Week 10 Power Rankings: It Begins

Week 10 Power Rankings: It Begins

Now that the NFL has entered the second half of the 2018-19 season, it’s time to start looking forward to January. Hot and cold starts now become good or bad teams, and the race for the playoffs is really picking up. So, where does your favorite team land? What about your rivals? What about the race for the #1 pick? All that and more below.

1. New Orleans Saints (7-1)

Week 9: W 45-35 vs. Rams. Game of the season, easily. Drew Brees (25-36, 346 yds, 4 TD) out-dueled the high-powered Rams offense in the Superdome, driven in large part by a phenomenal performance by Michael Thomas. 12 for 211 yards and a touchdown, including the score that iced the game, is a big day for a quarterback, let alone a wide receiver. Alvin Kamara’s 82 yards and 2 TDs rushing was also a perfect complement to the passing game. Oh, and in case the Saints aren’t good enough, they finished the week by signing Dez Bryant. The ’72 Dolphins will be wearing their Black and Gold in 2018 as the Saints celebrate down in the Bayou.

2. Los Angeles Rams (8-1)

Week 9: L 45-35 @Saints. You know what they say, all good things must come to an end. The Rams have looked fantastic this season and are still Super Bowl favorites despite their first loss, thanks to a record setting pace by RB Todd Gurley. Gurley is eyeing LaDainian Tomlinson’s touchdown record, on pace for 28.4 total touchdowns this season, a hair short of LT’s 31 in 2006. Jared Goff (28-40, 391 yds, 3 TD, INT) played out of his skin, but at the end of the day it just wasn’t enough to best Drew Brees. Expect him to get another shot at it in the NFC Championship game.

3. New England Patriots (7-2)

Week 9: W 31-17 vs. Packers. Sunday Night Football was billed as a showdown for the title of GOAT, and Tom Brady (22-35, 294 yds, TD) didn’t disappoint. The game stayed close until the 4th quarter, when the Patriots took advantage of a Packers fumble and put their foot on Green Bay’s throat. Julian Edelman excelled in receiving (6 catches, 71 yards), rushing (2 rushes, 28 yards), AND passing (1/1, 37 yards), and cast-offs Cordarrelle Patterson and Josh Gordon did exactly what Belichick brought them in to do. Unbelievably, New England hasn’t started worse than 7-2 since 2012. Once again, the road to the Super Bowl goes through Foxboro.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)

Week 9: W 37-21 @Browns. Mahomes and Co. took care of business in Cleveland, holding off a Browns team desperate to get back in the win column. Mahomes (23-32, 375 yds, 3 TD, INT) continued his blistering pace, now on target to throw for 5,157 yards and 52 touchdowns. This would be the seventh- and second-best season in NFL history, respectively. That’s about all that needs to be said about this Chiefs team.

5. Carolina Panthers (6-2)

Week 9: W 42-28 vs. Buccaneers. The final spot in the top-5 goes to Carolina after an impressive offensive performance against the Bucs. Cam Newton (19-25, 247 yds, 2 TD) and Christian McCaffrey (22 touches, 157 yds, 2 TD) led the Panthers to a franchise-best 35 points in the first half, and the defense held off a Buccaneers comeback attempt to get the win. Carolina is just as good as the Saints and Rams, and will give either of them a tough game in January.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1)

Week 9: W 23-16 @Ravens. No matter how these two teams play the rest of the season, Steelers-Ravens is always a great game. This time, it was the Killer B’s that came away with the win on the back of another dominant showing by RB James Conner. He’s run for 100+ yards for the 4th straight game and found the endzone for the 10th time this season, and the 7th time in 4 weeks. Big Ben (28-47, 270 yds, 2 TD) hasn’t needed to be great this year as a result, and the Steelers take a 1/2 game division lead into their big Thursday Night matchup against the red hot Panthers.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-2)

Week 9: W 25-17 @Seahawks. It was a really tight matchup, but the Chargers were able to make one more play as they won their 5th straight. Philip Rivers (13-26, 228 yds, 2 TD) had a tough time figuring out Seattle’s rebuilt defense, instead letting Melvin Gordon pound the ball down the Seahawks’ throat. Next up are the Raiders, Broncos, and Cardinals, who are a combined 6-19, so expect the Chargers to be 9-2 going into December.

