Chris Simms' NFL Power Rankings Ahead of Week 11

Chris SimmsNFL Lead AnalystNovember 14, 2016

Chris Simms' NFL Power Rankings Ahead of Week 11

0 of 32

    Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

    After further review, the ruling that the NFL needs instant replay is overturned. 

    Players hate it. Coaches hate it. Fans hate it. And referees must hate it, especially when they have to choose between a clearly correct call and upholding the rule of "undeniable video evidence."

    You know what's undeniable? Will Parks stepped out of bounds before scoring an end-of-game blocked extra- point attempt. That missed call impacts the respective playoff chances of Denver and New Orleansand their places in my latest power rankings release.

     

32. Cleveland Browns

1 of 32

    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-10

    Last week: 31 (-1)

    No more quarterback excuses.

    No more injury rationale.

    These Browns belong in the NFL's cellar. After four weeks of narrow escapes, the league's only winless team reclaims its rightful spot at the tail end of these power rankings.

    Thursday night's offensive output against Baltimore was pitiful. It might have something to do with the Browns' porous offensive line. Or head coach Hue Jackson's wavering between his win-now quarterback (Josh McCown) or his future one (Cody Kessler).

    Jackson needs to stop and rethink his approach. If he doesn't, the only thing we'll know about his team at the end of the regular season is that it was historically bad.

    Looking forward: Cleveland has won one of its last seven meetings with Pittsburgh. So yeah, not good.

31. San Francisco 49ers

2 of 32

    Chris Coduto/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-8

    Last week: 32 (+1)

    I saw enough against Arizona to move the 49ers out of my power rankings basement this week.

    Can they stay here? That's another question. Chip Kelly's team looked improved in every facet in Week 10, but aiding those efforts was a Cardinals team that kept the 49ers around like it was its job.

    Those Cardinals gave Colin Kaepernick four extra possessions to earn his team its second win. He looked as good as I've seen him all year, but his group managed only 281 yards of total offense.

    I'll applaud the run defense, though. Anyone who's anyone burst through San Francisco's front this season. Heading into Week 10, they were giving up a league-worst 193 yards per game on the ground. The 49ers played with a lot more pride…against David Johnson (55 yards on 19 carries), no less.

    Looking forward: San Francisco built up some good vibes last week...only to lose them. New England is in town, and the Patriots don't drop two straight games a whole lot.

30 . Jacksonville Jaguars

3 of 32

    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Current record: 2-7

    Last week: 30 (same)

    Want a sequence that adequately sums up the Jaguars' season? Here it is.

    Blake Bortles dropped back with 12 minutes to play in the second quarter. He saw running back T.J. Yeldon in the flat. And he threw…right off Yeldon's cleat. It bounced up for an easy fumble recovery.

    Jacksonville can't get out of its own way, but it'll kindly step aside for opposing running backs. Lamar Miller and the Texans took whatever they wanted on the ground in Week 10. It's a shame Jacksonville's talent can't overcome its youth, inexperience and lack of execution.

    Looking forward: Jacksonville couldn't put a Brock Osweiler-quarterbacked team away. Something tells me Matthew Stafford will throw for more than 99 yards in Week 11.

29. New York Jets

4 of 32

    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Current record: 3-7

    Last week: 29 (same)

    J-E-T-S. Stink! Stink! Stink!

    Throw in the towel on Gang Green. Coaching mastermind Todd Bowles swapped quarterbacks a week early, and it cost his team dearly.

    Listen, I'm not the treasurer of the Ryan Fitzpatrick Fan Club. But even I'll admit that Fitz could've made a few more throws to top L.A.'s tough-as-nails defense than Bryce Petty did. The Baylor product made one read, then looked to check down to Bilal Powell all day.

    New York's defense allowed only nine points. Darrelle Revis bounced back from a rough first half. But as usual, Bowles' boys found a way to screw it up.

    Looking forward: Gang Green has a week off to let its quarterback stew simmer.

28. Chicago Bears

5 of 32

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Current record: 2-7

    Last week: 26 (-2)

    So much for all that pre-bye-week momentum.

    Against Tampa Bay, Chicago's offense looked nothing like the well-oiled machine that bullied the Vikings two weeks ago. It's no coincidence that downtick happened the week Bad Jay Cutler reared his ugly head.

