above .500, the Giants are still in the basement of the NFC East. Coming back from London with a gritty win is huge, especially heading into a bye. If anyone needs to get healthy it’s New York.

Chargers logo15. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 20)
Another week, another sign that the beginning of this season was just a fluke. Even without Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen, San Diego is finding ways to win. This is easily the best team under .500 in the league right now.

Bills logo16. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 9)
Nothing like a road loss to a division rival to bring you crashing down to Earth. Buffalo has solid wins over New England and Arizona, but losses to the Jets and Dolphins now. The other two wins came against the 49ers and Rams. Not a great resume for the Bills.

Bengals Logo17. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 21)
It was Cleveland, but a win nonetheless. Cincy finally bounced back and got a big win. The Bengals are now just a game back of the AFC North lead with the Ravens reeling and the Steelers missing their quarterback. Cincy ranks fifth in total yards per game, but 23rd in points per game. The offense needs to start converting.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo18. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 16)
Landry Jones played about as well as Pittsburgh fans could have hoped once he settled down after his first quarter interception. The Steelers looked competitive for most of the game with a very good opponent. They still lead this division, but they are going to need to win some games before Big Ben returns.

Ravens logo19. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 17)
Six yards. That’s how many rushing yards the Ravens could muster this week in New York. Joe Flacco also tossed two picks against a weak Jets secondary. Baltimore has lost four in a row and has a lot of questions to answer going forward.

Buccaneers logo20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 22)
Tampa Bay overcame a slow start to blowout San Francisco. The running game continues to thrive no matter who is taking the handoffs. The Bucs are just a half game back of the Falcons for the lead in the NFC South. Let that sink in.

Saints logo21. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 19)
The Saints are third in the league in scoring offense, and last in scoring defense. New Orleans has been trying for years to fix this defensive unit. They are wasting away the last years of Drew Brees’ career as they continue to lose in shootouts.

Dolphins logo22. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 25)
Jay Ajayi is still running now as you read this. In the last two weeks, Ajayi has ripped off 414 yards and three touchdowns. Miami heads into a bye week only a game under .500 and with their backfield likely figured out.

Texans logo23. Houston Texans (Last week: 15)
That comeback win against Indy feels like a long time ago for Brock Osweiler. He has completed just 58 percent of his passes and owns a yards per attempt average of 5.7. Osweiler has also committed 13 turnovers in seven games. Houston, we definitely have a problem.

Colts logo24. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 24)
Indy has been far from perfect this year. They’ve frequently been far from good for that matter, but the Colts are just a game out of first place. If Chuck Pagano’s group makes the playoffs, it will be because they won the very weak AFC South. And based on how the offensive line and defense are playing, they won’t get very far.

Rams logo25. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 23)
It was a promising start in the new city. Now suddenly the Rams are back below .500. A week off after an unsuccessful trip to London gives Los Angeles time to recover, but it does not solve their quarterback issues. Case Keenum had four interceptions Sunday, including a pick six.

Panthers logo26. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 26)
This is the best one-win team in football. It’s true because it means that Carolina is better than Chicago. Jonathan Stewart will be back but the real problems are on the defense. The Panthers are 26th in passing defense and 29th in scoring defense.

Titans logo27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 27)
Well being .500 was fun while it lasted. Tennessee continues to struggle to take that next step. This is a very young team with a lot of building pieces. DeMarco Murray gives this chance to control games, but when you lose the turnover battle as the Titans have, it is really tough to win.

Jets logo28. New York Jets (Last week: 29)
It was a bounce back game of sorts for the Jets. The defense came up with some big takeaways and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith played mistake-free football. Fitz seemed pissed about being benched. That kind of fire could be good for New York going forward.

Jaguars logo29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
Will Blake Bortles of 2015 please show up? Through the first six games he has played, Bortles has nine touchdowns and interceptions. Through his first six games last year, Bortles had thrown 13 touchdowns to only seven picks. Jacksonville sinks and swims with their third year passer.

