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NFL Power Rankings

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer

By Paul Cifonelli

Wed, Nov 14th 2018 02:00 pm
  1. Los Angeles Rams (8-1)- A loss to the second-best team in the NFC, the Saints, is not going to stop the Rams. Adding DE Dante Fowler Jr. will help the defense, even though it looked porous against a potent Saints offense. Look for QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley to continue carrying the NFL’s most dominant team.

  2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)- QB Patrick Mahomes is unreal. There is simply no other way to put it. Adding RB Kareem Hunt, WR Tyreek Hill, and TE Travis Kelce to his repertoire makes him borderline unstoppable. The offense could help any team overcome the defense’s shortcomings.

  3. New England Patriots (7-2)- QB Tom Brady has continued his dominance over the NFL into his 40s. Handing the Chiefs its only defeat, while also defeating the resurgent Bears makes up for the two early losses. RBs Sony Michel and James White have been solid all season, while WR Julian Edelman’s return has sparked the receiving corps.

  4. New Orleans Saints (7-1)- Rounding out the clear four best teams in the NFL, the Saints are the real deal. Handing QB Drew Brees one good running back is scary, but two is unfair. RBs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, grouped with WR Michael Thomas, helps the explosive offense hang big numbers almost every week.

  5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1)- After a rough start, the Steelers have righted the ship, just as everyone predicted. QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown have been consistent as always. RB James Connor not only provides a great feel-good story, but has made Le’Veon Bell’s absence rather irrelevant, which is not easy to do.

  6. Carolina Panthers (6-2)- QB Cam Newton has this team in the mix for a top seed in the NFC playoffs. If only it weren’t for the Saints. RB Christian McCaffrey leads the team in all-purpose yards, by a lot. LB Luke Kuechly has continued to be one of the best linebackers in the game, despite nagging injuries.

  7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-2)- This is the best team that nobody ever talks about. The Chargers, led by QB Phillip Rivers, have had yet another hot start to the season. WR Keenan Allen is the only other consistent contributor on offense, while S Derwin James and LB Melvin Ingram have stepped up with DE Joey Bosa out.

  8. Houston Texans (6-3)- After starting the season 0-3, the Texans have come roaring back into the playoff picture. Six straight wins will help that. After adding WR Demaryius Thomas to WR DeAndre Hopkins, QB Deshaun Watson has plenty of targets. DE J.J. Watt, S Tyrann Mathieu and LB Zach Cunningham lead a stingy defense.

  9. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)- QB Kirk Cousins was supposed to be the player to push the Vikings over the edge this season. WR Adam Thielen has been the best in the business, but the offense can’t consistently figure it out. S Harrison Smith and DE Danielle Hunter have kept the defense elite with DE Everson Griffen out.

  10. Chicago Bears (5-3)- While destroying the Bills is no accomplishment nowadays, it’s how they did it that is impressive. The defense created turnovers without LB Khalil Mack. QB Mitchell Trubisky and RBs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen woke the offense up after the turnover. This happens almost every week, except Mack normally plays.

  11. Washington Redskins (5-3)- How the Redskins are the best team in the NFC East seems to be a big question. QB Alex Smith and RB Adrian Peterson have silenced doubters as they have been largely responsible for the hot start. Adding S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the defense will help a lot, especially once he gets situated.

  12. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)- What version of the Bengals will show up the rest of the season? If it includes the offense that has QB Andy Dalton looking like an All-Pro and RB Joe Mixon running amuck, then they will be fine. Otherwise, it could get ugly. Having WR A.J. Green and LB Vontaze Burfict back will swing things towards the former.

  13. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)- While the record may not warrant this spot, the defense definitely does. Veterans like S Eric Weddle and LBs Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley are littered throughout the defense, and all of them are healthy and contributing. If only QB Joe Flacco could retain his Super Bowl form.

  14. Green Bay Packers (3-4-1)- QB Aaron Rodgers will keep this team competitive no matter who he has around him. Trading Clinton-Dix and RB Ty Montgomery are curious moves for a contender, making this Rodgers’ worst supporting cast in a long time, if not ever. The next few games will tell a lot about this group’s makeup.

  15. Miami Dolphins (5-4)- Somehow the Dolphins keep winning. QB Brock Osweiler has been solid, and that’s it. The RB tandem of Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake have kept the offense afloat. DE Cameron Wake is still sacking quarterbacks and LB Kiko Alonso has been solid yet again. QB Ryan Tannehill’s return to the lineup will come with open arms.

