San Francisco 49ers (6-2) - Previously: #2 - Best bye ever! The 49ers didn't even play, yet they moved up to No. 1. They've been dominant in their five-game winning streak, and they'll only be better once Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree return. But the main reason they've risen is because...
Seattle Seahawks (8-1) - Previously: #1 - Last week: "A pathetic performance by the Seahawks. If they have another stinker against the Buccaneers next week, they're dropping."
And so, they drop. The Seahawks managed to beat both Tampa and St. Louis, and it must be noted that things will be much better once Percy Harvin and Russell Okung return, but what the hell is going on with the run defense? Red Bryant looked like he was playing drunk against the Buccaneers. He and the others made Mike James look like the second coming of Walter Payton.
So, why are they still so high? Because they're still one of the top teams in the NFL. Perhaps they're just bored because they're so much better than the competition. Besides, they still have this guy (thanks, CreamRanger):
I've been asked if this compares to the Chuck Pagano situation last year. I'm not so sure. Maybe the Broncos band together and have #FoxStrong rallies, but Fox isn't dealing with cancer or anything. He's already had successful surgery, so he'll probably be fine. Besides, I'm not sure if players are willing to give maximum effort for someone like Jack Del Rio. Former Jaguars' owner Wayne weaver once said he wished Del Rio had a better work ethic. I can only imagine how Del Rio took the news...
Broncos Assistant: Jack! There you are! Did you hear what happened to Coach Fox?
Jack Del Rio: Nah bro, you're like totally messing up my vibe here while I'm trying to catch some rays.
Broncos Assistant: He has to have heart surgery!
Jack Del Rio: That's a major bummer, man.
Broncos Assistant: Yeah! You have to be our head coach now!
Jack Del Rio: Yeah, that's what I meant by bummer. That, and you're blocking my rays, bro. Now go away so I can think about how much life's gonna blow now that I have to put in more hours.
New England Patriots (7-2) - Previously: #8 - I'm convinced that Tom Brady hates me and wants revenge for the Adventures of Tom Brady's Haircuts. I've been getting killed by starting him in three of my six fantasy leagues. I've stuck with him all year in each of those leagues, hoping he'd turn it around. And yet, he's been terrible. I finally had it this past week. I picked up Jake Locker because he was playing the Rams. Plus, seeing Brady's dead-animal hand against the Dolphins didn't give me confidence that he'd be able to recover in time. Lo and behold, Locker sucked, while Brady threw 400-plus yards and four touchdowns - while on my bench in three leagues. Is there any doubt that he hacked my password, saw that he was benched and decided that this would be the week he'd bounce back? What a dick.
In all seriousness, the Patriots could arguably be as high as No. 2 with Brady seemingly at full strength again. The defense sucks, but that'll get better once Aqib Talib returns.
New Orleans Saints (6-2) - Previously: #4 - I don't want to penalize the Saints for losing at the Jets; they saw Darren Sproles leave the game on the first drive because of a concussion, so their offense wasn't nearly the same afterward. They're falling one spot because of the improved play of the Patriots. Plus, New Orleans losing was huge because the team needs homefield advantage.
Green Bay Packers (5-3) - Previously: #5 - I'm not sure where to slot the Packers because it's unknown how long Aaron Rodgers will be out. Go to my NFL Game Recaps page for analysis of the Packers-Bears game.
Indianapolis Colts (6-2) - Previously: #6 - The Colts looked like crap for most of the game, but the Texans were playing their Super Bowl with an unexpectedly improved quarterback. Besides, Andrew Luck is just that damn good. If the contest is close in the fourth quarter, there's very little doubt that he'll lead his team to victory.
There were some shady calls for both sides in that game though. Facebook friend Steve T. came up with an explanation:
One possibility for the Colts-Texans game: two different terrorist cells kidnapped the wife and the child (respectively) of head official Bill Vinovitch. During the game, he was forced to blow calls one way, then the other to keep both alive long enough for Jack Bauer to find and locate each hostage. Much simpler explanation than just ineptness.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) - Previously: #9 - Rather than make fun of the homers posting in the comment board below this week, I thought I'd take another approach. Here's a logical explanation for why the Chiefs are No. 8 in my power rankings:
The Chiefs are not nearly as good as their 9-0 record indicates. In the past five weeks, they've had trouble dispatching Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terrelle Pryor, Case Keenum (making his first start in Arrowhead), Jason Campbell and now Jeff Tuel. Yes, other teams in the top 10 have enjoyed easy schedules as well, but the difference between the Broncos and Chiefs is that the former has a quarterback capable of winning the Super Bowl.
I can't emphasize how important this is. If this were 2000 or so, prior to the no-contact days, Kansas City could absolutely win the Super Bowl. But things changed in the middle of the previous decade when the NFL implemented the no-contact rules. Ever since then, each team that has won the Super Bowl has possessed an elite or second-tier quarterback. Smith is not on either of those levels. He's very mediocre. Sure, he makes good decisions and happens to be accurate in the short and intermediate passing game, but he is no threat to beat defenses downfield. He's extremely limited, and that'll hurt the Chiefs once they have to battle elite competition.