    Cutler's Hail Mary-infused stat line should fool no one. The dude threw two of the ugliest picks I've seen all year, including an unnecessary pick-six off his back foot to Chris Conte. Kyle Long's early exit only accelerated his issues.

    The good news? Chicago's pass rush is quietly one of the NFL's best. It has a keeper in rookie Leonard Floyd (1.5 sacks, plus a few batted balls). He'll pair nicely with Pernell McPhee (1.0 sacks) over the coming years.

    Looking forward: Odell Beckham Jr.? Meet Chicago's secondary. Go wild.

27. Los Angeles Rams

6 of 32

    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-5

    Last week: 27 (same)

    Todd Gurley was on the sideline for L.A.'s game-clinching moment against the Jets.

    The same goes for Aaron Donald, Kenny Britt or any other Rams you might classify as playmakers.

    Punter Johnny Hekker—yes, a punter—turned in the Rams' crucial play: a 78-yard punt that flipped field position enough that L.A. could kick a go-ahead field goal later on. It was incredible.

    Hekker's leg is a luxury, but the fact I'm mentioning his name here is a problem. Jeff Fisher's team was lucky to face an inexperienced quarterback; it moved backward in the red zone on the day. L.A. is lucky to be where it is.

    Looking forward: Matt Forte and Bilal Powell found running room last week. Now, the Jay Ajayi-led Dolphins will try their luck.

26. Carolina Panthers

7 of 32

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Current record: 3-6

    Last week: 24 (-2)

    Carolina looked ready to spark something special in the second half of the season.

    It just forgot to finish the second half of its Week 10 game. Cam Newton and Co. never put the Chiefs away, and they'll be sitting on their couches this postseason because of it.

    The Panthers' overreliance on Newton was their undoing; they needed their MVP to throw missiles into tight coverage (and sometimes through defenders' hands) to move the ball. Kansas City finally keyed on one forced pass, and Eric Berry took it back to the house.

    Then, Kelvin Benjamin let Marcus Peters pry a football away to set up the game-winning field goal. Carolina is 3-6 and deserves to be ranked accordingly.

    Looking forward: Carolina needed a Week 10 win. It has no room for another loss with Drew Brees and the Saints in town for Thursday Night Football.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8 of 32

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-5

    Last week: 28 (+3)

    Jay Cutler connected on an end-of-half Hail Mary. That was about it against this Buccaneers defense.

    Credit defensive coordinator Mike Smith for getting his guys ready to roll, especially after a poor showing in Week 9.

    Want to know the extent of Tampa Bay's defensive dominance? Look no further than the first half of Week 10. Brent Grimes jumped a throw heading Alshon Jeffery's way. Minutes later, Chris Conte snatched a second Cutler throw and took it all the way back. Noah Spence (strip sack) and Robert Ayers (safety) made it a turnover party.

    That effort afforded Jameis Winston a little leeway to A) cover up his own mistakes and B) run around like a chicken with its head cut off and somehow complete this pass to Mike Evans. Tampa Bay might not dominate like this in coming weeks, but the team will always be fun to watch.

    Looking forward: Beating Chicago was big last week. Beating Kansas City on the road would be huge.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

9 of 32

    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Current record: 3-5-1

    Last week: 18 (-6)

    Cincinnati’s fatal offensive flaw reared its ugly head in the Meadowlands on Monday night.

    A.J. Green faced bracket coverage (one cornerback with a safety over the top) for the majority of his snaps. He still made plays, but he can’t make all of them. Save for one trick pass play to Tyler Eifert and another short touchdown run by Jeremy Hill, the rest of Andy Dalton’s weapons couldn’t pick up the slack.

    Speaking of which, what happened to the Bengals defense? The one I remember would’ve feasted on the Giants’ backup offensive linemen. Currently, this team is sitting at 17.0 sacks on the season. That total ties them with known pass-rushing powers Indianapolis and New Orleans and is one sack better than what the Browns have done.

    Looking forward: Cincy surrendered big runs to Rashad Jennings on Monday night. Imagine what LeSean McCoy will do.

23. Arizona Cardinals

10 of 32

    Norm Hall/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-4-1

    Last week: 25 (+2)

    They'll physically dominate a game from start to finish. 

    They'll own the time-of-possession battle.

    And they'll still keep a team around far longer than necessary.

