Three of last week’s top 4 lost, whilst our previous no.5, the Los Angeles Chargers beat the Chiefs (no.3) to move to no.4 – the first time they have cracked the top 4 this season. The Bears became the fifth team to secure a playoff berth virtue of winning the NFC North.
Two of last week’s bottom 4 won, with the 49ers moving off the bottom spot with their surprising win over the Seahawks. The Bengals, Broncos, Packers, Giants, Buccaneers, Falcons and Lions were all eliminated from playoff contention this week.
The biggest risers this week are: Washington (up 5), Cleveland (up 4) and Indianapolis and Buffalo (both up 3)
The biggest fallers this week are: Dallas, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville (all down 3)
Qualified for the Playoffs
NFC (3) – New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago
AFC (2) – Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers
Eliminated from Playoff Contention
AFC (6) – Oakland, Buffalo, Jacksonville, New York Jets, Cincinnati, Denver
NFC (7) – San Francisco, Arizona, Green Bay, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Detroit
1. New Orleans Saints (12-2) (last week’s ranking: 1)
The Saints offense appears to have hit a brick wall. For the third straight week, their offense struggled badly, but fortunately the defense stepped up – holding the Panthers to just a single touchdown (on a 4th down half-back option pass) en route to a 12-9 New Orleans victory on Monday Night Football. Drew Brees was held to just 203 yards passing and without a touchdown, whilst throwing an interception late in the first half. Brees does however continue to lead the league in passer rating (116.8) and completion percentage (74.9). The Saints defense came up with 4 sacks and a crucial interception of their own – an end zone pick by Eli Apple preventing a Panthers' touchdown in the final seconds of the first half. With the win, the Saints moved to within 1 game (either 1 more win or 1 more loss by both the Rams and Bears) of securing the no.1 seed spot in the NFC.
Next up: The Saints host the Pittsburgh Steelers.
2. Los Angeles Rams (11-3) (last week’s ranking: 2)
Having fallen from the no.1 spot last week, the Rams could have dropped even further this week had the teams around them not all lost also. The Rams fell to their second straight defeat – 30-23 to the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite passing for 339 yards, Jared Goff struggled at times; throwing 2 interceptions and the Rams running game was held to only 82 yards…with just 48 from Todd Gurley. On the plus side, Gurley did run for 2 touchdowns (he now has 21 for the season) and 76 yards receiving on 10 catches. Aaron Donald continues to lead the league in sacks (16.5) and tackles for a loss (27). The Rams are now in a fight with the Chicago Bears for the no.2 seed in the NFC – Los Angeles remains a game ahead of Chicago, but the Bears hold the head-to-head tiebreaker should they end up with the same record.
Next up: The Rams travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) (last week’s ranking: 3)
The Chiefs dropped a tough 29-28 verdict to the Los Angeles Chargers, when the Chargers opted to gamble and go for a two-point conversion with just 4 seconds remaining. Kansas City was never behind in the game until that point, but their offense didn’t have its greatest outing of the season, racking up just 294 total yards. Patrick Mahomes had 2 more touchdown passes but was held to just 243 (234 net) passing yards and the Chiefs were held to just 60 yards on the ground. Mahomes continues to lead the league in touchdown passes (45) and passing yards (4,543). Defensively, the Chiefs had 2 interceptions and 5 sacks (including 2.5 more by Chris Jones) but ultimately couldn’t stop the Los Angeles offense on the crucial final drive. CB Kendall Fuller injured his wrist during the game and underwent surgery the following day – it’s not clear at the time of writing how long the injury will keep him out. With the loss to the Chargers, the Chiefs slip to 11-3 – the same record as their foes – but hold onto the AFC West division lead thanks to a tiebreaker. Win out and the Chiefs will win the division or one more win coupled with a single Chargers loss will also give them the division.
Next up: The Chiefs travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football.
4. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) (last week’s ranking: 5)
The Chargers secured an AFC playoff berth by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 29-28 on Thursday Night Football. The Chargers never led until scoring a two-point conversion with just 4 seconds left on the clock in the game. Philip Rivers threw for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns including the crucial score that bought his team to within 1 point with 4 ticks left, before HC Anthony Lynn opted to roll the dice and go for the two-pointer. Unusually for him, Rivers also threw 2 interceptions in the game, but he and his team were able to overcome them to set up the fantastic finish. Receiver Mike Williams had a big game with 7 catches for 76 yards with 2 touchdowns, he ran for a 19-yard score and caught the game winning two-pointer from Rivers. The Chargers racked 407 yards of total offense whilst holding the explosive Kansas City offense to just 294 yards. With the win the Chargers moved to the same record as the Chiefs in the AFC West – the Chiefs hold the tiebreaker (divisional record).
