NFL Power Rankings: Week 10


Sports Desk


The Appalachian Sports Desk will be releasing collaborative weekly NFL Power Rankings. The Appalachian sports reporters will be ranking NFL teams that will be averaged out to determine their rankings. Each writer will cover 2-3 teams and give their take on them.

This week’s biggest riser: Arizona Cardinals moved up 4

This week’s biggest drop: Houston Texans moved down 6


1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) (Last week: 1↔️)

The Eagles had their bye week this week, but there is still plenty to talk about in Philadelphia. The Cowboys lost to the Falcons on Sunday 27-7, meaning the Eagles now have a three-game lead over the second place team in the NFC East. Granted, this does not mean a cinch for the Eagles yet, seeing as they still have to play the Cowboys twice this season; however, this does set them up for a more comfortable ride to the title. In the grand scheme of the NFC, the Eagles aren’t ahead by much, but surely a week off gave them time to rest, recuperate and get ready to finish their already impressive season. -Garrett Wold

2. New England Patriots (7-2) (Last week: 2↔️)

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots lit up the Denver Broncos putting up 41 points Sunday night. Brady picked apart the Broncos’ defense, throwing for over 250 yards and also putting up 3 touchdowns. At the start of the football season, many people believed the Patriots’ defense would ultimately stop them from reaching the Super Bowl, however, the past two weeks, the defense has been playing above average The AFC division is wide open with a bunch of weak teams setting up another run to the championship for the Patriots. -Michael Pigg

3. New Orleans Saints (7-2) (Last week: 5⬆️)

It was just the Bills. But man, the Saints are good. I don’t mean like, “Yeah they’re a good team.” I mean the New Orleans Saints are a team to look out for. They will win the division unless the Panthers can hand them a knockout punch in a few weeks. Drew Brees is doing Drew Brees things and Mark Ingram is rushing for another Heisman Trophy. Cam Newton just had a MVP caliber night but that doesn’t mean he’ll last against Who Dat Nation. The Saints had a rocky start but have turned themselves into a well-oiled machine. The Panthers can’t be trusted. The New Orleans Saints will win the division and give the Eagles a run for their money. Watch out, because this year Drew Brees is a bad man. -Noah Gerringer

4. Los Angeles Rams (7-2) (Last week: 4↔️)

It seems like a broken record in saying this, but the Rams keep winning and there’s no reason to believe they won’t keep on winning. The Rams took on a beat up Texans team and dominated the competition. Jared Goff impressed with his second straight 300-yard plus passing game and also threw three touchdowns during the game. Goff really looks like an elite quarterback especially over the past three or four weeks. Todd Gurley rushed for only 68 yards on 11 carries, however when you can get the passing game going like the Rams do, you would love to take the weight off of Gurley’s shoulders to keep him fresh for the end of the season. The most pleasant surprise for the Rams has been Robert Woods. Woods has been able to create separation with his speed and has been able to go all the way and take any touch to the house. Just ask the Texans defense when he toasted them for 94 yards. The Ram’s defense has also made tremendous strides, collecting three sacks and two picks on Sunday  -Aman Hyrams

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) (Last week: 3⬇️)

Connecting on two touchdown passes of over 60 yards, Colts’ quarterback Jacoby Brissett set the pace for Indianapolis, getting them out to a 17-3 lead over the Steelers early in the third quarter. After a dismal first half performance, Pittsburgh suddenly came to life, scoring the game’s final 17 points and coming out with a 20-17 victory. Big Ben Roethlisberger struggled mightily in the first half, correlating to four punts and an interception on five of the six drives in the first half. Dominating the majority of the second half, Pittsburgh’s offense capitalized on linebacker Ryan Shazier’s interception, setting up the tying score in the fourth quarter. Redeeming himself for a missed extra point and field goal earlier in the half, Chris Boswell made the game-winning 33-yarder as time expired. Riding their hot streak back home to Pittsburgh, the Steelers will have a short week before battling the Tennessee Titans on Thursday. -Tyler Hotz

6. Minnesota Vikings (7-2) (Last week: 6↔️)

Every week, the Vikings fans wait for Case Keenum to eventually go back to his Case Keenum ways which aren’t very good. This must be motivation for Keenum because all he is doing is throwing touchdowns and more importantly he is winning. Keenum threw for over 300 yards and put up four touchdowns against the Redskins. With Teddy Bridgewater being activated after a horrible knee injury, the media were pushing for a Bridgewater start. If they do switch quarterbacks, this could stop the momentum the Vikings have and throw the chemistry off between the wide receivers and the quarterback. The Minnesota Vikings should start Keenum for the rest of the year.-Michael Pigg

7. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) (Last week: 8⬆️)

Kansas City has some questions to answer after going 1-3 in their past four games. Luckily for them, their bye week came at exactly the right time. Starting a league-best 5-0, the Chiefs lost three out of their next four, giving up over 24 points per game in that stretch. Winning the game following their bye week three years in a row, Chiefs’ fans hope they make it four straight years when they take on the struggling New York Giants. -Tyler Hotz

8. Carolina Panthers (7-3) (Last week: 11⬆️)

Two games without Kelvin Benjamin have yielded two Carolina victories, pulling out a close victory over the Falcons in Week 9 and smashing the Dolphins on Monday Night Football 45-21 this week. Emulating the offense Panthers’ fans saw in 2015, Carolina’s offense churned out 294 yards on the ground, averaging a whopping 8.2 yards per carry. Finishing with three players each over 50 yards rushing, the Panthers were just too dynamic for Miami. Cam Newton is starting to turn the corner as November kicks off, throwing for 391 yards and picking up 181 yards on the ground in his first two games of the month. With Monday’s victory, Carolina is now 36-15 under head coach Ron Rivera in the months of November and December. Carrying positive momentum into their bye week, Carolina expects a strong finish to a compelling 2017 campaign, one that has seen them already surpass their win total from a year ago. -Tyler Hotz

9. Seattle Seahawks (6-3) (Last week: 9↔️)

Seattle escaped with a 22-16 victory over Arizona and improved to 6-3 partly due to Russell Wilson’s scrambling heroics. The “Legion of Boom” came up big as well by recording a critical safety and forcing an Adrian Peterson fumble. However, the victory did not come without sacrifice. The Seahawks lost a veteran part of their hard-nosed defense for the rest of the season with Richard Sherman rupturing his Achilles. Sherman was quick to blame the shortened rest period for his injury due to a rather unnecessary Thursday night showdown. The next man up mentally must now be put into place as the lukewarm 5-4 Atlanta Falcons visit town. Who will be assigned to cover Julio with Sherman gone? Well, Seattle signed former Seahawk Byron Maxwell to help out with the ordeal. Anyway, the LA Rams continue to lead the division with a respectable record of 7-2. -Shane Harvell

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) (Last week: 10↔️)

If you didn’t watch the Jacksonville Jaguars v. LA Chargers game on Sunday, I will go ahead and tell you that it was surely the game of the weekend. The Jags, with rookie running sensation Leonard Fournette back in the lineup, earned a hard-fought overtime victory Sunday after grinding out four close-kept quarters. Fournette came back strong and picked up some serious yards for the Jags, as well as put some points on the board to keep them in the race. At the end of the day, the Chargers gave up a late turnover that would eventually cost them the game, thanks to Jaguars’ kicker Josh Lambo. Lambo kicked a 30-yard field goal with 3 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in OT to give the Jaguars their third straight victory, and some much needed momentum to carry them into the tail end of the regular season. -Garrett Wold

11. Atlanta Falcons (5-4) (Last week: 14⬆️)

Only two words are needed to effectively describe the recent 27-7 domination of the Dallas Cowboys: Adrian Clayborn. Clayborn freakishly recorded a franchise single game record of six total sacks for the Dirty Birds. Matt Ryan also propelled himself into the record books by becoming the fastest quarterback ever to reach the career 40,000 passing yards mark. It took Ryan just 151 games for this incredible achievement to become a reality. The one downside to this game is the fact that Devonta Freeman suffered a concussion and is likely out for next week. Atlanta improved to 5-4 with the win thus keeping them in the hunt, but the Saints are currently rolling with a rather shocking record of 7-2. Don’t forget about Carolina who sits in second place within the NFC South at 7-3. The Falcons arguably have the toughest remaining schedule which starts with a date this coming Monday with the 6-3 Seattle Seahawks. -Shane Harvell

