2016 NFL Power Rankings Week 10: Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals got a chance to sit at home on Sunday while the rest of the NFC West was in action

The Arizona Cardinals had a bye this week.  That was the good news.  The bad news is they still sit at 3-4-1 as they head into week 10 of the 2016 NFL season.  They ended up dropping just a bit in the NFL Power Rankings this week.

Hopefully the time off allowed the Cardinals some time to heal some wounds.  They will still be without safety Tyrann Mathieu in week 10.

As for the rest of the NFL, well there were some surprises and in other games it was business as usual.  The Cleveland Browns were still the Browns.  The New York Jets were still the Jets.

The Minnesota Vikings dropped their third straight game.  They look nothing like who they were the first five weeks of the season.  They were beat by the Detroit Lions who are now squarely in the midst of the NFC playoff race.

Nov 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

32. Cleveland Browns 0-9 (32)

The Cleveland Browns didn’t disappoint on Sunday.  They got blown out at home to the Dallas Cowboys 35-10.

Cleveland went down the field in a hurry on their first drive.  After starting center Cameroin Erving was ejected, the Browns had to settle for a field goal.  The 3-0 lead was their only lead the entire afternoon.

It was all Dallas the rest of the way.  The Browns offense had a hard time moving the ball, especially on the ground.  Quarterback Cody Kessler had 203 yards passing and one touchdown with zero interceptions.

However the Browns could not move the ball on the ground.  Their leading rusher was Duke Johnson with 30 yards.  They had 45 yards on the ground compared to the Cowboys 168 yards on the ground.

Now it’s a short week for the Browns.  They head east to face the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football.  They have 0-10 staring them in the face.

Nov 6, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Phillip Gaines (23) breaks up a pass intended for Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson (15) during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

31. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-6 (31)

For most of the day on Sunday, it looked as if the Jaguars were lifeless.  They did give the Kansas City Chiefs a game at the end.

In the end though, they came up short 19-14.  Quarterback Blake Bortles went 22-41 for 252 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The big problem for the Jaguars on Sunday though was turnovers.  They had the Bortles interception and that went with three fumbles.

It is hard to beat anyone in the NFL turning the ball over four times on the road.  The Jaguars held the Chiefs to 19 points, four field goals and one touchdown, but it wasn’t enough.

The Jaguars had their opportunities to win this one in the fourth quarter.  For now though, they continue to sit near the bottom of the rankings.  Next week they head home to host the Houston Texans.

November 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) fumbles the football against defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98), outside linebacker Craig Robertson (52), and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) during the fourth quarter at Levi

30. San Francisco 49ers 1-7 (29)

Another week, another loss.  At least they put up some points on Sunday.  The 49ers lost to the New Orleans Saints 43-28 on Sunday. It was their seventh straight loss.

The only victory so far has been the week one triumph over the Los Angeles Rams.  The way things are going, there may not be many more opportunities for wins.

The problem for the 49ers has been the defense.  They gave up their seventh straight 100-yard rusher on Sunday.  No other team has allowed more than three 100-yard rushers this season.

The offense did show some life but it was not nearly enough.  It hasn’t been all season long. Now we are back to 49ers head coach Chip Kelly having to shut down rumors he will bolt back to college.  For the record, he shut another rumor down this weekend.

It’s all the 49ers and their fans have to talk about these days though.  Next week they head on the road to Arizona to take on the Cardinals.  They lost to the Cardinals in week five 33-21.

Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (93) tackles New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Jets 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

29. New York Jets 3-6 (30)

Not much change for the Jets this week.  Another chance to win turns into another blown chance. After taking a late lead, they allowed the Miami Dolphins to finish them off on special teams.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had another day that left a lot of fans scratching their heads.  Fitz went 17-28 for 193 yards and two interceptions.  Fitz looked bad on both of his picks.

The Jets seemingly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory though.  They took a 23-20 lead with just over five minutes left in the game.  However on the ensuing kickoff, they allowed Dolphins kick returner Kenyan Drake return the kickoff 96-yards to give the Dolphins the lead for good.

Running back Matt Forte had a good day.  He carried the ball 12 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.  His touchdown run spanned 31-yards.

The Jets now return home to host the Los Angeles Rams.  The Jets are 0-2 so far against the NFC West, losing to the Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks.

Oct 31, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) looks to pass the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

28. Chicago Bears 2-6 (28)

The Bears were on the bye this week.  It was well deserved after defeating the Minnesota Vikings last week.  As bad as the Bears started the season, it is almost unthinkable they still have a chance to win the NFC North.

With the recent performances by the Green Bay Packers and the Vikings, anything is possible in the NFC North.  Chicago will need a lot more performances like the one they got last Monday night against the Vikings though.

The Bears have a chance to get a little closer to the top with a trip to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 10.  After Tampa though, they are on to New York to face the Giants.  The next home game for the Bears is on November 27th against the Tennessee Titans.

If quarterback Jay Cutler can stay healthy, it isn’t crazy to believe the Bears could win all three of those games.  However, if we all know Cutler and the Bears as well as we think we do, that’s not happening.

Nov 3, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 43-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-6 (24)

It is safe to say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have more defensive issues than offensive issues. Although the health of quarterback Jameis Winston remains in question.

Winston left Thursday night’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons with an injured knee.  However he reportedly practiced on Monday, so there is that.

The Buccaneers can’t keep giving up a lot of points however and expect to win many games.  They have given up at least 30 points in five of their eight games.

Upcoming this Sunday is a home date with the Bears.  It is a chance for the Bucs to get back in the playoff talk, although many would suggest I get checked by a doctor saying such a thing.

It’s hard to figure the Bears out right now, so maybe this doesn’t end up being as close as some think.  The Bucs took the Oakland Raiders to overtime though at home just two weeks ago. Anything can happen.

Nov 6, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Javorius Allen (37) high fives wide receiver Chris Moore (10) after scoring a touchdown on a blocked punt in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

26. Baltimore Ravens 4-4 (27)

Still deciding which Ravens team is going to break out the second half of the season.  Will it be the one who had a lot of difficulty in losing to the Jets?  Will it be the team that just dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday?

For most of the day, the Ravens had shut out the Steelers.  Pittsburgh didn’t score until there was about eight minutes remaining in the game.

Quarterback Joe Flacco was 18-30 for 241 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  His touchdown pass was a thing of beauty.

Flacco completed a franchise-best 95-yard touchdown pass to receiver Mike Wallace, who was playing his former team.  Wallace ended up with 124-yards receiving on the afternoon.

The Ravens now face a short week and will host the Browns on Thursday night.  It will be a great chance to take the lead in the AFC North.

Nov 6, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) pumps his fist during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

25. San Diego Chargers 4-5 (25)

The Chargers don’t move this week despite a great offensive showing on Sunday in a 43-35 victory over the Tennessee Titans.  They may be moving on up though if they continue the effort.

Thoughts may have seeped in that the Chargers were on the verge of blowing another late lead but this time the defense stepped up when they needed to with a couple of touchdowns.

They still gave up 35 points though to a tough, much improved Titans team.  The Chargers are still not on the same level as the rest of the AFC West.

There is time to get better.  The Chargers host the Miami Dolphins this Sunday and then go to Houston to face the Texans.  After that, they are home for the Buccaneers.  That’s three games where the Chargers can improve their standing in a hurry.

Nov 6, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws a pass under pressure from Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) and safety Morgan Burnett (42) during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Indianapolis won 31-26. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

24. Indianapolis Colts 4-5 (26)

The Colts might have life after all.  For the better part of 2016, the Colts haven’t looked very good. On Sunday however, they looked like the Colts team many thought would dominate the AFC South.

Quarterback Andrew Luck went 23-36 for 281 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Despite the two picks, Luck played fairly well.  Running back Frank Gore looked decent too with 60 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Receiver Donte Moncrief had three huge receptions for 55 yards.  His longest went for 39 yards and he had a very nice grab on a 8-yard touchdown reception.

Now is the time to grab hold of the division.  They are at home the next two weeks.  They host the Titans and the Steelers.  They won’t be easy games but these are games they need to win at home if they want to go places in 2016.

Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) carries the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during a NFL football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Panthers defeated the Rams 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

23. Carolina Panthers 3-5 (23)

After a 1-5 start, there was little doubt the Panthers still had life, especially if they started getting some of their players back healthy.  Now they have run off two straight victories.

The Panthers didn’t muster much on offense on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.  Then again, they didn’t need much.

They went to Los Angeles and handed the Rams their fourth straight loss.  The Panthers are now striking a resemblance to the team that reeled off six straight wins in 2014.

The Panthers are still miles away however form where they were in 2015.  The offense still isn’t running on all cylinders.

Now the Panthers head home for the next two weeks.  They will host the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints.  Two very tough games.  They could be on the outside looking in this postseason if they lose even one of those games.

