Welcome back to the futile exercise of ranking the 32 NFL teams. There are new faces at the top and the bottom after an eventful Week 10. As always, these will be updated weekly, so be sure to watch out as teams move up and down. If teams continue to win, they will rise. If teams continue to lose, they will fall. Similarly, a loss does not necessarily equate to a team being ranked lower than their opponent.
Numbers in parentheses refer to last week’s rankings.
No.32: Detroit Lions (+0)
Despite Jared Goff‘s best efforts, the Lions did not lose during Week 10. He was atrocious, and the Lions were unable to move the ball through the air against Pittsburgh until overtime. D’Andre Swift had a strong game on the ground, but the stars of the show were the run-blocking unit. They paved the way throughout all four quarters and overtime, helping the Lions to a tie in hostile territory.
No.31: Houston Texans (+0)
The Texans enjoyed a Week 10 bye. They have not won since Week 1, so there are systemic issues with the organization, but at least the team competes. The Texans have several talented players on the defensive line plus Brandin Cooks on the offense, but the rest of the roster is fairly barren of talent. Even if Tyrod Taylor returns to early-season form, do not expect the Texans to win many games.
No.30: New York Jets (-3)
The Mike White era may have begun two weeks ago, but the era is now over. White was abysmal against the Buffalo Bills, tossing a quartet of interceptions. The Jets were unable to move the ball until the Bills decided to let off the gas late in the game. While both Michael Carter and Elijah Moore found the end zone, there was little else positive for the Jets on Sunday. The defense is in a rut of allowing a gargantuan number of points in recent weeks.
No.29: Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)
The Jaguars played a close game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. However, they likely would have won if Trevor Lawrence played anywhere remotely close to competent. The defense was able to stifle Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts offense for much of the second half, but the Jaguars could not move the ball at all without using Jamal Agnew. This was a painful game to watch, and the Jaguars might not finish with more than three wins.
No.28: Atlanta Falcons (-5)
At least the Falcons cannot blow a lead if they never had the lead. At one point in the first half, the Dallas Cowboys were up 33 points over the Falcons. Matt Ryan was pitiful for the second time in three weeks, and the offense forgot how to function. Defensively, the Falcons likely would have been better had they not played defense at all. This was one of the worst losses of the season by any team.
No.27: Washington Football Team (+3)
Washington welcomed the reigning champions to FedEx Field on Sunday and gave them an old-fashioned beat down. In particular, the offense was strong on the final drive at the game, siphoning off 11 minutes of clock in one of the longest drives in recent NFL history. Taylor Heinicke had his best game of the season, and Washington was able to secure their first win in several weeks.
No.26: Carolina Panthers (+3)
The Cam Newton experience has returned to Charlotte, and early returns are great. Newton played minimal stamps in his first game back with the Panthers, but he did score a pair of touchdowns. All told, the Panthers had a well-rounded attack to knock off the previously 8-1 Arizona Cardinals. Shaq Thompson is playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level, and the offense is doing just enough. The Panthers currently occupy the No.7 seed in the NFC.
No.25: Miami Dolphins (+3)
The Dolphins are on a two-game winning streak after stuffing the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football. The defense had one of the best performances in the last 10 years, stifling the Ravens’ attack in all facets. Outside of a garbage-time touchdown, the Dolphins kept the Ravens in a box like no team has done in the Lamar Jackson era. It may be too late, but the Dolphins are beginning to heat up.
No.24: Chicago Bears (+0)
After losing a heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Monday night, the Bears enjoyed their bye week. Justin Fields is turning the corner as a competent NFL quarterback, and the Bears have a bright future. They have little in the way of playoff hopes moving forward this season, but at least the future is bright in the Windy City. The Bears welcome the Ravens to town in Week 11.
No.23: New York Giants (-2)
The Giants enjoyed a Week 10 bye week. They dropped two spots because both the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers had spectacular wins, but the Giants are the same general team they were during last week’s ranking. Daniel Jones has been passable in the last few weeks, and the defense is beginning to meld together. If they could get consistent offensive line play, the Giants could be a threat to make the wildcard.
No.22: Denver Broncos (-2)
After one of the biggest wins in recent history, the Broncos laid an egg against the Eagles. Teddy Bridgewater, who looked so poised in Week 9, had another poor game. The game boiled down to a failed tackle attempt by Bridgewater as Darius Slay took a fumble more than 80 yards back for a touchdown. It was quite a pitiful loss for the Broncos today after they had such an emotionally high win in Arlington.