49ers Logo30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 30)
A good start marred by a pathetic collapse. San Francisco has a lot of problems on defense. They are third to last in yards allowed and second to last in points allowed. The most staggering stat though might be that the 49ers are allowing 185 yards rushing per game. That is 45 more yards per game than Cleveland, who has the second worst mark. If Chip Kelly wants to find a place to improve, that would be a good one to start.

Bears logo31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
The Bears were competitive in the first half with Green Bay, until Aaron Rodgers regained his form and tore the defense apart. Everyone knew that it was going to take a little time for John Fox to turn this team around, but there haven’t been many bright spots to point to a promising future.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
If you are still reading this, all you need to know is that the Browns lost again and that because the Cavaliers are back that Cleveland fans have stopped caring about football.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
The AFC East (other than the Jets) had a good weekend, and the Pats certainly led the way. There were some questionable miscues from the defense and special teams, but nothing to really be concerned about.

Vikings logo2. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
A week off lets the Vikings bask in the glory of being undefeated. Leslie Frazier has this defense operating at a very high level and the offense is playing turnover free. That’s a winning formula.

Seahawks logo3. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 4)
It was a win but Seattle almost blew a major first half lead against Atlanta. Arizona is on tap and a win there would put Seattle in the driver’s seat for the rest of the season in the NFC West.

Cowboys logo4. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 9)
Five in a row heading into the bye week is perfect for these red hot Cowboys. Dak Prescott finally threw an interception, but Dallas got a very solid road win at Lambeau. Oh and Zeke Elliot leads the league in rushing. Good draft class for Jerry Jones.

Falcons logo5. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 6)
Even with a loss, Atlanta actually moves up in the power rankings. The Falcons got the short end of the stick on a no-call at the end of the game in Seattle. You can’t blame it all on that, but Atlanta held their own in Seattle.

Packers logo6. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)
Another week another question mark for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers looks pedestrian at best. The running game has disappeared and that defense finally broke in an embarrassing home loss for Green Bay.

Washington made up logo7. Washington (Last week: 12)
Is Washington really the number 7 team in the league? Probably not but they’ve won four in a row, including two divisional games. With so many of the top teams losing, its hard to justify them anywhere else.

Denver_Broncos8. Denver Broncos (Last week: 7)
The Chargers are better than their record indicates, but the Denver offense had a poor showing this week. Denver would drop more if it wasn’t for the parity in the league right now.

Bills logo9. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 13)
Make that four in a row for Rex Ryan’s crew. An absolute thrashing of the 49ers this weekend moves the Bills to 4-2 with chances to climb higher.

Chiefs Logo10. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 14)
It wasn’t always pretty, but that’s just how the Chiefs play football. Kansas City silenced the division rival Raiders and even though Oakland has a better record, the Chiefs look headed in the right direction.

Eagles Logo11. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 8)
Talk about coming back down to Earth. After a 3-0 start, Philly has dropped two straight. Both were by one score or less so no need to panic, but the expectations for Philly have been curbed.

Raiders logo12. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 10)
I mentioned last week that Oakland’s defense was lackluster. Well this week so was the offense. A 16-point loss to the division rival Chiefs at home definitely stings. Oakland, despite it 4-2 record, has a point differential of -11. Not good.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)13. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 16)
Even if it was just the Jets, Arizona got back to .500 with a beatdown on Monday night. David Johnson scored three touchdowns and is third in the league in rushing. That defense had two picks and limited the Jets to three points. Now the real test comes with a visit from Seattle.

Giants Logo14. New York Giants (Last week: 18)
While still in the basement, the Giants got a big win at home this week. More importantly, Odell Beckham Jr. finally showed up. He had a career-high in yards and two 60-plus yard touchdowns, including the game winner. This was the type of win New York needed to banish some of their old demons.

