The following are this week’s power rankings. In parenthesis you will find last week’s rankings. Enjoy!

The Power Ten-

  1. New England Patriots: 9-0 (1)

Despite injuries to their offensive line, Dion Lewis, and Julian Edelman, the Patriots remain at number one in the power rankings.

Bottom line is this: The Patriots find ways to win games. They were depleted on offense so much on Sunday, that Michael Williams, the team’s third tight end, who lined up on the offensive line the previous week, was lined up on the outside as the Z receiver, and they still managed to win the game.

One of the best attributes the Patriots have had throughout the Bill Belichick era has been their ability to overcome adversity. The loss of Julian Edelman is huge, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind, that this team will overcome it, and will not miss a beat on offense.

2. Arizona Cardinals: 7-2 (3)

Sunday was arguably the biggest regular season game for the Cardinals since they moved to Arizona in 1988. With their win, the Cardinals sit comfortably atop the NFC West by 2.5 games (three up in the loss column).

The Cardinals’ offense is definitively the best in the NFC. They went into Seattle, against one of the best defense in the NFL, and they put up 39 points. On every passing play, Carson Palmer has the option to attack the defense over the top. They lead the NFL in plays of 20 or more yards.

The Cardinals’ defense continues to be one of the most underrated units in the entire league. They held the Seahawks to a 12 percent third down conversion rate (1 for 8).

3. Cincinnati Bengals: 8-1 (2)

After winning their first eight games the Bengals lost on Monday night to the woeful Texans. The Bengals were awful all game long. Tight end Tyler Eifert came into the game with three drops all season; he had three drops in this game alone. The offense was off rhythm. Andy Dalton threw a season low 197 yards.

The defense, which has been a strength of the Bengals this season played very well, only allowing a total of 10 points.

Every team has that one game a year in which they lay an egg, but because this is the Bengals, people are going to overreact. This game is an outlier; I am still all in on the Bengals. Next week they travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals.

 

  1. Carolina Panthers: 9-0 (4)

The Panthers continue to roll after their 17-point victory on Sunday over the Titans. Cam Newton has been terrific all season long. He’s thrown for 15 touchdowns and rushed for six, but more importantly, Newton looks the best he has ever looked.

Newton looks comfortable in the pocket, he’s throwing his receivers open, and he controls the line of scrimmage with his ability to run. Despite being a quarterback, Newton is the team’s best goal line back.

The Panthers’ defense possesses my defensive player of the year thus far, in cornerback Josh Norman. He has four interceptions, two of which have been returned for touchdowns. But, more importantly, Norman has completely shut down opposing team’s number one receivers, holding them to less than 60 yards receiving.

 

  1. Minnesota Vikings: 7-2 (7)

In my opinion the 2015 Minnesota Vikings are extremely similar to the 2014 Seattle Seahawks in that they play outstanding defense, run the ball down your throat, and win games in multiple ways.

The Vikings make you play their type of football, in that; they control the pace of the game. They run the ball down their opponent’s throats with Adrian Peterson. He leads the NFL in rushing yards and rushes of 20 yards or more. Their quarterback Teddy Bridgewater does just enough to not lose the game. He does exactly what they ask of him; minimize turnovers.

In my opinion, the defense is the best in the entire NFL. On Sunday, they went into Oakland and held that high-powered offense to 14 points. The previous week, they held Todd Gurley to 3.7 yards per carry. This defense combined with the run first offense is bad news for all of their opponents.

At 7-2, the Vikings have won five in a row, and sit alone atop the NFC North. Next week they have a huge game against the second place Green Bay Packers.

 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-4 (9)

One thing I am certain about is the Steelers will win one of the wild cards in the AFC. If it weren’t for an abundance of injuries, the Steelers would, in my opinion, be a top three team in the entire league.

Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t even supposed to play this week, and, despite playing basically on one foot, he threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target, Antonio Brown is clearly the best wide receiver in the NFL. He can do almost everything.

