Updated: Oct. 31
Cleveland Browns (0-8) - Previously: 32.
I may have lost 16 or so units this week, but no matter. The important thing is that I finally got a Cleveland pick correct! For the first time all year, I handicapped a Browns game correctly. All it took was half the season!
I am confident I've figured them out. The Browns look good at times. They even led the Vikings at halftime. But they almost always find a way to s**t the bed and blow the cover. Almost always. It didn't happen versus the Steelers or Titans this year, but they've done it every other damn week.
Indianapolis Colts (2-6) - Previously: 30.
The Colts may have beaten the Bengals if it weren't for a freakishly athletic interception by Carlos Dunlap. What a difference a week makes.
Anyway, Indianapolis is apparently willing to trade everyone on its roster not named Andrew Luck. Check out my NFL Trade Possibilities page to see potential deals involving T.Y. Hilton and Vontae Davis.
Arizona Cardinals (3-4) - Previously: 29.
The Cardinals took a huge dive in my power rankings because of Carson Palmer's broken arm. I wondered last week if they should be behind San Francisco and Indianapolis. That's how bad Drew Stanton is. And that's how awful the Browns are - that I wouldn't even consider slotting them ahead of a Stanton-led team!
Despite this, Arizona is actually favored in San Francisco, which seems ridiculous to me. When has Stanton ever been favored? If he were playing basketball with his toddler, I don't think he'd be favored.
San Francisco 49ers (0-8) - Previously: 31.
The narrative heading into Week 7 was that the 49ers play all close games. That was a lie; They trailed by 14 in Indianapolis in the fourth quarter, and they were down 15 with six minutes remaining against the Rams. A 40-10 drilling by the Cowboys and a 33-10 waxing at Philadelphia was something we all should've seen coming. Now, there are injury issues. Jimmie Ward broke his forearm, while Joe Staley's eye fell out of its socket. That was not a pretty sight. Ha. Get it? Sight? Eye? Yeah, it's been a rough week...
It's been a rough season for the 49ers, but they managed to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo. Check out my NFL Trade Grades for the Patriots and 49ers in the deal.
New York Giants (1-6) - Previously: 28.
Odell Beckham Jr.'s not having the best year. His team sucks, he's injured, and now his dad has been arrested on gun and marijuana charges. The only way this could get worse is if the Giants select an overrated quarterback prospect, like I have happening in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft.
Green Bay Packers (4-3) - Previously: 26.
I gave the Packers a chance against the Saints because they had an entire week to prepare Brett Hundley. After seeing the results, it doesn't seem like they could beat a competent opponent with five years to prepare Hundley, so I'm not exactly sure what this bye is going to do for them.
Miami Dolphins (4-3) - Previously: 21.
I knew the Dolphins were in trouble 10 minutes prior to kickoff when I heard the NFL Network anchor asks the analysts, "Let's get to our game picks. Is anyone giving the Ravens a chance tonight?" I literally yelled at the TV, "THE RAVENS ARE F***ING FAVORED, WHAT DO YOU MEAN IS ANYONE GIVING THEM A CHANCE!?"
The Dolphins were a complete no-show. They made dumb mistakes and committed personal-foul penalties all evening. That's literally all they did, as they didn't put any points on the board. There definitely has to be an explanation for this. I think you know what it's time for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Matt Moore: OK. This is my big chance. My chance to prove that I deserve to be a starter in the NFL. If I beat the Ravens, they can't bench me!
Jay Cutler: Here's your reward. Thanks, Derek. I was concerned Matt would take my job, but he won't be able to do that now because he's drunk.
New York Jets (3-5) - Previously: 25.
The Jets are an Austin Seferian-Jenkins call and a Miami fourth-quarter comeback away from being 5-3 right now. They also played the Falcons extremely well. I don't know how they're doing this, given that they have the least-talented roster I've ever seen, but Todd Bowles deserves an award, or something.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) - Previously: 24.
Again, the Bengals were a great Carlos Dunlap play away from losing to the Colts at home. They could easily be 2-5 right now, with their only victories being against the Browns and... uhh... the Bills...? How the hell did that happen?
Baltimore Ravens (4-4) - Previously: 27.
So much for the Ravens needing Carlos Hyde. Alex Collins looked great against the Dolphins.
Then again, it was the Dolphins, and they didn't even try very hard, so I'm not convinced the Ravens have suddenly found all of the answers. Plus, Joe Flacco needs to get over his mega concussion. Flacco, by the way, was spotted after the game at a bar:
Chicago Bears (3-5) - Previously: 23.
Anyone else think that if the Bears could redo the 2017 NFL Draft, they'd take Deshaun Watson over Mitchell Trubisky? Just a hunch.
That said, I wouldn't want to criticize Trubisky too harshly just yet. I was against the pick when it happened, but he hasn't gotten a fair chance yet. His best receiver is someone named Tre McBride, and his edge protection sucks. I don't think we can really judge Trubisky until the Bears fix those problems.
