While every week in the NFL features its share of surprises, some of the games in Week 10 caught everyone off guard. As a result, we see a big shift in the power rankings.
Teams that were thought of as elite had slip ups to put themselves in a poor position going forward. On the other hand, there is a group of squads in the middle of the standings that are starting to prove they are legitimate playoff contenders.
With only one matchup remaining in the weekend—a Monday night battle between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers—here is look at the latest power rankings for the NFL. Teams who made the biggest move this week are in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0)
Every week continues to prove that it is tough winning in the NFL no matter who the opponent is. The Chiefs certainly have their problems, but they have made sure to get the W every single time they step on the field.
A road game against the Denver Broncos in Week 11 will give a better indication about the ability of this team, but until then, Kansas City remains in the top spot.
2. Seattle Seahawks (9-1)
After a few mediocre performances in a row, the Seahawks left no questions after a blowout victory on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.
With a great defense and an offense that will soon have Percy Harvin, Seattle remains one of the favorites to win this year's Super Bowl.
3. Denver Broncos (8-1)
The Broncos have raised their standards to the point that only scoring 28 on the road against a division rival is a bad day. However, they continue to be on pace for the best offense in NFL history, per ESPN Stats and Info:
As long as Peyton Manning is able to stand, this unit will be able to outscore virtually anyone it faces.
4. New Orleans Saints (7-2)
While the Saints still might have issues on the road, they can beat anyone in the Superdome. The Dallas Cowboys learned that the hard way after Drew Brees led his team to 49 points on 40 first downs in a Sunday night win.
The schedule gets much tougher in the second half of the season, but New Orleans should continue to prove it is one of the top teams in the NFL.
5. New England Patriots (7-2)
The Patriots were probably hoping for an earlier bye to help get healthy. With a week off now, they simply lose their momentum after the recent rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Still, Tom Brady is starting to hit his stride for a squad that should finish among the top teams in the AFC.
6. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)
That was quite a disappointing performance from the Indianapolis Colts. After asserting themselves as an elite squad over the past month, they dropped a 38-8 game at home against the St. Louis Rams.
The good news is that the squad has a decent cushion in the division and can afford mistakes like this, but it is important not to make this a habit.
7. Carolina Panthers (6-3)
Trend: Way Up
It took a long time for people to hop on the Panthers bandwagon, but it is finally starting to fill up.
Carolina had been dominating teams lately, winning its last four by a combined score of 130-48. However, these victories were overlooked because of the level of competition.
That is no longer the case with a complete shutdown of the San Francisco 49ers offense. The defense only allowed 151 yards in a 10-9 victory, proving that it is legitimate.
With an elite defensive line and a talented quarterback running the show in Cam Newton, this team can go far this season.
8. San Francisco 49ers (6-3)
Trend: Down Slightly
After five-straight wins, there is no reason to be alarmed by one loss to the Panthers. However, the offense was extremely ineffective once Vernon Davis went down with a concussion, via Bill Williamson of ESPN.
Colin Kaepernick has to find a way to spread the ball around to his receivers or else this offense will not allow the team to go deep into January as the 49ers hope.
9. Detroit Lions (6-3)
Over the past few seasons, the Lions had the talent to succeed, but it also seemed as though they could not win the close games for one reason or another. Poor mistakes and mental errors always limited the squad.
This is no longer the case after the Lions won a second big game in a row by less than a field goal. With the win, they move into first place in the division with a good chance of holding onto that spot for the first time since 1993.
10. Chicago Bears (5-4)
Trend: Down Slightly
While the Bears played well, they have some questions at the quarterback position. Jay Cutler was largely ineffective while seemingly playing injured, but Josh McCown came in and led a touchdown drive that gave the team a chance to tie the game.
McCown has proven to be a capable backup, which could mean Cutler is forced to the bench until he is 100 percent healthy.
11. Green Bay Packers (5-4)
Trend: Way Down
When healthy, this is one of the best teams in football. Even when receiving targets like Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley went down, quarterback Aaron Rodgers still had the ability to hold the offense together.
Unfortunately, the Packers are down to their third-string quarterback after Rodgers and Seneca Wallace were injured in the past two games. Scott Tolzien played decently in relief, but this represents a major drop in talent.
After two losses in a row, Green Bay is now in serious trouble in the standings. Unless Tolzien can find some Rodgers magic, it seems like this squad could be headed out of the playoff picture.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
The Bengals have had two chances to effectively close the door on the division over the past two weeks, and they came up short both times.
A Hail Mary at the end of regulation sent the game against the Baltimore Ravens into overtime, but all it did was mask another terrible game by Andy Dalton. If he cannot lead this team to the playoffs, it might be time to find a new quarterback in Cincinnati.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
Trend: Way Up
Nick Foles is proving to be a legitimate NFL quarterback, and he has made this Eagles team into a playoff contender.
The second-year player burst onto the scene last week with his seven-touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders, but he has been solid whenever he is on the field. Altogether, he has 16 touchdown passes and zero interceptions this season.
All of a sudden, the Eagles are tied for first place in the NFC East and seem like the hottest team in the division. The only thing holding them back? They have yet to win a single game in Philadelphia.
At least this should change soon with the struggling Washington Redskins coming to town in Week 11.
14. Arizona Cardinals (5-4)
Few would have made this claim a month ago, but the Arizona Cardinals are serious contenders for a playoff spot in the NFC. The defense has played well, and Andre Ellington continues to be one of the top playmakers in the league.
If they can continue to overcome Carson Palmer's mistakes—he has thrown at least one interception in every game this year—the Cardinals will remain near the top of the standings.
