Besides the Colts, the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, and Vikings are all on the rise due to winning streaks of various lengths. The Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints, and Cleveland Browns (even in a winning effort) are trending in the wrong direction as the second half of the season continues.
Read on for my full Power Rankings, and if you’d like to debate or discuss any rankings, join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.
After a week off, the Arizona Cardinals are back on top of this week’s Power Rankings. I’m not exactly saying a Colt McCoy-less Cardinals team would be able to beat every other team in the NFL, but Arizona’s ability to go 2-1 in the absence of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins is an encouraging sign for how well this roster can play. The Cardinals are a league-best 9-2 with the fourth-highest scoring offense and the fourth-best defense in the league. When Murray returns under center, there’s no team the Cardinals can’t keep up with.
Tennessee Titans (8-3) [Last Week: 1]
The Tennessee Titans‘ six-game winning streak came to a screeching halt with a puzzling 22-13 loss to the Texans at home. It was reminiscent of the Titans last loss, a 27-24 defeat by Zach Wilson and the Jets in Week 4, though at least that outcome was closer. Chalk it up as mostly a fluke game, with a possibility that the loss of Derrick Henry is catching up for Tennessee.
Green Bay Packers (8-3) [Last Week: 2]
The Green Bay Packers easily could’ve claimed the top spot on this list with a win in Week 11, but fell 34-31 to their NFC North rival Vikings. Aaron Rodgers had a great game, with 385 yards and four touchdowns through the air, but Green Bay’s defense allowed the most points they have to any opponent since the Saints in Week 1. The close loss doesn’t impact the Packers much in these rankings, but Green Bay is probably kicking themselves for failing to improve to 9-2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) [Last Week: 7]
Coming off back-to-back losses, Tom Brady routinely picked apart the New York Giants defense for a 30-10 victory on Monday Night Football. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers improved to a perfect 5-0 at home, and kept the pace as the highest-scoring team in the NFL (30.9 PPG.)
New England Patriots (7-4) [Last Week: 10]
When Mac Jones and the New England Patriots beat the Jets 54-13 in Week 7 to improve to 3-4, I didn’t think much of it. The Patriots still had a losing record, and had only beaten the Jets and Texans at that point. But after Week 11, the Patriots have won five straight games, with the last three against the Panthers, Browns, and Falcons in blowout fashion. New England also overcame the Chargers 27-24 in Week 8 for a quality win over a solid opponent. As a result of this dominant stretch, the Patriots now have an NFL-best +123 point differential. New England’s defense has also been stifling: allowing just 4.3 points per game over the last three weeks. The Patriots are looking like a real threat with seven weeks left in the season.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) [Last Week: 8]
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have won four straight and five of six games to reclaim the AFC West lead. This might not be the same Chiefs team we’ve seen the past two years, but they’re finding ways to win nonetheless. Most importantly, Kansas City’s defense has rebounded from an abysmal start, and has only allowed 11.0 points per game during this four-game win streak.
Los Angeles Rams (7-3) [Last Week: 6]
The Los Angeles Rams had the week off, but aren’t a Top Five team at the moment after back-to-back losses to the Titans and 49ers. Hopefully the bye week allowed Matthew Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr. enough time to build some chemistry ahead of Week 12’s tough matchup with the Packers in Green Bay.
Dallas Cowboys (7-3) [Last Week: 4]
Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys offense couldn’t find any answers against a suddenly strong Chiefs defense, mustering only three field goals in a 19-9 loss in Kansas City. Dallas is still a Top Ten team, with one of the best offenses in the league that can beat you both on the ground and through the air, but they have dropped two of their last three games.
Baltimore Ravens (7-3) [Last Week: 9]
Tyler Huntley was able to bring home a win for the Baltimore Ravens in the absence of quarterback Lamar Jackson against the Bears this week. Baltimore etched out a very important 16-13 win: a loss would have been their third in four games, but the win keeps the Ravens ahead of the Browns, Bengals, and Steelers in the AFC North standings.
