NFL Power Rankings: Assessing Each Team Entering Week 10

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NFL Power Rankings: Assessing Each Team Entering Week 10
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The only NFL team with a winning record and a negative scoring differential (minus-32 entering Week 10) opened Week 10 with a win on Thursday night in Jacksonville. The Indianapolis Colts moved to 6-3 after cruising past arguably the league's worst team, the now 1-8 Jaguars. 

Still, we have a lot left to witness before we can determine whether the Colts are for real and the Jaguars are truly that bad. There are 13 matchups left to be played this week and plenty to be sorted out.

Let's take a look at where all 32 teams stand heading into Week 10. 

 

No. 1. Atlanta Falcons (8-0)

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It's simple. As long as the Atlanta Falcons prove to be invincible they'll hold down the top spot. They'll have a stiff test against division rival New Orleans on Sunday, but Matt Ryan and company have won four games away from home already this fall.

 

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No. 2. Chicago Bears (7-1)

Chicago has 28 takeaways halfway through the season, and sports a plus-16 turnover differential coming into Week 10. The Bears can prove just how formidable their defense really is against Houston on Sunday night.

The Texans have only turned the ball over six times in eight games this year, fewer than any other team in the NFL.

 

No. 3. Green Bay Packers (6-3)

The Packers will enjoy a bye in Week 10. This is sad for Green Bay fans who were enjoying the team's four-game winning streak. 

 

No. 4. Houston Texans (7-1)

As long as Houston continues to run the football with great success, play dominant defense and avoid turning the ball over, it will be the favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLVII. The Texans rank eighth in the league in rush offense, boast a top-five defense and possess the AFC's second-best turnover differential at plus-eight. 

 

No. 5. San Francisco 49ers (6-2)

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Many like the 49ers to win the NFC this January, but I need to see more from San Francisco against the conference's best teams (lost to Vikings and Giants). In Week 10 they'll host the reeling Rams, which shouldn't provide us with any real answers as to how good Jim Harbaugh's team really is. 

St. Louis has lost three in a row and is 0-3 on the road in 2012. 

 

No. 6. New England Patriots (5-3)

The Pats are the highest scoring team in football entering Week 10, so expect them to bury the Bills under a blanket of points in Foxboro. New England is the only team in the NFL on pace to score more than 500 points in 2012.

 

No. 7. Denver Broncos (5-3)

Denver has won three in a row thanks to the strong arm of Peyton Manning, who's playing MVP-caliber football this season. The Broncos will play at Carolina in Week 10, where they should continue their momentum against a lackluster Panthers squad. 

 

No. 8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

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The Steelers reminded us last weekend why they should always be feared when the weather gets cold. Pittsburgh has strung together three straight wins and should easily make that four on Monday night against the lowly Chiefs. 

 

No. 9. New York Giants (6-3)

The defending Super Bowl champions should bounce back this weekend at Cincinnati. The Bengals are terrible at home in 2012 and we all know how well the G-Men travel. 

 

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No. 10. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)

Baltimore is a lot like San Francisco. Both teams are coached by a Harbaugh. Both teams lost in their respective conference championship games last January. Both are 6-2 this season. And of course, both were exposed by fellow Super Bowl favorites not that long ago (Ravens' 30-point loss at Texans, 49ers' 23-point loss vs. Giants). 

Still, the Ravens have the injury factor going for them. They should steamroll the struggling Raiders at home in Week 10, but after that things get tricky when they travel to Pittsburgh.

 

No. 11. Detroit Lions (4-4)

You have to give the Detroit Lions credit for winning three of their last four games. They could have mailed the season in at 1-3, but here they are right back in the mix for an NFC Wild Card for the second straight season. 

 

No. 12. Seattle Seahawks (5-4)

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As long as the Seahawks continue to win at CenturyLink Field they have to be considered one of the NFL's most dangerous teams—until the postseason arrives, and Seattle is forced to go on the road and win.

For now, though, the Hawks are on the move and can continue to rise with a win over the crumbling Jets in Week 10.

 

No. 13. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)

Indy has already tripled its win total from last season and is about four wins away from locking up an AFC Wild Card berth. If Andrew Luck and the Colts can beat Buffalo, Tennessee and Kansas City, they will only need to find one win in four games against New England, Detroit and Houston twice. 

 

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No. 14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4)

The Bucs are the Detroit Lions of the South. They can get above .500 for the first time since Week 1 with a home win over the curious San Diego Chargers on Sunday afternoon. 

 

No. 15. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

Miami has played five of its first eight games this season on the road, and two of the Dolphins' four losses have come by a field goal in overtime.

