Firstly I will start with an apology for not having these power rankings out last week. That was the plan but I ran out of time and before I new it Thursday Night Football was upon us. Now moving away from my mistakes to the NFL season itself. This season has generally been a fun one. Early in the season we had a lot of close games but that has reduced lately. Now just 44% of games are being decided by seven points. The reason for that is that we have seen just six games in total decided by that margin in the last two weeks. That has dropped the average from the verge of 50% after Week 8. We are starting to see a big split between the good and bad teams and that is showing.
However, this season has also seen the most points scored on average with teams averaging 24 points per game. It has been at times a wild season as I expect many more twists and turns down the stretch. So let’s now get onto the power rankings. Generally you are going to find that the teams currently occupying the playoff spots sit near the top of the rankings but that is not the case for everyone. I have tried to judge who I think are the best teams right now in a head-to-head game. Just because a team has beaten another does not immediately mean they will be ranked higher. I am trying to think about this based on games played on a neutral field.
1. New Orleans Saints (8-1)
Best Win: vs. Rams; Worst Loss: vs. Buccaneers
They are a juggernaut and lost a bizarre Week 1 games. They beat the Rams which is impressive but whether it would have been the same result in Los Angeles I am not sure. I really want them in the NFC championship game or Super Bowl because they are a lot of fun to watch.
2. Los Angeles Rams (9-1)
Best Win: vs. Chargers Worst Loss: @ Saints
I think if they play the game against the Saints in their stadium that they might still be unbeaten. They have a superb offense but the defense concerns me. They either need to step up on defense or be flawless on offense to stick with the Saints. A rematch of their game in the NFC championship game is the dream.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
Best Win: @ Steelers; Worst Loss: @ Patriots
If they had not made such a meal of the Cardinals they would be second. I just worry that good defenses might be able to figure them out. Long-term the issue is whether they can win a playoff game at home and break a concerning habit. However, this offense is amazing and I would love to see them face the Saints or Rams in the Super Bowl.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1)
Best Win: vs. Panthers; Worst Loss: vs. Ravens
Starting to round into shape as the season wears on. However, I am concerned that their best win is that Panthers game because it was Thursday Night Football where weird things happen. It does not feel like they have another statement win on their schedule right now. They also lost to a Ravens team that I do not think is good. Their game against the Patriots in a few weeks is their chances to lay down a marker and ensure they have a bye in the playoffs.
5. New England Patriots (7-3)
Best Win: vs. Chiefs; Worst Loss: @ Lions
They have had some disastrous losses this season but they have also had some incredible wins. Their offense is spluttering right now but no one is going to want to face them in January.
6. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)
Best Win: Loss @ Rams; Worst Loss: vs. Bills
It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks go. There is a lot of talent on this roster and they should be in the playoffs one way or another. However, getting to host the wildcard game in their stadium is much preferable to a cold trip to Chicago, Green Bay, Washington or Philadelphia.
7. Chicago Bears (6-3)
Best Win: vs. Seahawks; Worst Loss: @ Dolphins
They just have to keep doing what they have been doing so well lately. Hopefully Khalil Mack is now healthy and can wreak havoc. The Bears offense will splutter but in January they could will be a tough matchup in the wildcard weekend. However, I do not give them much shot in LA or New Orleans.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-3)
Best Win: vs. Ravens; Worst Loss: @ Redskins
They have not really beaten anyone of significance. Their entire season is going to be judged based on the last five weeks, when they face the Falcons, Buccaneers and Saints twice. All they have to do before that is stay in the hunt and give themselves a shot.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (7-2)
Best Win: Loss vs. Chiefs or @ Rams; Worst Loss: None
They have no embarrassing losses but they have no statement wins either. They need Joey Bosa back if they are to beat any of the big three in this conference.
10. Houston Texans (6-3)
Best Win: vs. Dolphins; Worst Loss: vs. Giants
A six game winning streak that feels a little dicey. They got extremely lucky against the Colts and now suddenly both the Titans and Colts have woken up. They have to win all their out of division games and must beat the Titans in the return match.
11. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
Best Win: @ Redskins; Worst Loss: vs. Texans
This offense is starting to fly and the defense is doing what it needs to. A couple of silly losses have really hurt them and now they need to be virtually perfect the rest of the way.
12. Green Bay Packers (4-4-1)
Best Win: vs. Bears or Loss @ Rams; Worst Loss: @ Lions
They have shot themselves in the foot a number of times. The disaster against the Lions and then fumbling the ball against the Patriots is the difference between 6-2-1 and their current record. Oh and there is the slight issue of that Clay Matthews hit against the Vikings which gave them the one in the tie column.
13. Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
Best Win: vs. Panthers; Worst Loss: @ Browns
Just when I thought they were getting it together they stumble in Cleveland. They cannot afford to lose another game and that will be tough. They have to travel to Green Bay, Carolina and New Orleans which will be tough but they need to win at least two and perhaps all three if they want a wildcard spot.
