Who even knows any more? Up is down, left is right, and I am this close to just giving up on this whole rankings thing. Why does it matter, anyway? Whoever I put at the top is going to lose to Bishop Sycamore next Sunday, and there is nothing left to be done. For whatever it’s worth, the show must go on, so here are The Sports Wave NFL Power Rankings: Week Eleven.
(1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3
Is anyone truly surprised? The leaves wither and die, the NFL season wears on, and Tom Brady just won’t leave us alone. Whether you like watching him play or not, he’s still here, and the Buccaneers are competing for yet another Superbowl like nothing happened. They beat a Giants team that beat themselves, but despite dropping two straight they’re still arguably the best team in the league. Who else deserves the top spot, really?
(2) Arizona Cardinals
Rarely do two Quarterbacks with completely different styles of play manage to succeed in the same offense, but here we are. Now, obviously McCoy is a huge step down, but his success proves that this team is exactly as talented as they look with Murray under centre. Arizona has as good a shot as anyone to go all the way to the show.
(3) Los Angeles Chargers 5
Concerns should be raised about the Chargers defense, but a thrilling game on Sunday Night Football is enough to push the worrying until next week. They have no more or less problems than any of the other AFC contenders do, and when the offense is on they’re more or less unstoppable.
(4) Tennessee Titans 3
As predicted, the top spot in these rankings is cursed. Tennessee didn’t just lose to the Texans, they got handled, and as we await news on A.J. Brown’s injury, we wonder if the Titans really have what it takes to win it all; Just like every other team on this list.
(5) Buffalo Bills 3
The Buffalo Bills are being wracked by the same questions that plagued the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this season, as they watch their Superbowl dreams get dented and dinged. Their weaknesses have been exposed, and if they intend to make a deep playoff run then they need to adjust, and quickly.
(6) Green Bay Packers
Well, the Packers lost a thrilling high-scoring divisional game, and arguably the best game of the entire season so far. Green Bay’s defense was gassed, and the offense was incredible but suffered from a few costly errors, but there are more pressing concerns. Aaron Rodgers hurt his foot and Green Bay’s season lies in the balance because of it. We all remember the last time he played a season whilst immobile.
(7) Los Angeles Rams
The Rams suffered through a bye week that was full of self-doubt, and can be expected to come back out of the gate like a cannon.
(8) Dallas Cowboys 3
Dallas’ defense is nothing to turn your nose up at, and they were the only thing keeping this team in the game as time ran on and they were continuously unable to put any points on the board. If you’d told me in week one that Chiefs-Cowboys would come down to the wire, I wouldn’t have been surprised, but no-one thought it would look like this. Pressure was all over a usually league-best Dallas offensive line.
(9) Indianapolis Colts 1
Who are these guys and what did they do with the Colts that started the season? Indy has turned it around as they got healthy, and they put on a 1960s masterclass against the Bills on Sunday afternoon. Jonathan Taylor looked like O.J. Simpson out there, but he committed a different kind of murder as he reached the end zone five times.
(10) Baltimore Ravens 1
In a game where backup QBs played important roles for both teams, the Ravens were led by Tyler Huntley to a mediocre win against a bad Bears team. There’s not much to tell here, but it’s another win in a game where their MVP QB wasn’t playing, so they should be happy. Largely, I consider this game a wash.
(11) New England Patriots 3
I’m still not blown away by Mac Jones but, for a rookie, he’s done what’s been asked of him. Consistently, Bill Belichick has built incredible defenses with sub-par personnel for his entire career, and this season is no different. Credit them with the Pats success so far, as Jones and company continue to do enough on the other side of the ball.
(12) Cleveland Browns 1
What is going on in Cleveland? The team that was expected to compete for the AFC North sits in dead last at 6-5, somehow. The Browns hit a wall, but they still managed to win the game, though not due to their quarterback play. Baker Mayfield had strong words for the fans that booed him in his own stadium, but he’s got to back it up with some winning plays if he intends to get this team into the playoffs.
(13) Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City still don’t really look right, but they’re winning games again, and that’s what matters most. Their defense surprisingly stifled a powerhouse Cowboys offense, and Chris Jones is largely deserving of the credit due to his 3.5 sacks on Dak Prescott. K.C. should be worried about the offense again but, even though they scored only three total points following their first three drives, it was enough this week.
(14) San Francisco 49ers 1
San Fran looks good again, and in consistent fashion. They’re back in the race for their division, despite an uphill climb, and hold a solid position in the Wild Card race. Could they make some magic happen as they return to form? Perhaps.
(15) New Orleans Saints 3
To give New Orleans some credit, they were missing their best linemen and their star running back, but it wasn’t the fault of those absentees that the Saints fell into a big first-half deficit. Costly turnovers put this team behind, and they couldn’t climb out of the hole they’d dug themselves. A quick turnaround as they host the Bills on Thursday night.
(16) Pittsburgh Steelers
Well, we finally got some vintage Ben Roethlisberger, but it was too little and too late. Still, reasons for optimism in Pittsburgh as they almost get all the way out of a huge fourth quarter hole. They ultimately fell short but their second half effort was in stark contrast to much of the season they’ve put together so far. The division is close, and it’s winnable.
