Our top 4 teams remain the same as last week, despite the no.4 New England Patriots going down in a big defeat to the Titans. It should be remembered that the Patriots have the only win of the season over our no.3 team, the Kansas City Chiefs.
There is not much to choose between the Patriots and our no.5 team, the Los Angeles Chargers, and our no.6 team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
At the other end of the rankings, the bottom teams continue to juggle their positions as they beat each other, except for the Oakland Raiders who remain firmly fixed at the bottom.
The biggest risers this week are Dallas, Indianapolis and Cleveland (all up 4)
The biggest fallers this week are Philadelphia (down 4) and Atlanta, Detroit, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and San Francisco (all down 3)
1. New Orleans Saints (8-1) (last week’s ranking: 1)
Drew Brees was his usual self – throwing for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns, while completing 22 of 25 attempts – and Mark Ingram had his best outing of the year with 104 rushing yards as the Saints completely overwhelmed the Bengals 51-14. Brees continues to lead the league in passer rating – 123.8 – a mark that would be an NFL record if it stands up until the end of the season. His leading receiver, Michael Thomas, is now tied for the league lead with 78 receptions. The Saints defense also had a good outing against the Bengals with 2 interceptions and 4 sacks. With the win, New Orleans remains our no.1 team. Having signed and then lost Dez Bryant within 2 days, the Saints have signed former standout receiver Brandon Marshall.
Next up for the Saints is home game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
2. Los Angeles Rams (9-1) (last week’s ranking: 2)
The Rams bounced back from their first defeat of the season, to beat the Seahawks 36-31 and, in doing so, hold onto their no.2 spot in these rankings. In a game that went back and forth, the Rams were able to take advantage of a late forced fumble and recovery by recent pick-up Dante Fowler – and just about hang on in spite of a furious Seahawks rally. Aaron Donald was again immense for Los Angeles with 2½ sacks – he now has 12½ for the season (already a career best). Jared Goff threw for 318 yards and Todd Gurley had 120 yards rushing as the Rams now move within touching distance of the NFC West title…they are now 5 games ahead in the division. Gurley continues to lead the league in rushing with 988 yards. On the downside for the Rams, WR Cooper Kupp suffered a torn ACL against the Seahawks and is out of the rest of the season.
Next up for the Rams is a home mouth-watering Monday Night Football match-up against the Kansas City Chiefs (originally scheduled for Mexico City).
3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) (last week’s ranking: 3)
Patrick Mahomes threw 2 touchdown passes and in the process broke the Chiefs record for touchdown passes in a single season (he now has 31) as Kansas City overcame a tougher than expected Cardinals team 26-14. Mahomes leads the league in both touchdown passes and passing yards (3,150). With the victory, the Chiefs move to 9-1 and remain tied (with the Rams) for the best record in the NFL. Tyreek Hill caught both of Mahomes’ touchdown passes and also had 117 yards receiving. When we think of the 2018 Chiefs, we think offense – so it may be a surprise to hear that they are tied for the league lead in sacks with 31.
Next up for Kansas City is a no.3 v no.2 match-up against the Rams in Los Angeles (originally scheduled for Mexico City).
4. New England Patriots (7-3) (last week’s ranking: 4)
The Patriots were surprisingly dominated by the Tennessee Titans this past week, going down 34-10. With the surprising loss, New England not only drops 2 games behind the Chiefs in the race for the no.1 seed in the AFC but has also now dropped behind the Steelers for the no.2 seed spot. Is Tom Brady in a slump? He completed just 21 of 41 passes with no touchdowns. He now has only 1 touchdown pass over the last 2 weeks. Missing Rob Gronkowski doesn’t help…the big tight end missed his second straight game through injury – he is expected back in a couple of weeks.
Next up for the Patriots in week 11 is their bye week. They follow that with a road trip to New York to play the Jets in week 12.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (7-2) (last week’s ranking: 6)
Philip Rivers threw for 339 yards through the air and had 2 passing touchdowns as his Chargers moved past the Raiders 20-6 to remain on track for the no.1 wild card in the AFC. The Chargers may just be the best team in football that nobody is talking about…
Next up is a home game against the Denver Broncos.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1) (last week’s ranking: 8)
In a match-up of likely play-off teams, the Steelers played probably their best game of the season in beating the Panthers 52-21 on Thursday Night Football. Ben Roethlisberger had an outstanding outing, completing 22 of 25 passes for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns (to 5 different receivers). James Connor was held to just 65 yards on the ground, but this was Roethlisberger’s night. After a sluggish start to the season, the Steelers have established themselves atop the AFC North and have moved into the no.2 seed position in the conference.It is not all good news, however, as James Conner is currently in concussion protocol.
