In the National Football League, it’s all about the ability to survive each week. Just after the midseason mark, contenders are beginning to state their claims on a postseason spot. An impressive performance on Sunday night means someone rises while another drops on our ranking. A bit of a wrinkle this week as we’ll also list the bottom five teams in the NFL. Without further adieu, here are the NFL Power Rankings.
32. Cincinnati Bengals
31. Washington Redskins
30. Miami Dolphins
29. New York Jets
28. Atlanta Falcons
Looking for the Open Seat
Indianapolis Colts (5-3; -2), Carolina Panthers (5-3; +2), Los Angeles Rams (5-3; -1)
A missed field goal from Adam Vinatieri dropped the Colts out of the top-10. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett left early with an injury. Brian Hoyer kept Indianapolis in the game, although he did throw a back-breaking pick-six. Carolina got back into gear after a drubbing in Santa Clara. Christian McCaffrey finished with 146 yards and two scores in the victory against the Titans. The Rams enjoyed a bye week as they prepare for the stretch run.
No. 10 – Dallas Cowboys (5-3; +3)
The NFC East needs to stop appearing on Monday night football for the near future. Dallas used a strong second half to dispatch of the rival Giants. The Cowboys received three field goals from the kicker, Brett Maher, in addition to a defensive score off a fumble. Dallas’ offense remains inconsistent and it falls on their propensity to forget about Ezekiel Elliot. The formula is fairly simple, give the ball to your running back. It gets tougher for the Cowboys in the second half of the season.
No. 9 – Houston Texans (6-3; +3)
Houston enjoyed a much-needed bye week after consecutive wins over the Raiders and Jaguars. Deshaun Watson has led the way this season, seemingly willing the Texans to victory. The Houston defense will have a test on their hands with the Ravens coming to town. Houston’s record has netted an interesting pattern. They lose a game before winning the next two. It has repeated itself throughout the season. For what it’s worth, Houston enters Sunday with back to back victories.
No. 8 – Minnesota Vikings (6-3; -1)
The Vikings and Chiefs swapped spots this week. Minnesota traveled to Kansas City but was unable to survive and finish strong to get the victory. Kirk Cousins finished with three touchdown passes but completed just half of his passes. Minnesota was kept under 100 yards rushing for the second time in 2019. Both games resulted in a loss for the Vikings. The injuries to Adam Thielen has made it difficult for Stefon Diggs to get going in the passing game. Minnesota travels to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Sunday. They could drop even further.
No. 7 – Kansas City Chiefs (6-3; +1)
Matt Moore has kept the Chiefs in the fight. The journeyman quarterback has played the best football of his career and the Kansas City offense has played well enough to win. However, it is Steve Spagnuolo‘s defense which has been the catalyst since the injury to Patrick Mahomes. The defense slowed down a potent Minnesota rushing attack and forced Kirk Cousins into a 50% completion rate. Kansas City faces off against the Titans on Sunday.
No. 6 – Green Bay Packers (6-3; -2)
After pulling out a hard-fought victory against Kansas City, the Packers traveled to Los Angeles and looked lost against the Chargers. Aaron Rodgers struggled against a fierce Los Angeles pass rush. The Chargers sacked Rodgers thrice while holding the quarterback to just 161 yards passing, completing 23 of 35 attempts. Defensively, the Packers were unable to quickly end drives for the Chargers. Los Angeles held the football for nearly 11 minutes more. The defense will need to get better as they face an explosive ground game from the Panthers on Sunday.
No. 5 – Buffalo Bills (6-2; n/r)
*This should have been where Seattle comes in
The Bills hang around. They don’t have an explosive offense but their defense plays everyone tough and keeps them in games. At the end of the day, that is all anyone can ask for. Josh Allen has steadied his play as of late but remains a liability. The ground game does enough to put points on the board and the defense takes over. Frank Gore continues to build his case for Canton while Devin Singletary has become the main guy in the run game. Buffalo travels to Cleveland to face the Browns on Sunday. It is another test for the Bills and could go a long way toward clinching just their second playoff berth since 1999.
No. 4 – Baltimore Ravens (6-2; +2)
Baltimore jumps two spots on the power rankings. The Ravens enter the top-five this week after an impressive victory against the Patriots. Baltimore seemingly moved the football at will and flummoxed a tough New England defense. Lamar Jackson was the start of the show. The second-year quarterback scored on the ground twice and added a passing touchdown as well. Baltimore’s defense held New England to 74 yards rushing. It is exciting to watch the Ravens grow as a team on both sides of the ball. Departures gutted the franchise since their Super Bowl victory but John Harbaugh has his team rebuilt and firing on all cylinders this season.
No. 3 – New England Patriots (8-1; -2)
The Patriots losing on the road in Baltimore wasn’t the surprise. What shocked many was the way New England lost. The defense met their match on Sunday night against a well-devised Baltimore attack. It will be interesting to see if this is nothing more than an aberration or if the code has been cracked. Most concerning is the New England offense. There is only so much magic that Tom Brady can provide. Brady did what he could but a lack of ground game or a big-play receiver continues to hamper the offense. New England gets a bye week before consecutive games at Philadelphia, home for the Cowboys, away for Houston, then back home against the Chiefs.
No. 2 – New Orleans Saints (7-1; +1)
New Orleans had a perfectly placed bye week. The Saints sat home and nursed injuries, most importantly, allowing Drew Brees‘ thumb more time to heal. Brees returned against the Cardinals and quickly knocked off the rust. The Saints have continued to play under the radar but have had convincing wins throughout the season. The next four games come against the rest of the division with two facing off against the Falcons. It would not be surprising to see the Saints enter the Week 14 matchup against the 49ers with just a single loss.
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No. 1 – San Francisco 49ers (8-0; n/r)
Survive and remain undefeated and you stay at the top of the power rankings. The 49ers improved to 8-0 by breaking an eight-game losing streak against the Arizona Cardinals. The victory on Halloween night put Jimmy Garoppolo in the spotlight and allowed the quarterback to carry the team to the win. Garoppolo threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders continues to be a game-changer for the 49ers after his arrival from Denver. Sanders and Garoppolo have quickly formed an understanding. George Kittle is battling knee and ankle issues but managed to add an impressive touchdown reception against the Cardinals. The 49ers host the Seahawks on Monday night. A win for San Francisco puts one foot in the door for the division crown.