NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

Joe Burrow and the Bengals have won four in a row as the defending AFC champions are rounding into form at the right time.

The regular season in college football just wrapped up and with it comes a host of NFL franchises starting to eye talent for next season a little closer while a handful of others know the calendar flipping to December means the stretch run for the postseason is upon us.

With all that in mind and factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the coaching staff, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32 heading into Week 14 of the 2022 season.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

1. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 2

At this point, it continues to feel like Philly has a one-game season until the playoffs: three weeks from now when they head to Dallas.

2. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 4

Heck of a Sunday at home for Bills Mafia as they got some extra rest, saw their team move into the top seed again and watched Miami take a loss. Toss in that Thursday thumping of New England and productive is putting it mildly for Buffalo's Week 13.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 1

Those third-quarter drives proved what the Chiefs can do when the switch is flipped to on and everybody's focused but the problem for this group is that it's rarely a four-quarter effort. As a result, the No. 1 seed and that critical bye slipped out of their grasp at the moment.

4. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 5

There are moments when Dallas looks like they are coached by Mike McCarthy and playing with their food. And then there are moments when the 'Boys look like they're the best team in the NFL and seem absolutely terrifying.

5. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 6

Nothing looks great about the Vikings but there's something to be said in doing the little things like stops in the red zone and finishing in the second half.

6. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 8

Say what you want, but the Bengals have the Chiefs' number and that's a powerful thing in the AFC. The offensive line is playing much better and there are few QBs you trust more to rise to the occasion than Joe Burrow at the moment. Everybody was impressed at their offseason after coming up just short in the Super Bowl and now they've finally started to play to that level.

7. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 7

The Jimmy G. era may fully be over in the Bay and it appears to be Broctober the rest of the way unless the front office has something up its sleeve. Despite the presence of Mr. Irrelevant at quarterback now, the season is far from over given the way this team plays defense and gets the ball to playmakers in space.

8. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 3

Tua and company finally took one on the chin as their head coach lost to his mentor by the Bay. Even if there were some rough patches against the 49ers though, there were enough bright spots and big plays to think that maybe it's not quite time to panic just yet.

9. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 12

Geno Smith was good but the defense needs to look itself in the mirror after allowing the Rams to move the ball like that on Sunday. Still, the Seahawks saw their division hopes get a boost over the weekend and their first-rounder from Denver took another step toward being in the top five. Talk about a win-win.

10. Washington Commanders
Last week: 9

The momentum this group has built up recently wasn't fully stopped against the Giants but that tie did seem to leave more than a few members of the team puzzled when the clock hit zeroes.

11. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 10

Tyler Huntley can play much better than what he showed against Denver but it's not a great sign that Lamar Jackson is listed as day-to-day and the Ravens see Cincinnati quickly nipping at the heels in the division race.

12. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 11

It's one thing to trade a wideout like A.J. Brown to try and begin a youth movement/reboot. It's another thing for that same wideout to come back and make you look absolutely awful and send the team into a bit of a crossroads prior to the stretch run.

13. New York Giants
Last week: 13

Technically, the losing streak is over. Yet it really doesn't feel like it was after notching the tie against Washington.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 17

Was there any doubt that the GOAT would come through in the clutch? The Bucs aren't a great team and have so much to work on from coaching to blocking to tackling… but then there's that Tom Brady fella that always seems to make magic happen.

15. New England Patriots
Last week: 14

The Pats have scored more than 28 points just twice all year and Bill Belichick saying it's too hard to make major changes to his offensive staff seems like a bigger sign that things are not great in New England right now on that side of the ball.

16. New York Jets
Last week: 15

There is no world in which Mike White should be attempting 57 passes in a game. The Jets were on balance the better team against the Vikings but those turnovers and the red-zone performance cost them what could have been a huge win.

17. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 25

Backs against the wall, the Raiders have responded to notch three straight victories and will be favored to make it a fourth next week. Given the closing schedule, it's not a huge stretch to think they finish second in the division anymore.

18. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 16

Brandon Staley was supposed to help fix the defense but not covering Davante Adams a number of times doesn't seem like the best way to fix things. If it weren't for Justin Herbert's heroics, this just might be a team looking to get a top-five pick.

19. Detroit Lions
Last week: 20

You are what your record says you are, as the famous phrase goes. Yet it's hard not to think that this group is a bit better than their 5-7 mark suggests after four wins in their last five. The way the offense is clicking right now, you even wonder if it delays any decision about a quarterback until 2024.

20. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 22

No matter how iffy Aaron Rodgers seems to be playing at any moment in time, his continued ownership over the Bears franchise remains remarkable. Even more so given Sunday's win helped move the Pack past their division rivals for most regular-season wins in NFL history.

21. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 26

Deshaun Watson is back in the lineup and looked like a QB who hasn't played in two years. Not that it mattered against the lowly Texans.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 27

Slowly but surely, the offense has opened up a bit for Kenny Pickett and the wins have followed. Mike Tomlin has won a Super Bowl but given what's on the roster right now, the past two seasons might be his best coaching job to simply keep the Steelers afloat.

23. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 18

At this point, is it finally time to say thanks for the service to Marcus Mariota and make the switch to rookie Desmond Ridder? If he's not ready at this point, the coaching staff better be prepared for a change soon.

24. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 21

The wild thing about the Cardinals' season is that they're just a game ahead of the Rams in the division and split the series. There are going to be some long, hard, expensive decisions made this offseason if there's no rally starting on Monday night.

25. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 23

The Baker Mayfield experience didn't even last a full week into the month of December. Given the history of the team for the last half-decade, that's probably more reflective on Carolina than the former No. 1 overall pick.

26. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 24

It's hard to find a more textbook way of giving a game away than what the Saints did in Tampa on Monday night.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 19

Every time this team looks like they've turned the corner, they end up taking a step backward. Luckily Trevor Lawrence is okay but the overall signs of progress are still TBD at this point.

28. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 28

The only question left at this point is seeing if the Rams will become the worst team in league history in the year following the Super Bowl.

29. Chicago Bears
Last week: 29

Sometimes, the worst thing you can sell in the NFL is hope. The Bears are selling it with Justin Fields under center, even if the rug keeps getting yanked out from under them in the second half of games.

30. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 30

The Colts allowed 33 points in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys. They had scored 33 points just once this season across a full game. Maybe this is just Jim Irsay playing chess while everybody plays checkers in trying to land a top quarterback in the spring.

31. Denver Broncos
Last week: 31

At what point does ownership just rip the Band-Aid off? Because a 10-9 loss to a backup quarterback might just be rock bottom for this group and a sign the team has fully tuned out their head coach.

32. Houston Texans
Last week: 32

Lovie Smith's last season above .500 was in 2012. Plenty of attention on how bad the Texans are, but perhaps the focus should extend past the inherent roster flaws.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

1. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 1

Andy Reid loves to get, well, let’s just say creative when playing an overmatched team. That is the biggest reason why that Rams game was even as close as it was given how well Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce were playing.

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 2

Jalen Hurts proved again how special he was against Green Bay but is there just a tiny bit of an alarm going off in Philly that the team needed to keep running him that much against a 4-8 team at this point in the season?

3. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 3

The combo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle is not too far off the pace of Isaac Bruce/Torry Holt when they were the Greatest Show on Turf. Neither Hill nor Waddle gets to play much on turf, but they are an incredible duo to watch blow past DBs on a weekly basis.

4. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 4

Ford Field sure felt like home last week for the Bills, even if the play wasn’t the crispest. Now attention will turn to Von Miller and hoping he’ll be good to go when the team really needs him.

5. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 5

Even though the Cowboys felt like they were playing around a little too much in keeping the Giants around in a game they shouldn’t have been, at least that Whack-A-Mole celebration courtesy of the tight end room was worth sticking around for.

6. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 7

Beating the Patriots is a nice bounce back from the blowout, but Vikings fans sure would like it better if this team would put others away earlier and not wait until the fourth quarter to do so every week.

7. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 8

The organization had to already be preparing for the loss of defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans this offseason but after three second-half shutouts leading into blanking the Saints for all four quarters, they really better be preparing.

8. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 10

The way the Bengals matched the physicality of the Titans in that win was impressive and should provide a nice boost going into that AFC title game rematch with the Chiefs.

9. Washington Commanders
Last week: 11

That’s six wins in their last seven and they became just the third team in the past decade to rebound from a 1-4 start to get seven wins by Week 12. Sure, they needed a lucky tipped pass to get the job done, but this is simply not a team you want to be playing right now.

10. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 6

It was a great weekend for Jim Harbaugh. For John Harbaugh? Not so much after that loss to the Jaguars. Even if Justin Tucker came through in the end, there were a bunch of questions about how the team performed down in Duval.

11. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 12

It’s not often the Titans end up on the losing end of a low-scoring, ugly affair but such was the case against the Bengals.

12. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 9

Both teams that went to Munich lost to sub-par teams but the way Seattle’s defense looked might be a much more pressing concern for Pete Carroll and company as this team slips down the pecking order in the tough NFC standings.

13. New York Giants
Last week: 13

That’s now two losses in a row for the G-Men and a slate of NFC East battles still to play over the next few weeks. This group has still largely overachieved in 2022 but they better turn things around quickly or else those good feelings will start to dissipate.

14. New England Patriots
Last week: 14

That was a bit of a breakout performance for Mac Jones, even if the team ended up failing to get things done in Minneapolis. Now they have to hope the young QB can elevate to yet another level with Buffalo rolling into town.

15. New York Jets
Last week: 16

Congrats to Mike White for becoming the new king of the Big Apple — at least for this week.

16. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 18

It kind of felt like Brandon Staley’s decision to go for two at the end against the Cardinals could have either been the end of his career with the franchise or the beginning of the Chargers getting some momentum back. Unleashing Justin Herbert like that some more might ensure it’s the latter.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 15

Any hope that a switch is getting flipped with this team seems to be fully over and done with. Sure, somebody has to win the NFC South but even if this group does, the Brady magic can only overcome so much.

18. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 17

Despite being in every game the past few weeks, the Falcons have only gotten the job done once in four chances (and needed an improbable penalty in the fifth game before that).

19. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 23

Doug Pederson’s aggressiveness has cost this team some wins, but against Baltimore it ended up winning the game. That was among the best Trevor Lawrence has played in his young career and if he can start to string these performances along, maybe a run to a playoff bid could improbably be there for the taking.

20. Detroit Lions
Last week: 20

Tough to bring the winning streak to a close, especially in that manner at the end to Josh Allen and company. At least the franchise has entertained America with some decent football this year.

21. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 19

Maybe the most frustrating thing for Cardinals fans is that this team seems to save their roughest losses for the home games. It’s like twisting the knife in this miserable season in the desert.

22. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 21

So begins the Jordan Love era. Well, at least the Jordan Love trade bait era given the amount still owed to Aaron Rodgers.

23. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 27

Talk about a week for owner David Tepper: first the Panthers thump the Broncos and then he learns he doesn’t have to pay Matt Rhule much money at all after Nebraska picks up most of the tab on his ex-coach’s salary.

24. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 22

The Saints hadn’t been blanked since 2001 which pretty much qualifies as the rock-bottom moment for now.

25. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 29

Do you think the front office regrets not picking up Josh Jacobs’ fifth-year option now? After a franchise-record 303 yards from scrimmage in an OT win over a good opponent, it feels like it.

26. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 31

Admittedly they saved it until the last grasp, but where was that all season long for the Browns? If David Njoku and Nick Chubb can keep making plays like that and Deshaun Watson elevates the team, this will be a disruptor down the stretch if nothing else.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 24

Kenny Pickett has been far better at taking care of the ball and wouldn’t you know it, the team has improved as a result.

28. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 25

Do you think Sean McVay had wished he just rode off into the sunset and was broadcasting games this week instead of coaching in them? Uh, yes.

29. Chicago Bears
Last week: 26

Get well soon Justin Fields, because watching this team without their quarterback is… rough.

30. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 28

It was an uphill battle to convince people that hiring Jeff Saturday was perfectly fine but after the way he mismanaged the timeouts at the end against Pittsburgh in front of a national TV audience, that might as well be Mount Everest right now.

31. Denver Broncos
Last week: 30

The question is not if Nathaniel Hackett can salvage his job at this point, but rather who can be brought in to revive Russell Wilson and this team moving forward?

32. Houston Texans
Last week: 32

At what point will the concerns over the direction of the franchise, which very well could include yet another coaching change this year or next, lead to Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud or any other top pick doing their best to pull an Eli Manning with the Chargers come draft time? Something Houston fans might have to start worrying about with more of these type of games.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

1. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 1

As soon as the Chargers scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter, just about everybody had to brace for the inevitability that was Patrick Mahomes coming up with an answer of his own. Chiefs fans sure are spoiled getting to watch it week in and week out.

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 2

While you would have thought Nick Sirianni might have saved up something special against the Colts to make up for them firing his old boss, that wasn't the case as the Eagles struggled in Indy. Escaping with a win is nice, but figuring out how to cut down on the turnovers that are suddenly a problem is much more pressing.

3. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 4

The 'Fins get to ease back into things out of the bye with the Texans coming up but after that, it's a stretch of games that could end up determining if Tua Tagovailoa is a legitimate MVP contender or not.

4. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 5

The first half against the Browns looked like the Bills hadn't practiced and spent most of the week dealing with several feet of snow. The second half, however, looked much more like the team we expected to see even if Josh Allen doesn't look completely 100 percent healthy right now.

5. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 7

Tony Pollard continues to look like a special back and the combination of him bursting out of a cannon for big plays and Micah Parsons looking like a young LT keeps Dallas right there as one of the top NFC contenders.

6. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 6

Between the Ronnie Stanley injury and a pretty meh outing against Carolina, the Ravens are not exactly giving off good vibes after their fourth win in a row.

7. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 3

It says plenty about the Vikings' performance against the Cowboys that CBS had to cut away from the game before things got rolling in the fourth quarter. It's not a season-ending result but surely puts a dent in the armor after the win over the Bills.

8. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 8

A productive trip south of the border for the 49ers and one in which you finally started to see all those offensive weapons come together and wreak havoc.

9. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 9

The Raiders at home seem like the perfect type of team to allow the Seahawks to get back to their winning ways after that experience in Germany. Of course, this franchise rarely plays a normal game so expect some sort of hijinks after the holiday.

10. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 13

Joe Burrow is heating up at just the right time of the year and some of those early struggles seem fully behind the reigning AFC champs. His supporting cast still needs help (or to get healthy) but for now, the young QB is carrying the team on his back once again.

11. Washington Commanders
Last week: 14

There's a lot to be said about Washington following up a massive road win by getting back on a plane and taking care of business right away down in Houston. And now, here comes Chase Young to add to the mix on defense.

12. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 15

Winners of seven of their last eight and building yet more momentum with the passing offense looking lively for the first time, it's possible the Titans may clinch the division before the calendar turns to December.

13. New York Giants
Last week: 10

What might be the most concerning thing for the Giants' coaching staff: being unable to get a stop against the Lions, needing Daniel Jones to throw that much or the injury report adding a few more names? Either way, the past three games have raised some larger questions and it could get even worse with the trip to Dallas for Thanksgiving.

14. New England Patriots
Last week: 11

Marcus Jones was just a few seconds away from a true walk-off, with his heroics obscuring another dreadful day by the offense and covering up yet more questions about the coaching staff and choice of quarterback.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 16

Perhaps the next few winnable games that will allow the Bucs to put some distance on the rest of the NFC South can help distance a certain quarterback from his involvement in negative crypto-related headlines.

16. New York Jets
Last week: 12

You had one job Jets… and punting it right to Marcus Jones was not one of them. More importantly, Robert Saleh did not commit to Zach Wilson under center and you can completely understand after that outing from the young QB who doesn't want to take ownership of his bad play right now.

17. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 19

Another double-digit comeback and a game-winner in the final two minutes? These are not the same old Falcons it seems.

18. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 17

How many times is Justin Herbert going to have to carry this team, only for his good work to be undone by others? Either way, there's no reason this group should be sitting at .500 going into Turkey Day.

19. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 20

At some point soon, the attention will be turning toward what kind of changes the franchise will be making in spite of all those big long-term moves made in the summer. Because at some point, something has to give after yet another lifeless performance.

20. Detroit Lions
Last week: 21

Jamaal Williams, have a day. Maybe more impressive in that big road upset for the Lions: rookie Aidan Hutchinson showing out with a pick and fumble recovery to extend the win streak to three.

21. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 18

Not a great way for the Packers to follow up the win over Dallas by allowing Ryan Tannehill to throw for 333 yards. At 4-7 and no gimmes left on the schedule, we're inching closer to draft discussions around Titletown.

22. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 30

That was about as good as Andy Dalton has looked in a Saints uniform but will it be sustainable moving forward with the next two on the road against a pair of pretty good defenses?

23. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 24

Hard not to think this post-bye stretch will come to define whether progress is being made in Duval or not.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 26

Kenny Pickett and Najee Harris kept the Steelers in it against a superior Bengals team but it was T.J. Watt's interception that really provided the highlight for fans who may just be looking ahead to the draft at this point.

25. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 25

The Rams need to put Matthew Stafford (and probably Aaron Donald too) on ice and start concentrating on what they have to do to fix a clearly flawed roster full of injured players.

26. Chicago Bears
Last week: 22

Justin Fields is the second player in the Super Bowl era with at least one touchdown pass and one rushing touchdown in five consecutive games, yet the Bears lost their fourth in a row. The young QB is not playing mistake-free but he clearly needs some additional help around him.

27. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 23

It's less the wheels coming off or the Panthers the past few weeks as much as it is regression to the mean. One thing is for sure: Baker Mayfield isn't the answer under center.

28. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 27

What is the Colts' offensive identity? Even without a few key defenders, they seem to have one on the other side of the ball but if Jeff Saturday can't fix how the team moves the ball, they're bound to tumble further down the AFC standings.

29. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 31

It's been an up-and-down start to his Vegas career but maybe an outing like that one against Denver is just what Davante Adams needs to really break out and start putting together a string of complete games. Of course, who knows if the Raiders are able to carry over that one win over a fellow bad team and turn it into something more.

30. Denver Broncos
Last week: 28

Melvin Gordon has been cut and Nathaniel Hackett is changing play-callers. Not exactly how anybody thought things would be going into the holiday season in Denver.

31. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 29

QB storylines aside, the Browns' coaching staff has to really reflect inward on how they've performed this season with a roster that is far better than the record indicates.

32. Houston Texans
Last week: 32

Going to be a fun debate in Houston over the next few months over whether or not Will Anderson Jr. needs to be the top pick and then the team needs to come back around for the QB or vice versa.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

1. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 3

It seemed like the Chiefs alternated between caring to win the game and just going through the motions against Jacksonville. Luckily they still have Patrick Mahomes to carry them through as he hit the 25-touchdown mark in style for the fifth time in five full seasons.

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 1

Everybody is going to be talking about Brandon Graham ending the game with that late hit but the reason the Eagles are no longer undefeated comes down to turnovers. They had three all season and four against Washington alone.

3. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 4

Kirk Cousins gets the debate show chatter but perhaps that's because there's not much of a debate that Justin Jefferson is one of, if not the, best receivers around. Such miracle wins against the Bills continue to underscore that this is a team everybody should be taking very seriously out of the NFC.

4. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 7

The Dolphins still haven't lost when Tua Tagovailoa starts and plays a full game, with the young QB posting his third consecutive game with a passer rating higher than 135. When he's on and those speedy receivers are blowing past DBs, there might not be a better team than this one.

5. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 2

One snap away. All the Bills had to do was get a single snap off. Instead, we're left with plenty of questions about blowing a big lead and Josh Allen's penchant for turning the ball over in the red zone. Imagine being Stefon Diggs and seeing an incredible one-handed catch lost to the history books.

6. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 8

The schedule sets up nicely for the Ravens to really go on a run and, with the way Buffalo and Kansas City have dropped winnable games, perhaps contending for that top seed coming out of the bye isn't too far-fetched.

7. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 5

Mike McCarthy probably wanted one win above all others this season and didn't get it with that fourth-quarter collapse in Lambeau. It remains baffling sometimes how the Cowboys get away from the successful game plan of running the ball and not letting Dak Prescott do too much.

8. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 10

Jimmy G. wasn't anything to write home about but the 49ers still clamped down on the Chargers and won another against a Los Angeles side. Perhaps things would have been even more comfortable on the scoreboard had Dre Greenlaw not gotten ejected.

9. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 6

The win streak is over but the International Series has produced plenty of strange results over the years so probably no alarm bells are being sounded in Seattle just yet. Still, Pete Carroll knows the group needs to take advantage of the soft schedule coming out of the bye before things ramp up in mid-December.

10. New York Giants
Last week: 9

It never really felt like the Giants were going to lose to the Texans but it probably would have been much easier on fans watching in blue if they took care of business better in the fourth quarter (a change from what they've typically done late this year). Still, Saquon Barkley remains one of the top candidates for comeback player of the year and added a few more highlights to the reel with that outing vs. Houston.

11. New England Patriots
Last week: 11

What might Bill Belichick have in store coming out of the bye against three critical measuring sticks from now until December? Either way, it feels like a real season-defining run against the Jets, Vikings (on Thanksgiving night), and Bills that should go a long way in figuring out just how we'll view the Pats in 2022.

12. New York Jets
Last week: 12

Who had the Jets as the top New York team in the AFC East at this point in the season? The answer is nobody. Nobody did.

13. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 15

What version of Cincy will we see coming out of the break, the one that trounced the Panthers or the one that fell flat against the Browns? The next few are winnable going into that AFC title game rematch against Kansas City if it's the former.

14. Washington Commanders
Last week: 18

Riverboat Ron's trip up to Philly underscored just how tough the NFC East is this season (and likely got the head coach a case or two of the good stuff from the '72 Dolphins in the process). One thing is certain: this is Taylor Heinicke's team and he's not letting go of it anytime soon.

15. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 14

You would think Ryan Tannehill's return would mean a little more balance to the offense but that lack of productivity out of Derrick Henry for the past six quarters might be a bit concerning. Either way, grinding out another win keeps Tennessee on track heading into Thursday night at Lambeau.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 16

Nothing like a little Brady in Bavaria magic, eh? The ageless wonder remains perfect in his four overseas starts and shutting down the high-powered Seahawks offense may have kick-started Todd Bowles' underperforming defense too.

17. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 13

As much as a few other AFC West coaches have felt the hot seat, it seems like that's overshadowed how inexplicable it is that Brandon Staley has this team sitting at 5-4 with all that talent on the roster. It felt like things were going to be different after that opening touchdown against the 49ers but alas, the same old story led to a second loss in three games.

18. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 22

A season-saving result against Dallas? Seemed like it. Outside of the end result, Aaron Rodgers starting to click with Christian Watson may be just as big to the team's future as the addition in the win column.

19. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 17

Arthur Smith kept looking up at the video board in disbelief about a dozen times on Thursday. Given the ample opportunity there was to take hold of the division with a win, he probably still is.

20. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 25

Nobody tuned in to see Colt McCoy outduel the Rams' backups but it was a meaningful result for the Cardinals. Maybe more meaningful for an offense that never can seem to be all on the same page is that brutal, season-ending knee injury for TE Zack Ertz.

21. Detroit Lions
Last week: 27

Dan Campbell keeps preaching GRIT and it may have paid off in that wild fourth-quarter comeback against the Bears. The franchise doesn't have too many of those kinds of wins, that's for sure.

22. Chicago Bears
Last week: 19

It's clear that Justin Fields doesn't have a team full of talent but he's still making it work. That was a brutal loss to the Lions but it may be one that pays off long-term for the franchise given the evolution of their quarterback.

23. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 28

The quarterback carousel spins again for the team but perhaps the inspired play under interim Steve Wilks is enough to at least earn him a shot at another full-time gig elsewhere after remaining in the hunt in the NFC South.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 24

Falling to the Chiefs might have been the most predictable of their past six losses. Well, perhaps until after the bye against Baltimore.

25. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 20

This team isn't just bad, it's bordering on bad enough to be the worst defending Super Bowl champion ever. That's what's in play and a good reason why you start to understand why Sean McVay considered broadcasting so heavily before returning to the sidelines.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 29

T.J. Watt's return really seemed to fire up the Steelers while the added time to prepare might have proven beneficial for Kenny Pickett. Maybe just a flash in the pan but signs of optimism are welcome in any form.

27. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 31

Too soon for the Jeff Saturday coach of the year campaign? Jokes about the coaching situation aside, the fact that Matt Ryan wasn't starting before Saturday took over remains puzzling and is likely to drive a seething Frank Reich up the wall for all the craziness that's gone on in Indy the past few weeks.

28. Denver Broncos
Last week: 23

If the Broncos lose next week, could that be enough for ownership to pull the trigger on a coach they didn't hire? That's just a sign of how things simply have not worked out in Denver.

29. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 26

A blowout loss combined with Deshaun Watson's return to the practice field should make for an even more combustible situation around Cleveland.

30. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 21

When the Saints made moves to push their chips in on the table with this team, everybody around the league was puzzled. Sometimes such a consensus gets proven wrong but in the case of New Orleans, it was even more spot-on than anybody realized.

31. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 30

Josh McDaniels has apparently been reassured by ownership that he's coming back next year, which isn't exactly how he thought things would be going at this point into his second stint in charge of a team. Of course, he probably didn't envision blowing a huge lead one week and then following it up by losing to a literal coach off the street in the next.

32. Houston Texans
Last week: 32

Normally the NFL takes up all the oxygen in the room when being discussed across various media platforms but the Texans are so blah that they might not even make a credit sequence of a talk show at this point.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

1. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 2

Philly may have lost in the World Series and the MLS Cup but at least the fans in the City of Brotherly Love still have the undefeated Eagles off to their best start in franchise history.

2. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 1

Not only did the Bills drop a game to a division rival but now Josh Allen might be injured. That sound you now hear is mounting concern from upstate New York.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 3

Every Chiefs game seems like it’s an adventure and part of that is because the defense sometimes can’t stop anybody and other times it’s because Patrick Mahomes does something jaw-dropping. We got both on Sunday night against the Titans.

4. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 4

Kirk Cousins extracted a little bit of revenge over his former team but it was the celebration on the plane ride home that really got people talking. There still seems to be a little bit of skepticism about this group but rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell has nevertheless been fantastic in guiding this team to 7-1.

5. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 5

Mike McCarthy has spent much of the week downplaying his upcoming return to Lambeau. That’s with good reason because, given the state of affairs in Green Bay, losing with this Cowboys squad against that Packers team would be a bit unacceptable.

6. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 6

It’s Geno Smith’s world and we’re all just living in it. It’s time to start moving the Seahawks from feel-good story to real contender in the NFC.

7. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 7

The combination of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle is proving to be pretty special and the Dolphins are one of the league’s best teams if you focus on times when Tua Tagovailoa is actually playing. No wonder they made the big trade to nab pass rusher Bradley Chubb and indicate they were going for it.

8. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 9

It feels like every game there’s a graphic on the broadcast that says Lamar Jackson is the best this or first to do that. Such was the case on Monday night against the Saints as the Ravens still managed to move the ball despite a ton of injuries impacting their supporting cast.

9. New York Giants
Last week: 11

A loss going into the bye seemed to be compounded by Xavier McKinney going to Cabo and injuring his hand. The G-Men have to hope that a soft schedule coming out of the break can help them keep pace in the division and set up a make-or-break run between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

10. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 10

Nobody got a bye week at a better time than the 49ers, who had a lengthy list of injured players that could end up returning for "Sunday Night Football" against the Chargers. Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel on the field at the same time after Kyle Shanahan has extra time to prepare? Yeah, there’s a reason optimism has returned to the Bay Area.

11. New England Patriots
Last week: 13

Another suffocating defensive effort out of the Pats but there still has to be more than a few questions as to why the offense isn’t quite clicking on all cylinders.

12. New York Jets
Last week: 14

J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. Robert Saleh started the year off by saying he was collecting receipts and after knocking off Buffalo with a good game plan and quality QB play, he might have a trash bag full of CVS-sized receipts by this point.

13. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 12

Cameron Dicker was ticketed to attend a country music concert but instead wound up kicking a last-minute game-winner after getting picked up. Given the Chargers’ history with kickers and painful losses, that was a bit unexpected after rallying from a double-digit deficit in Atlanta.

14. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 8

All things considered, pushing the Chiefs to OT with a rookie QB so limited is yet another example of how good Mike Vrabel can get his team to play on any given week. We’ll see if Malik Willis can get rolling with more time under his belt but the staff might want to see why Derrick Henry only had 17 carries after such a great start to the game.

15. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 16

If the two Joes (Mixon, Burrow) are going to have games like that one against the Panthers, then this can be more than a team that gets back into the AFC race.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 18

It wasn’t Tom Brady’s best game but it doesn’t really matter as long as he’s got the ball in his hands with time on the clock. A memorable way to top 100,000 career passing yards and the record for game-winning drives all in one swoop.

17. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 15

One wild win must have needed to be balanced out by one heartbreaking loss. That’s the true Falcons way.

18. Washington Commanders
Last week: 19

This team did not, in fact, like that comeback from Kirk Cousins. At least for the tortured fan base, things were balanced out fully by the exciting news that Daniel Snyder could end up selling the team. That’s worth a dozen losses.

19. Chicago Bears
Last week: 23

The Bears are the first team since 1978 to rush for 200 yards in four straight games and despite losing, may have really given a lot of hope to their fan base in that outing against the Dolphins. More to the point, any lingering doubts about Justin Fields might be fully out of Chicago’s system.

20. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 17

Sean McVay said changes will be coming after such a late collapse but even if Tom Brady hadn’t gone full Tom Brady, this is still a team experiencing one heck of a Super Bowl hangover and full of issues beyond closing out games.

21. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 20

The good news for the Saints is the schedule gets lighter and the division remains somehow still attainable. The bad news? Well, everything else.

22. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 21

Weeeeeeeeelp. There’s bad and there’s new depths of despair bad for Packers fans after that game against the Lions.

23. Denver Broncos
Last week: 25

There are three tough but winnable games on the docket coming out of the bye but did Denver’s coaching staff actually use the break to diagnose some of their issues or was that win in London just a result of playing across the pond? Among the teams unlikely to make the playoffs, the Broncos might just be the most fascinating group in the stretch run.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 27

In that second half against the Raiders, we got to see the promise of this young core of talent going to work. Perhaps it can even be just the kind of win that really propels Trevor Lawrence to the next level.

25. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 22

What a perfect week for in-season "Hard Knocks" to debut and give us an inside glimpse at all the dysfunction that is the Arizona Cardinals.

26. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 26

What version of the Browns will we get coming out of the bye? They certainly had some momentum coming into the break with that big win over the Bengals but that doesn’t ensure it will continue with this coming three-game stretch against a motivated set of good opponents.

27. Detroit Lions
Last week: 31

Where has that defense, especially in the red zone, been all year? Any win over the Packers is cathartic for the franchise right now but this one seems doubly so given all the pointed criticism directed at the coaching staff.

28. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 24

After playing well after the coaching change, there was bound to be some big regression. Losing in such an uncompetitive fashion to the Bengals, however, may have cost interim Steve Wilks whatever shot he had at the full-time gig.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 28

With Chase Claypool shipped out and a bye week under the belt, will the offense look any different for the next game against the Saints? That contest at home will prove key to seeing if Mike Tomlin can pull a miracle and at least get this group back on the road to .500.

30. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 29

Blowing a 17-0 lead to the Jaguars might just be rock-bottom for this team under Josh McDaniels — because there’s really not anywhere to go but up after sinking to such a new low.

31. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 30

Few seasons have gone off the rails like the Colts' just did. From looking like a potential division winner coming into the year and upsetting the Chiefs early on to… benched QB, fired head coach, and a TV analyst seeing out the rest of the season. Yikes.

32. Houston Texans
Last week: 32

The good news for all the Texans fans already turning their attention to NFL draft season: How about those Astros, eh?

NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

1. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 1

Second-half turnovers kept things a little closer than expected against the Packers on Sunday night but the best start since 1993 is still something to celebrate. Given the upcoming schedule, playing fellow NFC North contender Minnesota might be the only test left on the docket until the playoffs.

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 2

The Eagles have only turned the ball over twice after seven games and have A.J. Brown going off no matter how many defenders are thrown his way. Amazingly, that might only be the third biggest story in Philly right now between the Phillies in the World Series and the Union on the brink of a championship too.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 3

How much of an impact will Kadarius Toney really have in an offense that just put up 44 points? It’s a scary thing to think about if he’s healthy and especially so given the fairly low draft capital used to add him to Patrick Mahomes’ collection of targets.

4. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 4

Kirk Cousins was efficient against the Cardinals on Sunday and in addition to finding the end zone three times, managed to become the third-fastest quarterback to 3,000 completions in NFL history. Not typically what you think of when his name comes up but it underscores how long he’s been around and how much the new system is highlighting his ability to find receivers nowadays.

5. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 5

Jerry Jones came out and said Ezekiel Elliott is still the starter when healthy but everybody in Dallas knows by now that the best running back on the team has always been Tony Pollard, especially after all those long runs and three touchdowns against the Bears. If the 'Boys keep playing like that, it’s not crazy to think this is the best team in the NFC.

6. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 11

Is it possible that the Seahawks could end up sweeping up the NFL awards this year if they keep up this trajectory after their win over the Giants? Safe to say they have candidates for Coach of the Year (Pete Carroll), Comeback Player of the Year and MVP (Geno Smith), Offensive Rookie of the Year (Kenneth Walker III), and Defensive Rookie of the Year (Tariq Woolen) at least.

7. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 13

A much better second half allowed the Dolphins to escape with a road win, something you should never overlook in the parity-driven league. Tyreek Hill racked up the yardage (188) once again as maybe this team is starting to find its legs now that they’re a bit healthier at quarterback and on defense.

8. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 7

Derrick Henry remains an unstoppable freight train even if you want to load the box like the Texans tried to do. That was his sixth game over two bills (tied for most ever) and really took the pressure off rookie quarterback Malik Willis. Such a game plan probably won’t work against everyone however.

9. Baltimore Ravens

Last week: 9

Lamar Jackson out-dueled Tom Brady and nobody was surprised given the form on each side. The bigger move by the franchise was made after Thursday in trading for linebacker Roquan Smith, which may help fix some of the defensive woes that still keep plaguing this group.

10. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 16

Say what you want about the trade capital spent, but Christian McCaffrey looks fantastic running between the tackles in a 49ers uniform. He looks even better to fans of the franchise when he scores three different ways and becomes the fourth player since the merger to find the end zone via a pass, a reception and a rash.

11. New York Giants
Last week: 6

Not the best way to go into the bye, not only losing but looking a little lifeless while doing so. We’ll see if the week away allows for some fixes or if teams will start to copy the game plan Seattle had against Saquon Barkley and life will get much harder for one of the bigger turnaround stories in the league in 2022.

12. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 14

Will the injury situation around the team force a move before the trade deadline? This group is still missing that little bit of oomph despite having a talented roster.

13. New England Patriots
Last week: 18

You just knew the Pats would have a response after that no-show on Monday night against the Bears. The offense still needs some work but Bill Belichick will take wins any way they come if they allow him to pass the great George Halas on the all-time list.

14. New York Jets
Last week: 8

Their AFC East boogeyman, the Patriots, didn’t play all that well and still beat the Jets — through no fault of their own with turnovers and self-inflicted plays. Plus, after a few weeks of optimism, the questions about Zach Wilson are back and bigger than ever.

15. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 19

That was so close to being an extremely Atlanta loss for the Falcons. And yet, they eke one out in very un-Atlanta fashion as the other team misses a kick and they end up making one. Maybe this really is a different kind of team.

16. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 10

Ja'Marr Chase is a big loss but not a "‘three quarters without an offense" kind of loss. The good news for Joe Burrow and company is that the schedule should allow for a nice return to the win column in the next few weeks if they can snap out of that Halloween funk.

17. Los Angeles Rams

Last week: 12

Beyond the 49ers having the Rams'’ number, it’s pretty clear that the Super Bowl hangover is a full multi-day bender in Los Angeles for this group right now.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 15

All the attention remains on Tom Brady on and off the field but how long before that starts to turn toward the coaching staff amid this losing streak that could grow by another game next week?

19. Washington Commanders
Last week: 20

Right before Halloween, who else but Scary Terry (McLaurin) in his hometown to come to the rescue? There wasn’t much going on in that trip to Indianapolis until the very end but you wonder if this group can use that kind of win as a springboard moving forward.

20. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 25

Alvin Kamara was fantastic against the Raiders but the real game ball needs to go to the head coach for getting that defense to step up in a big way to stifle an offense full of playmakers.

21. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 21

The Lions may be the cure for this three-game losing streak next Sunday but there are real structural issues with the way this team was built and Aaron Rodgers is no longer being subtle about that anymore. It’s mostly been smooth sailing for Matt LaFleur in the regular season but this is a real crisis for the Packers' head coach.

22. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 17

It’s pretty clear that DeAndre Hopkins is a difference-maker in this offense but that is all for naught if Kyler Murray keeps turning the ball over.

23. Chicago Bears
Last week: 22

The fire sale appears to be underway with Roquan Smith being shown the door but the bigger question for the front office is how they can possibly get Justin Fields some help, because he can’t be running around all game, every game.

24. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 28

DJ Moore is going to beat himself up the rest of the season for taking his helmet off but, setting aside that remarkable ending that never was, this is a team that is playing much better since the coaching change.

25. Denver Broncos
Last week: 29

Do you think the Broncos high-stepped all the way home from London? If nothing else, it was a much happier flight home after a win than the red-eye over was.

26. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 30

The Browns haven’t been great this season but extending their winning streak over the Bengals is a nice way to get back into the mix for a closing kick that will mean a lot to players and coaches alike.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 27

At some point, will we just have to stop thinking Trevor Lawrence will turn the corner and stop making bad decisions and turning the ball over? His status as a No. 1 overall pick makes you think that the moment will come but it might actually be getting further and further away.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 23

Losing to the cross-state rival Eagles is not the worst thing in the world given the disparity between the two teams right now. But the amount of mental mistakes we’ve seen out of a Mike Tomlin-coached team every week is baffling.

29. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 24

Josh McDaniels' second stint as a head coach is looking more and more like the ending of the first stint that got him run out of another AFC West team. Not what you want if you’re the Raiders right now.

30. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 26

Sam Ehlinger wasn’t dreadful against the Commanders but he doesn’t look like the savior for the franchise either. A few more losses and we’re going to start ramping up the questions about pretty much everybody beyond Jim Irsay.

31. Detroit Lions
Last week: 31

Ownership recently did a few media appearances in support of the coaching staff but at some point, the same ol' song getting played in loss after loss on Sundays will result in some big changes (again) for the organization.

32. Houston Texans
Last week: 32

Maybe the Titans won’t be able to run the ball down the Texans' throats next year when they have No. 1 overall pick Will Anderson Jr. on the roster.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

1. Buffalo Bills
Last week:
1

Do you think the Bills had a twinge of regret for not trading for Christian McCaffrey after watching him early on Sunday? Maybe not but they can at least enjoy the rest of their bye before looking ahead at a suddenly even more favorable run of games.

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week:
2

The bye week came at a good time for the city of Philadelphia, as the Eagles’ break allowed everybody to focus on the Phillies’ run to the World Series.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week:
3

Patrick Mahomes had to be like a lot of folks at home wondering just how the 49ers had one of the best defenses in the league coming into that game on Sunday. That certainly wasn’t the case after Mecole Hardman became the first wide receiver to record two rushing touchdowns and one receiving in a game since the merger.

4. Minnesota Vikings
Last week:
4

Bye weeks are always nice for a team but have to be even sweeter when you sit at home and pick up another game on your rivals in the division standings.

5. Dallas Cowboys
Last week:
5

Dak Prescott not surprisingly looked a little rusty in his return but that play-calling (and a few drops) didn’t help things. At least the team can still rely on Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs to wreak havoc.

6. New York Giants
Last week: 7

An improbable six wins, all by eight points or fewer, and four that involved a fourth-quarter comeback. At some point some regression will come but it’s beyond time to put away those preconceived notions about the Giants and start taking them seriously.

7. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 9

A clean sweep of the Colts may all but lock up the AFC South at this point. It feels like every game the team plays results in an ugly fight for four quarters but that’s just the Titans' M.O. by this point in the Mike Vrabel era.

8. New York Jets
Last week:
10

Those receipts Robert Saleh keeps got just a little longer with yet another but the cost may have been too much long-term given the amount of season-ending injuries the Jets suffered against Denver.

9. Baltimore Ravens
Last week:
14

Far from the prettiest of victories, the Ravens’ inability to close out games remains worrying. They still escaped the Browns but that kind of effort won’t work against a much tougher set of opponents ahead.

10. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week:
15

Seemed like we had a glimpse at last year’s stretch-run Bengals in that victory over the Falcons. If that connection with Ja’Mar Chase and Tyler Boyd keeps going, this is a group that could quickly get right back into the thick of things.

11. Seattle Seahawks
Last week:
16

The loss of DK Metcalf is concerning but if there’s one area where the team might not need more help, it’s on offense. The improvement on the other side of the ball is what has to delight Pete Carroll the most about that win over the Chargers and signaled that it’s time to start taking the Hawks seriously in the NFC West race.

12. Los Angeles Rams
Last week:
13

All eyes on Sean McVay to see if he used the bye to fix the team’s offense but the good news is that if the Rams do get back on track, they may be favored in all but one game the rest of the way.

13. Miami Dolphins
Last week:
20

Thankfully for Mike McDaniel, the Dolphins still won. Still, the questionable late-game decisions will be a talking point going forward almost as much as Tua Tagovailoa taking a big hit was.

14. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week:
6

What a complete no-show against Seattle while playing at home for the Chargers. Add on the injuries to J.C. Jackson and Mike Williams and this week went from bad to worse for Brandon Staley.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week:
11

Tom Brady just gifted every debate show their A-Block by putting up just three points against the lowly Panthers. The good news for Todd Bowles is that the QB is the big storyline and now how things have slipped on his watch.

16. San Francisco 49ers
Last week:
8

The week started with a bang in trading for Christian McCaffrey and ended with a whimper. The performance against the Chiefs was especially concerning given who returned from injury for the game and should have made a difference, but didn’t.

17. Arizona Cardinals
Last week:
22

Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray insist their heated exchange wasn’t anything but between that and a win at home for the first time in ages, the Cardinals finally showed a bit of fight on Thursday instead of wilting away.

18. New England Patriots
Last week:
12

It’s not often that the Pats get run out of their own building, especially in prime time. Just as concerning for Bill Belichick? The fact that he’s now facing a quarterback controversy in a town that cannot stop talking about sports.

19. Atlanta Falcons
Last week:
18

Rough outing for the Falcons' defense but Joe Burrow can torch any team on any given Sunday to be fair. What will really be key for the Falcons is if they can put that loss behind them and look ahead to seize some winnable upcoming games with the same approach.

20. Washington Commanders
Last week:
28

Taylor Heinicke is unleashed and the Commanders pull off a big upset, coincidence?

21. Green Bay Packers
Last week:
17

That’s three losses in a row and now the team is certainly facing the biggest challenge of Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur’s tenure together. Blame all you want on the defense allowing too many big plays or receivers who are too young but the buck stops with those two in what could be a four-game skid by next week.

22. Chicago Bears
Last week:
29

That might have been the best the Bears have played for a full game in what, three, four, five years? If this team keeps getting Justin Fields outings like that, then perhaps there is some hope in the Windy City after all.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week:
23

Mike Tomlin played a little too conservative against the Dolphins and that may have cost them on Sunday night. Of course, if Kenny Pickett is going to turn the ball over like that, you can at least understand why.

24. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week:
25

Needing a fourth-quarter comeback against the Texans after a bye isn’t the most encouraging of returns for the Raiders but any win is progress at this point. The defense is still suspect but head coach Josh McDaniels at least got the offense going late.

25. New Orleans Saints
Last week:
19

At what point is it time to start thinking that Dennis Allen just doesn’t have any answers? Because that looked like one ill-prepared team against Arizona and a loss to the Raiders next week could sure spell rock bottom.

26. Indianapolis Colts
Last week:
21

If you had the Colts benching Matt Ryan, the coaching staff apologizing and the Colts all but out of the division race all before Halloween… we’d love for you to tell us the lotto numbers for next week.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week:
24

What a frustrating loss (again) for the Jags, who had things slip through their hands again and come up one yard short.

28. Carolina Panthers
Last week:
32

Tanking? No just trading. The P.J. Walker era gives the Panthers a dash of entertaining fun in an emphatic win over the Bucs to take away from dealing Christian McCaffrey.

29. Denver Broncos
Last week:
28

Things were bad enough for this offense, now they have to go overseas to play the Jaguars. Nathaniel Hackett was brought in to put up some points but the way things are trending now, he might be putting up his stuff in boxes after just one year.

30. Cleveland Browns
Last week:
25

Nick Chubb is a decent bright spot to focus on for Browns fans, which seemingly are getting a series of karmic gut-punch losses to cap off the turbulent offseason.

31. Detroit Lions
Last week:
26

This was once the highest-scoring team in the league. Now they’ve scored just six points in two games and look like the same old Lions. Not great Dan.

32. Houston Texans
Last week:
30

Lovie Smith was kept around for continuity and that’s been the case with a defense that continues to stink up the joint. At least Davis Mills looked pretty good.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

1. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 1

You could tell when the clock hit zeroes that there was a cathartic celebration on the Bills' sideline to win that one against the Chiefs after everything that happened in last year’s playoffs. Still a lot of football left to be played but the path to Glendale sure looks like it runs through western New York now.

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 2

A perfect 6-0 heading into the bye is just what Philly asked for even if things got away from the birds a bit in the second half against Dallas.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 3

Not the end of the world for the Chiefs to lose a close one to the Bills but the manner in which they did after controlling so much of the game has to be a little disappointing for Andy Reid and company.

4. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 6

Given how weak the NFC looks, the Vikings sure appear to be the biggest threat to the Eagles at the moment. They should take care of business the next two weeks before a very intriguing trip to Buffalo that could really show us what Kirk Cousins’ crew is made of.

5. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 4

A 4-2 record without Dak Prescott for most of that span is something every Cowboys fan could and should sign up for. Now, time to see what the QB can do to help elevate this roster and close the gap to those like the Eagles in a winnable NFC.

6. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 9

It’s hard to comprehend how this team is 4-2 despite a host of issues and only a handful of really well-played games. At least they have discovered one really tough kicker.

7. New York Giants
Last week: 10

It may only be mid-October but you can go ahead and ship that Coach of the Year Award to the Giants’ facility and Brian Daboll’s office shelf. If coming back from 10 down to the Ravens doesn’t convince people to start taking this crew seriously, not much will.

8. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 7

A lot of travel and a massive amount of injuries were bound to catch up to the 49ers but there’s still little excuse for such a lifeless result down in Atlanta.

9. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 12

Lots of euphoria around the organization after a new stadium was announced on the bye week but the real work begins with a light schedule coming up that could allow the Titans to really seize control of the AFC South.

10. New York Jets
Last week: 18

Football really seems back in the Big Apple and boy do the Jets sure look like a different (and confident) team when Zach Wilson is under center. Rookie Sauce Gardner left Lambeau with two picks and a cheesehead to really stamp the J-E-T-S as a team to watch moving forward.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 8

Cameras caught Tom Brady lighting into his offensive line and who could blame him after Sunday? It wasn’t just that unit that needed to be yelled at after that terrible loss to the Steelers.

12. New England Patriots
Last week: 14

The legend of Bailey Zappe continues to grow and at this point, you might take the chatter about there being a quarterback controversy in New England far more seriously than a place like Dallas. Setting that aside, Bill Belichick has to take extra pleasure in thumping the Browns and seeing his defense once again show week-over-week improvement (and definitely won’t celebrate tying George Halas on the wins list).

13. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 13

The Rams get into the bye at .500 and in first place of the lackluster NFC West. They really haven’t beaten anybody of note however and will need a lot of quick fixes to happen (and get guys healthy) as a much tougher schedule awaits over the next month.

14. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 5

No excuses for this team, with that many experienced veterans and coaches, to blow a lead like that to the Giants. It’s pretty clear that the defense isn’t fixed yet but the overall vibe around the Ravens seems to be a full-on roller coaster the past few weeks.

15. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 15

Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase sure know how to make some magic at the Superdome, eh? Sadly for many Saints fans, they were not wearing LSU jerseys (at least during the game) and had on Bengals gear. Amazingly that connection in coming back from 10 points down was the first 60-yard touchdown in the final two minutes since 2018.

16. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 20

Pete Carroll’s defense remains a work in progress but rookie Tariq Woolen sure is doing his part, notching his fourth pick in as many games during that win over Arizona. Along with Geno Smith continuing to cook and a run game that is starting to come along, this might be one of the more entertaining teams in the league right now.

17. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 11

A loss to the Giants over in London may have been a warning sign but getting swept by the New York teams, their records aside, feels like a full-blown panic is about to descend upon Green Bay. The defense is allowing too many big plays in the fourth quarter and for every amazing throw from Aaron Rodgers, there’s also a host of lackluster drives that end in punts.

18. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 24

You looked at this roster and the signing of Marcus Mariota and thought the Falcons almost might be bottoming out before they really embark on a rebuild. It turns out that might not be the case, as the QB looks as sharp as ever in guiding the team to a surprising tie atop the NFC South with a favorable schedule ahead.

19. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 17

Is it time to start the panic meter yet in the Big Easy? Perhaps the return of Jameis Winston and a receiver or two will help going into that Thursday night game at Arizona but it’s been rough so far under Dennis Allen.

20. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 16

Tua Tagovailoa is back and thankfully so because the quarterback depth chart for Miami has mostly been a mess. Still, the more concerning thing for the coaching staff has to be the offensive line at this point as they’re not getting much improvement at all in the run game nor protecting their signal-caller.

21. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 27

Another slow start almost cost the Colts but Matt Ryan came through with yet another dose of late heroics. Alec Pierce really seems to be a gem of a find through the draft and helped set up a big revenge game in Nashville next week that could end up being for the AFC South down the road.

22. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 21

Those ginormous contract extensions over the offseason look worse and worse by the week. Adding Robbie Anderson to the mix (because of the injury to Marquise Brown) at wideout along with DeAndre Hopkins should help, but won’t fix this inherently flawed roster.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 29

Doubt Mike Tomlin at your own peril, clearly. Kenny Pickett didn’t look bad when he was in there and Mitch Trubisky was solid in relief but it was really the defense that found a way to get a hand in Tom Brady’s face and cause a crisis down in Tampa. Things don’t get any easier moving forward but that’s a big confidence-boosting win.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 19

Doug Pederson’s aggressiveness may have cost the Jaguars a little in that loss to the Colts, but not as much as the defensive lapses on that final drive. At some point this team will be able to win a divisional road game but it doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon if they keep putting fourth quarters like that.

25. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 23

It was far from a drama-free bye week for the Raiders but the good news is that they have a schedule that can allow them to climb right back to .500 with a run of AFC South opponents sandwiched around a trip to New Orleans.

26. Detroit Lions
Last week: 26

Let’s see what got fixed during the bye but the bottom line is that Dan Campbell needs a complete game across all four quarters against Dallas next week.

27. Denver Broncos
Last week: 28

If you think Broncos fans are feeling bad right now, how do you think all the TV execs feel after seeing a lot more Denver on the national TV schedule moving forward? Russell Wilson looked like he was at least getting something going in the first half but this has been anything but what was expected coming into the year.

28. Washington Commanders
Last week: 31

Carson Wentz is out for the next several weeks with that hand injury and is it possible that the Commanders might be better off? After getting lucky against the Bears, it seems quite possible.

29. Chicago Bears
Last week: 22

Those red zone issues continued in a game against Washington that the Bears had to have. Justin Fields said he was tired of being almost there, but how does he think long-suffering fans of the franchise feel?

30. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 25

Three losses in a row and it seems like the Browns are becoming less competitive each week. With three of the next four on the road against tough opponents, yet another legal issue popping up for Deshaun Watson, and injuries mounting, things could be on the verge of going from bad to worse.

31. Houston Texans
Last week: 30

The early bye week probably doesn’t help a young team like Houston after they just notched a victory for the first time but a big trip looms at Las Vegas in what might be the most winnable contest left until it’s time to eat some turkey.

32. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 32

As if things couldn’t get worse than firing the head coach and several staff members, the Panthers head across the country, get blown out, and then have the interim head coach end up getting into a spat with a receiver that has to be removed (and then traded). Woof.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

1. Buffalo Bills
Last week:
1

You almost thought that the Bills would have been a little conservative playing a team like Pittsburgh the week prior to that revenge match against the Chiefs. But nope. Josh Allen finishing as the team’s leading rusher might be the only thing to nitpick but when he’s launching bombs to Gabe Davis, it doesn’t really matter.

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week:
3

The lone undefeated team in the league took care of business down in the desert even if things were a little closer than expected. Kyler Murray will do that to you but the Eagles' defense still came up big late and Jalen Hurts delivered on the go-ahead drive. Now attention turns to the mega-matchup with Dallas.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week:
2

It’s hard to make a 17-point comeback look effortless but that is just what the Chiefs did against the Raiders. Travis Kelce’s four-touchdown night played a big reason why KC emerged with a victory but there has to be a tad bit of concern knowing who the next opponent is after seeing Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs do what they wanted against this defense.

4. Dallas Cowboys
Last week:
9

Cowboys fans would not believe you if you told them when Dak Prescott went down that they may actually prefer keeping his backup as the starter. While things are strange on that side of the ball, one thing’s clear: Dan Quinn’s defense is nasty, fun to watch and the best in the league.

5. Baltimore Ravens
Last week:
5

Death. Taxes. Justin Tucker.

6. Minnesota Vikings
Last week:
8

For all the rough headlines surrounding some rookie head coaches, Kevin O’Connell sure is the lone wolf pressing the right buttons. Three fourth-quarter deficits turning into wins and tied for the second-best record in the league seems a bit unsustainable but there’s a sense of confidence around the Vikings that hasn’t been there before.

7. San Francisco 49ers
Last week:
10

The 49ers were the final nail in the coffin for Matt Rhule but it came at a price in that romp over Carolina. As well as the team has played recently, the injury list growing to include Nick Bosa, Jimmie Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, and more could put a bit of a limiter on just how much this group can do.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week:
7

The two-game losing streak is over but not in convincing fashion. It’s possible the Bucs will eventually start flipping the switch and rolling but it seems like every game is taking maximum effort right now.

9. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week:
13

Brandon Staley nearly got left on the tarmac if that fourth-down decision late had wound up costing the Chargers the win. It didn’t though and perhaps there’s a chance that it helps galvanize an obviously talented team that has a much higher ceiling than what they’ve shown so far.

10. New York Giants
Last week:
18

If Brian Daboll isn’t the front-runner for coach of the year, go ahead and throw away the award. It helps to have Saquon Barkley doing Saquon things as the Big Apple finally has an interest in October football.

11. Green Bay Packers
Last week:
4

Safe to say the Pack did not enjoy their international foray but was the collapse against the Giants a sign of not handling the travel or simply operating too close to the razor’s edge? This team has plenty of talent, but making the most of it has come far harder than at any point under Matt LaFleur.

12. Tennessee Titans
Last week:
15

No team seems to win more ugly games than the Titans, who have now run off three straight. With the Colts and Texans up next, they can not only put a stranglehold on the division once again, but potentially be 5-1 rolling into Kansas City.

13. Los Angeles Rams
Last week:
11

Poor Matthew Stafford might spend the entire next week in the ice bath. As much as you want to trust Sean McVay to figure out some answers, at some point it’s going to have to come down to better blocking up front. If not, the reigning champs are destined to be the latest to go from Lombardi to Cancun party come playoff time.

14. New England Patriots
Last week:
22

As much as the legend of Bailey Zappe keeps growing, the return to a Bill Belichick masterclass on defense against the top-ranked offense in the league is a far more encouraging sign for this season’s outlook.

15. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week:
14

That goal-line sequence in the third quarter will be debated quite a bit around Cincinnati and seems reflective of how a team that got hot at the right moment last season can’t get out of its own way in 2022.

16. Miami Dolphins
Last week:
6

We’re guessing there’s not a lot of crossover between Miami fans and those that watched Kansas State football over the years but the fan base seems like they’ll be getting to see a lot more of the rookie seventh-rounder at quarterback to further dampen the optimism from earlier in the season.

17. New Orleans Saints
Last week:
20

Taysom Hill might not be a true quarterback but the man does have a nose for the end zone. Now, if Dennis Allen can figure it out on defense….

18. New York Jets
Last week:
23

The Jets are… fun? They certainly have been much more watchable the past two weeks since Zach Wilson returned and outside of those games against Buffalo, the schedule doesn’t look quite as daunting as it once did. Optimism is a scary thing with this franchise but it might be back in abundance if the J-E-T-S beat Green Bay next.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week:
12

Pretty simple once again for the Jags: when Trevor Lawrence is taking care of the ball, the team can win big. When he isn’t, they can lose to the lowly Texans at home.

20. Seattle Seahawks
Last week:
19

As much fun as it is to watch Geno Smith throw it all over the yard, there’s just no way Pete Carroll’s defense should be this bad. It cost the Seahawks in a game they should have won against the Saints and will continue to limit the schadenfreude from what’s happening in Denver.

21. Arizona Cardinals
Last week:
16

Sitting at 2-3 on the year and winless at home, the locals have to start getting restless over the thought of all those extensions the front office gave out. At least we’ll get to see the drama in this disappointing start to the year play out on “Hard Knocks.”

22. Chicago Bears
Last week:
27

Bears fans seem to understand that Justin Fields is doing all that he can to will this team through games. It didn’t matter against the Vikings but having that one cornerstone to believe in can help tremendously.

23. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week:
21

Pssst… Josh Daniels, maybe tell the defensive staff and players to cover that guy Travis Kelce near the goal line. Just a hint.

24. Atlanta Falcons
Last week:
25

The Falcons still couldn’t get a win over Tom Brady but at least they made things interesting in the fourth quarter. One thing is clear, referee Jerome Boger won’t be on any Christmas card lists in the region after that ridiculous roughing the passer call.

25. Cleveland Browns
Last week:
26

Deshaun Watson is back at the Browns’ facility now, which provides a welcome distraction for how bad the team was in blowing yet another late lead.

26. Detroit Lions 
Last week:
24

After seemingly displaying some real progress between the lines early, this team has been back to the version that shoots itself in the foot and no-shows on the road. That’s beyond concerning at this point for a coaching staff that continues to talk about everything beyond the obvious.

27. Indianapolis Colts
Last week:
29

The Broncos basically gifted the Colts a win on Thursday and you won’t hear any complaints… and no celebrations for that performance they put on tape either.

28. Denver Broncos
Last week:
17

It’s been rare that first-year head coaches go immediately onto the hot seat but that Thursday night game against Indy probably cemented Nathaniel Hackett’s status.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week:
28

Kenny Pickett’s first start could have gone better but Steelers fans at least had to rally around the rookie for not taking anything from the Buffalo defense when they tried to get into his face.

30. Houston Texans
Last week:
32

A nice divisional game to finally get Lovie Smith his first win in charge but it was anything but pretty down in Duval. Davis Mills still isn’t as consistent as can be but if Dameon Pierce can continue to look like he did against the Jaguars, the Texans might have something interesting in the backfield.

31. Washington Commanders
Last week:
31

Ron Rivera bluntly saying the difference between his team and the rest of the NFC East is the quarterback position says all you need to know about how things have gone for Carson Wentz in D.C. Sure he’s put up some big numbers thanks to bombs down the field but the wins haven’t followed amid a slew of other mistakes.

32. Carolina Panthers
Last week:
30

David Tepper finally put an end to the Matt Rhule era but Carolina’s issues run far deeper than their highly paid head coach being shown the door. Baker Mayfield clearly isn’t the answer for the long term and given the injury situations, this might be a team that is set to go from bad to worse.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

1. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 2

It’s never good to find yourself in 17-point holes but at least for the Bills we know they’re never out of it thanks to Josh Allen’s heroics. Still, the past two weeks have done a good job of proving this team mortal and that there are a few flaws that need to be ironed out sooner rather than later.

2. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 6

When the Chiefs are in the mood, they look unstoppable. They certainly had the switch flipped to on down in Tampa after it was most certainly off down in Indianapolis. So far, the absence of Tyreek Hill hasn’t been felt as much as anybody outside the building was thinking.

3. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 3

And then there was one (undefeated team). The Eagles have recorded at least 400 yards of offense in each outing and can give you so much to deal with because you have to account for Jalen Hurts running the football. The last team to have 10-plus rushing TDs at this point in the season won the Super Bowl so there are some good vibes going on in Philly as their grip on the No. 1 seed in the NFC tightened further.

4. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 4

The 15th straight win at Lambeau was a little too close for comfort, especially factoring in the fact that they were playing against a third-string, rookie quarterback most of the afternoon. Still Aaron Rodgers made some clutch throws and the way the team has played defense gives you hope that even those these are close wins, the ability to dig out and win them will pay off in the playoffs.

5. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 5

Lamar can’t do everything guys and when he’s got nobody else to help move the football in the second half, we see losses like that. When was the last time you were so disappointed in a Ravens defense like most have been the past few seasons?

6. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 1

Sure Miami fell from the ranks of the unbeaten but the real story in South Beach is undoubtedly what happened, who did what (and why) when it comes to Tua Tagovailoa. The young QB likely shouldn’t be back anytime soon as the team — and the league — sorts everything out.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 7

Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid came into town and the Bucs' defense didn’t put up a fight in giving up the most points they ever have under Todd Bowles. All the focus on Brady has obscured a lackluster start for some talented defenders this season. Luckily they’re still atop the most lackluster division in football so it might only matter come the postseason.

8. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 9

Justin Jefferson looked much more like last year’s version across the pond and even showed off some burst on his first career rushing touchdown. All things considered, you can’t read too much into a London performance and the bottom line is that the Vikings went over to accomplish the only thing they needed: to win.

9. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 12

Will Cooper Rush make it to the Cowboys Ring of Honor before Jimmy Johnson? The 4-0 backup QB looked the best he has so far with the offense slowly opening up more but acknowledged after the win over Washington that Dan Quinn’s unit is the real reason why the team has remained afloat without Dak Prescott.

10. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 19

As encouraging as it was to see that effort against the Rams, which team will we see when the 49ers go back out on the road? Clearly Jimmy G. was improved with added playing and practice time but the team’s defense was what really won it on Monday night to put the division into a four-way tie.

11. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 8

The highlight for the Rams up in the Bay might have been Bobby Wagner flattening that fan running out onto the field. Maybe it’s a case of the reigning champs just thinking they can flip the switch but there are some things that Sean McVay has to figure out.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 10

When Trevor Lawrence is taking care of the football, the Jags have a chance. When he doesn’t, they don’t. The Doug Pederson revenge tour started well but also showed how far he has to go with this group as the game against the Eagles wore on.

13. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 14

The cure for the common NFL struggles: a game against the Texans. Justin Herbert looked fine and even Austin Ekeler finally found the end zone (three times!), much to the delight of fantasy players everywhere. The question is if they can keep this going through a light October schedule or if the team will still find a way to trip up.

14. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 15

Tee Higgins' breakout on Thursday against a good Miami secondary could be instructive to whether other teams will continue to clamp down on Ja’Marr Chase with double coverage. Things remain a work in progress on that side of the ball but at least the Bengals' defense is keeping them afloat ahead of a big AFC North test in Baltimore.

15. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 23

Derrick Henry might be… back? Despite his breakout effort against the Colts, this group has to be better at closing out games and going for the kill shot when offered the opportunity.

16. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 21

These slow starts are becoming too much of an issue and especially so as the competition level ramps up. Kyler Murray and company are capable of making the highlight reel every week but have to improve at the basics if they want to make any headway in the standings.

17. Denver Broncos
Last week: 11

We may have finally got to see a little bit of Russ cooking down in Las Vegas but it wasn’t enough in the end. To make matters worse, Melvin Gordon clearly isn’t the answer in the backfield yet Javonte Williams’ ACL injury means the oft-fumbling tailback is likely (and unfortunately) to remain in the starting role.

18. New York Giants
Last week: 17

Who would have predicted the G-Men would be sitting at 3-1 despite a rash of problems? That’s a testament to the job Brian Daboll has done since taking over but he’ll have his toughest task ahead dealing with a banged-up QB room and a trip overseas to contend with.

19. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 31

Geno Smith is cooking and DK Metcalf, when not being carted to the locker room for certain reasons, looks like he won’t be taking anything off even after getting paid. But Pete Carroll has to be going mad watching the defensive effort each and every week.

20. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 18

Andy Dalton is a solid backup option but still limited when being thrown into the fire over in London. Add in some busted coverages, a few special teams mistakes, and the Saints were certainly lucky enough to even be in position to kick so many long field goals.

21. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 28

Josh McDaniels finally got a victory in Vegas and he had to relish it extra coming against Denver. Despite the visible relief from the head coach and rest of the team, things don’t get any easier as they dig out of this 1-3 start and the mighty Chiefs up next.

22. New England Patriots
Last week: 25

Add that Packers game to the exhibit hall of why Bill Belichick is still the greatest. Playing with a third-string rookie QB and taking an NFC favorite to overtime also underscores what this group is capable of once they get past this figuring-it-out phase.

23. New York Jets
Last week: 30

The Jets are .500 after a tough swing through the AFC North and now they’ve got their signal-caller back fresh off a late rally on the road. Zach Wilson significantly raises the ceiling of what the team is capable of but will need to step it up with a brutal stretch coming up against some top-end secondaries.

24. Detroit Lions
Last week: 16

This is the highest-scoring team in the league and yet… they’re just 1-3. Entertainingly bad is better than being unwatchably bad but that’s not the kind of toughness in one-score games that Dan Campbell would like to see out of his team.

25. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 29

Any Falcons fan would probably not believe you if you told them Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Mariota were helping power the team to .500 and looking feisty pretty much every week. Toss in a win in the fourth quarter instead of a backbreaking loss and things might be looking up for the birds, if they can navigate Patterson's IR stay.

26. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 13

Most in Ohio would have taken a 2-2 start to the season given everything that went on in the offseason but losses to Atlanta and the Jets do dampen the vibes considerably. Perhaps the return of, well, the entire starting defensive line will help but things could be about to go from bad to worse if they don’t get back on the winning track.

27. Chicago Bears
Last week: 26

It seems like only one phase of the game tends to work well in any one week for the Bears. Special teams showed up decently against the Giants but they couldn’t stop the run once again and Justin Fields only showed flashes without a sustained performance across four quarters.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 22

The Steelers had extra time to prepare rookie Kenny Pickett to play but it doesn’t seem like they used it, throwing him in on a whim after Mitch Trubisky was ineffective once again. The young QB used his legs to score two rushing TDs but clearly wasn’t prepared as a passer given some of those interceptions. Still, it’s time to rip the Band-Aid off and go fully into the Pickett era even with a tough road ahead.

29. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 20

Any talk of a division title might be thrown out the window with this kind of start and disappointment in all three phases. Jonathan Taylor not getting things going (and also getting hurt) is a glaring red flag for a group that looks like it’s about to get all blown up this offseason by impatient ownership.

30. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 24

Questions about Matt Rhule’s hot seat aside, it’s coming into focus that Baker Mayfield might not be the answer at quarterback. And because of that, the franchise is right back to square one with another year of rebuilding ahead.

31. Washington Commanders
Last week: 27

You knew it was going to be tough against that Dallas front but things might have been even worse than expected with all that pressure. Less than four yards (3.6) per attempt is a bad number for running the ball, much less passing it. Even more enraging for Ron Rivera though? All those penalties.

32. Houston Texans
Last week: 32

Davis Mills made the score look a lot nicer in the end but that effort against the Chargers might be the most concerning of this start in Houston. The defensive regression from week to week under Lovie Smith has to be item No. 1 to fix ahead of that trip to Jacksonville.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

1. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 7

Last week it was Tua and the offense coming through, this week it was the Fins defense continually limiting Buffalo’s big-play offense and keeping everything in front of them. Being able to win games in multiple ways is critical in the NFL and it’s a great thing for Miami that they’ve shown they can early in Mike McDaniel’s tenure.

2. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 1

There was some faint 1972 Dolphins talk about the Bills after their hot start to the year but that has quickly been put to bed. The outing in South Florida is nothing to get concerned about but does show this group can still get better.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Last week: 4

The Eagles' schedule is so sparse that they may only face one or two playoff teams the rest of the year. Throw in Jalen Hurts making an impressive leap under center and this just might be the shoo-in to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC at the moment.

4. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 8

If you said the Pack would be shut out in the second half and Aaron Jones had 36 rushing yards plus a fumble, you probably would have thought they were blown out by Tampa Bay. Alas, the defense stood up on a day when their counterparts seemed to wilt in the Florida humidity.

5. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 9

Lamar Jackson leads the league in touchdown passes and is tied for fourth in rushing yards. That’ll do. Of course, the Ravens need him to be that good with the way their secondary keeps allowing coverage busts.

6. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 2

At some point, all these lackadaisical performances that end up as surprising losses the Chiefs should have won will come back to bite them. Chalk that up to what happened in Indy in yet another reason why this team needs to start putting away teams instead of keeping them hanging around.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 3

Three games, three times the Bucs have been held to 20 points or fewer. At some point, that will start growing more and more concerning and lead to plenty of sports talk discussions over the aging quarterback running the show.

8. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 6

Death. Taxes. The Rams beating the Cardinals. Even with the fairly easy victory over their division rivals, the fact that they can’t put away games against opponents they have the opportunity to, well, that may be the byproduct of not being quite as focused as they were on the run to the Lombardi.

9. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 11

Two wins in the division and some toughness shown in coming back like that against Detroit. Still, a bit concerning that Justin Jefferson isn’t able to break free just yet, even if it has opened things up for K.J. Osborn.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 24

Congrats to Doug Pederson for needing just three games to tie Urban Meyer on the all-time franchise win list. It’s almost like a bit of decent coaching can make a difference for a roster stocked with high draft picks and notable free agents.

11. Denver Broncos
Last week: 13

Let us never speak of that Sunday night game again. Nathaniel Hackett hasn’t looked like a coach who has gotten off to a 2-1 start but he’ll take it.

12. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 21

Cooper Rush is undefeated as a starter for the Cowboys and setting records not seen since the merger. As solid as he and the redeemed CeeDee Lamb were in the Big Apple though, that ferocious pass rush is something that could mean bigger things down the road.

13. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 22

Best thing to do after a big collapse is go out and quickly put it out of mind. Doing it against a division rival and then getting some extra rest? That’s even better.

14. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 5

Blown out at home against the Jaguars is almost as indefensible as keeping Justin Herbert in the game late. Now the team will not only have to get up off the mat, they’ll have to do it without Joey Bosa, Rashawn Slater, and Jalen Guyton. Oof.

15. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 16

This group is still a far cry from the ones that came within seconds of hoisting a Lombardi. Getting that first win could be a jump-start though, even if the schedule ramps up quite a bit the next two weeks in prime time.

16. Detroit Lions
Last week: 17

No doubt about it, Dan Campbell’s aggressiveness lost that one in Minnesota. Despite not picking up what could have been a tenure-changing win, this remains a competitive team for four quarters.

17. New York Giants
Last week: 20

Daniel Jones was actually pretty good on Monday night, all things considered. If only his offensive line was not a pair of turnstiles and his receivers could catch the ball when it hits their hands.

18. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 12

That’s going to be a long trip to London next week after that no-show in Carolina. The past six quarters have exposed the flaws in the roster and on the sideline.

19. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 10

It appears there was a reason the team moved on from Jimmy G. to Trey Lance.

20. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 30

We’re either going to look back at that rally as a sign of life or one of the more inexplicable wins of the season. Matt Ryan has his critics but he’s always got a game-winning drive in him.

21. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 14

This entire team is basically turning it over to Kyler Murray or Budda Baker and hoping they make a play. Even if they do, it’s often not enough.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 15

Mike Tomlin was fired up that he wouldn’t be making a change at quarterback. So it just might be another week before we see Kenny Pickett.

23. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 27

That was four quarters of the Titans getting back to looking more like the team that was an AFC contender. Still a long way to go in Nashville but getting back on track is a step in the right direction.

24. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 28

Baker Mayfield still hasn’t been as sharp as he was at the peak of his powers in Cleveland but was solid enough to win a divisional game against the Saints. More notable was the return of the Carolina defense we all expected to see this season.

25. New England Patriots
Last week: 19

Mac Jones kept the Pats in it against Baltimore but his injury leaves the team even further behind the sticks. Now with Brian Hoyer under center for an unknown amount of time, there might really be nobody on the offense that is threatening enough to game plan for.

26. Chicago Bears
Last week: 29

It’s often said you are what your record says you are. Yet the Bears are really testing that theory the way they just barely scrape by. Even at 2-1, the evaluation of Justin Fields looks hard to figure out.

27. Washington Commanders
Last week: 23

Two straight blowouts and the roller-coaster ride continues. If the skid continues against another division rival next week, changes may be afoot outside the nation’s capital.

28. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 18

There is just one winless team in the league and who would have guessed it was the one who made the monster trade for a supposed difference-maker at receiver? The more pressing issue for new head coach Josh McDaniels is much more so on the fact that Patrick Graham’s defense should not be this bad.

29. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 32

Cordarrelle Patterson has gone through a number of phases in his career but 141-yard rusher and second-half hammer to get the Falcons’ first win of the year might be the most unexpected.

30. New York Jets
Last week: 25

How is it possible Joe Flacco leads the league in passing attempts? That’s doubling down on giving your team a worse chance to win every single week.

31. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 26

After three games, Geno Smith hasn’t been the issue for the Seahawks. Pete Carroll’s defense has.

32. Houston Texans
Last week: 31

Some teams just find ways to lose and the Texans are one such team as they fall to a hard-to-believe 0-2-1. At least rookie safety Jalen Pitre is a bright spot for head coach Lovie Smith.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

1. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 1

The Bills seem to just be toying with opponents at this point, as Josh Allen and company are living up to every preseason billing thrown their way. It feels like forcing a punt against this crew should be worth like four points given how few times they have to trot out that special teams unit.

2. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 2

The Chiefs can forever claim they won the first-ever streaming-only NFL game on Amazon's Prime Video. They can also claim that early lead in the AFC West with a big statement against the Chargers.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 4

Tom Brady and the Bucs finally got over the hump against the Saints in the Superdome but the first three quarters of offensive frustration might allude to issues down the road. Maybe that’s a product of the Hall of Famer's camp absence setting them back a few weeks but it’s something to monitor moving forward.

4. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 14

All those questions about Jalen Hurts making the leap over the summer seem to have faded away quite quickly. Given the flaws in all the other NFC contenders, the expectation level in Philly is rising through the roof.

5. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 3

Justin Herbert did pretty much everything he could and the Chargers still came up just a bit short against the Chiefs. Hopefully his ribs are okay but all things considered, limiting KC to just 27 points should normally be worth a win.

6. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 6

Getting a big lead against the Falcons? Expected. Blowing that lead and making things close? Unexpected. A case of the Super Bowl champs looking a little less focused than they were a year ago? Certainly.

7. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 10

TuAnon Rise Up! Not only was the embattled quarterback dealing in that ferocious comeback against Baltimore, but the team seemed to be calm and collected no matter what the score was. That air of confidence seems to flow directly from their young head coach as the record is finally living up to the talent level in South Florida.

8. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 9

The NBC broadcast on Sunday night caught a fan’s sign saying Aaron Rodgers was the owner of the Bears franchise. Given the numbers he has against them, hard to argue.

9. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 5

Lamar Jackson sure proved his worth to the team in carrying them against the Dolphins. He also underscored how the defense hasn’t quite been what we expected after it got re-tooled. Not quite an alarm bell-ringing loss but one the team has to hope doesn’t come back and cost them at the end of the year.

10. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 16

You just hate to see Trey Lance finally get his opportunity and then suffer a season-ending injury like that. But there was a reason why the front office held onto Jimmy G and now that is paying off in keeping the team’s aspirations alive moving forward.

11. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 8

Not everything about that performance in Philly on Monday night falls on Kirk Cousins… but the QB wasn’t blameless either. The new defensive staff certainly will have a lot to fix ahead of next week.

12. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 17

If you live by the Jameis, you’re also going to die by the Jameis. Losing defensive backs Paulson Adebo and Marshon Lattimore also underscored how this defense can’t lose anybody of note on the front line.

13. Denver Broncos
Last week: 12

Nathaniel Hackett sure isn’t endearing himself to the fans early in his tenure with some of the decisions he’s making during games.

14. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 20

Ahh, that’s why they paid Kyler Murray all that money.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 13

Mitch Trubisky made some throws in that loss to New England that left you wondering just how short his leash is before the staff turns to the rookie first-rounder behind him.

16. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 7

Last time an 0-2 team made playoffs was 2018. The Bengals can still add their name to the list but beefing up the offensive line didn’t seem to do anything for keeping Joe Burrow upright. That’s on both the QB and the coaching staff moving forward.

17. Detroit Lions
Last week: 26

"Hard Knocks" allowed us to meet all the characters on this team but they’re also quite fun watching on Sundays too. Aidan Hutchinson looks like the real deal so far as a rookie and a problem for opposing tackles moving forward.

18. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week: 11

Josh McDaniels was hired to make a difference in close games. So far, he has not. There are no excuses to lose games like that to Arizona and now the Raiders find themselves two steps behind in the division race.

19. New England Patriots
Last week: 27

Not the prettiest of wins but the team will take it after the heat they’ve been feeling externally the past few weeks. Still, no let up going forward looking ahead at that schedule.

20. New York Giants
Last week: 24

Does anybody really believe this is a real contender even with that 2-0 mark? No, but it does underscore just how big an impact the good coaching of Brian Daboll has had.

21. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 29

Cooper Rush might just be the greatest backup ever, eh? Ok well that’s being a little embellished but what isn’t is that defensive front and Micah Parsons getting after the quarterback.

22. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 15

Brownie the Elf won’t ever forget the end of that game against the lowly Jets. When it comes down to the thin line for a playoff berth, keep that result in mind for a team already playing with one hand tied behind their back.

23. Washington Commanders
Last week: 18

The stats say that Carson Wentz is off to a good start in D.C. but actually watching him and this offense in action is a slightly different story. More concerning than that roller coaster for Ron Rivera? The disappearance of a once tough and active defense capable of slowing down any attack.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 28

It’s Week 3 and the Jaguars have sole possession of first place in the AFC South. Given how bad the rest of the division has looked, maybe it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities that a worst-to-first situation plays out under the new coaching staff.

25. New York Jets
Last week: 31

Your accountant and Robert Saleh: Save the receipts! The Jets fan base has been treated to some awful football over the years but that magical ending against the Browns — thanks to the ever-elite Joe Flacco — was a nice reminder that they can have nice things occasionally.

26. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 19

You would think a division rival playing with their backup quarterback would lead to a competitive game but the Seahawks were never in it with the 49ers and will have to be thinking about a missed opportunity on the road.

27. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 25

Titans fans probably knew it would take some time to get to rookie QB Malik Willis but getting thrown to the wolves after seven quarters probably wasn’t in the game plan for the coaching staff or front office.

28. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 21

Defense was supposed to be a strength for this squad but it’s the second straight week that they’ve given up a late score that led to a loss. Perhaps that’s why Matt Rhule’s name keeps popping up on lists for job openings in college football.

29. Chicago Bears
Last week: 23

Would the game have turned out differently had Justin Fields scored down at the goal line? Probably not. But it would have been a lot more encouraging for the fan base after losing a seventh in a row against their bitter archrivals.

30. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 22

Frank Reich’s job status is going to quickly accelerate from back page to front page if the Colts keep putting in performances like that. If ownership decides to eventually make a move, going 0-5 in Duval will be exhibit one.

31. Houston Texans
Last week: 30

You see flashes of the Texans turning the corner in this rebuild but another blown lead in the second half underscores the issue of depth they face. Still, this is far from the easy out some expected so far this season.

32. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 32

A week after blowing a big lead, the Falcons decided to storm back from a big deficit to make things close against the reigning Super Bowl champs. Even being 0-2, you can’t accuse the team of being boring or hard to watch (unless you’re an Atlanta fan).

NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

1. Buffalo Bills
Last week:
1

Dragging the reigning champions around on their home turf sure helps cement the Bills as the Super Bowl favorites in 2022 for even those few holdouts that didn’t have that opinion of an absolutely loaded group.

2. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week:
2

One way to shut up the masses from talking about the loss of a certain wide receiver is to go on the road and drop 44 while making Patrick Mahomes look like he’s taken yet another step in his development.

3. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week:
5

Justin Herbert has thrown at least three touchdowns in nearly 40 percent of his games. That seems… good? Still, it might have been the Chargers' defense that was the real eye-opener in that win over the Raiders on Sunday and extracted at least a small manner of revenge for how last year ended.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week:
6

Todd Bowles’ defense looked in mid-season form but might that Tom Brady camp absence have contributed to the offense looking a little rusty against Dallas? Not alarming by any stretch but perhaps the line concerns coming in were warranted.

5. Baltimore Ravens
Last week:
8

Lamar Jackson keeps betting on himself when it comes to his contract extension and if the Ravens keep playing like that, the numbers will certainly come out in the quarterback's favor.

6. Los Angeles Rams
Last week:
3

They won a banner in their home stadium eight months ago so this is just a house money type of season for the Rams, right? The Rams better hope so after getting embarrassed in the opener against the Bills.

7. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week:
4

It felt like that Super Bowl hangover was really tangible in the opener, especially when Joe Burrow is out there throwing a pick-six on his first throw of the season and the normally clutch kicking game letting the team down. Not yet cause for concern around town but that sloppy play can’t be tolerated if the Bengals want to stay afloat in a cutthroat AFC.

8. Minnesota Vikings
Last week:
22

Talk about a heck of a debut for a new coaching staff — and indeed a new era — in the Twin Cities. As encouraging as it was to see Justin Jefferson running free on nearly every series, the ability to clamp down on Aaron Rodgers may be an even bigger sign for the fan base after a number of questions about the personnel on that side of the ball.

9. Green Bay Packers
Last week:
7

Aaron Rodgers looked frustrated after pretty much every possession but seemed to understand there will be some growing pains with so many new faces. The silver lining is the Pack have dropped their opener before and Rodgers turned in an MVP campaign afterward and that’s the hope once again in 2022.

10. Miami Dolphins
Last week:
17

Putting on a defensive masterclass in a game that really wasn’t as close as the score indicated — against Bill Belichick — is quite a way for Mike McDaniel to kick off his coaching career. Even more so given the fact that Tua Tagovailoa’s performance wasn’t one of the bigger storylines exiting that divisional triumph.

11. Las Vegas Raiders
Last week:
11

They made things interesting late but Josh McDaniels was brought in to help take the offense to another level and three Derek Carr interceptions isn’t the answer. This already looks like a one-dimensional group with Davonte Adams that is now behind the sticks in the divisional race.

12. Denver Broncos
Last week:
10

Nathaniel Hackett is rightfully getting roasted for that clock management down the stretch but he also needs to get thrown under the bus for the team’s red zone efforts. There’s still enough talent to regroup and get some wins but that’s not the kind of debut the new head coach nor expensive new quarterback wanted on Monday night.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week:
21

Mike Tomlin continues to conjure up victories when his team probably is at a talent disadvantage and they miraculously did so on Sunday against the Bengals to end that little AFC North losing streak. Still, one has to think that Kenny Pickett is going to be playing sooner rather than later given how the offense struggled down the stretch.

14. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week:
14

This Jalen Hurts/A.J. Brown combination sure looks potent but running one’s quarterback 17 times in a game isn’t a long-term answer for success. The offensive line still needs a little work — to say nothing of the defense that allowed things to get much tighter than it should have been in Detroit.

15. Cleveland Browns
Last week:
13

It’s somewhat unfathomable that the Browns won their opener for the first time since 2004. It wasn’t pretty and the defense seemed to take the fourth quarter off but that’s a big win that could matter a lot when it comes to chasing a playoff berth. Tip of the hat to rookie kicker Cade York for coming in and drilling that to earn a memorable NFL debut too.

16. San Francisco 49ers
Last week:
9

Blame the weather all you like, that was far from the kind of start Kyle Shanahan envisioned for Trey Lance or his defense. It might not mean much in the long run but that is a tape the coaching staff will hate to keep watching over and over.

17. New Orleans Saints
Last week:
16

We’ll need to see more out of the Saints under Dennis Allen to figure out if they’re more of the team that struggled for three quarters or the one that came back in the final 15 minutes. Either way, it was great to see Michael Thomas out there catching touchdowns once again.