  16. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)- The defending champions behind two teams with losing records? QB Carson Wentz has been inconsistent since his return. WR Alshon Jeffrey has also missed time and RB Jay Ajayi is out for the season. The much-hyped defense has been a slight letdown, but LB Jordan Hicks has been a tackling machine.

  17. Seattle Seahawks (4-4)- This team does not have a ton of skill on paper, yet they are in every game and have won half of them. It helps that QB Russell Wilson is god-like most of the time, but RB Chris Carson and WR Tyler Lockett have been the only other consistent offensive players. The defense has been awesome, as always.

  18. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)- The injuries on the defensive side are too big to ignore. LB Deion Jones and S Keanu Neal are too important to be missing. DE Takkarist McKinley has stepped up when needed. With RB Devonta Freeman out, Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith have stepped up. Lastly, it took WR Julio Jones 9 weeks to score a touchdown.

  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)- After a 3-0 start people were proclaiming this team Super Bowl dark horses. Two quarterback changes later, Ryan Fitzpatrick is back in charge of a team on the downturn. DE Jason Piere-Paul has finally found his pre-injury form again.

  20. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5)- The recent losing skid has shut CB Jalen Ramsey’s mouth. The NFL’s most cocky team has quickly had to become the quietest. DEs Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell have five sacks a piece. QB Blake Bortles, however, is as shaky as ever.

  21. Dallas Cowboys (3-5)- This is such an odd team. One week, QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliot look like they’re rookies again. Another week, it looks like a team without a #1 wide receiver. Hopefully WR Amari Cooper is worth that first-round pick.

  22. Denver Broncos (3-6)- QB Case Keenum has not been as good as he was in 2017 but has been very respectable. LB Von Miller and DE Bradley Chubb form arguably the best 1-2 punch on defense in the NFL. Also, RB Phillip Lindsay has proven to be quite the revelation for Denver.

  23. Detroit Lions (3-6)- This season epitomizes QB Matthew Stafford’s career. The yardage numbers are gaudy, but the results simply aren’t there. Trading away WR Golden Tate will not help the offense. After believing it had a true starting running back in Kerryon Johnson, he has taken a step back in recent weeks.

  24. Tennessee Titans (4-4)- QB Marcus Mariota simply can’t figure it out. He finally has a head coach with a playbook that works with his style of play but it still underwhelming. It may be time to admit that Mariota is the offense’s problem.

  25. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)- QB Andrew Luck has picked up right where he left off. He throws for a ton of yards but has a very weak supporting cast. The Colts deploy three running backs and its top receiver is TE Eric Ebron. On a bright note, LB Darius Leonard tackles anything that moves.

  26. Cleveland Browns (2-6-1)- This team is competitive almost every week. The loss to the Chargers was the lone blowout loss. QB Baker Mayfield has not been bad, just not good enough to win games. DE Myles Garret is a stud and CB Denzel Ward is a star in the making.

  27. New York Jets (3-6)- The Jets seem to have lost all of its luster recently. QB Sam Darnold is experiencing some rookie struggles while RB Isaiah Crowell has carried the offense to most of its points. S Jamal Adams has been vocal about losing, which may be a sign of locker room tension.

  28. San Francisco 49ers (2-7)- All hail Nick Mullens. While the undrafted free agent is not a savior, he had a mighty impressive first start. For entertainment’s sake, hopefully Mullens makes this offense dynamic for the rest of the season. Otherwise there will be two teams stinking up the bottom of the NFC West.

  29. Arizona Cardinals (2-6)- Enter the second team stinking up the bottom of the NFC West. QB Josh Rosen has proven his doubters correct to this point. He can’t get this team to win. And who knows if CB Patrick Peterson wants to be in Arizona or not.

  30. New York Giants (1-7)- It almost doesn’t seem possible this team is so bad again. With RB Saquon Barkley and WR Odell Beckham Jr., this should be a top offense in the NFL. Sadly, QB Eli Manning just doesn’t have it anymore. Enter Kyle Lauletta?

  31. Buffalo Bills (2-6)- The Bills simply do not have a chance to win when Nathan Peterman is the quarterback. He may be the worst ever, while his receivers and offensive line are awful. The defense has not replicated last year’s success either.

  32. Oakland Raiders (1-7)- Jon Gruden looks to be the worst general manager/coach in professional sports history right now. He took a team with possible playoff talent and traded the best players. The players he did keep are just not that good. Gruden’s claims of players wanting to play for the Raiders just doesn’t seem likely right now.