Updated: Oct. 24
Cleveland Browns (0-7) - Previously: 32.
I'm now 0-7 in Browns picks this year. Every time I pick them, they don't cover. Every time I go against them, they cover. Ugh. I needed something to cheer me up, and this worked:
San Francisco 49ers (0-7) - Previously: 29.
The narrative heading into Week 7 was that the 49ers play all close games. That was a lie; They trailed by 14 in Indianapolis in the fourth quarter, and they were down 15 with six minutes remaining against the Rams. A 40-10 drilling was something we all should've seen coming. And given that the 49ers have their fourth road game in five weeks coming up, it seems as though San Francisco will be blown out again in Philadelphia.
Indianapolis Colts (2-5) - Previously: 31.
The Colts fooled everyone into thinking they weren't horrible by being competitive against the Titans and leading by 14 against the 49ers in the fourth quarter. Yet, we saw the real Indianapolis when Blake Bortles was able to torch them. If you're an NFL player, and Bortles has success against you, you might as well quit your job.
Arizona Cardinals (3-4) - Previously: 20.
The Cardinals take a huge dive in my power rankings because of Carson Palmer's broken arm. In fact, I'm wondering if they should be behind San Francisco and Indianapolis. That's how bad Drew Stanton is. And that's how awful the Browns are - that I wouldn't even consider slotting them ahead of a Stanton-led team!
New York Giants (1-6) - Previously: 28.
So, we're back to the Giants sucking? Yes? OK, well, at least one thing made sense in Week 7. The Giants actually looked like they might win versus the Seahawks. They led at halftime and were down just 10-7 in the fourth quarter before there was a missed field goal and an Eli Manning fumble set up a Seattle touchdown. It was one of many instances that crushed the sharps, as they were all over the Giants.
Baltimore Ravens (3-4) - Previously: 26.
What are the Ravens waiting for? I listed them as one of the teams that could trade for Carlos Hyde. They desperately need something on offense. They were screwed by Mike Wallace leaving the game early, but if they had an actual threat in the backfield, perhaps Joe Flacco wouldn't have seen as much pressure. No one is concerned about Alex Collins or Buck Allen.
Green Bay Packers (4-3) - Previously: 27.
What a difference one player can make. Should we just name Aaron Rodgers MVP now, or...?
The fact that Brett Hundley couldn't do anything against the Saints' defense is disconcerting. He gets the Lions after the bye, so if he struggles again, it might be time for Green Bay to try pre-season all-star Joe Callahan.
New York Jets (3-4) - Previously: 30.
The Jets are an Austin Seferian-Jenkins call and a Miami fourth-quarter comeback away from being 5-2 right now. Think about that for a second. I wouldn't want to live in a world in which the Jets are 5-2. Jumping into a volcano would seem appealing if that were the case.
By the way, I'm holding out hope that my Jets Under 4 bet will still hit. I'm wondering if Josh McCown's stupid interception will carry over and cause him to play miserably the rest of the year. That said, I'm looking at the Week 16 matchup versus the Chargers as one that will potentially ruin me. The Chargers lost at the Browns in late December last year, so it seems like a game they're almost certain to drop.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-4) - Previously: 16.
The Bengals were another team that fooled us all, but showed its true colors in Week 7. Their offensive line is so dreadful that the team managed just one first down in the second half. Pittsburgh's special teams had just as many first downs in the second half!
I don't know how the Bengals beat the Bills, considering how bad their blocking is. That's going to be one of those results that we'll look back on and think, WTF happened there? Then again, I feel like I could say that about most of the Week 7 games.
Chicago Bears (3-4) - Previously: 24. Underrated NFL Team: The Bears aren't nearly as bad as they looked on national TV against the Packers. They were playing on a short week, and if you take away Mike Glennon's three horrible turnovers, Chicago played almost evenly with Green Bay. The Bears defeated the Steelers and Ravens (the latter, on the road) and almost took down the Falcons and Vikings, and now they have a healthy offensive line.
I wrote this last week, but after beating the Panthers, the Bears can't really be viewed as underrated anymore. At some point, Mitchell Trubisky is going to have to attempt a forward pass.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3) - Previously: 23.
How the hell did Blake Bortles play so well last week? He looked like, well, a quarterback who actually watches film in the NFL. If Bortles can keep playing like that, the Jaguars will be unstoppable. But he won't keep playing like that.
I was left wondering what happened to Bortles this week, and that's when it hit me: Excluding his rookie campaign, Bortles is 3-0 against the spread in Indianapolis. Yes, a perfect 3-0 ATS. My theory is that there aren't any cool clubs in Indianapolis, so Bortles has nothing better to do than study film whenever he goes there.
