We’re almost halfway through the season and things are really starting to take shape. The Colts and Cowboys each won huge divisional matchups, while the Packers and Vikings are emerging as the frontrunners in the crowded NFC North. The Saints are still undefeated in games started by Teddy Bridgewater after their beatdown of the Bears at Soldier Field, and they could get Drew Brees back this week.
32) Miami Dolphins (Prev: 32)
The Dolphins continue to look better with every passing game. They even managed to run an offensive play with the lead for the first time this season in their loss at Buffalo.
31) Cincinnati Bengals (Prev: 31)
The Bengals looked better Sunday than they have for most of the season. But again, the offense struggled and turned the ball over four times, including a backbreaking pick-six late in the fourth quarter. Will Cincinnati have to wait until their Week 16 matchup with the Dolphins to earn their first win?
30) Washington Redskins (Prev: 30)
Washington’s defense did everything they could on a sloppy field against the 49ers, holding them to just nine points and 283 yards of total offense. The problem is the Washington offense recorded only 154 yards and 10 first downs, and they never threatened to score after the first quarter.
29) Atlanta Falcons (Prev: 29)
In a season full of bad performances, the Falcons had perhaps their worst on Sunday in their 37-10 loss to the Rams. The offense had just 224 yards to go along with three turnovers, while the defense gave up 34 points in the final three quarters of the game. How much longer does Dan Quinn have?
28) New York Giants (Prev: 26)
The Giants turn the ball over way too much. They had three turnovers on Sunday, bringing their number up to 12 in their last four games. Saquon Barkley looked unaffected by his ankle in his return from injury, rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown.
27) Los Angeles Chargers (Prev: 25)
Only the Chargers would lose a game like that. Go-ahead touchdown to Austin Ekeler, called back, ball placed within the one-yard line. Melvin Gordon scores, only to have it overturned, then on the very next play he fumbles and the Titans recover with just seconds remaining. This season has slipped away from Philip Rivers and company.
26) Arizona Cardinals (Prev: 28)
That’s three straight wins for the Cardinals, who have revived their season and snuck back into the playoff picture. Chase Edmonds rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns in replacement of David Johnson.
25) New York Jets (Prev: 27)
There was hope for the Jets with Sam Darnold back under center, but he had two costly turnovers in the first half that made it impossible for them to ever compete with the far superior Patriots. The schedule gets easier from here on out, and with a wide-open AFC, Jets fans are hoping Darnold and company can make a run akin to Andrew Luck and the Colts in 2018.
24) Tennessee Titans (Prev: 24)
The Titans’ defense mustered up an improbable goal-line stand against the Chargers, and because of it, they have kept their season alive. Ryan Tannehill looked solid replacing Marcus Mariota, going 23-29 for 312 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
23) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Prev: 23)
Coming off their bye, the Bucs will have to travel to Tennessee and Seattle for their next two matchups. They’re already 2-4. Losses in both games could very well put them in too great a hole to dig out of.
22) Cleveland Browns (Prev: 22)
The Browns are on the brink of falling out of contention at 2-4. They come off the bye and must travel to New England. It’s a game that no one will expect the Browns to win, but it may be one they need.
21) Denver Broncos (Prev: 21)
The Broncos missed a huge opportunity on Thursday night. They scored on their first drive of the game, but the offense failed to get anything going against the Chiefs’ struggling defense. On top of that, the Broncos’ defense struggled even after Patrick Mahomes went out of the game and was replaced by Matt Moore.
20) Oakland Raiders (Prev: 18)
There were many, myself included, who thought the Raiders could put up a real fight against Green Bay. The offense moved the ball well, but a Derek Carr fumble that resulted in a touchback completely changed the shape of the game, as the Packers were able to score a touchdown right before half and stretch the lead to 21-10. It was never close again.
19) Jacksonville Jaguars (Prev: 19)
Leonard Fournette had 131 rushing yards as the Jags escaped Cincinnati with a victory. Jacksonville actually trailed heading into the fourth quarter, but the defense forced four turnovers, and Gardner Minshew led one big touchdown drive to take control of the contest.
18) Philadelphia Eagles (Prev: 16)
The Eagles fumbled on their first two drives, and both turnovers resulted in Dallas touchdowns. The Eagles never got within striking distance, as they were walloped in a battle for first place in the NFC North.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers (Prev: 20)
The Steelers come off their bye with three straight home games, the first of which is against the Dolphins. With Mason Rudolph back at the helm and the defense playing as good as it has all season, Pittsburgh could make a run.