Next up for the Steelers is a road trip to Jacksonville to play the Jags.
7. Carolina Panthers (6-3) (last week’s ranking: 5)
The Panthers played a game to forget as they were blown away by the Steelers 52-21 this past week. After a fine first drive, the game unravelled for Carolina – one of those to just forget and move on. On Monday, the Panthers released RB C.J. Anderson (an offseason free agent pick-up). The Panthers remain in excellent position to be the no.1 wild card in the NFC but their closing schedule is not easy – it includes two games against the Saints.
Next week the Panthers travel to Detroit to play the Lions.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1) (last week’s ranking: 7)
The Vikings had their bye this past week.
Next up, in week 11, they travel to Chicago for a huge intra-divisional match-up with the Bears.
9. Houston Texans (6-3) (last week’s ranking: 9)
The Texans had their bye this past week.
Next up, in week 11, they travel to play the Redskins in Washington.
10. Chicago Bears (6-3) (last week’s ranking: 11)
Mitch Trubisky continues to have an impressive second season as he threw for 335 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Bears beat divisional rival Lions 34-22. Receivers Allen Robinson (133) and Anthony Miller (122) both had 100-yard receiving days. With the win, the Bears move to 6-3 and remain atop the NFC North. Chicago’s defense had 6 sacks, including 2 by Khalil Mack. Perhaps the only downside for the Bears was kicker Cody Parkey who missed 2 extra points and 2 field goals – unbelievably, all 4 hit the uprights. A word of caution for Bears fans – all of the Bears’ 6 wins this season have come against teams with losing records.
Next up for the Bears is a crucial Sunday Night Football home match-up against the Vikings.
11. Washington Redskins (6-3) (last week’s ranking: 12)
The Redskins may be the most surprising team in football. A 16-3 win this week over the Bucs raised Washington’s record to 6-3 and kept them securely atop the NFC East. The Redskins employed a bend but don’t break defense against the Bucs – giving up a lot of yards but only 3 points – thanks in large part to 2 key interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Next up for the Redskins is a home game against the Tennessee Titans.
12. Tennessee Titans (5-4) (last week’s ranking: 15)
The Titans won their second consecutive game, beating the Patriots 34-10, and in doing so they move to within a game of AFC South leader Houston Texans. Marcus Mariota threw for 228 yards and 2 touchdowns (with no interceptions) and Corey Davis had 125 yards receiving to lead Tennessee to the win.
Next up for Tennessee is a road trip to face the Indianapolis Colts.
13. Green Bay Packers (4-4-1) (last week’s ranking: 14)
The Packers evened up their record at 4-4-1 with a solid 31-12 victory over the Dolphins at Lambeau Field. The Packers were able to overcome special team woes (a fumbled punt return, a blocked punt, penalties and getting caught out on another fake punt) to defeat Miami and keep themselves in contention in the NFC North and in the NFC wildcard hunt. The star of the show for the Packers was Aaron Jones who had 145 yards rushing and another 27 receiving. In contrast, the Packers passing game was little more than average – Aaron Rodgers passing for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the Packers with 6 receptions. Defensively, Green Bay came up with 6 sacks (by 6 different players) and an interception from Bashaud Breeland, who was starting for the injured Kevin King.
The Packers are now 7th in total offense (6th passing, 14th rushing).
Defensively, the Packers rank 11th in total defense (5th against the pass, 22nd against the run).
Interestingly, the defense also ranks tied for the league lead with 31 sacks.
Next up for the Packers is a short week, as they travel to play the Seahawks in Seattle on Thursday Night Football.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) (last week’s ranking: 10)
Coming off the bye week, Carson Wentz threw for 360 yards and Zach Ertz had 14 receptions for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Eagles to beat the Cowboys – going down 27-20 in a crucial NFC East divisional match-up...with the loss to the Cowboys, the Eagles fall 2 games behind the Redskins. Ertz leads all NFL tight ends this season with 75 receptions for 789 yards. With a difficult schedule coming up, this was a game Philadelphia really needed. Adding to the bad news, the Eagles lost CB Ronald Darby with a torn ACL – he is out for the rest of the season.