No.21: Philadelphia Eagles (+4)
Speaking of the Eagles, Jalen Hurts and the Eagles walked into Denver and played one of the best games of the season. DeVonta Smith made a case for his second consecutive Team of the Week as the Eagles were able to move the ball both through the air and on the ground. Defensively, Slay stepped up in a massive way securing a fumble recovery and scoring. While the Eagles are likely a case of too little, too late, they do have pieces moving forward.
No.20: New Orleans Saints (-1)
Even without Alvin Kamara, Terron Armstead, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, the Saints put up quite a fight against the Tennessee Titans. Trevor Siemian had one of the best games in his NFL career, falling just short on the last-second two-point conversion attempt. The Saints have not necessarily played poorly in the last few weeks, but they’ve lost the upside they used to have with Jameis Winston. The Saints do still hold the No.6 seed in the NFC, but their grip is loosening by the day.
No.19: San Francisco 49ers (+3)
Wow. The 49ers welcomed the Los Angeles Rams to town and absolutely whacked them. Jimmy Garoppolo played a polished 60 minutes of football while Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel ran the ball down the Rams’ throat. It was an elite defensive performance as the secondary hauled in a pair of interceptions and put their hands on several other passes. If the Niners continue to play like this, they could sneak into the playoffs, but they’ve been one of the most inconsistent teams this season.
No.18: Seattle Seahawks (+0)
Russell Wilson was the lowest-graded quarterback of Week 10. His return to football was quite poor, and he was shut out for the first time in his career. The Seahawks defense played reasonably well against a similarly rusty Aaron Rodgers, but it was not enough in the end. Seattle must answer some key questions in order to get back into the playoff race in a weak NFC.
No.17: Cleveland Browns (-4)
So much for Odell Beckham being the problem. Baker Mayfield had a horrendous day in Foxboro. After scoring on the opening drive, the Browns failed to score for the rest of the game. Eventually, Case Keenum came in after Mayfield sustained an injury, Keenum was even worse than Mayfield. D’Ernest Johnson had an explosive first drive, but Kevin Stefanski did not use him for the final three quarters. Defensively, the Browns were roasted alive by Mac Jones.
No.16: Las Vegas Raiders (-5)
Sunday Night Football was a disaster for the Raiders. The offense was scarcely able to move the football, accounting for just 14 points. The defense broke down and allowed 41 points, 516 total yards, and 422 passing yards en route to a blowout loss. Derek Carr was an absolute disaster for the second week in a row, and the running game could not get the ball rolling. The Raiders’ new addition, DeSean Jackson, fumbled on his only catch of the night. His team is turning into the 2020 Raiders.
No.15: Indianapolis Colts (+1)
While the Colts did win and currently sit with a .500 record, it was quite an ugly win over the Jaguars. After an explosive first half, Jonathan Taylor forgot how to run the football, and Carson Wentz has continued to turn into a pumpkin. Defensively, Kwity Paye is continuing to shine, but the Colts do not need to be in a one-score game with the Jaguars.
No.14: Pittsburgh Steelers (-2)
In one of the ugliest games in the history of organized sports, the Steelers tied the Lions at a weather-ridden Heinz Field. Ben Roethlisberger was on the Covid list, and his status for next week is uncertain, but Mason Rudolph was not terrible in his absence. The issue for Pittsburgh became their inability to hold onto the football. The Steelers lost two fumbles in overtime, costing them key field position in a period that Chris Boswell never attempted to kick.
No.13: Los Angeles Chargers (-3)
For as much as the Chargers want to be a good football team, they are not. They are wildly inconsistent, and they have a knack for forgetting that football is played over 60 minutes. On Sunday, they had their moments against the next team in this list, but they failed to put it together for stretches throughout the game. Justin Herbert threw an ugly interception to Eric Kendricks, and the Chargers were unable to knock off the next team on this list.
No.12: Minnesota Vikings (+5)
Hello there, Vikings. Kirk Cousins is now the No.1 graded passer according to PFF. To celebrate, the Vikings won a football game. Justin Jefferson has continued to blossom into a superstar while Dalvin Cook has fought off-field issues in recent weeks. On defense, Kendricks is continuing to play at a high level while the secondary is improving day by day. Camryn Bynum had another spectacular week, helping knock off the Chargers in Los Angeles.
No.11: Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
The Bengals were idle during Week 10, but they benefited from horrendous performances by the Browns, Raiders, Steelers, and Chargers. Joe Burrow has had a strong second season, and the offense has been unlocked by Ja’Marr Chase. On defense, Trey Hendrickson leads the line, and he should be a Pro Bowler. The Bengals have a tough schedule moving forward, but a team of their caliber should take care of business against the Raiders next week.
