Week 11 NFL Power Rankings

Week 11 NFL Power Rankings
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

In the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings, I had to make a few leaps. They might seem a bit over-the-top at first. But, trust me, it just reflects another truly crazy week in the NFL. This is what we love about the NFL. Any team can beat any team any week. Just when you thought you had it figured out, it’s time to throw all that knowledge out the window. Here’s what things are looking like after Week 10.

32. Detroit Lions (0-8-1)

Last Week: 32

Last week I asked if it was possible the Lions could go 0-17. Not anymore! That said, somehow, a winless season is still on the table. As hard as the Lions have fought this year, sloppiness and poor execution is still preventing this team from getting in the win column. 0-17 might not be possible. But, could 0-16-1? This week really felt like their best opportunity with a brutal schedule over their next eight weeks.

31. Houston Texans (1-8)

Last Week: 31

The Texans were on bye this week. Frankly, their season has gone so poorly that nothing that happens in the NFL really affects them. That is, other than what happens with the draft positioning. The Texans are currently in control of the Dolphins’ first round pick as well as their own this year. Unfortunately, the Dolphins won and probably knocked their spot down a few pegs.

30. New York Jets (2-7)

Last Week: 29

So much for Mike White SZN. After his hall of fame worthy performance against the Bengals, he got hurt against the Colts and threw four interceptions against the Bills. Things got so bad at one point Joe Flacco went in and immediately put up the Jets’ only passing touchdown of the game.

The only winner here is Zach Wilson, who likely won’t have to worry about a quarterback controversy anymore when he comes back.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7)

Last week: 27

A two-spot drop is probably a bit harsh for a Jaguars team that almost pulled off a comeback over the rebounding Colts. Unfortunately, I can’t get that performance from Trevor Lawrence out of my head. He barely helped generate any offense all day and didn’t get the ball in the endzone once. Also, he fumbled the comeback away at the end. Painful way to lose for the Jaguars.

28. Miami Dolphins (3-7)

Last Week: 30

One underrated benefit of not having a first round draft pick in a wasted year is Dolphins fans get to root for crazy, weird wins. It’s not like the Dolphins can tank for better draft positioning. So, maybe it’s nice to see your former No. 5 overall quarterback come in and save the day when it looked like Jacoby Brisket couldn’t take the gift the Ravens were trying to give him.

That said, why wasn’t he starting in the first place if he was healthy enough to play? Even in a win the Dolphins look like a mess. Tua should probably request a trade in the offseason.

27. Atlanta Falcons (4-5)

Last Week: 22

I really need to stop buying into the Falcons. This is what they do, right? They get your hopes up by playing well enough just to get you to step on the rug one more time. Then, they yank it out from under your feet. You’d think I’d learn right? I hope Falcons fans have learned. Back to the basement you go.

26. New York Giants (3-6)

Last Week: 26

Rough bye week for a Giants team that saw each of its NFC East opponents come away with a win this week. They do hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over Washington. So, technically, they should be ranked ahead of them. Right? Let’s see what they do after the bye week. 

25. Chicago Bears (3-6)

Last Week: 25

After the Vikings win, the Bears are now alone for third place in the NFC North. Luckily, the Lions can’t seem to get out of their own way so they won’t have to go anywhere near the basement this year. But, at 3-6, it’s hard to imagine anything positive is going to come of this year.

24. Washington Football Team (3-6)

Last Week: 28

Washington put together a complete game. Taylor Heinicke looked like the guy people were thinking he might be able to be when these two teams met in the playoffs. This time around, it was Heinicke with a 110.4 passer rating who outdueled Tom Brady, who threw two early interceptions.

However, you have to give credit to them for saving their best play for the second half. That’s why they see a large bump in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings.

23. Seattle Seahawks (3-6)

Last Week: 21

Russ is back! Aaaaannndd… it didn’t matter. The Seahawks’ offense was a complete non-factor as Russell Wilson wasn’t able to cook up much more than turnovers. They managed to keep the game close at 3-0 until the Packers broke the game open in the fourth quarter.

But, it wasn’t enough, and things are starting to look rough for a Seahawks team that couldn’t buy a win with Geno Smith and looks like they’ll need a miracle to get back in the playoff race.

22. Denver Broncos (5-5)

Last Week: 19

Somebody please explain this team to me. They completely dominated the Cowboys last week. This week? They completely fell apart. It was looking like they were going to get ready to make a comeback in the fourth quarter.

But, Melvin Gordon’s fumble-six killed any semblance of momentum they have. By the time the offense got its act back together, it was already nearing the end of the fourth quarter. One step forward, one step back.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1)

Last Week: 18

The Steelers are still desperately clinging onto a wild card seed they probably don’t deserve. Somehow they failed to generate any offense against the Browns, played losing football against the Bears, and let the Lions march down the field in overtime twice. Yet, they didn’t lose any of those games. The Steelers’ five game win streak after starting 1-3 feels a lot like that fake 11-0 start from last year.

20. Carolina Panthers (5-5)

Last Week: 23

You couldn’t make up a story better than Cam Newton triumphantly returning to Carolina to put the season back on track. It kind of reminds me of when the Cincinnati Bengals brought Boomer Esiason back in 1997 to rescue a 1-7 Bengals team.

That team finished 7-9 behind the former MVP. Just two games behind the No. 6 seeded Miami Dolphins. Could Cam play well enough to provide the same kind of false hope in Carolina?

19. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)

Last Week: 22

Don’t look now, but the Eagles are actually back to being a .500 team over the last six weeks. They also almost played well enough to complete comebacks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers. I’m still not sure who the Broncos are just yet, but a dominating win is all that matters. Believe it or not, this team is actually only one game behind in the race for a playoff spot.

