Week 10 NFL Power Rankings: The Evil Empire Strikes Back

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Christian Barmore takes down Case Keenum, one of many Patriots sacks on Cleveland quarterbacks. Photo by Matthew J Lee/Boston Globe Staff

Week Ten of the NFL season saw the revival of the NFL’s worst nightmare. The New England Patriots look like they may be back, and the rest of the AFC is in trouble. But where do the Pats stand as compared to everyone else? Here are the power rankings for Week Ten of the NFL season.

32. Detroit Lions (0-8-1) Prev: 32

Well, the Lions didn’t win again, but they didn’t lose either. They played to a tie against a Steelers team playing without Ben Roethlisberger. Jared Goff was awful, as he only threw for 114 yards in five full quarters. Safe to say, the Lions will be in the QB market in the offseason.

Team MVP: D’Andre Swift (130 yds)

Next: at Browns

31. Houston Texans (1-8) Prev: 31

The Texans had their bye this week. It remains to be seen if Houston will go with Tyrod Taylor or Davis Mills for the remainder of the season.

Next: at Titans

30. New York Jets (2-7) Prev: 30

It turns out Mike White isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. The Jets’ backup struggled against the Bills this week, throwing four interceptions in a Jets loss. It seems like Zach Wilson’s job may be safe after all.

Team MVP: Corey Davis (5 rec, 93 yds)

Next: vs Dolphins

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7) Prev: 29

Jacksonville fell short against their division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts. Trevor Lawrence’s rookie struggles continued in this game, as he threw for under 200 yards while completing less than 50% of his passes. It seems he either has turnover problems or is very underwhelming in every game.

Team MVP: Jamal Agnew (79 yds, TD)

Next: vs 49ers

28. Miami Dolphins (3-7) Prev: 28

The Dolphins scored an upset victory over the Ravens on Thursday Night Football. The highlight of the game, however, was a play that didn’t even count. Offensive lineman Robert Hunt caught a pass and tried to barrel his way into the endzone. The only problem is that he wasn’t eligible, so the Dolphins were called for a penalty. It may go down as one of the greatest plays to never count.

Team MVP: Xavien Howard (5 tackles, fumble recovery, TD)

Next: at Jets

27. New York Giants (3-6) Prev: 26

The Giants had their bye week this week. It gives them a week to get Saquon Barkley back to 100% health.

Next: at Buccaneers

26. Chicago Bears (3-6) Prev: 25

The Bears had their bye week this week. Hopefully, Matt Nagy used it to draw up some plays that let Justin Fields use his mobility.

Next: vs Ravens

25. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) Prev: 27

The Eagles beat down on the Broncos this week. The re-emergence of the run game has helped Jalen Hurts tremendously. Devonta Smith is showing flashes of being the number one wide receiver that the Eagles drafted him to be. Nick Siriani, for all of his weird flower analogies, might be getting this team to gel now.

Team MVP: Devonta Smith (4 rec, 66 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: vs Saints

24. Seattle Seahawks (3-6) Prev: 21

Russell Wilson made his grand return this week, which had Seahawks fans excited. Only for Seattle to get shut out in Green Bay. It is the first time Wilson has ever been shut out, which makes you wonder if he truly is 100%, or if he came back too early.

Team MVP: Jamal Adams (11 tackles, INT)

Next: vs Cardinals

23. Atlanta Falcons (4-5) Prev: 20

The Falcons were routed by the Cowboys. A performance like this was expected from the Falcons defense, especially when they gave up 36 points in the first half. But for the offense to only be able to muster 3 points in response is bad. Not to mention the potential injury to Cordarrelle Patterson, who has been one of their bright spots this season.

Team MVP: Kyle Pitts (4 rec, 60 yds)

Next: vs Patriots

22. Washington Football Team (3-6) Prev: 24

Washington scored the upset of the week, avenging their playoff loss to the Bucs. The win came with a price, however as Chase Young tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. It is a massive blow to a Washington pass rush that already lost Ryan Kerrigan in the offseason.

