Photo courtesy SI.com
The biggest jumps we saw this week came with the New York Giants, which jumped a whopping eight spots up to number eight. The top-two and bottom-four spots all stayed the same. Here are the power rankings.
1.New England Patriots (7-1) –
Despite missing the first four games, Tom Brady is still in talks for MVP of the league as he has 12 passing touchdowns and no interceptions on the year. A win against Seattle this Sunday night will help push that argument.
2.Dallas Cowboys (7-1) –
Remember when the Cowboys dropped their opening game? Well, now at the halfway mark, they’re 7-1 and don’t show signs of slowing down. The only thing that is a question is owner Jerry Jones’ love for injured quarterback Tony Romo and bringing him back to the starting position.
3.Oakland Raiders (7-2) +3
Sunday night showed that the Raiders are a real AFC contender. They battered the Broncos defensive line for over 200 yards rushing and had double the time of possession, all while keeping Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian to less than 50 percent passing.
- Atlanta Falcons (6-3) –
The Falcons offense is leading the league in scoring and Matt Ryan leads the league in passing yards, both recipes for a successful first half of the season. The division looks relatively decided at this point.
- Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) –
Here’s a fun fact: The Kansas City Chiefs have won 16 of their last 18 regular season games. The Chiefs continue to execute near perfection in games, even if they do it in lackluster fashion.
- Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1) +2
Nothing like a nail-biter at home! Seattle’s running game looked awful, but rookie C.J. Prosise and last season’s starter, Thomas Rawls, are both expected to be back soon. With Russell Wilson playing at the level he is and the running game coming back, this team looks scary.
- Denver Broncos (6-3) -4
A lot of the Raiders’ wins this season you could chalk up to luck. This isn’t one of those games. The Broncos couldn’t even slow down the underperforming Latavius Murray and Siemian looked like a backup. All those three-and-outs bring the Broncos down.
- New York Giants (5-3) +8
The Giants got to a hot start then held on to beat the Eagles. Even with an Eagles’ comeback, it’s impressive to score so quickly against one of the league’s top defenses. They also forced Carson Wentz, who went several games without a pick, into two early interceptions to go up fast. Kudos Giants.
- Minnesota Vikings (5-3) -2
These last three games have been ugly. The defense still looks good, but the offensive line and the lack of a No. 1 back is really hurting right now. Here’s a telling stat, last game Stefon Diggs caught 13 passes for 80 yards and no touchdowns. This with a quarterback who’s hailed for his deep ball, and we saw this pair tear it up deep Week 2. What happened?
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) –
To say that this once promising season has made a turn for the worse for the Eagles, would be an understatement. With a hot start to the season with a three-game win streak, they have lost four out of their last five games. Things aren’t about to get easy either, as they will face the red-hot Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons Sunday.
- Detroit Lions (5-4) +7
With a much deserved bye, the Lions are hoping for a loss from both the Vikings and the Packers so that they can take over the No. 1 spot in the NFC North. They might be able to get one out of two wishes this Sunday with the Vikings facing the Redskins, and the Packers looking to recover from their shocking loss to the Colts.
- Green Bay Packers (4-4) -3
In a season that has been full of doubts, the Packers are looking to recover from their loss to the troubled Colts. This Sunday they will face the struggling Titans, this should be an easy win for them as the Titans haven’t been able to accomplish much to talk about this season.
- Washington Redskins (4-3) -1
Playing in one of the toughest divisions of the NFL, the Redskins are still within reach of the No. 2 spot, sitting only one game behind the Giants. Coming back from their bye, they will face the Vikings who have been struggling as of late, having lost their last three games. This should be a good way to start out fresh for Washington.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) -3
A four-game losing streak is what the Steelers are currently facing, as they get ready to face one of their toughest opponents yet in the 7-1 Cowboys. This will be a tough opponent for Pittsburgh, which is still trying to recover from that botched onside kick against the Ravens. Let’s hope it can get to try that one more time this Sunday.
- Houston Texans (5-3) +1
A struggling Brock Osweiler looks to get his offense back on track this week on the road against Jacksonville. The Texans’ three losses have all been away from Houston, where they have been outscored by a combined margin of 85-22.
- Buffalo Bills (4-5) -2
In one of the better games of the season, the Bills lost a controversial Monday night game to the Seahawks. Buffalo will have plenty of time to rip the NFL, as it has a bye in Week 10.
- San Diego Chargers (4-5) -2
Unsure what the team’s future holds geographically, the Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives. This week they host the Dolphins in what might be a must win game.
- Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1) -3
After a disappointing game against Carolina, the Cardinals can’t overlook the 49ers this week if they want to stay competitive in the division. They defeated San Francisco 33-21 earlier this year.
