NFL Power Rankings: Week 11


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: Cincinnati Bengals moved up 8

This week’s biggest drop: Green Bay Packers moved down 5


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

The train keeps a rollin’ and it sure ain’t stoppin’. Philadelphia all but clinched the NFC East on Sunday after beating the Dallas Cowboys, the second place team behind them. What makes this game even more impressive is the Eagles did it without a kicker. Kicker Jake Elliot left the game early with an apparent head injury, forcing Philly to play the rest of the game without him. NFL MVP-to-be Carson Wentz threw for two touchdowns and three two-point conversions, outscoring the Cowboys 30-0 in the second half. With the season coming to an end and the Eagles on a record eight game win streak, it may be time to sit back and watch the Eagles tear through the regular season and make their way to the playoffs. Go Birds! -Garrett Wold

2. New England Patriots (8-2) (Last week: 2↔️)

Another week, another win. The Patriots are quietly winning and winning big. The Patriots had to travel to Mexico and take on the Oakland Raiders and they completely dominated them in all three areas: defense, special teams and offense. The Patriots are only getting better as the season continues and quarterback Tom Brady still shows no sign of slowing down. Any betting man is betting that the Patriots are going to get back to the Super Bowl. -Michael Pigg

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2) (Last week: 5⬆️)

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, it has been a waiting game all season long to see them finally put together a phenomenal performance. Crushing the Titans 40-17, Pittsburgh used a 17-0 fourth quarter to silence an emerging Tennessee team. Marcus Mariota struggled all night against the Steelers’ secondary, throwing four interceptions. Taking care of the ball, fans at Heinz Field saw their team commit no turnovers on the evening, a first since Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Antonio Brown also had a monster game for Pittsburgh, hauling in 10 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Only rushing the ball 12 times, Le’Veon Bell was given some rest because of Ben Roethlisberger’s stellar performance. At 8-2, Pittsburgh remains at home to battle the Packers without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. -Tyler Hotz

4. Minnesota Vikings (8-2) (Last week: 6⬆️)

The Vikings were able to win a statement game over the LA Rams.The Vikings defense was completely dominate after giving up an opening touchdown drive. Case Keenum put to bed all the talk about Teddy Bridgewater coming back and taking his job after a solid performance against the Rams defense. The Vikings are starting to make people talk about a possible Super Bowl run in the postseason and with this defense, it is certainly capable. -Michael Pigg

5. New Orleans Saints (8-2) (Last week: 3⬇️)

There is no such thing as Who Dat nation anymore. With a season like this, both Drew Brees and Mark Ingram are making sure the league knows who they are. My only bit of concern is how long will this last? The Redskins are a good team. That’s it. I don’t think it should have taken 18 points in the fourth quarter to beat them. If the Saints really do want to give the Eagles a run for their money in the NFC Championship game then they need to play at their best. Other than that, watch out because the New Orleans Saints are at it again. -Noah Gerringer

6. Los Angeles Rams (7-3) (Last week: 4⬇️)

The league’s best offense looked quite pedestrian against a great Vikings defense. The Rams needed Jared Goff to throw the ball 37 times to get any offense on the day and the output wasn’t pretty. Seven points isn’t going to win a team many games, especially when the team is used to putting up over 30 points. Todd Gurley wasn’t able to get anything going on the ground, which led to a lot of passes. Gurley ran for under 2.5 yards per carry on the day, putting up only 37 yards with one score. The Rams’ defense was gashed by the Vikings running game and a few miraculous plays by Case Keenum. One hundred seventy one yards on the ground and 280 through the air was enough to move the ball on the Rams. LA couldn’t get any big plays on defense, something they have relied on to get in good field position on offense. The Rams will need to get Todd Gurley going in the future against the best defense in the league if they want to keep pace to make the playoffs. -Aman Hyrams

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) (Last week: 10⬆️)

What a weekend for the Jags! Not only did they win their fourth straight game 19-7 against the winless Browns, they also sit alone atop the AFC South. The “Sacksonville” defense had a big day, forcing five sacks, a pair of interceptions and keeping Deshone Kizer 0-10 in the second half. Blake Bortles threw a couple touchdowns and the offense had no problem navigating the Cleveland defense. Overall, this Jacksonville team is looking hot and hard to beat, and if they can keep up this momentum, they may hold their place on top of the AFC South well into the postseason. -Garrett Wold

8. Carolina Panthers (7-3) (Last week: 10↔️)

Carolina got the week off with a late season bye week. Winning three in a row, Carolina has bounced back after dropping back-to-back games against the Eagles and Bears in October. During their three-game winning streak, the Panthers have allowed under 14 points per game. Luke Kuechly’s return from the concussion protocol has ignited Carolina’s defense, and the trade of Kelvin Benjamin has done the same for the offense. Facing the Jets this week, Carolina looks to keep their knock off New York, who also enjoyed their bye week in Week 11. -Tyler Hotz

9. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) (Last week: 11⬆️)

From the opening kickoff in Seattle, the Falcons never let their foot slip off the gas. Atlanta jumped out to an early 21-7 lead against the Seahawks with the help of two Russell Wilson turnovers. Desmond Trufant reeled in an interception while Adrian Clayborn rumbled in for a touchdown after a strip sack. The offense seemed to be clicking on all cylinders once again even with Devonta Freeman out with a concussion. However, Matt Ryan failed to pass for over 200 yards ending his 64-game streak. Anyway, the 34-31 victory over Seattle moved Atlanta into the Wild Card position. In fact, the Dirty Birds have the tiebreaker over next-in-line Detroit, Seattle, Green Bay and Dallas. The NFC South currently has three of four teams in the playoff picture. The 6-4 Falcons will now fly back home to their new nest and battle the 4-6 Buccaneers for next week. -Shane Harvell

10. Seattle Seahawks (6-4) (Last week: 9⬇️)

The veteran absence of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor made all the difference in the 34-31 loss to Atlanta last Monday night. Although Seattle matched Atlanta’s offensive fury step by step, they could not muster up any critical defensive stops. Seattle finally got the one stop they need in the closing minutes only to have Blair Walsh miss a 52-yard field goal inches short of the crossbar. Russell Wilson’s scrambling heroics were not enough to overcome an early 21-7 deficit. In fact, the two early turnovers by yours truly led to Atlanta’s outburst of momentum. Seattle fell to 6-4 and out of the Wild Card spot with the loss. The 7-3 LA Rams still lead the NFC West by a single game. Seattle must now try to keep pace this week when they travel to face off against the 1-9 San Francisco 49ers. -Shane Harvell

11. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) (Last week: 7⬇️)

A loss to a 1-8 team. Yikes. A loss to a 1-8 team off a bye. Oh boy, that’s pitiful. If you’re a Kansas City Chiefs’ fan, then Sunday’s game was not one you want to remember. The Giants came into their game against Kansas City on a three-game losing streak, getting outscored by 61 points in that stretch. To make matters worse, San Francisco got its first win last week against guess who … the New York Giants. Kansas City has no excuse for losing this game to a bad New York team, and it’s officially time to panic. Losing four of their last five games, Kansas City is quickly spiraling out of legitimate playoff contention. Returning home to host the Buffalo Bills, the Chiefs must stop the bleeding before their season completely falls apart. -Tyler Hotz

12. Detroit Lions (6-4) (Last week: 14⬆️)

Winners of three straight games, the Detroit Lions now sit at 6-4 on the year and are very much in the hunt for a Wild Card spot out of the NFC North. Detroit’s schedule is finally evening out, and it’s showing. All four of their losses have come at the hands of teams with winning records. Their schedule was front loaded and as the season winds down, they should have a chance to make a run at a playoff spot. Quarterback Matthew Stafford maintained his high-level play against the Bears in Week 11 with 299 passing yards and two touchdowns. Stafford is top-five in the league in both passing yards and touchdowns. -Silas Albright

13. Tennessee Titans (6-4) (Last week: 13↔️)

There are some games every team has every season where it just doesn’t work out. The Titans’ loss to the Steelers was an extreme version of that. From the passing game to the rushing attack to the entire defense, nothing worked out for Tennessee. The thing is though, there is absolutely no reason to panic. The Titans are rocking the league’s 14th best defense and 20th ranked offense and are still a respectable 6-4. In other words, the Titans are the definition of “OK” when it comes to stats. The good news is the rest of their schedule. In the next four weeks, they’ll play the Colts, Texans, Cardinals and the 49ers. By this time next month it isn’t crazy to see the Titans at 10-4. -Ian Taylor

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

Mike Nugent was a great pickup for the Boys while Dan Bailey and Zeke are out. Not only does he replace the missing kicker slot but he also scores just like Zeke did. In fact, I believe he is the only one that knows how to score. Now I won’t be too hard on Dak and the Boys because the Eagles will win the NFC if the Saints don’t, but I will say that the roles should be reversed. Coming into the year the Cowboys were supposed to be what the Eagles are now. But, Goodell is making a stand (against Zeke and for his Job) and Zeke’s suspension is being served too late. The season is almost over for the Cowboys, unfortunately. The best thing now, is to just stay healthy (knock on wood). -Noah Gerringer

15. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6) (Last week: 19⬆️)

Were the Chargers lucky that the Bills made a dumb decision starting Nathan Peterman, or is their defense that good? Los Angeles blew out the Bills 54-24 after forcing Peterman to throw FIVE first half interceptions. With the Chiefs acting like they don’t want to win the division, the Chargers are only two games back now from first in the AFC West, and are right back in the playoff hunt at 4-6. The Chargers have a very threatening defense with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, and Los Angeles will have a chance to display that in their first Thanksgiving Day game since 1969. -Jason Huber

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

The Ravens bounced back in a major way this week, shutting out the Green Bay Packers in road fashion, 23-0. Defense and special teams was the story of the day, sacking quarterback Brett Hundley six times and forcing two fumbles while defensive backs Marlon Humphrey, Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith all came away with interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith is currently fifth in coverage snaps per reception with 17.8 and leads the NFL with only 15.6 percent of his targets going for first downs. Kicker Justin Tucker also went three for three, including one from nearly 40 yards. If the season ended today, the Ravens would own the second Wild Card spot for the AFC, but they hold onto it narrowly as the Buffalo Bills have the same record. But each of the Ravens six remaining games is winnable, so they control their own playoff destiny. -Brooks Maynard

17. Washington Redskins (4-6) (Last week: 17↔️)

In probably the best game of the week, more was learned more about their opponent, the 8-2 Saints, than the Redskins. Washington played one of their strongest games of the season, but came up just short in the end and fell 34-31 in overtime after leading by 15 points with under 5 minutes left in regulation. We have seen this exact same thing from the Redskins time and time again. They play outstandingly for over 45 minutes against a top-tier team but explode when they have a chance to make a statement. They did it in against the Chiefs, Seahawks, Vikings and now Saints. The Redskins have shown flashes, but repeatedly come up just in crunch time. This team has a chance to be really good, but it’s gonna take some time and it’s gonna take some figuring out. -Silas Albright

18. Buffalo Bills (5-5) (Last week: 15⬇️)

The week could not have went any worse for the Buffalo Bills. Midweek they decided to make a quarterback change and start Nathan Peterman over Tyrod Taylor. Peterman had a great day throwing to the other team with five interceptions. The Bills finally made the switch back late in the game to Taylor who threw for a touchdown. This leaves the Bills in a spot of who they are going to start next week. After an impressive start to the season for the Bills it seems like they are falling back into bad habits. -Michael Pigg