Team MVP: William Jackson III (3 tackles, INT)

Next: at Panthers

21. Minnesota Vikings (4-5) Prev: 23

The Vikings went down to LA and stole a must-win game from the Chargers. The offense goes through Dalvin Cook, as he once again went over 100 yards from scrimmage and set up the pass as well. Minnesota will continue to rely on him in the future.

Team MVP: Dalvin Cook (94 yds, TD, 3 rec, 24 yds)

Next: vs Packers

20. Denver Broncos (5-5) Prev: 17

Denver got beat down at home by the Eagles. One week removed from an upset win over the Cowboys, the Broncos showed their consistency issues as they struggled on both sides of the ball against an Eagles team that is not on the level of the Cowboys. That falls on Vic Fangio and the coaching staff.

Team MVP: Justin Simmons (5 tackles, INT)

Next: Bye

19. San Francisco 49ers (4-5) Prev: 22

The 49ers got a win of the season-saving variety against the Rams this week. Weirdly enough, it was their first home win in over a year, finally rewarding the Niner faithful in attendance with a win. Kyle Shanahan could save his job yet.

Team MVP: Deebo Samuel (5 rec, 97 yds, TD, 36 yds, TD)

Next: at Jaguars

18. Carolina Panthers (5-5) Prev: 19

The Panthers made headlines off the field this week, signing Cam Newton after Sam Darnold went down with a broken scapula. Then, on the field, they beat down the Cardinals, one of the top teams in the entire league. Not to mention Newton adding in two touchdowns. The Panthers may have found a new wave of momentum with this win.

Team MVP: Christian McCaffrey (95 yds, 10 rec, 66 yds)

Next: vs Washington

17. Indianapolis Colts (5-5) Prev: 18

The Colts are now riding a big wave of momentum to bring them back to .500 on the season. They are doing it on the back of Jonathan Taylor, who has been putting up monster numbers this season. If Indy can keep this up, they may steal one of the AFC playoff spots.

Team MVP: Jonathan Taylor (116 yds, TD, 6 rec, 10 yds)

Next: at Bills

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1) Prev: 15

The Steelers tied with the Lions, which might as well have been a loss. Mason Rudolph started at quarterback due to Ben Roethlisberger being placed on the COVID reserve list. However, it’s an easy win that the Steelers aren’t going to get full credit for, and it may come back to bite them come playoff time.

Team MVP: Najee Harris (103 yds,4 rec, 28 yds)

Next: at Chargers

15. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) Prev: 14

The Bengals had their bye week this week. With the Steelers’ tie and Ravens and Browns losing, the AFC North is still very much up for grabs.

Next: at Raiders

14. Cleveland Browns (5-5) Prev: 12

Cleveland did not look good in a big loss to the Patriots. It is a loss with huge playoff implications, and the Browns will have to fight back over the next couple of weeks to make up for this loss. Baker Mayfield went down with yet another injury, this time to his knee. It may be best for him to just take a seat for a while.

Team MVP: D’Ernest Johnson (99 yds, 7 rec, 58 yds)

Next: vs Lions

13. Las Vegas Raiders (5-4) Prev: 11

With a chance to grab a commanding division lead, the Raiders fell short against the Chiefs. The Raiders have two great running backs in Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake, but it was Derek Carr who led the team in rushing, with 18 yards. Abandoning the run likely contributed to the loss being as bad as it was.

Team MVP: Bryan Edwards (3 rec, 88 yds, TD)

Next: vs Bengals

12. New Orleans Saints (5-4) Prev: 10

The Saints almost pulled out the comeback victory against the Titans, but ultimately it came down to a failed two-point conversion followed by a failed onside kick to put the Saints away. Trevor Siemian is playing well, as he threw for almost 300 yards on the game, but the Saints are still just a few plays away from getting those wins.

Team MVP: Marcus Davenport (3 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: Marcus Davenport (3 tackles, 2 sacks)

11. Los Angeles Chargers (5-4) Prev: 9

The Chargers lost yet another close game, this time to the Vikings. It’s games like these that may cost the Chargers come playoff time. This team is so talented, and Brandon Staley seems to be hitting that rookie coach wall. If he can get past it, the Chargers remain a serious threat to everyone in the AFC.

