NFL Power Rankings: Breaking Down Sunday's Action Ahead of Week 11

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2017

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Wide receiver Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates with quarterback Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 12, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers put together a complete game against the lowly New York Giants to earn their first victory of the 2017 NFL season. The Cleveland Browns didn't have the same fortune in a competitive loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 10.

Like the 49ers, a few other teams experienced breakthroughs 10 weeks into the season. Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley won his first game as a starter in a tight battle with the Chicago Bears. Head coach Mike McCarthy's group snapped a four-game skid.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also broke their five-game losing streak while hosting the New York Jets. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick walked off the field with the last laugh against his former team.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum faced the Washington Redskins' formidable secondary and logged a career-day in touchdown passes. It's a good sign for a winning team known for its stout defense.

Check out the latest rankings before the Monday Night Football contest between the Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins. Which teams stood out most in Week 10?


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Pre-Monday Night Football Power Rankings Ahead of Week 11

1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)

2. New England Patriots (7-2)

3. New Orleans Saints (7-2)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2)

5. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)

6. Minnesota Vikings (7-2)

7. Carolina Panthers (6-3)

8. Los Angeles Rams (7-2)

9. Seattle Seahawks (6-3)

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3)

11. Atlanta Falcons (5-4)

12. Washington Redskins (4-5)

13. Oakland Raiders (4-5)

14. Tennessee Titans (6-3)

15. Detroit Lions (5-4)

16. Dallas Cowboys (5-4)

17. Buffalo Bills (5-4)

18. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

19. Los Angeles Chargers (3-6)

20. Denver Broncos (3-6)

21. Arizona Cardinals (4-5)

22. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6)

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)

24. New York Jets (4-6)

25. Green Bay Packers (5-4)

26. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

27. Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

28. Chicago Bears (3-6)

29. Houston Texans (3-6)

30. San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

31. New York Giants (1-8)

32. Cleveland Browns (0-9)


Notable Rankings

No. 3 New Orleans Saints Win Seventh Consecutive Game

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 12:  Mark Ingram #22 of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball as Jordan Poyer #21 of the Buffalo Bills attempts to tackle him during the first quarter on November 12, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by B
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

It's easy to spot good coaching. Head coach Sean Payton and his staff deserve praise for changing the team's identity. It's no longer Drew Brees or bust for the New Orleans Saints. Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have their fingerprints all over the offensive game plan.

The Saints dissected the Buffalo Bills defense with the ground attack, scoring six rushing touchdowns in a 47-10 victory on Sunday. Brees didn't throw a touchdown pass. He also logged a score as a ball-carrier on a seven-yard scramble.

Here's another quality not often associated with New Orleans in the recent past: an opportunistic defense that forces takeaways. The Saints have generated at least one turnover in all seven victories. The defensive unit failed to do so in the team's two losses.

It's past tense to categorize the Saints as a finesse club that leaks on defense. They're built to play in January with a ground attack equipped to wear down opponents. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has developed a strong group prepared to limit the opposition's scoring opportunities.


No. 6 Minnesota Vikings Score Season-High 38 points in Week 10

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after throwing a touchdown during the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 12, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smi
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Vikings beat down poor offensive teams in the past four weeks, which seemingly elevated the perspective of their defense. Dominant performances against the Chicago Bears, Packers without Aaron Rodgers, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns shouldn't impress anyone.

However, Keenum tore through the Redskins pass defense with a career-high four touchdown passes on Sunday. To put the 29-year-old's performance into perspective, Washington only allowed six scores through the air in eight games.

Despite quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looking over Keenum's shoulder as the guy expected to regain his starting position, the sixth-year veteran didn't flinch under the spotlight. He threw two interceptions but made enough plays to put the Vikings over the top with their highest point total of the 2017 season.

Keenum won't have an offensive outpour every week, but running back Latavius Murray continues to improve in the backfield as a reliable lead ball-carrier after a slow start due to offseason ankle surgery.

In most weeks, Minnesota will field a stingier defense, but it's good to see the offense pull through when necessary.


Seattle Seahawks Fall to No. 9 Despite Win vs. Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 09:  Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks is helped off the field following the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 9, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Seahawks d
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On Thursday Night Football, the Seattle Seahawks gutted out a road victory over the Arizona Cardinals but lost cornerback Richard Sherman in the process. 

Sherman suffered a torn Achilles' tendon, which ends his season and changes the Seahawks secondary. Though safety Earl Thomas will eventually return to the field after recovering from a hamstring injury, there's no comparable substitute for a four-time Pro Bowl perimeter defender on the back end.

Seattle will turn to rookie Shaquill Griffin, Jeremy Lane, who the front office almost traded in the deal for offensive tackle Duane Brown, and Justin Coleman at cornerback.

According to the Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta, the Seahawks plan to host a visit for Byron Maxwell, who may potentially start a second stint with the team.

With the Los Angeles Rams' high-powered offense within the division, it's difficult to envision the Seahawks winning the NFC West despite their Week 5 road victory over the division leader.

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