We're approaching the point in the season where the playoff picture starts to form, and soon we will know what teams are mathematically eliminated from contention as well as the teams vying for a first round bye.
There are plenty of teams in the middle right now whose season is teetering on the edge of success and failure. The next three game stretch will determine the destinies of many organizations. The Saints provided an exclamatory whipping on Tom Brady's Bucs on Sunday night, and the heroics of Patrick Mahomes got his team a win in a close game against the Panthers in Week 9.
Let's take a look at the Week 10 power rankings based on what we've seen so far this season.
32. New York Jets (0-9, Last Week 32 +/- 0) - The Jets nearly got their first win against New England this past week behind a throwback performance from veteran quarterback Joe Flacco. They blew a 10 point lead as the Pats won on a field goal to close out the game.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7, Last Week 31, +/- 0) - A notable debut performance for rookie QB Jake Luton in a loss and James Robinson continues his impressive season going for 99 yards and a TD.
30. Washington Football Team (2-6, Last Week 28, -2) - Alex Smith started for the Football Team and started to find rapport with Terry McLaurin and Cam Sims, however Antonio Gibson wasn't able to get much going on the ground and they lost to the Giants 23-20 in Week 9.
Alex Smith with his 1st TD pass since Nov. 11, 2018 🙌🏻 https://t.co/mAsGBIkokN— NFL Stats (@NFL Stats)1604867579.0
29. New York Giants (2-7, Last Week 30, +1) - As just mentioned above, the Giants won for the second time this year in Week 9. Their outlook is still bleak however without their star running back Saquon Barkley in the backfield.
28. Dallas Cowboys (2-7, Last Week 29, +1) - The Cowboys get bumped up a spot after holding their own against the Steelers. Dallas' defense held Pittsburgh to just nine points through three quarters of play before a 15 point fourth quarter sealed the game for the league's only remaining undefeated team.
27. Chicago Bears (5-4, Last Week 25, -2) - Now losers of three straight, Chicago takes on Minnesota on Monday Night Football and has the task of stopping the league's best running back in Dalvin Cook. After that it's a date with Aaron Rodgers and the division leading Packers.
26. Detroit Lions (3-5, Last Week 22, -4) - The Lions have now dropped two straight and it appeared that Matt Stafford got a little banged up in Week 9. Detroit's offense isn't good enough to overcome the deficits their defense puts them in.
25. Denver Broncos (3-5, Last Week 21, -4) - Despite trailing by three touchdowns going into the fourth quarter, Denver almost completed a spectacular comeback against Atlanta in Week 9. The performances of Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler are noteworthy for the young offense, but Denver needs to find ways to get Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon more involved regardless of the game script.
24. New England Patriots (3-5, Last Week 27, +3) - New England escaped with a win against the Jets. They only move up here because of other teams losing. Until they can get another good win against a team not named the Jets this seems like a good spot for them.
Cam Newton in 2 games since being benched vs 49ers: 🔹 87.7 Passing Grade (2nd among QBs) https://t.co/HHiVEG1Cwc— PFF NE Patriots (@PFF NE Patriots)1605039595.0
23. Los Angeles Chargers (2-6, Last Week 23, +/-0) - Even though they took their second consecutive loss last week, the Chargers have to feel excited about how well their rookie QB continues to play. Justin Herbert fell just short in a comeback attempt, but still threw for 326 yards and two TDs against a good Raiders team.
22. Houston Texans (2-6, Last Week 26, +4) - The Texans finally got over the hump and picked up their second win of the season last week against the Jaguars. Deshaun Watson is still one of the most talented players in the league Will Fuller has developed into one of the league's best deep threats.
21. Carolina Panthers (3-6, Last Week 24, +3) - Although the playoffs are likely out of reach and Christian McCaffrey sustained another injury in his return, the Panthers have been a gritty team that has looked competitive every week.
20. San Francisco 49ers (4-5, Last Week 12, -8) - The biggest drop this week in the rankings comes from San Francisco. The injuries haven't ceased and at this point one would think that in a competitive NFC West, the 49ers have little chance of getting to the playoffs this year let alone making another deep run.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1, Last Week 19, +/- 0) - Coming off their bye, the rookie Joe Burrow will lead his team against the undefeated Steelers. This is my upset of the week candidate.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1, Last Week 16, - 2) - The Eagles also had a Week 9 bye week, but they are the hottest team in the NFC East riding a two game win streak. They look to be the favorite to win the division and are the only team trending in the right direction in the east.
