Want to give the author direct feedback? Follow @D_Withers02 on Twitter for more insight.
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 (12-2) (-)
It wasn’t pretty, but the New Orleans Saints held on to beat the Carolina Panthers on Monday night, securing their top spot in the power rankings. Although they are ranked #1, Drew Brees has thrown an interception in 4 straight games.
2. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) (+2)
The Los Angeles Chargers had a game-changing victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, which places them on the cusp of the AFC West title. Philip Rivers continues to play lights out football, but is overshadowed by flashier play by Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) (-1)
The worry surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs involves their inability to overcome elite opponents. In their 3 losses, the Chiefs have suffered defeat to the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Chargers.
4. Chicago Bears (10-4) (+2)
Chicago has the most complete defense in the NFL, with Baltimore and Dallas trailing. After eliminating the Green Bay Packers from the postseason, the Bears secured the NFC North for the first time since 2006.
5. Los Angeles Rams (11-3) (-2)
Los Angeles suffered their first home loss of the season to a Carson Wentz-less Philadelphia Eagles. Against playoff caliber opponents, the Rams are now 4-3, which may call for a bit of concern.
6. Houston Texans (10-4) (+1)
The Texans improved to 10-4, which places them one game ahead of the New England Patriots for the #2 seed in the AFC. Winning 10 of their last 11 games, Houston is being severely underrated as a contender.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1) (+3)
In a must-win scenario, the Pittsburgh Steelers held the New England Patriots to 10 points in their Sunday victory. If James Conner can return at full health, the Steelers are still a contender in the AFC.
8. New England Patriots (9-5) (-3)
The New England Patriots have dropped 2 consecutive games, but will finish the year 2-0, as they play the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets at home, respectively. For an offense ranked 7th in points per game, Tom Brady and company have looked depleted as of late.
9. Baltimore Ravens (8-6) (+2)
Lamar Jackson continues to win football games for the Baltimore Ravens, which places Joe Flacco on the trade block this offseason. The rookie out of Louisville is 4-1 as a starter, and has rushed for 65+ yards in each game, which forces defenses to adjust.
10. Indianapolis Colts (8-6) (+2)
The Indianapolis Colts shut out the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, proving their case as a valuable wild card team. The offensive line continues to protect Andrew Luck, who was not sacked in Week 15.
11. Dallas Cowboys (8-6) (-3)
Dallas was shut out for the first time since 2003, and were overlooking themselves this past weekend. After Philadelphia’s win over the Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys need to realize that the NFC East is technically still up for grabs.
12. Seattle Seahawks (8-6) (-3)
Somehow, the Seattle Seahawks were stunned by the San Francisco 49ers in their 26-23 loss. This is a team full of inconsistencies, but with the right rhythm, can be disruptive to postseason opponents.
13. Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1) (-)
A defensive game from the Minnesota Vikings gives them their first blowout win since Week 10 against the Detroit Lions. There isn’t much of an “x-factor” to the Minnesota Vikings, as they sit on the outskirts of the NFC playoff picture.
14. Tennessee Titans (8-6) (-)
Tennessee defeated the New York Giants 17-0, marking their 3rd consecutive win. With a layup game against the Washington Redskins next week, the fate of the AFC wild card game will likely come down to Week 17 against the Indianapolis Colts.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) (+3)
Nick Foles is back under center, and shined in a must-win game against the Los Angeles Rams. The Dallas Cowboys are favored in the NFC East, but the wild card is as wide as ever with 2 weeks left to play.
16. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1) (+3)
In a close victory over the Denver Broncos, Baker Mayfield is continuing to emerge as the franchise quarterback in Cleveland. Technically speaking, the Browns are considered in the hunt for the AFC wild card, and that could come down to Week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens against fellow rookie Lamar Jackson.
17. Carolina Panthers (6-8) (-1)
In a season that started 6-2, the Carolina Panthers have now dropped 6 consecutive games. Somehow though, this is a team that stands 5-2 when playing at home.
18. Miami Dolphins (7-7) (-3)
The Miami Dolphins are now being written off as a playoff contender, as Ryan Tannehill posted a QBR of 59.0, and Frank Gore has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
19. Green Bay Packers (5-8-1) (-2)
For the 2nd consecutive season, the Green Bay Packers have been eliminated from the postseason. Aaron Rodgers is still an elite quarterback, but the headline will be which head coach is placed under the spotlight in 2019.
20. Atlanta Falcons (5-9) (+4)
After 5 consecutive losses, the Atlanta Falcons put up their first win with 40+ points scored. In a disappointing season overall, the offense ranked 31st in rushing yards per game.
21. Denver Broncos (6-8) (-1)
Denver has been virtually eliminated from the postseason after a deflating loss to the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. Case Keenum wasn’t the right investment, and that has become apparent over the years.
22. Detroit Lions (5-9) (-1)
The recent loss to the Buffalo Bills places the Detroit Lions at 2-5 on the road under rookie head coach Matt Patricia. On both sides of the ball, this has been a below-average football team.
23. New York Giants (5-9) (-1)
At home, the New York Giants are now 2-5. Eli Manning has played well on an individual level over the last several weeks, excluding Week 15, which is why the Giants are eager for him to remain the starter in 2019.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-9) (-1)
At times, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play like a 9-5 team, rather than one that’s 5-9. Mike Evans held 124 of 157 total receiving yards on Sunday, which shows Jameis Winston’s inability to drive the whole offense.
25. Buffalo Bills (5-9) (+2)
Josh Allen holds one multi-touchdown game (Week 14), but four multi-interception games. The Buffalo Bills are inconsistent, but will look to revamp themselves for 2019.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (6-8) (+2)
25-year old Jeff Driskel picked up his first win of the 2018 season last weekend over the Oakland Raiders. The numbers of Driskel are undervalued, as he has accounted for 6 touchdowns, and 3 turnovers during his time under center.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10) (-)
Based on the course of this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars are justified for wanting to move on from Blake Bortles, but Cody Kessler needs to depart in the process. The offense ranks 25th in passing yards, and 30th in points per game.
28. New York Jets (4-10) (-2)
In four of the losses for the New York Jets this year, the point differential has been 8 or less. While that seems minimal, the other six losses for the Jets this year have come by 14 points or more.
29. San Francisco 49ers (4-10) (+1)
In what seems to be a fluke victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers proved they still have a glimmer of hope for the future. With Jimmy Garoppolo under center in 2019, does this make the 49ers a playoff team?
30. Washington Redskins (7-7) (+2)
Josh Johnson is the 4th starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins this season, and won in comeback fashion over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Redskins would be better off under Alex Smith or Colt McCoy, but it’s refreshing to see Johnson get his time in the spotlight.
31. Arizona Cardinals (3-11) (-2)
Josh Rosen hasn’t been fully supported, but holds a better overall roster than Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. In result, Rosen has won fewer games than both of his colleagues.
32. Oakland Raiders (3-11) (-1)
After a brief period outside #32, the Oakland Raiders fell to Jeff Driskel and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15. There have been flashes to prove that Oakland can remain as a competitive team, so let’s see where they land after the 2019 NFL Draft.
Featured Image: NBC Sports