Once again, I have no bias against the Chiefs. I think it's cool that they're competent again because their fans (excluding a few of the incoherent idiots who have posted below) are great. But I'm just ranking these teams, 1-32, in terms of how they'd compete against each other on a neutral field. Currently, I believe there are seven teams better than the Chiefs, and to be honest, I think I might be ranking them too high. If they played better teams and were 5-4 or 6-3 - records that indicate how good they really are - they might be 12th or 13th in these power rankings. That's probably where they belong, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
Carolina Panthers (5-3) - Previously: #11 - I thought about slotting the Panthers above the Chiefs because unlike Kansas City, they've been demolishing their competition. But I have to wonder how Cam Newton would handle Bob Sutton's defense. He might be too busy thinking about posing like Superman to figure out how to beat the Chiefs.
Speaking of which, would it kill Newton not to act like an arrogant a**hole most of the time? Sure, if he's having a great game against the top teams in the NFL, he can do his dumb Superman stuff all he wants, but there's very little honor in acting like a moron while up 20 against Mike Glennon.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) - Previously: #7 - The poor Bengals just lost one of the top defensive players in the NFL. They won't be as good going forward.
The good news is that Giovani Bernard is being switch to defense, possibly to assume Atkins' role. What, you don't believe me? But it's true. Just look at the following DirecTV graphic:
NFL Power Rankings: Week 10 - Bottom 10
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) - Previously: #32 - This is the only week of the season that the Jaguars didn't go down by double digits, and yet, they still managed to lose. Of course, I'm referring to Justin Blackmon, who has been suspended for the year because of...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Justin Blackmon was doing his best to stay out of trouble. He was on his way to a poetry reading when...
Justin Blackmon: Oh goodness gracious, I cannot wait to read tonight's poem. "The moon is like a pearl in the night sky. My favorite food is French fry..."
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8) - Previously: #31 - Mike Glennon looked pretty competent, but before we decide that they won't be selecting a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, let's recall how dreadful he was versus Carolina. He'll still have eight games to prove himself.
30. Minnesota Vikings (1-7) - Previously: #30 - The good news: The Vikings were competitive but lost this past weekend, preserving their draft status. The bad news: There is suddenly controversy surrounding the Vikings team name.
29. St. Louis Rams (3-6) - Previously: #28 - The Rams definitely have something with Zac Stacy. It's just a shame for them that they discovered Stacy after their starting quarterback went down for the year.
Speaking of running backs, I could've sworn I heard Dan Fouts say, "Shonn Greene had 1,063 rushing yards last week." Really? Damn, and I had him on my fantasy bench along with Tom Brady.
28. Oakland Raiders (3-5) - Previously: #20 - Teams have seemed to figure out Terrelle Pryor, while the defense just allowed perhaps the greatest passing performance in NFL history... to Nick Foles. Blegh.
Anyway, I received the following e-mail from Joe B:
Rotoworld claims this guy is Oakland's starting TE. Something seems a little strange about him, perhaps that he is allegedly 113 years old. I wonder if the corpse of Al Davis discovered some top-secret project dating back through several generations of skeletons and gargoyles, and somehow contributed to the creature's development in an attempt to create the perfect blocking tight end. What do you think? What round should I be targeting this guy? Can he duplicate or even exceed his yardage total from 2012?
27. New York Giants (2-6) - Previously: #27 - The Giants were on a bye, so this is a good time for more Andy Reid memes!
Last week, I presented Reid acting like the very individual he closely resembles:
This week, it's more NOM NOM NOM time.
26. Atlanta Falcons (2-6) - Previously: #26 - I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss how incredibly dumb the Falcons are for not trading Tony Gonzalez. It was incredibly obvious that the Falcons had no shot at making the playoffs, given all of their injuries, so why not deal Gonzalez, who said he was open to a deal, and obtain a mid-round pick in return? Instead, one of the all-time greats is just going to rot away on a bad team. He'll walk at the end of the year, and Atlanta will have received nothing in return. Stupid.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) - Previously: #23 - Pittsburgh's loss to the Raiders didn't seem too bad until Nick Foles had their way with them. Why couldn't Ben Roethlisberger do something similar? And why do the Steelers look like they're playing in slow motion? Even Big Ben seems to hold on to the ball for 10 seconds every snap.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) - Previously: #29 - Before we get too excited about the Eagles, let's remember that they're two weeks removed from Nick Foles not being able to complete 5-yard passes and one week removed from this horrific performance (thanks, Strawley Trolly):
One point against the crappy Giants' defense? How pathetic.
23. Buffalo Bills (3-6) - Previously: #24 - I will forever hate Thaddeus Lewis for ruining my October NFL Pick of the Month. Why did he have to suffer rib injuries and contract an illness? How selfish. If he cared about me, he would've played through everything.
By the way, I was asked why I postponed my October NFL Pick of the Month because of Lewis' absence. Jeff Tuel's 100-yard pick-six was exactly why. The Bills would've beaten Kansas City with a healthy Lewis under center.
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. Detroit Lions (5-3). Previously: #12
12. San Diego Chargers (4-4). Previously: #10
13. Chicago Bears (5-3). Previously: #23
14. Dallas Cowboys (5-4). Previously: #14
15. Baltimore Ravens (3-5). Previously: #13
16. Arizona Cardinals (4-4). Previously: #15
17. New York Jets (5-4). Previously: #16
18. Miami Dolphins (4-4). Previously: #17
19. Tennessee Titans (4-4). Previously: #18
20. Houston Texans (2-6). Previously: #21
21. Washington Redskins (3-5). Previously: #25
22. Cleveland Browns (4-5). Previously: #26
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links: