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Week 11 Power Rankings

The NFC got a lot tighter this past week with a muddled mess of wild card teams and top seeds and a lot of swings in the power rankings with games having HEAVY playoff implications. Even the NFC East got murkier on who will come out to get smacked by a 5 seed. The AFC remained heavy at the top with some minor shuffling in the lower seeds making some teams play must-win games this week. Without further ado:

#1 Pittsburgh Steelers (+0)

Another victory means another week without an L and thus, another week at the top. The Steelers dismantled the Jags after being tied 3-3 early before running away with the game. They also gave Juju the rest of the day off and that should pay dividends come turkey day where the Steelers face the reeling Ravens who will come to play hungry.

#2 Kansas City Chiefs (+0)

The Chiefs avenged their only loss this season by displaying their ability to play any brand of offense. On Sunday night they beat the Raiders at their own game by winning the time of possession with long, grueling drives. The highlight reel that is the KC offense was on full display when Mahomes got the ball with less than 2 minutes to go and finished the drive with over 30 seconds remaining. Kelce and Hill reminded the entire league on national television that they are contenders for the best duo receivers in the league combining for 229 yards on 19 receptions.

#3 New Orleans Saints (+0)

The Saints not only survived, but really started to roll near the end of the 1st half. The Saints were slow starting and the Falcons had the Saints arguably right where they wanted them. Fortunately for brand new starting QB Taysom Hill, Michael Thomas set the record for most receptions through 5 seasons for a reason. Thomas collected 9 catches for 104 yards and between him through the air and Kamara on the ground, Hill was able to play his brand and ran for 2 TDs. The Saints should be able to stay afloat especially with the news that Brees will be back sooner rather than later.

#4 Los Angeles Rams (+4)

Solid win on Monday Night Football for an LA team trying to hold onto the NFC West. The defense was opportunistic, and the offense was electric. Mistakes stopped the Rams from winning by much more, but they put over 400 yards primarily via Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp as their running game was stagnant.  This jump into the top 5 is because of the quality of win and how much it goes towards a higher seed in a crowded NFC where the play action heavy Rams won’t be wanting to play in cold weather.

#5 Indianapolis Colts (+2)

Another nail-biter that the Colts clutched out behind a solid offensive showing and slowing down the highest rated QB in the game. Behind strong performances on rookie defensive backs Julian Blackmon and Rock Ya-Sin forcing big time turnovers that ended a drive, and then Blackmon setting up the game-winning field goal. If the Colts can beat the Titans next week, I believe the AFC South is theirs.

#6 Seattle Seahawks (+6)

Huge win to keep Seattle in the West. Another loss to AZ would have spelled wild card for sure but with that win behind a running game that finally came through with more attempts than passing and averaging over 5 yards per carry. The Hawks also racked up 3 sacks with recently acquired Carlos Dunlap getting 2 of them and LJ getting the game-clinching sack.

#7 Green Bay Packers (-3)

What a fight put up by Green Bay and what a blunder by Valdes-Scantling. The Packers do end up losing this game because they lost the turnover battle 4-2 including some blunders on special teams that you just can’t make against an opportunistic Colts team. If you take away even one of those fumbles the Packers probably end up winning this game just by having the ball a little bit more. The run defense continues to rear its ugly head as the Colts ran of 140 yards and I believe is a weakness carried over from last year’s smacking from the Niners as the blueprint to beat the pack.

#8 Tennessee Titans (+6)

The Titans find themselves back in the top 10 after pulling off an overtime win in a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional game. Derrick Henry was a huge reason for the Titans staying in this game and WAS the reason for their victory finishing the game off with a 29-yard rushing touchdown in OT. The Titans were outmatched when playing backers on Mark Andrews and that’s a matchup to keep in mind against the Colts’ Allie-Cox this week for the division.

#9 Arizona Cardinals (-3)

What a missed opportunity for the Cardinals to have a good hold on the division. The Cardinals tied their season-low for points in a game on a night where Kyler Murray just looked off on runs and passes throughout the night. The Cards had multiple chances to take control of the game, and just failed to do so. This drop isn’t too big since the Cardinals will still make the playoffs but not as a higher seed which better suits their game style not having to play in weather come playoff time.

