I knew I shouldn’t have shaken up the top of my board so much.
The second I move San Fransisco and New Orleans into my top two slots, both fall the following week of football — the first time for the 49ers and the first embarrassing loss of the year for the Saints.
Although my top two teams have changed yet again, the biggest adjustment this time around comes down to me hushing up about poor coaching and untalented defenses and appreciating the other-worldly talented players that will their teams to victory each week.
Let’s take a look.
32. The Cincinnati Bengals (0-9) / LW: 32
Tough first task for Ryan Finley against the red-hot Ravens in his first career game, but he did string together a couple of nice drives in there. Another week and another loss, keeping Cincy at the bottom.
31. The Washington Redskins (1-8) / LW: 30
Dwayne Haskins was named the starter for the rest of the season earlier this week, and he’ll have an opportunity for his first strong showing in the NFL this week against the Jets.
30. The New York Jets (2-7) / LW: 31
Why do I have the Jets lower than the Giants, only a couple days after they beat them? I prefer Daniel Jones/Saquon Barkley/Pat Shurmur over Sam Darnold/Le’Veon Bell/Adam Gase, and the Jets have a bigger mess on their hands heading into the offseason.
29. The New York Giants (2-8) / LW: 27
That doesn’t mean I think the Giants are any good. Awful defense and a bad offensive line, but these skill players on offense will have a lot of success together over the next decade.
28. The Miami Dolphins (2-7) / LW: 29
Absolutely love the improvements we’ve seen from Miami as the season has gone on. Brian Flores is the first legit Bill Belicheck disciple (worked his way from the bottom to the top) and he really gets the most out of his players.
27. The Atlanta Falcons (2-7) / LW: 28
Last week it was the Chargers over the Packers, now the Falcons beat the Saints in the “WTF Outcome of the Week.” Good moral victory for Dan Quinn, who won’t have much of those to hold onto after the season.
26. The Denver Broncos (3-6) / LW: 24
Still scratching my head over how this Broncos team beat the Browns two weeks ago. Injury-plagued roster with middle-tier talent and a quarterback know one knows anything about, hopefully Drew Lock returns soon and gives Denver fans something to look forward to.
25. The Los Angeles Chargers (4-6) / LW: 21
Fluke win last week over Green Bay, followed by blowing a winnable game at Oakland. The roster talent is there, but injuries and inconsistency have derailed what was expected to be a strong season in Los Angeles.
24. The Chicago Bears (4-5) / LW: 25
The Bears lose that game with Matt Stafford suiting up for Detroit, and still almost lost it at the hands of Jeff Driskel. What started off as a quarterback controversy turned into the crumbling of this Bears team, and now there are questions about the offensive line, head coach and defense. But hey, at least they have a kicker right?
23. The Cleveland Browns (3-6) / LW: 26
The Browns’ light schedule throughout the rest of the season means we’ll start to see them make a run in a few weeks toward that final wild card slot, but that doesn’t mean this is still a team with a bad secondary, offensive line and head coach. Kareem Hunt was a nice wrinkle in their offense, too.
22. The Arizona Cardinals (3-6-1) / LW: 22
Almost took down Tampa on the road, but let’s recognize just how solid of a quarterback Kyler Murray has been. All three touchdowns through the air had beautiful touch and he’s getting better with every week.
21. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) / LW: 23
A not-so-awful performance from Jameis Winston, who’s on a path for a very interesting free-agency period. Bruce Arians has a solid offense in play and their run defense is stout, but they definitely could use some help on the back end.
20. The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) / LW: 18
Nick Foles returns in time to take on his former offensive coordinator, as the Jags will look to pile on a Colts team that continues to stumble.
19. The Detroit Lions (3-5-1) / LW: 17
Matthew Stafford wins that game for the Lions, but unfortunately he couldn’t convince his coaching staff to let him play with broken bones in his back. How ridiculous of them, right?
18. The Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4) / LW: 20
Slowly climbing are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who feasted on a weak offensive line and put constant pressure on Jared Goff in their win over the Rams. Am I impressed by their defense? Yes. Do I think their offense is still one of the worst in all of football? Yes again.
17. The Tennessee Titans (5-5) / LW: 19
This was the runner-up for the “WTF Outcome of the Week,” but I’m extremely happy for Ryan Tannehill being able to make the most of his time in Nashville. It must be a nice relief for Titans fans to finally have a quarterback willing to push the ball down the field.