8. Houston Texans (6-3)

Week 9: W 19-17 @Broncos. It may not have been pretty, but Houston went into Mile High and won their 6th straight game. Deshaun Watson (17-24, 213 yds, 2 TD) held his ground against the aggressive Broncos defensive line, swallowing 4 sacks and a running game that was shut down and somehow willed the Texans to victory. DeAndre Hopkins topped 100 yards and a touchdown yet again while newcomer Demaryius Thomas hauled in 3 catches for 61 yards. After next week’s bye, Houston heads to the nation’s capital to prove if they’re actually for real, or whether the win streak is just smoke and mirrors.

9. Washington Redskins (5-3)

Week 9: L 38-14 vs. Falcons. Just when I was getting really high on the Redskins, they go and do that. Not only did seemingly half the team get injured for the season, but the defense turned into wet tissue paper and the offense ran into a brick wall. Alex Smith (30-46, 306 yds, TD, INT) put up plenty of yards yet again, but it didn’t translate into points. Potential Comeback Player of the Year Adrian Peterson was held to just 17 yards and fewer than 2 yards per rush. Much like the Texans, the next few weeks will prove whether the Skins are for real or not.

10. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1).

Week 9: W 24-9 vs. Lions. This one was a good old-fashioned beatdown. Kirk Cousins (18-22, 164 yds, TD, INT) was nearly perfect, but the real stars of the game were the defensive linemen. Minnesota racked up a franchise-record 10 sacks, just 2 short of the NFL record. Keep that up and the offense will only need one or two big plays, like Dalvin Cook’s 70-yard run to set up a 2nd quarter touchdown, to roll into the playoffs.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)

Week 9: Bye. A bye week for the Bengals was a pretty good deal this week, considering how rough losses for the Ravens and Browns were. Next week, Cincy hosts the Saints. Thankfully they’ve had 2 weeks to heal up and prepare, because The Bengals will need all the help they can get against the best team in the league.

12. Chicago Bears (5-3)

Week 9: W 41-9 @Bills. Chicago is proving week in and week out that the old saying still rings true. Defense wins championships. Sure, it was Nathan Peterman, but Chicago’s defense absolutely shut Buffalo down. 2 defensive touchdowns, 4 turnovers, 4 sacks, less than 3.3 yards per play, and a 67% 3rd down defense meant that anyone starting the Bears defense on their fantasy teams woke up happy on Monday. Down the stretch, Chicago will keep pace with the Vikings in their quest to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11.

13. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

Week 9: W 38-14 @Redskins. The comeback is officially on in Atlanta. After falling to a 1-4 start, the Falcons have jumped back up to .500 behind one of the best offenses in football. Matt Ryan (26-38, 350 yds, 4 TD, INT) picked apart the Washington secondary all game long, and in the process finally got Julio Jones his first touchdown of the season. There’s still a lot of work ahead of them, but the Falcons are on a roll and have to be looked at as one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL

14. Seattle Seahawks (4-4)

Week 9: L 25-17 vs. Chargers. Last week’s loss was a tricky one to gauge. Sure, the game only came down to a final play for a touchdown as the clock hit :00, but LA helped them along by giving up a free 5 points courtesy of their kicker Caleb Sturgis missing a field goal and 2 extra points. Russell Wilson (26-39, 235 yds, 2 TD, INT) is leading Seattle well, helped along by a split backfield rushing for another 154 yards. Despite the slow start, a crowded NFC field means a wild card birth is still a possibility.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

Week 9: Bye. The defending champions were off this week, getting to enjoy losses by division rivals in the Redskins and Cowboys from the comfort of home. Now just one game behind Washington, Week 10’s primetime matchup against a struggling Dallas team could propel the Eagles back into 1st place.

16. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Week 9: L 23-16 vs. Steelers. After going into Heinz Field earlier and the season and choking the Steelers out with a flurry of field goals, this has got to be a big disappointment. Joe Flacco (23-37, 206 yds) has drawn criticism for seemingly refusing to throw to a wide open Lamar Jackson out of spite, and just hasn’t been the driving force Baltimore needs to have a winning team. After the hot start, the Ravens are 1-4 and show no signs of righting the ship. The window is closing fast, and Baltimore will be on the outside looking in if things don’t improve quickly.