No.10: Kansas City Chiefs (+5)
The Chiefs are back. Patrick Mahomes lit up the state of Nevada for over 400 yards and five touchdowns against the Raiders. Tyreek Hill slipped free for a pair of touchdowns, and Travis Kelce was the best tight end of the week. Even the auxiliary stars in the Chiefs’ offense had explosive performances as Darrel Williams turned into prime Randy Moss and Noah Gray turned into prime Rob Gronkowski. On defense, the Chiefs played perhaps their best game of the season against a breathing quarterback (a.k.a, not Jordan Love), holding the Raiders to just 14 points.
No.9: Baltimore Ravens (-3)
What was that? After a huge comeback win over the Vikings, the Ravens went down to South Beach and perhaps partied too hard. Jackson was awful. The running game was even worse. Marquise Brown only had one listed drop, but he could’ve had 10. Sammy Watkins did not realize that his job description is catching and holding onto footballs. The only bright spot for the Ravens on Thursday night was an electric performance from the defense. Patrick Queen, Josh Bynes, Justin Houston, and Calais Campbell all had exceptional weeks.
No.8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4)
What the Buc was that? The Buccaneers went to Landover and forgot they were supposed to be good at football. Tom Brady had an ugly interception early, a fluky-tipped interception, and he was generally ineffective. Without Antonio Brown, the Buccaneers’ offense has been quite tame. On defense, the Buccaneers garnered no pass rush and were unable to stop the elite offense known as the Washington Football Team. As a whole, it was an abysmal performance from A to Z.
No.7: Los Angeles Rams (-4)
Similar to the Ravens and Buccaneers, the Rams were blasted during Week 10. The 49ers took their lunch money and proceeded to throw them out the window. Matthew Stafford had one of the worst games of his career, not just with the Rams, and the receiving corps dropped several casual passes. The defense was perhaps even worse, letting the likes of Samuel and Mitchell run wild.
No.6: New England Patriots (+3)
Believe it or not, the Patriots are back to being one of the best teams in the NFL. While they’re not as sexy as other teams in the top 10, they have one thing that other teams do not have: consistency. Weekly, the Patriots are the same team. Jones plays reasonably well, the rushing game is reasonably productive, the offensive line is good, and the defense is good. No other team in the NFL has matched the Patriots’ consistency week to week this season. Bill Belichick is having an amazing coaching season, and he could win Coach of the Year if Mike Vrabel loses games.
No.5: Dallas Cowboys (+3)
Well, that was fast. After a terrible game against the Broncos, the Cowboys demolished the Falcons. Dak Prescott was poised per usual, and the offense was fluid even with a banged-up Ezekiel Elliott. The defense forced several turnovers, capitalizing on errant passes from the Falcons. Trevon Diggs tacked on yet another interception in a potential All-Pro caliber season. The Cowboys have another test coming up with the Chiefs on the docket.
No.4: Buffalo Bills (+3)
Josh Allen was spectacular against the Jets. While he did throw an interception, he launched a ridiculous eight big-time throws. Out of every game this season, no quarterback even had seven until Allen went off against the Jets. It was one of the most special performances by a quarterback in the PFF era. Outside of Allen, the rushing attack got going against a stout defensive line, and the defense continued to feast on terrible quarterback play.
No.3: Tennessee Titans (+2)
While the Titans’ offense has been sluggish since losing Derrick Henry, the defense has not skipped a beat. Kevin Byard is continuing to play at an elite level, and Jeffery Simmons entered Monday Night Football with the most pressures among interior defensive linemen. Harold Landry is among the league leaders in pressure on the edge, and the linebacker corps has improved throughout the season. This is not a team to be taken lightly even if the offense has a ceiling without Henry.
No.2: Arizona Cardinals (+0)
There are no takeaways from the Cardinals’ loss to the Panthers. Without Kyler Murray, the Cardinals are playing with house money. They did get killed by the Panthers, but with a backup quarterback, this game does not matter. At the end of the day, the Cardinals are still going to be one of the best teams in the league when Murray is healthy. If Murray works in this time of the playoffs, the Cardinals would be an immediate out.
No.1: Green Bay Packers (+0)
Rodgers was rusty, but the defense was nothing short of spectacular. De’Vondre Campbell continues to play at an All-Pro level, and Rashan Gary is trying to chase down the NFC leader in pressures. With the likes of David Bakhtiari, Za’Darius Smith, and Jaire Alexander coming back soon, the Packers are one step away from being one of the best teams in recent NFL history as opposed to just one of the best teams this season.
Follow Ryan Potts on Twitter @MrSplashMan19
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images