NFL power rankings, Week 11: Titans rise, Packers tumble

In the Week 11 NFL power rankings, we see the Tennessee Titans make their move while the Green Bay Packers have proven they are broken.

Nov 10, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) throws throws during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore Ravens defeated Cleveland Browns 28-7. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland Browns


Last week: L, 28-7, at BAL
Last rank: 32nd

It’s now 13 straight losses and counting for the Browns, who on Thursday night at Baltimore fell to the Ravens, 28-7. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler got the start and led his team to a 7-6 halftime advantage. But head coach Hue Jackson inexplicably gave the young signal-caller the heave-ho in the third quarter and enter veteran Josh McCown. The latter would proceed to turn over the ball three times while completing only six of his 13 throws for 59 yards. One of the positives aspects on the evening was the play of outside linebacker Jamie Collins, who finished the game with nine tackles and one sack. But the Browns have allowed at least 25 points in every game they’ve played this season.

Next Week: At least this team has some extra time to prepare for the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, who are now riding a four-game losing streak and struggling badly on defense. The Browns haven’t had much success in this series in recent years but Hue Jackson knows this club from his days in Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Playoff hopes: None. The Browns are currently in the lead to grab the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. And even that’s not a certainty with the way the San Francisco 49ers are playing these days. At 0-10 this year, this is a Cleveland team that has now posted double-digit losses in 14 of its last 18 seasons dating back to 1999.

Nov 13, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs the ball during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports


San Francisco 49ers


Last week: L, 20-13, at AZ
Last rank: 31st

San Francisco lost their eighth straight game, this time by just three points. The Cardinals kicked a last-second field goal to win at home and send Chip Kelly packing. Colin Kaepernick looked at times like his old self, rushing for 55 yards and a touchdown, while connecting with Jeremy Kerley for a second score. The young members of San Francisco’s defense came up big despite the loss, with DeForest Buckner and Eli Harold each getting a sack on Carson Palmer. Eric Reid and Gerald Hodges also made their presence felt by picking off Palmer in the loss.

Next Week: Tom Brady and the Patriots arrive in San Francisco next week for what should be a blowout win for New England. With a close game on Sunday Night Football, Brady will be looking to feast off the 49ers defense, which will be on the field for nearly 40 minutes once again.

Playoff hopes: If Chip Kelly is retained after one season, he will have the opportunity to do something he never could in Philadelphia. That will be to mold a quarterback to his liking straight out of college. If Deshaun Watson comes into San Francisco and can run some of the zone-read plays that made Kelly and Marcus Mariota famous at Oregon, Kelly’s future in the NFL could be saved after missing the playoffs once again.

Nov 13, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) looks to throw a pass in the second quarter against the Houston Texans at EverBank Field. Houston Texans won 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports


Jacksonville Jaguars


Last week: L, 24-21, vs. HOU
Last rank: 30th

While the Houston Texans finally managed to win a road game, the Jaguars still haven’t come up with a victory in Jacksonville this season. Remember, the lone home triumph for Gus Bradley’s club this year came in London, England, against the Indianapolis Colts. As for this tilt, quarterback Blake Bortles once again had problems with ball security. He lost one of his two fumbles and his lone interception of the game was taken back 42 yards for a score by Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson. The Jaguars’ shaky ground attack continued to disappoint, gaining only 80 yards on 22 carries. And for the fifth consecutive contest, Bradley’s squad failed to come up with a takeaway.

Next Week: Gus Bradley’s struggling club travels north to the Motor City to face the surging 5-4 Detroit Lions, now tied atop the NFC North. Jacksonville will see a familiar face in one-time Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. Dating back to 2015, the Jaguars own a 2-10 road record – including a 1-3 mark this year.

Playoff hopes: You can never say never these days because the NFL has seen its share of streaky teams (both good and bad) over the years. But this is a lifeless Jacksonville team that doesn’t look like it has a lot of fire or confidence these days. And climbing above three teams in your own division is never an easy task.

Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) runs off the field after Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Robert Ayers (91) gets a safety during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Chicago Bears


Last week: L, 36-10, at TB
Last rank: 29th

Chicago lost once again with Jay Cutler remaining in the drivers seat. The Bears offense lost two of their best starters (Jordan Howard and Kyle Long) to leg injuries that may be season ending. Long was carted off with an air cast on his right leg, while Howard is said to have suffered an ankle/Achillies injury. On defense, Will Sutton also suffered an ankle injury, while Bobby Massie was placed under the concussion protocol. Four turnovers and nine penalties were the ultimate kiss of death for the Bears Sunday, and possibly for John Fox and Cutler.

Next Week: The Bears have yet to win on the road this season, and are 2-7 heading into East Rutherford to face the Giants. New York will be coming off a short week after playing Monday Night Football, but that will provide little advantage for this horrendous Bears squad.

Playoff hopes: Chicago is well out of the playoff race, and will be looking at quarterbacks with the possibility of having a top five pick next spring. Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, and Mitch Trubisky will be the names to watch in the first round when the draft returns to Philadelphia.

