NFL Power Rankings Week 10: Which Teams Are Legit Super Bowl Contenders?

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIINovember 8, 2011

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 30:  Wide receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a reception on his way to scoring a 56-yard touchdown during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 30, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lions defeated the Broncos 45-10. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

No matter how an NFL team looks in the first half of the season, if they’re not mathematically-eliminated from the playoffs, people will wonder if they still have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl.

Nine weeks into the season, everyone is shocked to see the NFL powerhouses being shaken up. However, countless deals in the offseason made for some interesting storylines this season, with many still having not been fleshed out yet.

Here are three teams currently in very different situations that have legitimate shots at the Super Bowl title.


Detroit Lions

At 6-2, the Detroit Lions have put themselves in an incredible position to make the NFL playoffs. They have a one-game advantage over the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons for the best record of teams in the NFC not leading their division.

Calvin Johnson is the most talented receiver in the NFL. Matthew Stafford and the coaching staff have figured that out. The front-four of the Lions defense are scary good, and the linebackers and secondary are coming along nicely.

The Lions even beat the Green Bay Packers 7-3 last season, snapping a 10-game losing streak against the club.

Just because the Lions are relatively new to winning doesn’t mean they can’t do it on the grandest stage of them all.


Philadelphia Eagles

Anyone that has given up hope on the Eagles this year probably did when they were 4-3 last year.

Or when they were 5-5-1 in 2008. Or when they were 5-6 in 2006.

The common theme between those three teams is a playoff berth. It may not be the same group of guys in Eagles uniforms, but the head coach is still Andy Reid.

Since 2000, Reid has led the Eagles to nine postseasons in 11 chances. The Eagles have proven the ability to peak at the right time, as the best teams do.

I’ve been comparing the Eagles to the 2010-11 Miami Heat all season, and the turnaround is closer than you think.

A Week 10 demolition of the Arizona Cardinals will be the first step.


New York Jets

The Jets are going to win the AFC East.

The New England Patriots can’t play defense, and the Buffalo Bills will slide out of the playoff race.

Mark Sanchez is still developing as a quarterback, but his weapons at wide receiver will help his confidence, which will make him improve faster.

Regardless of all the criticism, Sanchez and the Jets have made it to the AFC Championship game in both years of Sanchez’s career. Catches like this certainly help.

The Jets offense is still far from where they need to be to win a Super Bowl, but they will continue to improve each week with Plaxico Burress and Shonn Greene starting to see the touches they deserve.


Tom Loughrey’s Week 10 NFL Power Rankings 

1. Green Bay Packers

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. San Francisco 49ers

4. New York Giants

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. Houston Texans

7. Detroit Lions

8. New York Jets

9. New England Patriots

10. Cincinnati Bengals

11. New Orleans Saints

12. Dallas Cowboys

13. Buffalo Bills

14. Chicago Bears

15. Atlanta Falcons

16. Philadelphia Eagles

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

18. Oakland Raiders

19. Kansas City Chiefs

20. Tennessee Titans

21. San Diego Chargers

22. Washington Redskins

23. Denver Broncos

24. Carolina Panthers

25. Minnesota Vikings

26. Cleveland Browns

27. Arizona Cardinals

28. Miami Dolphins

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

30. Seattle Seahawks

31. St. Louis Rams

32. Indianapolis Colts


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