Next up, the Eagles have a road trip to New Orleans to play the Saints.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) (last week’s ranking: 13)
The Bengals had their bye last week and spent much of their game against the Saints this week playing as though they were still in that bye. Cincinnati was completely blown away by our no.1 team, going down 51-14. Andy Dalton threw 2 interceptions and Joe Mixon was held to just 61 yards rushing in a game that was over by halftime. The defeat was the final game for Defensive Co-ordinator Teryl Austin who was fired on Monday. In another coaching move, the Bengals hired the Browns ex-Head Coach Hue Jackson as a special offensive assistant. After leading the AFC North for most of the first half of the season, Cincinnati is now in danger of missing out on the playoffs.
Next up for the Bengals in a road trip to Baltimore to play the Ravens.
16. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) (last week’s ranking: 17)
The Ravens had their bye week this past week. Next up, in week 11, they host the Cincinnati Bengals in vital intra-divisional match-up…however, QB Joe Flacco is a doubt for the game – he is still recovering from a hip injury suffered in the Ravens loss to the Steelers a week ago. If Flacco can’t go it’s not known if rookie Lamar Jackson or Robert Griffin III will start in his place.
17. Seattle Seahawks (4-5) (last week’s ranking: 18)
Seattle played a great game of football against our no.2 team, the Los Angeles Rams, but came up just short – going down 36-31. The loss probably puts paid to any chance the Seahawks had of catching their rivals in the NFC North and is also a blow with regard to their wild card hopes in the NFC. The Seahawks had 273 yards rushing and Russell Wilson threw 3 touchdown passes but it wasn’t enough.
Next up for the Seahawks is a home game on Thursday Night Football against the Packers – a match-up which could be crucial for the play-off hopes of both teams.
18. Dallas Cowboys (4-5) (last week’s ranking: 22)
Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 151 yards on just 19 carries and Dak Prescott threw for 270 yards to lead the Cowboys to a 27-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in a tight fought NFC East match-up. With the big night, Elliott moved into second in the league in rushing with 831 yards. With the win the Cowboys stay in wild card contention in the NFC and 2 games behind the Redskins in their division.
Next up for the Cowboys is a trip to Atlanta to play the Falcons.
19. Atlanta Falcons (4-5) (last week’s ranking: 16)
Despite a 330-yard, 2 touchdown day, the Falcons dropped a surprising one to the Browns 28-16 this past week. Atlanta had sneaked into wild card contention after winning 3 straight entering this one, so the loss was bitterly disappointing for the Falcons. Julio Jones had 107 yards receiving for the Falcons…but the offense lost 2 fumbles and the defense gave up more than 200 yards on the ground in the losing effort. With his big game, Jones became the first receiver to go past 1,000 yards this season – he leads the league with 1,040 yards.
Next up for the Falcons is a home game against the Dallas Cowboys – it too early to call that a play-off elimination game?
20. Miami Dolphins (5-5) (last week’s ranking: 19)
The Dolphins offense was held in check and despite some opportunities set up by their special teams, Miami dropped to a tame 31-12 defeat to the Green Bay Packers. The one bright spot on the Dolphins offense was Frank Gore who had 90 yards on just 13 carries. With the loss, Miami drops to .500 at 5-5.
Up next for the Dolphins (week 11) is their bye week. In week 12 Miami travels to Indianapolis to play the Colts.
21. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) (last week’s ranking: 25)
Andrew Luck threw for 285 yards (and 3 touchdowns) as Indianapolis saw off a second half rally by Jacksonville to win 29-26. The Colts scored all of their points in the first half. With the win, the Colts moved to 4-5 and just on the edge of wild card contention in the AFC.
Next up for the Colts is a home game against the Tennessee Titans.
22. Cleveland Browns (3-6-1) (last week’s ranking: 26)
This is a Browns team better than its record suggests and one that will only be even better next year – assuming they get the crucial choice of their new head coach correct. This past week, rookie QB Baker Mayfield threw for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns (completing 17 of 20 passes) as the Browns beat the Falcons 28-16. Mayfield remains in strong contention for rookie of the year honours. But Mayfield wasn’t the star of the show this week – that moniker belongs to fellow rookie Nick Chubb who had 176 yards on the ground, including a 92-yard touchdown run (the longest touchdown run in franchise history). Off the back of this performance, the Browns will probably be slightly disappointed to now be headed into their bye week.
After their bye, they travel to play the Bengals in Cincinnati in week 12.
23. Detroit Lions (3-6) (last week’s ranking: 20)
The Lions slumped to a 34-22 defeat to the Bears in Chicago, and with the loss, probably drop out of the playoff picture. As has been the norm for the Lions this season, Matthew Stafford was harassed by the pass rush all day – this time giving up 6 sacks. Stafford had 274 yards and 2 touchdowns passing, but crucially also threw 2 picks for Detroit.
Next up for the Lions is another tough looking match-up – a home game against the Carolina Panthers.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6) (last week’s ranking: 21)
Coming off their bye week the Jags dropped a close one to the Colts 29-26 – with the loss, falling 3 games behind the Texans in the AFC South. Blake Bortles threw for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the Jags couldn’t overcome a late lost fumble which cost any chance of a victory. Every game is a must win now for Jacksonville, starting with a home game this week against the Steelers – the return of RB Leonard Fournette this past week can only help them.
25. Denver Broncos (3-6) (last week’s ranking: 24)
The Broncos had their bye this past week.
Next up, in week 11, they travel to Los Angeles to play the Chargers.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) (last week’s ranking: 23)
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 406 yards but had 2 crucial interceptions as the Bucs dropped to a 16-3 defeat to the Redskins. Chris Godwin (103) and Jacquizz Rogers (102) each had 100-yard receiving games. The week-to-week starting QB conundrum continues in Tampa Bay as its quite possible that Jameis Winston will return to the starting line-up this coming week. On Monday, the Bucs released K Chandler Catanzaro.
Next up for the Bucs is a road trip to play the New York Giants.
27. Buffalo Bills (3-7) (last week’s ranking: 30)
Starting their fourth different quarterback of the season, the Bills completely blew away the hapless New York Jets 41-10…Matt Barkley throwing for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns. LeSean McCoy had 113 yards on the ground leading Buffalo to more than 200 rushing yards, while Robert Foster had 105 yards receiving on just 3 catches. The Bills’ defense also had a strong day with 2 interceptions and 3 sacks of Josh McCown. Despite Barkley’s strong showing, if Josh Allen has recovered by the time the Bills play again then he’ll regain his starting job. In the meantime, Buffalo have released another QB – Nathan Peterman...WR Terrelle Pryor was also let go. The Bills have their bye this coming week, they then travel to Jacksonville to play the Jags in week 12.
28. New York Jets (3-7) (last week’s ranking: 27)
Coming off their bye week and missing their rookie starting QB Sam Darnold, the Jets played their worst game of the season – going down to the Bills 41-10. Josh McCown started at QB for the Jets and completed less than 50% of his passes whilst throwing for just 135 yards and 2 interceptions. Every week we seem to be describing a poor Jets performance and Head coach Todd Bowles must be under increasing pressure regarding his job.
Next up for the Jets (week 11) is their bye. They follow that with a home game against the Patriots in week 12.
29. New York Giants (2-7) (last week’s ranking: 31)
Coming off their bye week, the Giants came from behind to beat fellow strugglers the San Francisco 49ers 27-23 on Monday Night Football. Eli Manning led his team down the field to throw the winning touchdown to Sterling Shepard in the final minute of the game. It was Manning’s 36th career game winning drive in the 4th quarter or overtime. Manning had an up and down day overall – throwing for just 188 yards but had 3 touchdown passes. LB B.J. Goodson had 2 interceptions for the Giants.
Next up for the Giants is a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
30. Arizona Cardinals (2-7) (last week’s ranking: 29)
David Johnson had his best outing of the season with 98 yards rushing and 85 yards receiving, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Cardinals falling to the Chiefs 26-14. The Cardinals were coming off their bye week and played well against the high-flying Chiefs. The other star for the Cardinals in defeat was DE Chandler Jones who had 2 sacks of Patrick Mahomes.
Next up for the Cardinals is a home game against our bottom team – the Oakland Raiders.
31. San Francisco 49ers (2-8) (last week’s ranking: 28)
After leading by 10 points in the second half, the 49ers succumbed to a late rally by the Giants to lose 27-23 on Monday Night football. The 49ers will be disappointed to have gone down to a New York team that has been struggling badly. Nick Mullens threw for 250 yards but threw 2 crucial interceptions (both of them on tipped balls). Star in the making TE George Kittle caught 10 passes for San Francisco.
Next up for the 49ers in week 11 is their bye. In week 12, they travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers.
32. Oakland Raiders (1-8) (last week’s ranking: 32)
The Raiders continued their run of futility with a 20-6 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers. With the defeat, the Raiders remain at the bottom of these rankings and in prime position for the no.1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
Next up for the Raiders is a road trip to Arizona to play the Cardinals.
Find Peter on twitter here: @The_IT_Hedgehog