Team MVP: Keenan Allen (8 rec, 98 yds)

Next: vs Steelers

10. New England Patriots (6-4) Prev: 16

The evil empire looks like they are back. Bill Belichick finally has this team playing up to his standards on both sides of the ball. The defense let the Browns open the game with seven points and shut them out for the rest of the game. On offense, the rookies carried the show. Mac Jones was electric, throwing only four incompletions, and Rhamondre Stevenson, playing for an injured Damien harris, ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns. The Pats look like a playoff lock, winning every game thus far in their make-or-break stretch.

Team MVP: Rhamondre Stevenson (100 yds, 2 TDs, 4 rec, 14 yds)

Next: at Falcons

9. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) Prev: 13

The Patriots aren’t the only AFC powerhouse that looks like they’re back. Patrick Mahomes had a performance that was more like what we expected of him, throwing for over 400 yards and no turnovers. All it took to bring Kansas City back was a meaningful game against a division rival, something they haven’t had in a few years.

Team MVP: Patrick Mahomes (35/50, 406 yds, 5 TDs)

Next: vs Cowboys

8. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) Prev: 7

The Ravens had an easy win in front of them on Thursday Night Football, but struggling against the blitz cost them, and they fell to a struggling Dolphins team. The loss keeps the rest of the AFC North in the division race.

Team MVP: Mark Andrews (6 rec, 63 yds, TD)

Next: at Bears

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) Prev: 5

The Bucs were upset by Washington, and have now lost back-to-back games. Tampa’s secondary issues are becoming a serious problem now, as Richard Sherman is the latest one to go down. The lack of Antonio Brown and Gronk also doesn’t help, as those are Brady’s two security blankets.

Team MVP: Devin White (18 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: vs Giants

6. Buffalo Bills (6-3) Prev: 8

The Bills dominated the Jets, something they needed after a confusing loss to the Jags. Buffalo is running out of room atop the AFC East, as the Patriots are closing in fast. With a matchup between the two close, Buffalo needs to get back to their best fast, and a win like this gets them close.

Team MVP: Stefon Diggs (8 rec, 162 yds, TD)

Next: vs Colts

5. Tennessee Titans (8-2) Prev: 6

Even without Derrick Henry, the Titans are looking good. The dominant run game has been replaced by a stifling defense, a unit that was struggling when Henry was healthy. It’s a sign of good coaching when one side can step up when the other gets weaker.

Team MVP: Jeffery Simmons (4 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: vs Texans

4. Los Angeles Rams (7-3) Prev: 2

That’s now back-to-back losses for the Rams. They made off-the-field headlines by signing Odell Beckham Jr, but all that hype did not translate to on-the-field success, as Beckham had two catches for 18 yards. With the talent and coaching the Rams have, they should bounce back soon.

Team MVP: Cooper Kupp (11 rec, 122 yds)

Next: Bye

3. Arizona Cardinals (8-2) Prev: 1

Arizona loses their top spot in the rankings, as their blowout loss to the Panthers knocks them down two spots. The absences of Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins were felt this game, as Colt McCoy and his cast of weapons were unable to get much of anything going against the Panthers’ stingy defense.

Team MVP: Jalen Thompson (9 tackles, INT)

Next: at Seahawks

2. Dallas Cowboys (7-2) Prev: 4

After being “exposed” by the Broncos, Dallas was able to come back this week and get a big win. They were dominant in every phase of the game, holding Atlanta to three points total while scoring 36 in the first half alone. Dallas is a Super Bowl contender.

Team MVP: Dak Prescott (24/31, 296 yds, 2 TDs, 5 yds, TD)

Next: at Chiefs

1. Green Bay Packers (8-2) Prev: 3

The return of Aaron Rodgers, along with a dominant shutout on defense, brings the Packers to the number one spot on the rankings this week. It’s the first-ever shutout of a Russel Wilson-led team, and maybe he wasn’t 100%, but it’s still impressive to get a shutout of a team with as much talent on offense as the Seahawks. The Packers look like title contenders.

Team MVP: AJ Dillon (66 yds, 2 TDs, 2 rec, 62 yds)

Next: at Vikings