Texans logo15. Houston Texans (Last week: 19)
Houston pulled off the comeback of the week with a home win over the Colts in overtime. Finding yourself down 17-3 at halftime isn’t reassuring, but a win is a win no less. It keeps the Texans atop the AFC South and knocks down their biggest challenger for that title.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo16. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 3)
It might be time for panic mode in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger will miss an estimate 4-6 weeks with a torn meniscus. And the Steelers got thoroughly beaten by Miami, whose only other win was against Cleveland. Not a great look, especially when you allow a 200-yard rusher either. Oh and the Patriots are visiting this weekend. Good luck Landry Jones.

Ravens logo17. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 11)
This time the offense showed up, and the defense dropped the ball. That’s two straight losses for Baltimore. Things would be worse if it wasn’t for the unexpected turn Pittsburgh just took. This could be the Ravens division now.

Lions Logo

18. Detroit Lions (Last week: 20)
After looking down and out two weeks ago, the Lions are suddenly at .500. Both wins were solid, but Detroit has yet to show any signs of stability. If we see that, then this might be a playoff contender.

Saints logo19. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 24)
The Saints defense still looks terrible, so it’s a good thing that Drew Brees hasn’t lost a step. The New Orleans signal caller threw for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns. Unfortunately, the defense also allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter. Sean Payton can’t win every shootout.

Chargers logo20. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 26)
San Diego got a much need win against division rival Denver, breathing some life into their playoff aspirations. That might sound crazy because they are 2-4, but Philip Rivers could carry this team into the wildcard conversation.

Bengals Logo21. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 17)
Another week another deflating loss for Cincy. The Bengals came out strong against New England, only to fade in the second half. Cincinnati has scored 109 points so far this year, tied for the third worse mark in the conference.

Buccaneers logo22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 22)
A week theoretically let the Buccaneers get healthy, until word came out that Doug Martin suffered a setback. Jameis Winston needs to step up now and show that he has taken that step from his rookie to sophomore year.

Rams logo23. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 15)
Never doubt Jeff Fisher’s ability to coach his team to a .500 record. Two straight losses look bad, but Case Keenum had a good day and found Kenny Britt all day long. If Todd Gurley ever got rolling like he did last season, Los Angeles could hang around in this wildcard picture.

Colts logo24. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 21)
The Colts had Houston right where they wanted them, and then blew it. A win would’ve put Indy in a three-way tie atop the division with the Texans and Titans. Instead, the Colts’ coaching staff still has to figure out how to close games and protect Andrew Luck, two things they have struggled with in the least three seasons.

Dolphins logo25. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 30)
After proclaiming that Miami hit rock bottom a week ago, the Dolphins came back and shocked the Steelers. Yes it was without Ben Roethlisberger, but Jay Ajai ran for over 200 yards and the ‘Fins can say they aren’t the worst team in the AFC East.

Panthers logo26. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 23)
Carolina cannot seem to string together two consistent weeks of football. Cam Newton returned to jump-start the offense, but the defense allowed Drew Brees to have a field day. At 1-5, the Panthers look like they did two years ago where all Newton did was pout and walk out of pressers.

Titans logo27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 29)
Don’t look now, but the Titans just hit the same number of wins through six weeks as they did all of last season. And they are only a game out of first place in the AFC South (man that division sucks). I’m not sold yet, because this was a two-point win over the winless Browns, but things are looking up for Tennessee.

Jaguars logo28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
They barely squeaked out a win in Chicago, but Jacksonville does move to 2-4. This team has struggled to find an identity so far, as it can’t seem to effective run the ball and continues to turn it over. Gus Bradley still has a lot of work to do with this group.

Jets logo29. New York Jets (Last week: 25)
If you didn’t think it could any worse, it did. The Jets mustered on a field goal and both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith threw interceptions against Arizona. Smith is set to start this week at Baltimore, but it probably won’t make a difference for this floundering Jets team.