12. Dallas Cowboys (5-4) (Last week: 7⬇️)

Zeke is spending his suspension out of the country to clear his head, and it looked like the Dallas offensive line did too. I get that the Falcons are good, but they’re not six-sacks-for-one-guy good. The rest of the schedule for the Cowboys is not an easy one. With the exception of the Chargers and the Giants, a Zeke-less Cowboys team needs to figure out how to protect the former rookie of the year. Dak is the team right now. The only way the hole left by Zeke can be filled is if Dak and Dez can connect. The only way that happens is if Dak can stand in the pocket for more than one second. The rest of the season should be interesting, not very profitable, but interesting nonetheless. -Noah Gerringer

13. Tennessee Titans (6-3) (Last week: 16⬆️)

Don’t look now, but the Titans are 6-3 and have won four straight. Yes, the only win that was by more than 4 points was against the Colts, and yes all four of the teams aren’t what you would call “great” or “above-average.” If there’s a team in the league that screams “guaranteed wild-card team that doesn’t win a playoff game,” it’s Tennessee. That’s not a bad thing though. The roster has absolutely no weaknesses, some very good young players and the most powerful backfield in the NFL. You can work with that. -Ian Taylor

14. Detroit Lions (5-4) (Last week: 13⬇️)

The Lions are now a winning team at 5-4 on the year after a 38-24 win over the winless Browns, but the game was much closer than the final score. Cleveland was in a legitimate position to knock off the Lions. Detroits defense was soft against one of the the league’s most stagnant offenses and allowed the Browns their season high in rushing yards with 201. Detroit was outgained in total yards 413-345 and allowed 26 first downs while only picking up 16 themselves. A win’s a win, but the Lions defense will need to play better in the future if they want to close the gap in the NFC North. -Silas Albright

15.Buffalo Bills (5-4) (Last week: 15↔️)

There is not much to say here after a disappointing game against the Saints. The Saints put up 41 points against the Bills and this was with future Hall of Famer quarterback Drew Brees not throwing a single touchdown. The Bills have been tremendous against the run until Sunday when the Saints’ running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for four touchdowns. The Bills are not out of the playoff race, they just better get the team on track. -Michael Pigg

16. Oakland Raiders (4-5) (Last week: 18⬆️)

Oakland had a bye week this past Sunday. Look for them to use the time off to get Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree back in sync. With Gareon Conley out for the rest of the season, some adjustments will have to be made in the secondary, a position group that has struggled much of the season. -Aman Hyrams

17. Washington Redskins (4-5) (Last week: 12⬇️)

Washington dropped under .500 on Sunday with another loss against a good team. They fell to the 7-2 Vikings 38-30. The Redskins’ defense allowed Case Keenum to get almost everything he wanted, passing for 304 yards and four touchdowns. The game against Minnesota was a chance for Washington to prove themselves and pick up that signature win they are still searching for, but they came up short and still sit at third in the NFC East, just one game behind Dallas for second place. The Eagles are probably the best team in the NFL and will be hard to catch, but a wild card spot is not out of the question– however, the Redskins will have to beat good teams. -Silas Albright

18. Green Bay Packers (5-4) (Last week: 19⬆️)

There is life in the Bay! Brett Hundley and the Packers faced off against their rivals, the Bears, Sunday and walked away with the first Packers victory without starting QB Aaron Rodgers.  While it wasn’t necessarily the cleanest game of football ever played, a win’s a win, and the Packers needed one anyway they could get it. Mason Crosby proved he is the foot around those parts, kicking a pair of field goals from 24 and 50 yards respectively. Ty Montgomery and and Aaron Jones left the game early with injuries, leaving some concern for the Packers’ faithful, but that is a concern for another day. The Packers look ahead to the Ravens Sunday, who are also suffering from injuries in key areas, so this game should be an interesting one. -Garrett Wold

