Thursday Night Football has come and gone, and the somewhat shocking result of the game against the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings has shaken up the NFL power rankings for Week 10.
Sunday's slate of games appears to be exciting on paper, and there's plenty of potential for at least an upset or two. This, of course, would shake up the power rankings even further as we advance through the season.
There more than likely won't be a change at the top after Week 10, as the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs are on a bye as they gear up for their matchup against the Denver Broncos. Regardless, there figures to be plenty of movement below the NFL's best team.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0)
The Chiefs are miraculously 9-0. Well, maybe not miraculously. Nobody pegged them to be the NFL's lone unbeaten team through 10 weeks when the season kicked off, but Alex Smith and Andy Reid have done a great job of changing the culture in KC.
And that defense is dominant. Kansas City is a legitimate AFC Super Bowl contender.
2. Indianapolis Colts (6-2)
The Indianapolis Colts are easily a top team in the NFL. Andrew Luck has led 10 game-winning drives in less than two years in the league, and he has led his Colts to wins over the Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers this season.
The Reggie Wayne injury hurts a bit, but T.Y. Hilton is more than capable of stepping up and filling the void.
3. Denver Broncos (7-1)
The Broncos face tough matchup after tough matchup from here on out. They have six straight games against teams .500 or better, including a game against the Chiefs next week.
Their game against KC will have divisional and conference implications, not to mention an impact on each team's confidence with the playoffs looming ever closer.
4. Seattle Seahawks (8-1)
The Seattle Seahawks need to play better offensively. Not having Sidney Rice or Percy Harvin doesn't help Russell Wilson's cause, but Marshawn Lynch needs to step up his game on the ground. This offense is built around the run, and if he isn't putting the team on his back, then it will falter.
Harvin should be back soon, though, and that will give Wilson a huge boost.
5. San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
By putting the ball on the ground more often and more aggressively, the San Francisco 49ers have turned their season around. After starting off shaky, Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore and Co. have put the Niners back on top as a top team in the NFC.
A 29-3 loss to the Seahawks earlier in the season likely still haunts them, but there will be plenty of time for them to make up for it later in the year.
6. New England Patriots (7-2)
How the New England Patriots are 7-2 baffles me.
Tom Brady is having the worst season of his professional career. He has played a majority of the season with weapons like Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson shouldering the load. Stevan Ridley has only just started to turn the corner as a viable option in the run game.
Even still, the Patriots are 7-2 and atop the AFC East.
Thankfully for Brady, Danny Amendola is back healthy, and Rob Gronkowski appears to be done shaking of the rust. As always, they'll be a threat to make a Super Bowl run.
7. New Orleans Saints (6-2)
Jimmy Graham is a superhuman weapon for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, but his health moving forward worries me. Should his foot get worse than it already is, there's no doubting the fact that he'll miss time.
The loss to the New York Jets hurts, especially when you consider that Brees was simply mediocre against them. They'll look to bounce back in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3)
Giovani Bernard is here, folks, and he's here to stay.
Is Bernard one of the NFL's next great running backs?
The rookie running back had his best game of the season last week against the Miami Dolphins, rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns on just nine attempts. He added in four receptions for 25 yards for good measure.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis appears to be a second thought in Cincinnati at this point, and for good reason. Bernard adds a much-needed element on the ground to the Bengals offense.
9. Chicago Bears (5-3)
Defeating the Green Bay Packers last week was huge for the Chicago Bears—even if they beat a Packers team without Aaron Rodgers for most of the contest.
Taking down a division rival was huge for the Bears, especially considering how tight the division's top three teams are in the standings. All three teams—the Bears, Packers and Detroit Lions—are 5-3 heading into Week 10.
The Bears may have the advantage in the division now, as quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to start this week against Detroit, reports Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. With this being the case, Chicago can really separate itself from the pack with a win.
