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: 10-0 (1)

The Patriots remain at number one in my power rankings despite an underwhelming 20-13 victory over the Bills.

It was ugly, but a wins a win. The Patriots were held to a season low 20 points last night, but I still believe this team is hands down the best in the NFL. Yes, they are decimated with injuries, but as long as Tom Brady is healthy, you can pencil this team in for at least 12 wins every season. And this season, I still believe this team will finish 16-0.

 

  1. Arizona Cardinals: 8-2 (2)

The Cardinals came through in another prime time game on Sunday, winning 34-31 over the Cincinnati Bengals. This team continues to come through in big games with different players stepping up each time.

They were the first team all season to score more than 24 points against the Bengals. No matter who the opponent is the offense scores at will. Quarterback Carson Palmer throws one of the prettiest deep balls in the entire league and he isn’t afraid to take risks. Palmer embodies the characteristics that define this team. They aren’t afraid to take risks and when they do make a mistake, they are not fazed by it. They bounce right back and continue to take risks.

 

  1. Carolina Panthers: 10-0 (3)

Dating back to last season the Panthers have won 14 straight regular season games. They are clicking on all cylinders right now and it all starts with Cam Newton.

If it weren’t for Tom Brady, Newton would be the MVP of the season thus far. What Newton is doing with the weapons around him is something we have seen only a few times. He threads the needle with his throws, fitting them into small, tight windows. He is the team’s most dangerous goal line runner, and he controls the line scrimmage like Tom Brady and Carson Palmer. He is playing at such an elite level that the many flaws the Panthers possess are hidden.

At 10-0, the Panthers sit comfortably atop of the NFC South. With an easy, and I mean easy, remaining schedule, the Panthers could very well end up finishing the regular season 16-0.

 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: 8-2 (4)

I said it last week, I don’t care that the Bengals put up a stinker against the Texans. They are a real threat to win the AFC, and, like I said they would, they proved it on Sunday night. They may have lost, but just being in a competitive game with the Cardinals in Arizona was all I needed to see.

Andy Dalton is playing better than he ever has. The weapons around him are all healthy, something we couldn’t say last year. The running backs finally came through Sunday night, both Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill played well, and the defense is still one of the best in the entire league.

Of all the AFC teams, the Bengals are the biggest threat to the Patriots. The Bengals currently have a two game lead over the Steelers. Despite their tough remaining schedule the Bengals will hold onto their first place seat in the AFC North.

 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-4 (6)

Despite being on a bye week the Steelers move up one spot in my Power Rankings.

At 6-4 they sit comfortably in the first wild card position in the AFC. Over the last month, the Steelers offense has looked like the best unit in the entire league. They are going to be without Le’Veon Bell the rest of the season, but with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, and Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant at wide receiver, the Steelers are right there with the Bengals ad Patriots as one of the most dangerous AFC teams.

 

  1. Green Bay Packers: 7-3 (7)

After three consecutive losses the Packers bounced back in a huge way on Sunday with a 30-13 victory over the Vikings. That win pushed the Packers into first place in the NFC North.

Eddie Lacy finally found his game on Sunday, finishing with exactly 100 yards. If Lacy can show any type of consistency than this Packers team will be extremely dangerous.

In addition to Lacy having a bounce back game, so did James Jones, who after going an entire month and a half with only 12 catches, caught a whopping six passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a beautiful sideline catch that put the Packers ahead. What stood out to me on Sunday was the fact that Jones finally looked like he got separation between him and his defender. All of the Packers receivers did a much better job at doing this.

At 7-3 Packers’ fans can let out a sigh of relief as the division looks to be in hand as the only real challenge to them is the Vikings, who have one of the toughest remaining schedules including a week 17 matchup in Lambough.

 

  1. Seattle Seahawks: 5-5 (8)

According to ESPN Marshawn Lynch is likely to miss next week and could very well miss the rest of the regular season. One year ago this would have been a huge problem, but for this year’s team, it could be a blessing in disguise.

As much as I have loved watching Marshawn Lynch play over the last few seasons, he has been a shell of himself this season. He hasn’t even been the best back on his team. Thomas Rawls, who exploded onto the scene on Sunday, has looked terrific this season. When he has gotten the touches, Rawls has produced. He’s averaging six yards per carry and has looked much more explosives and dynamic than Lynch.

If Lynch is out for the rest of the season, the offense will be fine. Rawls will take the bulk of the carries and have production similar to what we have seen from Lynch over the years. If I were an NFC team I would not want to see the Seahawks come January.

 

  1. Minnesota Vikings: 7-3 (7)

After a promising 7-2 start the Vikings found themselves in a prove it to me game on Sunday, and they disappointed.

They had the opportunity to take control of the division and they came out flat. Their offensive line was atrocious all game long. It seemed like every time Teddy Bridgewater dropped back to pass a Packers’ defensive lineman was in his face. In addition to that, Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher was held to a mere 45 yards.

The Vikings have a tough remaining schedule and it wouldn’t shock me if they end up 10-6 or 9-7.

 

 

  1. Denver Broncos: 8-2 (9)

On Monday head coach Gary Kubiak announced Brock Osweiler will start next Sunday against the undefeated New England Patriots. This was a no brainer in my opinion. The offense looked better with Oswiler under center. The Bears defense actually had to respect the threat of the deep ball, which freed up space for the running game.

With Osweiler at quarterback the Broncos potentially could be a Super Bowl contender. It’s too early to say definitively, but if Osweiler can play on par with the likes of Alex Smith, than the Broncos are definitely a threat to win the Super Bowl, largely in part to their dominant defense.

 

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-5 (10)

Don’t look now, but here comes the Kansas City Chiefs.

After a 1-4 start, they have won four of their last five, and are dominating their opponents. Over the last three weeks, they have forced seven interceptions and outscored their opponents by 81 points. Even more surprising is the fact that they are doing this without Jamaal Charles.

At 5-5 and with an easy remaining schedule, the Chiefs are almost a lock to win the final AFC wild card in my opinion.

 

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

 

Sean Mason

Spark Sports NFL Analyst

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