19. Los Angeles Chargers (3-6) (Last week: 20⬆️)

The Chargers’ defense was very efficient in Week 10 against the Jaguars. Los Angeles had a chance to beat the Jaguars with a late pick on Blake Bortles, but the Jaguars came through late in the game giving the Chargers their fifth loss in games that are determined by 8 or less points. The Chargers are not a bad team, they just don’t have the late-game tenacity in order to win games. Philip Rivers is now in the concussion protocol and the Chargers are probably out of the playoff race with their tight losses. -Jason Huber

20. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) (Last week: 22⬆️)

The Ravens were off this week with a much needed bye. They currently occupy second place in the AFC North, three games behind their hated rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and one spot away from a wild card spot in the playoffs. With only seven games remaining in their season, including three divisional rematches, each matchup is a must-win for Baltimore. The key to locking up a spot in the postseason for them will be improving their offense, currently averaging 4.4 yards per play while  quarterback Joe Flacco currently has 8 touchdown passes to 10 interceptions. -Brooks Maynard

21. New York Jets (4-6) (Last week: 24⬆️)

In spite of being without quarterback Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled out a victory over the New York Jets this week, 15-10. Neither team impressed offensively, with both teams throwing an interception apiece, a combined quarterback rating of less than 30 and an average of 2.9 yards per carry. With this loss, the Jets drop to 4-6, leaving them in last place in the AFC East and three spots out of a wild card spot. With only six games left on their schedule, only one of which is divisional, the Jets are quickly falling out of the playoff picture. -Brooks Maynard

22. Arizona Cardinals (4-5) (Last week: 26⬆️)

Not much can go right with backup quarterback Drew Stanton at the helm. No disrespect in regard to Stanton because he is a professional, but Arizona was simply over matched in last week’s game against Seattle. However, the Cards did put up a good fight but inevitably fell short 22-16. Adrian Peterson was held in check with only 29 yards on 21 carries and a fumble. The Cardinals currently possess a disappointing record of 4-5 and travel to face the 3-6 Houston Texans. At least Houston is without Deshaun Watson for the time being. -Shane Harvell

23. Houston Texans (3-6) (Last week: 17⬇️)

The Texans once again struggled without Deshaun Watson at the helm in a loss to the Rams. You can tell the team has taken a hit from this injury, especially the offense. With Watson, the offense scored over 30 points a game, but with Tom Savage, they only average 9 points a game. The defense is also struggling with some key injuries that happened earlier in the year, so the offense needs to step up. There will need to be some sort of change in order for the Texans to be any good this year. -Eric Jackson

24. Chicago Bears (3-6) (Last week: 25⬆️)

Chicago, oh Chicago, what should I write. The Bears took on the Green Bay Packers in the biggest rivalry in the NFL on Sunday and looked good. Mitch Trubisky threw for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown while taking care of the ball with no turnovers. Jordan Howard wasn’t able to get the chains moving on the ground with only 54 yards on 15 carries. A plethora of Bears’ receivers were able to make some big plays including a big 46-yard touchdown by Josh Bellamy. Look at the stats, you would think the Bears would have came up with the win, however, they just couldn’t put it all together. A big fumble by Benny Cunningham was a killer for the Bears, taking at least three points off the board for the offense. The defense did their job keeping Brett Hundley at bay with under 250 yards, however three field goals kept the Packers ahead and won them the game. Chicago oozes with potential but special teams and coaching lost them this game, we’ll have to see how this plays out the rest of the season. -Aman Hyrams

25. Denver Broncos (3-6) (Last week: 21⬇️)

The Broncos are struggling now. They changed starting quarterbacks, now starting Brock Osweiler, who used to play for the Broncos a few years back. But nothing has really changed. What is surprising is the defensive struggles. The Broncos usually have one of the best defenses in the league but recently, they have failed to show up, especially in their recent lost to the Patriots. Nothing seems to be going right for the Broncos right now. -Eric Jackson

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) (Last week: 28⬆️)