Miami Dolphins (4-2) - Previously: 25.
How the hell are the Dolphins 4-2? Seriously, when did that happen? It feels like this team should be 2-4, or even 1-5. Now, they'll be 5-2 if Matt Moore picks up where he left off against the Jets.
Oh, and what's up with Miami's turf? Why was it so chewed up for the Jets game? The announcers mentioned that the Hurricanes played there the night before, which I find ridiculous. NFL teams should not be sharing stadiums with college football teams, and it's embarrassing that the Dolphins are doing this. They're a professional team, so it's inexcusable. Seriously, if you have a lot of money, and decide to buy a house, do you let some college kid move in with you? Doing this makes Stephen Ross seem cheap that he would accept money for this.
Detroit Lions (3-3) - Previously: 18.
Underrated NFL Team: The Lions desperately needed a bye, and I think it'll help them big time. Matthew Stafford, Ziggy Ansah, T.J. Lang and Travis Swanson were all banged up heading into their week off, and they've had two weeks to heal up. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Lions were much better following the bye.
Tennessee Titans (4-3) - Previously: 15.
The Titans will need a mobile Marcus Mariota to actually beat real teams. You know, not the Colts and Browns. Fortunately for Tennessee, it has a week off to get Mariota healthier.
Denver Broncos (3-3) - Previously: 6.
Underrated NFL Team: The Broncos lost by 13 to the Giants, but they outgained the Giants and averaged more yards per play. If it weren't for a pick-six, it would've been a six-point game at the very end. This past week, the Broncos suffered a defeat against the Chargers, but that was a byproduct of some fumbles and a punt return touchdown. The offense looks miserable right now, but I don't think things are as bad as they seem for Denver.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) - Previously: 21.
The Chargers had a nice victory over the Broncos, especially considering that they effectively were playing a road game:
I'm still not sold that the Chargers aren't just losers, as I expect them to keep finding ways to lose big games. However, they've been impressive lately. Impressive enough to fool everyone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) - Previously: 17.
Underrated NFL Team: The Buccaneers lost a coin-flip game to the Bills. Had they prevailed, they'd be 3-3, and no one would be saying the sky is falling in Tampa. I'm not sure why the defense isn't playing well, as the team has the talent to be better on that side of the ball. However, I think the Buccaneers shouldn't be counted out, and I could see them getting started on a long winning streak sometime soon.
Buffalo Bills (4-2) - Previously: 19.
Overrated NFL Team: The Bills have improved to 4-2 and are now getting a ton of hype, so they can be viewed as an overrated team. With the Broncos struggling, Buffalo's second-best win of the season seems less impressive now. Their greatest victory, a triumph in Atlanta, occurred because Julio Jones got hurt. Meanwhile, the win over the Buccaneers this past Sunday was a coin-flip game. I don't trust Tyrod Taylor and his poor receiving weapons.
Houston Texans (3-3) - Previously: 14.
Charlie Campbell and Jean Fugett discussed Deshaun Watson extensively on the podcast, so give that a listen if you haven't heard already. Duane Brown returning can only help matters, though we'll have to see if he's in shape or not.
Carolina Panthers (4-3) - Previously: 7.
The Panthers are so banged up. Luke Kuechly is concussed, so who knows when he'll get healthy? Ryan Kalil left the Chicago game with yet another injury. Talented guard Trai Turner got hurt. It's no wonder they lost to a team that could've run the Bobby Boucher offense and won.
Washington Redskins (3-3) - Previously: 8.
I planned on slotting the Redskins highly, but they have major offensive line concerns right now. Trent Williams, Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff are all banged up, while top backup Ty Nsekhe is out.
Oh, and speaking of Terrelle Pryor (or not)...
Terrelle Pryor's Race for 1,800:
Current Receiving Yards: 223
Currently on Pace for: 594
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 157.7
Perhaps Pryor will re-learn how to catch the ball in his final 10 games.
Minnesota Vikings (5-2) - Previously: 13.
It sounds like Teddy Bridgewater will return in Week 10. That's a huge boon for the Vikings, who didn't really have a great chance to make a deep playoff run with Case Keenum. Bridgewater, if healthy, definitely changes that. If Bridgewater is even 90 percent of what he was, I'd consider slotting the Vikings as high as No. 4 in these power rankings. As of right now, however, I don't trust Keenum enough to put them in the top 10.
Seattle Seahawks (4-2) - Previously: 11.
Overrated NFL Team: I'm hesitant to call the Seahawks overrated because they're fully capable of going on a great winning streak. However, they have not looked impressive at all this year, save for the second half against the Colts. They can't block whatsoever, they struggle to run the ball, and the defense just doesn't look the same. The Giants led at halftime in the Week 7 matchup, and if it weren't for an Eli Manning lost fumble, New York may have tied or taken the lead in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans Saints (4-2) - Previously: 9.