Nov 13, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium. The Rams defeated the Jets 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


New York Jets


Last week: L, 9-6, vs. LA
Last rank: 26th

With second-year quarterback Bryce Petty making his first NFL start, the Jets took a 6-3 halftime lead over the visiting Rams. The young performer was 10-of-14 for 112 yards and a score in the first two quarters. But Todd Bowles’ squad was done scoring for the afternoon. After gaining 193 total yards in the first 30 minutes of action, the Jets gained a mere 103 total yards in the second half. And Petty’s lone interception of the afternoon came late in the game when the team still had a chance to win the game or at least send it into overtime. New York limited Los Angeles to three field goals and still came up short for the seventh time in 10 games this season.

Next Week: Following their 9-6 loss to the Rams, Todd Bowles’ club now has the week off. That will give them some extended time to prepare for the AFC East leading New England Patriots, who invade MetLife Stadium on a Sunday night in Week 12. The Jets managed a home overtime victory over Bill Belichick’s club late last season.

Playoff hopes: The Jets remain at the bottom of the division standings and have already lost more games than they did all of last season. A 9-7 finish could still get you an invitation to the postseason party but that means New York has to run the table. And the way the team is playing these days that seems highly unlikely.

Nov 13, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;
Los Angeles Rams middle linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) reacts after intercepting a New York Jets pass to seal the game in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


Los Angeles Rams


Last week: W, 9-6, at NYJ
Last rank: 28th

One of the lowest-scoring games you will see this year came between the Rams and Jets Sunday. New York did score on a nifty hook and ladder touchdown, but missed the point after attempt. Case Keenum and Todd Gurley could not generate any offense whatsoever, resulting in Greg Zuerlein only needing to kick three field goals to win. Kenny Britt had the only offense for Los Angeles on Sunday, racking up over 100 receiving yards. Reports are starting to come out saying Jared Goff is getting closer to starting, which will be a welcome sight for anyone who has to watch a Rams game this season.

Next Week: The Rams return home to face the Miami Dolphins, and fans are hopeful that Jared Goff will start in front of the Los Angeles faithful. No official announcement has come from Jeff Fisher, but this could be the best-case scenario to start Goff with New Orleans on the schedule the week after.

Playoff hopes: With just four wins and the rest of the division floundering, the Rams are still in position to make a playoff run in their first season back in Los Angeles. The chances of that happening are low, but if Goff starts his career hot, you can not count the Rams out with their defense.

Nov 13, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) tackles Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess (17) after a catch during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. The Chiefs won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports


Carolina Panthers


Last week: L, 20-17, vs. KC
Last rank: 23rd

Not even a record setting game by Cam Newton could help the Panthers avoid their sixth loss of the season. Newton set career-records for a Panthers quarterback in pass completions and rushing touchdowns by a Panther, passing DeAngelo Williams. Despite Newton looking to have returned for form, a fumble by Kelvin Benjamin forced by Marcus Peters gave the Chiefs an opportunity to win with seconds remaining on the clock. While Carolina led in nearly every statistical category at the end of the game, the costly Benjamin turnover prematurely ended any playoff hopes for the reigning NFC champions.

Next Week: Thursday Night Football and the Saints roll into Carolina to face a Panthers team that has lost three of five home games this year. Facing a horrendous New Orleans defense, the Panthers should have an opportunity to put up points in primetime. They still need to find a way to stop the Saints aerial attack, led by Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks.

Playoff hopes: Less than a year removed from their Super Bowl appearance, the Panthers are already looking towards next season. When you have a defense allowing more points than the offense can score, playing in January becomes nearly impossible.

Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) reacts to a touchdown scored by running back Doug Martin (not pictured) against the Chicago Bears in the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Last week: W, 36-10, vs. CHI
Last rank: 27th

Jameis Winston and Doug Martin knocked off the Chicago Bears in a 36-10 victory at home. In the Buccaneers’ first win of the year inside Raymond James Stadium, Winston threw for 312 yards with two touchdowns. Both touchdowns did little to help fantasy owners, as they went to Cameron Brate and Freddie Martino. Regardless, Winston looked like the quarterback that won the Heisman while at Florida State once again, and the Buccaneers desperately need that going forward into next week. As a side note, rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo, who the team traded up to draft, had his first set of back to back games where he did not miss any kicks.

Next Week: The Buccaneers travel to Kansas City for a tough matchup against the Chiefs in a raucous stadium. Doug Martin finally made his return, and will be needed against a Chiefs defense that has allowed nearly 1,000 rushing yards this year, which ranks among the worst in the NFL.

Playoff hopes: Sunday;s home win helped the Buccaneers chances of sneaking into the playoffs, but it might be too little too late. They sit two games behind the Falcons, who lost to the Eagles on the road and were held to 15 points. Luckily, Tampa Bay was the only team in the division to walk away with a win.