17. Tennessee Titans (4-4)

Week 9: W 28-14 @Cowboys. There’s a few really impressive stats from this week’s Monday Night Football. First is Marcus Mariota (21-29, 240 yds, 3 total TD) completing more than 72% of his passes. Second is the Titans going 11-14 on 3rd downs. For an offense that was bottom-3 in scoring this season, Tennessee got a HUGE win as they put up a season-high 28 points on the road in Texas.

18. Green Bay Packers (3-4-1)

Week 9: L 31-17 @Patriots. Aaron Rodgers and the crew gave New England their best, but not even HE could overcome the Patriots by himself. Rodgers (24-43, 259 yds, 2 TD) seemed to have figured out Bill Belichick’s defense late in the 3rd quarter, but a few bad penalties and an Aaron Jones fumble killed any momentum the offense had. As for the defense, well, when Tom Brady finally figured them out, it was over.

19. Miami Dolphins (5-4)

Week 9: W 13-6 vs. Jets. The game down in Miami was a muddy rugby scrum, courtesy of both the wet weather and the Miami Hurricanes college game at Hard Rock Stadium the night before. Brock Osweiler (15-24, 139 yds) did the best he could, but the Jets defense kept him in check all game, but real credit goes to the defense. Not only did they hold New York to just 6 points and under 300 yards, but they also forced 4 turnovers from the Jets’ rookie QB. Next week against the Packers is the real test of the Dolphins strength.

20. Denver Broncos (3-6)

Week 9: L 19-17 vs. Texans.

Another week, another loss for the Denver Broncos. Down 2 with less than 3 ½ minutes to play, Case Keenum (26-42, 290 yds, TD) drove his team 53 yards down the field in 3:26 to set up a game-winning field goal attempt from 51 yards out. Another clutch drive for the resurgent quarterback over the past 2 seasons. Kicker Brandon McManus went on to miss his second field goal of the day as time expired and Denver came away empty handed. In a stacked AFC West, the Broncos’ playoff window is already shut, so it remains to be seen which direction they will go moving forward.

21. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)

Week 9: Bye. Andrew Luck and the Colts had the week off, allowing the team to rest up and prepare for the second half of the season. 4 of Indy’s next 5 games are against divisional opponents, so the Colts are still very much alive in the AFC South. In a month or so, we could be talking about a playoff-bound Andrew Luck or a top-10 draft pick Colts team. Either is possible.

22. Dallas Cowboys (3-5)

Week 9: L 28-14 vs Titans. To put into perspective how how Monday Night’s loss was, think about this. Dallas had the #1 scoring defense and Tennessee had the #30 scoring offense. Primetime in Jerry World and the whole world is watching…..and then Kevin Byard picked off Dak Prescott (21-31, 243 yds, 2 TD, INT) in the endzone and danced on the midfield star like he was T.O. The Cowboys are lucky that they’re ONLY 22.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

Week 9: L 42-28 @Panthers. It’s a game that not a whole lot of people expected Tampa Bay to win, but Ryan Fitzpatrick (24-40, 243 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT) made it close in the second half. Down 35-7 just before the half, FitzCeption turned into FitzMagic and led the Buccaneers on a 21-0 run to get within a touchdown. The deficit was just too much, however, and they came away with a loss. Still, there’s a lot of promise, assuming the Bucs can figure out how to fix their abysmal defense.

24. Detroit Lions (3-5)

Week 9: L 24-9 @Vikings. It’s rare that I genuinely feel bad for an NFL player, especially one that gets paid $27 million per year, but this game earned Matt Stafford (25-36, 199 yds) my pity. He was chased around and throw to the turf all game long as he tried to keep the Lions in the game. This kind of game is easy to write off for almost everyone on the team, since Detroit was at such a disadvantage due to all the sacks. Everyone but the offensive line. OL coach Jeff Davidson needs to figure out what went wrong Sunday and fix it before his QB takes another beating.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5)

Week 9: Bye. After a disastrous start to what was supposed to be a Super Bowl caliber season, the Jaguars were able to regroup during their mid-season bye week. The good news for the Jags is that they’ve still got 4 divisional games left and 3 of their next 4 opponents are 3-5 or worse. The bad news is that Jacksonville still has the Steelers, Redskins, and Texans left on a schedule that they realistically need to go at least 6-2 in order to make the playoffs.