Next up: The Chargers host the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday Night Football - a huge game with postseason implications for both teams.
5. Chicago Bears (10-4) (last week’s ranking: 6)
The Bears sealed the NFC North division title with a 24-17 victory over the Packers at Soldier Field – a win which also knocked the Packers out of playoff contention. The division title is Chicago’s first since 2010. Khalil Mack had 2.5 sacks and Mitch Trubisky threw for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead their team to the win. Safety Eddie Jackson ended Aaron Rodgers interception free streak at 402 with a pick late in the fourth quarter – Jackson hurt his right leg on the play and immediately left the game – his status going forwards was not known at the time of writing.
Next up: The Bears travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers.
6. New England Patriots (9-5) (last week’s ranking: 4)
The Patriots moved the ball pretty well against the Steelers but couldn’t turn that yardage into points and went down 17-10 to Pittsburgh in a big matchup with playoff implications. With the loss, coupled with a Houston Texans win, the Patriots dropped to the no.3 seed position in the NFC. Tom Brady threw for 279 yards and a touchdown (with 1 interception) but couldn’t lead his team to the tying score at the end of the game, as his fourth down pass into the end zone fell incomplete with just 20 seconds remaining. New England’s defense couldn’t control the Pittsburgh ground games that had 158 rushing. With the loss, the Patriots fall in our rankings, but they will clinch the AFC East title this week with a win or a loss by the Dolphins.
Next up: The Patriots host the Buffalo Bills.
7. Houston Texans (10-4) (last week’s ranking: 7)
Deshaun Watson threw 2 touchdown passes to DeAndre Hopkins and Ka’imi Fairburn kicked 5 field goals as the Texans beat the tougher than expected New York Jets 29-22 on Saturday. Despite being sacked 6 times, Watson threw for 294 yards – 170 to Hopkins, who had over 100 in the first half alone. With his 10 catches in the game, the superstar wideout went over 500 receptions for his career. Defensively for the Texans, J.J. Watt had 2 more sacks – he now has 14.5 for the season. The Texan’s starting RB Lamar Miller left the game with an ankle injury in the first half and didn’t return. It appears that the injury isn’t serious, and Miller should be back soon. The win saw Houston return to winning ways after last week’s loss to the Colts…they have now won 10 of their last 11. The Texans will clinch the AFC South this week with a win or with a Colts loss. They can also clinch a playoff berth with a loss and help elsewhere.
Next up: The Texans travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles.
8. Baltimore Ravens (8-6) (last week’s ranking: 10)
Lamar Jackson was again a dual threat as he led the Baltimore Ravens past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-12 – the win, ensuring the Ravens stayed in playoff position in an increasingly tight AFC postseason race. Jackson had 95 yards on the ground and 131 through the air and RB Gus Edwards had 104 yards rushing as the Ravens notched up 242 rushing yards. That was 1 more yard than the Bucs had as a whole team (241). Jackson was starting his fifth straight game in place of Joe Flacco – is it now Jackson’s position to lose?
Next up: The Ravens travel to Los Angeles to play the Chargers in a game with big implications for both teams.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1) (last week’s ranking: 11)
Playing for the injured James Conner (ankle), Jaylen Samuels rushed for 142 yards as the Steelers won a big one against the New England Patriots 17-10 – the victory means that Pittsburgh stays ahead of Baltimore atop the AFC North. In the final two minutes of the game, Tom Brady drove the Patriots down the field, but they were stopped on downs by a tough Steelers defense with 20 seconds remaining. Ben Roethlisberger had a mixed game throwing for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he also had 2 interceptions. Pittsburgh’s defense had a solid outing on a “bend but don’t break” type of day. The Steelers still have a tough game ahead against the Saints, so a win this past weekend was much needed – they currently sit in the no.4 seed position in the AFC…they could clinch the AFC North title with a win and a Ravens loss this week.
Next up: The Steelers travel to New Orleans to play the Saints.