14. Tennessee Titans (5-4)
Best Win: vs. Patriots; Worst Loss: @ Bills
All of sudden the Titans are alive and kicking. No team has swung backwards and forwards as dramatically as this one. They started strong, completely crumbled and now they look good again. However, now they are three weeks away from the bye and have played their “Super Bowl” against the Patriots it will be interesting to see if they have a let-down game.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
Best Win: Loss vs. Vikings; Worst Loss: vs Panthers
This is getting ugly. They have no good wins and they have some embarrassing losses. Crumbling against the Panthers was a disaster and not shutting down a messy Cowboys team was a major problem. They are two games out of first place in the division and I am really not sure they can over turn in.
16. Seattle Seahawks (4-5)
Best Win: Loss @ Rams; Worst Loss: vs. Chargers.
Their best win is their two losses against the Rams and that is exactly the problem with this team. Their loss against the Chargers is a disaster because they had a chance to win that game and lay down a marker. They cannot afford to lose again this season.
17. Washington Redskins (6-3)
Best Win: vs. Panthers; Worst Loss: vs. Falcons
This will be the ugliest playoff team since the Titans last year. They have been devastated by the offensive line and receiving losses but they will fight on. Alex Smith will do what he has to and both he and Peterson will provide valuable veteran leadership.
18. Dallas Cowboys (4-5)
Best Win: @ Eagles; Worst Loss: vs. Titans
That was a good win against the Eagles and perhaps suddenly the loss to the Titans is not that bad. They have beaten bad teams and lost to good teams. Maybe they are not that bad…
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)
Best Win: @ Saints; Worst Loss: vs, Redskins
They just keep finding ways to lose games they should win. They have flip-flopped quarterbacks and now have no plan for the future. It is a real mess.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
Best Win: @ Falcons; Worst Loss: vs. Saints & @ Chiefs
They are crumbling thanks to injuries. The two losses to the Saints and Chiefs are just simply embarrassing and has shown jut how bad their defense is. However, they are possibly the team travelling to whoever doesn’t get a bye between the Patriots and Steelers and that tells you how bad the conference is.
21. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
Best Win: @ Steelers; Worst Loss: @ Panthers
They need a spark and his name might be Lamar Jackson.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)
Best Win: vs. Patriots; Worst Loss: @ Cowboys
They are done. They are now playing for pride and the chance to mess up other teams seasons.
23. Miami Dolphins (5-5)
Best Win: vs. Bears; Worst Loss: vs. Lions
Good job they stared 30 because since then they have fallen apart. They are in a complete mess and there is a real chance they do not win more than another couple of games, especially if Buffalo are suddenly able to play football again.
24. Arizona Cardinals (2-7)
Best Win: Loss @ Chiefs; Worst Loss: vs. Broncos
I do not think this team is terrible. They have a rookie quarterback so there are growing pains. However, they are showing flashes and they might make some teams flap down the stretch. They gave the Chiefs a real test and they should be extremely proud of it.
25. Cleveland Browns (3-6-1)
Best Win: vs. Falcons; Worst Loss: @ Oakland
Hopefully we can see what they have down the stretch. A strong finish to the season and some clear offensive plans for Mayfield would be really nice to see.
26. Denver Broncos (3-6)
Best Win: @ Cardinals; Worst Loss: @ Jets
They moved onto the future when they traded Thomas. They have interesting pieces but their quarterback is a problem and they do not have a solution on their roster.
27. Detroit Lions (3-6)
Best Win: vs. Patriots; Worst Loss: @ Vikings
I think Patricia is trying to build a culture but it is a hard process. They have a lot of issues on offense and their defense is leaking points. Once again they will watch the division scrap without them.
28. San Francisco 49ers (2-7)
Best Win: vs. Raiders; Worst Loss: vs. Cardinals
They look good in moments but their season died the moment Jimmy G went down.
29. New York Jets (3-7)
Best Win: vs. Colts; Worst Loss: vs. Bills
They got their butt handed to them by the Bills this week. However, they looked really good against what we can now see is a good Colts team just a few weeks ago. It looks like the coach might be gone and that will be a blessing.
30. New York Giants (1-7)
Best Win: @ Texans; Worst Loss: vs. Redskins
Eli Manning and a terrible offensive line have sunk this season.
31. Buffalo Bills (3-7)
Best Win: @ Vikings; Worst Loss: @ Colts
The last game was a massive improvement but this is a team with a serious lack of talent. They beat the Jets last time out because they got ahead early and held on. Having a competent quarterback helped but so did the Jets just completely sleeping through Week 10.
32. Oakland Raiders (1-8)
Best Win: vs. Browns; Worst Loss: @ 49ers
They have quit on this season. They have limited talent on either side of the ball and at this stage players are playing for jobs.
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