Bottom line: Joe Philbin, Ryan Tannehill and friends are playing brilliantly in South Beach. They shouldn't be counted out yet as they can win their fifth game of the year against Tennessee in Week 10.

 

No. 16. Minnesota Vikings (5-4)

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The early-season perception many had of the Minnesota Vikings is changing. They were 4-1 through five weeks. Then they were 5-2 through seven weeks. Now, they're 5-4 and in need of a win over Detroit on Sunday to avoid falling all the way back to .500 for the first time since Week 2. 

 

No. 17. New Orleans Saints (3-5)

New Orleans' 3-5 record doesn't look that bad when you consider they began 0-4. Hey, the Saints still possess the NFL's second-best aerial attack led by Drew Brees, and as long as the former Super Bowl MVP is calling the shots, they have a chance to beat anyone, even the Falcons this weekend.

 

No. 18. San Diego Chargers (4-4)

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The Chargers' four wins this season have come against the Raiders, Titans and Chiefs (twice). Those teams are a combined 7-18 this season. If the Bolts can't beat the 4-4 Bucs in Tampa in Week 10, it'll be safe to say that they aren't going to make the playoffs.

 

No. 19. Dallas Cowboys (3-5)

Dallas' season rests on its Week 10 matchup with NFC East rival Philadelphia. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the Eagles will be playing at home and with every bit as much motivation to avoid losing their sixth game of the year. 

 

No. 20. Carolina Panthers (2-6)

If only beating the surging Broncos was as easy as defeating the Redskins in Landover. Carolina will need another stellar defensive effort in Week 10 to begin its first winning streak of 2012. 

 

No. 21. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)

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Just like the Cowboys, the Eagles are facing a must-win scenario in Week 10. Although a division win over Dallas wouldn't cure everything that's ailing Philly this season, it would bring them within a game of .500 and keep their slim playoff hopes alive heading into Week 11.

The Eagles haven't won a game since September. 

 

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No. 22. New York Jets (3-5)

After a promising 2-1 start, the Jets have lost four of their last five and are somehow still making guarantees that they'll reach the postseason. New York will have to pull off the impossible task of winning at Seattle in Week 10 if it's going to avoid being at 3-6.

 

No. 23. St. Louis Rams (3-5)

St. Louis showed potential after five weeks, boasting a 2-0 record vs. the NFC West and a 3-2 record overall. But, after three straight defeats and a bye week, the Rams are right on schedule to be 3-6 after 10 weeks. They'll travel west to play the Niners on Sunday.

 

No. 24. Washington Redskins (3-6)

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It's one thing to struggle on the road in the NFL, but winning at home is a must in order to be successful. Sadly, the 'Skins have been dreadful at FedEx Field over the years. Washington is just 1-9 over its last 10 home games. 

Like the Cardinals, the Redskins' Week 10 bye comes at a great time. 

 

No. 25. Oakland Raiders (3-5)

When it comes to slinging the football through the air, the Oakland Raiders are one of the NFL's best. But that hasn't translated into victories for Dennis Allen's club. Oakland is 3-5 after nine weeks and can essentially eliminate itself from postseason contention with a loss at Baltimore this weekend. 

 

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No. 26. Buffalo Bills (3-5)

The Bills have just one win since September, an overtime victory at Arizona in October. Sure, Buffalo has plenty of talent to win, but when will they? Something tells me it won't be Week 10 in New England. 

 

No. 27. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5)

Only the Cardinals, Chiefs and Jaguars are in the midst of longer losing streaks than the Cincinnati Bengals. If Cincinnati loses at home to the defending champs on Sunday, they'll have lost five in a row, including four straight at home.

 

No. 28. Arizona Cardinals (4-5)

The Cardinals' bye could not have come at a better time. Arizona has lost five straight after a 4-0 start. Looks like the Cards will be lucky to experience 8-8 this season. 

 

No. 29. Cleveland Browns (2-7)

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The good news is that the Cleveland Browns play hard. The bad news is that their effort hasn't translated into wins. At least Cleveland will get a bye in Week 10 before traveling to play Dallas in Week 11. 

 

No. 30. Tennessee Titans (3-6)

Tennessee's pitiful scoring defense has been the story of their disappointing 2012 season. The Titans have surrendered 308 total points through the first nine weeks of the season. No other team has given up more than 250 points this season.

Mike Munchak will have to change something in order for the Titans to end their two-game skid at Miami in Week 10.

 

No. 31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)

The Jags offense is averaging just 14 points per game after Thursday night's 27-10 loss to the Colts. That's the worst scoring output of any team in the league this season.

 

No. 32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7)

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Until the Chiefs lead a game in regulation, they will round out my NFL power rankings at No. 32 week after week. Kansas City has turned the ball over 29 times in eight games and is allowing 30 points per week. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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