#10 Buffalo Bills (+0)

An off week where every other team in the AFC East lost is a solid week. Unfortunately, the other top teams in the AFC won and makes the hill to climb for a higher seed. Having a later bye week right before a postseason stretch is never a bad thing and that’s why the Bills stay here at 10.

#11 Las Vegas Raiders (-2)

The Raiders couldn’t finish the season sweep of the Chiefs but I’m not punishing them super hard for a close loss to a top team in the NFL. The Raiders even had a lead with less than 2 minutes in the game, but their secondary was just butter to Mahomes’ hot knife and they couldn’t slow down, much less stop the diverse attack of the Chiefs. The Raiders could find themselves right back into the top 10 with the Falcons coming up next week.

#12 Cleveland Browns (+3)

On a rainy day without Myles Garrett, the Browns defense scored 8 of 22 Cleveland points with a pic-6 and a safety against an awful Philly Eagles team. Welcoming back Nick Chubb was huge as he went for over 100 yards and helped keep the offense pacing in this foul-weather game. One would hope that the passing game can show some more consistency as we head down the final stretch of the season.

#13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2)

Another loss combined with a Saints win pushes Tampa further and further towards a wild card game. I knew that moving the Bucs up would be pre-emptive and am concerned for how far Tampa is supposed to go in the postseason when it’s colder and they want to throw the ball 40+ times every week. This offense has a plethora of 1-on-1 nightmares, but they can’t let a defense beat them by just playing zone coverage for a whole game. Hard to take this small window team seriously.

#14 Baltimore Ravens (-1)

The Ravens continue their slide downwards after losing their 3rd game in the last 4 and it doesn’t get any easier on Thanksgiving with the Steelers AGAIN! This was a tough loss and a reflection that the Ravens’ offense has no real receiving threats outside of Mark Andrews. Only 3 receivers have caught a TD all season and that’s going to have to change to add another dimension to the offense that has struggled as of late.

#15 Miami Dolphins (-10)

The Dolphins experience a huge drop after losing a winnable game to a beatable team in the Broncos who looked hapless just a week ago. The Dolphins defense did everything they could do to setup the offense, but the offense could not score unless they were nearly already in the RedZone. The offensive line looked overwhelmed by a depleted Denver D-line by allowing 5 sacks and putting the O in tough 3rd down situations. They can re-stablish momentum with the Jets up next and are still alive for the playoff hunt.

#16 Chicago Bears (+4)

Now I know I’ve made it clear I don’t really believe in moving teams after their bye weeks but everyone in their division lost during their off week AND the teams around the Bears lost inching them closer to the playoff picture. If they can pull an upset over the Pack following their bye week they are in a real good spot.

#17 Denver Broncos (+7)

What an upset in the last home game with fans for Denver! After an abysmal 0/6 start and an interception, Lock dialed in and balled out in the play action on the heels of Gordon and Lindsay’s 160+ yards combined. The Denver defense stole the show with 5 sacks and a game-sealing interception from Justin Simmons. Can they pull off another big upset against the Saints next week? I’m not sure about that but I’m going to enjoy this number 17 spot while it lasts.

#18 Carolina Panthers (+9)

Even with their starting QB out, the Panthers’ defense pitched a shutout against a Lions team that had their starting QB. The defense held the Lions to 21% on 3rd down and also collected 4 sacks. Former projected XFL MVP P.J. Walker got his first NFL start and his first NFL win even though he wasn’t effective on the ground. The Panthers might as well give Teddy all the time he needs and look forward to next year and see if Walker is worth keeping on the roster.

#19 Minnesota Vikings (-3)

I can’t believe the Vikings lost to the Cowboys with the wildcard teams so close to being reached. The defense couldn’t buy a stop other than an impressive interception by Kendrick’s early in the game but other than that were ran and passed all over by backups between Pollard and Dalton. Zimmer better figure something out on his specialized side of the ball or he might be getting replaced because the offense wasn’t really the problem this week.