    It was almost the same ol' story for these Cardinals. Then, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd woke up and gave us all a glimpse of what Arizona's offense could (and probably should) be.

    Those two receivers combined for over half of Carson Palmer's completions and 234 of his 376 total passing yards. Palmer himself underwhelmed; his interception to Gerald Hodges was the biggest of three second-half turnovers.

    Arizona is lucky it wasn't playing a better team in Week 10. The club is also lucky Fitz and Floyd were open for business all game long.

    Looking forward: Last year's Cardinals-Vikings clash was epic. This year's? Maybe not as much.

22. Green Bay Packers

11 of 32

    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-5

    Last week: 14 (-8)

    Mike McCarthy coaches a roster that's never infused with veteran free-agent talent.

    So it seems unfair that he'll be the one to lose his job over Green Bay's scoring run. But when you coach Aaron Rodgers and you lose to the Tennessee Titans, something's gotta give.

    Again, McCarthy's playbook regressed to Rodgers throwing fast, hard and accurately. No receivers earned significant separation. No running backs got anything resembling a ground game going.

    Speaking of ground game: DeMarco Murray took his first carry 75 yards to the house untouched. It's like the Packers didn't know he was coming. That's inexcusable.

    Looking forward: Aaron Rodgers put the Redskins out of the playoffs last year. They'll be ready for him come Sunday night.

21. Indianapolis Colts

12 of 32

    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-5

    Last week: 22 (+1)

    The Fighting Andrew Lucks didn't play in Week 10. They were on a bye week.

    Looking forward: Indianapolis won two of its last three games before a much-needed break. Can its momentum carry over? We'll find out in Week 11, when the Colts take on the red-hot Titans and a dangerous power offense at home at Lucas Oil Stadium. Stopping DeMarco Murray will be paramount to Indy's playoff hopes.

20. Minnesota Vikings

13 of 32

    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Current record: 5-4

    Last week: 12 (-8)

    Sam Bradford committed one error in his latest Vikings appearance.

    It was one error too many. Preston Smith's incredible one-handed interception sent Minnesota's offense back into the dark ages in the waning minutes of its Week 10 game. The losing streak goes on.

    That's four losses for a team ranked as high as No. 2 in these power rankings. It seems like forever ago, doesn't it? Currently, Bradford's arm is the only points-scoring asset his team has. Even the defense, which used to score points itself, could only muster a single Kirk Cousins sack.

    Looking forward: Arizona is no NFL heavyweight. Then again, neither are some of the teams that've topped Minnesota in its four-game slide.

19. Buffalo Bills

14 of 32

    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-5

    Last week: 20 (+1)

    Rex Ryan's club took the week to rest up. Buffalo was on a bye week.

    Looking forward: Buffalo came close to a season-defining upset when we saw it last. Close doesn't count in football, though. After a crushing loss to the Seahawks, the Bills will need to regroup after the bye week to stay afloat in a super-competitive wild-card race. That means facing and defeating the Bengals in Week 11. A well-rested LeSean McCoy will help.

18. San Diego Chargers

15 of 32

    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-6

    Last week: 15 (-3)

    What a role reversal for Philip Rivers.

    San Diego's quarterback is usually the one let down after a full-team performance. But in Week 10, the team had reason to be disappointed in its veteran passer. His four interceptions were U-G-L-Y.

    Rivers shoulders much of the blame, but not all of it. Where was Melvin Gordon after a streak of breakout games? He disappeared behind a line that struggled to defend Miami's front four all day. I'm looking at you, Joe Barksdale.

    This Chargers defense can use injury as an excuse (especially at middle linebacker). What happened to Rivers and the offensive production, though?

    Looking forward: San Diego can take a bye week to forget all about a crushing Week 10 loss.

17. New Orleans Saints

16 of 32

    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-5

    Last week: 21 (+4)

    I blame the referees for not seeing it.

    I blame instant replay for not reversing it.

    I blame Will Parks' white shoes for not helping it.

    So I can't blame the Saints entirely for the kick-two that decided their Week 10 fate. Drew Brees tossed a couple of bad interceptions. Michael Thomas was stripped twice. But as a whole, they persevered and drove for what should've been the game-winning score against a title-winning defense.

    Also encouraging: this Saints defense. After Sheldon Rankins' return, New Orleans finally has its ideal defensive line depth chart on the field. Ask Trevor Siemian if that group is scary together.

    Forget the loss. I saw enough good things from Sean Payton's team to raise them up my power rankings.

    Looking forward: It's a win-or-go-home kind of week for New Orleans. Trouble is, circumstances are equally dire for their Thursday night opponent in Carolina.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers

17 of 32

    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Current record: 4-5

    Last week: 19 (+3)

    A peek at the box score would suggest Pittsburgh's dormant offense woke up.

    That wasn't the case. In a game of touchdowns, Pittsburgh settled for too many field goals. Ben Roethlisberger was much improved—and that fake spike was awesome—but the talent in his huddle should have overwhelmed Dallas' overachieving defense.

    Pittsburgh's own defense lost its battles. It had a chance to make Dak Prescott throw the football instead of lean on the run. Instead, Ezekiel Elliott took a football for 83 yards the other way. Not stopping the rookie runner was a common theme all game long.

    Looking forward: Pittsburgh's offense is trending in the right direction. It should keep doing so, as the Cleveland Browns are up next.

15. Detroit Lions

18 of 32

    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Current record: 5-4

    Last week: 13 (-2)

    The Lions didn't play in Week 10 but gained control of the NFC North. Not bad.

    Looking forward: Detroit's bye week was scheduled to perfection. Matthew Stafford and Co. should be well-rested for two games in five days, starting with a Week 11 showdown with the not-so-formidable Jaguars. Then, the reeling Vikings come to town for a Thanksgiving Day game. Measure Jim Caldwell's coaching aptitude by how well his team looks over this packed-in span.

14. Tennessee Titans

19 of 32

    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Current record: 5-5

    Last week: 23 (+9)

    Just call him Riverboat Mike.

    Titans head coach Mike Mularkey came out all guns blazing with an onside kick. Later, he nailed a halfback option pass from DeMarco Murray to Delanie Walker. His offense might trend conservatively, but he was anything but in Week 10.

    We'll be talking about Tennessee deep into December because of its trench play, not its skill positions or its coaching moves. I didn't see the Packers get to Marcus Mariota with any consistency—even when Taylor Lewan was tossed.

    On the other end, Dick LeBeau threw so many looks and pressures at Aaron Rodgers that it masked his so-so zone coverage.

    Looking forward: Tennessee struggled to stop Andrew Luck a few weeks ago. This is a different team now.

13. Miami Dolphins

20 of 32

    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Current record: 5-4

    Last week: 16 (+3)

    Ryan Tannehill knows exactly where you can stick your "game manager" labels.

    His deep post to Kenny Stills wasn't just an amazing touchdown throw. It shifted momentum entirely in a game San Diego was dominating on both sides of the football until that point.

    Miami's defense took control from there. Cameron Wake and Co. corralled Melvin Gordon and never let the Chargers star break a game-changing run. The defense got not two, not three, but four Philip Rivers interceptions—including a huge fourth-quarter Kiko Alonso pick-six.

    It's yet another example of Miami's playoff-caliber defense. I like what I'm watching.

    Looking forward: Why fly home when another California clash awaits? Miami has a date at the Coliseum with the Rams in Week 11.

12. Houston Texans

21 of 32

    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Current record: 6-3

    Last week: 9 (-3)

    Brock Osweiler threw nine straight incompletions at one point in Week 10.

    His team still won. That's how overwhelming this Texans defense was against an even worse Blake Bortles. It's the reason Houston has a lead in the AFC South.

    Consider this: Bill O'Brien's team was third-to-last in turnover differential this season. But after a bye week, Kareem Jackson made a statement interception—a 42-yard pick-six on Jacksonville's first drive that told everyone watching who the dominant team was.

    Osweiler didn't need to be dominant. He could rely on that brand of defense and a running game (181 total yards) to carry him to a sixth win.

    Looking forward: Pack your passports, Texans. An international clash is on tap for Week 11 in Mexico City. And Oakland is fresh off a bye. 

11. Baltimore Ravens

22 of 32

    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Current record: 5-4

    Last week: 17 (+6)

    When the dust finally settled last Thursday night, Cleveland tallied three yards per play.

    Terrell Suggs (one sack) and his linemates were everywhere. Eric Weddle and the Ravens secondary (two interceptions) refused to look as slow as they had in recent weeks. Cleveland even swapped its quarterbacks out in search of a spark.