- Baltimore Ravens (4-4) +5
Against his former team, Mike Wallace took a Joe Flacco pass 95 yards for a score to help Baltimore defeat division rival Pittsburgh Sunday. The Ravens now find themselves at the top of the AFC North midway through the season.
- Miami Dolphins (4-4) +3
The Dolphins are surging thanks to the incredible emergence of Jay Ajayi. The running back has totaled 529 yards on the ground over Miami’s three-game win streak. Ajayi’s Phins will face a challenge this week against a Chargers team that has won three of its last four and just limited DeMarco Murray to 51 rushing yards.
- Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1) -3
Believe it or not, the Bengals still have a shot at the AFC North crown with Pittsburgh and Baltimore not making any waves. The Cincinnati offense has been clicking all year, but it’ll need more from its defense, which hasn’t held an opponent not named the Browns under 27 points since Week 4.
- New Orleans Saints (4-4) -1
The Saints join the Dolphins in the camp of teams everyone wrote off early now surging at the halfway point. Sean Payton has finally figured out that he needs to keep his defense on the sidelines as much as possible, instituting a ball control offense that has been effective as New Orleans has won four of its last five.
- Tennessee Titans (4-5) -5
Sunday saw the brightest flashes and darkest concerns for Tennessee’s second-year quarterback. Marcus Mariota was brilliant for long stretches in San Diego, finishing with three touchdown tosses and one incredible 14-yard scoring scramble. When he wasn’t scoring for the Titans, though, he was scoring for the Chargers, with two turnovers returned for six.
- Indianapolis Colts (4-5) +2
Andrew Luck overcame two interceptions in the first quarter Sunday as the Colts staged the upset of the week by beating the Packers in Green Bay. The game probably said more about Green Bay’s continuing offensive woes than it did about Indianapolis, as the Colts are certainly a below average team. Indianapolis has a Week 10 bye.
- Carolina Panthers (3-5) +3
Maybe the Panthers defense has finally righted the ship. The results of their last two games would certainly suggest that they have. While the Carolina offensive line continues to deny Cam Newton adequate protection, the Panthers are at least beginning to look competitive for the first time in 2016. Carolina will look to add to its winning streak Sunday when the Chiefs come to town.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) -1
Very few teams are likely to have gone through as many running backs in one season as the Buccaneers have so far this year. After their Week 9 matchup with the Falcons, the Buccaneers’ top four options at running back were out with injury, forcing them to turn to free agency and practice squad players. It likely doesn’t make much difference however, as the Bucs’ defensive inadequacies have prevented them from being competitive this season. Tampa Bay will host the Bears this Sunday
- Los Angeles Rams (3-5) -5
In each of the past two games, the Rams gave up fewer than 250 total yards offense, yet managed to lose both contests. This offense is simply terrible. A team that doesn’t score won’t win many games in the NFL. It might be time for Jeff Fisher to finally give No. 1 pick Jared Goff a chance. The Rams head to New York in Week 10 to take on the Jets.
- New York Jets (3-6) -1
With no statement wins on their record, the Jets look worse than their record indicates. A Week 10 matchup against the Rams could be a good indicator of how the rest of the season will go. A loss could send the Jets into a tailspin. A win simply means more of the same mediocrity.
- Chicago Bears (2-6) –
Chicago looks to couple two wins together for the first time this season as it travels to Tampa Bay, Florida to take on the Buccaneers. With the 31st-ranked offense in the NFL, the same Chicago defense that held the Vikings to 10 points in Week 9 will need to make an appearance.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) –
Last in the AFC South, Jacksonville looks for an important win against Houston at home Sunday. Even though the win may not do much in the end to get the Jaguars in the playoffs, the rest of the division will be grateful the Jaguars are doing their part to play spoiler.
- San Francisco 49ers (1-7) –
The 49ers aren’t out of the Wild Card race quite yet, mathematically speaking. Realistically speaking, it’s a long shot. San Francisco has lost seven in a row and doesn’t appear to have a winnable game until Week 13 against the Bears, but even that’s questionable.
- Cleveland Browns (0-9) –
The Browns’ best chance at avoiding the dreaded 0-16 season comes Thursday night at the Ravens. If Cleveland had managed to find the end zone just one more time in the final 45 minutes of its Week 2 loss to Baltimore, this wouldn’t be a discussion. We’ll see if the Browns can do it this time around.
Reporting by Ryan Willie, Adam Cicochski, David Roura, Mark Wait, Kaleb Searle, Devin Olsen, Brad Curnow
I’m a Pacific Northwest guy who loves his Pacific Northwest sports. An amateur movie buff who prefers the disc to digital. Chasing the sports writing dream while I geek out on Assassin’s Creed.