#20 New England Patriots (-1)

I’d drop the Patriots further if everyone team behind them weren’t so bad. The defense couldn’t tackle a soul to save their lives and gave the Texans a TON of second chances. On the bright side Newton passed for over 300 yards and gave the Pats a chance in a game where their defense couldn’t slow anyone down.

#21 San Francisco 49ers (+0)

Another bye week and I’m not sure if that helps out the Niners at all. Kittle is still banged up and they have the Rams this next week. At the very least I’m sure they would love to play spoiler for all of their NFC West opponents down the stretch.

#22 Detroit Lions (-5)

The Detroit offense continues to disappoint and, in a game, where they could have kept the gap close in the North, they came out completely flat and didn’t capitalize off of a team that is missing their starting quarterback. The only reason they don’t drop further than 5 spots is because the NFC East exists, and we are about to see 2 of those teams…

#23 New York Giants (+0)

This bye week hopefully gets skill position players ready to go for this final stretch as the Eagles continued to lose games but the other teams in the East found ways to win and that makes for an “intriguing” race in a division where every team is still in play.

#24 Philadelphia Eagles (-2)

I know that the Eagles are still in the lead, but I had to drop them after their completely lackluster showing against the Browns where the Browns’ defense outscored them until late in the 4th quarter. The best summary of the Eagles’ season is the long drive the Eagles had to start the game before Miles Sanders fumbled in the RedZone.

#25 Houston Texans (+1)

On top of their offense playing super physical and running over the Pats defense constantly, the defensive line manhandled the Pats’ o-line and was constantly batting balls down at the line of scrimmage including  a huge bat on New England’s 2nd to last drive on 3rd and 4 from J.J. Watt to essentially seal the game. Also, if you have time, watch Watson’s truck of McCourty over and over again.

#26 Atlanta Falcons (-8)

I had a feeling that the bye week’s timing was going to halt the progress of the Falcons and I was exactly right. They were shutout in the 2nd half by the Saints’ defense and failed to capitalize on the Saints using a first-time starter at the quarterback position as the defense failed to stop Thomas and Kamara opening up a lot more opportunities for Hill. Huge drop for an embarrassing loss to a backup QB.

#27 Washington Football Team (+1)

Big win and impressive showing from the defense that punished Finley once Joe Burrow was ruled out. The pass rush was a great matchup against a bad Bengals line and the offense did just enough to walk away with a “W” heading into a Thanksgiving matchup against the Boys.

#28 Los Angeles Chargers (+1)

What a display from Justin Herbert who took a big step towards winning rookie of the year with his 366 yard-3TD performance on a day where the running game was not explosive. They only jump a little because ultimately, they’re still bad and only won by 6 against the Jets which doesn’t mean much.

#29 Dallas Cowboys (+1)

The offense moved the ball this game! Andy Dalton came back and found his security blanket early in CeeDee Lamb and was also aided by creative play calling such as speed options with Zeke and CeeDee scoring a TD and Pollard’s explosiveness. The defense also came up with strong plays when called upon such as the opening strip sack and the pass rush down the stretch.

#30 Cincinnati Bengals (-5) 

Losing Burrow for the year on a potential rookie of the year campaign. Burrow wasn’t going to win the Bengals this game but after watching Finley, it’s easy to understand why I’d drop them so many spots and put them in the bottom of the league. On the bright side, they’ll get another high draft spot to hopefully help Joey out next year.

#31 Jacksonville Jaguars (+0)

Something something James Robinson good, Jaguars bad. They were tied early 3-3 and were even leading 3-0 but then just didn’t score again for the rest of the game behind a horrid Luton performance that featured less than 50% completion and 4 interceptions to go with it. I’ll echo a familiar sentiment for Jacksonville fans that there’s always next year.

#32 New York Jets (+0)

Flacco could only throw deep passes down the sidelines and Gore could run for 3 yards a pop up the middle and that’s what passed for an offense form the “mastermind” Adam Gase this past week. 0-10.

Written by Kodey Stauffer

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