    Here's the thing: Baltimore needed every minute of defensive domination. Its offense is sputtering at rates that make it look more like Cleveland and less like Denver. Joe Flacco's hot-and-cold streak kept going; he couldn't find the end zone until the third quarter and threw two terrible picks along with three touchdowns.

    The Ravens lead their division and deserve a jump. I need to see more from Flacco before I place them among the elite NFL teams, though.

    Looking forward: Baltimore's run defense is great, you say? Here come the Dallas Cowboys. Prove it.

10. Philadelphia Eagles

23 of 32

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Current record: 5-4

    Last week: 11 (+1)

    Take the names, colors, numbers and logos off the jerseys.

    You would've sworn that Philadelphia boasted the NFL's leading offense, not Atlanta. Carson Wentz and his teammates were that efficient in a must-win home game in Week 10.

    They also played smart. Coach Doug Pederson channeled his inner Andy Reid, calling run plays that spoke to Philly's size advantage. Then, he channeled his inner Kyle Shanahan for play-action passes that looked just like Atlanta's coordinator drew them up.

    Leodis McKelvin still struggled in coverage, but the Eagles could mask his deficiencies. Why? Because Fletcher Cox and Connor Barwin were all over the field. Behind them, Mychal Kendricks popped Atlanta's run game wide-open.

    Looking forward: Philly didn't get a major power rankings boost by beating the Falcons. That'll change if the Eagles can top the Seahawks this week, though.

9. Washington Redskins

24 of 32

    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Current record: 5-3-1

    Last week: 10 (-1)

    Jay Gruden should fit right in with the new conservative regime in Washington.

    But you can't argue with results. The Redskins offense kept grinding in the run game, hit two big pass plays and avoided the turnover that Kirk Cousins usually throws. Minnesota only sacked Cousins once, too.

    Defense was more of the same. Other than two big Kyle Rudolph plays, safeties kept Sam Bradford's passes in front of them. The Redskins also didn't use exotic pressures or blitzes, but dialed up more heat on Bradford than you'd expect from their three sacks.

    Preston Smith sealed a solid victory with a one-handed interception. It was the most eye-popping part of a close-to-the-vest kind of game.

    Looking forward: The Redskins get their first crack at Aaron Rodgers since he bounced them from the playoffs. This time, they have the better team.

8. Atlanta Falcons

25 of 32

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Current record: 6-4

    Last week: 4 (-4)

    Atlanta's offense consisted of three parts Julio Jones and one part field-goal tries last season.

    That gross recipe appeared again a season later. I still believe Matt Ryan and Co. are better than Philadelphia, but their touchdown-scoring issues of the past can't become the same ones in the present.

    There's cause for alarm on defense, too. Atlanta's athletic front parted like the Red Sea for a bigger, stronger Eagles O-line. Then, speedy linebackers tried and failed to arm-tackle Ryan Mathews. That can't happen.

    One last point: Philadelphia's secondary was exposed just last week. A 10-catch, 135-yard outing for Jones looks impressive, but it could've and should've been better.

    Looking forward: Atlanta's bye week is the scheduling equivalent of a well-timed timeout. The Falcons will regroup in Week 12.

7. New York Giants

26 of 32

    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Current record: 6-3

    Last week: 8 (+1)

    If Monday Night Football provided a glimpse at the Giants’ future, it’s a bright one.

    Odell Beckham Jr. was targeted without abandon. Eli Manning enjoyed time to review his options. Hell, even Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins burst off a few bigs run that have been missing from New York’s offense all season.

    The defense took it from there. Landon Collins got his paws on his fourth interception (and blew up Giovani Bernard on a second-half sweep too). His teammate, Olivier Vernon, delivered the kind of pressure he was known for in Miami and that got him paid this offseason.

    Looking forward: Chicago comes to town; the final score will tell you how serious Big Blue is.

6. Denver Broncos

27 of 32

    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Current record: 7-3

    Last week: 7 (+1)

    If it ain’t broke, the Broncos don’t need to fix it.

    Denver stuck to its title-winning formula of last season: run the ball, turn the ball over and figure out a way to score points without an offense. Guess what? It worked.

