Thursday, December 9

NFL Power Rankings: Titans, Patriots, Cardinals Step Up; Cowboys, Bills and Raiders fade in week 10


Week 9 in the NFL was wild with a host of big upsets. Several upstarts surprised some strong favorites mid-season. That led to a major shakeup in Sporting News’ NFL power rankings this week.

From the top, the new No. 1 team is the former No. 1 team. Half of the first-place teams lost on Sunday. While the last general team was out, some other basement dwellers surprised.

Here you are trying to make sense of the madness that happened. Here’s how SN sees all the teams stacked against each other, 1-32, entering Week 10:

MORE: Who is the new AFC favorite after the shocking Week 9 losses of the Bills and Raiders?

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NFL Power Ratings

1. Arizona Cardinals 8-1 (previous rank: 2)

The Cardinals demonstrated their integrity as a team by destroying the 49ers without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. They turned their offense to hasty force with Colt McCoy and backed it up with a more active and aggressive defense. They keep giving reason to believe they have what it takes to keep it up and win the NFC with Kliff Kingsbury.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-2 (5)

The Buccaneers avoided the insanity by getting a much-needed goodbye as they hope to bounce back everywhere sometime in the second half. They are still in a great position to repeat as they got closer to winning the division with the Saints losing after beating them.

3. Tennessee Titans 7-2 (6)

The Titans again knocked down in a great spot against the Rams in prime time, building on their wins over the Chiefs and Bills. The defense put it all together for Mike Vrabel and the offense proved that it could be effective in different ways without Derrick Henry.

MORE: Rating Jordan Love’s Shaky First NFL Start

4. Green Bay Packers 7-2 (1)

The Packers practically guaranteed they would lose at Kansas City when Aaron Rodgers was ruled out. Their defense fought hard and they did their best to win with the running game, but the limitations of Jordan Love’s quarterback confirmed Rodgers’ indispensable presence. When I return, they will be well on their way with their NFC aspirations.

5. Baltimore Ravens 6-2 (9)

The Ravens came off a break with a slow start against the Vikings, but they got their offense and defense going, boosted by Lamar Jackson and his other leaders on the field for John Harbaugh. When Jackson takes over games like that, even a buggy one, it’s hard to beat.

6. Los Angeles Rams 7-2 (3)

The Rams had faced minor competition for several weeks and weren’t physically ready for the relentless Titans to beat them up and take the glare out of their offense. Matthew Stafford was behind for a significant span of play.

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7. Dallas Cowboys 6-2 (4)

What was that? The Cowboys were tied up by the Broncos with Dak Prescott looking rusty and the run defense dusted off. They were late because of a pot. Write it down to a bad day at the office. The Falcons will not be taken lightly next week.

8. Buffalo Bills 5-3 (7)

What was that? The Bills’ loss drew more attention for Josh Allen than fighting the other Josh Allen. But the rest of the offense went to the tank and could not reward more dominance of the defense. Allen, the quarterback, needs to get out of his midseason bad mood, fast.

9. Los Angeles Chargers 5-3 (13)

The Chargers once again had an electric and more versatile offense led by Justin Herbert. They also beefed up some things against the run and overcame secondary injuries in Philadelphia. That was a key rebounding victory for Brandon Staley’s team to return to first place in the AFC West.

MORE: What does the Cowboys’ shocking loss mean for the NFC 2021 playoff image?

10. Kansas City Chiefs 5-4 (11)

The Chiefs focused on the fundamentals of eliminating turnovers and costly penalties, and it worked, even though their offense didn’t revert to its old explosive ways with Patrick Mahomes. A landslide victory may have been just what they needed to raise defensive pop, knowing that a bigger offense was coming soon.

11. Las Vegas Raiders 5-3 (8)

Derek Carr and the offense looked sloppy after the break after a good start. Passing errors become more difficult to overcome in November in the elements. Maybe they got caught looking at the Chiefs next Sunday night.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers 4-3 (12)

The Steelers need to win Monday night to keep up with the Ravens and Browns and keep the idea of ​​sending the same three teams to the AFC playoffs again. Najee Harris and the running game will become a bigger factor down the stretch.

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13. New Orleans Saints 5-3 (10)

The Saints did as well as they could offensively with Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill. But his defense had a major disappointment against the Falcons after frustrating the Buccaneers. There should be more ups and downs in the second half to get a wild card.