49ers Logo30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 27)
Back to the basement is where San Francisco finds itself now. A blowout on the road in Buffalo certainly was not the way Colin Kaepernick wanted to debut this season, but he was probably an improvement over Blaine Gabbert. Chip Kelly is searching for answers, but it is clear that this team is in full scale rebuild mode.

Bears logo31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
Chicago blew another one against an AFC South opponent. Brian Hoyer continues to play mistake free, but the offense is still ineffective. At least they seem to have a couple of nice pieces in Jordan Howard and Cameron Meredith.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
It can only go up from here. Cleveland lost again, this time in a comeback attempt that just came up short. In other news, LeBron looks great in the preseason and the Indians are on the brink of a World Series appearance. And it’s not all bad for the Browns, they have Terrelle Pryor. Once healthy, this Cleveland team should be more competitive. Until then, it’s going to keep being ugly I think.

2016 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
He’s back and it was a scary look for sure. Tom Brady threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns in his return from his four game suspension. Rob Ninkovich is back as well. Now the Pats are at full strength and rolling.

Vikings logo2. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
We all thought that the Vikings, lead by Sam Bradford and Matt Asiata, would be the last undefeated team this season, right? Well they are and this Minnesota defense might be among the best units we have ever seen.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo3. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 5)
That meltdown in Philly seems like a distant memory now. Pittsburgh has won two straight by a margin of 74-27. Needless to say the Steelers are back on track.

Seahawks logo4. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 4)
A bye week lets Seattle get healthy. Early season struggles seem to be Seattle’s MO at this point, but a big test looms as Atlanta visits this weekend.

Packers logo5. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 7)
Green Bay has to be happy with the final result, but the Packers’ offense still isn’t clicking like it used to. Eddie Lacy hasn’t found his groove and Aaron Rodgers is playing some of the most average football we have ever seen him play.

Falcons logo6. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 8)
Don’t look now but Atlanta has won four straight and knocked off both of the teams that played in Super Bowl 50. Heading into Seattle will give us a good sense if the Falcons are for real.

Denver_Broncos7. Denver Broncos (Last week: 3)
So this answers the question about Paxton Lynch being pro-ready. He isn’t. Lynch posted an 11.3 Total QBR in his performance against Atlanta. Denver fans will be happy to have Trevor Seimian back. (Never thought I would write that).

Eagles Logo8. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 6)
All good things must end. Philly sustained its first loss of the year against the Lions. Wentz threw his first career interception in crunch time and Ryan Mathews fumbled just before that to give Detroit a chance to take the lead. The Eagles can be good, but these mistakes are troubling.

Cowboys logo9. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 13)
After losing to the Giants to open the season, Zeke Elliot and Dak Prescott have lead the Cowboys on a four-game win streak, even after losing Dez Bryant. Don’t look now but Dallas might have found the future of their team.

Raiders logo10. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 11)
The defense has been disappointing, but Derek Carr still finds ways to win games for the Raiders. If San Diego doesn’t botch that hold, this might be a very different story, but Oakland is rolling with a 4-1 record.

Ravens logo11. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 10)
Failing to beat Washington in the Battle of the Beltway has to leave a sour taste in John Harbaugh’s mouth. Baltimore is average just 18.8 points per game so far, which probably explains why offensive coordinator Marc Trestman was just fired.

Washington made up logo12. Washington (Last week: 16)
Even though Washington beat Baltimore, they sit below them in the power rankings. I trust Baltimore going forward much more than I do Washington. Keep in mind that this was exactly how they started last year though. Waiting to see what happens next.

Bills logo13. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 18)
Rough start, followed by three straight wins over teams that had better records than they did. Beating New England was big, even without Brady. Now a win in LA gets the Bills above .500.

Chiefs Logo14. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 12)
A week off let’s the Chiefs figure out how exactly they are going to get Jamaal Charles some touches. This backfield in Kansas City can be dangerous when Charles and Stephen Ware play together, we just haven’t really seen it yet.

