ITB Power Rankings: Big Stretch Ahead For South Fla.'s Surging Football Team
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) Kansas City Chiefs (9-2, previous ranking: #1): This week’s game against the host Bengals will provide a much better test than their last three opponents as the Bengals have been one of the NFL’s most improved teams of late.
2) Philadelphia Eagles (10-1, previous ranking: #2): Last week’s game against the visiting Packers was one of the most interesting games of the season, but they’ll face a much tougher opponent in the Titans, who have one of the best run defenses in the NFL.
3) Dallas Cowboys (8-3, previous ranking: #3): Their schedule eases up a bit over the next three games as those opponents are all well under .500.
4) Minnesota Vikings (9-2, previous ranking: #4): This will be an interesting game on Sunday as the Jets have one of the most improved defenses in the NFL, and it’s hard to score against them.
5) Buffalo Bills (8-3, previous ranking: #5): Their schedule gets much tougher over the next three games, starting with the Patriots this week.
6) Miami Dolphins (8-3, previous ranking: #6): That’s now five wins in a row, but all of those games were against teams with a record below .500. Starting this week against the host 49ers, the Dolphins will face a much tougher schedule and they’ll close the season with five out of their final six games against teams with a winning record. So, for those questioning their schedule, you’ll finally get to see just how good this team is.
7) San Francisco 49ers (7-4, previous ranking: #8): While they’ve won four games in a row, this game against the visiting Dolphins will give them a very good barometer of how good they really are, particularly on defense where they haven’t given up more than 16 points in any game over their last four.
8) Cincinnati Bengals (7-4, previous ranking: #12): After a very slow start, the Bengals have won three games in a row and five out of their last six. But the best test of the season comes to Cincinnati on Sunday with the Chiefs.
9) Baltimore Ravens (7-4, previous ranking: #7): A tough loss to the visiting Jaguars last week and as we continue to say – eventually, the Ravens are going to need some semblance of a passing game.
10) Tennessee Titans (7-4, previous ranking: #9): The Eagles, this week’s opponent, have one of the NFL’s best offenses and perhaps the best offensive line, so the outstanding Titan defense will have its work cut out.
11) Washington Commanders (7-5, previous ranking: #14): That’s now three wins in a row and wins in six of their last seven games to turn around their season. But they can’t slow down as the Seahawks are only one game back of them for the final NFC Wild Card spot.
12) New York Jets (7-4, Previous ranking: #15): QB Mike White gave their offense the spark it needed, but he’ll need to be just as good against the Vikings on the road this week if they want to have any chance to win.
13) Seattle Seahawks (6-5, previous ranking: #10): That’s two losses in a row, but they’re still very much in the hunt for the final two NFC Wild Card spots.
14) New England Patriots (6-5, previous ranking: #11): While they did lose to the host Vikings last week, the decision to come out throwing was a good one. They have the talent at WR and TE to have a much stronger passing game.
15) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6, previous ranking: #13): A tough OT loss to the host Browns last week, but the Buccaneers are still in first place in the NFC South and are a still a heavy favorite to win their division.
16) Los Angeles Chargers (6-5, previous ranking: #17): A nice road win over the Cardinals last week, but they’re still one game out of the final Wild Card spot in the AFC.
17) New York Giants (7-4, previous ranking: #16): The team has really overachieved this season as most NFL observers did not see them as a playoff contender. However, the Giants still are very much in it and currently hold the sixth spot in the NFC.
18) Cleveland Browns (4-7, previous ranking: #24): A great win over the visiting Buccaneers last week and now Deshaun Watson takes over at QB. Can they make a run for a Wild Card spot in the AFC?
19) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7, previous ranking: #28): That’s two wins in a row for a team that is more talented than you think.
20) Detroit Lions (4-7, previous ranking: #18): They’re a fun team to watch and already have more wins than they had all of last season.
21) Atlanta Falcons (5-7, previous ranking: #19): The Falcons are generally a competitive team, but they lack enough playmakers on both sides of the ball to be a playoff team.
22) Las Vegas Raiders (4-7, previous ranking: #31): That’s two wins in a row, but all four wins have come against well-below .500 teams. Still, they are showing signs of improvement of late.
23) Carolina Panthers (4-8, previous ranking: #26): A very nice performance from QB Sam Darnold during last week’s win over the visiting Broncos. If Darnold continues to play well, there’s an outside chance they could push for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC because their defense is very solid.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7, previous ranking: #27): A nice road win against the host Colts in Week 12, but the passing game remains a major work in progress.
25) Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1, previous ranking: #21): This team should be better than their record indicates, but veteran QB Matt Ryan simply isn’t the player he once was, and as a result the team simply can’t put enough offense together each week to win with any consistency.
26) Arizona Cardinals (4-8, previous ranking: #22): Last week’s loss to the visiting Chargers was a microcosm of their season—just not good enough in the end.
27) Green Bay Packers (4-8, previous ranking: #20): It’s still hard to believe how bad their run defense was during last week’s loss to the host Eagles. Once they’re eliminated from the playoffs, it will be a good opportunity to play 3rd-year QB Jordan Love, who looked good against the Eagles.
28) New Orleans Saints (4-8, previous ranking: #23): Their defense is getting healthier, but the offense continues to be way too up and down.
29) Denver Broncos (3-8, previous ranking: #25): Veteran QB Russell Wilson is on a major decline this season, but his contract essentially says they’re stuck with him for at least two more seasons.
30) Los Angeles Rams (3-8, previous ranking: #29): They were one of the healthiest teams in the NFL for years, but the Rams have taken on huge injury issues on offense this season.
31) Chicago Bears (3-9, previous ranking: #30): The lack of playmakers on defense continues to show every week.
32) Houston Texans (1-9-1, previous ranking: #32): Don’t let last week’s score fool you as they were once down 30-0.
– Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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