18. San Francisco 49ers (4-5)

Last Week: 20

The 49ers defense made life hell on Matthew Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo followed up with an efficient night. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle proved earned their keep this week, combining for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

The 49ers get a modest boost in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings because they’re not the only basement team to upset a contender this week. But, the Rams are still a solid conquest for Kyle Shannahan’s trophy case.

17. Las Vegas Raiders (5-4)

Last Week: 14

I think losing Jon Gruden, Henry Ruggs, and Damon Arnette in back-to-back-to-back weeks may have been a bit much to overcome. The Raiders famously overcame the Gruden drama to decisively beat the Denver Broncos.

But, losing Henry Ruggs clearly crippled their offense against the Giants. This week, they looked totally lost in Kansas City. It’s a shame, because this team had so much potential. But, I think it’s time to start thinking about regrouping in 2022.

16. New Orleans Saints (5-4)

Last Week: 15

Trevor Siemian continues to play well for the New Orleans Saints. Who would have guessed! The Saints actually took one of the hottest teams in the NFL to the wire this week. But, a couple costly mistakes here and there killed them. For example, the fumbled kickoff at the beginning of the second half that set the Titans up at the Saints’ 19. Five plays later, they were down 20-6.

They managed to come back and almost win. But, it was too little too late at that point. This Saints team can be good, but I don’t think they’re quite where they want to be.

15. Cleveland Browns (5-5)

Last Week: 12

Cleveland’s offense looked so much better without OBJ last week. What happened? The Browns got punched in the mouth after their emotional conquering of the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. No such luck in Foxborough, as the Browns fell 31-7 before a knee injury forced Baker Mayfield to sit the rest of the game out. Case Keenum was somewhat more efficient, but less explosive, which is what the Browns really needed at that point.

Luckily, it sounds like Baker will be ok going forward. But, the Browns are going to need to get something figured out if that is how they look without Nick Chubb.

14. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)

Last Week: 16

Staving off a Jaguars comeback might not be the most impressive way to win of all time. But, the Colts are turning their season around. They’ve won four out of their last five, and the one loss was a close overtime loss to the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings best team in football. Don’t sleep on this Colts team’s potential to be alive in January.

13. Minnesota Vikings (4-5)

Last Week: 17

When the Vikings play in sync, special things happen. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook both played smart, heads up football in what will likely be looked as an upset win over a floundering Chargers team. Also, it helps that Justin Jefferson went off for 143 yards on nine catches. I don’t consider this one a huge upset, however. If the Vikings can play a complete football game, they’re as dangerous as anyone in the NFL.

12. Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)

Last Week: 9

Justin Herbert’s inconsistency that had a lot of people worried about him during the Draft scouting process is starting to rear its ugly head. That’s not to say that he’s terrible or anything like that. But, he has been much less efficient than he was last year. His up-and-down day against the Vikings is a big reason why they lost this game. That’s why they find themselves out of the top 10 in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)

Last Week: 13

It’s not too often an NFL football team sees as complete of a victory on their bye week as this. After a rough two weeks against the Jets and Browns, the Bengals almost got vaulted back into control of a playoff spot this week. The Ravens equaled the Bengals’ Jets loss with a loss to the Dolphins. The Browns equaled the Bengals’ blowout loss with an even worse blowout loss to the Patriots (albeit on the road).

The Steelers tied with the winless Lions. Had the Lions’ kicker even made his missed extra point attempt, the Steelers would have lost and the Bengals would be in control of the No. 7 seed. That said, they have the opportunity to go earn it themselves this week against a Raiders team that looks dead in the water.

10. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

Last Week: 7

Did the Cincinnati Bengals expose a major flaw in the Baltimore Ravens’ offense? Allegedly, Brian Flores took some cues from Lou Anarumo’s playbook to pick the Ravens apart defensively this week. Greg Roman is going to need to cook something up fast to avoid proving how easy his system is to figure out. Their remaining schedule is brutal, so hopefully they can make that happen.

9. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

Last Week: 8

For the second week in a row, Matthew Stafford looked more like the erratic Detroit version of himself. That’s not what the Los Angeles Rams need right now as they try to get back on track. They’re now losers of two straight after looking like one of the hottest teams in the NFL through the first eight weeks. Hence, why they’re now creeping near the edge of the top 10 of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)

Last Week: 6

I would probably have knocked the Bucs down harder in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings, if not for all the other major upsets. The Bucs’ offense made the Washington defense look like the elite unit they were expected to be this year. Tom Brady threw two early interceptions the Bucs were just never really able to recover from. By the time he regained his focus, Washington was already up 13-0. They put together a pretty decent comeback near the end but it was all for naught. 

7. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

Last Week: 11

I’ve been assuming the Chiefs are going to bounce back in a big way all year, and they did that this week. Considering the narrative surround them this season, it seems weird to have them in the top 10 of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings, right? Well, this team is 6-4 and top of the AFC West right now, despite their struggles.

Perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into one blowout win over a division opponent that has had the kitchen sink thrown at them over the past month. But, I’d be shocked if the Chiefs missed the playoffs at this point.

6. Arizona Cardinals (8-2)

Last Week: 1

I know the Cardinals still don’t have Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. But, to be fair, part of the reason I had them at No. 1 in the first place was their ability to win despite those setbacks. They’re out of the top 5 of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings because the Panthers were supposed to be cooked.

Colt McCoy was inefficient and the Cardinals could barely get anything going on the ground. Perhaps this team will be more dangerous when healthy. But, right now, they don’t look so hot.

5. New England Patriots (6-4)

Last Week: 8

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Bill Belichick is back in a big way, leading the Patriots into the top 5 of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings. Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer both put on an absolute clinic against a Cleveland Browns team that was riding high on emotion after a crazy Week 9.

Oh, not to mention 184 yards on the ground. The Patriots employed their standard running back committee this week between Rhamondre Stevenson, Brandon Bolden, and JJ Taylor and they STILL had one of those guys hit 100 yards (exactly) this week.

4. Buffalo Bills (6-3)

Last Week: 5

The Buffalo Bills finally conquered Hall of Famer Mike White this week, forcing four interceptions. So, yeah. Maybe the Jets aren’t ready to take off like everyone thought they were. But, great teams blow bad teams out of the water. That, plus the demise of the Cardinals, is why the Bills see a climb in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings.

3. Dallas Cowboys (7-2)

Last Week: 4

The Cowboys bounced back in a big way this week by doing to the Falcons what they should have done to the Broncos. Some might not value a win like this over the lowly Falcons, but I do. The Cowboys see a jump in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings because this is not the way teams typically beat the Falcons.

Dak Prescott resumed his Comeback Player of the Year campaign this week with a stunning performance over a Falcons team that has done its fair share of losing this year. But, they typically avoid getting nuked like that.

2. Green Bay Packers (8-2)

Last Week: 3

Aaron Rodgers didn’t look like himself coming off his COVID adventure. But, the rest of the Packers picked up the slack around him much like they did for Jordan Love last week. The Packers’ defense tormented Russell Wilson all night and pitched a shutout at Lambeau.

AJ Dillon found the endzone twice and the Packers escaped with a 17-0 win. This is starting to turn into Rodgers’ worst nightmare. The Packers might not need him anymore and can probably plug anyone in at quarterback if he doesn’t want to play nicely.

1. Tennessee Titans (8-2)

Last Week: 2

The Titans’ rushing attack clearly isn’t the same without Derrick Henry. Adrian Peterson is an easy first ballot Hall of Famer. But, at 36 years old, he’s clearly nothing more than a rotational piece at this point. No matter. Ryan Tannehill is putting this team on his back and willing them to victories. The only question is… is this new formula sustainable?

It might very well be. That is why they’re at the top of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings, and likely will be most of the rest of the year with their schedule. They’ll probably be the AFC’s No. 1 seed at the end of the season. But, are they going to be able to continue that efficiency when every game gets hard in the playoffs?

Week 9 NFL Power Rankings

Week 9 NFL Power Rankings
Joe Scarnici – Getty Images

In the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings, we’ve got a ton of movement! A bunch of last week’s top 10 teams had super rough weeks. Teams we dismissed a few weeks ago are starting to show signs of life. Hell, even the Jets are starting to look like they’re doing something right. The Week 9 NFL Power Rankings will probably look as ridiculous as any other week as early as next week. But, that’s part of the fun!

32. Detroit Lions (0-8)

Last Week: 32

Another week, another game where the Lions nearly get shut out in their own stadium. This time, instead of the upstart Cincinnati Bengals, it’s against the lowly Philadelphia Eagles. The wheels came off this train a long time ago. But, the walls are starting to come down now too. You have to imagine they’ll get a win eventually though… right? They can’t be the first 0-16 team AND the first 0-17 team can they?

31. Houston Texans (1-7)

Last Week: 31

A 22-point garbage time explosion doesn’t really do justice to how lopsided of a contest this was. Ka’imi Fairbairn’s missed 45-yard field goal as the second quarter expired was a perfect encapsulation of just how much of a disaster that first half was. The Texans are starting to show just how dysfunction their organization truly is. They couldn’t even move Deshaun Watson before the trade deadline. What a mess. 

30. Miami Dolphins (1-7)

Last Week: 30

It really feels like the Dolphins should be penalized in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings for another loss. But, it’s pretty difficult to fall much further than they already have. At least they were mildly more competitive in their blowout loss this week than the Texans and Lions. I’ll give them some credit for having the good sense not to trade for Watson though. You made your bed with Tua, now sleep in it.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)

Last week: 28

Many an NFL team have taken advantage of a Seattle Seahawks team featuring Geno Smith at quarterback this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars proved their ineptness by letting him blow them out. Yes, Seattle is one of the toughest stadiums to play in. But, man, the Jags weren’t even competitive until their second-to-last drive of the game. Even then the defense still couldn’t make a stop to make it remotely interesting. But hey, at least there’s teams worse than them.

28. Washington Football Team (2-6)

Last Week: 25

The Washington defense finally had a pretty decent game… against the Broncos. Washington joins the Jets, Giants, and Jags as the only teams in a bad enough spot this year to lose to the Broncos. Not exactly company you want to be mentioned with.

27. New York Giants (2-6)

Last Week: 27

I was going to give the Giants credit in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings for playing their hearts out against a vastly more talented opponent. That is, until Daniel Jones did the most Daniel Jones thing ever and fumbled the ball on the final drive. Billy Price recovered the fumble to save catastrophe. But, then, he ran for about a one-yard gain with 15 yards to go and slid to avoid contact. Like he does know that basically ends the game, right? Why did you bother recovering the fumble if you’re just going to turn the ball over on downs without even trying to advance the ball? Giants gonna Giant.

26. New York Jets (2-5)

Last Week: 29

What even is this team? They’ve been embarrassed virtually every week they’ve played this year. Except, when they play top-10 teams. The Jets started Mike White in place of the injured Zac Wilson this week and he didn’t miss a beat. In fact, his 405 yards and three touchdowns would be a career day for most quarterbacks in the NFL. So, it seems the Jets are in good hands while Wilson recovers. Are they out of purgatory though? Time will tell, but it only took them seven games to equal their win total from last year.

25. Atlanta Falcons (3-4)

Last Week: 27

Just when you start feeling good about the Falcons… they pull the rug right out from under you. Then again, I guess that’s what it means to be a Falcons fan, huh? The Falcons fought their way back to .500 last week only to basically not show up in their own stadium against the Panthers this week. Carolina comes out looking like the team that could possibly turn things around, and Atlanta looks ready to go back to the basement.