Nov 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) reacts after missing an attempt on fourth down during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. The Titans won 47-25. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


Green Bay Packers


Last week: L, 47-25, at TEN
Last rank: 15th

In a game that felt like a trap for Green Bay from the start, Marcus Mariota and the Titans walked all over the Packers. Green Bay’s defense allowed 21 first quarter points, and gave up a season-high 47 in their fifth loss of the season. Every facet of Green Bay’s game was a complete disaster on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times, picked off twice, and could only connect consistently with Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson. You have to wonder if Mike McCarthy’s job is on the line with another underachieving Packers team slipping behind in the division.

Next Week: Rodgers and the Packers travel to Washington D.C. to play on Sunday Night Football against the Redskins. The Packers are 1-3 outside of Lambeau Field this season, and have lost three straight games. Washington is finding ways to win lately, and could stand to be a viable threat to the Packers season.

Playoff hopes: Green Bay falls to third place in the NFC North behind the Lions and Vikings. With Minnesota continuing to slide thanks to countless injuries, you can not rule out the Packers just yet. Rodgers has an opportunity to save this season, but he needs to figure something out sooner than later.

Nov 6, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) and linebacker Erik Walden (93) celebrate following the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Indianapolis won 31-26. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


Indianapolis Colts


Last week: BYE
Last rank: 22nd

What to make of Chuck Pagano’s team? It doesn’t seem like much has changed over the last few years, other than the fact that quarterback Andrew Luck has managed to remain healthy so far this season. Veteran running back Frank Gore has had a very respectable year but more balance is needed. Luck has thrown for 17 scores but does have 10 turnovers on the year. But once again, Indianapolis is near the bottom of the league in total defense. When you place it all on one man in a team game, you will eventually fail. General manager Ryan Grigson still has a lot of work to do.

Next Week: The Colts are looking to get back to the .500 mark and will try to do that against a team they have defeated 10 straight times. But these are not your usual Tennessee Titans, a club that Indianapolis defeated in Week 7 at Nashville (34-26). It’s a club that has scored an imposing 118 points in their last three contests.

Playoff hopes: They are still in the postseason race but now find themselves behind both the Texans (6-3) and Titans (5-5) in the AFC South. The defense remains a major question mark and with any luck (no pun intended) the Colts were able to fix some things during their off week. Still, they face a bit of a climb in terms of the playoffs.

Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) runs for a two-point conversion against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Buffalo, 31-25. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo Bills


Last week: BYE
Last rank: 23rd

The Bills gave the Seattle Seahawks all they could handle in Buffalo’s last outing. But a 31-25 loss dropped Rex Ryan’s team back under .500 and sent the club to their third consecutive loss. It’s been a season of ebbs and flows for this club. Ryan and company opened 2016 with two straight setbacks, then proceeded to reel off four wins in a row. Buffalo’s ground attack remains one of the league’s best. A healthy LeSean McCoy makes a big difference while quarterback Tyrod Taylor continues his steady play. However, it’s an unpredictable defensive unit that continues to disappoint. During their current three-game skid, Ryan’s club has allowed a combined 100 points.

Next Week: The Bills make the short trip to the Queen City to face the struggling Cincinnati Bengals, who will be coming off a short week due to their Monday night road tilt with the New York Giants. While Ryan’s team has had its issues on defense, it’s Marvin Lewis’ club that has struggled even more when it comes to this side of the ball.

Playoff hopes: Buffalo still has a shot to end the longest active playoff drought in the league. They’re the only franchise that hasn’t been to the postseason this century. But the team’s shaky conference record (1-4 at the moment) may eventually prove to be extremely costly to Ryan and the club’s chances when it’s all said and done.

Nov 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) is defended by Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Kiko Alonso (47) during the second quarter after a catch at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


San Diego Chargers


Last week: L, 31-24, vs. MIA
Last rank: 14th

Oops. They did it again. San Diego opened up a 10-0 second-quarter advantage and took a 24-21 lead with only 4:04 to play when Philip Rivers connected with Tyrell Williams for a 51-yard score (and subsequent PAT). But the Miami Dolphins came up with 10 points roughly three minutes later and the Bolts found another way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Of course, it was hardly a sharp performance from Rivers. He threw for 326 yards and three scores but was picked off four times, his final miscue returned 60 yards by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso for the deciding touchdown.

Next Week: No doubt head coach Mike McCoy and his snake-bitten team will be looking for a few V-8s during their off week. When they return to action in Week 11, the Chargers will make their first trip to Houston since 2010 to face the AFC South leading Texans. Bill O’Brien’s team has yet to lose at home (5-0) in 2016.

Playoff hopes: We keep hearing how good the Chargers are despite their record. But the bottom line is that they are two games under .500 and the remainder of the AFC West features the 7-2 Raiders and Chiefs and 6-3 Broncos. And the Bolts already own a 3-5 record within the conference, damaging their wild card chances a bit more.

Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) runs after a catch against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Pittsburgh Steelers


Last week: L, 35-30, vs. DAL
Last rank: 13th

For the third time in their last four games, the Steelers defense allowed a running back to gain at least 100 yards rushing in a game. In the case of Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott, they also permitted the star rookie to frustrate them as a pass catcher. And even with Le’Veon Bell back and performing well, the game plan saw Pittsburgh total 19 running plays and 46 passing plays in their 35-30 home loss to the Cowboys. The continued failures on the two-point conversion attempts will be a big topic of discussion. But for a team struggling to stop the run as of late, head coach Mike Tomlin and his staff may have outthought themselves this week.

Next Week: The Steelers will play four of their next five games on the road. Up next are the 0-10 Cleveland Browns, who have actually lost 13 consecutive games dating back to the 2015 season. Including a playoff encounter way back in 2002, Pittsburgh has prevailed in 28 of the last 32 encounters between these longtime rivals.

Playoff hopes: Fortunately for the Black and Gold, the division is certainly still within reach. But you can’t continue to play defense the way the Steelers have for the last month or so and remain in the playoff chase. The Steelers still have four divisional games remaining on the schedule and AFC encounters with the Colts and Bills. But this team is slowly but surely digging itself a tricky little hole.

Nov 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks to wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) after his fourth quarter touchdown catch against the Denver Broncos at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Broncos won, 25-23. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports


New Orleans Saints


Last week: W, 25-23, vs. DEN
Last rank: 12th

A masterful special teams play by rookie Justin Simmons left the Saints hanging their heads against the Broncos. Denver blocked what would have been the go-ahead extra point, and would return the ball for the final two points of the game. New Orleans could have easily won this game if it had blocked Simmons from jumping in front of the kick. Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards once again, but it was not enough to push New Orleans pass the Super Bowl champions. The defense faltered once again, allowing Trevor Siemian walk down the field to score two touchdowns and multiple field goals.

Next Week: New Orleans will travel to face the Panthers, who have fallen off the map since making a Super Bowl run last year. Carolina’s defense has improved over the past month, allowing no more than 20 points over their last three games. Brees will have a chance to challenge that streak with his powerful arm.

Playoff hopes: New Orleans is one loss away from essentially being eliminated from the playoffs with six losses. They need to start a major win streak in Carolina to rack up more division wins, and it certainly won’t be easy. Carolina may be down, but it showed life on offense with Cam running the ball once again.

Nov 13, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) signals during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports


Arizona Cardinals


Last week: W, 23-20, vs. SF
Last rank: 20th

San Francisco nearly pulled off an upset on the road against the Cardinals, but were held off late despite holding Arizona to just three points in the second half. David Johnson was neutralized for the most part in the running game, averaging less than three yards per carry. Johnson made up for that with two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air. With Larry Fitzgerald’s career winding down, the next superstar in Arizona has clearly emerged. The Cardinals committed too many turnovers, something Bruce Arians will not be pleased with throughout the week. Carson Palmer threw two interceptions and fumbled, as did wide receiver J.J. Nelson.

Next Week: Arizona travels to Minnesota to face another underachieving team looking to stay in the playoff hunt. Minnesota has seen nearly all of its starters from the preseason roster go down, providing the Cardinals an opportunity to rebound on the road.

Playoff hopes: Arizona is still trailing Seattle in the NFC North, but are still in playoff contention. A tie early in the season between the two rivals carries a lot of weight, and the two will square off on Christmas Eve in the second to last game of their regular season.

Oct 30, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) is grabbed by Washington Redskins linebacker Will Compton (51) during the third quarter at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports


Cincinnati Bengals


Last week: Mon. night at NYG
Last rank: 17th

There will be plenty of eyes on the wide receiver matchup between Cincinnati’s A.J. Green and the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. But what really bears watching is the play of both defenses, most notably the Bengals. A unit that ranked 11th in the NFL in fewest yards allowed is now among the worst-such units in the league. Last season, only the Seattle Seahawks (277) gave up more points than the team from the Queen City (279). In 2016, Marvin Lewis’ disappointing squad has already allowed 189 points in eight games, as well as 23 offensive touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati offense is starting to get healthier and you can see the improvement in recent performances.

Next Week: Following their Monday night visit to New Jersey and a date with the New York Giants, the Bengals have a short week to prepare for a visit from the explosive Buffalo Bills. Rex Ryan’s club is coming off its mini-vacation and features a ground attack that could give Cincinnati’s defense fits.

Playoff hopes: The Bengals have been a postseason participant each year since 2011 but that streak could definitely be in jeopardy this season. Then again, Cincinnati still has two cracks at the first-place Baltimore Ravens this year and games remaining with the Steelers and Browns. There’s no reason for panic at all.

Nov 10, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) runs past Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) after a catch at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports


Baltimore Ravens


Last week: W, 28-7, vs. CLE
Last rank: 24th

After dropping four consecutive games, the Ravens have bounced back with a pair of victories in the span of five days. When John Harbaugh’s club beat the Browns back in Week 2 at Cleveland, they scored the final 25 points of the game after falling behind 20-0. In their 28-7 victory on Thursday night at Baltimore, the Ravens trailed 7-6 at intermission and then outscored their guests 22-0 in the second half. Quarterback Joe Flacco continued to have his issues, throwing for 296 yards and three scores while serving up a pair of interceptions. Harbaugh’s defense limited the Browns to 144 yards of total offense. In the meantime, Baltimore held the football for nearly two-thirds (38:36) of the game.