Oct 30, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) looks on after the game against the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

22. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1)

The Bengals were on the bye in week nine but not really any worse for wear because of it.  After tying the Washington Redskins in week eight, the Bengals came back from London to watch the rest of the division in action.

They are only a half-game behind the Ravens and Steelers in the AFC North. As they enter the second-half of their season, the Bengals will have a healthy Tyler Eifert at tight end.

They will need to use their weapons on offense to find a way to a division championship.  The division is wide open.  First step though is to beat the New York Giants on Monday Night Football next week.

They still have division games left with all three AFC North opponents, including at Baltimore on November 27th.  They have a game at home December 18th on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers.

Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Dominique Jones (85) runs the ball past New York Jets outside linebacker Julian Stanford (51) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Jets 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

21. Miami Dolphins 4-4 (21)

For a brief moment on Sunday afternoon, it appeared the Dolphins were going to lose to a depleted Jets team that somehow found itself in this game.  Then, reality happened.

The Dolphins righted the ship quickly after falling behind 23-20 with just over five minutes left in the game.  Kenyan Drake finsihed the Jets off with a 96-yard kickoff return.

The Dolphins evened their record at 4-4 but now must go on the road to California the next two weeks.  They go to San Diego next week and play in Los Angeles the next before coming home to face the 49ers.

In order to be successful, the Dolphins will need to continue to ride the legs of running back Jay Ajayi.  He had 24 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had very modest numbers on Sunday.  He threw for just 149 yards on 17-28 and one touchdown.  Clearly the running game will need to carry this team if they want any postseason plans.

Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt (18) hangs on to a touchdown pass in front of Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry (24) in the fourth quarter at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

20. Los Angeles Rams 3-5 (19)

After getting blown out in week one to the 49ers 28-0, the Rams ran off three straight impressive victories to go 3-1 and allowed them to sit in first place.  The real Rams have appeared.

The Rams defense kept them in the game on Sunday in the 13-10 loss to the Panthers.  The offense did them no favors though.

A dropped sure touchdown and a questionable call not attempting to kick a field goal then take a chance on an onside kick to get the ball back did the Rams in on Sunday. The Rams needed two scores late but decided to go for a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal.

It ended up working out with the touchdown to receiver Kenny Britt.  However the ensuing onside kick attempt, if you want to call it that, was kicked 46 yards down the field.  Not sure what the Rams were thinking there.  Today, they are thinking about how to avoid another 7-9 or 8-8 season.

19. Tennessee Titans 4-5 (13)

The Titans scored big on Sunday.  They put up 35 points on the road in a game they had a shot to win in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw three touchdowns on 313 yards passing.  However two huge turnovers by Mariota ended up doing the Titans in on Sunday.

First, Mariota fumbled a ball that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter.  Then in the fourth quarter, Mariota was intercepted by Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers, who returned the ball 33-yards for the score.

The Titans are still very much in the thick of things in the AFC South though.  They sit one game behind the Colts and one and a half behind the Texans.

Next week the Titans go home to face a struggling Green Bay team.  They might be getting them at a very opportune time. An even bigger game looms the following week on November 20th at the Colts.

Oct 30, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) winces while stretching on the bench during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

18. Arizona Cardinals 3-4-1 (17)

The Cardinals have to be thinking to themselves how lucky they are to still be in the hunt for the playoffs.  With the Seahawks victory on Monday night, they still are not out of the NFC West race but it got darker.

With the bye week to mend some wounds, the Cardinals will start the second half of the season at home against the 49ers.  It is just one of three home games remaining for the Cardinals this season.

The Cardinals must get themselves a victory this Sunday before heading out on the road to face a struggling Vikings team and a very good Falcons team.  A win keeps them very much alive in the playoff hunt for a wild-card.

With so many teams at or near .500 right now, the margin of error widens a bit as the fight for the five and six seed heats up.  A loss this week though and you can pretty much start making plans for 2017 if you are the Cardinals.

Oct 30, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Washington Redskins tight end Niles Paul (84) stretches for a pass during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

17. Washington Redskins 4-3-1 (15)

The Redskins are coming off the bye after the tie against the Bengals in London week before last. They sit above .500 but unless a miracle comes by, the wild card is all that the Skins will be playing for in the second half of the season.

Sitting three games behind the Cowboys, the Skins need to concentrate on finding a way to beat as many teams as they can on their remaining schedule.  It starts in week 10 against the Vikings.