Rams logo15. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 14)
Jeff Fisher strikes again. Just when it seemed like the Rams had found their stride, winning three straight, they drop one at home. This team might just be destined to go 8-8 for as long as Fisher is here.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)16. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 19)
Not the start the Arizona thought it would have, but a win over a divisional opponent with Drew Stanton at the helm is a good sign. Carson Palmer should be back this week and David Johnson looks like he is finding his groove.

Bengals Logo17. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 9)
Still waiting on the Bengals to look like the playoff team they were a season ago. Vontaze Burfict returned, but the defense still did not look much better. Cincy’s two wins this season are against the Dolphins and Jets, not exactly statement victories.

Giants Logo18. New York Giants (Last week: 17)
The Giants find themselves in the basement of the NFC East through five weeks. Injuries continue to plague New York, but so does the lack of consistency on offense. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. need to break out of this funk if the Giants hope to make this a successful season.

Texans logo19. Houston Texans (Last week: 15)
Maybe he wasn’t worth every penny. Minnesota has stifled pretty much everyone, but Brock Osweiler had a terrible outing against the Vikings. He has more interceptions through five games than touchdowns and is completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes. And yet they still lead the AFC South.

Lions Logo

20. Detroit Lions (Last week: 26)
Talk about a statement win. Beating the Eagles might not seem that way, but after seeing what Philly can do against Pittsburgh, Detroit held their own and got the victory. Still a lot of work to do but 2-3 is a lot better than 1-4.

Colts logo21. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 25)
Coming off a tough loss across the pond to Jacksonville, Indianapolis got a solid win over the Bears. Andrew Luck still hasn’t really found his form, but a win is a win and the Colts are right in the race for the AFC South.

Buccaneers logo22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 24)
After beating the Falcons, Tampa seemed to have taken it’s next step. Fast forward a month where the only other victory this team has is against a Cam Newton-less Panthers squad, the optimism for the Bucs has subsided.

Panthers logo23. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 20)
Carolina’s defense showed up on Monday night, but the offense could not do enough without Cam Newton and Johnathan Stewart. Carolina is in danger of being the first team to win 15 games in a season to not win 10 or more the following year.

Saints logo24. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 23)
A week off for the Saints hopefully gives them a chance to figure out how to play defense. Allowing 32.5 points per game, is not a winning recipe.

Jets logo25. New York Jets (Last week: 22)
Age and injury plus a tough schedule have shown that the Jets are not a contender in the NFL. The offense disappeared in the second half against Pittsburgh and the secondary continues to get burned by big plays. This zone concept Todd Bowles wants to run is not working.

Chargers logo26. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 29)
If there is a way to lose, the Chargers have done it. San Diego sits at 1-4 with a positive point differential. That is simply unheard of. At some point, you have San Diego is going to pick up a couple of wins.

49ers Logo27. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 21)
For the second straight year, the 49ers showed up week one on Monday night, only to look terrible in pretty much every game after that. Colin Kaepernick is set to start this week. San Francisco needs a spark from somewhere.

Jaguars logo28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
A week allows Jacksonville to regroup. One win in four games is not an aspiring start, but the one win was in the division and in the AFC South, you never know.

Titans logo29. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 31)
Marcus Mariota put on a show this week and the Titans actually used their ground game how they wanted to. Yes Miami is terrible, but the Titans are currently second in the AFC South, only a game out of first place.

Dolphins logo30. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 27)
The Fins have hit rock bottom. The offense is mediocre and the only win that Adam Gase has this year is over Cleveland. Ryan Tannehill needs to right the ship as soon as possible if he wants to keep his starting job.

Bears logo31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 30)
Jay Cutler has lost his job. Brian Hoyer is outplaying him for sure. It hasn’t lead to many wins and the injury list continues to grow. John Fox has a lot of work to do before the Bears are a competitive team again.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
Five quarterbacks in five weeks. Only the Browns could pull off something like that. Tennessee might be Cleveland’s best chance to win a game all season. On the bright side, it’s only three weeks until the NBA season starts and the Indians are in the ALCS.