NFL Power Rankings: The Top Team Tumbles


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) after the game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins 36-7. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Finally there’s a shakeup at the top of this week’s NFL power Rankings as last week’s number one, and the number one team since the season began, lost on Sunday night. The Green Bay Packers who managed just 77 yards passing, Rodgers’ lowest ever in a complete game, lost to the Denver Broncos who managed to keep Rodgers under pressure for the entire game and also found an offensive spark from Peyton Manning. Manning was 21 of 29 passing for 340 yards. The Packers’ pass defense is a pretty good remedy for slumping quarterbacks.

Since the top team fell, that means a lot of teams shifted up a spot or two like the new number one team in the league, the New England Patriots. The Pats dispatched of the rising Dolphins last Thursday and get a nice long week to prepare for Washington. They may be safe at number one for a while.

Arizona and Minnesota both jumped an Atlanta team that lost to Tampa Bay in overtime. Atlanta’s offense has fallen off a bit recently. They scored 24+ points in each of their first five games and have yet to reach 24 points in the three games since (New Orleans, Tennessee and Tampa Bay). Those three games weren’t against particularly good defenses either.

At 4-3, the Rams are the lone outsider that jumped into the top ten, claiming the final spot and just edging out the Raiders, also 4-3. Count that among the sentences I didn’t expect to type this year…

And then there are the Lions. The most positive statement I can drum up for the Lions is at least they’ve avoided coming in dead last thanks to a Tennessee team currently relying on their backup quarterback. Now, no one should have expected the offense to magically turn things around in less than one week’s time, but the offense was still bad and the defense was worse. When Alex Smith can have his way with you, you are not a good football team. You can count me among those who thought the Lions were still a six win team just a week ago. However, I knew that if the Lions couldn’t beat the Chiefs, it would be a bad sign. When they went out and lost 45-10 to a bad Chiefs team, it became obvious to me that this team will struggle to win three games. The season is unsalvageable even from a building block standpoint. Short of some turnover flukes, this team has two winnable games left.

The biggest riser this week are the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have climbed back to an even record after a 1-4 start with wins over Atlanta, Indianapolis and this week’s absurd record-setting game against the Giants. The Saints moved up six spots from number 19 to number 13 and they are probably the most exciting team to watch in football at the moment. There’s still a lot to be desired from the defense, but they could be 7-4 by the time December arrives.

Our biggest drop this week came from the San Diego Chargers who dropped seven spots this week from 21 to 28. The Chargers were supposed to turn things around. The offense has been productive and they were dealt a tough hand with the early schedule, to put it mildly. I had them pegged as a team on the rise, just like New Orleans. Then they kept losing. At this point, the Chargers are just a bad team with two wins against the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns. A seemingly easy slate of games in the second half that includes matchups with Chicago, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Miami and Oakland looks more daunting than it did two weeks ago.

That about does it for the big movers and shakers in this week’s NFL power rankings, so without further ado:

47. When I looked over the Patriots’ schedule last week I thought this Miami game on a short week after playing the bruising Jets would at least be challenging. I was wrong. There are three road match ups left that New England could even possibly lose.. (7-0). Previous: . New England Patriots. 1. team

2. team. 56. Just like the Patriots, I thought the Bengals would be tested this week and they were. Ben Roethlisberger returned and the Steelers ended up having a chance to win the game at the end, but the Bengals got the stop they needed to remain undefeated. They get the Browns on Thursday night as a prize.. (7-0). Previous: . Cincinnati Bengals

45. Count this as another matchup I thought could’ve gone the other way. Boy was I wrong. The Broncos can get to the passer against anyone. Von Miller, Demarcus Ware, Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett have combined for 15 sacks from two positions. When your rotational guys can still get to the passer consistently, there are no breathers for opposing quarterbacks.. (7-0). Previous: . Denver Broncos. 3. team

