1. New England Patriots (7-1; Last Ranking: 1)
The New England Patriots spent the week on a bye before hosting Seattle in a Super Bowl rematch from two years ago.
2. Dallas Cowboys (7-1; Last Ranking: 2)
The Cowboys deserve all the praise in the world, but they have the lowest strength of schedule in the NFL by a landslide. Their .369 SOS is pitiful, and the next closest is the Patriots at .414. They start a stretch of three football games in 12 days on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
3. Oakland Raiders (7-2; Last Ranking: 4)
Not to be pessimistic again, but look at the teams Oakland has beaten by one possession: NO, TEN, BAL, SD, and TB. Derek Carr is legit and could be the most clutch NFL QB at the moment, but this team will likely finish as a wild card, as they still have to travel to both KC and Denver.
4. Denver Broncos (6-3; Last Ranking: 3)
The Broncos are a team with maybe the most talent of any roster in the NFL. They have All-Pro receivers, OLs, DLs, LBs, CBs, and safeties. However, they were simply outmatched by the Raiders on Sunday Night Football and now sit one game back.
5. Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1; Last Ranking: 5)
The Seahawks did what they usually: pull out a victory at home. Russell Wilson had his best game of the season so far, and that helped show what kind of resurgence Seattle might have in the second half. It is clear Jimmy Graham is more comfortable in year two.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2; Last Ranking: 7)
The Chiefs are always going to be underrated because of the style they play. The fact of the matter is that this team has been extremely consistent across the board for the last few seasons. Oh, and Justin Houston is coming back soon. The Chiefs are legit.
7. Atlanta Falcons (6-3; Last Ranking: 8)
The Falcons have proven over the years that they are an elite offense. The team has a lot of questions defensively, and who knows whether or not they will avoid a second half collapse. Right now, the Falcons are legit, but I am not completely sold on them.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-3; Last Ranking: 6)
The Vikings have gone from arguably best team in the NFL, to a team that is reeling and the heels of a three-game losing streak. Losing Norv Turner might be a good thing for this team; the Vikings have the worst yards/rush average in the NFL in 50 years!
9. Houston Texans (5-3; Last Ranking: 12)
The Texans get rewarded coming off the bye: they get to play the Jaguars.
10. Washington Redskins (4-3-1; Last Ranking: 13)
The Redskins were on a bye. They play the fading Vikings at home.
11. New York Giants (5-3; Last Ranking: 16)
The Giants squeaked out a victory over the Eagles as Eli Manning was able to burn Philadelphia’s secondary early. They will be hosting the Bengals on MNF this week, a big game for both teams.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4; Last Ranking: 9)
The Steelers have now lost three straight games, and sit outside of the playoff picture for the first time all season. Big Ben is now 2-6 in games returning from injury, but .685 in all other games (stats courtesy of ESPN). Moving forward, this team needs to open things up and let Big Ben dictate play from the line.
13. Green Bay Packers (4-4; Last Ranking: 10)
The Packers have been inconsistent this season to say the least. Aaron Rodgers and the coaching staff don’t seem to be on the same page, and the whole team feels out of sync. A preseason Super Bowl pick by many, the Pack is a long way from that at the moment.
14. Detroit Lions (5-4; Last Ranking: 19)
IMatthew Stafford has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season, and the Lions have now won four of their last five games. This team has a chance for a division championship for the first time since 1993.
15. Baltimore Ravens (4-4; Last Ranking: 17)
After a four-game losing streak, the Ravens hosted the Steelers and thoroughly dominated them for the first three quarters. They held arguably the best offense in the NFL to zero third down conversions in the first three quarters, and no points.
16. Buffalo Bills (4-5; Last Ranking: 14)
As good as the Bills have looked at times this season, they lost a heartbreaker again last night. They have lost four of their five games by six points or less. If Buffalo can start executing better late in games, they should be a playoff team.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4; Last Ranking: 11)
After their red-hot start, both the Eagles and their rookie quarterback have cooled off significantly. Since beating Pittsburgh in Week 3, the Eagles are 1-4, have allowed 20 points in four of those five games, and Wentz has been one of the worst QBs statistically.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1; Last Ranking: 15)
Cincy got a much needed bye before traveling the New York to play the Giants on MNF.
19. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1; Last Ranking: 18)
The Cardinals spent the week on a bye, and will host the 49ers next week.
20. Indianapolis Colts (4-5; Last Ranking: 27)
After looking dead in the water following a loss in week eight, the Colts had their strongest performance as a team since the 2014 AFC Divisional playoffs in Denver. If Andrew Luck can play at the level he did on Sunday, this team has every chance to win the division.
21. San Diego Chargers (4-5; Last Ranking: 21)
The Chargers have one of the highest scoring offenses in the NFL, but they sit at 4-5 because of their down falls in the fourth quarter. If this team is going to turn this around, they need to beat their divisional opponents and take advantage of an easier schedule in the second half.
22. Miami Dolphins (4-4; Last Ranking: 22)
The Dolphins have now won three games in a row, and are one of only five teams in the NFL to have at least four wins at home. While this team started slow, this resurgence should be credited to two people: RB Jay Ajayi and Head Coach Adam Gase.
23. Carolina Panthers (3-5; Last Ranking: 25)
The Panthers have struggled so far this season, but on Sunday they took care of business against an LA team that can be tough to beat. Next week will be a huge matchup for the Panthers, who desperately need to beat Kansas City at home.
24. New Orleans Saints (4-4; Last Ranking: 28)
The Saints have one of the best offenses in the NFL, however they are still stuck with a horrendous defense. In fact, NOLA is 2nd in the NFL in scoring offense. The problem with the Saints is their defense has the 6th worst scoring average and they struggle outside the SuperDome.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5; Last Ranking: 20)
After moving to 3-4 with an opportunity to put themselves in the playoff race, the Bucs got smacked by the Falcons on Thursday Night, trailing 33-14 entering the 4th quarter. The Buccaneers are now 0-4 at home this season.
26. Tennessee Titans (4-5; Last Ranking: 26)
As much as the Titans have improved since the last two years, they need more dynamic pieces on both sides to be able to compete every week. Mariota also needs to cut down on the turnovers as he looks to the next step towards becoming a great QB.
27. Los Angeles Rams (3-5; Last Ranking: 24)
The Rams are stuck in the mud with Case Keenum, but they don’t appear to have plans to put Jared Goff on the field any time soon. After watching the preseason, it is clear that he will need more time to get acclimated to running an NFL offense.
28. New York Jets (3-6; Last Ranking: 23)
As tough as the Jets schedule was at the beginning of the season, there is no excuse to lose to the Dolphins on a kickoff return. As good as the Jets’ defensive line is, their secondary needs a lot of work.
29. Chicago Bears (2-6; Last Ranking: 29)
The Bears spent the week on a bye before traveling to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6; Last Ranking: 30)
A trendy playoff pick at the beginning of the season, Jacksonville has been one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. They have lost to some bad teams, Blake Bortles has regressed immensely, and this defense hasn’t come together quite yet.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-7; Last Ranking: 31)
The 49ers played the Saints this week and they got torched by Drew Brees and company. Colin Kaepernick actually looked pretty good, but we will see how he fares next week against a real defense in Arizona.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-9; Last Ranking: 32)
This team is on par with some of the worst teams in NFL history. Looking at their schedule, there is a good chance that they won’t win a game this year. The rest of their games are all against teams in the top half of the rankings (minus San Diego).