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AFC South Preview: Off-season Recap and Predictions

AFC South Preview

A division with a lot of unknowns, the AFC South could be close this season. Young quarterbacks, elite running backs, and young defensive linemen are showcased in this division. Who will come out on top? I break down the offseason moves and predict each AFC South team’s season in this preview.

AFC South Preview

4. Houston Texans

Key losses – DT Vincent Taylor, S Justin Reid, LB Tae Davis, OT Geron Christian, QB Tyrod Taylor, OLB Jake Martin, TE Jordan Akins, OT Marcus Cannon, QB Deshaun Watson

Key additions – HC Lovie Smith, CB Steven Nelson, OG A.J. Cann, DE Mario Addison, OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, TE O.J. Howard, OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, QB Kyle Allen, CB M.J. Stweart, FB Andy Janovich, DE Jerry Hughes, CB Derek Stingley Jr., OG Kenyon Green, S Jalen Pitre, WR John Metchie III, LB Christian Harris, RB Dameon Pierce

Re-signed – OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill (1-year), ILB Neville Hewitt (1-year)

Extensions – WR Brandin Cooks (2-years, $39 million)

Houston went 3-14 last season and was one of the worst all-around teams in the league. They added some talent, as well as a new head coach in Lovie Smith. Now, Smith comes in to try and help this team move on from quarterback Deshaun Watson. After finally trading him, Davis Mills looks to become the franchise guy.

The worst offense in the league last season, the Texans badly need something to change. Davis Mills didn’t look that bad last season, and still has some weapons. While Brandin Cooks is a solid wideout, he will need to lead the way next to Nico Collins, who’s trying to prove he can make it in this league. At tight end, they have Pharaoh Brown and Brevin Jordan, who will need to step up if either wants to become a permanent NFL starter.

The offensive line still needs some work, but has a solid tackles in Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard. However, that’ll help out QB Davis Mills more than it will the rushing attack. Rookie Dameon Pierce is generating buzz as he looks to have a huge season running the ball. This offense will still be one of the worst in the league, but I expect a jump from dead last.

The defensive side of the ball wasn’t much better, as they ranked 31st in the NFL. With a bottom five defensive line still, I don’t expect that to change. Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes are veterans who can bring some pressure, but are in the twilight of their careers. The worst part for the Texans is their linebacker corps is even worse. Christian Kirksey isn’t a quality starter, and they will be looking at rookie Christian Harris to bring some energy.

The Texans added to the secondary early in the draft by selecting cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. Stingley can become the long-term CB1 in Houston, but past him there isn’t much. Rookie Jalen Pitre will be the slot corner, although we don’t know what to expect there. They have arguably the worst secondary in the league unless the rookies show up and show out.


The Texans are still rebuilding, so I don’t expect a playoff berth. But I do expect them to improve upon last year. I have them going 5-12 and 2-4 against the AFC South. Davis Mills will be the player to watch as he looks to earn the franchise’s trust.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars

Key losses – LB Damien Wilson, DT Taven Bryan, WR D.J. Chark, OG A.J. Cann, ILB Myles Jack, OG Andrew Norwell, WR Laviska Shenault Jr.

Key additions – HC Doug Pederson, WR Christian Kirk, OG Brandon Scherff, LB Foyesade Oluokun, CB Darious Williams, DE Foley Fatukasi, WR Zay Jones, TE Evan Engram, DE Arden Key, DE Travon Walker, LB Devin Lloyd, OL Luke Fortner, LB Chad Muma

Re-signed – DE Adam Gotsis (1-year)

Extensions – OT Cam Robinson (3-years, $54 million)

The Urban Meyer experiment failed miserably in Jacksonville, as they fired the former head coach after starting the season 2-11. They would finish the year 3-14 and earn the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. Top pick Travon Walker will look to become a focal point on this team during their rebuild.

The 27th ranked offense last season should improve this year. New head coach Doug Pederson will look to turn quarterback Trevor Lawrence into the star he is projected to be. Wideouts Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Marvin Jones Jr. create a solid trio for Lawrence to find, and should open up the field. It will be tough though, as the Jaguars offensive line ranks towards the bottom of the league.

The running back room should be fun to watch, as Travis Etienne Jr. will finally make his NFL debut this season. The pass-catching back should create a nice duo with James Robinson, who burst onto the scene after breaking the record for most scrimmage yards from an undrafted free agent his rookie year. The offense should improve this season, and has the potential to become top 20.

The defense did a little better than the offense in 2021, as they finished 20th in the NFL in total defense. They have an interesting defensive line that includes three first-round picks. Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Travon Walker will all look to bring the pressure and remind people why they were first-round selections.