Next Week: The Ravens head south to face the Dallas Cowboys. It’s the team’s first road tilt in this series since 2008, when then first-year head coach John Harbaugh came up with a win in the final game at Texas Stadium. The Ravens own a perfect lifetime record in this interconference setting.

Playoff hopes: At 5-4 and with a perfect 3-0 divisional mark, the Ravens are currently the only team in the AFC North with a winning record. Harbaugh’s club has been far from impressive but they seem to be developing a little momentum. And with defense scarce in their division these days, they have a chance to make amends for last season’s disappointing showing.

Nov 13, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Leodis McKelvin (21) celebrates his interception late during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Falcons, 24-15. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports


Philadelphia Eagles


Last week: W, 24-15, vs. ATL
Last rank: 19th

The Eagles remain undefeated at home thanks to their defense and the return of the running game. Facing the best offense in the NFL, Philadelphia held Atlanta to 15 points and kept their two playmakers out of the end zone. The bend-don’t-break defense allowed 10 catches to Julio Jones, but disrupted him down the stretch. Devonta Freeman was the primary back with Tevin Coleman out once again, but was held to 49 rushing yards. Ryan Mathews dealt with an ankle injury and a bad tooth over the past couple of weeks, but came back in a big way. The former Charger scored two touchdowns and did not turn the ball over, something that plagued him all season. Carson Wentz had his best game in weeks, constantly connecting with Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, and Darren Sproles down the field.

Next Week: The Eagles make a tough trip up to Seattle to face the Seahawks, who are undefeated at home. Philadelphia’s offense will have a tough time playing on the road against the Seattle defense, but the defense has proved itself multiple times this season. They shut down Pittsburgh and Atlanta, and have the tools to fight a Seahawks team that has struggled to run the ball.

Playoff hopes: Philadelphia throws itself back into the playoff race, despite having the lowest winning percentage in the NFC East. All four teams are above .500, but having three of their final four games at home against division opponents bodes well for it down the stretch.

Nov 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (19) runs for a touchdown after a reception during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Nissan Stadium. The Titans won 47-25. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (19) runs for a touchdown after a reception during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Nissan Stadium. The Titans won 47-25. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


Tennessee Titans


Last week: W, 47-25, vs. GB
Last rank: 25th

The first time running back DeMarco Murray touched the ball on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, he ran 75 yards for a touchdown. That was just the beginning of a 35-point first half for Mike Mularkey’s club. The Titans would amass 351 total yards by intermission and own a 19-point lead in the process. And it was all said and done, Tennessee held off Aaron Rodgers and his team’s comeback attempt and rolled to a convincing victory. Marcus Mariota threw for 295 yards and four scores, Murray added a touchdown pass to teammate Delanie Walker and the Titans totaled five sacks and three takeaways in the victory.

Next Week: The Titans get another crack at the Colts (off in Week 10), who came away with a 34-26 win at Nashville back in Week 7 when last these clubs met. But it’s worth noting that Tennessee has dropped 10 straight in this divisional series and haven’t won at Indianapolis since 2007.

Playoff hopes: The team is certainly in the mix and within striking distance of the first-place Houston Texans. But the Titans had better start doing better in their head-to-head matchups within the division. A win at Indianapolis next Sunday would be a huge step in the right direction when it comes to the muddled AFC.

Nov 13, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) throws the ball against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Minnesota Vikings


Last week: L, 26-20, at WSH
Last rank: 8th

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. After starting the season undefeated with Sam Bradford on board, the Vikings have lost four straight games. Bradford has never had the strongest arm that can fling the ball down the field. In the first four games of the season, Bradford was averaging nearly 14 yards per pass and connecting with receivers 61 percent of the time. With a demolished offensive line and no Adrian Peterson, Bradford has a completion percentage below 40 percent in his last four games and is averaging eight yards per pass. Washington was able to take advantage of that by getting pressure on Bradford and scoring throughout the game.

Next Week: Minnesota welcomes in the Cardinals, who are coming off a close win against the 49ers. Both teams are in close division races and will be desperate for a win as the season heads into its later half. The Vikings have only lost once in their new stadium, and will look to protect their house once again.

Playoff hopes: Once thought to be a a division only one team could win, the NFC North is up for grabs. Minnesota, Green Bay, and Detroit are all in the race, but right now only one is heading in the right direction.