    It didn’t work to perfection, at times. Trevor Siemian gave the ball away a few times and should’ve had even more turnovers. Denver’s offensive line broke down a few times. Devontae Booker struggled to get going and looked like he’d never break free from the last safety or linebacker.

    Then Darian Stewart (two interceptions) took over. And Bradley Roby (two tipped balls). Von Miller, too. It all culminated at the end when Will Parks took a blocked kick back for two. Denver had its non-offensive points and a huge road win.

    Looking forward: No football for the Broncos in Week 11. Then, it's back to title-defending in Week 12.

5. Seattle Seahawks

28 of 32

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Current record: 6-2-1

    Last week: 6 (+1)

    Think of all the hurdles Seattle’s defense had to leap over before Sunday Night Football.

    It was on a short week. Its best pass-rusher, Michael Bennett, had to sit out. Its leader, Kam Chancellor, was banged up. It had to travel as far as any road trip in football (Seattle to Boston). And, oh yeah! It had to face off against Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.

    The Seahawks passed every test with flying colors. Throw in some phenomenal offense—Russell Wilson is starting to regain his ability to buy time in or out of the pocket—and a new fresh face in C.J. Prosise (153 total yards), and you have a team capable of anything.

    Seriously, anything.

    Looking forward: Back to the familiar confines of CenturyLink Field. Carson Wentz is coming to town for what could be a trap game.

4. Kansas City Chiefs

29 of 32

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Current record: 7-2

    Last week: 5 (+1)

    I’ve used this space as a podium to call out Alex Smith’s downfield passing skills.

    We’re at the point now where that limitation is Kansas City’s only one. Coach Andy Reid’s team can attack you in every way but vertically, then lean on the defense to finish the job.

    That’s precisely how Week 10 (and so many other weeks) played out. Smith and Co. fell behind with missed throws and opportunities. They got right back in it with a handful of power runs and lights-out defense.

    A word about that defense: It’s awesome. Eric Berry’s pick-six was every bit as good as the Landon Collins one everyone raved about a few weeks ago. And Marcus Peters finally broke through after 45-plus minutes of nearly picking Cam Newton off. His forced fumble was amazing.

    Looking forward: Justin Houston could make his NFL return against Buccaneers tackle Donovan Smith. If Houston is healthy at all, Smith is in for a long day.

3. Oakland Raiders

30 of 32

    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Current record: 7-2

    Last week: 3 (same)

    The Silver and Black took a Week 10 siesta. They were on a bye week.

    Looking forward: No game in Week 10? No need to drop these Oakland Raiders. We've seen enough of them through nine games to know they're a force to be reckoned with in the AFC. Up next: a game in Mexico City against the Houston Texans. I bet Derek Carr will have a few touchdowns planned for the team that didn't draft him over his last name.

2. Dallas Cowboys

31 of 32

    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    Current record: 8-1

    Last week: 2 (same)

    Dallas' offense looked like it was about to be mired in a Week 10 slump.

    Ezekiel Elliott wouldn't let it, though. His 83-yard catch-and-run sparked a sleeping giant and proved once again what this Cowboys offense can do.

    Eight wins have flown by as fast as Elliott flew by the Steelers. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry against a run defense captained by star linebacker Ryan Shazier. He cut through it like it was last week's opponent back in Cleveland.

    Did Dak Prescott have the best day? No. Once again, he made the late throws he needed to complement Zeke's output. Once again, the Cowboys emerged victorious. I'm more and more impressed each week.

    Looking forward: On paper, the Ravens' run defense poses a major threat to Dallas' odds. On the field, the Cowboys have rolled all the top run defenses.

1. New England Patriots

32 of 32

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Current record: 7-2

    Last week: 1 (same)

    It takes a perfect game to upend the Patriots on their own home turf.

    That’s exactly the kind of game Russell Wilson had. Seattle countered every defensive look and coverage New England threw at it. Even then, Tom Brady and Co. were knocking on the door to tie it up in regulation.

    They couldn’t knock the door in. Coordinator Josh McDaniels must’ve been spooked by his offense’s inability to run the football; a fade to Rob Gronkowski isn’t the worst idea, but LeGarrette Blount could’ve done the job.

    I’m nitpicking, though. Seattle played a flawless game on a short week.

    Looking forward: I guarantee Bill Belichick will have his players ready for a cross-country trip of their own next week to San Francisco.