10. Detroit Lions (5-3)
The Lions need to pick up a win against the Bears this week to avoid falling behind. Like Chicago, they have gotten lucky with the injury to Rodgers, but the division will presumably be a two-team race for the next few weeks. Defeating the Bears in this head-to-head matchup will have major implications on the final divisional standings.
After a bye week in Week 9, expect the Lions to come out strong. They'll be riding the momentum from the crazy ending to Week 8's game against the Cowboys, and that confidence should help them against Chicago.
11. Carolina Panthers (5-3)
The Carolina Panthers are quietly one of the NFL's best teams. They have dismantled the New York Giants, Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, but this week's game against the 49ers will not be easy.
If Cam Newton can pull out a win for his team this week, then it will be hard not to put Carolina in the top 10.
12. Green Bay Packers (5-3)
The Packers drop from last week because of the loss to the Bears and the loss of Rodgers.
Seneca Wallace is not good enough of a signal-caller to keep this team afloat for very long, so signing a guy like Matt Flynn or having Rodgers rush his recovery are honestly the best bets for their season.
13. Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
The Cowboys were barely able to squeak out a win against the Vikings in Week 9, and they'll be facing the offensively potent Saints in Week 10. If they were having trouble containing Christian Ponder, then imagine the type of field day that Brees should have.
The Saints defense is also very underrated, and the unit will give Tony Romo and his offensive line problems all game.
14. New York Jets (5-4)
How do the New York Jets keep winning?
Their offense is absolutely nothing special. Geno Smith has managed games pretty well, though he's done nothing to enhance the team's offensive productiveness. Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell still haven't decided amongst themselves which back is better suited to shoulder the load, and the biggest weapons in the air have been Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes.
If it weren't for their defense (another very underrated unit), then the Jets would be a one- or two-win team at the bottom of the AFC East.
15. San Diego Chargers (4-4)
Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers lost to the Redskins last week, and that loss could haunt them moving forward. Rivers should have torched the Redskins secondary and put up big points, but he was picked twice, and those turnovers ended up being the difference.
They're in a tough spot against the Broncos in Week 10.
16. Arizona Cardinals (4-4)
The Arizona Cardinals are an underrated team—there, I said it.
The defense is surprisingly good, and Carson Palmer has helped to establish some consistency on offense. Running back Andre Ellington has been explosive at times out of the backfield, but he needs to get it going on a week-to-week basis to really get the Cardinals on the map.
17. Tennessee Titans (4-4)
Another underrated team, the Tennessee Titans should have an easy week ahead of them against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Expect big numbers from Jake Locker, Kendall Wright and Chris Johnson as they cruise to 5-4. They face the Colts the following week, so it could be right back to .500 for them, though.
18. Cleveland Browns (4-5)
All four of the Cleveland Browns' wins have come since trading Trent Richardson. Let that sink in for a second.
The Browns are playing with Jason Campbell and Willis McGahee behind the offensive line, and it's working. They just beat the Baltimore Ravens for the second time this season, and those two losses are crippling for the defending Super Bowl champs.
19. Miami Dolphins (4-4)
The Dolphins took down the Bengals last week, but don't let that fool you. They certainly aren't the better team and have too many questions offensively.
The offense might, surprisingly, struggle this week against Tampa Bay. With Darrelle Revis roaming in the secondary, Ryan Tannehill may have a hard time hooking up with Mike Wallace down the field.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
Nick Foles torched the Oakland Raiders for seven touchdowns last week, but expecting him to come anywhere close to that production this week against the Packers would be unrealistic.
Another strong performance would pretty much seal Michael Vick's fate in Philly, though, so Foles should have some extra incentive heading into Week 10. The Eagles are a perplexing, inconsistent team, but they have a good chance of winning this week.
21. Baltimore Ravens (3-5)
Ray Rice has been horrible this season, and it's no surprise that the entire Baltimore Ravens offense has been as well. He's the motor that keeps the chains moving for Baltimore, but he's yet to tally a 100-yard game on the ground this season.
