There’s a changing of the guard at the top of the NFL power rankings in the wake of the New Orleans Saints 45-35 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon. The Saints and the Rams have swapped places as a result of that game, but the remainder of the upper echelon of the rankings remains largely unchanged.
The same can’t be said for the remainder of the rankings, as there is a ton of jockeying for positioning behind the top squads in the league. Let’s take a look at where we see all 32 teams stacking up at this juncture of the NFL regular season.
1. New Orleans Saints, 7-1
Last week rank: 3
As of right this second, the Saints look like the best team in the NFL. Drew Brees is playing at an MVP level, and he has a pair of deadly weapons at his disposal in the form of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. If the Saints continue playing at such a high level, a first-round bye seems like a certainty.
2. Kansas City Chiefs, 8-1
Last week rank: 2
Since falling to the Patriots, the Chiefs have ripped off three straight. Barring a complete collapse, they should be able to take care of business this week against the Arizona Cardinals. That’s followed by an epic showdown with the Rams down in Mexico, a game which could still amount to a Super Bowl preview.
3. Los Angeles Rams, 8-1
Last week rank: 1
The Rams received some comeuppance versus the Saints, but getting a loss out of the way may not be the worst thing in the world. They are unquestionably one of the top teams in the league, but a pair of tough tests are up next in the form of the Seattle Seahawks and the Chiefs. We’ll see how the team responds, but our money is on head coach Sean McVay having the squad raring to go.
4. New England Patriots, 7-2
Last week rank: 4
Sunday Night’s matchup with the Green Bay Packers was one of the most hyped regular season games in memory, but the Patriots calmly handled business as if it was just another outing. A number of winnable games are up ahead, and the Patriots have an excellent shot at another first-round bye.
5. Los Angeles Chargers, 6-2
Last week rank: 5
Don’t sleep on the Chargers as legitimate contenders in the AFC. Despite the changes to the Seahawks roster, a road trip to Seattle remains a daunting task. The squad from Los Angeles calmly handled business, and the defense will be a lot tougher once Joey Bosa gets back.
6. Carolina Panthers, 6-2
Last week rank: 6
It looks like the league would be wise to not sleep on the Panthers either. Since being down 17-0 to the Eagles, the squad has been on an absolute tear. Carolina came back to win that one and ripped off another two victories in convincing fashion. A tough matchup versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on a short week makes for an interesting test.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-2-1
Last week rank: 7
Speaking of the Steelers, they have resumed their place as one of the top squads in the AFC. The Baltimore Ravens slapped them around in the early part of the season, but the Steelers turned around and returned the favor now that their house is in order.
8. Minnesota Vikings, 5-3-1
Last week rank: 8
The Vikings enter their bye week on a high note, but they will be returning for a brutal four-game stretch: at Bears, home vs. Packers, at Patriots, and at Seahawks. We’ll know if this year’s Vikings are contenders or not in about a month.
9. Chicago Bears, 5-3
Last week rank: 15
The Bears are one of the surprise teams of 2018, but they won’t be sneaking up on anybody for the rest of the way. The team’s next three games are against division foes, so they have a legitimate chance to stake claim as serious NFC North contenders in the coming weeks.
10. Houston Texan, 6-3
Last week rank: 11
The Texans winning streak now stands at six games, and it’s becoming pretty tough to understand how this squad opened up 0-3. Regardless, there are a number of winnable games up ahead, so it looks like the AFC South is theirs to lose.
11. Cincinnati Bengals, 5-3
Last week rank: 10
The Bengals had the week off, but reports have emerged that superstar wideout A.J. Green is slated to miss some time with a foot injury. It’s not a death knell on the season, but it’s certainly unwelcome news – especially with the high-powered Saints coming to town this week.
12. Philadelphia Eagles, 4-4
Last week rank: 12
The Eagles also had the week off, and they return to action knowing that they are still in the thick of the NFC East race in spite of their uneven start to the season. They can demonstrate how badly they want the division when they face off with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night.
13. Washington Redskins, 5-3
Last week rank: 9
The Redskins were looking like the best team in the NFC East, but the club’s Jekyll and Hyde routine has reared its head once again. Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons was a costly one, as they also lost three players for the season due to injury. We’ll see if they can right the ship against the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
14. Atlanta Falcons, 4-4
Last week rank: 17
Sunday’s victory over the Redskins was one of the Falcons finest outings of the season, if not its best. Don’t look now, but Atlanta has won three in a row and have a number of winnable games up ahead. A Wild Card run isn’t out of the question if all breaks right.
15. Green Bay Packers, 3-4-1
Last week rank: 14
The Packers lost another tough one on Sunday, and the team’s season is teetering on the edge of being a lost one. That said, the club’s second-half schedule is much more friendly with just a few landmines along the way. We won’t rule out a late-season run, but the squad has to put some wins together.