Overrated NFL Team: I think the Saints are a good team. Their offensive line is better with Terron Armstead back, and the defense has improved. However, their four victories aren't all that impressive, considering two of the quarterbacks they've beaten were playing hurt (Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford), while the other two were Jay Cutler in London and Brett Hundley. I had the urge to put the Saints as high as No. 5 in my power rankings, but after thinking about it, I realized I was overrating them.
Oakland Raiders (3-4) - Previously: 22.
The Raiders are moving up numerous slots because Derek Carr was much healthier last Thursday than he was versus the Chargers. With nine days off, Carr could be 100 percent by next Sunday.
By the way, would it kill the NFL to push back West Coast weeknight games? Half the seats were empty at kickoff for Chiefs-Raiders! E-mailer Greg H. said it best:
Another reason for attendance being down is these Thursday Night west coast games. What does the NFL except when you schedule a game at 5:25 local time on Thursday?
Agreed. Or, the NFL could try to fix its low ratings and remove Thursday night games all together.
Dallas Cowboys (3-3) - Previously: 10.
I consider the Cowboys overrated, but I don't know who else to put at No. 7. The Cowboys are not as good as they were last year, but the lack of top-level teams is alarming. It's so bad that I couldn't even move the Falcons out of the top six!
Atlanta Falcons (3-3) - Previously: 3.
Underrated NFL Team: I hate that I keep making excuses for the Falcons, but hear me out. Their first loss occurred because Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu got hurt, and despite their absences, Matt Ryan still nearly won at the very end. Their second defeat transpired because the team blew a 17-0 halftime lead. The third was against the Patriots in basically what happened to be an "F-U game" from Bill Belichick, who wanted to prove that his defense isn't horrible. Plus, Atlanta missed two field goals, got stuffed at the 1-yard line, and had an interception overturned by penalty.
Still, I have to acknowledge that offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian sucks. Wikipedia even agrees:
Speaking of Sarkisian, I think you know what it's time for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: I neneedd a drinkiinng buuddydy innnn Allaanntaa. Lleett mmeme gooo ototoo Fallacoonns hheeadquuaurtteess.
*** Derek Anderson strolls into Atlanta's practice facility. ***
Derek Anderson: Wowowowowwwww whhahaht a griieieatt fflallsskskk I jjusususuttttt gootogotot thhehehe greaasttesttt iidideaaa whehehenn I bebeocmcme a hehehadd cocoaochch somemem dayayy I'mmm goonnananan callllel Jeettt sweepepep frorormmr thehehe 1-yayayarrr lliinnene hahahahaha hic hic hic!
Los Angeles Rams (5-2) - Previously: 12.
I've realized that I've had the Rams too low. They have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL, and with Lamarcus Joyner back in the lineup for the first time since the opening quarter of Week 3, their defense can be dominant again. Imagine if they can get Robert Quinn to start playing well. Or better yet, imagine if Sean McVay and Greg Olson were able to coach up Carson Wentz instead of Jared Goff. I think they'd be 7-0 right now!
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) - Previously: 5.
I almost marked the Steelers down as an overrated team. Ben Roethlisberger doesn't seem completely right. However, Pittsburgh has an outstanding offensive line - when everyone is healthy - and some great talent on defense, so even though Roethlisberger is struggling, the Steelers seem like a team that could make a Super Bowl run.
New England Patriots (5-2) - Previously: 4.
First, we had Spygate. Then, we had Deflate-gate. Now... Fog-gate?
Oh, that sneaky Bill Belichick! Speaking of sneaky, where did that great defensive performance come from? Was it the Patriots improving their defense, or Steve Sarkisian being completely inept? I think it's too early to say for sure.
Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) - Previously: 1.
Kansas City's defense needs to get its act together. What the hell happened in the fourth quarter? Where was Justin Houston? Still, the Chiefs were one second away from improving to 6-1, so I'm not moving them out of the top two.
By the way, if you bet the Chiefs like I did, you're pissed off right now. I would rant about it, but e-mailer Chris W. did it so well for me:
Philadelphia Eagles (6-1) - Previously: 2.
The Eagles move into the No. 1 spot, but I think there's definitely some concern with Jason Peters' injury. The Eagles really benefited from having the best offensive line in the NFL, but that won't be the case anymore if Peters is out for the year.
I discussed the MVP race last week. Right now, it's:
1. Tom Brady
2. Carson Wentz
3. A bunch of other players
It's a two-man race at the current moment, and it's very close.