Each week members of The Game Haus will collaborate to determine our NFL Power Rankings. We rate teams from 1-32 and add the points received to give us our final answer.
Our voters: Zac Stone, Ben Hendricks, Joe DiTullio, Michael Packard, Pranay Malempati, Savannah Dean, Jacob Gilbert, Manuel Finale
It seems like each week we start to get an idea on where each team is heading, then half of the league decides to change direction. The Cowboys have struggled offensively, while the Jaguars have been a juggernaut on defense, but no one would have guessed that if they tuned in for the first time last week.
The Browns have fell fate to some bad luck (surprise surprise), yet they looked like the Browns we are used to seeing, when the Chargers came to town. The Bears seemed to be taking off as a legitimate threat to win the NFC North, while the Dolphins appeared to be the recipients of a lucky schedule to begin 2018, then both proved us wrong. Without Jimmy G, the 49ers were an afterthought, and it took until the fourth quarter for Aaron Rodgers and company to realize that may not be the case.
Sunday night provided NFL fans with what I can guarantee will be one of the most exciting games of the regular season. Patrick Mahomes nearly beat the Patriots in Foxborough, but Bill Belichick and Tom Brady had other ideas, as Brady became the first quarterback to record 200 regular season wins in a 43-40 shootout.
There were only four things that were predictable that happened. The Rams were going to win. The Ravens defense would play like the Ravens defense usually does. The Patriots would not lose to a younger team. And the Bengals would blow yet another home game to their best friends, the Steelers.
With another exciting week behind us, let’s take a look at how our staff ranked each team.
1. Los Angeles Rams – 256 (High: 1. Low: 1. LW: 1)
It takes a special team to be able to put up 23 points without their quarterback throwing a touchdown, while getting sacked five times and throwing an interception. It is no surprise the Rams are the team to do that. Todd Gurley continued to prove he is the best running back in the NFL with 208 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. The Rams are rolling with no signs of slowing down.
2. Kansas City Chiefs – 246 (High: 2. Low: 3. LW: 2)
The Chiefs suffered their first loss of the season against New England, who exposed their defensive flaws on Sunday night. Kansas City desperately needs Eric Berry to return and shore up the back end of the defense. On a brighter note, their offense found juice at halftime, scoring 31 of its 40 points in the second half. This team is still one of the best in football, but needs to improve both it passing and running defense to compete in the playoffs.
3. New Orleans Saints – 240 (High: 2. Low: 4. LW: 3)
Yes, the New Orleans Saints had a bye week this week. But this should not downplay
the statement they’ve made this season. With field general, Drew Brees, just one
touchdown away from another historic milestone, the Saints have been on a tear on
both sides of the ball. Along with a plethora of weapons to work with, the Saints are
making significant strides to return to the playoffs. But it only gets tougher from here on
out, as they now face a Baltimore Ravens front seven that cashed in 11 sacks in their latest victory
over the Tennessee Titans.
4. New England Patriots – 230 (High: 2. Low: 5. LW: 7)
The Chiefs just left too much time on the clock for a clutch Tom Brady to slowly drive down the field and put the game away. The Patriots did not punt once on Sunday night and had their way with Kansas City’s defense all night. Looks like all the panic in New England has quieted down now that they are back to their winning ways.
5. Baltimore Ravens – 213 (High: 4. Low: 10. LW: 9)
The Ravens looked amazing against the Titans. They completely shut Tennessee out at home and recorded a franchise record 11 sacks. Flacco had an interception but the Ravens’ defense made sure nothing came out of it. This defense only allowed Mariota to pass for 115 yards. They stepped it up this week and could be dangerous in weeks to come.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – 209 (High: 4. Low: 9. LW: 11)
The Chargers are for real this year. Philip Rivers is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season, with a total of 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. They have a balanced offensive attack with a solid o-line and Melvin Gordon in the backfield. This team, which in recent years has found creative ways to lose games, has even found a reliable kicker in Michael Badgley. The one rough spot is the Chargers’ defense, which has been inconsistent throughout the season. However, Joey Bosa’s eventual return will juice up the pass rush as well as help out the coverage.