18. Washington Commanders
Last week:
24

Washington fans are not going to last the season if there will be 16 more games of this Carson Wentz. 1-0 is still 1-0 though.

19. Seattle Seahawks
Last week:
28

Geno! Geno! Geno! What a great atmosphere and what a great win for the Seahawks' new starting QB — despite the bonkers ending and a slew of strange plays. The 12s really did their job in welcoming Russell Wilson back to town and capping a wild week off with a shocker.

20. Arizona Cardinals
Last week:
12

Sure there were a number of injuries and they were playing one of the best teams in the league… but giving up 44 points and failing to get much going on offense until the second string was thrown out there is not going to look good at any point. At least it will make for interesting "Hard Knocks" content.

21. Carolina Panthers
Last week:
23

The Baker Mayfield Bowl took a while for the star participant to get going and it almost looked like he was going to get one over on his old team in the end. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be but if the Panthers can bottle that fourth-quarter offensive output this year, then they just might be more competitive than many assumed.

22. Indianapolis Colts
Last week:
20

Matt Ryan still seems like he’s got it after leading that kind of rally down the stretch but let’s face it, for a team hopeful of winning the division, struggling to even tie against the Texans isn’t an inspiring effort to start the year.

23. Chicago Bears
Last week:
30

Slip and slide your way to a win Chicago! Justin Fields may not have much to work with around him but he and the Bears managed to find a way to finally make the headlines around town about the work being done on the field instead of off it.

24. New York Giants
Last week:
26

Brian Daboll said after his first win that he’s trying to build something. Sneaking out of Nashville with a victory and Saquon Barkley looking like the Saquon Barkley of old is a heck of a start.

25. Tennessee Titans
Last week:
18

Randy Bullock is going to want that game back, especially after looking so clutch last season. The bigger question is why the Titans couldn’t put the game away before it even got into a position to rely on its kicker. Not being able to run like they’re used to — nor stop the run on the other end — is a good place to start.

26. Detroit Lions
Last week:
27

Hard Knocks aficionados probably thought the Lions would be more competitive this year and that seemed to be the case against the Eagles, even if they couldn’t get one extra stop when they needed it the most.

27. New England Patriots
Last week:
19

The Pats are used to starting the year slow and playing mediocre down in Miami but after the kind of offseason there’s been around the team… perhaps the panic amid the fan base is actually warranted. It certainly is on offense regardless of Mac Jones’ status going forward with that back injury.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week:
25

The Jaguars still have to learn to win ball games and not lose them at this point but there were some encouraging signs that the entire team won’t have a deer in the headlights look the entire season under Doug Pederson.

29. Dallas Cowboys
Last week:
15

Welp. Talk about an opener going from bad (an awful offensive show) to worse (the Dak Prescott injury), it sure seems like the next few months in Dallas will simply be about what it will take to lure Sean Payton as head coach for 2023.

30. Houston Texans
Last week:
31

Guessing Lovie Smith will have a word or two with his team about closing out games after blowing a 20-3 lead in the fourth quarter. Salvaging a tie when they should have been handed a loss will not quite underscore the progress it looked like the Texans had made on the field.

31. New York Jets
Last week:
29

Jets fans have had it rough enough the past few years but watching that display out of Joe Flacco and company has to just drain whatever ounce of joy they had left in the team. Not sure the return of Zach Wilson will be enough to lift the fortunes of a team that has to start being competitive.

32. Atlanta Falcons
Last week:
32

You can’t hurt the Falcons fans when it comes to blowing a 16-point fourth-quarter lead when they’re already feeling dead inside about this franchise. At least there’s a little bit of hope based on how the Marcus Mariota-led offense looked.

NFL Power Rankings: Pre-Week 1

1. Buffalo Bills
Thirteen (13) seconds will forever be stuck in the back of the minds of Bills supporters after what happened in last season’s playoffs but the painful ending to the 2021 campaign will double as a motivator to a team primed to reach the Promise Land this year. Quarterback Josh Allen will press hard for MVP honors given his development and the addition of key free agents like Von Miller ($120 million deal) show the franchise is ready to take advantage of this window of contention. The schedule is tough and an early bye doesn’t help but there’s a reason Buffalo will be favored pretty much every time they take the field.

2. Kansas City Chiefs
After six straight division titles and four AFC Championship Game appearances, the expectations around KC remain the same even if the team is going through a bit of a reboot. Tyreek Hill was traded away, a few defensive starters departed but they’ll still have a chance to make it back to Super Bowl once again thanks largely to their young gunslinger behind center. Patrick Mahomes is coming off his statistically worst season as a starter but such an anomaly speaks to just how otherworldly he is in general. The division is tougher and the loss of Hill is going to mean offensive changes but nobody will be surprised if the team continues to be the one everybody else in the league is chasing by the time the playoffs roll around again.

3. Los Angeles Rams
Fresh off a euphoric run to a Lombardi Trophy in their home stadium, the Rams have every intention to run it back again. The core of the team returns to power the way on that front, from star wideout Cooper Kupp to freshly re-signed defensive line stud Aaron Donald still in their prime and hungry to win even more. There are some concerns (LT Andrew Whitworth retired, QB Matthew Stafford’s elbow is balky) that need to be overcome but Sean McVay and company will at least benefit from an NFC that is far less competitive than their counterparts across the way.

4. Cincinnati Bengals
Fresh off one of the most surprising Super Bowl runs in recent memory, the Bengals are dead set on proving to the rest of the league that they’re no one-year wonders. The bulk of playmakers are back, QB Joe Burrow is another year wiser and, most importantly, the front office went about using the offseason to completely remake the team’s Achilles heel of its offensive line. Given how the AFC North looks very much in flux, Cincinnati will have its sights set on a postseason return to finish off the job the team came up just short of back in LA.

5. Los Angeles Chargers
In terms of pure talent, there’s an argument to be made that no roster is as stacked as the Chargers. They have a young signal-caller on the verge of league-wide superstardom, a terror off the edge in Joey Bosa, an elite safety in Derwin James Jr., and some shiny new additions like J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack. It’s all setting up for a big postseason run, right? Well, sure, if they can overcome their franchise’s inherent nature of making things more difficult than they should be.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s been a wild offseason around Tampa Bay but the bottom line is that Tom Brady is back in the fold under center and, consequently, that means this is once again a bona fide Super Bowl contender. Injuries to the offensive line and Chris Godwin’s ACL rehab are an early cause for concern but this remains one of the more balanced teams in the league with Pro Bowlers all over the starting 22. Staying healthy will be key but the schedule sets up nicely for a postseason spent all at home.

7. Green Bay Packers
For all the focus on the upcoming season, everybody around Titletown knows that they’ll be judged not on total wins but if they can win that last one in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers parlayed back-to-back MVP campaigns into a new contract to remove the biggest talking point around Green Bay as attention now turns to getting over the hump when it’s win or go home. A new receiving corps will draw scrutiny every week but this remains a franchise capable of nabbing another Lombardi Trophy — but still needs to prove it when it matters most.

8. Baltimore Ravens
The story of the Ravens last season was dominated by the number of key players lost to injury but a fresh start for 2022 provides plenty of optimism moving forward. Lamar Jackson returns as the offensive focal point but will need to elevate his passing even more after Marquise Brown’s departure to Arizona. A new defensive coordinator is expected to pay dividends on that side of the ball, to say nothing of a revamped secondary. After a rare losing season under John Harbaugh, expect a return to contention down in Baltimore.

9. San Francisco 49ers
It’s fully the Trey Lance show by the bay now as the team revamps itself and tries to stay healthy after a quality run in the playoffs left them just short of a Super Bowl return. Deebo Samuel appears to be ready to move forward after contract issues this offseason and he forms one of the most dangerous duos in the league with TE George Kittle. The defense gets a number of quality additions to a group that already was one of the best around despite a lack of healthy bodies down the stretch. The QB change is being made now to elevate the ceiling of the franchise in 2022 and beyond but expectations remain the same.

10. Denver Broncos
Broncos fans might be the fan base most excited at the prospect of the actual NFL season kicking off after enduring a very protracted and public sale process that wound up with an ownership change — a storyline that came hot on the heels of trading for Russell Wilson. The QB is hoping his tenure can go much like another star imported to Mile High as Peyton Manning produced a pair of runs to the Super Bowl upon his arrival. The challenge will be in how to manage it all for rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett and do so in a division that is as unforgiving as any in the league.

Related: 15 Things to Watch During the 2022 NFL Season

11. Las Vegas Raiders
After going through the ringer with just about everything on and off the field last year, optimism is finally running high in Sin City that the future is now. Davante Adams and Chandler Jones headline some of the impact additions but all eyes will first fall to new head coach Josh McDaniels. He’s no stranger to the AFC West but will be tasked with getting Adams’ old college QB Derek Carr to play as consistently as he ever has. That’s extra important for the offense to carry the load early because new DC Patrick Graham is changing schemes while trying to make the most of a generally underperforming group of players.

12. Arizona Cardinals
Despite ending a lengthy playoff drought, the Cardinals went about making big changes this offseason that will reverberate for years to come. Kyler Murray inked a big-money extension, a number of free agents were either retained or brought in, and GM Steve Keim swung a big trade for WR Marquise Brown. The loss of DeAndre Hopkins for six games hurts and the defense will remain a work in progress for much of the year but this is on paper a contender to make the postseason again out of the NFC.

13. Cleveland Browns
The most talked-about team since the Super Bowl was, bar none, the Browns. That’s not exactly a good thing given their controversial trade for quarterback Deshuan Watson, a record-setting contract and his subsequent personal conduct suspension that casts a shadow over the franchise in 2022 and for many years to come. There’s unquestioned talent still on the roster from Nick Chubb to Denzel Ward to Myles Garrett, plus youngsters like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. The question remains whether they can keep their playoff hopes afloat with Jacoby Brissett at QB until Watson returns and makes this group more of a threat out of the AFC.

14. Philadelphia Eagles
Whatcha got Jalen Hurts? That’s the question being asked all over Philly going into a critical season for the young quarterback and his franchise. The team made a nice run to the playoffs against a light schedule but everybody with a rooting interest knows tangible progress has to be made beyond the final record. Trading for A.J. Brown was a big splash move and the Eagles used free agency to smartly revamp their linebacking corps. A quality draft added to the mix and makes this team a contender in the weak NFC East but Nick Sirianni's charges will still need to improve in all facets if they want to be viewed as a real challenger to make it to Glendale.

15. Dallas Cowboys
The way the season ended for Dallas was about as painful as any fan base endured with the exception of perhaps the Bills. While you would think that would come to define the offseason for the team, it has instead been about figuring out which new names will replace departed stars like Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory. The defense should remain good as long as Micah Parsons is roaming around the field and that should allow Dak Prescott and the offense to feel things out early on. Expectations remain high as ever — as will the drama around Big D with any stumble for Mike McCarthy’s team.

16. New Orleans Saints
It’s very much a new era in the Big Easy with the departure of longtime head coach Sean Payton — even if there’s plenty being carried over from last year into this one. Dennis Allen gets bumped up a chair and the former Raiders head man will be tasked with keeping the ship pointed in the right direction while figuring out things at the margins. A healthy Jameis Winston behind center should help settle things on offense, especially with a receiving corps that features rookie Chris Olave and Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry to go with star Michael Thomas. The front office thinks this team can contend for more than just a playoff berth out of the NFC South and only time will tell if that’s a misplaced bet.

17. Miami Dolphins
It’s safe to say the Dolphins are pushing all their chips into the pot. They signed Terron Armstead to solidify the line and brought in Tyreek Hill to go with an already established skill position group. All that’s left? For Tua Tagovailoa to either get the job done or find the franchise moving on from him. How new coach Mike McDaniel manages all that in his first big gig outside Kyle Shanahan’s shadow will be one of the bigger on-field storylines in the league this year.

18. Tennessee Titans
Every team asks themselves what-if after the season but it’s safe to say that was really being asked around Nashville after the Titans saw Cincinnati go on a Cinderella run that many around town thought Tennessee was ready to make. With the calendar turned to 2022 though, the franchise finds itself at a crossroads. Derrick Henry has another year of wear on his body and will be coming off his first major injury. QB Ryan Tannehill is clearly in a make-or-break season with youngster Malik Willis waiting in the wings and expectations will be heavy on fellow rookie Treylon Burks to replace pretty much all of A.J. Brown’s production after he was dealt. The defense will remain a strength but until the Titans actually get over the hump when it matters most, they’ll be viewed far more as pretenders than contenders.

19. New England Patriots
Mac Jones was a revelation for the Pats as a rookie quarterback last season, looking like a 10-year veteran in leading the team back to the playoffs. The question in Boston (and beyond) however is what he can do for an encore in Year 2 without OC Josh McDaniels and a revamped receiving corps and interior line. Defensively, the wheels came off for Bill Belichick’s squad down the stretch but some new faces should do wonders in adding some much-needed team speed as New England looks to be in the thick of the race yet again.

20. Indianapolis Colts
Sometimes it’s hard to pin a reboot on just one game but that’s actually quite easy to do in the case of the Colts. Following a dreadful loss to the Jaguars that cost them a playoff berth, Carson Wentz was quickly shown the door and GM Chris Ballard finally tapped the cap room to bring in impact veterans like Stephon Gilmore. Whether it all melds together into a team that can do more than win the lackluster AFC South will largely come down to Wentz’ replacement: a fired-up Matt Ryan in a new locale for the first time in his NFL career. In terms of intrigue and potential, you’ll find plenty of it in Indy.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin’s coaching ability is highly regarded league-wide but he earned more plaudits than normal after getting the Steelers to nine wins a year ago. Now comes an equally big challenge that could earn him even more pats on the bat: reboot the team while continuing to win at a high level. Ben Roethlisberger is finally retired. GM Kevin Colbert is no longer calling shots. Youngsters dot the offensive line and all three levels of the defense. It all falls on Tomlin to get the most out of this group again and will likely start with the coach passing the torch behind center to rookie Kenny Pickett as quickly as he can.

22. Minnesota Vikings
It’s a new era in the Twin Cities as a revamped front office brought in first-time head coach Kevin O’Connell and a host of new staffers. The 37-year-old is the latest on the Sean McVay coaching tree to get a top job and his primary task will be getting the most out of embattled signal-caller Kirk Cousins. Question marks abound beyond QB however, especially with a defense that gave up far too many points and will be changing schemes for the first time in a long time. Expectations are middling going into the year but there’s enough on the roster that a new voice in everybody’s ears could help produce a surprise or two.

23. Carolina Panthers
Unless you were a Panthers fan, there were not a ton of reasons to tune in to watch this team. Another five-win season will do that. But with Baker Mayfield on a full revenge tour, a hopefully healthy Christian McCaffrey and a young, aggressive defense… this year might be a different story. Whether entertaining translates into some actual wins though? That will largely go toward determining whether Matt Rhule gets yet another season from a demanding owner who wants to challenge for the playoffs.

24. Washington Commanders
Pretty much every offseason has seen the off-field storylines overshadow the on-field ones in Washington but 2022 reached new levels given the amount of dysfunction that has made headlines around the beltway. Through it all though, Ron Rivera has kept his focus on the year and getting the most out of a roster that has talent in spots but will largely see this campaign defined by whether or not Carson Wentz is an answer or just another guy behind center. Camp reports have been mixed on that front but a tougher division race means the newly-named Commanders can’t skate by again and narrowly make the playoffs despite the play of their quarterback.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars
Disaster is putting it mildly when it comes to the Jaguars’ 2021 season. Urban Meyer was axed early on, team chemistry was awful and the inexperienced coaching staff never could get Trevor Lawrence on the same page as the rest of the offense. Luckily this has been a transformative offseason in Duval, with youngsters like Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd getting drafted to inject life into the defense and the return of key parts of the offense like Travis Etienne Jr. and new signing Christian Kirk. Saying this will be a good team might be a stretch but Doug Pederson will have them competent and pointed in the right direction (something the previous few regimes could not say).

26. New York Giants
After trying to play it down the middle for too many years, the historic franchise is finally rebooting completely and bringing in fresh ideas and a coaching staff with plenty of chops. Task one for new coach Brian Daboll and his front office? Figure out if Daniel Jones is somebody capable of building around or if it’s time to cut bait come February. After that, evaluating the margins of a roster that is suspect while trying to keep fans in the Big Apple interested remains paramount before attention can fully turn toward 2023.

27. Detroit Lions
The darlings of "Hard Knocks" have gotten more than the Motor City fired up to watch Dan Campbell’s crew this season and rightfully so. Despite just three wins a year ago, this group fought hard pretty much every game in the second half of the year and has some young pieces to build around. No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson is already earning rave reviews and will be counted on to help deliver even more in big moments. Jared Goff’s future still seems nebulous at the moment but this will be the best offensive line and skill position group he’s had since taking the Rams to the Super Bowl.

28. Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson is gone. So is Bobby Wagner. After showing two franchise cornerstones the door, what’s next for the Seahawks? That’s something many are wondering as the Pacific Northwest reboot tries to find its footing and live up to Pete Carroll’s "Always Compete" mantra despite a roster full of spare parts. The coaching staff has handed the keys to Geno Smith but that seems like a stop-gap solution for the time being amid all the changes going on in Seattle.

29. New York Jets
GM Joe Douglas has been earning plenty of praise for the talent infusion he’s done this offseason and optimism has been running high for gang green really since last year ended. But injuries have dampened that considerably in camp with injuries to key players like Mekhi Becton (whose role was up in the air to be fair) and, of course, QB Zach Wilson. While the latter is expected to not miss much time, he did still lose out on further development with his new skill players and having to turn to Joe Flacco at all does not inspire confidence. The team will be better than a year ago but how much that translates into the win column will prove to be a big question around the Big Apple.

30. Chicago Bears
Puzzling decisions are nothing new for how the Bears have operated the past few decades but the surprising hires of GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus add intrigue in the Windy City. Even if fans have faith in both of them turning around the fortunes of the team, they’ll have some growing pains in 2022. Justin Fields has shown flashes when he’s not running for his life but will have to deal with an awful offensive line and a first-time OC calling plays. The defense should become more aggressive and will benefit from Eberflus calling the shots but it could be a long year based on the current state of the roster.

31. Houston Texans
After a lengthy saga, Deshaun Watson is no longer a Texan and it feels like the team can finally move forward without that cloud hanging over things. That makes it fully Davis Mills’ team behind center but he’ll need those around him to step up if Houston is to make more of a dent in the win column. New head coach Lovie Smith offers continuity at the top but also probably lowers the ceiling given the roster limitations and his conservative nature.

32. Atlanta Falcons
It wasn’t long ago that the Falcons were contending in the NFC but those days are long gone as the franchise firmly tries to rebuild itself. Marcus Mariota will have to hold off rookie Desmond Ridder for the entire season but whoever is under center should be able to keep the offense in the middle of the pack given their scheme and playmakers in the middle of the field like Kyle Pitts and rookie WR Drake London. More suspect is the defense, which has a few pieces but lacks any sort of depth and needs a number of players to have career years to even get back to last season’s overall numbers.

NFL Power Rankings: Way-Too-Early 2022 Edition

1. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid have been to four straight AFC Championship Games and likely underachieved with just one Super Bowl title to their name. The pair gives them a shot in pretty much every game though and can make up for losses like a new-look secondary or an additional fresh face at receiver or two.

Related: Way-Too-Early NFL Divisional Predictions for 2022

2. Buffalo Bills
Thirteen seconds will stick in the minds of the Bills for much of this offseason and likely serve as a powerful motivator. Josh Allen looks like he’s either the No. 1 or No. 2 quarterback in the game right now and the supporting cast still looks like it is capable of further growth. They’ll have to withstand the loss of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll but this is a group that keeps scratching the surface and primed to break through.

3. Cincinnati Bengals
As long as Joe Burrow is taking snaps, it seems like the Bengals will have a shot. They’ll have to deal with being the hunted instead of the hunters in the AFC but this is clearly a team that is still on the rise. It will be hard for the offensive line to be any worse but if they can patch that up and add a piece to the secondary, this will be a contender for it all once again.

4. Dallas Cowboys
It was a bit of a surprise to see both coordinators return for another go-around following a number of head coach interviews but that will benefit Big D for the upcoming season. Dak Prescott obviously needs to take the next step but the foundation is there for one of the more balanced NFC teams around.

5. Los Angeles Rams
The champs went all-in on winning the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium and now have to re-tool a bit on the fly. They still have QB Matthew Stafford, wideout Cooper Kupp coming off a historic season and a top-flight DB in Jalen Ramsey but question marks remain. Aaron Donald has hinted at retirement, the offensive line figures to be in flux no matter what Andrew Whitworth does and there’s the matter of replacing the likes of Von Miller/Odell Beckham Jr. and more.

6. Tennessee Titans
Mike Vrabel won coach of the year for a reason and if the training room can be kept a little clearer, there’s little reason to think this group won’t be back for another run. They do need to get a little more explosive offensively and find out some solutions rushing the passer but Derrick Henry and company won’t be going anywhere.

7. Green Bay Packers
The biggest offseason storyline in the league figures to be the status of Aaron Rodgers and what he does. That’s not the only big decision ahead for the Packers brass however, with a host of key salary cap issues ahead to clear up. The roster is generally in good shape but much will depend on the back-to-back MVP's return.

8. San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy G. figures to be elsewhere by Week 1 as this team fully transitions into the Trey Lance era. The upside under center is undeniable but it could take a while before the floor is high enough to get back to Lombardi contention. They still have Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and more to go with that feisty defense so expect Kyle Shanahan’s crew to be back in the mix despite the QB changeover.

9. Baltimore Ravens
Injuries took the sting out of the Ravens down the stretch but they do bring back an MVP-caliber quarterback and what will hopefully be much more impactful running back and secondary rooms. A new defensive coordinator (Mike Macdonald) will be in the fold but this should once again be a group capable of winning plenty in 2022.

10. Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert continues to look like a guy you can build around and one hopes that Brandon Staley will make full use of the offseason to smooth out some of his decision-making skills after going through some growing pains as a rookie head coach. Fixing the run defense remains the top priority but this is a team on the right day that few want to play.

11. New England Patriots
Mac Jones’ rookie campaign was a smashing success in getting the team to the playoffs but he’ll need to make the sophomore leap under center to take the next step. Losing four of their last five mean there’s plenty of work left to do for Bill Belichick and company but this will once again be a hard-nosed team that will be in contention again.

12. Las Vegas Raiders
It was anything but a quiet season in Sin City in 2021 but the hope has to be that new head coach Josh McDaniels can offer stability and unlock the potential of a pretty solid roster. Derek Carr remains a decent building block and the defense has made strides lately. McDaniels figures to implement his own culture, which could lead to some friction, but he also figures to be much better in his second HC stint to help elevate what was already an AFC playoff squad.

13. Arizona Cardinals
The Super Bowl has been won by the host team two years running, so congrats Cardinals? It’s a big year ahead either way with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray both looking for contract extensions and some roster work left to be done by the front office. The ceiling is right there in the NFC but the lack of depth and style of play amounts to a bit of a prove-it season in the desert.

14. Cleveland Browns
If you’re looking for a potential turnaround story, the Browns just might be it given how stacked they are on the defensive side of the ball. Much will come down to the play of QB Baker Mayfield however, who seemed like a completely different guy after being injured.

15. Philadelphia Eagles
This is a critical offseason in Philly that could set up the organization for years to come. They have a ton of cap space, three first-round picks, and a roster that still managed to make the playoffs. Jalen Hurts needs to show continued development but there’s a long runway for the team to get better and make that leap from hovering around .500 to much, much more.

16. Seattle Seahawks
This could be a few months where the franchise gets rebooted or simply revamped. Much comes down to Russell Wilson and whether or not he is fully in on what the team wants to do moving forward. There is a rare bit of cap space to play with but it will come down to the margins for Pete Carroll and company once again if their star QB is indeed back and healthy.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The roster is generally in good shape given the amount of talent coming back but losing the greatest quarterback in NFL history (who played at an MVP level), is bound to have a pretty adverse effect. Sorting out who is under center is the top priority for a team that still can win the NFC South.

18. Denver Broncos
Talk about a mystery wrapped inside an enigma, the Broncos offer tantalizing potential with some massive question marks. The ownership situation is hanging over everything, there’s a new and inexperienced coaching staff coming in plus an unsettled QB position. That said, this could wind up being a spot for a marquee signal-caller and there’s loads of talent on hand capable of producing much, much more.

19. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins will be dominating the headlines for much of the next several months and it has nothing to do with their starting 22 or anything involving their youthful coaching staff. Setting Brian Flores’ claims aside, Mike McDaniel’s marriage with Tua Tagovailoa will remain a fascinating combination and provide plenty of ups and downs for the fan base going forward.

20. Minnesota Vikings
There’s enough on the roster for this group to be a fringe playoff contender and maybe even a division winner depending on what happens with a certain QB in Green Bay. Still, the new GM/HC will have to sort out Kirk Cousins’ long-term future, manage a few cuts given the tight salary cap situation and keep trying to take the next step.

21. Washington Commanders
It’s still going to take some getting used to with that name change but the bones of the roster still are pretty strong, starting along the defensive line with a rehabbing Chase Young and Jonathan Allen. A long-term solution at QB is still top of the list but Ron Rivera’s kept the roster competitive and should do so once again in 2022.

22. Atlanta Falcons
Arthur Smith took a few weeks to get going but did have a solid enough debut in winning seven games with a mediocre roster. Kyle Pitts looks like the next great thing in the league but more needs to be done to surround him. Matt Ryan is in decline and the defense needs re-tooling but a weakened division could be there for the taking.

23. Indianapolis Colts
Matt Eberflus is off to Chicago which means one of the more underrated defenses will have a new name calling plays on that side of the ball. Add in a potential change at QB, the lack of a first-round pick, and a decent but not great amount of cap space and GM Chris Ballard has a big challenge ahead.

24. Chicago Bears
There’s a first-time GM/HC combination in charge and that could always lead to a few growing pains in the Windy City as everybody learns a new role. Justin Fields is a heck of a building block however but the rest of the roster needs some work.

25. Carolina Panthers
Matt Rhule figures to feel the pressure even more this season and his return for 2023 figures to largely come down to finding a decent solution at QB. There’s not much money to make that happen but that’s certainly the biggest storyline surrounding the franchise. The roster otherwise seems to be in decent shape but will have to keep some of their key players healthy if they want to aim higher than .500.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers
Life after Big Ben has begun and fans of the terrible towels might not like how things go. Mike Tomlin did a heck of a coaching job last season but finding a new QB remains a crapshoot and that doesn’t even get into the woeful offensive line or suspect back end of the defense.

27. New York Giants
As bad as things have been in the Big Apple, the franchise is finally giving its fans something they really haven’t had since Eli Manning retired: hope. New head coach Brian Daboll has a lot to do with it and some strong assistant hires could help produce some better results early on. The roster has numerous holes to fill but there’s still plenty to work with and take a step forward.

28. Detroit Lions
The Lions were bad in 2022 but you can’t say that they didn’t fight hard every game and were much better than those three wins would indicate since they were seemingly involved in every wild one-score outcome. Given the draft capital available, the expectation of a step forward is the minimum in the Motor City.

29. New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton can cite whatever he likes but his retirement sure smells like getting out of Dodge at the right time. The cap situation is truly an incredible mess and the talent returning seems up in the air. Dennis Allen might well be the right guy for the job but he’ll be playing with an unsettled QB situation and a host of question marks up and down the sidelines.

30. New York Jets
The jury remains out on Zach Wilson despite some of the flashy throws he’s able to make and there are holes throughout the roster, especially on defense. There’s some money and high draft picks to work with but it still might be a while before completely digging out of this hole.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars
Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence could end up being quite the quality tandem and both figure to have some upgraded weapons in the passing game and along the line given the amount of cap space available. Still, from ownership on down there’s a lot to be skeptical about until a clear and coherent plan is presented to get the most out of their young QB.

32. Houston Texans
It remains to be seen if the Deshaun Watson situation will be resolved or not but the bottom line is that no matter who winds up as the QB or what capital is given in return for him, the entire organization needs further cleansing. Hiring Lovie Smith is such an unimaginative ending to a bizarre coaching search and doesn’t exactly give a lot of confidence given the lack of general talent on hand.

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.