24. Denver Broncos (4-4)

Last Week: 24

The Broncos did it! They finally won a game after failing to do so for an entire month! So, why aren’t they moving up in the Week 9 Power Rankings, you ask? Well, they really just confirmed what we already knew about them. They’re good enough to beat the bad teams, but still haven’t shown they can compete with anyone else. And what was that offensive performance? They made a WFT defense that has been extremely disappointing all season look stifling. And now they’re trading Von Miller to the Rams? I almost want to drop them, actually.

23. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Last Week: 20

That was an amazing run by Justin Fields! Seriously, I could see that play going down as one of those highlights that gets replayed endlessly on NFL Network every time this team is mentioned in a positive light. Problem is, all this game did was confirm that Justin Fields won’t save the Bears. Yes, he’s talented, but he’s in an awful position. The Bears take a slide in the Week 9 NFL Power rankings largely because of the way they completely collapsed in the fourth quarter.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)

Last Week: 26

I know it’s just the Lions. But, still, winning 44-6 on the road is a hell of an accomplishment, regardless of the opponent. They weren’t able to complete the shutout when Jared Goff managed to get a garbage time touchdown in the fourth quarter. But, the Eagles wouldn’t be the first team to fall just short of a shutout in Detroit this year. It’s been a rough year for a rebuilding Eagles team, but at least we know they can still dominate bad teams.

21. Seattle Seahawks (3-5)

Last Week: 22

The Seahawks beat the Jaguars handily in their own stadium. Yawn. Any win in the NFL is a good win, especially a dominating one like that. So, I’ll give the Seahawks credit with a boost in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings. But, until Russell Wilson comes back, I don’t see much potential for this team.

20. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)

Last Week: 19

It was a good effort for the Colts this week. Unfortunately, the defense had no answer for AJ Brown. That said, the Colts probably could have won this game if Carson Wentz hadn’t melted down on the final four drives. Yes, he connected with Michael Pittman on a beautiful 38-yard pass that helped set up the game-tying touchdown. But, it could have been the game-winning touchdown if not for the pick six on the previous drive. Then, he threw the game away with an infuriating pick in Colts territory in overtime.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

Last Week: 21

The Steelers are now winners of three in a row, completely turning around what was looking like a lost season after losing three in a row. There are still some major question marks on that offense. But, Mike Tomlin is spinning straw into gold once again. Say his name. Rumpletomlin.

18. Carolina Panthers (4-4)

Last Week: 18

Alright! So, the Panthers beat the Falcons. Not exactly in the most photogenic way, mind you. Sam Darnold didn’t make any mistakes, but he also didn’t do much exciting either. He basically managed this game in an adequate way while Chubba Hubbard, Zane Gonzalez, and the defense buried the Falcons. I never really thought of Sam Darnold as the game manger type, but maybe it’s a role he should embrace? 

17. San Francisco 49ers (3-4)

Last Week: 17

Credit to the 49ers – they overcame a rough first half to put away a struggling Bears team in the second. Then again, this really felt like an instance of the Bears beating themselves rather than the 49ers doing anything spectacular. Jimmy Garoppolo managed the game well and found the endzone twice with his legs. But, it really felt like the 49ers were the much less exciting team to watch this week, even though they won.

16. Minnesota Vikings (3-4)

Last Week: 13

Just when I thought the Minnesota Vikings are going to make a jump in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings, they turned everything upside down. The Vikings led the Cowboys through basically the whole game, save for a brief stretch early in the third quarter when it was tied. Then, they just had the absolute worst luck on the Cowboys’ final drive. What really felt like the Vikings’ opportunity to make a statement win turned into heartbreak. The Vikings are going to need to start finding a way to win these games before I take them seriously as playoff contenders.

15. Cleveland Browns (4-4)

Last Week: 11

What a fall from grace for the Browns. This team won three of their first four, but reversed course to lose three of their last four. To be fair, injuries have played a huge role in that decline. However, Baker Mayfield needs to be better. The Browns need more from their available receivers. This was a winnable game that the Browns appeared to be in control of until Jarvis Landry fumbled the ball away in Steelers territory in the fourth quarter. Next week they draw a pissed off Bengals team looking to bounce back in front of their home crowd. Yikes.

14. New Orleans Saints (5-2)

Last Week: 15

The up-and-down nature of the Saints’ season reared it’s ugly head again this week. The Saints beat the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers and are now just half a game behind in the race for the top spot. But, they lost QB Jameis Winston for the year with a torn ACL in the process. Trevor Siemian played well enough in relief. But, it’s a bittersweet feeling for a Saints team that, otherwise, looked poised to make a run.  

13. Las Vegas Raiders (5-2)

Last Week: 14

It was a good time to have a bye for the Raiders. After all the Gruden turmoil, they proved their team is stronger than any controversy by handily winning their next two games. Now, they’re alone for first place in the AFC West. Is it sustainable? Find out next week on DRAGON BA…. err… the ATB NFL Power rankings.

12. Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)

Last Week: 11

An ugly win is a win at the end of the day. I’m no stranger to knocking teams down even after a win. But, I’m only going to do that in the case of an injury meaning more than the win itself meant. I’ll criticize the Cheifs all day long for a crazy sloppy game against the New York Giants. Honestly, we got more questions than answers out of this one. But, they won, so I won’t knock them down in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings.

