NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Updated Standings After Thursday Night FootballNovember 16, 2018
The NFL's Thursday games are starting to hit full stride, with Week 11 the latest example of a power-ranking reshuffling after would-be contenders clashed.
This time it was Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers that went down on the road against Russell Wilson's Seattle Seahawks 27-24 as both star quarterbacks tossed a pair of touchdowns, with the game coming down to Wilson's late scoring throw.
With the clash between NFC heavyweights in the books, it's worth taking another look at power rankings before the weekend arrives, which features a nice finale between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams.
2018 NFL Power Rankings
|1||New Orleans Saints|
|2||Kansas City Chiefs|
|3||Los Angeles Rams|
|4||Los Angeles Chargers|
|7||New England Patriots|
|14||Green Bay Packers|
|25||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|28||San Francisco 49ers|
|30||New York Jets|
|31||New York Giants|
New Orleans Saints
It was delayed for whatever reason, but it seems like the world has finally woken up to the strength of the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints started the year off with a 48-40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but haven't lost since. Along the way, they've won close games, won an overtime game and—most importantly—repeatedly put down opponents while playing on the road.
That last point is where observers have mostly found fault with the Saints over the years. But now they are putting up wins on the road, and at 8-1 it's hard to undersell the Saints as serious Super Bowl contenders.
After all, this is the best supporting cast Drew Brees has had in a long, long time.
Alvin Kamara is one of the best do-it-all backs in the NFL, hence 546 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 4.4 yards-per-carry average, while also being second on the team in receiving. He sits behind only Michael Thomas, the guy with 78 grabs on 87 targets for 950 yards and seven scores already.
Call it light work for Brees, who has completed 77.3 percent of his passes with 21 touchdowns and just one interception. The signal-caller continues to exceed even the highest of expectations:
The Saints are running away with the NFC South at this point, though they do have two games left against the 6-3 Carolina Panthers.
But at this pace, Brees and his surrounding talent plus a defense that has allowed 23 or fewer points six times looks poised to coast into the playoffs before touting an ideal postseason balance that could give the rest of the NFC fits.
The Chicago Bears knew what they were doing with the Khalil Mack trade.
Confident in the abilities of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears gambled it all on a defensive playmaker who has since rewarded them with seven sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and one touchdown while keying a defense that only permits an average of 19.4 points per game.
A solid complementary offense means the Bears sit at 6-3, with two of the losses understandable in Green Bay and hosting New England.
And as for Trubisky, he's playing some solid football:
There's a handicap in there known as the putrid coaching surrounding Aaron Rodgers, but it still speaks volumes that Trubisky is putting it all together after a not-so-hot season.
Trubisky is completing 65.5 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions while also sitting second on the team in rushing with 320 yards and three more scores. Even better, Trubisky continues to spread the ball around and has four weapons boasting at least 30 catches.
First in the NFC North, the Bears still have to deal with the Minnesota Vikings twice, not to mention a date against the Rams. But the combination of solid quarterback play and an elite defense is a recipe ready to make some noise come playoff time.
The Baltimore Ravens are one of those teams capable of turning it on when it matters most but face a few critical upcoming weeks.
Joe Flacco's Ravens are 4-5 and third in the AFC North, yet the mood could all change in Week 11 after hosting the Cincinnati Bengals—a divisional rival that beat them 34-23 earlier this season.
The Ravens getting back to 5-5 and having a better standing in the AFC North would be a concerning development for the rest of the AFC, though it might have to happen without a shaky Flacco under center:
But Flacco has been part of the problem this year, as he's only completing 61.2 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns against six interceptions. The completely revamped wideout group has helped, but the running game still averages fewer than four yards per carry.
Even so, Baltimore has split the season series against the Pittsburgh Steelers and played the New Orleans within one point—which makes a loss to Cleveland all the more perplexing.
It's a good summary of the Ravens this year. When it all comes together, the Ravens are a tough out. But it hasn't happened often enough.