NFL Power Rankings: And Then There Were Three


Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) walks off the field after the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Denver 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s NFL power rankings have more shuffling in the top ten as the Broncos, fresh off handing Green Bay their first loss of the season, also suffered their first loss at the hands of Andrew Luck and the Colts. Green Bay lost for the second consecutive week to an undefeated team this week in the Carolina Panthers, moving them further down the rankings. The newcomer this week is the number ten New York Giants who have been seemingly scoring at will lately. They join their stadium bunk mates, the Jets, to round out the top ten.

One interesting note is that the Minnesota Vikings continue to climb the rankings, jumping the Packers this week to become the highest ranked team in the NFC North. The Vikings haven’t beaten any stiff competition to date, but then again, neither have the Packers.

Atlanta holds steady at number eight despite losing their third contest in four weeks largely because of their hot start. At 6-3, there are still only seven teams with better records than the Falcons. While they’re still in position for a wildcard spot, Atlanta has a serious issue to work out with an offense that is averaging less than 17 points per game since their 5-0 start.

The Lions in Wisconsin: Analyzing the streak

As for the Lions, the bye week wasn’t enjoyed by everyone. Last week, owner Martha Ford fired GM Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand. The search for replacements has already begun and there will be much to discuss regarding potential suitors in the coming months. As for the actual football side of things, the Lions are the only team with just a single win and they come off the bye playing the Packers in Lambeau. Things are going to get a lot uglier before they get better. An optimistic fan might look at the remaining schedule and see four more winnable games. I think the reality is probably closer to two. The Lions are almost certainly going to have a top five pick in this year’s draft and if they finish just 3-13, they may be in the running for the top pick overall.

Would a new GM use that pick as an opportunity to draft a quarterback that fits their new scheme or would they rather trade down from the top pick in order to accumulate multiple first round selections? With a new GM, teams may not be willing to risk waiting behind them. Then again, there needs to be a “sure fire, can’t miss” prospect at the top of the draft that teams are willing to trade up for. Either way, with the new rookie pay scale in effect, the number one pick would certainly be the best situation the Lions have been in from a draft stand point ever. Remember, the Lions’ three most expensive players in 2014 were among the last to sign rookie deals under the old CBA. Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh signed three of the five richest rookie contracts ever. Under the new CBA, the Lions would be able to get top talent and still have cap space to build on in Free Agency.

This week’s biggest riser is San Francisco. The 49ers moved up six spots from 30 to 24 and looked surprisingly competent on offense given that Blaine Gabbert started. The Jacksonville reject had a perfectly average day and the defense managed to stymie the Falcons rushing attack en route to the 17-16 upset. It seems apparent now that teams have solved the Atlanta offense. At 3-6, the 49ers are the best of the worst, vaulting over the many teams knotted at 2-6.

Our biggest drop this week came from New Orleans who fell five spots from 13 to 18. The Saints lost an overtime thriller against the Titans, who had quarterback Marcus Mariota back from his knee sprain. It’s clear that the Saints cannot stop anyone defensively, and that’s likely going to cost them more games down the line. They’ll have a chance to get back over .500 before their matchup with Carolina December 6th.

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

The Patriots dispatched of Washington and now must travel to the Meadowlands to take on a red hot Giants offense. They’ll be counting on Brady to go toe to toe with Eli.. (8-0). Previous: . New England Patriots. 1. team. 47

team. 56. The Bengals get a long week going from a Thursday night contest to a Monday night one. They host the Texans and should be heading toward 9-0.. (8-0). Previous: . Cincinnati Bengals. 2

Carolina Panthers. 3. team. 87. The Panthers beat the Packers behind a 24 point 2nd quarter. With a road win in Seattle and back to back wins against the Colts and Packers over their last four games, Carolina has silenced any doubters. They play 5 of their next 7 on the road, but may be able to clinch a playoff spot by Thanksgiving.. (8-0). Previous:

45. Denver finally lost but don’t feel bad. They still have two match ups with the Chargers plus contests with the Chiefs and Bears. The division is theirs.. (7-1). Previous: . Denver Broncos. 4. team

(6-2). Previous: . Arizona Cardinals. 5. team. 32. It’s amazing how many bad teams the Cardinals have played. They travel to Seattle in their next game and follow that up with the Bengals at home so we should find out just how good they are soon.

60. Teddy Bridgewater took a cheap shot that knocked him out on Sunday and may not be able to play in Oakland this week. That’s unfortunate since they just moved into first place in the NFC North after Green Bay’s second consecutive loss. Hopefully Bridgewater is ok. The Vikings defense is built to stop the Packers and this could be their year.. (6-2). Previous: . Minnesota Vikings. 6. team

(6-2). Previous: . Green Bay Packers. 7. team. 49. Their last two games against the Broncos and Panthers have them looking human. Green Bay gets a bit of a respite with Detroit up next on the calendar. That should be what they need to get back on track before a matchup with Minnesota that will determine first place in the North.