19. Oakland Raiders (4-6) (Last week: 16⬇️)

I’m really sorry, Raiders fans. A promising season seemed to go down in flames when Derek Carr was injured. The team just hasn’t looked the same after Carr’s injury. Amari Cooper hasn’t been that big play receiver we’re all accustomed to seeing with the exception of the Kansas City game. Marshawn Lynch has been a disappointment on the field this season not so much off however. The biggest problem has been the defense. After being torched by the Patriots, the Raiders fired their defensive coordinator Ken Norton, which just added more questions to the team. A plethora of injuries hasn’t helped their cause at all as Oakland looks to rebound against the equally struggling Broncos next Sunday. -Aman Hyrams

20. Cincinnati Bengals (4-6) (Last week: 28⬆️)

I give up. I don’t understand the Bengals and I’m not sure if anyone does. They say that technically they’re still in the playoff hunt, yet they have a 4-6 record. However, they did manage to beat the Broncos somehow. So I really just don’t know what to think of them. I don’t believe they will make the playoffs and I base that solely on one player: Joe Mixon. Every week I say it and every week he proves my point. The guy is not an NFL running back. You don’t get to run with the ball 20 times and not even break 50 yards. He averaged 2.4 yards a carry and didn’t get a single touchdown. He’s not meant for the league just like the Bengals aren’t meant for the playoffs this year. -Noah Gerringer

21. Houston Texans (4-6) (Last week: 23⬆️)

The Texans finally had a good game offensively. Tom Savage looked decent enough to lead this team. The defense looked good as well, but will need to step up if the Texans wants to make a run in their division. Hopefully Tom Savage continues to at least be decent in order to give his team a shot at the playoffs. -Eric Jackson

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) (Last week: 26⬆️)

The victors of the “God why does this season feel never-ending?” bowl, the Buccaneers now have two wins on the season without franchise quarterback Jameis Winston, yes they were against the Dolphins and the Jets, but it’s what they said with those wins. The rest of team didn’t necessarily step up, the run game was garbage and Mike Evans really likes the phrase “dropped the ball on that one didn’t I?” which is what makes these wins so weird. No matter what, there’s no question that Winston is the long-term franchise leader, but is Dirk Koetter the long-term head coach? -Ian Taylor

23. Green Bay Packers (5-5) (Last week: 18⬇️)

Another tough weekend for the Packers’ faithful as Green Bay was shut out by the Ravens on Sunday. Baltimore intercepted Brett Hundley in the red zone on the Packers’ initial drive, which set the tone for the rest of the day. Green Bay’s defense did a decent job of keeping the Ravens out of the end zone, but without any offense to back it up, it didn’t make much of a difference. Things aren’t looking good for the G-Men, especially now that Aaron Rodgers’ comeback won’t be likely until next year. Hopefully the Packers can get a couple more wins out of this season and then take the off season to rebuild and come back strong next season. -Garrett Wold

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

The Jets were off this week after taking a 15-10 road loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week ago. They currently reside in the cellar of the AFC East and ninth in their conference, three spots away from a wild card berth. Quarterback Josh McCown is 13th in the NFL in passing yards with 2,242, an average of 224 yards per game and putting him on pace to pass for 3,504, a great deal better than his career-best 2,511 that he passed for in 2004 with the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately this is one of the only things they have going for them, as leading receiver Robby Anderson and leading rusher Bilal Powell sit at 24th and 27th in yards respectively. The Jets defense is also in the bottom 10 of the league, averaging nearly 120 rushing yards and 22 points per game. With five of the six matchups they have remaining with teams that have spent time in the top 10 of the power rankings this season, the Jets have a long, tough road ahead. -Brooks Maynard

25. Arizona Cardinals (4-6) (Last week: 22⬇️)

Blaine Gabbert got the starting nod from Bruce Arians last Sunday due to backup quarterback Drew Stanton’s knee injury. It was Gabbert’s first start since Week 5 of 2016 for the 49ers. He completed 22 of his 34 pass attempts for 257 yards and three touchdowns. However, two interceptions also go with his stat line. Gabbert’s valiant efforts proved to not be enough against Tom Savage and the Houston Texans. Adrian Peterson was of no help once again by only rushing for 26 yards. Arizona fell to 4-6 with the 31-21 loss and is more than likely out of the playoff picture. Hey, at least Larry Fitzgerald signed a one-year $11 million contract extension with Arizona. The Cards will host the highly improved 7-3 Jacksonville Jaguars this upcoming week. -Shane Harvell