The Vikings and the Packers both visit Washington in the next two weeks.  Those games could make or break their chances of making the postseason for the second consecutive season.

They still have one game a piece with their division, including the Cowboys.  However anything short of sweeping their divisional opponents and the hopes of a 2016 postseason become dimmer.

16. Houston Texans 5-3 (20)

The 5-3 Texans spent like five other teams, sitting and watching in week nine.  Their bye week likely came at a good time for them.

The Texans standings may say 5-3 but they have played more like a 3-5 or 2-6 team lucky enough to pull some games out.  Yet, here they still sit in first place in the AFC South, for now.

The Colts and Titans are making a push right behind the Texans though, so they have work to do if they want to win a second straight division crown.  This week they head to Jacksonville.

Jacksonville is desperate for a win but if the Texans can not beat them, no matter where the game is played, then the Texans probably do not deserve any mention of the postseason in the same breath.

Tough home games against AFC West foes loom large after the Jags this Sunday.  Both the Raiders and Chargers come calling on November 20th and 27th respectively.  The Raiders game will be played in Mexico City on Monday Night Football.

Nov 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandon Coleman (16) carries the ball against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock (26) during the fourth quarter at Levi

15. New Orleans Saints 4-4 (16)

Who dat they may be asking.  Well they are the Saints and they are marching right back into the playoff picture with a convincing 41-23 victory over the 49ers on Sunday.

That makes two straight victories over NFC West foes.  They defeated the Seahawks 25-20 in week nine at home.

Quarterback Drew Brees is heating up.  He went 28-39 for 323-yards and three touchdowns without an interception on Sunday.  Also heating up is running back Mark Ingram.

Ingram rushed for 158-yards on just 15 carries against the 49ers.  His longest run being 75-yards which he took to the house.

Now the Saints go home to host the defending champion Denver Broncos.  They get the Panthers a week later on Sunday Night Football.  We are going to find out real fast if the Saints are contenders or pretenders in 2016.

Nov 6, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) cannot catch a fourth down pass in the end zone against New York Giants defensive back Trevin Wade (31) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

14. Philadelphia Eagles 4-4 (12)

Two plays.  Two quarterback Carson Wentz interceptions and the Eagles were playing catch up the rest of the day.

After starting the season 3-0, the Eagles have landed.  Landed themselves right back on Earth and right in the middle of the NFC playoff picture.

Over the past couple of weeks, Wentz has started to look like the rookie many thought he would play like early on.  He was able to compose himself after two early picks put the Eagles down 14-0 quickly in the first quarter against the New York Giants on Sunday.

At this point though you would expect Wentz and the Eagles to be getting better, not digressing. That is what has happened though.

The Eagles have the Falcons at home and on the road at the Seahawks the week after next.  In other words, it is tough to imagine the Eagles season not ending on January 1st.

Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Justin Hunter (17) celebrates his touchdown reception the with tight end Charles Clay (85) against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

13. Buffalo Bills 4-5 (11)

The NFL did the Bills no favors on Monday night in Seattle.  The NFL admitted they blew a missed roughing the kicker call at the end of the first half that would have allowed Buffalo to attempt another chance at three points.

Those three points would have made a difference in the fourth quarter.  However after starting the game with a blocked punt on the Seahawks first drive and going up 7-0, the defense could do little to stop the Seattle offense.

If the Bills had been able to figure that out and made a few stops, we would not be sitting here talking about another game the Seahawks were able to get away with.

Someday the Bills will start getting the benefit of those calls but that is what happens when you are a good team.  Even good teams get lucky.  The Bills need to learn to overcome a little adversity and not let it affect how they perform.  It is easier said than done but now the AFC playoff picture becomes very murky as far as Buffalo is concerned.

Nov 6, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws the ball during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The New York Giants defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 28-23. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

12. New York Giants 5-3 (14)

The New York Giants may not be world beaters but they are finding ways to win.  Despite early struggles in the season for receiver Odell Beckham Jr., quarterback Eli Manning is finding him the ball now.

They defeated the Eagles 28-23 on Sunday, holding on after a 14-0 early lead disappeared. Manning went 22-36 with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Mistakes continue to hurt Manning but he is making more good plays than bad.  They now sit just two games behind the Cowboys, the team that can thank their only loss to the Giants in week one.

The Giants now have a chance to win some games outside of their division.  They host the Bengals on Monday Night Football next week and then host the Chicago Bears the following week.  Then it is off on the road to Cleveland, a good stretch of games to make the Cowboys squirm a little.

