Only two teams hold the same spots they occupied last week as week 10 saw some major shakeups to the top ten teams in the NFL.
- New England Patriots 9-0 (1)– Yes it was not the most dominant performance from one of the two unbeaten teams, but no team can dominate every quarter all season long. The Giants came the closest to handing the Patriots their first loss, but of course the Giants failed to learn from their mistakes of earlier this season and gave the one team who doesn’t need more time, more time. As of this writing, going forward, the Patriots only face two teams with winning records. Get past them and it is an easy prediction to who will run the table this season.
- Carolina Panthers 9-0 (3)– After having two close calls to their perfect record the Panthers took care of the Titans like they should have. Cam Newton only threw five incompletions on the road. He is playing more careful on the road. The story of going to the playoffs last year with a losing record to being the last NFC team to not have lost at all is the type of story journalists foam at the mouth over. The Panthers are not playing flawless, but in the end they get the job done.
- Cincinnati Bengals 8-1 (2)– I was so sure the Bengals were going to take care of the Texans. I wrote up the power rankings Monday morning before they even played. The Bengals were sitting comfortably at number two. Then they played. And as the game went on, I had this sinking feeling that I had some editing to do. So here we are after the Bengals fell apart against the Texans and a backup quarterback. Andy Dalton never truly looked comfortable allowing the Texans defense to exploit the short passes. As odd as it sounds, the Texans are only a game out of the division lead.
- Minnesota Vikings 7-2 (7)– With five weeks of consistent, strong dominating play, the Vikings leap over three teams that dominated the top spots all week long. The Rams played them tough, but the Vikings came away with the win. The Raiders kept up with them and the Vikings powered their away from them as well. The Vikings have a clear game plan for every game and you have to give credit to head coach Mike Zimmer for getting this team back into contention. I am not sure how they would stack against teams like the Bengals and Patriots, but if they continue to roll over teams who look to be their equals, they may make a deeper playoff run then most expect.
- Arizona Cardinals 7-2 (6)– The Cardinals got overlooked much of the season because of the undefeated bids made by other teams, but they are constantly in the thick of things. From the very beginning the Cardinals took hold of the NFC West and no team has even come close to stealing it away. As long as they avoid a Packer like collapse this could easily be the number two team in the conference, possibly even in the league after it’s all said it done.
- Denver Broncos 7-2 (4)– Losing against the Colts was rough loss that they probably should have won. Losing against the Chiefs? No excuses. This is a team that many have said are winning because of their defense. Well that stellar defense gave up 29 unanswered points against a weaker team. With Peyton Manning going down for an undisclosed time, this defense will need to step up to give Brock Osweiler the backup he will need to give a falling Broncos team a fighting chance at a good playoff spot moving forward.
- Green Bay Packers 6-3 (5)– Three weeks ago this was the number two team in the league, comfortably in first place in the NFC North. Nobody expected the Vikings to continue to flourish while the Packers make a fall of epic proportions. The thought of going undefeated may very well have put too much pressure on Green Bay. This downward swing could turn disastrous if the Vikings knock them off in the biggest regular season match-up of the season for both of these teams.
- Pittsburgh Steelers 6-4 (8)– This is the hardest fighting team in the league. If Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell don’t go down, you may be able to add a couple more wins to their record. Even though Landry Jones started against the Browns, the Steelers were still probably going to win that game. With a bye week coming up, this will be the perfect time for Big Ben to get back to full strength to try to keep pace for a hotly contested wildcard spot.
- Atlanta Falcons 6-3 (10)– The Falcons are coming off a bye week and advance in the power rankings simply because the rest of the league is beating each other. After losing 3 of 4, their next game against the awful Colts should push this team back to their winning ways.
- Buffalo Bills 5-4 (N/A)– I toyed with putting the Giants here but their poor clock management made me rethink things. The Bills also blew a big lead, but unlike the Giants never let the Jets get back in front of them. Their next big task will be going into New England to try to topple the unbeaten Patriots. So I guess expect them to be omitted from next week’s list.
Knocked out of the top 10-New York Jets.