The Steelers head into the bye at 6-4 and are in the driver’s seat of the 5th seed in the AFC.

 

  1. Green Bay Packers: 6-3 (5)

After a 6-0 start the Packers have lost three straight games. I’ve been saying it for a few weeks now, and it continued on Sunday; the offense is struggling and I don’t see it getting any better in the next few weeks.

The team is missing Jordy Nelson more and more every week. We severely underrated what Nelson brought to this offense. The threat of him going deep opened up the floodgates for Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, without that opposing team’s better defenders can focus on the likes of Cobb and Adams. In addition to that, I think we overrated just how good the receiving core of Green Bay was. The receivers aren’t getting separation from their defenders and are dropping easy passes.

With all that said, the Packers still sit at 6-3 with a very favorable remaining schedule. I still think the Packers are the favorite to win the NFC North, but they better figure it out, because if they don’t the Vikings will run away with it.

 

  1. Seattle Seahawks: 4-5 (8)

After a fighting back against the Cardinals, the Seahawks managed to lose a heartbreaker on Sunday. Despite this, I have much more optimism after this game than I did before for the Seahawks.

First, the team fought back after basically laying an egg in the first two and half quarters and managed to almost beat the best team in the NFC. Second, the offensive line looked much better, not allowing a sack in the 4th quarter. Third, the defense is still forcing turnovers.

At 4-5 the Seahawks have to set their sights on one of the two wild cards. Over the last three seasons, the Seahawks have one of the best records after week 10. I think the Seahawks will get it together and they will make a run at the 6th seed in the NFC.

 

  1. Denver Broncos: 7-2 (6)

According to ESPN, Brock Osweiler will get the start on Sunday for the Broncos. Considering how poor Peyton Manning has played this season, I don’t see how this move could be a downgrade.

I’ve said all season and I will continue to say it, until this team get’s consistent play out of their offense, I can’t consider them a legit threat to win the Super Bowl. After their win over Green Bay, I thought they had turned the corner, but I was wrong.

The running game has been nonexistent all season long. If the insurgence of Brock Osweiler into the starting lineup can light a spark in this Broncos’ offense than this team will immediately leap to a legit Super Bowl contender, but until I see a few weeks of consistent play I cannot confidently say that.

In my opinion, Peyton Manning has started his last career game.

 

  1. Buffalo Bills: 5-4 (14)

The Bills are 5-2 with Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback, 0-2 in games he hasn’t played. Bottom line, with Taylor the Bills are a much different team.

The Bills are a prime candidate for one of the two wild card spots in the AFC, and as of right now, I think they, along with the Steelers are the favorite to grab one of them.

The team is getting healthy. LeSean McCoy looks explosive as ever, Sammy Watkins is finally playing like the elite receiver they thought they were getting when they traded up to draft him, and the defense is finally bringing pressures to the quarterback.

 

  1. New York Giants: 4-5 (12)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs: 4-5 (15)
  3. Oakland Raiders: 4-5 (11)
  4. New York Jets: 5-4 (13)
  5. Chicago Bears: 4-5 (21)
  6. St. Louis Rams: 4-5 (10)
  7. Atlanta Falcons: 6-3 (16)
  8. Miami Dolphins: 4-5 (19)
  9. Philadelphia Eagles: 4-5 (17)
  10. Indianapolis Colts: 4-5 (18)
  11. Washington Redskins: 4-5 (25)
  12. New Orleans Saints (20)
  13. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-6 (32)
  14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-5 (29)
  15. San Diego Chargers: 2-7 (23)
  16. Dallas Cowboys: 2-7 (24)
  17. Baltimore Ravens: 2-7 (22)
  18. Detroit Lions: 2-7 (30)
  19. Houston Texans: 4-5 (31)
  20. Tennessee Titans: 2-7 (27)
  21. San Francisco 49ers: 3-6 (28)
  22. Cleveland Browns: 2-7 (26)

Sean Mason

Spark Sports NFL Analyst

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