26. Chicago Bears (3-7) (Last week: 24⬇️)

Chicago took on the Detroit Lions at home on Sunday at Soldier Field. The Bears jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter, scoring the first 10 points of the game including Mitch Trubisky’s lone touchdown pass to fellow rookie Adam Shaheen. The Bears’ offense impressed; Trubisky continued to take care of the ball through the air, not throwing a pick. However, a costly fumble in the second quarter got the Lions rolling on the day. Jordan Howard looked great as well, rushing for 125 yards on only 15 carries. His running mate in the backfield Tarik Cohen also wowed with an impressive 15-yard TD. The bottom line for the Bears is they have no go-to receiver who can make big plays. Inman has taken some of the load off of the receiving corps but they don’t have that big play receiver who can score from anywhere on the field. A young defense looks good and has potential but the Bears can’t rely on them stopping the league’s elite quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford threw for nearly 300 yards with two touchdowns. If the Bears want to improve, they’re gonna need more from their receivers and the defense needs to take that next step. -Aman Hyrams

27. Denver Broncos (3-7) (Last week: 25⬇️)

The Broncos lost to the Bengals this week 20-17. They have really fallen off since their hot start to the year. With this loss, the Broncos have fired their offensive coordinator and decided to start Paxton Lynch. This QB change was needed as neither of the other two could produce anything. Lynch may be the change the Broncos need, or not. -Eric Jackson

28. Miami Dolphins (4-6) (Last week: 27⬇️)

Miami played as well as they could against the Buccaneers in the “God why does this season feel never-ending?” Bowl. In the heart of the overtime loss was Jay Cutler’s concussion, immediately bringing up the idea of a potential quarterback competition. The defense is under-performing, which is code for not good, and the only offensive skill players playing to expectations is Kenny Stills. The Dolphins do not need instability at the most important position in sports, everything else is already going wrong. -Ian Taylor

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

In Week 11 the Colts didn’t lose and no one got hurt, which is great news. They were also on a bye week. Not much has gone right in Indianapolis this season, they’ll take what they can get. -Silas Albright

30. New York Giants (2-8) (Last week: 31⬆️)

Even when the Giants are tanking, they don’t know how to do it right. Somehow, the Giants ended up being the better team on Sunday in a 12-9 win against the reeling Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams play sloppy on offense, but the Giants defense looked like last season’s as they pulled out only their second win of the season in overtime. Running back Orleans Darkwa has looked solid the last few weeks, and the Giants seem to have finally found some glimpse of hope on the offensive line in undrafted rookie Chad Wheeler. Wide receiver Roger Lewis had an astounding one handed grab to help the Giants get the win, and New York finally had signs of life. Now, for the first time in eight years, the Giants will host a Thanksgiving Day Game against the Redskins. -Jason Huber

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

The 49ers celebrated their first win of the season by taking the week off before a home game against their heated rival, the Seattle Seahawks. We are still waiting to see newest 49er Jimmy Garoppolo take the field, while both quarterbacks the 49ers have started this season are in the bottom 10 of the league in yards per attempt. Their defense has also been a joke, currently sitting at 27th overall in total yards and 29th in points allowed, averaging 26 per game. While the 49ers are long out of the playoff picture, they have winnable games coming up with the Bears and Texans, not to mention the key matchup with rival Seahawks, and fans will be looking for some serious changes. -Brooks Maynard

32. Cleveland Browns (0-10) (Last week: 32↔️)

The Browns lost again, this time to the Jaguars. The defense was not terrible, only allowing 19 points, but the offense only managed 7. They are now 0-10, looking to possibly out due their performance last year of going 1-15. The Browns are just playing for a top pick at this point. 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