11. Tennessee Titans (6-2)

Last Week: 9

Uh-oh. Alright, I know it looks weird when a team that just beat their only competition for the division crown falls in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings. But, hear me out. If Derrick Henry is out for the year, what even are the Titans anymore? Ryan Tannehill can sling it, but he won’t do that all the time. I’ll give the Titans credit for beating the Colts, which is why they don’t fall farther. But, ever heard of Pyrrhic victory? Supposedly there’s no bad wins in the NFL, but this might qualify.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)

Last Week: 6

Ouch. Remember all those good feelings we had about the Bengals after they demolished the Ravens last week? Yeah those are mostly gone after losing to the Jets. I still think this is a top-10 team because they’re remarkably healthy. And, they’re currently undefeated in the AFC North. The only other team the Jets have beaten this year are the Titans, who would be the No. 10 team this week had Derrick Henry not gotten hurt. So, maybe it’s not time to hit the panic button. Weird games happen. Go beat the Browns next week and those good feelings start coming back.

9. Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)

Last Week: 8

Over the last few weeks, Justin Herbert has looked more like the player I expected to see in the NFL. I’ve already admitted I was wrong about him, but he got outplayed by a pedestrian looking Mac Jones this week. The Chargers looked like they were generally in control of this game until he threw his first interception. They managed to overcome it and hold onto the lead, but then he threw a pick six in the fourth quarter. That was pretty much it for their chances this week, save for a too little too late touchdown with 40 seconds left in the game.

8. New England Patriots (4-4)

Last Week: 16

Am I being too generous to the Patriots here? Probably. But, last week I said they’re inching closer and closer to relevancy. Like the Steelers, the Patriots have completely reversed course on their abysmal start to the season. The difference is they did it with an absolute demolition job last week and a victory over a Super Bowl contender this week. I don’t see them losing any momentum with the Panthers, Browns, and Falcons coming up. But, if they do, it’ll show their boost in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings was an overreaction. If not, they’ll be 7-4 in a few weeks.

7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

Last Week: 10

What a bye week for the Ravens! I haven’t forgotten they were blown out in their own stadium by the Cincinnati Bengals last week. But, the Bengals fell back down to earth against the Jets this week and gave the Ravens the half-game lead for the division race. Also, pretty much all the other AFC contenders stumbled this week, other than the Bills. I still can’t put them up as high as they were before last week. But, they benefited from the turmoil of their competitors in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

Last Week: 2

It looked like Tom Brady was going to do typical Tom Brady things and lead his team back from the dead. The Bucs were staring at a 23-7 blowout midway through the third quarter. Brady turned it on after that and actually gave them the lead at one point. But, a pick-six with 1:24 left in the game sealed their fate. It was a wholly ugly game for the Bucs. They would have deserved plenty of criticism even if they won. But, they didn’t, so out of the top-3 they go.

5. Los Angeles Rams (7-1)

Last Week: 5

There’s not much to learn about the Rams in this one, other than that they’re a really good football team. But, you already knew that, and blasting the Texans probably didn’t change your mind. Matt Stafford looked near perfect with 305 yards and three touchdowns. They failed to cover their lofty Vegas expectations by letting the Texans rally in garbage time. But, the Rams weren’t going to let the Texans recover like four onside kicks in a row. So, there was never really any doubt.

4. Arizona Cardinals (7-1)

Last Week: 1

I figured it was coming eventually. I wasn’t the biggest fan of having the Cardinals as the best team in football. But it’s hard to argue against when they just kept winning. Perhaps a three spot fall in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings is a bit much. Especially when the Cardinals just BARELY lost their first game because AJ Green forgot what the play call was. But, I’ve been skeptical of them all season. Let’s see how they bounce back with a fairly difficult second half of the season.

3. Dallas Cowboys (6-1)

Last Week: 4

Another close one for the Dallas Cowboys, but the Minnesota Vikings are much better than their record indicates. I’m impressed by the Cowboys’ resilience to win without Dak Prescott. The Cowboys will play the struggling Broncos and Falcons the next couple of weeks while Dak is out. So, getting this win was huge. If the Cowboys can win out while they’re waiting for Dak to come back, I’m not sure what’s going to stop this Cowboys team.

2. Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Last Week: 3

Beating the Miami Dolphins isn’t exactly the most impressive thing in the world. But, the Bills have looked as good as anyone throughout most of this season outside of a weird Week 1. Technically, the Tennessee Titans hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC right now due to head-to-head matchup. But, do you really think the Bills aren’t the best team in the AFC right now considering the Titans will be without King Henry?

1. Green Bay Packers (7-1)

Last Week: 7

What the Green Bay Packers have managed to accomplish this season is unbelievable. How Matt LaFleur isn’t the current unanimous front-runner for Coach of the Year is beyond me. Have you seen this team’s injury list? Za’Darius Smith, David Bakhtiari, Jaire Alexander, Josh Meyers, Marquez Caldes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and Kevin King have all missed significant time this year. Hell, they didn’t even have Davante Adams against the Cardinals. But, they came away with a win against the only undefeated team left in the NFL. Can you imagine what this team will look like when they get healthy? Look out. For now, they’re well represented at the top of the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings.

NFL Week 7 – 7 Up, 7 Down: Seventh Circle of Heaven?

Credit: USA Today

A somewhat dross and quaint NFL Week 7 is in the books. What were the hottest topics for those in the inner sanctum within the league? Who were the headliners that made waves in the seventh week of the season? The Weekly Power Rankings have arrived and the question is: who made it to the seventh circle of heaven?

Up

1. Non QBs throwing touchdowns!

– We had a pair of non-quarterbacks to get the scoring fiesta started on Sunday within minutes of each other. 

First up, was MVP contender Derrick Henry throwing a perfectly timed pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt (on national tight end day, no less!)

Next was Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne doing the honors. 

2. Throwback uniforms for GB and SF

Two iconic legacy franchises sporting high-caliber throwback duds. Enough said. 

San Francisco’s clean 1994 throwbacks

3. Local meteorologists in the Bay Area

Every dog gets its day or so they say. Well, viewers of the Sunday Night Football broadcast heard the words, “atmospheric river” and “bomb cyclone” enter the sporting lexicon. Strange times indeed as the Niners and Colts did battle in a seemingly endless torrential monsoon. There was a crazy sequence in the first half where both teams couldn’t hold onto the slick ball, trading turnovers like baseball cards (they still do that, right?)