Denver Broncos (3-4) - Previously: 18. Underrated NFL Team: The Broncos lost by 13 to the Giants, but they outgained the Giants and averaged more yards per play. If it weren't for a pick-six, it would've been a six-point game at the very end. This past week, the Broncos suffered a defeat against the Chargers, but that was a byproduct of some fumbles and a punt return touchdown. The offense looks miserable right now, but I don't think things are as bad as they seem for Denver.
No. They suck. The Broncos should be right near the Bears, as the two teams are very similar.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3) - Previously: 22.
As I wrote last week, excluding his rookie campaign, Blake Bortles is 3-0 against the spread in Indianapolis. Yes, a perfect 3-0 ATS. My theory is that there aren't any cool clubs in Indianapolis, so Bortles has nothing better to do than study film whenever he goes there.
I think the trick is to have Bortles believe that there's nowhere to go clubbing everywhere. If I'm the Jaguars, I pay a newspaper to print a fake story: "ALL DANCE CLUBS IN JACKSONVILLE CLOSED UNTIL JANUARY DUE TO ZIKA VIRUS." Then, I'd show this Bortles, who would then have the best year ever. I really think this would work!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) - Previously: 16.
Underrated NFL Team: The Buccaneers lost a coin-flip game to the Bills. They were a missed field goal away from beating the Patriots. They lost some games because they were completely banged up. They are better than their 2-5 record indicates; they could be 4-3 right now with some better luck, and I think they could go on a winning streak soon if Jameis Winston can get healthy.
Tennessee Titans (4-3) - Previously: 19.
The Titans will need a mobile Marcus Mariota to actually beat real teams. You know, not the Colts and Browns. Fortunately for Tennessee, it has a week off to get Mariota healthier. Even better, check out five of their next seven opponents: Ravens, potentially without Joe Flacco (home), Bengals (home), Colts (road), Cardinals (road), 49ers (road). The two games I left out were the Colts and Texans, but even if the Titans lose those two contests, they'll have a legitimate chance to be 9-5 heading into a Week 16 battle versus the Rams.
Oakland Raiders (3-5) - Previously: 8.
So, it turns out that I was overzealous last week in moving up the Raiders because of a fluky victory over the Chiefs. That was dumb.
This team is just not very good. Their defense absolutely blows, and the offensive line isn't nearly the same as it was last year. Amari Cooper tries hard once every seven weeks, apparently, and Derek Carr still isn't 100 percent.
Oh, and then there's the infamous running back, who spent his bye week having too much fun:
Detroit Lions (3-4) - Previously: 20.
Hey, Jim Caldwell, if you have an opportunity to take the lead with a field goal in the second half, KICK THE F***ING FIELD GOAL! Seriously, it's not a difficult concept.
The Lions have dropped to 3-4, which is a shame because they easily could've beaten the Steelers. They outgained them and averaged more yards per play, but just crushed themselves with nonsensical red-zone play-calling. Why would they run the ball on fourth down when they have no running game!? Why!??!
Buffalo Bills (5-2) - Previously: 15.
Overrated NFL Team: The Bills have improved to 5-2 and are now getting a ton of hype, so they can be viewed as an overrated team. With the Broncos struggling, Buffalo's second-best win of the season seems less impressive now. Their greatest victory, a triumph in Atlanta, occurred because Julio Jones got hurt. Meanwhile, the win over the Buccaneers two Sundays ago was a coin-flip game. They beat the Raiders, but only because Oakland self-destructed with so many turnovers. I don't trust Tyrod Taylor and his poor receiving weapons.
Washington Redskins (3-4) - Previously: 12.
Underrated NFL Team: The Redskins shouldn't have had much of a chance against the Cowboys because they were down four offensive linemen. Yet, they were a blocked field goal away from going up nine right before halftime. They'll be much better when they get all of their blockers back.
Also, it's nice that the Redskins finally got Jamison Crowder involved, rather than trying to rely on Terrelle Pryor.
Oh, and speaking of Pryor...
Terrelle Pryor's Race for 1,800:
Current Receiving Yards: 223
Currently on Pace for: 509
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 175.2
Pryor has been spending most of his time on the bench, so perhaps he'll accumulate some yardage there.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) - Previously: 17.
The Chargers move up despite losing because they could have easily beaten the Patriots in Foxboro. They had two touchdowns called back by penalty - one of which was a horrible call - and they gave the Patriots five free points on Travis Benjamin's dumb safety on the punt return (plus a field goal on a short field). I'm not saying the Chargers should have won, but they definitely could have. Instead, they just found another way to lose, which is what the franchise excels at, I suppose.
Atlanta Falcons (4-3) - Previously: 6.