14. Cleveland Browns 5-4 (16)

The Browns played the way the Browns were thought to be in 2021 with their running game beaten with Nick Chubb, the passing game dealing with Baker Mayfield and the defense cleaning up wire-to-wire for them. Maybe they’re ready for another great second half.

15. Cincinnati Bengals 5-4 (11)

The Bengals failed against the Jets and couldn’t recover with the Browns coming out throwing troublemakers on “The Jungle.” They went from being the best in Ohio to “oh no” in the second half with Joe Burrow.

MORE: Mac Jones charged with ‘foul’ play that injured Brian Burns

16. New England Patriots 5-4 (15)

The Patriots have gone from being ruled out to being alive in pursuit of the AFC playoffs. The running game and defense continue to grow in confidence combined, and in doing so, he’s lifting Mac Jones a little higher each week.

17. Denver Broncos 5-4 (21)

The Broncos rallied around talking that they would surrender in 2021 and put up a dominant defensive performance after Von Miller in Dallas. Let’s see if that ends up being a short-lived Vic Fangio respite or a stepping stone to a great second half.

18. Atlanta Falcons 4-4 (23)

The Falcons continue to reinvent themselves with Matt Ryan as needed for Arthur Smith, proving he is a goalkeeping coach. When his offense is moving to get everyone involved, he adds to discovering the Saints and their defense.

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19. Indianapolis Colts 4-4 (22)

The Colts have gotten over their tough schedule early to fight for .500, but after losing twice to the Titans, they need to think about the wild card with Carson Wentz. That’s tough, knowing there are so many teams ahead of them in the AFC.

20. Minnesota Vikings 3-5 (19)

The Vikings and close games don’t go well together, except for that trip to Carolina. Simply put, they can’t bring their offense, defense, and special teams together at the right time often, and that points to the coach and quarterback.

21. Seattle Seahawks 3-5 (17)

The Seahawks did not play and will somehow hope that Russell Wilson can return from his finger injury, just in time for a post-goodbye challenge against, presumably, a returning Rodgers and Packers. Otherwise, the winning streak will end and with it the playoff hopes will be dashed.

22. Carolina Panthers 4-5 (20)

The Panthers are a competitive team when you consider the defense and play of a healthy Christian McCaffrey. But dive into the Sam Darnold mess and often they don’t get a chance when they should.

23. San Francisco 49ers 3-5 (18)

The 49ers got George Kittle back. While that was a great help for the offense, many other things did not materialize, including Jimmy Garoppolo who again showed a sufficiently efficient game. The defensive wilting

24. Chicago Bears 3-5 (24)

The Bears go to Monday night’s game in Pittsburgh and quickly fade from the contest with rookie quarterback Justin Fields. Soon, Matt Nagy will be training rope in the second half.

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25. New York Giants 3-6 (27)

The Giants were once again giant killers at home, adding the Raiders to the roster after the Saints were shocked earlier. Daniel Jones worked to keep it clean and his defense came through. Don’t give up on Joe Judge and his staff just yet.

26. Philadelphia Eagles 3-6 (25)

The Eagles didn’t have enough finishing offense to beat the Chargers as the wrong buttons keep pushing offensively and defensively despite all the variety of talents. Jalen Hurts doesn’t leave the jury on him enough.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-6 (29)

The Jaguars scored their biggest win with Urban Meyer and they shouldn’t care that it was ugly at home (and not in London) with Josh Allen and the defense dominating Josh Allen and the offense.

28. New York Jets 2-6 (26)

The Jets did their best to find a backup quarterback spark with Josh Johnson following Mike White, but his defense was not good throughout the game against the Colts. Robert Saleh’s rookie roller coaster continues, but there have been more promising flashes.

29. Washington Soccer Team 2-6 (28)

Washington was trying to rest and get healthier to finish more respectably in the second half. There won’t be a repeat replay in the division, but Ron Rivera will hope to save face with much-needed help from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

30. Miami Dolphins 2-7 (30)

The Dolphins don’t get style points for scoring a second home win with Jacoby Brissett needing to start over at quarterback. But his defense has responded better to Brian Flores lately to look more like the 2020 form.

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31. Houston Texans 1-8 (31)

The Texans got Tyrod Taylor back, but that didn’t improve their chances of being competitive in Miami. He was caught trying to do too much when he didn’t need to with defense having his best game of the season.

32. Detroit Lions 0-8 (32)

The Lions picked the wrong week to be off since several bad teams were added to their win total. Will they create a winless separation as the worst team? The next back-to-back road trips to Pittsburgh and Cleveland are next on his schedule.




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