16. Baltimore Ravens, 4-5
Last week rank: 13
That escalated quickly. The Ravens have gone from looking like contenders in the AFC to dropping three in a row and placing their head coach on the hot seat. The team has the week off before it gets back to work with their eyes on saving the season versus the Bengals on November 18.
17. Seattle Seahawks, 4-4
Last week rank: 16
The Seahawks are at .500 through eight games and have a trio of imposing matchups up next: at Rams, home versus Packers, and at Panthers. Well see where they stand at that point, but hovering around .500 wouldn’t be the end of the world for a team that’s supposed to be rebuilding.
18. Miami Dolphins, 5-4
Last week rank: 20
The Dolphins got back in the win column by handling the New York Jets in a snoozer on Sunday. Two tough road tilts against the Packers and Indianapolis Colts are sandwiched around the club’s bye week, so we’ll know if the team has a prayer at a playoff berth by the end of the month.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars, 3-5
Last week rank: 18
The Jaguars had the week off to lick their wounds after a thoroughly disappointing start to the season. The team’s response for this week’s date with the Colts will be incredibly telling. Another loss and we can only assume many seats will be getting warm in Jacksonville.
20. Tennessee Titans, 4-4
Last week rank: 22
The bye week agreed with the Titans, as they came out swinging and knocked out the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. A tough three-game stretch awaits – home vs. Patriots, at Colts, and at Texans – so we’ll know soon where they stand for 2018.
21. Indianapolis Colts, 3-5
Last week rank: 23
The Colts also had the week off heading into their meeting with the Jaguars on Sunday. The team looked to be turning it around from its dreadful start heading into the bye, so we’ll see if they can keep the momentum going in an intriguing divisional tilt.
22. Dallas Cowboys, 3-5
Last week rank: 19
The Cowboys also came in off of their bye this week, and they even picked up a new weapon in the form of Amari Cooper during the time off. Signs pointed to a big showing to start off the second half of the season. Then the Titans smacked them in the mouth and they folded up like tents. We’ll see which version of the Cowboys shows up this week.
23. Detroit Lions, 3-5
Last week rank: 21
The Lions were thoroughly handled by the Vikings this past Sunday, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with the Bears up next. The season is in danger of slipping away from new head coach Matt Patricia, so we’ll see how the squad responds.
24. Denver Broncos, 3-6
Last week rank: 24
It looks like the season has already slipped away from Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, but there’s nothing to suggest changes are imminent. That said, signs point to a tough offseason in the Mile High City.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3-6
Last week rank: 25
The Buccaneers came back to make somewhat of a game of it against the Panthers, but the bottom line is that the squad was outclassed. Anything other than an offseason of change in Tampa Bay would be stunning.
26. Cleveland Browns, 2-6-1
Last week rank: 26
A new head coach wasn’t enough to shake the Browns out of their doldrums. The talent is there and Cleveland has an exceptional fan base, so this will be an attractive gig for the league’s top head coaching candidates in the offseason.
27. New York Jets, 3-6
Last week rank: 27
It’s starting to look like rookie QB Sam Darnold is going backwards, and that’s never a good sign. Perhaps some more teams will start following the Kansas City Chiefs lead and allow their prized rookie QBs to sit for a year and absorb. Call us crazy, but it looks like that worked out ok with Patrick Mahomes.
28. San Francisco 49ers, 2-7
Last week rank: 31
Hello Nick Mullens and welcome to NFL relevancy. Mullens came out of nowhere to deliver one of the more impressive debut performances from a QB against the Raiders. Granted, the Raiders are a train wreck, but Mullens still looked stellar for his first time under the bright lights.
29. Arizona Cardinals, 2-6
Last week rank: 29
The Cardinals parted ways this week with Sam Bradford, and questions abound as to why they signed him to a rich contract in the first place. Given all the holes the club has elsewhere, it seems like a bizarre appropriation of funds to say the least.
30. Buffalo Bills, 2-7
Last week rank: 28
Exactly what is Buffalo’s long-term plan? The offensive ineptitude of this team is just mind-boggling. Couldn’t Tyrod Taylor or AJ McCarron have delivered more efficiency than what we have seen from Bills QBs this season? Common sense certainly suggests so.
31. New York Giants, 1-7
Last week rank: 30
The Giants come out of their bye week to finish off what appears to be a very long and painful season. What’s more, they return to action under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. If another bumbling performance is the result, the New York tabloids may explode.
32. Oakland Raiders, 1-7
Last week rank: 32
Exactly how does a team get absolutely obliterated on national television by one of the poorer teams in the league, which just so happens to have pulled a QB off of the practice squad? This year’s version of the Raiders is certainly one of the stranger stories in the league.