At linebacker, the Jaguars have Foyesade Oloukon, Devin Lloyd, and Chad Muma to take over after losing Myles Jack in free agency. The young core will look to prove they can compete in this league under Doug Pederson.

Lastly, the secondary added two cornerbacks, rookie Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams, to create an interesting trio at corner next to Shaquill Griffin. The secondary could hold them back, as they have one of the worst safety duos in the league.


The Jaguars are looking to bring back Sacksonville, but it might not be this year. I predict that Jacksonville will finish 6-11 and go 3-3 against the AFC South. Trevor Lawrence will look to make a jump without Urban Meyer there.

2. Tennessee Titans

Key losses – OG Rodger Saffold, OT David Quessenberry, WR AJ Brown, ILB Jayon Brown, WR Julio Jones, P Brett Kern

Key additions – WR Robert Woods, TE Austin Hooper, OT Jamarco Jones, S A.J. Moore, CB Ugo Amadi, WR Treylon Burks, CB Roger McCreary, OL Nicholas Petit-Frere, QB Malik Willis, RB Hassan Haskins

Re-signed – K Reggie Bullock (2-years), RB Dontrell Hilliard (1-year), C Ben Jones (2-years)

Extensions – HC Mike Vrabel (1-year)

The Titans earned the #1 seed in the AFC last season, but lost their first playoff game after the bye. They finished 12-5, and decided it was time to part ways with superstar wide receiver A.J. Brown. They shipped him to the Eagles and will try to make it back to the playoffs without him.

The 17th ranked offense last season was heavily reliant again on running back Derrick Henry. He is the focal point of this team, but will run behind a lackluster offensive line. It’s one of the worst groups in the league and without Henry, it would show. With their best lineman, tackle Taylor Lewan, coming back worse from an ACL tear, there is legitimate concern they can get the job done.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is looking to improve on the team’s 24th ranked passing game, but it will be tougher without A.J. Brown. The new weapons in rookie Treylon Burks and former Ram Robert Woods could be a solid duo to throw to, but Woods is still recovering from a torn ACL. The tight end spot is shaky with Geoff Swaim, so I don’t expect much from the passing attack this season.

The defense was 12th last season after dominating against the run. They should dominate again with a top ten defensive line. Jeffrey Simmons is the star, followed by Denico Autry, Bud Dupree, and Harold Landry III to help bring pressure. It makes a mid-tier linebacker group’s job easier, as Zach Cunningham leads the way as a great run stopper.

The secondary will be key. They struggled a year ago, but get Caleb Farley back, who missed his entire rookie season with an injury. They have a young trio of cornerbacks who could make a splash this season. The safety tandem is headlined by Kevin Byard, who is one of the best in the game. Armani Hooker and Byard are trying to lead the young corners to a better finish this season.


Mike Vrabel is a fantastic coach, but Ryan Tannehill will hold this team back. I have them finishing 9-8, missing the playoffs after going 4-2 in the AFC South. This could be Tannehill’s last year, so he has to make the most of it.

1. Indianapolis Colts

Key losses – QB Carson Wentz, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, RB Marlon Mack, OG Chris Reed, OG Mark Glowinski, S George Odum, DE Kemoko Turay, WR T.Y. Hilton, CB Rock Ya-Sin

Key additions – QB Matt Ryan, CB Stephon Gilmore, QB Nick Foles, CB Brandon Facyson, FS Rodney McLeod, OT Dennis Kelly, DE Yannick Ngakoue, P Matt Haack, WR Alec Pierce, TE Jelani Woods, OL Bernhard Raimann, S Nick Cross

Re-signed – TE Mo Alie-Cox (3-years)

The Colts finished last season 9-8, missing the playoffs after an 11-5 season the year before. They brough in quarterback Matt Ryan as an upgrade over Carson Wentz with hopes of a playoff return. With talent added on both sides of the ball, the Colts may be a real threat in the AFC.

The Carson Wentz-led Colts finished 16th in the NFL in total offense a season ago, but now Matt Ryan is at the helm. He is a decent improvement, and will look to help wideout Michael Pittman Jr. grow into a star. However, the receiving corps behind Pittman is below average. They will need tight end Mo Alie-Cox to play a big role in the passing game to become a top 15 passing team.

This offense is centered around running back Jonathan Taylor. The young back showed he is a superstar last season, and has the highest expectations of all running backs going into this year. With a top ten offensive line, including the best offensive lineman in the game Quenton Nelson, Taylor should have no problem leading this offense to a playoff berth.