17. Los Angeles Rams (5-3, Last Week 13, -4) - Four spots down from last week coming off a bye week seems excessive, but the Rams take on the Seahawks and Bucs over the next two games. Both will be looking to make up for bad losses endured in Week 9.
16. Atlanta Falcons (3-6, Last Week 18, +2) - The Falcons have won two in a row and have begun to look like the team we expected them to be at the onset of the season. It may be too late as they still have the Bucs and Saints ahead of them in the division, but they will still want to finish strong to bring momentum into next season.
Y'all want Julio to score more touchdowns. Here's what he has to say about that. 😂 https://t.co/a0wUJ71tiQ— Atlanta Falcons (@Atlanta Falcons)1604622540.0
15. Indianapolis Colts (5-3, Last Week 11, -4) - The Ravens stifled a good Indy offense as Philip Rivers and the running game never got anything going and failed to score a point in the second half. The Colts are good enough to win this division, but need to avoid offensive production like this in the coming weeks.
14. Cleveland Browns (5-3, Last Week 15, +1) - Cleveland is the last team on the list coming off their bye week. It was a much needed one after a terrible loss to the Raiders. The good news for them is that running back, Nick Chubb is expected back and should provide a lift to a stalling offense.
13. Minnesota Vikings (3-5, Last Week 17, +4) - When you have Dalvin Cook on your team you're bound to climb the rankings at some point in the season and that time is now. Winners of two straight, and with the Bears, Cowboys, Panthers, and Jaguars next up, the Vikings would be right back in contention if they came out of that stretch 7-5.
DALVIN COOK 70-YARD TD 🚨 He’s special. (via @NFL) https://t.co/4NcgDJhsFQ— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report)1604867658.0
12. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3, Last Week 20, +8) - Jon Gruden's Raiders have been a rollercoaster of a ride to follow this year. The offense seems ready to compete with anyone, if the defense can improve Vegas may have a contender.
11. Miami Dolphins (5-3, Last Week 14, +3) - If you need another example of how 2020 has been an episode from the Twilight Zone, the Dolphins are on the precipice of cracking our top 10 and there's little room for argument against it. Their only losses have come at the hands of the Patriots in the season opener along with the Bills and Seahawks. Their mid-season quarterback change amid a two game win streak seemed odd, but it resulted in impressive victories over the Rams and Cardinals. Brian Flores is obviously a good coach and has done amazing things with this young team. The AFC should be officially on notice.
.@Tua said SEE YA 📺 @NFLonCBS https://t.co/8oIoVSJse9— Miami Dolphins (@Miami Dolphins)1604879827.0
10. Arizona Cardinals (5-3, Last Week 9, -1) - Kyler Murray is developing into one of the best weapons in the NFL and the offense is near unstoppable. The loss to Miami in Week 9 hurt though as the Cardinals will take on the Bills this week. They are going to want to avoid dropping two in a row in one of the most competitive divisions in football.
9. Tennessee Titans (6-2, Last Week 7, -2) - The Titans beat the Bears in Week 9 but have a more stout opponent on deck this week in the form of the Colts. This should be a better indicator of who the Titans really are after a 5-0 start.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3, Last Week 4, -4) - The debut of Antonio Brown and the return of Chris Godwin left many expecting a shootout in the matchup between Tampa Bay and the Saints in Week 9. Tampa never got the memo apparently, but the Saints sure did. Drew Brees administered a 38-3 blow out on Sunday night, and the Bucs need to figure it out with the Falcons starting to find their stride.
Antonio Brown was asked if there was strong interest from other teams and why did he choose to play with the… https://t.co/nIAHqZuhsv— Dov Kleiman (@Dov Kleiman)1604518161.0
7. Baltimore Ravens (6-2, Last Week 10, +3) - The Ravens saw another lackluster performance from reigning MVP Lamar Jackson in a win against the Colts. While it may be troublesome to Ravens fans and especially to Lamar fantasy owners, the Ravens continue to win games. As long as they're able to keep winning it doesn't much matter how they accomplish it.
6. Seattle Seahawks (6-2, Last Week 3, -3) - The Buffalo defense showed that Russell Wilson is human for a whole half of football. Then Russ took off the suit and put on the cape and nearly brought his team back from a double digit deficit. If Seattle can't fix their problems on defense it will be a wasted year of phenomenal football from their QB.
5. New Orleans Saints (6-2, Last Week 8, +3) - The aforementioned beating that the Saints handed the Bucs is part of the reason for New Orleans' climb up the rankings this week. The other is that a healthy Michael Thomas back will only make them better.