8. team. 44. No one seems to be talking about how bad the Falcons offense is. Memories of Devonta Freeman touchdowns must still be fresh in their minds. The Falcons have a full blown offensive crisis on their hands. If the Saints can get back to winning (or play some defense), the Falcons may find themselves on the outside looking in when January rolls around.. (6-3). Previous: . Atlanta Falcons

(5-3). Previous: . New York Jets. 9. team. 30. Sometimes the Jets look really good and sometimes they look inept. That applies to both the offense and the defense. The defense is giving up almost 27 points per game in their last four.

Previous: . New York Giants. 10. team. 31. Unlike their big apple buddies, the Giants are all offense. The G-Men are averaging 36 points in their last three, plus Jason Pierre-Paul returned to action. I give his performance 7.5 out of 10.. (5-4)

11. team. 55. The Steelers got back in the win column on Sunday, but Roethlisberger was injured again. His foot sprain should keep him out a couple weeks which means the onus will be placed on the defense along with Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams to score points.. (5-4). Previous: . Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks. 12. team. 36. After a rough start, the Hawks are back to .500 and rested after their bye. The offensive line is still a serious concern, but Seattle is in a pretty good position to compete for a playoff spot.. (4-4). Previous:

St. Louis Rams. 13. team. 51. The Rams seem destined for 8 or 9 wins. Whether or not that will be enough to make the playoffs is yet to be seen, but I wouldn’t count on it. In order to get to 10 wins, the Rams will have to beat either the Bengals, Cardinals or Seahawks. That’s a tall order.. (4-4). Previous:

Oakland Raiders. 14. team. 28. The Raiders are 4-4 with three of their losses by one score. There are still 3 to 5 wins left on the schedule. That’s a successful season by any measure for a team many thought were still a couple years away from being competitive.. (4-4). Previous:

team. 54. I’d say the bye week was what the Eagles needed to get back on track, but at this point I’m pretty sure the Eagles are just going to be a roller coaster ride all season. Don’t bet any money on Philly.. (4-4). Previous: . Philadelphia Eagles. 15

16. With Taylor back under center, the Bills made light work of the Dolphins. If the defense can gel, they might be able to string some wins together.. (4-4). Previous: . Buffalo Bills. 16. team

46. The Colts are like James Bond. “Why won’t you die?!” After the Colts were extremely lucky to even get three wins, Luck suddenly looked like his old self against the guy he replaced. The Spectre of their awful start may be in the past.. (4-5). Previous: . Indianapolis Colts. 17. team

15. I was counting on the Saints to keep winning so I’d look like a genius. The defense is still so bad. They’re still the most entertaining team in the league right now.. (4-5). Previous: . New Orleans Saints. 18. team

Miami Dolphins. 19. team. 59. The Dolphins need to run the ball more. Lamar Miller rushed just 12 times against the Bills. That’s how the Dolphins were built to win.. (3-5). Previous:

team. 124. The Chiefs will be well rested after the bye and Alex Smith is playing some good football right now. Well, running the ball at least.. (3-5). Previous: . Kansas City Chiefs. 20

Houston Texans. 21. team. 10. The Texans aren’t any good and they need a quarterback. They’ll travel to Cincinnati to lose to the Bengals and follow that up with games against the Jets and Saints. Time to talk draft, and they’re aiming for a top 5 pick.. (3-5). Previous:

22. team. 57. The Bears are scoring points and getting to the passer. They are by no means a perfect team, but those two things can cover up a lot of insufficiencies.. (3-5). Previous: . Chicago Bears

48. The remaining schedule isn’t that daunting but the Bucs just aren’t good enough to get more than a couple more wins.. (3-5). Previous: . Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 24. team

42. Blaine Gabbert: NFL winning quarterback. What a time to be alive.. (3-6). Previous: . San Francisco 49ers. 25. team

The Cowboys aren’t officially done, but I’m calling it. Time of death: whatever time you’re reading this. Even if Romo could manage to play, they’d have to win out just to have a shot at a playoff spot. They could try to win the division but they’re currently in last place, 2.5 games out of first place with a 2-2 division record.. (2-6). Previous: . Dallas Cowboys. 26. team. 123

team. 52. The Jags are 2-6 and could win their next four. They play the Titans twice, the Chargers and the Ravens. I doubt they will, but they certainly can. 6-10 finish means drafting in the top 10 but a 4 win season means a top 5 pick.. (2-6). Previous: . Jacksonville Jaguars. 27

The Ravens will get to 6 wins. Harbaugh stays in Baltimore.. (2-6). Previous: . Baltimore Ravens. 28. team. 26

35. This is the perfect time for Mariota to get some experience. Hopefully he can stay healthy because he’s shown a lot of promise on the field.. (2-6). Previous: . Tennessee Titans. 29. team

13. I feel so bad for the Chargers. They just can’t win. Like, metaphorically and literally. Monday night was their fifth straight loss by one score.. (2-7). Previous: . San Diego Chargers. 30. team

team. 53. The only team besides Detroit with 7 losses.They’re going to want a quarterback with their top pick, even after drafting Manziel.. (2-7). Previous: . Cleveland Browns. 31

I’m sure if you asked Lions fans before the season if they would be ok being the worst team in the league as long as Detroit won in Lambeau, they’d all say yes. Right? Right?! Guys??<p>With a terribly disappointing season, a win in Lambeau would certainly be a little silver and honolulu blue lining.</p>. (1-7). Previous: . Detroit Lions. 32. team. 50