NFL POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 11

BY ADAM GREENE

It’s time to deliver our instructive praise and constructive criticism the only way we can in the NFL. Our Top 10 members haven’t changed dramatically, but the order and placement has.

It’s the same with the bottom of the list. They are all etched in stone at this point. It’s the middle where we see not only the most movement, but the most intriguing teams as the middling .500 clubs vie for pretty much every AFC playoff spot and two NFC spots.

1. TENNESSEE TITANS (8-2)

The Titans earned the top ranking the hard way, by winning five consecutive games over 2020 playoff teams, including the defending AFC Champions. And they’ve done it with one of the most consistently injured rosters in the NFL, a list that includes their best player — Derrick Henry. Last week: No. 2

2. GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-2)

Aaron Rodgers came back from COVID-19 looking rusty, but he could have looked like the frozen tin man from The Wizard of Oz thanks to the piss poor offensive showing from Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. The NFC is now theirs to lose, with every other team showing serious flaws. A win over the Los Angeles Rams in two weeks will all but seal the deal.  Last week: No. 5

3. DALLAS COWBOYS (7-2)

This might seem high for a team that just knocked off a perennially hapless Atlanta Falcons squad a week after losing to the Denver Broncos at home. But who do I rank over them? Last week: No. 7

4. BUFFALO BILLS (6-3)

Buffalo faces its first real test since their loss to the Titans on Oct. 18 when they host the Indianapolis Colts Sunday. Unfortunately for the Bills, they dropped one of their “non test” games in the meantime, a 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Beating the hell out of the New York Jets last Sunday didn’t really show anything, but doing the same to the Colts will. Last week: No. 9

5. ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-2)

This might be too low for a Cards team with two losses, one of which had their B team in as starters, but all Arizona has to do to prove they should be ranked higher is win. And they can make it happen by all but ending the Seattle Seahawks’ season Sunday afternoon. Last week: No. 1

6. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (6-3)

The Bucs and Rams are in the same boat, two teams too talented to lose the way they have with quarterbacks turning the ball over too much. With Matthew Stafford, at least, you’ve seen this happen before in Detroit. This version of Tom Brady has never existed before on Planet Earth. Last week: No. 3

7. LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-3)

Maybe no team in the history of the league is happier to take a bye now than a Rams squad that’s dropped two consecutive ugly games. It’s too bad they couldn’t do it without some sort of distraction as Kelly Stafford, QB Matthew Stafford’s wife, got in an altercation at Levi’s Stadium Monday night and decided to test out her pretzel fastball. Last week: No. 4

8. BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-3)

The Ravens look like the best team in the AFC one week, then the next you’re reminded they’re a handful of plays away from being 2-7. The Chicago Bears should give them no trouble, but you could have said that last week with the Miami Dolphins. Last week: No. 6

9. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-4)

Look who’s back. After two months of counting the Chiefs out, not only are in the playoff seeding, they sit atop the AFC West. And all they have to do to remain there is play like they did last Sunday night against the Las Vegas Raiders. Last week: No. 14

10. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-4)

The Pats have won four straight, Mac Jones is easily playing the best of all the rookie quarterbacks and Bill Belichick has proven once again he can at least win football games without Tom Brady. Now, when it comes to the Super Bowl we’ll just have to find out about that later. But the way this season is going, it wouldn’t shock me to see a Pats vs Bucs Super Bowl LVI in SoFi Stadium. If for no other reason than to just hurt my feelings. Last week: No. 15

11. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-3-1)

Here’s my issue with the Steelers last Sunday. It’s not just that they ruined everything by tying with the Detroit Lions, depriving us as a civilization of the NFL’s first 0-17 franchise. It’s that they did it with Mason Rudolph. A guy they’ve trod out there before to crap results. They know he’s not the guy. He’s not good enough. There were so many options for back up QB this past offseason. Hell, they could have signed Cam Newton at any time, but they stuck with Rudolph and this is what they deserve. But America didn’t. Last week: No. 8

12. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (5-4)

For a team everyone, including me, thought would take a significant step this season it seems as if that step continually lands in a pile of horse manure every other week. Last week: No. 10

13. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (5-5)

The AFC remains wide open, but the Colts can do a lot to secure one of the seven playoff seeds by surprising the beatable Bills Sunday. Last week: No. 18

14. CLEVELAND BROWNS (5-5)

Once again the Browns fell behind early and once again Baker Mayfield could do nothing to bring them back. The loss to the Patriots and a rookie QB is a black mark that won’t fade for a while. Especially after a huge division win over the Cincinnati Bengals the week before. Last week: No. 11

15. CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-5)

Cam Newton’s return resonated throughout the league, with the big man literally scoring two touchdowns the first two times he touched the ball. This team is just different with Cam on it and he’s maybe different with them. As reconciliations go, it’s fantastic, I’m all for it and Carolina is damn lucky they were able to pull it off. Last week: No. 23

16. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-4)

Of all the teams with QB issues, the Saints did pretty much all they could to address it considering their draft capital and the guys they had access to. It’s obviously not enough, but this is still a potential playoff team and Sean Payton can survey the league for his next acquisition for 2022. I, for one, would love to see Marcus Mariota in this offense.  Last week: No. 12

17. CINCINNATI BENGALS (5-4)

The Bengals need to look at New England’s dismantling of the Browns and feel even more ashamed than they did a week ago. The AFC North was theirs for the taking and they’ve regressed hard, with the Bungles reemerging at the worst possible time. There’s half a season ahead and they have the roster to fix it, but this team is out of mulligans. Last week: No. 13

18. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (4-5)

Kyle Shanahan’s paternity over Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams remains ironclad. If the 49ers played the Rams every week, they’d finish the year 13-4 at worst. Last week: No. 20

19. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-5)

The sixth and seventh seeds in the NFC are up for grabs, but the Vikings can do more than help secure that by knocking off a Packers team Sunday with a QB that’s probably still not 100 percent and likely a little woozy from the rhinoceros suppositories he just ingested. Last week: No. 22

20. DENVER BRONCOS (5-5)

The Broncos get the week off to decide if they want to battle their way to a Wild Card round playoff defeat, or fold their hand in an attempt to make the most of their 2022 NFL Draft picks. Last week: No. 16

21. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (5-4)

I have a lot of empathy for what’s left of the Raiders. This team showed a lot of fight at the beginning of the year and even after getting the Jon Gruden cancer removed, seemed to thrive. Then, well, a whole lot more happened. It’s just too much. Sim to the end of the season. Fire everybody and start over. And maybe burn some sage through the building before you let anyone else in the facility. Last week: No. 17

22. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-6)

Well, off all the Eagles mysteries I’ve encountered this season, the unstoppable offense was certainly a new one. Last week: No. 25

23. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (3-6)

Here it was, the Taylor Heinicke revenge game with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that no one outside of Heinicke’s parents believed was possible. And, honestly, I think his mom was kind of faking it. Last Week: No. 29

24. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (3-6)

Alright, Russell Wilson. You did what so many QBs have done in the past, come back a week early. It’s what cost Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in their game against the Broncos. This is probably the week you should have returned and it just so happens your season is on the line when you host the Cardinals Sunday. Seven losses here would all but guarantee watching the playoffs in your man cave. Last week: No. 19

25. ATLANTA FALCONS (4-5)

Of course, the week after the Falcons figured out how to win a game in the final seconds they’d follow it up with one of the worst blowout losses in their recent history. Last week: No. 21

26. MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-7)

Brian Flores came up with the perfect plan to slow down the Ravens offense. Now if only he could help develop a consistent plan to get his own offense going. Last week: No. 27

27. CHICAGO BEARS (3-6)

The Bears need to look at everything Miami did on defense last week and try to replicate it against the Ravens this week. They have the players, but do they have the coach? Matt Nagy has to enter every game now feeling as if he’s coaching for his job right now. Last week: No. 24

28. NEW YORK GIANTS (3-6)

You’re going to see plenty of Giants vs Pats Super Bowl highlights come Monday night when New York hosts the Bucs. I would say that Joe Judge can at least take solace that some version of the Giants have beaten Tom Brady in the past, but this season has been so weird, Judge might pull it off. Or Brady might toss a couple of pick sixes to help. Last week: No. 26

29. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-7)

The Jaguars are all that stand between the 49ers and a .500 record so let me be the first to congratulate Kyle Shanahan and the Niners on getting their season back fully on track. Last week: No. 28

30. NEW YORK JETS (2-7)

Well, hey, it turns out Mike White was Mike White after all on not Kurt Warner in one of those Mission Impossible face masks. This week, the team has tossed the reins back to Joe Flacco, who is probably the best QB on the roster by a wide margin. Last week: No. 30

31. HOUSTON TEXANS (1-8)

Hmph. It looks like the Houston Texans are exactly who we thought they were in the preseason — the worst team in the NFL, And now they’ve proven it regardless of who starts at quarterback. Last week: No. 31

32. DETROIT LIONS (0-8-1)

The dream is over. What can I say? The dream is over. Yesterday. Ok, Lions, you can’t go 0-17. But 0-16-1 is still on the table, but I don’t like this benching Jared Goff talk for Tim Boyle. You’re going to seriously ruin everything. Last week: No. 32

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

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