4. Joe Burrow to Chase is pretty pretty pretty good

– Yeah, you got the prohibitive favorite for offensive rookie of the year award catching passes from a young gun with the dawg in him. It appears that the lethality of 2019 LSU Burrow to Chase carried over to Ohio’s Queen City. Not much more to say than Larry David probably approves of the young emerging duo. This could be a weekly thing in the article. Is this the remake of the 1998 Vikings with Randy Moss?

5. Dan Campbell’s bravado and passion

– Campbell’s Lions are fighting every single week despite the stacked odds against them. Most 0-7 teams would have caved long ago and dissolved into internal dissension. You can see the tangible chemistry and passion that his players play for him. It’s too bad that Jared Goff isn’t the answer for a moribund Lions franchise. Campbell is part of an increasing trend of coaches laying it all on the line and going for it despite the odds of failing to convert first downs. May the Lions get their first win soon. 

6. Kyler Murray’s MVP candidacy

– Murray has to be the favorite for the MVP award at this point in the season, leading the Cardinals to a 7-0 record against a tough schedule. It’s not like the Cardinals are loading up on wins against the patsies of the league, either. They’ve had to deal with tough COVID issues knocking out their head coach for a game along with multiple key pieces. He’s one of the more dynamic playmakers in the league alongside the terrifying Lamar Jackson. He’s making plays like this seemingly every drive

7. Marshawn and the Legendary ManningCast 

– The affable, jovial, and loquacious Marshawn Lynch joined Monday Night Football’s ManningCast and he did not disappoint. In related news, the FCC could be just as happy that their coffers will be filled by ESPN’s banking department for Lynch’s glorious expletive-filled appearance. The only downside was Peyton “apologizing” for the fun. We need more Marshawn on prime-time TV! 

DOWN

1. Sam Darnold isn’t the present nor the future

– He has turned into a pumpkin after a solid start to life in Charlotte and 2021 will likely be his last as a starter in this league. Darnold was benched for PJ Walker on Sunday and it isn’t like Walker lit it up either. Perhaps the damage done to Darnold in New York is too much for him to rebound from. Carolina took a gamble passing on multiple rookie passers with their first-round selection. It hasn’t worked out but that’s life. The Panthers were on the periphery of the Deshaun Watson chase but now are firmly on the list of top-tier contenders for his services after the past few weeks. 

2. Brian Flores and Matt Nagy’s job security

– The expectations for either man to keep his current job beyond this season have to be slim to none. Flores has been a fun quote machine during press conferences and his Dolphins are on life support in the AFC East. Fortunately, Miami has long been the rumored destination for one Deshaun Watson. Nagy on the other hand, is a dead man walking as the Bears look lifeless, their star rookie passer running for his life, and the coach mostly ambivalent about the whole affair. It’s over for the Nagy regime in the Windy City. Flores’ rear end is firmly planted on the hot seat if he can’t turn it around. 

3. New York teams 

– Both New York teams are a colossally terrible combined 3-10 through seven weeks of this season. The Jets have a plan in place to build something at least despite the horrific decision not to have a veteran backup quarterback throughout the offseason to guide a now hurt Zach Wilson. Robert Saleh might be regretting his decision to go for this job as his defense has been something awful. Meanwhile, the Giants are just bad and rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic under the embattled Dave Gettleman. Granted, they’ve suffered a ton of injuries but Daniel Jones is looking more and more not the long-term answer. Joe Judge still has some cache so there’s that. 

4. Mike Evans and historical landmarks

– On a more light-hearted note, Mike Evans wasn’t cognizant of the implications of Tom Brady’s 600th touchdown pass and gave the ball to a now-infamous fan in the stands. That said fan was the subject of immense ridicule for giving the ball up for such little return. Evans had a hilarious reaction after the fact and a member of the Buccaneers staff had to go and negotiate for the return during the game for all to see. It all worked for everyone involved as the fan won out relatively decently, Evans scored a couple more, and Brady got to roast everyone on national TV. 

5. Chiefs D is still bad 

– Yeah, it was bad and Patrick Mahomes couldn’t bail them out on Sunday after the woebegone Titans defense held the Chiefs to a field goal. It felt like the Titans were actively trying to sit on the lead during the second half. A silver lining could be that the horrendous Kansas City defense held the Titans’ offense in check after allowing a 27-0 deficit? It’s still a long way to go but it’s increasingly looking like a massive Achilles’ heel for the franchise. 

6. Homecomings

– Not the most enthralling of contests between the two quarterbacks traded for another in Los Angeles. Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff weren’t at their best in this one. At least Dan Campbell made it entertaining with his panache and derring-do? A game that left a lot more meat on the bone, that’s for sure. Maybe next time?

7. Kyle Shanahan 

 – Are we sure that the boy wonder can evolve instead of being all hype? When opposing defenders are openly deriding your offensive philosophy, it’s time to question certain things. We all know Jimmy Garoppolo is injured and limited as a passer when healthy but at least Frank Reich adjusted to his passer’s strengths in the eternal monsoon. Shanahan will need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong. Please get healthy, Trey Lance. I mean, the coach couldn’t figure out that this play was working exceedingly well for the opposition and couldn’t adopt the same tactics? 

Previous Editions

Week 1: Opening Overreactions

Wk 2: Perceptive Repeats

Week 3: So Nice, Do It Thrice

Wk 4: Good Quads Like Saquon

Week 5: Thrive at Five

Week 7 Preview – Know Thy Enemy: Kansas City Chiefs

Titans vs. Chiefs
Titans vs. Chiefs Credit: TitansWire

It’s Titans vs Chiefs week as the Kansas City Chiefs pays a visit to Nashville to debate which city has the best BBQ + hot chicken recipes and to play a football game in between. The high octane Chiefs offense should have little issue carving up an entirely gracious Titans defense.