10. Indianapolis Colts (8-6) (last week’s ranking: 13)
The Colts shutout the Dallas Cowboys 23-0 this past week and with the win they continue to keep themselves in the thick of playoff contention in the AFC. Indianapolis’ defense played a big game, with 3 sacks and 2 turnovers, as did their special teams which blocked a Cowboys field goal attempt. For once, Andrew Luck just had to play the role of game manager as the Colts’ running game racked up 178 yards, including 139 from Marion Mack. The win was the Colts seventh in their last eight games.
Next up: Indianapolis hosts the New York Giants.
11. Dallas Cowboys (8-6) (last week’s ranking: 8)
The Cowboys were shutout 23-0 by the Indianapolis Colts – their first scoreless loss since 2003, made all the more surprising by the fact that Dallas had win five straight game heading into this one. The Cowboys offense was held to just 292 yards, including 180 passing (206 gross by Dak Prescott) and 112 rushing (87 from Ezekiel Elliott). The Cowboys had multiple opportunities in this game but couldn’t convert any of them into points – their chances were stifled by a blocked field goal, a 4thdown stop by the Colts, a sack which took them out of field goal range, an interception thrown by Prescott and an Elliott fumble. On the plus side, Elliott now leads the league in rushing with 1,349 yards on the ground. The Cowboys played without OG Zack Martin (knee injury) who missed the first game of his 5-year NFL career. Dallas is hopeful that Martin will be back by the end of the regular season or start of the playoffs. The defeat meant that Dallas was unable to secure the NFC East title this past week – they will pick up the title with a win this week (or a loss by both the Eagles and Redskins).
Next up: The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
12. Seattle Seahawks (8-6) (last week’s ranking: 9)
With almost everybody expecting the Seahawks to wrap up a playoff spot, Seattle came unstuck against a feisty San Francisco 49ers team, losing in overtime 26-23. It was the Seahawks first loss in 5 games. Chris Carson rushed for 119 yards and Russell Wilson threw for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns to the returning Doug Baldwin for Seattle, but the Seahawks offense was stifled for much of the 4thquarter and the overtime period. The Seahawks were not helped by penalties – giving up nearly 150 in penalty yards. Despite the surprising loss, Seattle remains in the top wildcard spot in the NFC (the NFC’s no.5 seed), but they have a tough game coming up next against the Chiefs.
Next up: The Seahawks host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.
13. Tennessee Titans (8-6) (last week’s ranking: 12)
Last week Derrick Henry had a career high 238 rushing yards, this week Henry had a career high 33 carries for 170 yards, as the Tennessee Titans shutout the New York Giants 17-0. Henry also scored both of his team’s touchdowns. The Titans picked up 215 total yards on the ground whilst holding the Giants rushing game to just 47. Tennessee’s defense also had 2 key turnovers – an interception of Eli Manning and a recovery of a Manning fumble. The Titans third straight win kept them in the thick of the playoff mix in the AFC.
Next up: The Titans host the Washington Redskins on Saturday.
14. Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1) (last week’s ranking: 14)
The Vikings jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and despite the Dolphins closing that lead to 4 points in the second half, Minnesota moved away to beat Miami 41-17. With the win, the Vikings remain in the second wildcard (NFC no.6) spot in the NFC. The Vikings huge first quarter was keyed by 202 yards of offense in that quarter alone. For the whole game, Minnesota outgained the Dolphins by 418 yards to 193. The Vikings ground game ran all over the Dolphins defense, picking up 220 yards rushing – including 136 from Dalvin Cook. But perhaps the stars of this show were the Vikings defense who had 9 sacks of Ryan Tannehill, with Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter leading the way with 2 apiece.
Next up: Minnesota travels to Detroit to play the Lions.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) (last week’s ranking: 15)
With Carson Wentz sitting out due to a stress fracture in his back, the Eagles turned to back-up Nick Foles – and Foles delivered, leading Philadelphia to a huge 30-23 victory over the Rams in Los Angeles. The Super Bowl MVP threw for 270 yards, including 160 to Alshon Jeffery, while the Eagles’ defense held Todd Gurley to just 48 yards rushing. Wentz, by the way, is likely to miss the rest of the season. How big was the win for the Eagles? They are just 1 game behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. In the race for an NFC wildcard spot, the Eagles are now just ½ game behind the Minnesota Vikings and 1 game behind the Seattle Seahawks.
