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 (7-1) (+3)
Many are calling the Saints’ win over the Los Angeles Rams a non-factor in the power rankings, but playing from ahead and posting 45 points against an elite defense deserves merit. The Saints have emerged as the team to beat in the NFL.
2. New England Patriots (7-2) (-)
After a 14-point victory over the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots impressed enough without Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel to pick up the win. The #1-4 slots are all interchangeable, but for now, the Patriots remain at #2.
3. Los Angeles Rams (8-1) (-2)
Los Angeles could be plugged in anywhere from #1-3, but it’s difficult to put them any higher than #3 after a disappointing Week 9. The Rams are still viewed as the “team to beat” right now, but are not outplaying the Patriots or Saints.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) (-1)
Ranked at #4 is a testament to the play of the teams ranked within the top 3, rather than the play of the Kansas City Chiefs. Even with a victory over the Cleveland Browns, there were points in the game in which the Chiefs looked sloppy enough on defense to give up their lead.
5. Carolina Panthers (6-2) (-)
The Panthers continue to give teams trouble in the NFC, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become the latest victims. When Cam Newton is comfortable, this could be a franchise that contends within the postseason.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (6-2) (+1)
This is a franchise many have written off, but the Los Angeles Chargers are a force in the AFC. Although Caleb Sturgis was cut, Los Angeles is primed for success within the next several weeks.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1) (+1)
Although it was a shaky start to the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have shown glimpses of elite play in the last few weeks. There are rumors swirling about Le’Veon Bell returning, but it seems unlikely that the Steelers will decrease the reps of James Conner.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1) (+1)
The Vikings have been a roller coaster this season, but a convincing victory over the Detroit Lions help their case to being placed within the top 10. Although the success relied heavily on the defense securing 10 sacks on Sunday, a win is a win.
9. Houston Texans (6-3) (+1)
Newly-acquired WR Demaryius Thomas made his Texans debut against his former Denver Broncos, and did not disappoint. With 3 receptions for 61 yards, Houston has won 6 straight games.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) (+1)
A bye week treated the Philadelphia Eagles well, as the Washington Redskins picked up a loss and a few serious injuries in Week 9. The NFC East is still up for grabs, and the Eagles are in the running.
11. Green Bay Packers (3-4-1) (-)
Aaron Rodgers and company were unable to defeat the New England Patriots on Sunday night, but it’s hard to place them under the #11 slot through default. The Packers have defeated the Chicago Bears at a peak stage, and the Cincinnati Bengals are now without AJ Green for the foreseen future.
12. Chicago Bears (5-3) (+2)
It was against the Buffalo Bills, but the Chicago Bears piled on 41 points against a defense that only allowed 25 points to the New England Patriots the week prior. The Chicago Bears offense isn’t flashy by any means, but this defense is elite nonetheless.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) (-)
It has been reported that AJ Green will not need foot surgery, but will be sidelined over the next several weeks. Without Green, I would expect for the Bengals offense to struggle at points until he returns.
14. Atlanta Falcons (4-4) (+4)
When Matt Ryan is in rhythm, it is very difficult to stop them. The Washington Redskins hold an elite secondary, but allowed 38 points to an Atlanta Falcons offense that has scored 24+ points in 5 games this season.
15. Washington Redskins (5-3) (-9)
More injuries have hit the Washington Redskins roster, and now the gap is closing quickly between them and the rest of the NFC East. With the glaring issues on the offensive line, this is now the Redskins division to earn.
16. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) (-1)
The Baltimore Ravens defense is primed for a postseason position, but the issues lay within the offense. Joe Flacco simply can not be an elite regular season quarterback anymore, and because of that, the Ravens will continue to struggle.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5) (-1)
With no clear quarterback solution, I have trouble believing a bye week will be a difference-maker for the Jaguars. Blake Bortles was almost the solution in 2017, but without Leonard Fournette to ease the passing game, Jacksonville will aim to remain afloat with TJ Yeldon and Carlos Hyde.
18. Seattle Seahawks (4-4) (-1)
The Seattle Seahawks almost escaped with a game-tying touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers, but suffered defeat instead. Although Russell Wilson has led this franchise to success in the past, there needs to be more support on the offensive front.
19. Miami Dolphins (5-4) (+3)
The Miami Dolphins hold a quarterback controversy on their hands, but neither Brock Osweiler or Ryan Tannehill will be able to accomplish much this season. Without an established standout weapon on offense, this is a franchise that should take pride in 8-8.
20. Tennessee Titans (4-4) (+3)
Not many (including myself) had the Tennessee Titans winning over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, but the offense looked refreshing for the most part. This was a game where the Titans were nearly impossible to stop on 3rd down, but will it be a fluke?
21. Denver Broncos (3-6) (-2)
The Denver Broncos were next in line to fall victim to the Houston Texans, and have lost 6 of their last 7 games. In four of their losses this season, the Broncos have been within 7 points.
22. Dallas Cowboys (3-5) (-2)
Even with Amari Cooper on the field, the Dallas Cowboys looked lost under Dak Prescott. According to rumors, the Cowboys plan to offer Prescott an extension, which could result in an extended headache.
23. Detroit Lions (3-5) (-2)
A loss in which the Detroit Lions couldn’t manage 10 points was disappointing, but the offensive front was downright embarrassing. The Minnesota Vikings contain an elite defense, but allowing 10 sacks is unacceptable.
24. Indianapolis Colts (3-5) (+1)
The Indianapolis Colts sit just 1 game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South (for 3rd place), but I like their chances this week. Andrew Luck and company have won two straight, while the Jaguars are quickly self-destructing.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) (-1)
Regardless of who is under center, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are incapable of winning big games. All the switches at the quarterback position will frustrate this team rather quickly, and a rather difficult matchup against the Washington Redskins may prove to be a must-win situation.
26. New York Jets (3-6) (-)
The Jets have their quarterback, but how many games will they throw him into the fire before resting him for the season? Sam Darnold isn’t put in a position to win, and the upcoming off-season for New York should be viewed as an aggressive one.
27. Cleveland Browns (2-6-1) (-)
Even after the changes to the coaching staff, the Cleveland Browns lost a game they were expected to against the Kansas City Chiefs. This franchise has a bright future, but the right management needs to be figured out next off-season.
28. New York Giants (1-7) (+1)
The New York Giants might have a chance to win their second game of the season, as they play the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. The quarterback situation in the “Big Apple” will be a storyline to watch next spring.
29. Arizona Cardinals (2-6) (+1)
A bye week did the Arizona Cardinals justice, as other team proved to have larger flaws. Josh Rosen doesn’t appear to be the “pro-ready” quarterback we all thought he would be, but time should help the rookie quarterback.
30. San Francisco 49ers (2-7) (+2)
The San Francisco 49ers won under Nick Mullens, who most of the NFL community never took seriously before last Thursday. Primed to make his next start against the New York Giants, can he pull off another upset?
31. Buffalo Bills (2-7) (-)
The Buffalo Bills are stuck at #31 once again, simply because Josh Allen hasn’t been on the field to help this franchise grow. Regardless, the Bills are one of the franchises that need an aggressive off-season in order to be taken seriously in the distant future.
32. Oakland Raiders (1-7) (-4)
This season has been a train wreck for the Oakland Raiders, and their recent loss to the San Francisco 49ers was the icing on the cake. It will be difficult to climb out of the #32 slot, and could very well remain that way until a new light of hope is apparent.
Featured Image: Tej Kamaraju