26. Cleveland Browns (2-6-1)

Week 9: L 37-21 vs. Chiefs. In their first game without Her Jackson on the sideline, the Browns actually looked okay. Baker Mayfield (29-42, 297 yds, 2 TD, INT) and rookie RB Nick Chubb (22 carries, 85 yds, TD) were solid against an improving Chiefs defense and helped keep the game close going into the second half. After halftime, though, KC pulled away, showing the true gap in talent and how far the Browns still have to go. And to any Browns fans reading this, keep your chins up. You aren’t in the bottom-5, something you haven’t been able to say in a long time.

27. New York Jets (3-6)

Week 9: L 13-6 @Dolphins. Here’s the one stat of the week that perfectly sums up New York’s game down South. Sam Darnold (21-39, 229 yds, 4 INT) threw more picks than Nathan Peterman. Yep, it was that bad. The defense actually played really well, holding the Dolphins under 200 total yards, but the offense was non-existent and the Jets find themselves in the middle of another frustrating season. There’s at least light at the end of the tunnel, though. New York can continue to rebuild with a high draft pick and the chance at Le’Veon Bell in the off-season is real. I’ve written an article explaining why here.

28. Arizona Cardinals (2-6)

Week 9: Bye. Still a bottom-5 team, the Cardinals showed signs of improvement in their Week 8 matchup against the 49ers. Josh Rosen hasn’t crumbled, and Arizona has enough confidence in him to cut ties with Sam Bradford. Only time will tell if Rosen and the Cards can build an oasis in the desert.

29. San Francisco 49ers (2-7)

Week 9: W 34-3 vs. Raiders. Well that escalated quickly. After the injury to starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the season already was in serious doubt. C.J. Beathard was okay in relief, but the Niners were going nowhere. When he went down, the season looked over. Enter Nick Mullens (16-22, 262 yds, 3 TD). Mullens led the 49ers to easily their best performance of the season with the help of RB Raheem Mostert and defense that bent a few times but never broke once. Though the playoffs are all but out of reach, San Francisco looks like they have plenty of room to grow.

30. New York Giants (1-7)

Week 9: Bye. The Giants avoid a spot in the bottom two by virtue of not having a chance to lose this week. Eli Manning has looked worse than he has in a long time, despite this being one of his best seasons statistically. New York’s future clearly lies in the hands of RB Saquon Barkley, who is all but a lock for offensive rookie of the year. A high draft pick means the Giants will have a top pick at a thin QB class in April’s draft, and with it comes the final countdown on the 3rd-best Manning’s career.

31. Buffalo Bills (2-7)

Week 9: L 41-9 vs. Bears. Nathan Peterman continues to build his legacy in front of us all, and the internet is just loving it. Bills fans? Not so much. Peterman (31-49, 189 yds, 3 INT) tossed another pick-six, meaning he’s now thrown more touchdown passes to the other team than he has for the Bills, and Kaepernick’s collusion case gets just a tad bit stronger. As for the rest of the team, well, let’s put it this way. Peterman was also Buffalo’s best running back. Maybe the Bills should start letting the receivers throw. It can’t be much worse.

32. Oakland Raiders (1-7)

Week 9: L 34-3 @49ers. If the plan was to try and stay relevant during the rebuild, Jon Gruden and the Raiders have failed miserably. Even going up against a 1-7 team’s 3rd-string quarterback, the defense was eviscerated all game long. Derek Carr (16-21, 171 yards) was okay, but no one on offense was anything close to good. It’s been a long season, and it’s just gonna get longer. At this point, you Raiders fans out there may want to start rooting for your team to lose. At least you’ll get Khalil Mack’s replacement if Oakland keeps this up.

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Photo Credit: USA Today Sports, Associated Press, YourErie.com, SeattlePI.com, NBC Sports, Getty Images

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