Overrated NFL Team: I'm done defending the Falcons. They are not the same team as last year. They were lucky to beat the Jets, and they weren't competitive against the Patriots. Their play-calling is extremely predictable, and Steve Sarkisian is not getting the ball enough to Julio Jones. Meanwhile, their defense has been a big disappointment, as they've had no answers for Josh McCown or Jay Cutler in two of the past three weeks.
Houston Texans (4-3) - Previously: 14.
Everyone is talking about how Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was right about comparing passing on Deshaun Watson to not taking Michael Jordan. See, that's just dumb. It's a horrible comparison. Michael Jordan played basketball, and Watson plays football, so Dabo wasn't even close in his comparison. Not even close.
In all seriousness, Watson was tremendous, and it's a shame the Texans lost at the very end of the Seattle game because the team played their hearts out in an attempt to defeat a perennial playoff contender. Houston has now been very close to beating both the Patriots and Seahawks. You'd have to think that with a year of experience, Watson will lead the Texans to such victories in 2018.
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) - Previously: 11.
The Vikings desperately need Teddy Bridgewater back. They can beat the Browns and banged-up Ravens all they want, but I think the London game demonstrated Case Keenum's restrictions. The Vikings needed the Browns to melt down so they could pull away from Cleveland. If Keenum has to start a playoff game against a good defense, Minnesota won't score any points.
Dallas Cowboys (4-3) - Previously: 7.
Overrated NFL Team: The Cowboys can go back to being overrated again. They've had two wins since their bye, but they beat up on the second-worst team in the NFL and an opponent missing four starting offensive linemen. I'm not convinced all of Dallas' problems have been solved just yet.
Carolina Panthers (5-3) - Previously: 13.
Underrated NFL Team: The Panthers are 5-3, but they're 5-1 with Luke Kuechly playing full games. They've beaten the Bills and Patriots, and they demolished the Lions in Detroit despite what the final score says. They were also leading the Eagles prior to Kuechly going down. Once Ryan Kalil and Greg Olsen return - Olsen is eligible to play again in Week 12 - this team is going to be one of the NFL's best.
New Orleans Saints (5-2) - Previously: 9.
I called the Saints overrated last week, but I'm not so sure now. Their defense is legitimately better, and Drew Brees is still Drew Brees. They've been so much better since getting one of their stud tackles back in the lineup. That said, I'm not completely sold on them, as four of their five victories have been against Mitchell Trubisky, Brett Hundley, a banged-up Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler in London.
Los Angeles Rams (5-2) - Previously: 5.
The Rams have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL, and with Lamarcus Joyner back in the lineup for the first time since the opening quarter of Week 3, their defense can be dominant again. It's up to Jared Goff to continue his high level of play because the rest of the team looks great. Goff has done extremely well this season, thanks to his great coaching staff, but I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous every time he drops back to pass. Perhaps I'm just scarred from losing so much money on him last year.
Seattle Seahawks (5-2) - Previously: 10.
I listed the Seahawks as overrated last week, but I'm bumping them up for acquiring Duane Brown. That was a huge trade, as Brown gives the Seahawks a competent left tackle for the first time in years.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) - Previously: 4.
I feel the same way as I did last week when I wrote this:
I almost marked the Steelers down as an overrated team. Ben Roethlisberger doesn't seem completely right. However, Pittsburgh has an outstanding offensive line - when everyone is healthy - and some great talent on defense, so even though Roethlisberger is struggling, the Steelers seem like a team that could make a Super Bowl run.
The Steelers are now 6-2, thanks to a victory of five in Detroit. However, Roethlisberger was still off, and the Steelers are lucky the Lions had so many screw-ups in the red zone.
New England Patriots (6-2) - Previously: 3.
First, we had Spygate. Then, we had Deflate-gate. Last week, Fog-gate...
Now, we might have Mind control-gate. Seriously, mind control is the only explanation I have for Travis Benjamin taking a safety on the punt return, and then the officials throwing a completely bogus flag on the Chargers' supposed offensive pass interference.
The Patriots won the game, but there are still major concerns with the defense, especially in the wake of Dont'a Hightower's injury.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) - Previously: 2.
I guess the Chiefs are still No. 2? The Broncos gifted them a win with a fumble returned for a touchdown and several interceptions, but I can't really downgrade the Chiefs, or anything.
By the way, I don't get why Travis Kelce keeps saying that Alex Smith is "ballin' out" this year. Smith always wins in the regular season. This is nothing new. Let's wait and see what happens in the playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) - Previously: 1.
The Eagles crushed the 49ers, as expected, but the offensive line remains a concern. They had pass-protection issues throughout the first half. They were able to win easily, however, because Carson Wentz overcame the pressure, while the defense was dominant. The good news is that Ronald Darby could be back this week, making the stop unit even better.
The MVP race:
1. Tom Brady
2. Carson Wentz
3. Russell Wilson
4. Drew Brees