(17) Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals were great, but Joe Burrow was not. They leaned on Joe Mixon instead, and he turned back the clock en route to an elite-level game from forgotten talent. His success will help keep Burrow’s name out of the mouths of the national media, but not out of our mouths here at TSW.
(18) Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota might be 5-5, but they also might actually be better than that. The Vikings’ heart-stopping season continues to stop hearts, but this time in a positive way. Kirk Cousins has continued to do just/not enough this season, in usual fashion, but he had himself an incredible game this time around. Perhaps they’ve got the room to make a playoff run, as they currently sit in a Wild Card spot.
(19) Philadelphia Eagles 1
And once again, Philly continues to trend upwards. Hurts looked good, making the most of his legs as his defense gave him everything he needed to win. A bevy of turnovers and a solid ground game made quick work of a Saints team that has shined this season amid a myriad of injuries.
(20) Las Vegas Raiders 1
It was a day to forget, as the Raiders fell to pieces against the terrifying(?) Bengals and their nightmare-inducing(?) defense. Derek Carr appeared to have aged 1000 years during the week, and by the time the game kicked off, he needed a Zimmer frame. The offense didn’t deserve what the defense was giving them, and ultimately Carr was right when he said it’s all on him.
(21) Carolina Panthers 2
Yep, Cam is back, and he looked as good as ever in the Panthers’ loss to the WFT on Sunday. This game may have resulted in an upset, but you can’t blame it on the offense, despite their failure to move the ball on their late drives with a chance at the game-winning score. The defense was beaten at the line of scrimmage time and time again, and their incredible secondary couldn’t compensate for an ineffective defensive line.
(22) Washington Football Team 2
The WFT just played a complete game of football for the first time in a while, and it was good enough to take down the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL. An effective run game was key to their success, and the offensive line dominated in almost every rep. If they could play like that every week, they might actually have been competing for the division, like a lot of people predicted they might in the offseason.
(23) Miami Dolphins 2
In the snooze bowl of week eleven, Miami beat the Jets, and no-one really cared. These two teams have had disappointing seasons so far, and this game was no exception. Tua looked solid, relying heavily on the play-action calls he excels in en route to a win, but this team isn’t ready to make a playoff run. Perhaps not even an appearance. Let’s see how things go in the offseason, shall we?
(24) Seattle Seahawks 3
Russell Wilson looked very not good, and that’s no understatement, as he took the extra opportunities afforded by playing against a backup QB and managed to only total 13 points with them. The defense did fine, but didn’t take advantage of a simplified offense. This entire team lacks consistency, even with the return of their starting QB, and they deserve to be the worst team in their division.
(25) New York Giants 3
Unfortunate, but Monday Night looked like no less than what many expected against the reigning champions. Daniel Jones made bone-headed plays to help a defense that didn’t need it, and the Giants best was never enough. Is Saquon Barkley trade bait this offseason?
(26) Denver Broncos
The Broncos are still one of the most confounding teams in the league, but how do they fare against a red-hot Chargers team after the bye?
(27) Houston Texans 4
Wow, just like every week this season, one of the worst teams in the league took down one of the best, and today was the Texans’ lucky day. Tyrod Taylor played well despite an unremarkable statline, their forgettable secondary frustrated what was supposed to be one of the NFL’s best wide receiver rooms, and they reminded us that Houston did actually look pretty good when the season started. Ah well, we’ll meet them back at the bottom soon.
(28) Atlanta Falcons 1
Atlanta really has a thing for 25-point margins. Despite being shut out on Thursday Night Football, their defense did well, managing to keep the opposing offense out of the end zone all but one time. It wasn’t enough, as the Falcons’ consistent mistakes let their otherwise acceptable offense down. Flags and a messy OL crippled them.
(29) Chicago Bears 1
The Bears should have won this game once the news of Lamar Jackson’s inactive status came out, but they still managed to find a way to lose. The Ravens fielded one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL and neither of the Chicago QBs could get it done. Fields needs time, but his reps weren’t encouraging.
(30) Jacksonville Jaguars 1
Well, that was something. The Jaguars refuse to pitch an offense that works for Trevor Lawrence, even though he displays the traits necessary to win. Until Meyer is out, this team simply cannot compete.
(31) New York Jets 1
The Jets are just not a good football team. They have an improving defense that’s been hampered by a weak secondary, and several entertaining playmakers on offense, but they lack any kind of consistency or identity and they’ll continue to flounder until they start being decisive. They’ll have to do that next season, as their eight losses will likely keep them out of the playofs for yet another year.
(32) Detroit Lions
The Lions are still yet to win, but are they the best winless team the NFL has seen in a long time? Quite probably. There are many times that Detroit could have crawled out of the bottom of the heap, including this one, as backup QB Tim Boyle almost stumbled his way to a victory. With more penalty yards than actual offense, and some of the most confounding play calling anyone has ever seen, they remain winless.
Don’t forget to check out last week, and come back next time to see how another week of NFL action changes the board.