Monday, September 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: Steelers, Cowboys fall; Patriots, Saints rise

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings, ESPN’s Football Power Index, FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings and statistician Jeff Sagarin’s NFL ratings. We then used a composite of those measures as a guidepost.

Previous rankings: Week 10

1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (record: 7-2; composite ranking: 3.4)

Last week: 41-16 win over Broncos

Week 10 ranking: 2

Playoff odds: 98.4 percent

Hey, NFL. The Patriots don’t need help. On Sunday, the Broncos committed one special teams blunder after another: a muffed punt, a blocked punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown. New England takes the top spot this week because, unlike Pittsburgh, it doesn’t play down to its opponents.

2. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-2; 1.8)

Last week: 47-10 win over Bills

Week 10 ranking: 7

Playoff odds: 95.6 percent

Since Drew Brees signed in New Orleans in 2006, the Saints have scored 40 or more points 25 times. Sunday’s game was the first time they did so without a Brees touchdown pass.

3. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-2; 5.2)

Last week: 20-17 win over Colts

Week 10 ranking: 1

Playoff odds: 99.4 percent

The Steelers were wise to retire those bumblebee throwbacks. Not a good look. Also not a good look: Needing a last-second field goal to beat the Colts.

4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-3; 5.4)

Last week: bye

Week 10 ranking: 3

Playoff odds: 95.3 percent

No one’s catching the Chiefs. The AFC West is theirs. Their final seven opponents: Giants, Bills, Jets, Raiders, Chargers, Dolphins and Broncos.

5. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-1; 3.2)

Last week: bye

Week 10 ranking: 4

Playoff odds: 98.5 percent

The Eagles kick off the toughest part of their schedule this Sunday night when they travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys. The last time Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott went head-to-head in a meaningful game four quarters weren’t enough. Dallas rallied from a 10-point deficit and won 29-23 in overtime. This could be the NFL’s next great rivalry.

6. LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-2; 5.4)

Last week: 33-7 win over Texans

Week 10 ranking: 5

Playoff odds: 93.9 percent

The Rams’ wins haven’t been cheap. They’ve won four games by 26 or more points. No one else has more than two.

7. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-2; 6.8)

Last week: 38-30 win over Washington

Week 10 ranking: 9

Playoff odds: 86.9 percent

It’s time to talk about how good Case Keenum has been. On Sunday, he passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns — against a team other than the Bucs. Yes, he threw two interceptions, but all that did was make the game slightly more interesting. He ranks second among all quarterbacks in Football Outsider’s DVOA metric and third in ESPN’s Total QBR.

8. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (6-3; 8.8)

Last week: 20-17 win over Chargers

Week 10 ranking: 8

Playoff odds: 98.0 percent

Is there anything this defense can’t do? Down 17-14, Blake Bortles tried as hard as he could Sunday to give the game away, throwing two interceptions in the final two minutes. Each time, the defense quickly got the ball back into the hands of the offense. Then the Chargers out-Bortlesed Bortles. A roughing the passer penalty put the Jaguars comfortably in range for a game-tying field goal.

9. CAROLINA PANTHERS (7-3; 9.8)

Last week: 45-21 win over Dolphins

Week 10 ranking: 11

Playoff odds: 64.8 percent

The Panthers rushed for 294 yards against the Dolphins on Monday night. The team single-game record is 299 yards, which Carolina set against Tampa Bay in 2008, Jon Gruden’s final season as coach. Or was it?

10. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-3; 8.8)

Last week: 22-16 win over Cardinals

Week 10 ranking: 10

Playoff odds: 53.4 percent

The Seahawks and Chargers each have played seven games decided by one score, most in the NFL. Seattle has won four of them.

11. ATLANTA FALCONS (5-4; 10.6)

Last week: 27-7 win over Cowboys

Week 10 ranking: 12

Playoff odds: 21.4 percent

On Sunday, defensive end Adrian Clayborn became the fourth player to record six sacks in a game. The others: Osi Umenyiora (2007), Derrick Thomas (1990 and 1998) and Fred Dean (1983).

12. DALLAS COWBOYS (5-4; 11.2)

Last week: 27-7 loss to Falcons

Week 10 ranking: 6

Playoff odds: 20.4 percent

No team’s playoff hopes took a hit like the Dallas’. The easy thing to do is to blame the blowout loss to the Falcons on Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, but Cowboys coaches are the culprits. Once a defensive lineman records three sacks, you’d figure a team would adjust. Instead, Dallas allowed Clayborn to look like Bruce Smith.

13. DETROIT LIONS (5-4; 12.0)

Last week: 38-24 win over Browns

Week 10 ranking: 13

Playoff odds: 37.9 percent

At this stage, it looks as if the final NFC playoff spot will come down to the Lions and Seahawks. Detroit hasn’t played in consecutive postseasons since 1994-1995.

14. BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-5; 16.0)

Last week: bye

Week 10 ranking: 14

Playoff odds: 45.2 percent

Joe Flacco, who has the highest cap hit ($24.6 million) of any quarterback this season, is averaging a league-low 5.3 yards per pass attempt.

15. WASHINGTON (4-5; 15.8)

Last week: 38-30 loss to Vikings

Week 10 ranking: 15

Playoff odds: 9.0 percent

Washington has given up 30 or more points in three of its past four games. Things won’t get easier this Sunday, as the team travels to New Orleans to play the Saints, who are averaging 30 points per game.

16. TENNESSEE TITANS (6-3; 19.4)

Last week: 24-20 win over Bengals

Week 10 ranking: 17

Playoff odds: 67.7 percent

Who are the real Titans? The team that soundly beat the Jaguars and Seahawks? Or the that team that barely escaped losses to the Browns and Bengals? Tennessee is the only division leader that has a negative point differential (-8).

17. GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-4; 14.0)

Last week: 23-16 win over Bears

Week 10 ranking: 18

Playoff odds: 17.3 percent

The Packers have lost two straight home games. They haven’t lost three straight since 2006, Mike McCarthy’s first season as head coach.

18. BUFFALO BILLS (5-4; 20.8)

Last week: 47-10 loss to Saints

Week 10 ranking: 16

Playoff odds: 45.9 percent

The Bills 2017 season in three acts: I. They’re tanking. II. No, they’re not tanking. III. Okay, they’re tanking. How do you fix a run defense that allowed the Saints to rack up 298 rushing yards? You make a change at quarterback, of course. Bills gonna Bills.

19. OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-5; 18.8)

Last week: bye

Week 10 ranking: 20

Playoff odds: 14.8 percent

The Raiders have lost four straight games to the Patriots, last beating them 15 years ago. Good news: Oakland had a bye last week, so it has had extra time to rest and prepare. Bad news: New England played Denver, and that was basically a bye.

20. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-6; 17.6)

Last week: 20-17 loss to Jaguars

Week 10 ranking: 19

Playoff odds: 10.2 percent

Copying last week’s comment here, with an update: The Chargers don’t do anything remarkably well, except lose close games. Since the start of the 2015 season, no team has played in more games decided by one score and no team has lost more of those games. They’ve lost 23, five more than the Ravens, who have lost the second most.

21. DENVER BRONCOS (3-6; 23.2)

Last week: 41-16 loss to Patriots

Week 10 ranking: 21

Playoff odds: 4.8 percent

Defensive end Derek Wolfe after the Patriots embarrassed the Broncos on Sunday night: "It’s real sad. It’s sad we went from being a championship caliber team to a team that stinks. Nobody respects us."

22. HOUSTON TEXANS (3-6; 20.4)

Last week: 33-7 loss to Rams

Week 10 ranking: 22

Playoff odds: 5.9 percent

Tom Savage has started in three games for the Texans, and in those games, he has been part of two touchdown drives.

23. CINCINNATI BENGALS (3-6; 24.0)

Last week: 24-20 loss to Titans

Week 10 ranking: 23

Playoff odds: 4.8 percent

Do you like punting? Watch a Bengals game. Cincinnati punts about every other drive.

24. ARIZONA CARDINALS (4-5; 25.0)

Last week: 22-16 loss to Seahawks

Week 10 ranking: 25

Playoff odds: 0.5 percent

Coach Bruce Arians on the possibility of Blaine Gabbert filling in for Drew Stanton (knee injury) on Sunday: "I’m extremely comfortable." Bear in mind that Arians also feels extremely comfortable doing things that would make the rest of us feel extremely uncomfortable. Things like stepping on hornets, running through fires and listening to the Spin Doctors.

25. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-6; 21.8)

Last week: 15-10 win over Jets

Week 10 ranking: 26

Playoff odds: 0.3 percent

Florida’s NFL teams — the Bucs, Dolphins and Jaguars — have gone a combined 39 seasons without winning a playoff game.

26. NEW YORK JETS (4-6; 26.2)

Last week: 15-10 loss to Bucs

Week 10 ranking: 24

Playoff odds: 3.7 percent

Quarterback Josh McCown, who played for the Bucs in 2014, has lost seven straight games in Tampa.

27. CHICAGO BEARS (3-6; 24.6)

Last week: bye

Week 10 ranking: 27

Playoff odds: 0.1 percent

The Bears had an extra week to prepare for an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers team and still lost — at home. Fewest wins since the start of the 2015 season (coach John Fox’s first season): Bears (12), Chargers (12), 49ers (eight) and Browns (four).

28. MIAMI DOLPHINS (4-5: 28.8)

Last week: 45-21 loss to Panthers

Week 10 ranking: 29

Playoff odds: 4.3 percent

The Dolphins are a mess offensively and defensively, and three straight prime time games have only magnified their issues. No one asked to see more of the Dolphins, but the NFL keeps giving them to us anyway. Kind of like how Hollywood gave us a "Daddy’s Home" sequel.

29. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-7; 30.2)

Last week: 20-17 loss to Steelers

Week 10 ranking: 30

Playoff odds: 1.6 percent

Adam Vinatieri is by far the most recognizable name on the Colts active roster. There’s Jacoby Brissett, Frank Gore, T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle, too, but you only know them because you play fantasy football and have been looking for some bye week fill-ins.

30. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (1-9; 30.0)

Last week: 31-21 win over Giants

Week 10 ranking: 31

Playoff odds: 0.0 percent

Remember when 49ers-Giants was one of the NFL’s best rivalries? Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Lawrence Taylor and the Big Blue Wrecking Crew. That was fun.

31. NEW YORK GIANTS (1-8; 27.6)

Last week: 31-21 loss to 49ers

Week 10 ranking: 28

Playoff odds: 0.0 percent

It’s painful to watch Ben McAdoo wander the sidelines in New York. It’s like watching Bob Newby navigate the dark halls of Hawkins National Laboratory in "Stranger Things 2." You know how it’s going to end.

32. CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-9; 31.4)

Last week: bye

Week 10 ranking: 32

Playoff odds: 0.0 percent

The Browns haven’t won on a Sunday in nearly two years. Their last win was a 24-10 win over the 49ers on Dec. 13, 2015.

Playoff odds are from Football Outsiders. Contact Thomas Bassinger at [email protected] Follow @tometrics.

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