Can the struggling Titans passing game keep going score for score with KC? Are the Titans mentally ready after defeating the Bills in an emotional Monday night victory? How much longer can Derrick Henry keep up this immense pace? Who will win this premier match between two AFC contenders in Week 7 of the NFL?

Chiefs Key Numbers + Info (2021 season)

Record: 3-3 (1-1 AFC North)

Points scored: 185

PPG: 30.8

Points allowed: 176

PPGa: 29.3

Avg. yards per rush: 4.9

Average. yards per rush allowed: 5.2

Avg. rush yards per game: 125

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 133.16

Rushing TDs: 5 for, 9 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 308.5

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 277.33

Passing TDs: 18 for, 11 against

Pass Completion Rate: 69%

Pass Completion Rate Against: 66%

Leading Rusher: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (65 attempts for 304 yards)

Top Receiver: Tyreek Hill (46 receptions for 592 yards, five touchdowns)

Leading Tackler: Nick Bolton (40 tackles, five tackles for loss)

Key Additions: OT Orlando Brown, OG Trey Smith (rookie), C Creed Humphrey (rookie), RB Darrel Williams, DL Jarran Reed, OL Joe Thuney, TE Blake Bell, OL Austin Blythe, LB Nick Bolton (rookie), OL Mike Remmers, RB Jerick McKinnon, CB Mike Hughes, WR Josh Gordon

Key Losses: OT Mitchell Schwartz, OT Eric Fisher, OL Kyle Long (PUP), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (IR), OL Martinas Rankin, P Dustin Colquitt, DE Joshua Kaindoh (IR)

Titans vs Chiefs Series History

Kansas City leads the all-time series 30-24

Tennessee Call Out, Ball Out

Team defense 

– Turns out Patrick Mahomes is still a pretty decent player, that guy. Tennessee will need all hands on deck, especially a banged-up secondary to even remotely begin to think about containing the Chefs. The front seven will need to expose a still gelling offensive line if at all possible. Without a team-wide effort, it can get ugly real fast. Suffice to say, a miracle needs to happen. 

Derrick Henry 

– The superstar back will do what he does best to keep the ball away from a potent Chiefs offense. He’s on an unprecedented record-breaking pace for production. Can he hold up for the long and cruel grind that this game is? The Chiefs defense isn’t exactly the 2000 Ravens as of press time. Needless to say, the running back will need to be his level best once again.  

Offensive line. Please do anything

– The Titans will need to rejigger some things as usual as left tackle Taylor Lewan is out due to a concussion suffered on Monday night. Left guard Rodger Saffold is a constant shuffle in and out of the lineup. Ben Jones is seemingly the only good constant on the line.

Yes, the Chiefs defense is what it is but the Tennessee line is banged up and heavily reliant on questionable backups. Ryan Tannehill needs some time to get it going. He’s been one of the most heavily sacked quarterbacks this season. Which group will break first?

Keys to a Chiefs Victory

“Fix” Patrick Mahomes

– Yeah he’s already a legendary figure in the annals of league history but there’s a glaring turnover issue he’s dealing with this season. It needs to be fixed so that inferior teams such as the Titans don’t have a hope of limiting him.

Mahomes is borderline unstoppable when he’s fully on and operating with his full set of weapons. It’s possible that he’s trying to compensate for the lack of defensive cover or he’s experimenting due to the sheer limitless potential of his talent. 

Stop the guy wearing 11 

– The Chiefs’ much-beleaguered secondary will need to stop the Titans’ primary receiving weapon and now Chipotle’s mortal enemy, AJ Brown. After a few weeks of battling injury and ineffectiveness, Brown finally broke out in the second half last week. Stop 11 and a hampered Julio Jones, Kansas City will contain the passing attack. 

Keep on going! 

– The series has been pockmarked with pitched back and forth battles over the years between the two AFC powers. KC has had a better time of it during the past two games though, thoroughly eviscerating the suspect Titans defense every time. Andy Reid is a masterful offensive mind and his protégé Eric Bienemy should’ve been a head coach long ago. Keep the good times rolling! 

Titans vs Chiefs Injury Report

Titans vs Chiefs: What are the odds?

Caesars has the Chiefs as four-point favorites at -110 while the Titans are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 57.5. The money line is the Chiefs at -210 and the Titans at +175.

BetMGM has the Chiefs as 4.5 point favorites at -110 while the Titans are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 57.5. The money line is the Bills at -200 and the Titans at +175.

Wynnbet has the Chiefs as 4.5 favorites at -115 while the Titans are +105 dogs. The over/under has been set at 57.5. The money line is the Chiefs at -215 and the Titans +175.

Prediction

KANSAS CITY 42

Tennessee Titans 31

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Previous KTE Editions

KTE: Jacksonville Jaguars

Know Thy Enemy: Seattle Seahawks

Know Thy Enemy: Indianapolis Colts

KTE: New York Jets

Know Thy Enemy: Buffalo Bills

Week 6 Preview – Know Thy Enemy: Buffalo Bills

Know Thy Enemy: Buffalo Bills
Photo Credit: Donald Page / tennesseetitans.com

The Tennessee Titans host the current class of the AFC on primetime television, a Buffalo Bills team that absolutely dominated the disappointing Chiefs last week. Buffalo will be out to avenge last season’s blowout defeat to the Titans where Josh Norman was eviscerated into nothingness by Derrick Henry. The league’s top-ranked offense and defense currently reside in western New York led by perennial MVP candidate Josh Allen. Can the Titans muster enough Henry to keep their horrifically abysmal and devastatingly dire defense from getting blown out?  

