The NFL hierarchy looked pretty clear last week, or so we thought.
Entering Week 10, it looked like the New England Patriots once again had risen to the top of the AFC after ripping off six straight wins. Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case, as the Pats went down to Nashville and got dump-trucked by the surging Titans. Tennessee appears to be hitting its stride with a fully healthy Marcus Mariota, while the Patriots will enter their bye week wondering what it will take to fix their broken offense.
With 10 weeks of action now in the books, here?s how we’re ranking every NFL team from No. 1 to No. 32. (For our Week 10 power rankings, click here.)
1. New Orleans Saints (8-1; Last week’s rank: 1): Many thought the Saints were primed for a letdown in Week 10 following their huge win over the Los Angeles Rams. That was far from the case, however, as Drew Brees and Co. eviscerated the Cincinnati Bengals 51-14, leaving no doubt they are the NFL’s top team.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1; 3): Kansas City was unimpressive in a 26-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Next up for the Chiefs: a Week 11 date with the Rams in Mexico City.
3. Los Angeles Rams (9-1; 4): After suffering their first loss of the season in Week 9, the Rams got back on the horse with a 36-31 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately, LA lost a big weapon in the win, as wide receiver Cooper Kupp is out for the season with a torn ACL.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1; 5): The Steelers blasted the Carolina Panthers in Week 10, hanging 52 on Ron Rivera’s club to show they’ve truly hit their stride. Pittsburgh’s red-zone offense, which was a travesty early on, now ranks first in the NFL with a success rate of 78.57 percent. Le’Veon Bell reportedly isn’t expected to report by Tuesday’s deadline, but it doesn’t seem like the Steelers will miss him all that much.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (7-2; 6): Make it six in a row for the Chargers, who rolled over the hapless Oakland Raiders in Week 10. As long as Philip Rivers remains healthy and upright, LA is a Super Bowl contender.
6. New England Patriots (7-3; 2): New England’s six-game winning streak came to a screeching halt Sunday at Nissan Stadium when the Titans stomped the Patriots 34-10. The Patriots’ offense hasn’t been good for almost a month now. Is it a blip or a sign that Tom Brady finally is becoming mortal?
7. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1; 8): Who is the class of the NFC North? We’ll find out Sunday night when the Vikings exit their bye to visit Soldier Field and the division-leading Chicago Bears.
8. Chicago Bears (6-3; 9): If the Bears want people to really believe in them then Mitchell Trubisky is going to have to outplay Kirk Cousins on “Sunday Night Football.” Or, the Bears’ defense could just suffocate the Vikings with a dominant pass rush. Yeah, that works, too.
9. Houston Texans (6-3; 11): Houston hasn’t lost since Week 3, rattling off six wins in a row to take control of the AFC South. In order for the Texans to hold on and win the division, quarterback Deshaun Watson will need to develop chemistry with newly-acquired wideout Demaryius Thomas, who is filling the shoes of the injured Will Fuller.
10. Carolina Panthers (6-3; 8): Carolina was blown off the field by the Steelers last Thursday, but the Panthers get an opportunity to get back in the win column in Week 11 when they travel to Detroit to face the hapless Lions.
11. Washington Redskins (6-3; 13): The NFC East is a dumpster fire this season and it looks like the Redskins might be the lone team to make it out alive.
12. Green Bay Packers (4-4-1; 14): Green Bay steadied itself with a 31-12 stomping of the Miami Dolphins, but a loss to the Seahawks on “Thursday Night Football” might spell the end of their playoff hopes.
13. Tennessee Titans (5-4; 17): Mariota and Co. beat the brakes off the Patriots last Sunday to pull within a game of the Texans in the AFC South. The Titans’ offense has looked like a different unit over the past two games, which coincided with Mariota’s ulnar nerve injury healing during the bye week.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4; 10): The Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Monday, but it’s unlikely the move fixes Cincy’s historically bad unit.
15. Dallas Cowboys (4-5; 20): Dallas temporarily saved its season with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles, but they’ll face another de facto elimination game in Week 11 against the Atlanta Falcons. How long can Jason Garrett’s club stay alive in the playoff hunt?
16. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5; 12): The defending champions have been playing like a bunch of players who won the lottery last season and lucked into a title. After a 27-20 loss to the Cowboys, the Eagles’ season is on life support.
17. Indianapolis Colts (4-5; 23): Andrew Luck is back to his old ways and Frank Reich’s offense has been lethal over the past month. A stiff test against the Titans’ stingy defense awaits in Week 11.
18. Seattle Seahawks (4-5; 16): For the second time this season, the Seahawks went toe-to-toe with the Rams and came up short. The loss puts Seattle in a must-win situation against the Packers in Week 11.
19. Atlanta Falcons (4-5; 15): After tallying three wins in a row to get back to .500, the Falcons got torched by Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. The Falcons are going to have to string together wins over the next few weeks or else their playoff dreams will evaporate.
20. Miami Dolphins (5-5; 18): The Dolphins stink.
21. Cleveland Browns (3-6-1; 25): Mayfield ripped apart the Falcons in Week 10, going 17-for-20 for 216 yards and three touchdowns. Cleveland, you have your QB.
22. Baltimore Ravens (4-5; 19): Baltimore hasn’t won a game in 29 days, but Lamar Jackson could be the cure for what ails them. With Joe Flacco nursing a hip injury, there’s a chance the rookie QB gets the nod Sunday against the Bengals.
23. Detroit Lions (3-6; 21): Woof.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6; 22): It was fun while it lasted.
25. Denver Broncos (3-6; 24): Does Denver have anything left in the tank?
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6; 26): The Bucs play the New York Giants in Week 11 and not one person should be watching.
27. Arizona Cardinals (2-7; 28): Josh Rosen continues to improve and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has rediscovered how to use David Johnson. Fantasy owners, rejoice!
28. New York Giants (2-7; 30): Eli Manning engineered a game-winning drive to knock off Nick Mullens and the San Francisco 49ers. *golf clap*
29. San Francisco 49ers (2-8; 29): So, which team is going to overpay to get Mullens this offseason?
30. Buffalo Bills (3-7; 31): It turns out there was a quarterback other than Nathan Peterman for the Bills to play. Matt Barkley threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo’s 41-10 thrashing of the New York Jets to push Todd Bowles closer to the unemployment line.
31. New York Jets (3-7; 27): You can’t lose to Barkley and the Bills by 31 and expect to be ranked anywhere other than the graveyard.
32. Oakland Raiders (1-8; 32): We bet Jon Gruden misses the “Monday Night Football” booth right about now.