Week 9 in the NFL provided plenty of “normalcy” and less unpredictability as favorites won most of the games. But that also meant some of the league’s best teams staved off big challenges to pad their resumes.
Sporting News’ latest power rankings ahead of Week 10 reflect just that. The more things change, the more things have stayed the same in line with what we’ve seen in the recent past.
Sporting News breaks down the latest look at the NFL pecking order, from the familiar best at No. 1 to a sorry worst at No. 32, with one entire division (the AFC North) residing in the top 10:
NFL power rankings Week 10
1. Philadelphia Eagles 8-1 (previous week: 1)
The Eagles were in a classic tough NFC East battle with the Cowboys but their offense struck the right balance and their pass rush and run defense up front saved their secondary. Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia keep flexing as reigning NFC champions.
2. Baltimore Ravens 7-2 (3)
The Ravens are doing their best to prove they’re the new team beat in the AFC with dominant defense and running game, not even needing too much from Lamar Jackson to roll opponents. John Harbaugh has done a great job meshing the team’s new versatile identity with the old-school successful foundation.
3. Kansas City Chiefs 7-2 (4)
The Chiefs’ offense isn’t a well-oiled machine between Patrick Mahomes’ passing and inconsistent running, especially when Travis Kelce is contained. But luckily, Chris Jones and the defense keep taking care of business.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-2 (2)
The Jaguars enjoyed a bye, the only thing that could completely keep them from building on their five-game winning streak. Jacksonville also is proving to be a complete NFC contender with Trevor Lawrence not totally in the groove yet.
5. Detroit Lions 6-2 (6)
The Lions were the other felines on a bye and can feel great about their chances to compete with the other NFC heavyweights in the second half and into the playoffs. But first they have work to do as the Vikings won’t go away.
6. Miami Dolphins 6-3 (5)
The Dolphins’ defense hung in there well to keep Mahomes and Kelce in check in Frankfurt, but the offense didn’t travel to Germany beyond Raheem Mostert and the running game. Tua Tagovailoa is still searching for that big win vs. a big team.
7. Cincinnati Bengals 5-3 (9)
The Bengals once again owned the Bills offensively and defensively with a fully healthy Joe Burrow at the helm and great scheming vs. Josh Allen. They’re all the way back as a Super Bowl threat.
8. San Francisco 49ers 5-3 (8)
The 49ers needed to regroup during their bye with the three-game losing streak caused by their pass rush not helping their offense and Brock Purdy making too many mistakes. They will hope Chase Young provides a Christian McCaffrey-like spark.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-3 (13)
The Steelers aren’t getting a dazzling offense, but they got their running game going and Kenny Pickett hung tough again to deliver in the fourth quarter. When you have T.J. Watt and the defense taking over, you don’t need much from the other side.
10. Cleveland Browns 5-3 (14)
The Browns got Deshaun Watson back from his shoulder injury and although he didn’t do a lot, he did enough to facilitate a running game and defense-fueled walkover. He needs to play much better with Jackson and the Ravens next.
11. Dallas Cowboys 5-3 (7)
The Cowboys went toe-to-toe with the Eagles and Dak Prescott was up to the challenge to duel with Hurts. But unfortunately, they had defensive breakdowns at the wrong time and that may continue to haunt them against the NFC powers.
12. Buffalo Bills 5-4 (10)
The Bills once again couldn’t figure out the Bengals as their defensive injuries keep costing them against better offensive teams. Allen is down to having little margin for error with less support.
13. Seattle Seahawks 5-3 (11)
The Seahawks ran into a buzzsaw against angrier birds in Baltimore. They’re still strong in terms of the weaker NFC playoff picture, but they simply don’t have the firepower with Geno Smith to hang when their defense wilts.
14. Minnesota Vikings 5-4 (15)
How about Josh Dobbs? They didn’t start him, but he sure did finish off the Falcons to keep their momentum going without Kirk Cousins. They’re right back in the thick of the NFC wild-card race and still have two left with the Lions in the final three games.
15. New Orleans Saints 5-4 (16)
The Saints have come full circle as default NFC South favorites and can keep taking advantage of a very favorable schedule for what’s now a very diverse offense with Derek Carr and Taysom Hill taking turns.
