As the 2018-19 NFL season is underway, certain franchises have stepped into the spotlight. As the weeks progress, here are the NFL Power Rankings, brought to you by The Athletes Hub:
1. Los Angeles Rams (8-0) (-)
Once again, there has been no evidence or reasoning to put the Los Angeles Rams any lower than #1 through the midpoint of the season. Although their matchup against the Green Bay Packers could have gone either way, a win is a win.
2. New England Patriots (6-2) (-)
The New England Patriots looked rusty against the Buffalo Bills on Monday night, and perhaps it was because of the absence of Sony Michel. In fact, the leading rusher for the Patriots was Cordarrelle Patterson (10 rushes, 38 yards).
3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) (-)
After the displeasing performance from New England on Monday, there could be a debate on whether the Kansas City Chiefs are the second-best team in the NFL. Still, the Chiefs at #3 after a one-possession win over the Denver Broncos seems fair.
4. New Orleans Saints (6-1) (-)
The New Orleans are likely the last “tier one” roster for the time being. After a convincing victory over the Minnesota Vikings on the road, they deserve the #4 slot.
5. Carolina Panthers (5-2) (+1)
I have been a broken record when noting that the Carolina Panthers are inconsistent, but putting up 36 points against the Baltimore Ravens defense is convincing. As long as Christian McCaffrey can be utilized some more, the Panthers are a threat in the NFC.
6. Washington Redskins (5-2) (+1)
There is separation between the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFC East, and I have a difficult time believing any other franchise looks primed to win this division. Alex Smith knows how to win games without flashy numbers, and it may prove to be enough this year.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) (+1)
With a bye week on their hands, the Los Angeles Chargers will be on the road to play the Seattle Seahawks. While the Chargers have the advantage in terms of roster talent, Seattle is one of the most difficult environments to play in.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1) (+2)
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is starting to wake up a bit, which could be bad news for every other AFC franchise. With James Conner receiving a heavy dose in the running game, Pittsburgh may have the formula to returning to contender status.
9. Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1) (-4)
The Minnesota Vikings took a hit with their loss against the New Orleans Saints, and #9 seems fair. In their losses/ties, the Vikings have yet to overcome the Green Bay Packers (tie), Los Angeles Rams, and now the Saints; all contenders to a degree.
10. Houston Texans (5-3) (+4)
I want it known that I am officially buying into the Houston Texans. With five consecutive victories, the Texans have a point differential of +45 during that time span.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) (+2)
After adding Golden Tate to the roster, the Philadelphia Eagles have drastically improved on offense. While the Redskins are seen as the favorites for the time being, don’t count out any NFC East team (minus the Giants).
12. Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) (-3)
A late fumble by Ty Montgomery sealed the Packers fate for the week, but the season is far from over. The Green Bay Packers are only one game behind the Chicago Bears (4-3) and Minnesota Vikings (4-3) for the lead in the NFC North.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) (+3)
Aside from Tyler Boyd, nothing truly pops out about this Cincinnati Bengals roster. This will be a typical Bengals season that results in an early postseason exit.
14. Chicago Bears (4-3) (+1)
Even without Khalil Mack on the field, the Chicago Bears had no issue taking care of the New York Jets on Sunday. After the Buffalo Bills defense held their own for the most part against the New England Patriots, this will be an interesting matchup.
15. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) (-3)
The Baltimore Ravens hold some talent, but have failed to live up to their own expectations. The defense failed to contain the Carolina Panthers, and will now host a rivalry week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5) (-5)
Regardless of past merits, the Jacksonville Jaguars are not the same team without Leonard Fournette. Dropping to 3-5 still puts the Jaguars in the playoff picture, but their hope is dimming quickly.
17. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) (+1)
There are a lot of things to like about the Seattle Seahawks, but the ceiling is fairly low. Without an offensive line or elite defense, this is a roster that relies solely on the success of Russell Wilson making plays out of the pocket.
18. Atlanta Falcons (3-4) (-1)
A bye week didn’t have much effect on the Atlanta Falcons in week 8, but there is worry about how this offense looks without Devonta Freeman. It appears that Tevin Coleman isn’t a pure three-down back, but there is time to change that narrative.
19. Denver Broncos (3-5) (-)
After the offense kept up with the Kansas City Chiefs, a loss puts very little effect into the Broncos’ standing. I am interested to see what this offense looks like without Demaryius Thomas, and who steps up in his place.
20. Dallas Cowboys (3-4) (+2)
A Sunday night game against the Tennessee Titans puts the Cowboys in a must-win situation. Coming off their bye week, Dallas has the opportunity to lift themselves back to .500.
21. Detroit Lions (3-4) (-1)
After trading Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions don’t have the necessary pieces to keep up with opposing elite offenses. While I believe the stock of Kenny Golladay rises, this move won’t benefit the Lions in the short-term game.
22. Miami Dolphins (4-4) (-1)
A blowout loss to the Houston Texans on Thursday night wasn’t a good look for Maimi, as eyes are on the return of Ryan Tannehill. Without him under center, the Dolphins offense will quickly self-destruct.
23. Tennessee Titans (3-4) (-)
Marcus Mariota isn’t elite enough as a quarterback to carry a franchise to a playoff berth, and I think that will be proven this week against the Dallas Cowboys. There are a few pieces to be utilized in the near future, but for now, the Titans appear “stuck” with the current roster.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) (-)
After a disappointing performance from Jameis Winston, it appears that “FitzMagic” is back in the air. This was the right move in all accounts, but I worry that the quarterback confusion in Tampa Bay will continue to serve as a distraction.
25. Indianapolis Colts (3-5) (+2)
The Indianapolis Colts are gaining some traction, and it’s all thanks to Andrew Luck’s elite play. Facing a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars roster in week 9, this could an interesting upset in the works.
26. New York Jets (3-5) (-1)
I believe Sam Darnold is the cleanest rookie quarterback, but he simply doesn’t have the pieces around him in order to contend for a playoff berth. Winning anything more than 5+ games this season should be viewed as exceeding expectations.
27. Cleveland Browns (2-5-1) (-1)
The Cleveland Browns cleaned the house after letting go of HC Hue Jackson and OC Todd Haley. This was long overdue, but also symbolizes that the Browns will continue to rebuild before possibly contending for a playoff berth as early as 2019.
28. Oakland Raiders (1-6) (-)
This is the lowest the Oakland Raiders will likely go for now, which says a lot about the remaining franchises on this week’s power rankings. The Oakland Raiders are hitting more than a few bumps to start the season, but the off-season is where Jon Gruden specializes.
29. New York Giants (1-7) (-)
Another loss for the New York Giants wasn’t too surprising, but the fact that it finished as a one-possession game against the Washington Redskins certainly was. The one bright spot is Saquon Barkley, who is primed for the Rookie of the Year award.
30. Arizona Cardinals (2-6) (+1)
It took until week 8, but the Arizona Cardinals finally won their second game of the season. Sure, it was against the San Francisco 49ers, but everyone starts somewhere…right?
31. Buffalo Bills (2-6) (-1)
The Buffalo Bills didn’t let up against the New England Patriots, but it’s nearly impossible to place them above the #31 slot. The slots of #27-31 are all exchangeable, but this seems right for the time being.
32. San Francisco 49ers (1-7) (-)
Even against the Arizona Cardinals, the San Francisco 49ers couldn’t pick up their second victory of the season. Even with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, I’m not sure how much of a difference it would make.
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