16. The Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) / LW: 15
Huge test for Philadelphia coming up as they take on the New England Patriots. With what Baltimore did to New England two weeks ago, it’d be smart for Doug Pederson to play smash-mouth football on SNF with that strong offensive line and the duo of Jordan Howard and Mile Saunders.
15. The Indianapolis Colts (5-4) / LW: 11
When it rains, it pours. Indy takes bronze for the “WTF Outcome of the Week,” getting absolutely embarrassed by the Dolphins at home. This team still has a shot to make the playoffs, they just desperately need Jacoby Brissett, TY Hilton and Devin Funchess to add more life to that offense.
14. The Oakland Raiders (5-4) / LW: 16
The Raiders have a solid path into the postseason — as their remaining opponents have a combined record of 24-42. This offense is humming and its defense is forcing turnovers, narrowly edging Chargers last Thursday night.
13. The Dallas Cowboys (5-4) / LW: 12
The best team of a bad division fell on Sunday to Kirk Cousins during a primetime game, which almost never happens. Dak Prescott has been playing at an extremely high level this season, and is far from a problem when it comes to the list of issues Dallas currently has.
12. The Buffalo Bills (6-3) / LW: 9
Time to hit the panic button a little with Buffalo. Their defense is still solid and I love their coaching staff, but Josh Allen isn’t making the progressions you’d like to see from a quarterback in his sophomore season. Their schedule still makes for a wild card berth, but there are talented teams approaching on the horizon.
11. The Los Angeles Rams (5-4) / LW: 7
From my team to panic about on the east coast to the team to panic about on the west coast. Jared Goff is far from a good quarterback under pressure, and this offensive line never gives him much to work with. Their offense has run stagnant and Sean McVay will need to reach deep to spark something in his Rams team.
10. The Minnesota Vikings (7-3) / LW: 14
With teams like the Panthers and the Rams losing it makes the Vikings’ playoff hopes a little more secure, especially after a big win in Dallas. This offense is dynamic and their defense is solid for the most part, yet I’m still not totally sold on them being a legit threat in the NFC.
9. The Carolina Panthers (5-4) / LW: 13
I walked away from the Packers/Panthers game feeling very good about Carolina. Not only did they keep pace with one of the premiere teams in football, but Kyle Allen showed he can hang against a team with a great defense and an all-time quarterback.
8. The Houston Texans (6-3) / LW: 8
Here’s one of the three other-worldly talents carrying his bad team/coach to win after win. Deshaun Watson seemed to fall behind in the MVP race after not playing this week, but that doesn’t mean he won’t jump right back into the conversation when he leads his team up against Baltimore this Sunday.
7. The Seattle Seahawks (8-2)/ LW: 10
The second other-worldly talent that made me shut up about a bad defense, Mr. Russell Wilson. I called it lucky all season, but these narrow victories are feeding into the adrenaline rush surging through the Seahawks right now and have them rolling through 10 weeks.
6. The Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) / LW: 4
The Chiefs had two hiccups in their kicking unit that cost them this game against Tennessee, but this is still the best offense in football with a few scattered playmakers on defense. I expect them to surge through the rest of the regular season and make their way to an AFC title game.
5. The New Orleans Saints (7-2) / LW: 2
Just a wonky showing from New Orleans offense this week against a barren Atlanta defense. The Saints have a good defense and one of the better offensive lines, but this offense lacks a legit downfield threat to add some variety — no matter who’s quarterbacking them.
4. The Baltimore Ravens (7-2) / LW: 6
Baltimore didn’t slow down after their victory over New England and drove Cincinnati straight into the ground. Lamar, go figure, is the third other-worldly talent that makes me forget how shaky their defense can be.
3. The San Francisco 49ers (8-1) / LW: 1
A lot went wrong for San Fransisco on Monday Night, from losing Emmanuel Sanders to the nine dropped passes, with some leading to turnovers. The three other-worldly talents moved their teams into my top eight, but the best total packages earn spots as my top three teams.
2. The Green Bay Packers (8-2) / LW: 5
Gutsy win over a playoff-caliber team in complicated weather conditions. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams make this offense so diverse, and their run defense actually wasn’t terrible against Christian McCaffrey. Solid roster, an improving head coach and a bad, bad man under center.
1. The New England Patriots (8-1) / LW: 3
Hm. Well how did we end up here? I still think the loss to Baltimore was also a future victory to New England — who now has a couple months to recoup and adjust their gameplan for when they inevitably meet again in the playoffs. Fun game for them this weekend in a Super Bowl XXXIX and LII rematch.