The Panthers’ defense played lights out for three quarters and then ran out of gas. The offense fell flat too, forcing the defense back onto the field. The defense rose up to hold the Colts to a field goal in overtime, and the offense answered with a tying field goal. Keuchly intercepted Luck on the next drive and the Panthers won on another Graham Gano field goal. The Panthers just keep winning.. (6-0). Previous: . Carolina Panthers. 4. team. 87

team. 49. The Packers’ weaknesses were exposed against a Broncos team that could exploit them with their own strengths. The offensive line had their hands full with the Broncos pass rush and Denver was able to hold Green Bay to just 2 of 8 on third downs. Despite the loss, Green Bay is still one of the best teams in the league and certainly in the NFC.. (6-1). Previous: . Green Bay Packers. 5

6. team. 32. At 6-2, Arizona is 1.5 games up in the division with an important road matchup with Seattle coming up after their bye. They get to follow that game up with the Bengals the following week. A lot can be gained or lost for the Cardinals in the next three weeks.. (6-2). Previous: . Arizona Cardinals

60. It’s almost time for the Vikings to come back down to earth. Their 5-2 start came at the expense of teams like Chicago, Detroit, San Diego, Kansas City and San Francisco. The only truly good team they’ve played is the Broncos. Up next: The Rams, Raiders, Packers, Falcons, Seahawks and Cardinals.. (5-2). Previous: . Minnesota Vikings. 7. team

Previous: . Atlanta Falcons. 8. team. 44. What has happened to the Falcons? Since a 5-0 start, the Falcons are 1-2 since. The culprit? The offense. Since Atlanta’s hot start, the defense has actually improved in points per game allowed. Through the first five weeks, the defense allowed 23.8 points per game whereas the last three weeks the defense has allowed 20.3 points per game. On the other hand, the offense was averaging 31 points per game through the first five weeks. Since then, just 17.. (6-2)

30. The same Jets defense that gave up 30 points to New England gave up 34 points to Oakland. The defense gets a bit of a pass with the quarterback issues the offense is dealing with. Both Fitzpatrick and Smith ended up with injuries against the Raiders, meaning Bryce Petty may actually play on Sunday. The Jets may not be long for the top 10.. (4-3). Previous: . New York Jets. 9. team

10. team. 51. Do you remember the old children’s book <em>If You Give a Mouse a Cookie</em>? Here goes nothing: A successful Todd Gurley means the offense chews up clock. If the offense chews up clock, the defense can stay fresh. If the defense can stay fresh, the defense is good enough to stop their opponents.. (4-3). Previous: . St. Louis Rams

Before the season, I previewed every opponent on the Lions’ schedule. Raiders fans ate me alive when I said Oakland was good enough to get six wins.I thought they were crazy at the time, but perhaps they were on to something. There’s little reason to doubt the Raiders’ ability to get to 9 or more wins.. (4-3). Previous: . Oakland Raiders. 11. team. 28

Remember earlier when I said Arizona has a 1.5 game lead in the division? They’re actually up a full two games on the Seahawks. Seattle is in third place in the division, but after a 2-4 start, getting back to .500 by the halfway point is certainly a good sign. After their bye, they have three straight home games against Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh. They’ll have to win two of those or their backs will be against the wall.. (4-4). Previous: . Seattle Seahawks. 12. team. 36

15. The Saints are exciting right now. Their last three games have been must see tv and Brees and Manning combined to throw 13 touchdown passes last week. Fourteen if you count Brees’ pick six! Much like Seattle, there isn’t much room for error, but if they can win the games they should, the playoffs are a possibility.. (4-4). Previous: . New Orleans Saints. 13. team

31. Eli Manning’s numbers this past week: 30 of 41, 350 yards, 6 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. The Giants lost. Sometimes Sundays are just weird.. (4-4). Previous: . New York Giants. 14. team

55. Personally, I think the Steelers win that game against Cincinnati if Le’Veon Bell doesn’t get hurt. Still, Pittsburgh is 4-4 and a half game out of a wildcard spot with a healthy Big Ben back.. (4-4). Previous: . Pittsburgh Steelers. 15. team

