The last week in the NFL reminded us of a few things in the league’s battle for ultimate supremacy in 2018. First, there are a lot of bad teams becoming worse. Second, there a lot of good teams becoming great. Third, it’s getting hard to trust all the mediocre teams. Welcome to November.
Here is a look at our updated NFL power rankings going into Week 10.
MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture
NFL power rankings
1. New Orleans Saints 7-1 (last week: 1)
The Saints backed up our precognition that they would use the Rams game to prove themselves as the best team in the NFL. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are the best QB-RB-WR trio in the league.
2. New England Patriots 7-2 (last week: 3)
The Patriots made the Tom Brady-Aaron Rodgers showdown more about their running game and defense, and that’s exactly why they remain the best team in the AFC.
3. Kansas City Chiefs 8-1 (last week: 4)
The Chiefs did their usual big-play thing with Patrick Mahomes and Kareem Hunt in Cleveland. The Week 12 bye is the only thing that will slow down their offense.
4. Los Angeles Rams 8-1 (last week: 2)
The Rams lit up the scoreboard in New Orleans, but their defensive issues away from Aaron Donald showed up again. That will be their biggest hurdle going forward.
5. Los Angeles Chargers 6-2 (last week: 6)
The Chargers survived a tough road environment in Seattle with a strong all-around performance. They’re doing more than enough to make the Chiefs sweat in the division.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-2-1 (last week: 7)
The Steelers are rolling with Antonio Brown and James Conner, and now their defense keeps showing up, too. Everything is fine in Mike Tomlin land again.
7. Carolina Panthers 6-2 (last week: 5)
The Panthers made the Bucs game more interesting than it should have been, but their dangerous and versatile offense around Cam Newton has become hard to contain and has made Norv Turner a strong candidate for coordinator of the year.
8. Minnesota Vikings 5-3-1 (last week: 9)
The Vikings get a bye after their get-well game at home against the Lions that included the return of Dalvin Cook. The complementary football has yet to hit its peak.
9. Houston Texans 6-3 (last week: 10)
The Texans passed a tough road test in Denver with gritty defense and just enough offense. Bill O’Brien has gone from the hot seat to a coach of the year candidate. J.J. Watt is a comeback player of the year lock.
10. Chicago Bears 5-3 (last week: 15)
The Bears didn’t need much offense to take care of the Bills, but they’ll need a more consistent Mitchell Trubisky and Jordan Howard to stay in first place in the NFC North.
11. Philadelphia Eagles 4-4 (last week: 11)
The Eagles will be good in plenty of areas coming out of their bye, starting with their offense. The defense remains the big concern going forward in an offensively loaded NFC.
12. Atlanta Falcons 4-4 (last week: 17)
The Falcons got the road win they needed with Matt Ryan, his receivers and the running game doing the job to save their season. They continue to show great mental toughness under Dan Quinn, even when ravaged by injuries.
13. Cincinnati Bengals 5-3 (last week: 12)
The Bengals’ defense was falling apart before the bye, and now they won’t have A.J. Green for a while after the bye. Finishing in a playoff spot will be difficult for Cincinnati.
14. Washington Redskins 5-3 (last week: 8)
The Redskins blew a chance at home to create a cushion in the NFC East. They saw everything fall apart during a game in which they were destroyed from wire to wire. The passing-game limitations will be hard to overcome.
15. Miami Dolphins 5-4 (last week: 18)
Brock Osweiler will remain the starter for a while longer, and there will be no style points with the Dolphins, but they have enough talent to keep beating lesser teams.
16. Green Bay Packers 3-4-1 (last week: 14)
Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as he can with his young receivers, inconsistent running game and now banged-up offensive line, not to mention his own wounded knee. The young defense is having too many growing pains in the bigger matchups.
17. Seattle Seahawks 4-4 (last week: 16)
The Seahawks lost a key home game against the Chargers with Russell Wilson unable to overcome a pick-six. Their defense played well, but every game being a grind makes it tough for them to shoot up from .500.
18. Baltimore Ravens 4-5 (last week: 13)
The Ravens have gone 1-4 since their 3-1 start, and the loss to the Steelers at home looked completely different than the win over the Steelers on the road. Joe Flacco is fading fast with no running game to support him.
19. Tennessee Titans 4-4 (last week: 22)
The Titans have the found the offense they were hoping to have with Marcus Mariota after the bye with their big win in Dallas, and their defense responded, too, to get them right back into the AFC playoff hunt.
20. Indianapolis Colts 3-5 (last week: 21)
The Colts should note how the AFC wild-card race (at least for that No. 6 spot) is wide open, even though the Texans are making it tougher to get back into South contention. Andrew Luck, the running game and the defense should all be more robust after the bye.
21. Dallas Cowboys 3-5 (last week: 20)
The Cowboys failed to take care of the Titans on Monday night as their offense was very disappointing after the bye. They’re not looking good to creep back into NFC East contenton.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-5 (last week: 21)
The Jaguars are the fourth best team in the South, but that will change in a hurry if they can come through with a much-needed win in Indianapolis.
23. Detroit Lions 3-5 (last week: 19)
The Lions still can’t stop the run, and now their passing game isn’t explosive enough. The goal for Matt Patricia’s first year now is pushing for .500, even as the clear worst team in the NFC North.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-5 (last week: 24)
Ryan Fitzpatrick is not planning to give up his starting gig now that he has it over Jameis Winston. Dirk Koetter, however, probably doesn’t have a choice in the matter of his own job security.
25. New York Jets 3-6 (last week: 25)
Sam Darnold showed promise early in the season, but recently he has found his familiar turnover funk from college. The lack of a reliable running game and a bunch of receiver injuries have not helped.
26. Denver Broncos 3-6 (last week: 26)
Vance Joseph has done his best with what he has, because a team with Case Keenum at QB and an overrated defense has a limited cap to its success.
27. Cleveland Browns 2-6-1 (last week: 27)
The Browns looked better against the Chiefs with Baker Mayfield more relaxed, but as predicted, interim coach Gregg Williams’ defense saw more regression.
28. San Francisco 49ers 2-7 (last week: 30)
The way Nick Mullens played against the Raiders was a product of smart offensive coaching from Kyle Shanahan. The defense is also playing hard despite the injury bug. Those are good signs for Year 3 with Jimmy G.
29. Arizona Cardinals 2-6 (last week: 28)
The Cardinals havd to feel more confident about Josh Rosen given his strong performance before the bye. The goal moving forward should be steady improvement and development, even with limited winning.
30. Buffalo Bills 2-7 (last week: 29)
The Bills got a predictable result from starting Nathan Peterman again. (The real shock is that most of the bad plays weren’t his fault.) Credit Buffalo’s defense for hanging in there despite no help from the offense.
MOCK DRAFT 2018:
Giants land QB with No. 2 pick
31. New York Giants 1-7 (last week: 31)
The Giants teased their fans through a lot of close defeats in the first half of the season. Pat Shurmur needs to show some kind of uptick in the second half so he can avoid becoming Ben McAdoo Part 2.
32. Oakland Raiders 1-7 (last week: 32)
Jon Gruden is clearing the cupboards and restocking the pantry and fridge, but there’s still no excuse for the meltdown they had across the Bay in San Francisco.
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