The defense last season ranked identical to the offense, 16th in the NFL. They added Stephon Gilmore to the secondary, which gives them a big boost. The secondary is still in the bottom half of the league, but if Julian Blackmon can come back and breakout, they could move up in the rankings.

They have one of the best linebacker corps in the league, with superstar Darius Leonard next to Bobby Okereke. If Okereke can play like he did in 2019, they should be the best in the NFL. With the defensive line gaining Yannick Ngakoue to help create a force with superstar defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, they should be much improved this season, and eyeing a top ten finish.


The addition of Matt Ryan should boost this team towards winning the AFC South. I have the Colts finishing 10-7 after going 3-3 against the rest of the AFC South. Expect a close finish between Indianapolis and Tennessee.

Jacksonville Jaguars Roster Prediction and Look Ahead

The Jacksonville Jaguars wrapped up the preseason with a 28-12 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, going winless in four meaningless exhibition games. The Doug Pederson era is officially here and the team will look to start the season with a win against the Washington Commanders. Who will be the 53 players to make that trip? I’m going to make my best educated prediction for the final Jacksonville Jaguars roster and give some overall thoughts on the team.

Via Kam Nedd jaguars.com

Jacksonville Jaguars Roster Prediction: Offense (25)


Trevor Lawrence, CJ Beathard. Everyone is looking forward to seeing Trevor Lawrence play in a real offense. Expect him to put himself firmly in the conversation of best young quarterbacks in the NFL.

Via Kam Nedd jaguars.com

Running Backs:

James Robinson, Travis Etienne, Snoop Connor, Mekhi Sargent. For at least a few weeks, it would be wise to roster a fourth back. The top two options are both fresh off devastating injuries and Snoop Connor is a rookie.

Wide Receivers:

Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Marvin Jones Jr., Jamal Agnew, Laquan Treadwell, Tim Jones. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a tough choice here. Tim Jones pushed Laquan Treadwell for his spot last offseason and likely wouldn’t clear waivers, if released. The team has Travis Etienne, Jamal Agnew and to a lesser extent, Evan Engram, to fill the role of Laviska Shenault. Jones and Treadwell help the receiver room more than the former second round pick.


Tight Ends:

Evan Engram, Chris Manhertz, Dan Arnold, Luke Farrell. Doug Pederson loves his tight ends. The team has four capable players headed into the regular season.

Offensive Line:

Cam Robinson, Ben Bartch, Luke Fortner, Brandon Scherff, Jawaan Taylor, Walker Little, Tyler Shatley, Cole Van Lanen, Will Richardson Jr. The offensive line should be much improved this season, but there are some red flags with how the unit fared in the run game this preseason.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are not going to be the “Greatest Show on Turf.” However, an offense that was atrocious last season should be much improved. Christian Kirk has a chance to be a star in this offense. Evan Engram has a chance for a career year. Doug Pederson’s fingerprints will be all over the unit, and that is a good thing.

Jacksonville Jaguars Roster Prediction: Defense (25)

Defensive Line:

Foley Fatukasi, DaVon Hamilton, Adam Gotsis, Jay Tufele, Dawuane Smoot, Roy Robertson-Harris, Arden Key. The defensive line is perhaps the deepest position group on the roster, evidenced by the Jaguars releasing Malcolm Brown. Arden Key might end up the best defensive addition since Calais Campbell.


Josh Allen, Travon Walker, Devin Lloyd, Foyesade Oluokun, Chad Muma, Jamir Jones, K’Lavon Chaisson, Shaquille Quarterman. The Jacksonville Jaguars made former Georgia star Travon Walker the number one overall pick in April, and both he and Josh Allen will flourish in this defense. Jamir Jones earned his roster spot with a stellar camp.

Via Kam Nedd jaguars.com


Shaquill Griffin, Tyson Campbell, Darious Williams, Tre Herndon, Montaric Brown, Xavier Crawford. There are some tough cuts to be made at corner. Xavier Crawford deserves a roster spot.


Rayshawn Jenkins, Andre Cisco, Andrew Wingard, Daniel Thomas. The team could opt to carry a fifth safety on the roster, but Daniel Thomas outplayed Rudy Ford and keeping an extra corner means Ford won’t be relied on in the slot this season.

Duval will be proud of the defense this season. The pass rush looks much better, and the overall athleticism of the unit and scheme should provide plenty of turnover opportunities. The run defense and the team’s ability to defend screens and athletic tight ends is a question mark until it isn’t. The Jacksonville Jaguars roster has improved dramatically in terms of talent and athleticism.