Nov 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins strong safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (24) celebrates after the defense intercepted San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (not pictured) for the fourth and final time to seal the game during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


Miami Dolphins


Last week: W, 31-24, at SD
Last rank: 18th

Playing their first road game since Week 4, the Dolphins overcame some early issues and hung in there until they managed to come up with the big play in the final minutes. Adam Gase’s club ran only 50 plays and gained 337 yards. But they were completely balanced with 25 runs and 25 passing plays. Jay Ajayi failed to run for 100-plus yards for the first time in four games. But he was effective enough and he kept the San Diego defense on its heels through the contest. Miami defenders sacked Philip Rivers three times and stole four of his passes, with linebacker Kiko Alonso running back one of those thefts 60 yards for a touchdown with only 1:01 to play. After a 1-4 start, these Dolphins are riding a four-game winning streak.

Next Week: Gase’s revitalized club is back on the west coast for the second straight Sunday as they travel to Los Angeles to battle the Rams. Jeff Fisher’s club won another ugly game this past weekend, kicking three field goals in a 9-6 triumph over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Playoff hopes: Who would have thought this to be the case five games into the season? The Dolphins are alive and well in the AFC East and the conference playoff race as well. They’ve moved up to second place in the division and are playing much more inspired football these days. Are they truly a threat to the New England Patriots? That may be pushing it a bit. But things are looking much better at the moment.

Nov 13, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) rolls out against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half at FedEx Field. The Washington Redskins won 26 – 20. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports


Washington Redskins


Last week: W, 26-20, vs. MIN
Last rank: 16th

Washington handed the Vikings their fourth consecutive loss despite allowing Minnesota to score 20 points in the second quarter. Kirk Cousins kept the ship afloat with two touchdown passes, one going to Vernon Davis and another finding Jamison Crowder. They may have found something at running back with Robert Kelly, who rushed for 97 yards on 22 attempts. The star of the game however was Preston Smith, who sacked Sam Bradford twice and had a circus-catch interception he returned for 22 yards. It was a much needed win after a dreary tie against the Bengals in London.

Next Week: Washington hosts Green Bay on Sunday Night Football next week as the Packers continue to fall off the face of the earth. The Redskins have a great opportunity to prove to the world they can still contend this year, and holding off Aaron Rodgers will be their biggest test yet.

Playoff hopes: Washington remains in a four-way race for the NFC East title with a majority of their remaining division games at the end of the year. They have a New Years Day game to finish the season against New York, and will travel to Philadelphia next month. Dallas however looms in the coming weeks as the best team in the NFC.

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) beats Minnesota Vikings free safety Harrison Smith (22) and scores a touchdown to win the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions won 22-16 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports


Detroit Lions


Last week: BYE
Last rank: 11th

The Lions enjoy a bye week before hosting the Jaguars next Sunday, followed by their traditional Thanksgiving Day game. With the Packers, Vikings, and Bears all falling in the standings, Detroit climbs to the top of the NFC North. Matthew Stafford is quietly having an MVP-caliber season with 2,300 yards and 18 touchdowns to just five interceptions. Marvin Jones has proven to be one of the best free agent signings of the offseason, although he has faded down to just 110 receiving yards in the past two weeks. The Lions desperately need to find a stronger running game with Ameer Abdullah out and never seeming to find his way in the NFL. Drafting a running back in a very good draft class should be a priority.

Next Week: Coming off their bye week the Lions welcome the Jaguars to Detroit. Starting the season with playoff aspirations, Jacksonville has failed to find what made it click late last season. Gus Bradley is likely gone after this season, and the Jaguars will most likely be looking for an offensive guru to help develop Blake Bortles. Kyle Shanahan makes a lot of sense, and he will certainly be available after the way Atlanta has played this year.

Playoff hopes: Detroit sits atop the NFC North thanks to the collapses of Minnesota and Green Bay. With three of its last five games on the road, Detroit will have a major test to finish the season. It has been incredibly lucky to have very few players on injured reserve, and the late bye will help during that final stretch of the season.

Nov 13, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) runs the ball on a keeper during the second quarter of a football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports


Houston Texans


Last week: W, 24-21, at JAX
Last rank: 10th

It took four tries but the Houston Texans finally broke through and won a game on another’s team home field. The 24-21 victory at Jacksonville saw running backs Lamar Miller (83) and Akeem Hunt (52) combine for 135 of the club’s 181 yards on the ground. Brock Osweiler threw for only 99 yards and barely completed 50 percent of his passes (14-of-27) but he connected for a pair of touchdowns. More importantly, the Texans played a game without committing a turnover for the first time this season. Houston’s gained only 273 total yards in the contest but made enough plays on both sides of the ball to prevail.

Next Week: After waiting half the season to win away from home, can the Texans come away with a surprise victory outside of the country. There will be a battle of teams both in the playoff mix on a Monday night in Mexico City as the Oakland Raiders play host to O’Brien’s club.

Playoff hopes: At 6-3, the Texans are the only team in the AFC South above .500. But there’s still a lot of football to be played and this Houston club is still trying to find itself, especially on offense. But Osweiler and his teammates have put themselves in a good position to repeat as division champions should they continue to play consistent football.