Next up: The Eagles host the Houston Texans.
16. Miami Dolphins (7-7) (last week’s ranking: 16)
Playing a fired-up Minnesota Vikings team, the Dolphins quickly fell behind by 21 points and despite their comeback efforts they eventually lost 41-17 – a damaging blow to their playoff chances in the AFC. Miami’s offensive line was unable to hold up against a marauding Minnesota defense which had 9 sacks and punished Ryan Tannehill all day. The Dolphins ended up with just 193 total yards (37 passing and 156 rushing) – a total that was boosted by 75 coming on a single play by reserve RB Kalen Ballage…his 75-yard run for a touchdown coming on the first play from scrimmage of the 2ndhalf. That score was the first touchdown of Ballage’s NFL career. Ballage was in the game because Frank Gore went out in the first quarter with an ankle injury (it’s possible that Gore could be done for the year). Miami’s other score came from Minkah Fitzpatrick 50-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Dolphins again played the game without league interception leader Xavien Howard who underwent minor surgery a couple of weeks ago.
Next up: The Dolphins host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
17. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1) (last week’s ranking: 21)
Rookie Nick Chubb rushed for 100 yards and the Browns defense had 2 interceptions as Cleveland overcame Denver 17-6 on Saturday Night Football and in doing so they kept their slim playoff hopes alive. As well as the 2 picks, the Browns defense also held the highly rated broncos’ rushing game to just 32 yards. Baker Mayfield had a subdued night, throwing for just 188 yards but he did have 2 crucial touchdown strikes to Antonio Callaway and Breshad Perriman. The Browns again played without their second 2018 first-round draft pick Denzel Ward (concussion protocol). After losing 4 straight games in the middle of the season, the Browns have now won 4 of their last 5 games. The Browns are virtually eliminated from the playoffs – to have a chance of getting in, they would need to win their lost 2 games, have the Colts and Titans both lose this coming week, and then have the Colts v Titans game in week 17 finish in a tie.
Next up: The Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals.
18. Washington Redskins (7-7) (last week’s ranking: 23)
Josh Johnson led the Redskins to 10 points in the last 5:47 of the game bringing Washington from behind to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 16-13 and keeping themselves in with a playoff shout in the NFC. Washington is still alive for either an NFC East division title or a wildcard berth. Johnson, who is the fourth starting quarterback for the Redskins this season, was starting his first game for more than 7 seasons and was given great assistance by his defense which had 6 sacks and held the Jags to just 20 net yards passing. The Redskins defense also had 6 sacks, including 2 each by Ryan Kerrigan and Jonathan Allen. Washington had lost four straight games coming into this one, making their victory all the more surprising under the circumstances.
Next up: The Redskins travel to Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.
19. Carolina Panthers (6-8) (last week’s ranking: 17)
The Panthers defense played well against the vaunted Saints offense – holding New Orleans to just 12 points – but Carolina’s own offense never get untracked and the Panthers dropped to a 12-9 defeat on Monday Night Football. Cam Newton is struggling with a shoulder injury and it showed, as he passed for just 131 yards and no touchdowns. He also threw a critical interception in the end zone when the Panthers seemed certain to score late in the first half. Carolina’s only touchdown came on a Christian McCaffrey 50-yard half-back option pass to Chris Manhertz on a 4thdown play midway through the first quarter. The loss was the Panthers’ 6thin a row and means that they are close to elimination from the postseason picture – they will be eliminated with 1 more loss or wins from a combination of other NFC teams.
Next up: The Panthers host the Atlanta Falcons.
20. Denver Broncos (6-8) (last week’s ranking: 18)
Denver’s playoff hopes took a shattering blow with a disappointing 17-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Saturday Night. Case Keenum threw for 257 yards and ran for a score but threw 2 crucial interceptions in the loss which all but eliminates the Broncos from playoff contention. With less than 5 minutes left in the game and trailing 17-13, the Broncos head coach Vance Johnson opted to kick a field goal (making the score 17-16) on 4thand 1 from the Cleveland 6 and despite getting the ball back late in the game, Denver never got back into scoring position. One minor piece of good news, Broncos LB Von Miller had a sack which made him the Broncos all-time leader in sacks.
Next up: The Broncos travel to Oakland to play the Raiders on Monday Night Football.