15. New York Jets (5-4)
Over halfway through the season, we still do not know how good the Jets really are. The good wins over the Patriots and Saints are countered by blowout losses to the Bengals and Titans.
Still, the 5-4 squad would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, which would have been a major surprise in September. Based on what we have seen from the defense, there is no reason New York cannot grab that last spot.
16. San Diego Chargers (4-5)
Trend: Down Slightly
A loss to the Broncos is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when it was by only eight points. However, Philip Rivers appeared afraid to throw the ball down the field, which held the offense back in the loss.
The quarterback remains efficient with a 71.6 completion percentage on the season, but he is not necessarily helping his team with short check downs all day long.
17. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
We should have learned by now that we should never count out the Ravens even when they start 3-5. They have a knack for coming through with big games when they need it the most, and a win over the Bengals puts them right back in position for a playoff spot.
Imagine how good this squad could be if there was any semblance of a run game.
18. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
Tony Romo had an awful game on Sunday night, but he had little chance of winning when his defense allowed 49 points to the Saints. With the No. 32 pass defense and the No. 28 run defense, the Cowboys will have a hard time outscoring many teams for the rest of the year.
19. New York Giants (3-6)
While the latest win over the Oakland Raiders was sloppy all around, the Giants are finally getting on track with their third win in a row. Most importantly, Andre Brown returned and finally appeared to be the running back the Giants have been looking for all year, totaling 115 rushing yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.
If New York can keep this up, they will amazingly be in contention for a division crown after starting 0-6.
20. St. Louis Rams (4-6)
Trend: Way Up
The Indianapolis Colts had proven to be one of the top teams in football and were coming home against the lowly St. Louis Rams. Few thought this would even be a close game, let alone an upset.
Well, it turns out the Rams did not keep it close. Instead, they won by 30 points thanks mostly to some huge plays by Tavon Austin. The rookie had only two receptions but took both those to the house for a combined 138 yards.
He also had a 98-yard punt returned for a touchdown on a play that likely drove his coaches crazy until it was clear he was going all the way.
While St. Louis will not likely earn a playoff spot this season, the franchise has to feel good about seeing this much production from rookies like Austin and Zac Stacy. The future is certainly bright as soon as a real quarterback finds his way under center.
21. Tennessee Titans (4-5)
As if losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars was not bad enough, the Titans have received more devastating news, according ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick is solid as a backup, Jake Locker had looked good while playing and seemed ready to take the next step in his career. Without truly evaluating him, Tennessee might be forced to look for another quarterback in the offseason.
22. Miami Dolphins (4-4)
Ryan Tannehill enters his Week 11 game tied as the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL with 35 on the season. He will now be under more pressure without starting offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.
The second-year quarterback will have a hard time completing anything down the field, and it will limit an already mediocre offense going forward.
23. Cleveland Browns (4-5)
The Browns had a chance to rest up during the bye and now face the Bengals in Week 11. A win in this matchup would tie them for first place in the loss column while owning a season sweep over Cincinnati.
You better believe these in-state rivals will ready for a showdown in this game.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)
Trend: Up Slightly
Pittsburgh might be getting better, but the offensive line still cannot protect Ben Roethlisberger or clear lanes for Le'Veon Bell. This will keep limiting the offense, especially against good teams.
The good news is that it appears the previous reports on Roethlisberger asking for a trade were false, according to Steelers.com.
25. Oakland Raiders (3-6)
After a few weeks of impressive play, quarterback Terrelle Pryor is once again showing the poor passer efficiency that led many to doubt his ability to be a full-time starter.
In the last three games, Pryor has completed only half of his passes while throwing five interceptions and no touchdowns. If this does not turn around, the Raiders will once again be in the market for a quarterback during draft time.
26. Buffalo Bills (3-7)
EJ Manuel returned to the field on Sunday, but it did not go as well as the Bills had hoped. The rookie passed for only 155 yards on 39 attempts while the run game struggled to get going as well.
It is clear Buffalo is still a few years away from competing at a high level.
27. Washington Redskins (3-6)
Trend: Way Down
Every time you think the Redskins are going to make a positive move, they go out and disappoint once again.
Since starting 0-3, Washington has alternated wins and losses every game, although none were more embarrassing than the loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.
Amazingly, the team got great production out of Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and pretty much everyone else on offense. The problem is that the defense once again showed that it cannot make stops, and the Vikings scored 20 unanswered points to win.
In a terrible division, Washington still has a chance to compete, but things are getting bad in a hurry.
28. Atlanta Falcons (2-7)
There are big holes on both sides of the ball, and the team that went 13-3 a year ago is now one of the worst in football.
29. Minnesota Vikings (2-7)
Trend: Up Slightly
The Vikings got a great performance out of Christian Ponder on Thursday, and it led to their second win of the season. Unfortunately, we have seen too much poor play from the quarterback to assume this is much more than a fluke.
With an upcoming game in Seattle, it seems likely that the Vikings will go right back to adding tallies to the loss column.
30. Houston Texans (2-7)
Although Houston has been competitive in the past few games, the fact is that the squad has lost seven games in a row. With Arian Foster out for the year, it seems like any hope for a turnaround is lost.
Instead, this represents a good opportunity to see what the team has in Case Keenum and other young players looking for a chance to play.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)
Finally, the Jaguars were able to get a victory thanks mostly to four forced turnovers as well as a safety by the Titans. This does not seem likely to lead to more wins, but at least they will not go 0-16.
That alone takes Jacksonville out of the bottom spot for the week.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8)
Tampa Bay actually had a good chance to get their first win of the year against the Dolphins on Monday Night Football, but the squad still must be the last-ranked team due to a winless record.
The good news is that Mike Glennon and Mike James have both looked impressive as rookies in recent weeks, which provides hope for the future.
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