7. Cincinnati Bengals – 205 (High: 5. Low: 11. LW: 4)
The Bengals put up a good fight against their inter-division rivals this week. Their defense gave up the game at the very end, but they played hard. Andy Dalton had two touchdown passes and four different players on defense had multiple deflected passes. They might have lost this week, but don’t be surprised when they come back with a vengeance next week.
8. Minnesota Vikings – 204 (High: 6. Low: 11. LW: 10)
While their first-round pick, cornerback Mike Hughes, tore his ACL, the Vikings secured a win over the Cardinals this week. With the Cardinals being one of the worst teams in the NFL, the result is not surprising. The Vikings have been fairly banged up and are staying alive.
9. Carolina Panthers – 188 (High: 7. Low: 12. LW: 5)
The Carolina Panthers have a few areas that need significant improvement. First off,
Quarterback, Cam Newton, needs to heat up his throwing arm. The Carolina Panthers
are 26th in the league in passing offense. Though their ground game is imposing, it only
has tallied four touchdowns this season. Carolina needs to expand and diversify their
attack. A 23-17 defeat to the Washington Redskins should be a learning experience for
the Panthers. Yes, the Washington Redskins have been more than impactful this
season, but the Panthers ought to take it up a notch to reclaim the NFC South.
10. Philadelphia Eagles – 178 (High: 4. Low: 13. LW: 13)
Despite having almost no running game, the Eagles made it look like they were playing the fourth quarter squad of a Giants’ preseason team. The game was over almost as soon as it started. Carson Wentz had a dominant game with three touchdowns. While the Cowboys had a solid week and the Redskins have played decent football, the NFC East is still the Eagles to lose.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers – 177 (High: 5. Low: 16. LW: 14)
Big Ben and the Steelers traveled to Cincinnati and came home with the win. Antonio Browns had the game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left on the clock. The Steelers have now beat the Bengals in seven straight games including playoffs. Is Pittsburgh making a comeback? It’s possible but they have a tough road ahead.
– Savannah Dean
12. Chicago Bears – 162 (High: 9. Low: 17. LW: 8)
The Bears traveled to Miami to take on the Dolphins and were hoping to get their win streak up to four. Unfortunately, they lost to the Brock Osweiler-led Dolphins. The defense is good, but showed vulnerability in allowing Osweiler to throw for 380 yards and Frank Gore to rush for 101 yards. Things won’t get easier for the Bears as they take on the Patriots next.
13. Green Bay Packers – 153 (High: 9. Low: 17. LW: T15)
The Packers probably shouldn’t have had so much trouble with the 49ers, but Aaron Rodgers willed the team to victory. They didn’t have Randall Cobb or Geronimo Allison at wide receiver, but Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham stepped up big time. The defense needs some major improvements in order for the Packers to reach their goals this season.
14. Washington Redskins – 152 (High: 8. Low: 26. LW: T15)
Alex Smith and the Redskins came out hot against the Panthers, taking an early 17-0 lead. Dustin Hopkins brought the boot with three field goals that would ultimately be the difference. It was also pretty entertaining watching Josh Norman pick off his former teammate Cam Newton, and Newton was not thrilled to talk to him after the game. The Redskins may be the Eagles’ biggest threat to take the division from the Super Bowl champs.
T15. Miami Dolphins – 147 (High: 9. Low: 22. LW: 19)
The Miami Dolphins played well on Sunday against a quality opponent in the Chicago Bears, especially towards the end. It is especially peculiar that the Dolphins’ offense ran so well with backup Brock Osweiler at the helm. Without starter Ryan Tannehill many expected this to be an easy win for the Bears. However, Osweiler’s career day combined with Miami’s opportunistic defense secured turnovers that ended up being the turning point of the game.