Jacksonville Jaguars Roster Prediction: Special Teams (3)


James McCourt. The Irish native likely secured his roster spot as soon as he connected on his 54-yard attempt against the Atlanta Falcons. He also produced touchbacks on all the kickoff opportunities. Hey, it worked out well for the Jaguars the last time they claimed a kicker released by the Chargers.

Via Kam Nedd jaguars.com


Logan Cooke. Logan Cooke might be the best player at his position on the Jaguars roster. He is one of the best punters in the NFL.

Long Snapper:

Ross Matiscik. Ross Matiscik has been unchallenged since he became the team’s long snapper.

The kicking game was catastrophic for the Jaguars a season ago. McCourt hasn’t missed a kick since being claimed, but he will need to be consistent when it matters to keep his job. Kickoff coverage should look much better with more touchbacks.

Predicting how cut down day will go is always tricky. Surprise cuts, trades, and the waiver wire mean it’s a volatile situation. Plenty of players across the league will make the “final cut”, only for the team to find an upgrade as better teams purge their rosters.

The Jacksonville Jaguars roster appears to be much improved from a season ago. Time will tell if it is enough to climb out of the league’s cellar in terms of wins and losses.

2022 NFL Hall of Fame Game Preview

The Jaguars and Raiders square off in the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame game
Image Credit: Sam Greenwood and Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Finally. Finally, football fans can wake up with the realization that it is gameday. The long offseason has come to a close, and NFL fans can watch some live football again. The Hall of Fame Game is notoriously uneventful, but it still brings excitement as the first NFL game in nearly seven months. Here are some things to watch for tonight.

Hall of Fame Game Info:

Teams: Las Vegas Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Time: 8PM E.T.

Venue: Tom Henson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio

Broadcast: NBC

Live stream options: fuboTV, Sling, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV

New Signings

Neither of these two teams were afraid to spend money this offseason, so there will be a ton of new faces wearing new colors for the first time on Thursday night. None of these starting-caliber players will see the field much, if at all, but it will be exciting to watch them on their new teams for the first time.

On the Raiders side of the ball, the most notable new guy is obviously Devante Adams. The Raiders traded for Adams this offseason, in exchange for their first and second round picks. Adams is arguably the best receiver in the league, and it will be interesting to watch him take the field with his old college teammate, Derek Carr. Chandler Jones will also be making his Raider debut on Thursday, and we’ll get to see him attack the passer opposite Maxx Crosby for the first time as well.

Jacksonville was far from shy on the free agent market themselves. The Jaguars made a ton of signings early in free agency, and were one of the most active teams in the league. Their receiving core was completely revamped, and Jaguars’ fans will get to watch Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Evan Engram take the field for the first time. Their new star guard Brandon Sherff will be on display as well.

New Draft Picks

This is exactly what preseason games are meant for. The starters don’t get much action, if at all, yet the rookies are thrown straight into the fire. Jacksonville obviously had the better draft class, but both teams have some exciting rookies ready to take an NFL field for the first time.

Starting with Jacksonville, they’ve got a handful of new draft picks to be excited about. First, we have the first overall draft pick, Travon Walker. The edge rusher out of Georgia has a boatload of potential, and he should get some extended time Thursday night. Next is Devin Lloyd. The Jaguars traded up to the 20th overall pick to nab Lloyd, who is one of the most intelligent players in the entire class. Luke Fortner and Chad Muma are two more exciting young players to watch for.

As for Las Vegas, their draft class wasn’t as impressive, yet there’s still some guys to watch for. Their top pick, Dylan Parham should get a good amount of reps on the offensive line. Vegas also picked up a new running back, Zamir White out of Georgia. White was one of the better running backs in college last year, and it should be interesting to see how Josh McDaniels utilizes him.

Ultimately, it’s just good to have football back. NFL fans can finally kick back, relax and watch two exciting young teams play. With this just being a preseason game, there shouldn’t be much stock taken with how good these players do, especially the young guys. Here’s to a fun game, and most importantly, welcome back football!

Patriots vs Jaguars Recap: Playoffs?? Playoffs!

New England Patriots Playoffs
Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

The Patriots got back to winning on Sunday, blowing out the Jaguars 50-10. The win snapped a two-game skid and punched a ticket to the postseason. The win was a much-needed remedy for a team that seemed to be getting caught up in the headlines. From the get-go, it was a “get right” game for New England. The Patriots played the part.

If you’ve been following along on Twitter (@patriots_atb), I put together a list of five things to watch for in the game. Putting together the usual “who has the advantage when…” game preview didn’t seem like a time-worthy endeavor, as New England would’ve had a clean sweep in all departments. Instead, a short list of what the team needed to do to get back on track was a more prudent exercise.

