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: 8-0 (1)

The Patriots continue to roll after winning 27-10 on Sunday over the Redskins. Brandon Lafell got back on track, finishing with five catches and 102 yards. I would say this was the worst the Patriots have looked all season on offense and, despite this, they still scored 27 points easily. The team has scored in an NFL record 31 straight quarters.

The one low spot for the Patriots is the loss of Dion Lewis, who is out of the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Despite this awful news, I still believe the Patriots will finish 16-0.

 

 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: 8-0 (2)

The “Andy Dalton Dud Game” still hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t think it will any time soon. This Bengals team is much different than the Bengals teams of the previous four seasons. Dalton is playing at an all-time high level, the defense looks like one of the best in the league, and they are one of the deepest teams in the league.

At 8-0 the Bengals have some breathing room in the AFC North. They sit four games up in the loss column on the second place Steelers.

 

  1. Arizona Cardinals: 6-2 (3)

The Cardinals lead the NFL in point differential this season. Carson Palmer has lost two games as a starting quarterback dating back to the 2013 regular season. With a two game lead in the NFC West, this weeks Sunday Night Matchup against the Seahawks is the team’s biggest test to date.

 

 

  1. Carolina Panthers: 8-0 (6)

After starting the season 5-0, the Panthers have proven to us they are the real deal. Their last three wins have come against three teams with Super Bowl aspirations. On Sunday, they looked terrific; beating the Packers 37-29. The wide receiving core finally came alive. Rookie Devin Funchess caught three passes for 71 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown.

For the first time all season, the Panthers’ wide receivers resembled an actual NFL receiving core. They routinely created space between themselves and Packers’ defenders. Newton had a season high in completions of 30 or more yards.

 

  1. Green Bay Packers: 6-2 (4)

Two straight losses for the Packers and suddenly they don’t look quite like the unstoppable force we thought they were. Over the last month they’re averaging just 21.4 points per game. They look lost on offense.

But, even with all that said, they still have the most talented quarterback in the NFL with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. This team looks lost right now, but I know this, come January, the Packers will be just fine. They have the most “home grown” players on their roster. They are dealing with a boatload of injuries right now. I believe their running game will get back on track, whether that is with Eddie Lacy or James Starks. The NFC North is still their division to lose.

 

  1. Denver Broncos: 7-1 (5)

The Broncos’ offense looked like what we saw through their first six games rather than what we saw last week verse the Packers. Peyton Manning struggled to throw the ball on throws longer than 15 yards; the running game was almost non-existent with Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson. For the first time all season, the defense finally looked venerable, as they allowed Andrew Luck to carve them up for about three and ½ quarters.

With all that said, I still believe this Broncos’ team is a legit threat to win the Super Bowl. Yes, the defense played poor on Sunday, but I believe they are still one of the most dominant defenses that we have seen in the last decade. They lead the NFL in almost every defensive statistical category.

 

  1. Minnesota Vikings: 6-2 (7)

Of all the teams in the Power Ten, the Vikings are the most difficult to read. Yes, they are 6-2, but they seem to play down to their competition. In five of their six wins the game was decided by fewer than 11 points. But, with that said, the Vikings still produce the only thing that matters; WINS.

The most underrated aspect of this Vikings’ team is their defense. They held Todd Gurley to a mere 3.7 yards per carry, thanks in part to Linval Jospeh; who I think is having one of the best seasons a defensive tackle could possibly have.

 

  1. Seattle Seahawks: 4-4 (8)

Russell Wilson has been sacked a league high 31 times this season, but are coming off of their first game all season in which Wilson wasn’t sacked. For the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl, their offensive line will have to protect Russell Wilson much better than they have to this point.

Next week, the team has a huge game against the division leading Arizona Cardinals.

 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-4 (10)

I don’t know if there is another quarterback-wide receiver tandem in the league that I would take over Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Unfortunately we will have to wait at least three weeks to see the two reunited, as Big Ben will miss next week’s game with a mid-foot sprain.

When healthy, the Steelers are arguably the best offense in the entire NFL, but that’s the thing, the team hasn’t been healthy all season. It seems the second they get healthy; someone else goes down with an injury. Luckily for them, if there was ever a two week span in which you would want your quarterback were to get hurt it would be these next two weeks. The Steelers have a game against the Browns and have their bye week the following week.

 

  1. St. Louis Rams: 4-4 (8)

Just when I thought the Rams finally turned the corner, they laid an offensive egg on Sunday against the Vikings. After a three week stretch in which Todd Gurley looked almost unstoppable, he looked human on Sunday; averaging a mere 3.7 yards per carry.

 

 

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

 

Sean Mason

Spark Sports NFL Analyst

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