The defending Super Bowl champs need some help if they want to even make the playoffs this season.
22. Buffalo Bills (3-6)
Quarterback EJ Manuel will likely start in Week 10, and that gives the Buffalo Bills an advantage heading into the final portion of the season.
Thad Lewis didn't do all that bad under center, but Manuel is the quarterback of the future for a reason. Their matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers this week has the potential to actually be one of the better games of Week 10.
23. Oakland Raiders (3-5)
Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland Raiders take on the New York Giants in Week 10, and a loss against them would likely be the end for them. Darren McFadden is out for the game, meaning Rashad Jennings will get the brunt of the workload.
He played well last week against the Eagles, and he'll likely be the key to the Raiders' offensive attack in Week 10.
24. Washington Redskins (3-6)
The NFC East is wide open, and teams can't afford to give away wins to lesser opponents. That's exactly what the Redskins did on Thursday night against the Vikings in the first game of Week 10.
Do the Redskins have a shot in the NFC East?
Washington is still a potent offensive team and has the potential to turn its season around, but it won't be easy. At least eight wins will be what's necessary to win the division, and a seemingly "free" win against the one-win Vikings would have helped its cause.
Instead, the Redskins dropped the game and fell to 3-6. They'll have to go 5-2 the rest of the way to get to finish with exactly eight wins, and they'll be playing the Niners, Chiefs, Cowboys and Giants (twice) in the remaining games.
Washington needs to start improving fast.
25. St. Louis Rams (3-6)
The Rams are going nowhere fast.
Kellen Clemens won't lead the rams to the postseason this year, but running back Zac Stacy is certainly a bright spot from recent weeks. He had 178 total yards and two touchdowns last week against the Titans, and he'll look to continue his success this week against the Colts.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)
The Steelers will be tasked with taking down EJ Manuel and the Bills this week, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger needs to continue to grow after last week's four-touchdown performance against the Patriots.
Le'Veon Bell also needs to build off his 139-total-yard performance from last week.
27. Atlanta Falcons (2-6)
The Falcons are the biggest disappointment of the season—ahead of the Houston Texans and ahead of the Giants.
Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Steven Jackson have not been as dominant as the experts predicted they would be, and the defense has even struggled to keep the opposition off the board.
Not having a strong running game has led Ryan to toss passes at a career-high pace, and that predictability has made it difficult for Atlanta to get anything going offensively.
28. Houston Texans (2-6)
Case Keenum has revitalized a fanbase that was finished with Matt Schaub, and he was fantastic against the Colts last week.
He and Andre Johnson have established a fantastic rapport in just two games, as the two have already hooked up for three touchdowns. In total, Keenum has four touchdowns and no interceptions.
He'll look to stay hot in Week 10 against the Cardinals.
29. New York Giants (2-6)
The Giants enter Week 10 on a two-game winning streak, and there's a great chance they'll pick up their third straight win against Oakland.
Running back Andre Brown is back, and that should help give the offense a boost. Look for Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to pick the defense apart through the air. This game might not be close.
30. Minnesota Vikings (2-7)
The Vikings may have beaten a team ranked several spots higher than them on Thursday, but the win does nothing for their ranking. They are better than the Buccaneers and the Jaguars, but not nearly as good as any of the teams ahead of them.
Minnesota still doesn't have a consistent option at quarterback, the defense struggles, and the wide receiving corps isn't that strong. At least they have Adrian Peterson.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8)
Mike Glennon actually hasn't been as bad as his team's record suggests, but he hasn't been a game-changer for Tampa Bay. Not having Doug Martin doesn't help, but Mike James really hasn't been terrible.
Glennon will be taking this season as a learning experience. He's now the quarterback of the future in Tampa Bay, and next season will be a more accurate assessment of his success.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8)
Jacksonville plays Tennessee this week, and the underrated Titans should cruise past them.
There really isn't much more to say about the Jaguars that hasn't already been said. Jadeveon Clowney, here they come.