NFL

NFL Week 10 Power Rankings: Saints, Bills Join Contenders, Buccaneers Take a Dive

We’re over halfway through the 2020 NFL season, and the playoff races are starting to take shape. Can anyone catch the Pittsburgh Steelers for the No. 1 seed in the AFC? Will the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders sneak into the postseason? Who will conquer the wretched NFC East?

Week 9 taught us a lot about where teams are halfway through the year. Where do they all stack up in our Week 10 Power Rankings?

The Contenders

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1 — Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)
Last week: 2

Enough messing around. The Steelers might be the only undefeated team left in the NFL, but who would teams rather play in the playoffs? Patrick Mahomes and company are a dangerous bunch, and they’re rightly the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season.

2 Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)
Last week: 1

The Steelers might’ve won on Sunday to move to 8-0, but it sure didn’t feel that way. Pittsburgh had to fight to the last second to beat Garrett Gilbert and the reeling Dallas Cowboys. Great teams find ways to win, but great teams also take care of inferior opponents much easier than that.

3 — Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Last week: 5

After losing to the Steelers in Week 8, the Ravens had to travel to Indianapolis to face a frisky Colts team on Sunday. The defense led the way to a 14-point victory in an impressive performance. Baltimore needs to rely on that unit moving forward.

4— New Orleans Saints (6-2)
Last week: 7

Boy, was that a statement. The Saints demolished the Buccaneers on Sunday night to take control of the NFC South, and they vaulted themselves into the top tier of contenders in the process.

5 — Green Bay Packers (6-2)
Last week: 6

The Packers didn’t need to expend much energy to crush a battered 49ers team on Thursday night, but it was nice to see them get off their recent schneid. The Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams connection cannot be stopped this year.

6 — Buffalo Bills (7-2)
Last week: 8

There’s the Josh Allen we saw at the start of the year. The QB threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns while outdueling MVP candidate Russell Wilson all day. If Allen continues that stellar play and the defense can clean up some secondary mistakes, the Bills can make a deep playoff run this year.

7— Seattle Seahawks (6-2)
Last week: 3

The Seahawks have now dropped two of their last three games after starting the season 5-0, and the defense is the unit to blame. Seattle is giving up 30.4 points and an NFL-worst 362.1 passing yards per game. Russell Wilson can’t be expected to put up 40 points every game.

8 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
Last week: 4

Everything was looking up for a Buccaneers team that was mostly healthy and was adding Antonio Brown to their already potent offense. Well, so much for that. Tom Brady struggled mightily in Week 9, and Tampa Bay got crushed 38-3. Could he finally be slowing down at age 43?

The Pretenders

9 — Tennessee Titans (6-2)
Last week: 10

The Titans broke their losing streak with a solid performance against a struggling Bears team, and they’re back in the driver’s seat of the AFC South. Two games against the Colts in the next three weeks will go a long way to deciding the division.

10 — Miami Dolphins (5-3)
Last week: 12

Are you a believer yet? Tua Tagovailoa has now won his first two NFL starts, and he showed some real flashes of superstardom in Week 9 against the Cardinals. The AFC East is ripe for the taking with the Patriots reeling. Don’t sleep on the ‘Phins.

11 — Arizona Cardinals (5-3)
Last week: 9

The Cardinals had a chance to take control of the NFC West with a win on Sunday, but Tua Tagovailoa worked his rookie magic and led the Dolphins to an upset win. Arizona gets the Bills and Seahawks next in two crucial matchups for playoff positioning.

12 — LA Rams (5-3)
Last week: 13

The Rams needed a bye week after losing to the Dolphins in Week 8. They return to host the Seahawks this Sunday in a huge divisional matchup. Sean McVay will have the boys ready to go.

13 — Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
Last week: 11

The Colts started off hot against the Ravens, but a Jonathan Taylor fumble returned for a touchdown shifted the momentum in the game and Indianapolis couldn’t recover. Philip Rivers is the key for this team moving forward.

The ‘Not Quites’

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14 — Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
Last week: 14

The Raiders escaped with a thrilling victory against the division rival LA Chargers on Sunday, but they still have some major issues on the defensive side of the ball. Still, Las Vegas might be the quietest 5-3 team in the NFL, and they have a real chance at grabbing an AFC Wild Card spot this season.

15 — Cleveland Browns (5-3)
Last week: 15

The Browns didn’t play in Week 9, but they still managed to make headlines. Baker Mayfield landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after he had close contact with a staff member who tested positive. He would be out for Week 10 if he tests positive himself.

16 — Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1)
Last week: 16

The Eagles got a much-needed bye in Week 9, and they should return multiple starters when the team travels to the Meadowlands to play the Giants this Sunday. A healthy Eagles team should conquer the NFC East this season, but who the heck knows with this division.

17 — Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
Last week: 21

The Vikings don’t have a talented roster overall, but they’re finally figuring out that giving the ball to your best player is usually a recipe for success. Dalvin Cook has 478 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns over the last two weeks. Video game numbers. Let. Dalvin. Cook.

18 — San Francisco 49ers (4-5)
Last week: 17

This is just a cruel joke at this point, right? The 49ers had no offensive players in the lineup last Thursday who touched the ball in the NFC Championship game last season. The Super Bowl hangover is a real thing, but this is just unfair.

19 — Chicago Bears (5-4)
Last week: 18

The Bears are the lowest-ranked team with a winning record this week, and it just feels right. Chicago was getting lucky to squeak out wins at the beginning of the year, but it looks as if their luck has run out. Mitch Trubisky time?

No Man’s Land

20 — Carolina Panthers (3-6)
Last week: 19

The Panthers nearly upset the reigning Super Bowl champs on Sunday, but a Joey Slye nuke in the closing seconds wasn’t even close to hitting the mark. Still, Carolina is better than their record suggests, and they have a bright future under Matt Rhule.

21 — Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
Last week: 26

This is the Falcons team we expected to see from Week 1. Atlanta put up 34 points on the Broncos in Week 9 to improve to 3-6. Under Raheem Morris, though, the Falcons are 3-1 and trending up.

22 — Denver Broncos (3-5)
Last week: 20

John Elway will have a decision to make this offseason about Drew Lock. The second-year QB has shown some promise in his young career, but the bad has outweighed the good this season. Will he stay or will he go?

23 — New England Patriots (3-5)
Last week: 22

Phew. That was a close one. You can’t bounce back from losing to the Jets, so Bill Belichick is breathing a huge sigh of relief this morning. Still, the Patriots are simply not a talented football team. The Bills and Dolphins are flat-out better. Is this real life?

24 — Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
Last week: 25

The Bengals had a bye week and still moved up one slot in our power rankings. Hey, if you’re at the bottom of the table, most of the teams around you are only going to drop. Cincinnati gets the 8-0 Steelers off their bye.

25 — LA Chargers (2-6)
Last week: 27

It happened again. The Chargers thought they won on a miraculous, walk-off touchdown. And then they didn’t. LA is finding new ways to lose football games every week. Anthony Lynn might be holding this talented team back from their true potential.

26 — Detroit Lions (3-5)
Last week: 23

The Lions were gashed by Dalvin Cook up and down the field on Sunday, but so has every team the RB has faced. Detroit isn’t great at any aspect of the game this year, which has resulted in a lost season.

27 — New York Giants (2-6)
Last week: 28

The Giants could very well be 5-0 in their last five games. Their last three losses came by a combined six points. This team is tough, and they can hang with anyone, but Daniel Jones needs to learn to take care of the ball. Big one coming up this week against the division-leading Eagles.

The ‘Tank for Trevor’ Sweepstakes

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28 — Houston Texans (2-6)
Last week: 29

If only the Texans could play the Jaguars every week. Houston is 2-0 against Jacksonville this season, and 0-6 against everybody else. No more Jags on the schedule for the rest of the season. Sigh.

29 — Washington Football Team (2-6)
Last week: 24

Welcome to the ‘Tank for Trevor’ sweepstakes, Washington! It’s great to have you here. Best of luck in your race to the No. 1 pick.

30 — Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
Last week: 30

Garrett Gilbert is… good? Well, he’s better than Ben DiNucci. That much is true. Gilbert almost led the Cowboys to a miraculous win against the 8-0 Steelers on Sunday. He should be able to add one or two more to that win column this season.

31 — Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7)
Last week: 31

Jake Luton! With Gardner Minshew out with an injury, the rookie out of Oregon State played well in relief and almost squeaked out an upset win. We’ll have to see if he can keep this up, but it was an encouraging start for Luton.

32 — New York Jets (0-9)
Last week: 32

We’re actually going to say two nice things about the Jets here. 1- They fought hard against the Patriots and could’ve won in the end 2- They didn’t win, keeping them in the driver’s seat to land Trevor Lawrence. Well done, Adam Gase?