54. The bye week came at the right time for the Eagles. There are some offensive kinks that needed to be worked out, namely Sam Bradford. He needs to figure it out.. (3-4). Previous: . Philadelphia Eagles. 16. team

Miami Dolphins. 17. team. 59. The Dolphins lost to the Patriots, but there’s still enough season left for the Dolphins to get into playoff contention. With their remaining schedule, they could win seven more games or they could lose seven more games.. (3-4). Previous:

Previous: . Indianapolis Colts. 18. team. 46. Despite the rain, the Colts managed to find their offense especially late in the game. After managing just 40 yards passing through the first three quarters and trailing by 17 with ten minutes left, the Colts figured things out with just enough time to be able to tie the game and force overtime. Unfortunately, their luck ran out when Luck threw an interception in Colts territory.. (3-4)

Buffalo Bills. 19. team. 16. It looks like Tyrod Taylor will be back this week. Will he be able to maintain his performance level from the beginning of the season? The Bills are counting on it in a division where they can finish in second if they play their best.. (3-4). Previous:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 21. team. 48. Jameis Winston is working through some growing pains and the last three weeks have shown his improvement in that regard. The Bucs are averaging over 30 points per game in that span, compared to less than 17 ppg in his first four.. (3-4). Previous:

124. The Chiefs have found their replacement for Jamaal Charles. Alex Smith rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown on just 5 carries! In all seriousness, Charcandrick West has put together consecutive respectable performances and Smith has looked good in their last two wins.. (3-5). Previous: . Kansas City Chiefs. 22. team

10. The Texans are 3-5 with their next three games against the Bengals, Jets and an improving Saints team. They’d be smart to just phone it in to secure a top draft pick and select a quarterback.. (3-5). Previous: . Houston Texans. 23. team

team. 123. Did you know the Cowboys are dead last in the worst division in the NFC? Luckily that means that at 2-5 they’re only a game and a half out of first place.. (2-5). Previous: . Dallas Cowboys. 24

52. The Jags are so close to being 4-3. They may not get to .500, but they can surprise a couple teams down the stretch if they’re overlooked.. (2-5). Previous: . Jacksonville Jaguars. 25. team

26. The Ravens have lost to good teams and they’ve lost to bad teams. All of their games have been one score affairs. All of them. Not all the time, but sometimes the difference between some games and some seasons are razor thin.. (2-6). Previous: . Baltimore Ravens. 26. team

(2-5). Previous: . Chicago Bears. 27. team. 57. Jay Cutler is quietly having a good year. He has a QB Rating of 87.5 and he’s passed for 8 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. Unfortunately, Cutler doesn’t cover punts or kick FGs. Minnesota returned a punt for a touchdown and Gould missed a 51 yard field goal attempt en route to a 23-20 victory over the Bears.

San Diego Chargers. 28. team. 13. The Chargers are looking past their opponents.The Raiders jumped out to a huge lead before San Diego made it close. The Chargers couldn’t stay ahead of the Ravens. Maybe they can get back on track against the Bears, but it’s too late to save the season.. (2-6). Previous:

Cleveland Browns. 29. team. 53. See: Houston Texans.. (2-6). Previous:

team. 42. Kaepernick and the offense have been playing so poorly the 49ers may actually play Blaine Gabbert. They also traded tight end Vernon Davis to the Broncos yesterday. You can assume they’re getting draft picks back.. (2-6). Previous: . San Francisco 49ers. 30

50. At this point, the question isn’t if heads will roll in Allen Park this offseason but how many. Will Caldwell survive? Mayhew? Lewand? The Lions may not win until Week 16. Get ready for mock draft season.. (1-7). Previous: . Detroit Lions. 31. team

32. team. 35. The Titans have lost six straight since they faced off against Tampa Bay in Week 1. At this point, the goal is to get Mariota healthy and get him experience to build on going into the offseason.. (1-6). Previous: . Tennessee Titans