T15 – Jacksonville Jaguars – 147 (High: 12. Low: 19. LW: 6)
Jacksonville laid a giant goose egg on national television in their 40-7 loss to the Dallas
Cowboys. The Jaguars, for the second week in a row, were manhandled on both sides of the
ball, as the offense failed to muster anything meaningful and the NFL’s number one defense
gave up nearly 400 yards (206 yards on the ground) to a below average Cowboys’ offense. The
Jags are a team that’s on the rails right now and have the potential to have their season go off
the deep end. If they are to get their season back on track, it starts next week when they host
the suddenly hot 3-3 Houston Texans next Sunday.
- -Michael Packard
17. Dallas Cowboys – 115 (High: 15. Low: 21. LW: T23)
The story of the season has been the Cowboys’ offense and the fact that they don’t always show up. Going against one of the best defenses in the league, Dak, Zeke and company did not disappoint. They turned a top defense into a team in their first year playing Pop Warner football. It is not clear if this was the breakout of the Cowboys offense or a complete meltdown for the team formerly known as Sacksonville, but a positive sign nonetheless.
T18. Tennessee Titans – 113 (High: 16. Low: 21. LW: 12)
Much like their AFC South counterpart in Jacksonville, the Tennessee Titans didn’t show up in
their 21-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The score doesn’t even reflect how distant these two
teams were. The Ravens out-gained and out-possessed the Titans majorly, and the theme of
offensive inconsistency reared its ugly head again, as the Titans only had 106 yards of total
offense. Not to mention that Tennessee gave up more sacks (11) than they had pass
completions (10). The Titans will look to get back over .500 in a tough road game as they head
out west to take on the 4-2 L.A. Chargers.
T18. Atlanta Falcons – 113 (High: 20. Low: 22. LW: 22)
The Atlanta Falcons managed to grab a W in a Division bout with the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers. Quarterback, Matt Ryan, is showing signs of his MVP-type production this
season. Plus, he has plenty of weapons to choose from, including tight end, Austin
Hooper, and star wideout, Julio Jones. That being said, the Falcons defense is not
something to write home about. Atlanta has allowed the third most total yards per game
this season. Not to mention they have allowed the highest numbers of touchdowns with
25. Matt Ryan can’t win the whole game by himself.
20. Seattle Seahawks – 104 (High: 18. Low: 23. LW: T23)
Russell Wilson finally looked like the quarterback that led the Seahawks to two straight Super Bowls, tossing three touchdowns and completing 17 of 23 passes. The defense, albeit against the Raiders, played the defense Pete Carroll is used to seeing. Seattle remains a hard team to read, but if they can play close to this caliber, a wild card spot may be in their future.
T21. Denver Broncos – 90 (High: 17. Low: 26. LW: 17)
Denver lost their fourth game in a row to drop to 2-4 on the season. However, they did stay close with the undefeated Rams throughout the game and were the first team to hold LA under 30 points this season. Number 5 overall pick Bradley Chubb even broke out with three sacks on Jared Goff. It seems like this has been the Broncos story for the last three years – a dominant defense with a subpar offense that holds them back. If Case Keenum keeps up his inconsistent play, Denver might think about exploring Chad Kelly in the near future.
T21. Houston Texans – 90 (High: 17. Low: 25. LW: 25)
In what was a surprisingly defensive game, the Houston Texans were the lucky beneficiary of a
pick-six to secure their 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills. Each team had three turnovers, but the
Texans picked off Bills backup quarterback Nathan Peterman twice in the last minute of regulation to
get the win. Two concerns for Houston going forward would be the running game (24 carries
for 74 yards as a team) and ball security by quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was intercepted twice
and fumbled three times, though he only lost one. The Texans head to Jacksonville to take on
the reeling 3-3 Jaguars in a battle for first place in the AFC South.
T21. Detroit Lions – 90 (High: 15. Low: 26. LW: 20)
Detroit got a bye after their big win over the Packers. This team is one of the hardest ones to figure out in the entire NFL, which is saying a lot given how the season has gone thus far. They have beaten the Packers and Patriots, but have lost to the Jets, 49ers and Cowboys.