Nov 6, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo talks with Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) and quarterback Eli Manning (10) and wide receiver Roger Lewis (82) and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) during a review during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


New York Giants


Last week: Mon. night vs. CIN
Last rank: 9th

New York will play on Monday Night Football at home against the Bengals as they come off a big win against the Eagles. The team will host former head coach Tom Coughlin, and induct the Super Bowl winning coach into their Ring of Honor. With the ceremony sure to energize the crowd and the team, I would expect a big game from the Giants as they look to stay in the NFC East race. Eli Manning found his star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. twice against the Eagles, and will look to do the same with very little running attack to count on.

Next Week: Following their Monday night game against Cincinnati, the Giants host the weary Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler is another rough performance, and the Giants defense will take advantage of his recent struggles. With Kyle Long and Jordan Howard most likely out, the Giants have a big opportunity they must take advantage of.

Playoff hopes: New York remains in the hunt along with their three NFC East counterparts. All four teams have a winning record, and the race will come down to the wire. New York has a late game against the Eagles and Cowboys in primetime, then finish their season against the Redskins.

Nov 13, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (18) carries the ball after a catch for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia defeated Atlanta 24-15. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports


Atlanta Falcons


Last week: L, 24-15, at ATL
Last rank: 5th

A 24-15 loss on the road came after the Eagles held Julio Jones out of the end zone, despite him grabbing 10 passes. Philadelphia held the ball for over 38 minutes, giving Matt Ryan few attempts to get his league-best offense going. Not having Desmond Trufant, Tevin Coleman, and Jacob Tamme hurt throughout the game. Trufant would have matched up against Jordan Matthews, who had six catches for 73 yards. The Eagles were also able to take advantage of a weak defensive line by pounding the ball down the middle of the line with Ryan Mathews. The veteran running back had 109 yards and two touchdowns running down the gut of Atlanta’s defensive line. The lone score on offense was a Taylor Gabriel touchdown that resulted in just six points after Matt Bryant missed the point after attempt.

Next Week: The Falcons go on their bye week heading into Thanksgiving, and will return on the 27th against the Arizona Cardinals at home. Having the opportunity to rest and get some of their playmakers healthy will payoff for a Falcons team that can’t stay on the field. A refreshed Tevin Coleman and Desmond Trufant will be major pieces for the Falcons down the stretch.

Playoff hopes: The Falcons control their own destiny sitting atop the NFC South with six wins. Carolina is virtually eliminated already, while the Saints and Buccaneers look to scratch their way back into the conversation. A New Years Day game between the Falcons and Saints could be the deciding game at the end of the season.

Nov 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward (43) celebrates a recovered fumble against the New Orleans Saints in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Broncos won, 25-23. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports


Denver Broncos


Last week: W, 25-23, at N0
Last rank: 7th

Talk about putting the clamps on a team early on. The Broncos defense gave up 150 total yards and one field goal at the Superdome to the league’s top-ranked offense. Denver also came up with a pair of interceptions of Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the first two quarters. Regardless of those accomplishments, the defending Super Bowl champions found themselves trailing in the third quarter before Trevor Siemian regained his passing touch. However, it was a pair of second-half fumble recoveries that opened the door for Denver’s victory. That and a spectacular return of a blocked PAT for two points that proved to be the difference in the game.

Next Week: Time for the defending champs to take a little time off. When they return, they will host the Kansas City Chiefs in what will be one of the biggest games of the season for both clubs. It’s one of two remaining meetings with Andy Reid’s team, which is currently riding a five-game winning streak.

Playoff hopes: It was another close call for the Broncos. But the team sits at 7-3 and remains just one-half game behind both the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs in the formidable AFC West. Siemian and the offense have had its recent issues but the run defense looked a lot better this week. There’s a long way to go and the champs won’t go away easily.

Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts after the Raiders rushed for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Oakland Raiders


Last week: BYE
Last rank: 4th

Nine games into this season, the Silver and Black has already equaled their win total from 2015. They are also two victories away from the franchise’s first winning campaign since 2002. Quarterback Derek Carr has enjoyed an MVP-like year to date, connecting for 17 touchdowns while throwing only three interceptions. He leads one of the most balanced offenses in the league and a unit that has produced 28 touchdowns to date. Now if only the defense can continue to show some improvement. And that’s possible now that Khalil Mack has regained his 2015 All-Pro form. The third-year performer has totaled six sacks and two forced fumbles in his last four games, this after totaling one QB trap in the club’s first five outings this year.

Next Week: While the Raiders have been perfect on the road this season (5-0), they have split their four home games to date. So what do we make of the fact that Del Rio’s squad is actually the host team in a Monday night clash with the AFC South leading Houston Texans at Mexico City?

Playoff hopes: This is a club that hasn’t seen the postseason since reaching Super Bowl XXXVII in ’02. But they are tied atop the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos are nipping on both of their heels. For the Raiders, it all depends on how the defense responds the rest of the season.

Nov 13, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is forced out of the pocket by New England Patriots outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich (50) during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports


Seattle Seahawks


Last week: W, 31-24, at NE
Last rank: 6th

A healthy Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to a 31-24 victory on the road against the New England Patriots. Seattle’s offense scored on seven of their nine possessions, three of which were passing touchdowns from Wilson to Doug Baldwin. Rookie C.J. Prosise out of Notre Dame is starting to claim the starting running back job, and proved himself as a weapon in both the running and receiving game. Prosise led Seattle in both rushing and receiving en route to the team’s sixth win of the season. The defense held Tom Brady to zero passing touchdowns, although LeGarrette Blount had himself a day with three scores on the ground on 21 carries.

Next Week: Philadelphia travels cross country after a satisfying win at home over the Atlanta Falcons. The Eagles defense has proven to not be a mirage, holding off Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense to just 15 points. Seattle struggled to maintain consistency in the red zone against New England, and the Eagles will look to take advantage of those struggles.

Playoff hopes: Seattle is beginning to wake up, which should scare the entire NFL. In typical Seahawks fashion, a second-half run will propel them deep into the playoffs and towards another championship run. With Arizona lacking any punch on both sides of the ball and Los Angeles still not having played their first round pick, Seattle is on the road to another playoff appearance.

Nov 13, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) holds out the ball as he scores on a two-point conversion against Carolina Panthers free safety Michael Griffin (22) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. The Chiefs won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports


Kansas City Chiefs


Last week: W, 20-17, at CAR
Last rank: 3rd

It was a very rough first half for Andy Reid’s team as they trailed the defending NFC champions, 17-3, at intermission. But hats off to the hard-hitting Kansas City defense, which came up with a pair of critical takeaways in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs have already forced 22 turnovers in nine games this season and their pass rush also came up big against Carolina quarterback Cam Newton (who ran for 54 yards and a touchdown) when it counted most. And continue to keep an eye on rookie wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who caught 10 passes for 89 yards in the win and leads the team with four touchdown receptions this year.

Next Week: The red-hot Chiefs, winners of five straight, return home to face the very-dangerous Tampa Bay Buccaneers and second-year quarterback Jameis Winston. It’s interesting to note than the Bucs’ signal-caller (2015) and Kansas City’s Alex Smith (2005) were the first overall picks in their respective drafts 10 years apart.

Playoff hopes: Reid’s offense couldn’t find the end zone at Carolina and still the Chiefs found a way to come up with a fifth straight win. Once again, this is a team playing solid and efficient football and one very much in the AFC West title chase. They play four of the final seven games within the division and have their first meeting of the year with the Denver Broncos in Week 12. A very intriguing team indeed.

Nov 13, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands the ball off to running back LeGarrette Blount (29) during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports


New England Patriots


Last week: L, 31-24, vs. SEA
Last rank: 1st

The Patriots and Seattle Seahawks went back and forth all night in Foxborough. And when it was all said and done, it was a game once again decided at the one-yard line. But this time around, it was Pete Carroll’s club that came away with a 31-24 victory, snapping New England’s four-game winning streak. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady totaled 316 yards through the air. But he was held without a touchdown pass and threw his first interception of the season. But LeGarrette Blount responded with three rushing touchdowns. However, the Pats’ defense allowed 420 total yards to Pete Carroll’s club as Russell Wilson threw for 348 yards and three scores – all to wideout Doug Baldwin.

Next Week: After falling to an NFC West foe on Sunday night at home, the Patriots will head cross country for a date with the 1-8 San Francisco 49ers. Chip Kelly’s club has dropped eight straight games since a 28-0 Week 1 victory over the Los Angeles Rams – including five consecutive contests at Levi’s Stadium.

Playoff hopes: It sounds like a broken record, but the Patriots are right on course for an eighth straight AFC East title. That would be a record, breaking a tie with the Los Angeles Rams (1973-79). But Bill Belichick’s team now owns just a two-game lead in the division over the resurgent Miami Dolphins.

Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates his thirty-two yard touchdown to win the game with teammates against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Dallas won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Dallas Cowboys


Last week: W, 35-30, at PIT
Last rank: 2nd

Ezekiel Elliott can simply not be stopped with the league’s best offensive line blocking for him. Elliott had two rushing touchdowns were he literally went untouched in the final minutes of Sunday’s win in Pittsburgh. After Ben Roethlisberger pulled a Dan Marino fake spike touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, Elliott scored with just nine seconds left on a long run. With over 1,000 rushing yards, he is setting himself up for a Rookie of the Year and possibly MVP title. Dallas is playing like the best team in the NFC right now with an 8-1 record, even with two rookies leading the way.

Next Week: The Ravens travel to Dallas for a game that should be one-sided. No one has stopped Elliott this season, and that will not change at home against Baltimore. Even with the Ravens coming off a long week after beating the Browns on Thursday Night, the Cowboys should have no problem on offense.

Playoff hopes: An NFC East title looks to be set for Dallas, although with all four teams still above .500 you can not rule anyone out just yet. We have seen teams such as Minnesota go from first to worst after an injury or two, but for now Dallas is in the right place.

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