NFL Power Rankings Week 11 | Tier 2: Good, but even more inconsistent teams
These teams are impressive, but inconsistency, youth, injury, or a combination of all three has kept these squads from reaching into the upper echelon.
13) Las Vegas Raiders
This feels about as far as I could drop the Raiders. I know their game against the Chiefs was ugly on the scoreboard, but we’ve seen a lot of flukey scores in the past few weeks. However, losing to the Giants last week really didn’t help me feel better about this team.
Luckily, they have the Bengals and Cowboys in the next few weeks, so we should know just how good this team is soon. Penalties and third-down struggles appeared to be their downfall against the Chiefs.
We’re in a holding pattern with Las Vegas. They’ll sit on the tarmac until we get some more information, then the big move will happen in the NFL Power Rankings, whether good or bad.
12) Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are off this week, and they desperately needed the break. They’ve dropped two in a row, both in pretty embarrassing fashion. After beating the doors off of the Ravens, they backed it up with a stinker against the Jets. Then, they got embarrassed by the Browns at home.
Cincinnati’s defense had been strong up until two weeks ago, and I reckon they’ll get back on track. The offense needs Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase to get going. They can’t continue to force volume if they can’t be efficient. The Bengals have too many weapons to be choosy.
11) Los Angeles Chargers
A young QB with a young head coach with multiple big passing threats and a veteran RB that can make plays all over the field. Does that sound familiar? It should, because the Bengals and the Chargers are practically the same team, except with their offensive and defensive efficiency flipped.
That is why the Chargers are one spot ahead. They have a highly ranked offense, which is more sustainable than its defensive counterpart. The only question is, can the Bengals’ offense improve?
The Cowboys, Ravens, and Patriots are all proving to be quality losses for the Chargers. Those defeats came against the best of the best, and LA has a few solid wins along the way, too. But we’re in a holding pattern to see just how good this team can be.
10) Kansas City Chiefs
And just like that, all the negativity we felt about the Chiefs has eroded into a fine clump of dust. Their defense has played better football over the past few weeks, and against the Raiders on Sunday Night Football, the offense gained nearly 7 yards per play and was 9-for-15 on third down.
The defense allowed some big plays, but they were opportunistic in what was not the sharpest day from Derek Carr and Co. The Raiders moved the ball but could only manage to convert on one third-down attempt.
With the Cowboys upcoming, we’ll see what kind of improvements this defense has made.
9) New England Patriots
The Patriots must read what I write about them — that’s a joke, they don’t care — because their offensive firepower was on full display against a talented Browns defense. Mac Jones was tired of hearing folks swoon over Justin Fields the past two weeks. He wanted his moment back, and he took it by force.
The defense showed up, too. Cleveland could only muster 3.1 net yards per play early into the fourth quarter. Both Browns QBs were under siege in the game, which is unfortunate given they just spent record money on their two guards.
New England has found something in running back Rhamondre Stevenson, and this team is firing on all eight cylinders as of late. They’ve won four games in a row and have looked dominant against everyone in their last six games — aside from their loss to Dallas.
8) Baltimore Ravens
I’m not sure what to do about the Ravens. They feel like one of the more inconsistent teams in the league. They’ve played some bad squads tightly while blowing out good ones. Baltimore really leaned on Lamar Jackson bringing them back from deficits, which isn’t a sustainable tactic.
The Ravens have been ravaged by injuries, and Jackson appears to be willing them to wins. But I wonder how long he’s able to do that. He’s the most unique talent in the sport, but as we’ve seen, one-score games aren’t a good sign.
Four of Baltimore’s next six games are against AFC North foes. The loss against Miami certainly isn’t ideal, but the Ravens need to focus their efforts and take care of their divisional games.
NFL Power Rankings Week 11 | Tier 1: Great, but inconsistent
No team in the NFL has truly separated themselves as being a tier above the rest. The league is as wide open as it’s felt in years.
7) Buffalo Bills
Buffalo embarrassed themselves, Bills Mafia, and everyone else that believed in them prior to last week. Their loss against the Jaguars displayed another letdown from this talented team, to go along with an ugly loss against the Steelers in Week 1.
The Bills let their many frustrations out on the Jets, who seem to either get sent home in a bodybag or win games. Buffalo has beat up on a lot of bad football teams this season. Heck, the only quality opponent they’ve played so far was the Chiefs.