21. Green Bay Packers (5-8-1) (last week’s ranking: 19)
It’s finally done…the Packers miniscule playoff hopes are finally gone after their 24-17 loss to the Chicago Bears (coupled with the Vikings victory over the Dolphins). The Packers offense was again disappointing, and the Bears made just enough plays when they had to, to deservedly pick up the W in this one. The Packers played much of the game without Aaron Jones who left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. It looks like the injury is a sprained MCL...in any case, he has been placed on injured reserve – ending his season. There is a further injury concern for the Packers as Randall Cobb was knocked out of the game in the 4thquarter with a possible concussion – at the time of writing, he is in the concussion protocol. Also in the 4thquarter, Aaron Rodgers had his interception free streak ended at 402 passes.
The Packers offensive line was beaten up going into this one - Jason Spriggs again started at RT for the injured Brian Bulaga, while Lucas Patrick started at RG in place of Byron Bell who was placed on injured reserve during the week – and the offensive line was beaten up during the game, as the Bears had 5 sacks and numerous quarterback pressures. The Packers defense did a decent job holding the Bears to just 24 points especially as they played without DT Kenny Clark who was inactive with an elbow injury – Fadol Brown started in his place.
During the game, Davante Adams reached the 100-catch milestone for the season – just the fourth time (by 3 players) that this has been achieved by a Packers player. He needs 13 catches for 205 yards to break the Packers single season marks in both of those categories.
The Packers are no 0-7 on the road this season. They haven’t lost all of their road games since the 1958, 1-10-1 season.
The Packers are now 10th in offense (9th in passing, 21st in rushing) and 16th in Scoring offense
The Packers are now 15thin defense (9th in passing, 22nd in rushing) and 17th in scoring defense
Next up: The Packers travel to New York to play the Jets.
Packers Play-off Watch:
The Packers were eliminated from playoff contention with their loss and the Vikings win.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (6-8) (last week’s ranking: 24)
The Bengals racked up 171 yards on the ground, led by Joe Mixon’s 129 yards, as Cincinnati beat the Oakland Raiders 30-16. It was Cincinnati’s first win in 6 games. Perhaps the real stars of the day were on the defensive side of the ball, as Geno Atkins had 3 sacks (of the team’s 5) and 4 tackles for a loss, while Sam Hubbard had 2 sacks and a forced fumble. Wideout Tyler Boyd went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season during the game, but unfortunately later left the game with a foot injury and did not return. His prognosis going forwards wasn’t known at the time of writing.
Next up: Cincinnati travels to Cleveland to play the Browns.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-9) (last week’s ranking: 20)
The Bucs were held to just 241 total yards as they went down 20-12 to the Baltimore Ravens and were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Jameis Winston was held to just 157 yards passing with 1 interception in game played in difficult, wet, playing conditions. Mike Evans had 121 yards receiving for Tampa Bay. Defensively, Lavonte David had a great game with 12 tackles (including 10 solos), 2 sacks, a tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery in the Bucs losing effort.
Next up: The Bucs travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys.
24. New York Giants (5-9) (last week’s ranking: 22)
The Giants were unable to keep the Titans running game in check, and couldn’t get their own ground game moving, as they succumbed to Tennessee 17-0 in a disappointing performance. Saquon Barkley was held to just 31 yards on the ground, whilst Eli Manning completed less than 50% of his passes and threw an interception and lost a fumble. The Giants again played without Odell Beckham Jr. who missed the game due to his ongoing quad injury. With the defeat, New York was officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Next up: The Giants travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts.
25. Buffalo Bills (5-9) (last week’s ranking: 28)
Despite losing yet another RB when Marcus Murphy went out with a wrist injury in the 2ndquarter, the Bills overcame the Detroit Lions 14-13 to move to 5-9 for the season. Josh Allen threw for 204 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the 4thquarter as well as rushing for the Bills’ other score. Robert Foster had 108 yards receiving including that 42-yard touchdown pass from Allen. WR/PR Isaiah McKenzie left the game in the 3rdquarter with a leg injury – his prognosis was not known at the time or writing.
Next up: Buffalo travels to Foxboro to play the New England Patriots.