16. Houston Texans 4-4 (21)
C.J. Stroud is the clear leader for offensive rookie of the year as easily the best of the QBs and with Puka Nacua cooling off and Sam LaPorta not being higher profile. The Texans can feel good about chasing a wild card if they can stay consistent. A fun former Ohio State QB duel with Burrow is up next.
17. Los Angeles Chargers 4-4 (19)
The Chargers have bolted back to life and got Justin Herbert to come through again vs. a much tougher defense on the road Monday night vs. the Jets.
18. New York Jets 4-4 (12)
The Jets saw their three-game winning streak come to a screeching halt on Monday night as their offense suddenly went into the tank and gave their defense absolutely no support. That can’t happen too much more.
19. Indianapolis Colts 4-5 (22)
The Colts are also hanging in there behind the Jaguars and Texans in the division. After losing two tough ones at home to the Browns snd Saints at home, they got well offensively and defensively in Carolina. They have a great shot at .500 with the AFC-worst Patriots in Germany next.
20. Atlanta Falcons 4-5 (17)
The Falcons made a QB change but the offensive results didn’t change minus Drake London. The running game was again not reliable with Bijan Robinson not being put in position to succeed and teh defense again seemed lost at key times vs. run and pass. Put Arthur Smith on the hot seat now.
21. Washington Commanders 4-5 (23)
The Commanders can fare well with Sam Howell is comfortable enough to make plays downfield. Credit their defense for rallying well to win in New England despite the loses of Young and Montez Sweat on the pass rush.
22. Las Vegas Raiders 4-5 (26)
As most expected, the Raiders looked like a rejuvenated, much happier team without Josh McDaniels coaching them. They started rookie Aidan O’Connell, but it didn’t even matter with the defense and running game so determined to dominate the reeling Giants together at home.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-5 (18)
The Buccaneers’ defense is falling apart with no pass rush and key coverage injuries. That’s destroying the offense, which is now finally feeling it with the running and passing to boost Baker Mayfield. They need to get well vs. the Titans at home, stat.
24. Denver Broncos 3-5 (24)
The Broncos decided not to sell, keeping key pieces after the trade deadline ahead of their midseason bye. Denver is hoping to still make a late-developing playoff run with Russell Wilson, but a gauntlet of Buffalo, Minnesota, Cleveland and Houston make up the next four games.
25. Green Bay Packers 3-5 (27)
The Packers didn’t really need to do much with Jordan Love to stop their losing skid, thanks to Aaron Jones looking more like his usual self and the defense not needing to worry much vs. the Rams’ backup QB. The Steelers aren’t great for Love coming up next, however.
26. Los Angeles Rams 3-6 (20)
The Rams, after showing some fight and overachieving on both sides of the ball, are in danger of free-falling again in the NFC West under Sean McVay. They badly will need Matthew Stafford to save face after the bye.
27. Tennessee Titans 3-5 (25)
The Titans are getting more life offensively with Will Levis and DeAndre Hopkins, while Derrick Henry keeps pounding away. But they are showing more defensive liabilities and Levis can still be a overwhelmed rookie in tougher spots.
28. New England Patriots 2-7 (28)
The Patriots showed signs of more offensive life with the running game dominating and a new mix of needed receivers making some plays. Unfortunately, their work and the grinding defense weren’t enough with Mac Jones making one too many mistakes again.
29. Chicago Bears 2-7 (29)
Tyson Bagent has flashed but the exposure is happening now for the undrafted rookie, especially on the road. The end of the line probably coming, but is it also over for Justin Fields? Thursday vs. the Panthers at home will tell a lot.
30. New York Giants 2-7 (30)
The Giants have lost two quarterbacks after seeing better health on the offensive line, receiving corps and backfield. Tommy DeVito and Saquon Barkley can’t win games together alone especially with the defense not being reliable.
31. Carolina Panthers 1-7 (31)
Bryce Young went from looking pretty good in his first win (vs. Stroud, no less) to completely breaking down with his worst rookie performance vs. the Colts. The jury is still out, but he can change the narrative quickly in prime time in Chicago.
32. Arizona Cardinals 1-8 (32)
The Cardinals need to play Kyler Murray to save face because the broken record of Clayton Tune is a sad song. The rest of the season still should have some intrigue to see if they keep holding on to the No. 1 overall pick in 2024.
Source : ESPN.com