Their next four contests are going to be the true barometer of their ability. They face the Colts, Saints, Patriots, and Buccaneers in succession.
If Buffalo survives that gauntlet at 3-1 or better, they’ll have a good shot of coming home with the top seed in the AFC because they finish the year with the Panthers, Patriots, Falcons, and Jets.
6) Los Angeles Rams
The Rams’ first game after the Robert Woods ACL tear did not go well. Against an underwhelming 49ers defense, the Rams couldn’t get anything going offensively. Matthew Stafford’s inconsistent past has caught up to him slightly in recent weeks. The offense has suffered because of it.
Defensively, the Rams weren’t necessarily worse than they should have been, although the 49ers’ passing attack was potent, thanks to Deebo Samuel. Unfortunately, LA struggled on third down and didn’t get any red-zone stops.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If I told you the Washington defense didn’t have Montez Sweat, lost Chase Young early, and still only allowed 19 points, you’d be a fool to believe me.
But reality is tricky. Humans are unreliable by nature, and even the greatest men (Tom Brady) are bound to have bad days. Every MVP-level quarterback has struggled massively over the past 10 days or so, and today was Brady’s turn. His first interception was not necessarily on him, but Tampa Bay’s offense struggled through the air on Sunday.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen them struggle against a Taylor Heinicke-led offense. They struggled in their playoff matchup, too. Tampa Bay will be fine, but with three losses, they need to start stomping on weaker opponents or risk losing a chance at the top seed in the NFC.
4) Arizona Cardinals
Let’s just forget this one happened, Cardinals fans. Kyler Murray’s absence is a massive issue. Last week was not sustainable. This week, that showed in a big way. Three Cardinals turnovers early in the game led to points for the Panthers. The game was effectively over before it started.
The game got worse from there. We’ve seen it happen everywhere throughout the NFL recently. No individual team has proved a consistently elite product, which makes ordering the top of the NFL Power Rankings a relative crapshoot. Week to week, we have no idea what’s about to happen.
Arizona’s offense struggled against a team that can really get after the quarterback when they can just pin their ears back. There’s still a lot of season left. When looking at the contending NFC teams’ schedules, the Cardinals, Cowboys, and Buccaneers seem to have the clearest path to the top seed in the conference.
3) Green Bay Packers
The Packers struggled to score points for most of the game, but it was clear they were the more dominant team against Seattle, even with the score remaining close for most of the contest.
Losing Aaron Jones for any amount of time is a huge blow to the offense, but AJ Dillon can pick up some slack on the ground. If Green Bay’s offensive line can continue to get healthier, this offense can suffice without big names.
Defensively, they’ve become incredibly impressive. If we ignore Week 1, the Packers are the sixth-ranked defense in terms of EPA/play. With Jaire Alexander still slated to return later in the season, this could legitimately be one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL as the playoffs creep closer.
2) Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys were incredibly mad after their horrendous showing against Denver at home. With another home game this week, they decided not to waste any time, scoring on their first offensive possession. They punted on their next possession and then decided that wasn’t very fun.
Dallas scored on their next three possessions and blocked a punt with less than a minute left in the half, which they returned for a touchdown. Dak Prescott and the passing attack look legitimately unstoppable with the return of Michael Gallup. CeeDee Lamb is back in his natural slot role, where he is one of the most dangerous receivers in the league.
After a stumble in Week 9, Dallas turned around and bludgeoned the Falcons, which is what we yearn to see from top teams. They shouldn’t just survive against lower competition — they should break their will to go on.
The Cowboys spend this week near the top of the NFL Power Rankings, but their biggest test in the schedule comes with the Chiefs, Raiders, and Saints in the next three weeks.
1) Tennessee Titans
A.J. Brown was inconsistent, and Julio Jones is on the injured reserve along with Derrick Henry. Against the Saints’ top-five defense, this performance from Ryan Tannehill might have been his most impressive of the season.
The Titans could have very easily dropped this game. They almost found a way to do so late, but they did just enough to secure the win in the end.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The defense almost allowed a nameless New Orleans offense to put up a win. Tennessee was gifted a contest with no Alvin Kamara to take over.
Still, the Titans now have eight wins. All but one came against a 2020 playoff team. That’s impressive enough to be considered the top team in the NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 11.