Key Numbers + Info (2021 season)

Record: 4-1 (1-0 AFC East)

Points scored: 172

PPG: 18.5

Points allowed: 115

PPGa: 34.4

Average yards per rush: 4.5

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.7

Average rush yards per game: 140.4

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 78.4

Rushing TDs: for, 1 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 270.0

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 173.4

Passing TDs: 12 for, against

Pass Completion Rate: 63%

Pass Completion Rate Against: 76%

Top Rusher: Devin Singletary (55 attempts for 284 yards and one touchdown)

Leading Receiver: Stefon Diggs (28 receptions for 374 yards and one touchdown)

Leading Tackler: Tremaine Edmunds (30 tackles, two tackles for loss, two passes defended, and one interception)

Key Additions: EDGE Gregory Rousseau (rookie), EDGE Boogie Basham (rookie), OT Spencer Brown (rookie), OL Ike Boettger, OL Bobby Hart, WR Emmanuel Sanders, LB A.J. Klein, LB Tyler Matakevich, TE Kahale Warring, QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Matt Breida

Key Losses: WR Marquez Stevenson (IR), TE Bug Howard, EDGE Bryan Cox, Jr, OL Forrest Lamp, OL Jamil Douglas

Series History

Tennessee leads the series against the Buffalo Bills 29-19-0

Tennessee Call Out, Ball Out

Team mentality

The whole footballing world is discounting the Titans’ ability to even stay remotely close to the Buffalo Bills on Monday. Can Tennessee circle the wagons and pull off the upset over notorious #BillsMafia? Both coordinators will need to call the game of their lives for the Titans to have a chance. Can the rest of the team help supplement the ever omnipresent Derrick Henry? Mike Vrabel is known for rallying the troops and pulling off upset. Can he pull a rabbit out of the hat at home? Tennessee must play within themselves and not fall into the hype trying to be something they’re not. 

Ball Control

Ride the King to win the time of possession game. The Titans defense as currently constituted couldn’t stop a minor nosebleed, much less the league’s top offense. A Josh Allen on the sidelines is a Josh Allen that can’t hurt you. Todd Downing is one of the lower tier offensive coordinators so he can’t be lulled into trying to go score for score with the powerful Bills offense. Shorten the game by pounding the ball against a terrifying defense if you can.  

Offensive line = fix it

Ryan Tannehill can’t throw the ball from his back unlike one Patrick Mahomes (probably). The offensive line has been horrendous in pass protection when healthy as it is. As it were, guard Rodger Saffold is dealing with one injury or another at any point during a game. Taylor Lewan fluctuates from indifferent to repulsively abhorrent, battling his way back from an ACL injury last year. Nate Davis has regressed badly. Don’t get me started on the right tackle situation. 

Caleb Farley

Welcome the big leagues, son. Now go cover one of the best receivers in the league in your first start. The former first round selection is likely getting the start due to emerging star corner Kristian Fulton out due to injury. Much will be expected of the former Hokies defensive back. I’m just not sure that he can deliver against Stefon Diggs along with Janoris Jenkins is now a slow rabbit. 

Keys to a Buffalo Bills Victory

Keep on Keeping On

Josh Allen probably is the favorite for the MVP at this point in the season. He’s coming off a team wide destruction of the perennial AFC favorite Chiefs. The Bills are looking like the class of the whole league. Tennessee, meanwhile, is decidedly not a team like that. While no team is a walkover, the Bills severely outclass the Titans from top to bottom. They should have no difficulty in dominating Tennessee on the road where Nashville related demons need to be exorcised. They can’t even use the trap game excuse as a freshly beaten in London by a fantastically bad Jaguars team, Dolphins are on next week’s docket. Defenestrate the Titans from the finicky clutches of the AFC contender’s club and move on. 

A hearty feast on Derrick Henry

Stop the transcendent beast that is Derrick Henry and you’ve won the game in essence. Tannehill, given all of his offensive line and receiver issues, poses no threat to steal the game on his own. A top gear Henry is a tough assignment for any defense, but the Bills have the firepower to match him at every level. 

Revenge of the…Herd?

The Titans thoroughly outclassed the Bills last season at Nissan Stadium. Buffalo will be out to avenge that Tuesday night loss (due to COVID). A loss that included the eternal soul removal of Josh Norman afflicted upon him by one Derrick Henry. Can the top team in the league keep the positive momentum going in the land of honky tonks and bachelorette parties? 

Injury Report

What are the odds?

Caesars has the Bills as 5.5 point favorites at -110 while the Titans are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 53.5. The money line is the Titans at -250 and the Jaguars at +205.

BetMGM has the Bills as 5,5 point favorites at -110 while the Titans are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 53.5. The money line is the Bills at -250 and the Titans at +200.

Wynnbet has the Bills as six-point favorites at -105 while the Titans are +115 dogs. The over/under has been set at 53 even. The money line is the Bills at -240 and the Titans +200.

Prediction

BUFFALO BILLS 49

Tennessee Titans 21

Prize Picks

Need a fantasy game that won’t leave you wanting for more, going against the top sharks and expert optimizers in the DFS world? Well, PrizePicks is the one app for you! You can find it on both the Google Play store and Apple’s App Store. Download today to start winning some big bucks! 

How to play with ATB

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– PrizePicks allows the user to mix multisport entries (which is great with both NHL + NBA underway or soon will be and the MLB playoffs deep into the Fall Classic chase). For instance, you can take Auston Matthews’ points, Jose Altuve hits, and Lamar Jackson’s touchdowns or yards over in one or more entries.)

– As I mentioned before, no sharks or optimizers, or any of the above DFS wizards. It’s just you against the PrizePicks machinations. 

Previous KTE Editions

KTE: Jacksonville Jaguars

Know Thy Enemy: Seattle Seahawks

Know Thy Enemy: Indianapolis Colts

KTE: New York Jets