16) Detroit Lions (Prev: 13)
The Lions were the surprise of the season three weeks in, but they have since dropped three straight games to fall below .500. The defense was terrible against Minnesota, unable to stop either the pass or the run en route to giving up 503 total yards. On a positive note, Marvin Jones Jr. recorded four touchdowns in the victory.
15) Los Angeles Rams (Prev: 17)
The Rams got right this week, crushing the lowly Falcons to the tune of 37-10. The defense held Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense to 150 yards, before a 75-yard touchdown drive in garbage time. It was the great team performance we expected to see all year long.
14) Chicago Bears (Prev: 11)
The Bears’ defense just got embarrassed at home by a backup quarterback and a backup running back. Don’t let the final score fool you, the Bears got demolished by the Saints on Sunday. It was 36-10 before two garbage-time touchdowns in the last 2:31.
13) Carolina Panthers (Prev: 12)
The Panthers were hoping for some help from the Bears during their bye week, but they didn’t get any. As a result, they still find themselves a game behind New Orleans in the loss column. They head to San Francisco this week.
12) Houston Texans (Prev: 10)
The Texans’ secondary couldn’t stop Jacoby Brissett all game, as the quarterback was able to throw for 326 yards and four touchdowns. Deshaun Watson threw two costly interceptions, and the Texans are now looking up at the Colts in the AFC South.
11) Seattle Seahawks (Prev: 5)
After being tied at the half, the Seahawks imploded in the second half on their way to a 30-16 loss. They had two turnovers on the day, both of which were returned for touchdowns. Next week they travel to Atlanta where the offense will look to get back to their ways from the first six weeks.
10) Dallas Cowboys (Prev: 15)
The Cowboys’ defense forced two huge turnovers in the first quarter, and the offense capitalized in a game that was never close on Sunday night. In all, the defense forced four turnovers.
9) Baltimore Ravens (Prev: 14)
After a string of substandard performances, the Ravens finally put it all together as they traveled to Seattle and took care of MVP-candidate Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. The defense had two touchdowns, while Lamar Jackson had 116 yards rushing and a touchdown.
8) Buffalo Bills (Prev: 9)
For most of the game, the Bills looked absolutely terrible against the Dolphins. Perhaps they were looking ahead to next week’s game against Philly? Either way, the Bills are 5-1 and one of just five teams with one or fewer losses in the NFL.
7) Indianapolis Colts (Prev: 8)
The Colts are now firmly in control of the AFC South after taking care of Houston on Sunday. When Andrew Luck retired, there were many who wrote the Colts off, but their defense has been stout and Jacoby Brissett continues to look impressive, as Indianapolis now sits at 4-2.
6) Kansas City Chiefs (Prev: 7)
There is still no definitive timeframe for when Patrick Mahomes will return, but we know that he’ll miss at least a few weeks after dislocating his kneecap on Thursday night. Matt Moore replaced Mahomes and went 10-19 for 117 yards and a touchdown, as the Chiefs scored the final 30 points of the game.
5) Minnesota Vikings (Prev: 6)
The Vikings offense put up 42 points and looked incredible against a Detroit defense that had only surrendered 30+ points once all season. Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs continued to click for the second straight week, connecting seven times for 142 yards. Cousins threw for four touchdowns.
4) San Francisco 49ers (Prev: 4)
It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t need to be. The 49ers traveled across the country for a one o’clock game and played in rainy conditions that turned the field into a swamp. While the offense struggled, the defense prevented Washington from doing anything, holding them to 154 total yards in the shutout.
3) Green Bay Packers (Prev: 3)
Aaron Rodgers threw for 429 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for another as the Packers took it to the Raiders. The defense gave up yards but forced timely turnovers, which kept Oakland out of striking distance for the entire second half of the game.
2) New Orleans Saints (Prev: 2)
No Drew Brees. No Alvin Kamara. No Jared Cook. No problem. The Saints went into Chicago and took care of business in a game that was far more lopsided than the final score suggests. New Orleans continues to prove that they are the class of the NFC, and a lot of that is because of their defense. They gave up just 252 yards to the Bears, with more than half of that yardage coming after the score was already 36-10.
1) New England Patriots (Prev: 1)
The Patriots continued their dominant run on Monday Night Football with another lopsided victory. They completed their season sweep of the New York Jets, and the game was never in question even with Sam Darnold at the helm. Questions circling about the Patriots’ offense have been answered for the time being as they led 24-0 at halftime.