24. Cleveland Browns – 81 (High: 18. Low: 27. LW: 18)
Before this week, it looked like the Browns were on the right track. Now it looks like they’re back to their old selves. They got blown out but the Chargers at home. Baker had two interceptions and went 22/46. Jarvis Landry only had two catches for 11 yards. The Browns aren’t going anywhere if they continue to play like this.
25. New York Jets – 79 (High: High: 20. Low: 26. LW: 26)
The Jets continue to be an enigma. However they may have figured something out with their running offense really coming into its own against the Denver Broncos formidable defense. The Jets will likely continue to be a middling team this year. However if Darnold develops well this season New York fans might have something to look forward to next year.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 71 (High: 20. Low: 26. LW: 21)
A 34-29 defeat to a Division rival is not an easy thing to shake off. Quarterback, Jameis
Winston had a solid outing, throwing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. He did
throw two interceptions in the contest. But his numbers improved substantially after regrouping
during the bye-week. However, Tampa Bay’s defense has been atrocious to say the
least. The Buc’s passing defense is arguably the worst in the NFL, in yards allowed per
game and touchdowns allowed this season through the air. Though their rushing defense has made their presence felt, offensive coordinators find almost no trouble executing an aerial scheme against Tampa Bay.
27. San Francisco 49ers – 42 (High: 25. Low: 31. LW: 32)
Monday night did not go as expected, and that is a positive for the 49ers. Playing in Lambeau against Aaron Rodgers usually gives teams the feeling of a loss before the game starts. CJ Beathard had other ideas. The 49ers battled till the very end, losing by just a field goal. The conditions of the loss may hurt, but an injury-riddled team losing by that small of a margin in Green Bay should at least give the team a hope for the future.
28. Buffalo Bills – 40 (High: 27. Low: 30. LW: 28)
Buffalo had an unfortunate Josh Allen injury in their loss on Sunday. Allen is now considered week to week with an elbow injury, The Allen injury likely extinguished all hope of the Bills being a playoff level team at any point this season. Nathan Peterman is a major liability and looks like he hasn’t developed at all since his last start. Peterman threw two back-breaking interceptions, one of which was a pick-six that truly lost the game for Buffalo. Rough days are ahead.
29. Indianapolis Colts – 31 (High: 28. Low: 31. LW: 27)
It’s never good when you throw a pick-six to start the game, but that’s exactly what happened in
the Indianapolis Colts 42-34 loss to the New York Jets. The Colts essentially handed the Jets the
game, as four turnovers led to 23 points. The Colts never led in the game, and never got within
nine points. They had a chance to tie the game late, but an interception and a turnover on
downs put the game out of reach. It is clear that the Colts might be a bottom five team all
season. Indianapolis has a should-win match-up against the 2-4 Buffalo Bills next week.
30. Arizona Cardinals – 25 (High: 28. Low: 32. LW: 31)
The offense has still yet to show up for a game this season. A shame considering they have a Pro Bowl caliber running back and a first-round draft pick at quarterback. The Cardinals season has reached a point where they just hope to give future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald a somewhat decent season to go out on.
31. New York Giants – 22 (High: 28. Low: 32. LW: 29)
Saquon Barkley is the real deal. The 2018 number two overall pick had 130 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries, along with 99 yards receiving on nine receptions. Barkley seems nearly impossible to take down when the ball is in his hands. On a night with few highlights for New York, every time he touched the ball it was must-watch football. I cannot speak to how the rest of the team is playing because I do not know, Barkley is the only player worth watching right now.
32. Oakland Raiders – 12 (High: 30. Low: 32. LW: 30)
Oakland is arguably the worst team in football; they simply don’t have an identity. After trading Khalil Mack in the offseason, the Raiders have apparently put former first-round picks Amari Cooper and Karl Joseph on the trading block as well. Obviously, Jon Gruden is looking at the future and wants to build his own team around Derek Carr. Carr hasn’t been great this year, but part of that is because of a porous offensive line. This team has a lot to figure out.