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) celebrates his overtime touchdown to beat Minnesota Vikings 22-16 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

11. Detroit Lions 5-4 (18)

Another fourth quarter comeback in the books for the Lions.  Quarterback Matthew Stafford lead another come from behind victory over the Vikings on Sunday.

The Vikings scored with just 23 seconds remaining in their game on Sunday to make people believe the game was over.  They gave Stafford too much time.

One pass to the 40-yard line of the Vikings allowed the Lions to clock the ball with two second left. Kicker Matt Prated nailed a 58-yard field goal as time expired.  Then receiver Golden Tate made a great move to stay in-bounds and score a touchdown in overtime for the win.

The Lions now sit just one-half game behind the Vikings for the NFC North lead.  The Lions have a date at home with the Jaguars this Sunday.  After that it is time for their annual Thanksgiving Day game at home.  This year the opponent will be the Vikings.  It will be interesting to see how that game unfolds given they just played each other Sunday.

Nov 6, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) runs for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore Ravens defeated Pittsburgh Steelers 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

10. Pittsburgh Steelers 4-4 (10)

These are not your typical Steelers.  This Steelers team dropped another game in a lackluster effort on Sunday, losing to division-rival Baltimore 21-14.

Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned to action but he was not very effective in the loss.  They were down 21-0 until they scored about halfway through the fourth quarter on Sunday.

The loss puts the Steelers at 4-4 but still in a tie with Baltimore for first place in the AFC North. Big Ben threw the ball 45 times.  This Steelers team can not win games that way most of the time.

The Steelers have a huge game coming up this week at home against the Cowboys before they get back into the division at Cleveland the following week.

If the Steelers can place a loss on the Cowboys, it would be hard to argue despite bad losses to the Eagles and Dolphins, that the Steelers are the favorites to win the division in 2016.

Nov 6, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers loses the ball as he is hit by Indianapolis Colts defender T.J. Green in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent via USA TODAY Sports

9. Green Bay Packers 4-4 (9)

There is just something wrong with the Packers.  Yes, we know about all of the injuries.  It runs deeper than that though.

After losing 31-26 at home to the Colts on Sunday, the Packers fell to third place in the  NFC North. Although they did manage to get 53-yards out of receiver turned running back Ty Montgomery, the Packers do not have a lot of offensive balance.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw the ball 43 times on Sunday, getting picked off once.  He threw touchdown passes to Jordy Nelson, Devonte Adams, and Randall Cobb on Sunday but it still felt like there was a void.

The Packers now have the dubious task of going on the road for the next three weeks.  They go to Tennessee, Washington, and Philadelphia over the next three weeks.  When they return home on December 4th against the Texans, the Packers could be done by then.

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison (85) celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions defeated the Vikings 22-16. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

8. Minnesota Vikings 5-3 (5)

These are the Vikings I think many of us expected to see when they lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Adrian Peterson for the season.  There are just not enough offensive weapons to compete.

After starting 5-0, thanks to a great defense, the Vikings have now dropped three straight games to reduce their NFC North lead to just a half game after loosing to the Lions 22-16 in overtime on Sunday.

Quarterback Sam Bradford went 31-40 for 273-yards and a touchdown on Sunday but there is little to no running game to speak of.  The leading rusher for the Vikings on Sunday was Ronnie Hillman with 30-yards.

The Vikings go on the road in week 10 to face the Redskins and then return home to face the Cardinals on November 20th.

Nov 6, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Nick Foles (4) drops back to pass during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

7. Kansas City Chiefs 6-2 (7)

The Chiefs tired hard to give another one away on Sunday but once again found a way to win. Good teams always find ways to win.

With backup quarterback Nick Foles leading the way and four field goals from kicker Cairo Santos, the Chiefs stay afloat near the top of the AFC West after defeating the Jaguars 19-14 on Sunday.

The Chiefs almost let this game slip away much like they did against the Saints and the Chargers this season.  In the end though they did what was needed to get the victory.

Guys like tight end Travis Kelce however need to learn to keep their composure in key situations. He was ejected on Sunday after throwing his towel at an official.  He can not put his team in those types of positions if they want to keep pace with the 7-2 Raiders and 6-2 Broncos.

Nov 3, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (81) is congratulated after he scored a goal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 43-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

6. Atlanta Falcons 6-3 (8)

The Falcons beat Tampa Bay 43-28 on Thursday Night Football.  They continue to impress and quarterback Matt Ryan continues to be a front-runner for MVP.

The look to be the most complete team in the NFC South right now.  They may end up getting a push from the Saints before all is said and done but for now they are the team to beat.

Quarterback Matt Ryan went 25-34 for 344-yards and four touchdowns in the victory.  By the time they face the Eagles in Philadelphia on November 13th, they will have had 10 days between games.

This time of season a long break like that can help.  It can hurt but for a team looking to win a division, it is huge.  The Falcons will then get their bye week on November 20th before returning home to face the Cardinals on November 27th.

Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) passes the football against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

5. Denver Broncos 6-3 (3)

The question out there Monday after a loss to the Raiders Sunday night was about quarterback Trevor Siemien.  Fans and media wonder if he is the guy going forward.

For now he is.  The 30-20 loss to the Raiders on Sunday Night Football was not all of his fault. Injuries to the running game did not help.  The loss was just their second of the year and puts them a half-game behind the now division-leading Raiders.

The Broncos will get their chance for revenge on the Raiders but not until week 17.  For now, it is a trip to New Orleans before their bye week in week 11.  After their bye, the Broncos return to face the currently 6-2 Chiefs.

The rest of November and December will be fun to watch if you are an AFC West fan.  The Broncos however need to get some of their secondary healthy if they want to stay at or near the top of the division.

Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks to pass against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of a NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. Seattle Seahawks 5-2-1 (4)

They may be the luckiest 5-2-1 team in history.  However that is where they stand after beating the Bills 31-25 on Monday Night Football.

The Seahawks were beneficiaries of a couple of questionable calls once again.  After a questionable non-pass interference call in their victory over the Falcons at home a few weeks go, they had a clear roughing the kicker call that was not called on Monday night.

The NFL did come out and say before the game was over that the call should have been made but that is no consolation to the Bills at this point.  However that is not the Seahawks problem now.

Now they take a 5-2-1 record into Foxboro next week on Sunday Night Football against the New England Patriots.  It is a huge game for both teams.  If the Seahawks pull this one out, you may as well crown them the division champion in the NFC West.

Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

3. Oakland Raiders 7-2 (6)

The Raiders are back. They may only be Oakland Raiders for a couple more seasons but for Sunday night, they brought back memories of the Raiders teams of the past.

They defeated the defending champion Broncos 30-20 thanks to their running game.  Raiders running back Latavius Murray carried the ball 20 times for 114 yards on Sunday night.  He rushed for three touchdowns.

That was all that was needed for the Raiders on Sunday night.  Quarterback David Carr threw for just 184 yards against a depleted Broncos secondary but on this night he did not need to be great.

Carr did not turn the ball over and managed to lead his team to a 7-2 record and first place in the AFC West.  Now the Raiders can concentrate on their bye week before going to Mexico City on Monday Night Football against the Texans on November 21st.

Nov 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) reacts to throwing a pass for a touchdown with teammate tight end Jason Witten (82) against the Cleveland Browns in the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

2. Dallas Cowboys 7-1 (2)

The Cowboys did what they had to do on Sunday.  They went into Cleveland and took care of business against the Browns.

Quarterback Dak Prescott did nothing to make the Cowboys believe Tony Romo should replace Prescott.  Prescott went 21-27 for 247 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday.

Running back Ezekiel Elliot also had another very good day.  He carried the ball 18 times for 72 yards and two touchdowns.  Just another day at the office.

Also welcome back tight end Jason Witten.  He had eight receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown.  If there was one thing to watch going forward, it would be the defense.

Although they gave up just 10 points, it was after all the Browns.  They did allow Cleveland to come right out of the gates early and take the ball down field.  They also didn’t create any turnovers.  Now they are headed to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers next week.

Oct 30, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) looks on from the sideline during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. The Patriots beat the Bills 41-25. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

1. New England Patriots (7-1)

The Patriots had a bye in week nine.  They stay in the top spot but should be feeling the heat of the Cowboys.

They had the luxury of sitting at home and watching their next opponent, the Seahawks.  They will play the NFC West leading Hawks at home on Sunday Night Football.

The Patriots will have head two weeks off by the time they get to the game Sunday night.  The Seahawks though will be coming off a short week after their game on Monday night.

It is hard to fathom the Patriots coming into this one flat.  Quarterback Tom Brady has been nothing short of great since his return in week five from his four-game suspension.

Right now the Patriots appear to be the clear favorite in the AFC.  There is nothing un-familiar with that. The only team that stands in the way of the Patriots is the Patriots.  Good luck with that AFC.

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