The areas to watch I identified were the Patriots getting out to a fast start, making it appear as if only one rookie quarterback had taken the field Sunday, playing complementary football, staying healthy, and figuring out what the hell N’Keal Harry is to this team. The Patriots answered all five on Sunday.

Patriots Must Get Out to a Fast Start

The last two weeks the Patriots have dug themselves a hole to climb out of for the rest of the game. While they’ve gotten close both times, they had been unable to get on the right side of it either time.

The easiest way to remedy this problem?

Don’t give yourself a hole to climb out of.

The Patriots won the toss and deferred to the Jaguars. To get off to a fast start the Pats would need to make a stand on defense to open the game. They did just that. The Jags gained 7 yards on first down before Dont’a Hightower came bursting through the line to drop rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence for a sack and 9 yard loss.

The Patriots would tackle Jaguars wide receiver Laquon Treadwell well short of the sticks to force a three and out on the first defensive series of the game.

The Patriots offense would match the defense fast start by marching 70 yards on eleven plays to open the scoring. The drive featured an efficient mix of run and pass, ultimately being capped off by the first of two Damien Harris touchdowns.

The Pats offense stayed hot, scoring touchdowns on their next four drives before finally being forced to punt. A week after struggling to move the ball consistently, New England was nearly impossible to stop.

Make it Appear Only Rookie QB is on the Field

The success Belichick has against rookie signal callers is well known in these parts. On Sunday, the Patriots needed to make it apparent Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence was a rookie while also making it look like Mac was a seasoned vet. The box score tells the story on this one.

Lawrence: 17/27 for 193 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, 2 sacks

Jones: 22/30 for 227 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 0 sacks

Mac consistently took what the defense gave him and kept the ball out of harm’s way. He put his team in a position to succeed and sprinkled in some splash plays while leading an efficient attack. Mac and the offense have greater success when he is well protected, as he was Sunday. He was his normal safe and consistent self while also showing some wow throws.

Lawrence looked unsure of himself throughout the game. The Patriots didn’t show many exotic looks pre-snap, but did a good job of rotating coverages after. This led to Lawrence holding the ball a tick longer, which allowed defensive players to break on the throw with ease.

The Patriots probably won’t see another rookie quarterback this year. Getting a feel-good game on defense may get them rolling in the most important month of the calendar: January.

Play Complementary Football

This was the most complete game the Patriots have played in over a month. The defense consistently put the offense in good spots. The offense didn’t turn the ball over and maintained a 36:46 to 23:14 advantage in time of possession.

Often the best way to measure complementary football is in third down success. Is the defense getting stops when possible? Is the offense converting and keeping the ball? The past two weeks the Pats simply have not been getting the job done on the “money down.” Against the Jaguars, the Patriots converted 8 of 10 third down attempts on offense while holding the visitors to 3 of 9. Maintaining this level of success will go a long way in winning games in the playoffs.

Stay Healthy

Damien Harris and Adrian Phillips did not finish the game, but both were available for post-game press conferences, a sign their injuries were minor. The feeling here is both would’ve finished the game had it been a closer affair. The NFL season has long been a battle of attrition, and with a 17th game added it has never been more true. Maintaining health down the stretch is often the most important factor to a team’s championship aspirations.

What’s up With N’Keal?

Before inactives were announced, it was expected Harry would be in line for another complete game of work. Harry had played a career high 61 snaps last week against the Bills and finished with two catches for 15 yards. Harry was listed on the injury report throughout the week with a hip condition, but was removed Friday, meaning his inactive status comes as a true healthy scratch. Harry’s replacement was practice squad call-up Kristian Wilkerson.

Unfortunately for Harry, Wilkerson made himself quite an introduction to the NFL. Wilkerson had four receptions for 42 yards and two touchdowns. Harry’s career high for touchdown catches in a season is two. In a time when confidence has been waning in the former first rounder, Sunday may prove to be the nail in the coffin for his Patriots career.

Harry has often mixed incredible playmaking ability with an incredible ability to completely disappear on the playing field. Wilkerson probably isn’t the next Davante Adams but the early returns say he is a very viable number 3 or 4 receiver. It isn’t tough to see where Belichick may go with that one.

With the outcomes of Sunday’s games, the Patriots locked up their 18th playoff appearance under Belichick. For context on how incredible this is; the Lions have made the playoffs 17 times since 1934. The Patriots would come along 26 years later. Whether this season ends with a 7th Lombardi being hoisted by the franchise or not, the Belichick era is one that may never be matched.