The Bucs needed some Fitz-magic to pull out a win over the Jets. Thanks to the kicker Tampa has needed all year, Patrick Murray, and what can only be described as “playing against the New York Jets,” the Bucs’ five-game losing streak skidded to a halt. This win, however, shouldn’t be looked at as a season-changer. Tampa is still a mess, nobody seems to know when or if Jameis Winston will return, DeSean Jackson still isn’t playing like DeSean Jackson and it will take a minor miracle to fix the defense. There’s not much hope in the near future either. Tampa is 0-4 this season on the road, and they’re about to play three straight away games. -Ian Taylor

27. Miami Dolphins (4-5) (Last week: 23⬇️)

This game wasn’t actually as bad as the final score implies. The stats don’t even make it seem like the Dolphins lost by 24 against the Panthers. I was at this game, and what I can tell you is that there was one moment that changed that game completely, and it might just sum up Miami’s season. Forty-seven seconds left in the first half, Miami is down 10-7 with the ball. Cutler throws a pick and next thing you know, it’s 17-7 at halftime. Game over. Miami never recovered and the game pointed out the three glaring problems with the team. Cutler isn’t Ryan Tannehill, the defense can’t step up when it’s needed and Cutler is not Tannehill. -Ian Taylor

28. Cincinatti Bengals (3-6) (Last week: 28↔️)

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Will someone send this blurb to Cincinnati? I’ve said it nearly every week and I’ll say it again: Joe Mixon is not a NFL running back. You can’t expect to get better or win games if you don’t do a personnel change. Andy Dalton cannot have a 265 yard, two TD game and continue to lose. He needs help on the ground and Mixon is not the answer. My suggestion is to cut some guys and get ready to make some major trades. In the meantime, at least they’ll get one last win against the Browns. -Noah Gerringer

29. Indianapolis Colts (3-7) (Last week: 29↔️)

The Colts played well on Sunday, holding the high-powered Steelers’ offense to 20 points and eventually losing by just 3, 20-17. Other than the 3-7 record, Colts fans received even more bad news after Sunday’s game: backup-turned-starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who had been playing well as of late, was diagnosed with a concussion after the loss and will likely miss some time. Indianapolis was leading 17-9 going into the fourth quarter, but allowed a touchdown and the game-winning field goal as time expired. Being in a game late with one of the top teams in the league is a good sign and is something the Colts will look to build off of in coming weeks. -Silas Albright

30. San Francisco 49ers (1-9) (Last week: 31⬆️)

After nine weeks of struggling agony, the 49ers finally pick up their first win of the season, albeit against the woeful New York Giants, 31-21 at home. Quarterback C.J. Beathard had his coming out party, completing 19/25 for 288 yards and two touchdowns, earning a rating of 92.5. Running back Carlos Hyde also had a good day, gaining 98 yards for an average of 5.6 yards per carry. The 49ers were required to punt only once, a welcome relief after several eight-punt games. While the 49ers are long out of the playoff picture, they do have some winnable games coming up and finishing the season strong will be a confidence booster for themselves and their fans.  -Brooks Maynard

31. New York Giants (1-8) (Last week: 30⬇️)

Last week I said the Giants were at rock bottom. OK, I was wrong. Now, they are at rock bottom. An embarrassing loss to the 0-9 49ers, and the Giants have to think about tearing everything down. Owner John Mara said he won’t fire head coach Ben McAdoo until he evaluates at the end of the season, but a lot of changes will come, including a new future quarterback with their top draft pick. The Giants’ defense is falling apart and that was the only piece of the team keeping them in games. With Kansas City up next and many playoff contenders still on their schedule, it is very possible the Giants will not win another game this season. -Jason Huber

32. Cleveland Browns (0-9) (Last week: 32↔️)

The Browns led the Lions 10-0 early on in their showdown Sunday. But as usual, the Browns came up short. Deshone Kizer showed some promise, but in the end, he could not get the job done for the Browns. The Browns remain winless and hold the spot for the worst team in the league. So maybe they can get another first overall pick. Eric Jackson 

Rankings By: Jason Huber, Brooks Maynard, Tyler Hotz, Silas Albright, Eric Jackson, Shane Harvell, Aman Hyrams, Michael Pigg, Ian Taylor, Noah Gerringer and Garrett Wold