Sean Payton leading the locker room dance party 😂 New Orleans with a 38-3 statement win tonight #Saints https://t.co/vj1pqKIm2t— Sideline Sports (@Sideline Sports)1604896284.0
4. Buffalo Bills (7-2, Last Week 6, +2) - A statement win from Buffalo against the Seahawks will send them into a tough game against the Cardinals with a boost of confidence. Not only a signature win for the team, but for their young gunslinger Josh Allen as well. Allen should be seriously considered for MVP if he continues this level of play.
3. Green Bay Packers (6-2, Last Week 5, +2) - Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are so good together that the NFL needs to start considering making it illegal for them to be on the same team. It's great to see A-A-ron letting it fly again and a fully healthy Aaron Jones and early season hero, Allen Lazard, should make this offense even better down the stretch.
Highest-graded QBs in the 2nd half: 1. Aaron Rodgers - 93.9 2. Cam Newton - 90.4 3. Tom Brady - 86.2 4. Russell Wil… https://t.co/i4Uftc6f16— PFF (@PFF)1605105062.0
2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1, Last Week 2, +/- 0) - The Panthers gave the defending champs a run for their money on Sunday, but Patrick Mahomes stepped up to put the Chiefs over the top. Throwing for four touchdowns on 372 yards, Mahomes did Mahomes things to fend off a scrappy Carolina squad.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0, Last Week 1, +/- 0) - Although they looked shaky against the Cowboys, the Steelers came away with the W and when you're the only remaining undefeated team in the league you get the top spot.
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it.
Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
Taysom Hill, Andy Dalton, and P.J. Walker all lead their teams to Week 11 victories filling in for injured starting QBs. Cleveland moved ahead of the Ravens in the AFC North with their win over the Eagles while Baltimore fell to the Titans. The Steelers continued to roll and now sit at 10-0 atop the NFL. The Colts outlasted the Packers in an overtime thriller as Indianapolis is now positioning themselves as a team nobody wants to see come playoff time as they boast the best defense in the NFL.
Joe Burrow was injured in the Bengals' game against Washington and he miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. This should make Justin Herbert the odds on favorite to win Rookie of the Year if you're interested in a futures bet.
At this point, I may never bet on the NFC West again.
Week 10 Vibe Check (2-2)
At this point, I may never bet on the NFC West again. After losing to the Rams last week, Seattle turned around and beat the Cardinals on Thursday night. Every matchup in that division is a heavyweight bout and it's hard to justify betting on one when they can all throw a haymaker at any time. Meanwhile, the Bengals weren't ready for a D like the Steelers and the QB of the future looked stuck in the present reality for the time being.
As for our wins, in a shocking turn of events, betting against the Chargers WORKED! Or, perhaps, I should say betting on the Dolphins worked. Brian Flores looks more and more like he was the true key to the Patriots defensive success in recent years. He took on two NFC teams back to back and cruised against the poor, befuddled Chargers. Tua coming into his own has certainly helped, as well.
Brandon Aiyuk tallied a whopping seven catches down in New Orleans, even as the 49ers completely sputtered and blew a chance to upset a Drew Brees-less Saints. This continues a month long streak of calling player props, which is almost certain to end this week after pointing out its existence. *Fingers crossed* *No jinx* *Reverse jinx*
The draft saw a few trades that sent some familiar faces to new places and the free agency period is now open.
In less than a week, we've seen the defending champion Lakers acquire dynamic guard Dennis Schröder from OKC. Chris Paul is now in Phoenix with Devin Booker and the Suns. Jrue Holiday and, well, just Jrue Holiday, is joining Giannis in Milwaukee, and that's just a few of the big moves around the NBA so far.
But with all that excitement comes some bad news as well. Warriors star Klay Thompson tore his Achilles and will miss the entire 2020-21 season. This after the sharpshooting guard missed the previous season with a torn ACL. It's a tough blow for the Dubs as they sought to contend for a title this season, but without Thompson, the odds are against them. General manager Bob Myers wasted no time in bolstering the roster, however:
The Golden State Warriors are finalizing a trade to acquire Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kelly Oubre, Jr., for a 2… https://t.co/5VDqSmtyhH— Adrian Wojnarowski (@Adrian Wojnarowski)1605837968.0
Kelly Oubre, within a matter of days, went from Phoenix, to Oklahoma City before finally landing in the Bay Area. Oubre will be joined by No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman.