Bills, Birds Hold Steady
ITB Power Rankings: Philly, Buffalo Score Big Wins Over Top 5 Teams
In our weekly NFL team rankings, we’ll grade them by:
– Current Injury Issues
We don’t subscribe to the theory that a team with a lesser record can’t be ranked higher than a team with a better record. It’s about how they look as of now based on the criteria listed above:
1) Philadelphia Eagles (6-0, previous ranking: #1): Their fast starts are a big reason why they remain undefeated and they also have been able to put teams away when they’ve needed to late in games. And keep in mind they have perhaps the NFL’s most favorable schedule for the rest of the way.
2) Buffalo Bills (5-1, previous ranking: #2): It’s not often that they’ll score well below their average, but they did just that against the host Chiefs last week and still won. What’s also impressive is they continue to win despite some injury issues in their secondary.
3) Kansas City Chiefs (4-2, previous ranking: #3): Last week’s game could have gone either way, but there shouldn’t be anything to read into after they lost to the visiting Bills. The Chiefs are still clearly one of the NFL’s best teams.
4) Dallas Cowboys (4-2, previous ranking: #4): Despite playing their worst game of the season last week, they’re still one of the NFL’s best teams and the Cowboys have arguably the best defense. And now, they should get back their starting quarterback against the visiting Lions on Sunday.
5) Minnesota Vikings (5-1, previous ranking: #9): Who saw them with such a good record heading into their bye week? I know some people don’t think they’re as good as their record indicates, but they clearly are in good hands with new head coach Kevin O’Connell.
6) New York Giants (5-1, previous ranking: #10): If the Giants aren’t the NFL’s biggest surprise, they’re certainly one of them. They’re undermanned at more than one position (G, WR, DB), but have tremendous mental toughness and seem to overcome any obstacle in their way in each game.
7) Los Angeles Chargers (4-2, previous ranking: #11): What a strange game against the Broncos, but they found a way to win when their passing game wasn’t working.
8) New York Jets (4-2, previous ranking: #14): Their over/under win total from most sportsbooks was 5.5 because the Jets had the NFL’s toughest schedule coming into the season. What’s so impressive is this young team isn’t fazed by playing in tough environments (see wins at PIT, GB).
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3, previous ranking: #6): They’re way down in scoring this season, and the injuries at the skill positions (WR, TE) are starting to take a huge toll.
10) Baltimore Ravens (3-3, previous ranking: #10): They’ve yet to win two games in a row and can’t seem to get both sides of the ball to play well in the same game.
11) Green Bay Packers (3-3, previous ranking: #5): Their offense and the lack of a consistent passing game is troublesome and it doesn’t seem like there’s any relief in sight.
12) Tennessee Titans (3-2, previous ranking: #12): They did a great job of turning around their season after a tough start, but this team will have to seriously look at the lack of offensive talent next year if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs.
13) New England Patriots (3-3, previous ranking: #18): Another impressive game for rookie QB Bailey Zappe during last week’s win over the host Browns, who continue to play better than expected. At the very least, they have found the backup for Mac Jones for the next few seasons.
14) San Francisco 49ers (3-3, previous ranking: #6): The injuries on both sides of the ball are really becoming problematic and are hard to overcome. However, because no one is running away with the division, the 49ers are still capable of turning around their season.
15) Cincinnati Bengals (3-3, previous ranking: #15): They found a way to win last week, but I’m still not sold on them. However, the AFC North is so weak this season that the Bengals could still win it.
16) Indianapolis Colts (3-2-1, previous ranking: #19): Give them credit for turning their season around after a tough start and it was good to see them aggressive with the passing game during last week’s win over the visiting Jaguars.
17) Miami Dolphins (3-3, previous ranking: #13): Getting starting QB Tua Tagovailoa back this week certainly will help, but their offensive line issues aren’t going away this season. The front office has to seriously rebuild it next year.
18) Atlanta Falcons (3-3, previous ranking: #23): A great win last week and they’re slightly ahead of schedule in head coach Arthur Smith’s second season.
19) Los Angeles Rams (3-3, previous ranking: #21): The injuries on their offensive line are quite worrisome and this team remains a shell of last year’s Super Bowl winner.
20) Seattle Seahawks (3-3, previous ranking: #23): While they likely won’t be a playoff team this season, it’s good to see the rookies and younger players start to emerge as factors on both sides of the ball.
21) Cleveland Browns (2-4, previous ranking: #16): The reality is that veteran QB Jacoby Brissett is starting to show why teams seem him as just a backup and not a starter. And what happened to their defense last week against the Patriots?
22) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4, previous ranking: #17): Their young roster certainly has a lot of talent, but they have yet to figure out how to handle success.
23) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4, previous ranking: #28): A great win against the Buccaneers last week, especially when you consider how undermanned they were in the secondary.
24) New Orleans Saints (2-4, previous ranking: #20): They’re playing competitive football most weeks, but can’t seem to get both sides of the ball to play well at the same time.
25) Denver Broncos (2-4, previous ranking: #25): Give the Broncos credit for pushing the Chargers to the limit, but their inability to consistently score each week will be the reason why they don’t make the playoffs.
26) Arizona Cardinals (2-4, previous ranking: #22): The addition of veteran WR Robbie Anderson should help as well as getting back DeAndre Hopkins from his 6-game suspension, but injuries in the backfield and on their offensive line are a concern.
27) Washington Commanders (2-4, previous ranking: #30): Taylor Heinicke to the rescue, again.
28) Las Vegas Raiders (1-4, previous ranking: #27): The back end of the defense will be the reason why they won’t be a playoff team this season.
29) Chicago Bears (2-4, previous ranking: #27): Until 2nd-year QB Justin Fields starts to play consistently good football, this team has very little chance to win from week to week. The talent is there with him, but everything else is in question.
30) Carolina Panthers (1-5, previous ranking: #30): This team shows that when you’re weak at quarterback, it’s hard to win even when the rest of your roster is relatively solid.
31) Detroit Lions (1-4, previous ranking: #31): They come out of their bye with the NFL’s worst defense, but at least they’re fun to watch on the other side of the ball.
32) Houston Texans (1-3-1, previous ranking: #32): Their rebuild will take at least two more years.
– Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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