26. Detroit Lions (5-9) (last week’s ranking: 25)
The Lions were officially eliminated from playoff contention as they lost to the Buffalo Bills 14-13 on Sunday. Matthew Stafford threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, but the Lions struggled on offense for much of the day, being forced to punt 7 times. Detroit’s defense played strong forcing Buffalo to punt 6 times but were ultimately beaten by a big play early in the 4thquarter. Detroit falls to 5-9 for the season and is in last place in the NFC North.
Next up: The Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.
27. Atlanta Falcons (5-9) (last week’s ranking: 29)
The Falcons racked up 435 yards of total offense and the defense forced 3 turnovers (2 interceptions and a fumble recovery) as Atlanta crushed the Arizona Cardinals 40-14, to break their 5-game losing streak. Tevin Coleman led the Falcons with 145 yards rushing, while Matt Ryan passed for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no interceptions. Deion Jones returned one of the Falcons’ interceptions for a touchdown. As well as the turnovers, Atlanta’s defense harassed Cardinal’s QBs Josh Rosen and Mike Glennon all day, coming up with 7 sacks (2 by Grady Jarrett) and numerous QB pressures and hits. Despite the win, the Falcons were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Next up: Atlanta travels to Carolina to play the Panthers.
28. New York Jets(4-10) (last week’s ranking: 27)
Sam Darnold threw for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no interceptions, as the Jets came close to upsetting the high-flying Houston Texans but couldn’t quite get over the line – going down 29-22 on Saturday afternoon. Defensively, the Jets played a fine game, sacking Deshaun Watson 6 times (including 3 by DE Henry Anderson) and holding the Texans’ running game to just 47 yards. But they couldn’t control wideout DeAndre Hopkins who had 10 catches for 170 yards and 2 scores. The Jets played the game without their leading rusher Isaiah Crowell who was put on season-ending injured reserve prior to the weekend. Crowell had been nursing a toe injury that was reportedly re-aggravated last week.
Next up: The Jets host the Green Bay Packers.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10) (last week’s ranking: 26)
The Jags were held to just 20 net yards passing – yes. Count them, just 20 – as they went down to the Redskins 16-13, despite Washington starting their fourth quarterback of the season. For Jacksonville, Cody Kessler completed just 9 of 17 passes for 57 yards and lost 37 yards on 6 sacks as the Jags were simply unable to get anything going through the air. Kessler did pick up 68 yards on the ground out of Jacksonville’s 172 rushing yards, but they could only muster 13 points and couldn’t hold off a late Redskins rally.
Next up: Jacksonville travels to Miami to play the Dolphins.
30. San Francisco 49ers (4-10) (last week’s ranking: 32)
Robbie Gould kicked the game winning field goal with a little over 3 minutes remaining in overtime as the 49ers shocked the playoff hopeful Seahawks 26-23. Gould kicked 4 field goals in the game and Richie James had a rare kick-off return for a touchdown (97 yards) to key the San Francisco victory. On the offensive side of the ball, Nick Mullens threw for 275 yards and a touchdown to Garrett Celek. San Francisco’s defense played tough, led by DE DeForest Buckner who had a big game with 11 tackles (7 solos), 2 sacks and 4 tackles for a loss. With the win, the 49ers move up spots off the bottom of our rankings.
Next up: The 49ers host the Chicago Bears.
31. Oakland Raiders (3-11) (last week’s ranking: 30)
Derek Carr threw for 263 yards and a touchdown, but the Raiders’ defense couldn’t stop the Bengals running game as Oakland went down 30-16. Carr was sacked 5 times and the Raiders running game was held to just 68 yards, while Cincinnati racked up 171 yards on the ground to give the Bengals a relatively comfortable victory. With the loss, Oakland fell to 3-11 for the season and fall 1 spot in our rankings.
Next up: The host the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.
32. Arizona Cardinals (3-11) (last week’s ranking: 31)
Cardinals quarterbacks were sacked 7 times, lost a fumble and threw 2 interceptions as Arizona slumped to a 40-14 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons. Rooke Josh Rosen threw for just 132 yards, was sacked 6 times and had 2 interceptions before being replaced by back-up Mike Glennon. Rosen is struggling but has been confirmed as the starter for next week by head coach Steve Wilks. The Cardinals defense was also badly beaten, giving up 435 total yards including 215 on the ground. Arizona falls back to the bottom of our rankings.
Next up: The Cardinals host the Los Angeles Rams.
Find Peter on twitter here: @The_IT_Hedgehog