Week 10 NFL Power Rankings

Week 10 NFL Power Rankings
Robert Ricks – USA Today

The Week 10 NFL Power Rankings show exactly why I love the NFL so much. It’s truly a week-to-week league, so you really don’t know who teams are until the games are played. Any team can win any given week. Also, teams that looked like power houses a few weeks ago can end up on the fringe of playoff contention this week. What will next week have in store? Who knows. But, let’s dive into what we learned from this week…

32. Detroit Lions (0-8)

Last Week: 32

The Detroit Lions come off the bye week still stuck in the basement of the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings. You really shouldn’t have expected anything else, to be fair. Everyone else has won a game, so it would have taken a special level of incompetence I don’t think we’ve seen in the NFL yet to displace this Lions team. Maybe they can take advantage of a Steelers team that has been super inconsistent this year? Hard to imagine, but they can’t go 0-17 can they?

31. Houston Texans (1-8)

Last Week: 31

The Texans won the turnover battle. But, they still turned the ball over four times themselves. Despite forcing five, they only managed to put nine points on the board. They couldn’t find the endzone once, despite being set up in or near Miami territory four times. In fact, they elected to take a field goal at the one-yard line despite being down 11 points in the fourth quarter. I guess the idea was to take the points so you’re only down by a touchdown and a two-point conversion? I don’t know. I’d have tried a quarterback sneak or something. Just seems cowardly.

30. Miami Dolphins (2-7)

Last Week: 30

The Dolphins… did it? They beat the Texans, I guess. Woo. The Dolphins turned the ball over five times, but somehow managed to hold onto a lead they built in the first half. They won’t win many more games playing like that, especially against the Ravens next week.

29. New York Jets (2-6)

Last Week: 26

There’s the Jets we know and love. It looked like Mike White was going to have another good day. But, he exited the game with a nerve contusion. He should be fine after 10 days of rest. But, now the question is, does he get another opportunity, or do the Jets bring back their No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson? It’s probably the only exciting Jets related talking point that exists right now, because they don’t have much else going on. That defense is still wretched. Frankly, they should be 1-7 right now. But, I’m sure they’ll find loss No. 7 next week in Buffalo.

28. Washington Football Team (2-6)

Last Week: 28

Washington went into their bye week on a four game losing streak after looking relatively competitive through the first four weeks. The division is completely out of reach at this point, and it’s tough to find many more winnable games on their remaining schedule. Maybe the Panthers? Maybe they can split with the Eagles? I don’t know. It’s a rough time in the nation’s capital these days.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)

Last week: 29

I don’t know if I’ve ever been so impressed and, simultaneously, not impressed by a win in my life. The Jaguars did knock off a team I’ve had at No. 1 in these power rankings before. But, they also didn’t score a single touchdown and had to finish the game without Trevor Lawrence. He should be fine, but the Jags aren’t going to hold opponents to six points every week.

26. New York Giants (3-6)

Last Week: 27

Two good games in a row against AFC West opponents, but this time the Giants actually pulled it off. I’m not ready to start buying into them yet. But, they do have the Bucs, Eagles, and Dolphins after the bye week. If they can come out of that stretch 2-3 I’ll probably take them out of the cellar.

25. Chicago Bears (3-6)

Last Week: 23

The Bears couldn’t overcome multiple obviously terrible calls by the zebras this week in a hard-to-watch game against the Steelers. I think there might have been more flags than actual game-changing plays. To be fair, some of them were deserved. The Bears played sloppy this week. At the end of the day, if you’re in position for the refs to beat you, you don’t deserve to win. The Bears don’t deserve much winning right now. The wheels are starting to fall off and I’m not sure how much longer Matt Nagy lasts.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)

Last Week: 22

Man, the Eagles had ‘em. They held a lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter and their defense was playing great. But, Justin Herbert did Justin Herbert things and took the lead back. The Eagles did manage to march back down the field and tie the game, but they couldn’t stop the chargers from taking the entire remaining six minutes of the game on the last drive to knock in what was essentially the game winning field goal. The Eagles’ desperation double lateral at the end of the game that only lost 14 yards perfectly highlighted the false hope and actual payoff this game felt like.

23. Carolina Panthers (4-5)

Last Week: 18

I didn’t give the Patriots a bump in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings this week for beating the Panthers. But, I’m definitely knocking the Panthers down for that loss. The Patriots took care of business in a game they were expected to win if they were for real. But, the Panthers fell flat in a game they desperately needed to win to maintain some semblance of competitiveness. Sam Darnold’s three interceptions reminded you of the ghosts he so famously saw against New England in the past.

22. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

Last Week: 25

Woah! I thought for sure the Falcons were going to find a way to lose that game, and they almost did! Even after Cordarelle Patterson put them in easy field goal range with less than a minute remaining, Mike Davis almost fumbled the game away. Arthur Smith made a decision that looks cowardly, but is probably the smartest thing to do if you’re the Falcons. He took the gift, told Matt Ryan to kneel on the ball, and took the highest percentage chance of winning possible to squeeze out a win that almost wasn’t.

21. Seattle Seahawks (3-5)

Last Week: 21

The Seahawks could get lucky next week if Aaron Rodgers is unable to pass COVID protocols. Russell Wilson should have no problem dispatching the team the 2021 version of the Chiefs overcame. But, if Rodgers does play, the Seahawks could find that Wilson couldn’t come back quick enough. They only managed to win one game with Geno Smith and now have an uphill battle with the Packers and Cardinals next on the schedule. 

20. San Francisco 49ers (3-5)

Last Week: 17

The 49ers had no answers for James Connor, Colt McCoy, and Christian Kirk. That’s not a great sign for a team that was looking to stay relevant in the playoff hunt. There’s still time to turn things around, but they still have a handful of tough games left on their schedule.

19. Denver Broncos (5-4)

Last Week: 24

Is that a sign of life I see from Denver? It might be false hope, because weird games happen in the NFL. But, after being one of the most promising teams through the first three weeks, the Broncos finally have a reason to feel like they could turn their season around. Weirdly enough, it came after they shipped Von Miller to Los Angeles. They have a bad Eagles team coming up next. If they find a way to come away with a win, they’ll be 6-4 at the bye. That would put them in great position to make something out of a mostly disappointing season.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

Last Week: 19

I can’t say I’m terribly impressed by the way Pittsburgh won this game. An absolutely terrible run of form by the referees killed any semblance of hope for the Bears. Yeah, the Steelers won, but did it make you believe in this team any more than you did last week? Not me. They play the Lions next week and I’m sure they’ll win that one too. That said, if they can pull off the upset over the Chargers in Week 11, I’ll put them in the top 14.

17. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)

Last Week: 16

I’m pretty much done with the Vikings at this point. Yes, their record could be so much better than it is right now. I have been preaching that non-stop all season. But, this is what separates the good teams from the bad teams. The Ravens are the team that finds a way to come away with wins in these close games. The Vikings find a way to lose. It doesn’t always make perfect sense, but that’s the NFL baby.

16. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

Last Week: 20

Although the AFC South division race is starting to look out of reach for the Colts, the playoffs are still a realistic possibility. The Colts get a boost in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings because they took care of business against a bad team, and they have a few more bad teams coming up. The Colts could realistically be 6-5 by Week 11 and possibly in control of a wild card spot. Quite the turnaround for a team that started 1-4.

15. New Orleans Saints (5-3)

Last Week: 14

Last week, I was asked why I didn’t have the Saints higher considering they beat Green Bay and Tampa Bay, two top-10 teams. Well, that’s why. Without Jameis Winston, I’m just not sure how competitive this Saints team can really be. This week, they lost to a Falcons team that is suddenly .500. You read that right. The Falcons got right against the Saints. Not a position you want to be in.

14. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)

Last Week: 13

There’s the Raiders team we were expecting to see. They overcame the Gruden distraction to play some of the best football they’d played all season. But, losing Henry Ruggs III seems to have been a bit more than they were prepared to overcome. The defense didn’t exactly play great, but Derek Carr threw two interceptions to only one touchdown. They had to rely on Daniel Carlson for their remaining 10 points, which just wasn’t going to get the job done against the good version of Daniel Jones. 

13. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)

Last Week: 10

Had the Bengals’ next opponent, after their upcoming bye week, not also lost in embarrassing fashion this week, I’d probably have them at 14 right now. Essentially, I’m saying I still consider them a playoff team, but barely. According to the standings, they wouldn’t even be in the playoffs right now when they held the AFC’s No. 1 seed just two weeks ago. This defense is a train wreck right now. The bye week couldn’t come at a more perfect time. They need to readjust and refocus if they want to be alive in January.

12. Cleveland Browns (5-4)

Last Week: 15

This just in: Odell Beckham Jr was the problem in Cleveland. I’ve been saying it all year, but there was no greater proof than the Browns nearly equalling their highest point total of the year without the alleged ‘star’ wide receiver. Baker Mayfield looked locked in and efficient, helping the Browns to 41 points against a sputtering Bengals defense. Interestingly enough, the only other time the Browns put up a comparable point total this year was against the Chargers. OBJ played, but he wasn’t exactly a major part of the game plan with only 3 targets.

11. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)

Last Week: 12

I’m starting to think the Chiefs aren’t going to turn things around. They got a win against the Packers this week, but it wasn’t pretty. Patrick Mahomes didn’t make any major mistakes, which is huge. But, he also couldn’t get much done against a stout Packers defense either. The Chiefs were handed a golden opportunity to beat a top team with the Rodgers situation. To their credit, they came away with the win. But, it was an ugly win that didn’t inspire much confidence they can replicate the result going forward.

10. Los Angeles Rams (7-2)

Last Week: 5

The Rams end their four game win streak with a loss to the newly minted Week 10 NFL Power Rankings No. 2 team. On the whole, the defense didn’t play too badly. They only allowed just over 200 yards of total offense, although they did allow three touchdowns. The fourth touchdown came with the absolute meltdown of the Rams’ offense. Matt Stafford reverted back to his Detroit form with two killer interceptions. Their running game generally did pretty well. But, with the game being out of control at halftime, they ended up throwing WAY more than running.

9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)

Last Week: 9

I was ready to knock the Chargers down a few spots for the run of form they’ve been on lately, especially after a loss to the lowly Eagles. But, LAB found a way to get it done on the road this week. It was a rough first half, but they found their stride against the Eagles in the second half and salted things away with a Dustin Hopkins field goal at the death. For now, they maintain their spot in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings.

8. New England Patriots (5-4)

Last Week: 8

Last week I gave the Patriots an 8 spot jump. I thought, perhaps, I might be being a little too generous. Yeah they massacred the Jets and beat a former top-5 team. Yeah they came close to beating the Cowboys. Their only bad losses this year were a Week 3 loss to the Saints and a weird Week 1 loss to the Dolphins. But are they really turning things around this quickly in New England? Oh yes. They wholloped the struggling Panthers this week. I didn’t give them a bump in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings. But, it confirmed to me that my faith was well placed.

7. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)

Last Week: 7

At a certain point, the ability to pull out miracles against opponents, no matter how cursed, is impressive. Throughout much of the season, the Ravens have reminded me of last year’s Steelers, who famously went 11-0 against bad teams and fell apart when the schedule got hard. The Ravens should be 5-3 because of the uncalled Delay of Game against the Lions, but that hardly matters now with the rest of the AFC North tearing itself apart.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

Last Week: 6

Although it doesn’t affect their standing in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings, the Saints’ loss helps the Buccaneers out dramatically. With WFT, the Giants, Colts, and Falcons coming up the next four weeks, the Buccaneers should be able to capitalize on their lucky regaining of control of the NFC South this week.

5. Buffalo Bills (5-3)

Last Week: 2

Bad games happen, so I still consider this Bills team to be a top 5 contender. But, games like that can’t happen often. It was the first time all season they failed to score a touchdown and the only time other than Week 1 when they scored under 20. So, Bills fans shouldn’t be ready to panic yet. Bounce back against the Jets last week and all will be forgiven.

4. Dallas Cowboys (6-2)

Last Week: 3

The Cowboys probably deserve a deeper dive in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings than this. But, luckily for them, many other teams around them had worse losses, or were on bye. Dak Prescott was outplayed by Teddy Bridgewater and their defense allowed the Broncos to put up 30 points. It was their highest point total of the season, and they’ve only scored 20 points once since September.

3. Green Bay Packers (7-2)

Last Week: 1

I’m not going to knock the Green Bay Packersdown in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings too hard for losing without their starting QB. However, I am going to knock them down for showing how screwed they are without Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers plays that game, they probably crush a still sloppy looking Chiefs team. But, Jordan Love didn’t look ready to lead this team. Hopefully Rodgers comes back for Seattle.

2. Tennessee Titans (7-2)

Last Week: 11

Alright, so maybe the Titans will be fine without Derrick Henry. I famously pushed them down in the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings due to losing the player I assumed their football team would live and die with. Well, they went out and dropped 28 points on the Rams before the Rams ever got their first touchdown. Derrick Henry? How about Adrian Peterson.

1. Arizona Cardinals (8-1)

Last Week: 4

How do you counteract losing to a heavily undermanned Green Bay Packers team in the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings? You go beat a team while being heavily undermanned yourself! The Cardinals handily took care of business this week without Kyler Murray or DeAndre Hopkins. They still put up 31 points and bullied a 49ers team that is desperately trying to claw its way into the playoff race.