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. New Orleans Saints (10-1) (-)
The New Orleans continued to feast on their opponents on Thanksgiving night, as the Atlanta Falcons became the latest victims. Drew Brees continues to separate himself in the MVP race, as the NFC will run through New Orleans.
2. Los Angeles Rams (10-1) (-)
After a bye week, the Los Angeles Rams will play a struggling Detroit Lions team in Week 13. The team needs to rely on the run game, as Gurley was only given 12 rushing attempts in Week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) (-)
A bye week will treat the Kansas City Chiefs well, who get to play the Oakland Raiders twice before the end of the regular season. Many are giving Patrick Mahomes a back seat in the MVP race, but Week 13 could place him back into the conversation.
4. New England Patriots (8-3) (-)
Nothing about New England’s victory over the New York Jets was impressive, as the two sides went into halftime with a score of 10-10. The Patriots are a different franchise in the postseason, but will they earn a bye week to start the playoffs?
5. Houston Texans (8-3) (+1)
An 8th consecutive victory for the Houston Texans forces us to place them within the Super Bowl contender status. This is a franchise many wrote off, but the Texans have the potential to knock out any powerhouse within their conference.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) (+1)
By the numbers, Philip Rivers had one of the cleanest quarterback performances in NFL history in Week 12. We continue to place Rivers on the back burner of the MVP conversation, but he continues to win games and put up big numbers in the process, which is admirable.
7. Chicago Bears (8-3) (+1)
Even with Chase Daniel under center, the Chicago Bears continue to find ways to win games. The defense did more than hold their own, as a 41-yard interception touchdown by Eddie Jackson sealed the Lions fate.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1) (-3)
The top 7 franchises has found their stride at this point in the season, while the Pittsburgh Steelers are still figuring out a few kinks. Ben Roethlisberger did throw for 462 yards on Sunday, but only cashed in 1 touchdown pass.
9. Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1) (+1)
The Minnesota Vikings are showing enough grit to fight for a postseason slot, and knocking off the Green Bay Packers helps their case. The Vikings are now 6-1-1 when they score 21+ points in a single game.
10. Baltimore Ravens (6-5) (+1)
Baltimore has now won 2 consecutive games under rookie Lamar Jackson, as he continues to shine as the future of the Ravens franchise. With a Week 13 matchup in Atlanta, this is a must-win game for both sides.
11. Carolina Panthers (6-5) (-2)
After a game-winning field goal by the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers have now dropped 3 consecutive games. With games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns in the next two weeks, perhaps the Panthers can hit their peak late into the year.
12. Indianapolis Colts (6-5) (-)
A fourth quarter push by the Indianapolis Colts leads them to remain at the #12 slot, just based on default. With a fairly easy schedule moving forward, the Colts could win their way into the postseason with relative ease.
13. Dallas Cowboys (6-5) (-)
After 3 straight victories, the Dallas Cowboys are the current front runner in the NFC East. Although they play the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, it should be known that the Saints have only played one elite defense this year in the Baltimore Ravens, and that game was won 24-23 by Drew Brees and company.
14. Seattle Seahawks (6-5) (-)
With back-to-back wins at hand, the Seattle Seahawks now get to play the San Francisco 49ers twice over the course of the next three weeks. The Seahawks are 4-0 when they allow 20 or less points in a single game.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) (+3)
Some are still calling the Philadelphia Eagles the favorites in the NFC East, and there is definitely an argument for it. In a close victory over the New York Giants, the Eagles can still push out a late run for the division title.
16. Green Bay Packers (4-6-1) (-1)
Seemingly, the Green Bay Packers would need to win out in order to have a chance at making the postseason. By my count, it’s entirely possible, as the Packers only play one winning franchise in the last five weeks in the Chicago Bears.
17. Denver Broncos (5-6) (+4)
A win over the Pittsburgh Steelers is a big deal for the Denver Broncos, as they remain in the playoff hunt. At this rate, Phillip Lindsay will break the undrafted rookie record for most rushing yards in a single season.
18. Tennessee Titans (5-6) (-2)
The Tennessee Titans could not keep up with the Houston Texans on Monday night, and not many expected them too. With 4 of their last 5 opponents holding losing records, the Titans are now in must-win mode.
19. Detroit Lions (4-7) (-)
With their playoff chances at a new low, the Detroit Lions have a lot to address in the upcoming off-season. I don’t know if Matt Patricia is the long-term answer for this franchise, especially at this rate.
20. Atlanta Falcons (4-7) (-)
The Atlanta Falcons held the New Orleans Saints to 31 points on Thursday, which is more than 5 other defenses can say for themselves. There is practically no chance Atlanta sees the postseason this year, as they play the Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers over the next two weeks.
21. Cleveland Browns (4-6-1) (+4)
A rivalry victory over former coach Hue Jackson and the Cincinnati Bengals has the Cleveland Browns containing the same record as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. While the postseason isn’t realistic, the Browns have a lot of working pieces in motion.
22. Buffalo Bills (4-7) (+5)
A newfound rivalry between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, which dates back to the 2017 postseason, only got more intense with a large scuffle in the closing quarter. The Bills have a sense of electricity when Josh Allen is under center, but haven’t been able to defeat average opponents throughout the year.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) (+5)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up their first win since Week 6, and it was with Jameis Winston under center. I actually have the Buccaneers losing their last 5 games to close out the season, but this is Winston’s time to play for his future as a starter.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (5-6) (-7)
After losing QB Andy Dalton for the remainder of the season, the Cincinnati Bengals won’t be able to thrive under Jeff Driskel, who is making his first career start on Sunday. Had Dalton and WR AJ Green been on the field, there is a real chance we are talking about Cincinnati as a playoff team.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8) (-3)
The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped yet another game to a mediocre opponent, and shut down Blake Bortles in result. Oddly enough, the last 4 losses for the Jaguars have been within one possession.
26. Washington Redskins (6-5) (-3)
Colt McCoy actually played decently for someone who was expected to hold a lot of rust, but made too many amateur mistakes. The Washington Redskins are technically in the NFC East race, but will close out the season with 3+ losses.
27. Miami Dolphins (5-6) (-3)
A loss to the Indianapolis Colts hurts the Miami Dolphins to a massive degree, as they are fighting for a wild card slot currently. Road games seem to be their weak point, as 5 of their 6 losses come from away games.
28. New York Giants (3-8) (-2)
Just as we all started to believe the New York Giants would win out and make the postseason, a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles practically puts their season to rest. The largest headline in the off-season for the Giants will involve the future at the quarterback position, as Eli Manning will turn 38 in January.
29. New York Jets (3-8) (-)
To no surprise, the New York Jets couldn’t pull off an upset victory against the New England Patriots. Even if Sam Darnold was healthy, it would not have been a distinct difference in the outcome of this game.
30. San Francisco 49ers (2-9) (-)
In a Week 12 matchup where the San Francisco 49ers let up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their season is officially over. Nick Mullens should enjoy his final 5 games of the year, because it will be back to the bench to start next season.
31. Oakland Raiders (2-9) (-)
Coming off a recent win, the Oakland Raiders went back to their losing ways against the Baltimore Ravens. In 7 of their 9 losses this year, the Raiders have been defeated by 14 or more points.
32. Arizona Cardinals (2-9) (-)
After jumping out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, the Arizona Cardinals defense allowed 45 unanswered points to the Los Angeles Chargers. If that’s not the story of this year for the Cardinals, then I don’t know what is.
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