Minnesota Vikings (5-5) [Last Week: 11]
I’ve been slowly moving the Minnesota Vikings up these rankings, sometimes even in losing efforts, but the team just came up with their biggest win of the season: a 34-31 defeat of Rodgers and the Packers, on their home turf. Minnesota is 5-5, with five one-score losses this season. They’re a team that’s in the game every week, and after back-to-back wins over a good Chargers team and great Packers team, Minnesota is looking like a playoff contender.
Los Angeles Chargers (6-4) [Last Week: 12]
Justin Herbert threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns in the Los Angeles Chargers’ thrilling 41-37 Monday Night Football win over the Steelers. The Chargers defense allowed Pittsburgh to put up a whopping 27 points in the fourth quarter, but the offense was able to compensate with a couple touchdowns of their own. The Chargers are 2-3 in their last five games, but will have the opportunity to stay in the playoff hunt with some weaker opponents coming up.
Indianapolis Colts (6-5) [Last Week: 17]
Like the Vikings, I’ve been high on the Indianapolis Colts even when they had a losing record. Now with three straight wins, including a 41-15 statement win over Josh Allen and the Bills this week, the Colts are right in the thick of the AFC playoff race. With the current best running back in football (injured Derrick Henry aside) in Jonathan Taylor, the sky is the limit for this Colts team.
Buffalo Bills (6-4) [Last Week: 5]
The Buffalo Bills have taken quite a tumble after their 41-15 home loss to Carson Wentz and the Colts this week. Everyone loses games, but failing to show up for an important game doesn’t bode well for the Bills’ aspirations moving forward. The loss was Buffalo’s third in their last five games, and a more concerning trend has emerged. Based on current records, the Bills are 5-1 against teams with losing records, and just 1-3 against teams that currently holding a winning record. Buffalo looks great against bad teams, but needs to keep up with the good ones, or they can kiss both the AFC East title and even a potential wildcard spot goodbye.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) [Last Week: 19]
Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles offense have been getting better every week, and have officially entered the playoff conversation with a 40-29 victory over the Saints. Hurts rushed for three touchdowns as the Eagles improved their scoring average to 27.0 points per game, the eighth-highest mark in the league.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) [Last Week: 15]
The Cincinnati Bengals rebounded from a two-game losing streak with a solid 32-13 win over the Raiders in Las Vegas. Bengals running back Joe Mixon ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
New Orleans Saints (5-5) [Last Week: 13]
Trevor Siemian hasn’t been as bad as I thought, throwing three touchdowns in Week 11, but the Saints still dropped their third straight game with a 40-29 loss to the Eagles. At 5-5, New Orleans can still make a postseason push if they get things together quickly, but with the Bills, Cowboys, and Buccaneers all on the short-term schedule, things could get ugly pretty fast.
San Francisco 49ers (5-5) [Last Week: 20]
I don’t want to put too much stock into the San Francisco 49ers beating the lowly Jaguars, but this week’s 30-10 win in Jacksonville was a nice way to keep the 49ers moving forward. San Francisco has won three of four games, including a signature 31-10 win over the Rams last week, and has scored 30+ points in all three of those wins.
Cleveland Browns (6-5) [Last Week: 14]
The Cleveland Browns emerged victorious in Week 11, but beating the Lions 13-10 in your own stadium just doesn’t feel like an inspiring win. Baker Mayfield passed for just 176 yards and a touchdown, while tossing two interceptions. Detroit didn’t even have Jared Goff, with backup Tim Boyle passing for 77 yards and two interceptions: and the Browns still only won by three.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1) [Last Week: 18]
Sunday night’s game looked to be completely in the hands of the Chargers, but the Pittsburgh Steelers at least made it interesting with a 27-point onslaught of scoring in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh fell just short, with their defense allowing 41 points, to fall to 5-4-1 on the season.
Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) [Last Week: 16]
The freefall continued for Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders this week, as the team fell 32-13 to the Bengals at home. The Raiders have now lost three straight games, by an average margin of 17.7 points per game.
Carolina Panthers (5-6) [Last Week: 21]
After beating the Cardinals last week, the Carolina Panthers couldn’t overcome Washington Football Team in Cam Newton’s first start in his second stint with Carolina. It was a close 27-21 loss and Newton did play well: completing 21-of-27 passes for 189 yards, two touchdowns, no turnovers, and earning a 120.5 passer rating. Newton also rushed for 46 yards and a score in the loss.
Denver Broncos (5-5) [Last Week: 22]
Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver Broncos entered their bye week coming off a 30-13 loss to the Eagles, but had beaten the Cowboys and Washington Football Team in back-to-back weeks before that. This puts the 5-5 Broncos’ season at a crossroad, which should decided over the next two weeks with matchups against the Chargers and Chiefs.
Washington Football Team (4-6) [Last Week: 27]
Taylor Heincke threw for 206 yards and three touchdowns as Washington Football Team overcame Cam Newton and the Panthers on the road this week. Washington has now won back-to-back games after defeating the Buccaneers last week, and has a winnable matchup against a struggling Seahawks team next Monday night.
Miami Dolphins (4-7) [Last Week: 26]
Tua Tagovailoa had an ultra-efficient 27-of-33 passing day for 273 yards and two scores (with one interception) against the Jets on Sunday. The 24-17 victory was, quietly, the Dolphins third straight win after a 1-7 start to the season.
New York Giants (3-7) [Last Week: 23]
The New York Giants have played some good football games this season, but Monday night’s 30-10 loss to the Buccaneers was not one of those instances. Tom Brady tore up the Giants defense for 307 yards and two touchdowns, while Daniel Jones struggled with two interceptions and a 57.7 passer rating. Saquon Barkley’s return did nothing for the running game, as he carried the ball six times for 25 yards, and the Giants as a team mustered just 66 rushing yards on 13 attempts.
Chicago Bears (3-6) [Last Week: 28]
In relief of an injured Justin Fields, it appears Andy Dalton may have been the better option at quarterback all along, as the veteran passed for 201 yards and two touchdowns with a 107.3 passer rating off the bench. Chicago had a pair of receivers, Darnell Mooney and Marquise Goodwin, both go over 100 yards with a score each, but Chicago still fell to the Ravens 16-13 for their fifth straight loss.
Seattle Seahawks (3-7) [Last Week: 24]
It’s looking like a lost season for the Seattle Seahawks, who haven’t gotten any better since the return of Russell Wilson. After being shut out by the Packers last week, Seattle lost 23-13 to Colt McCoy and the Cardinals at home in Week 11, dropping their usually dominant home record to 1-4 on the season.
Atlanta Falcons (4-6) [Last Week: 25]
The Atlanta Falcons looked half decent at 4-4 a couple weeks ago, but have since then lost to the Cowboys and Patriots by a combined score of 68-3. File a police report, because Atlanta’s offense has officially gone missing.
Houston Texans (2-8) [Last Week: 32]
The Houston Texans are definitely a better team with Tyrod Taylor healthy, but their 22-13 win over the Titans took everyone in the league by surprise, even Texans fans.
Detroit Lions (0-9-1) [Last Week: 29]
Once again, the Detroit Lions played to the bitter end of a close, 13-10 loss to the Browns, and one again, I can’t call the winless Lions the worst team in the NFL.
New York Jets (2-8) [Last Week: 31]
After getting obliterated at home by the Bills last week, the New York Jets played a decent football game in a 24-17 loss to the Dolphins. Joe Flacco played surprisingly well for New York, with 291 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) [Last Week: 30]
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t been completely abysmal, with two wins and a one-score loss over their past five games, but somehow has to be the worst team in the league. With a 31st-ranked offense, a -103 point differential, and coming off a 30-10 loss to the 49ers, the Jaguars slot in to the bottom spot this week.
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