NFL Playoff Team MVP and Rookie Awards

By Conor Perrett

With the NFL Divisional Rounds soon upon us, only eight teams are coming round for corner for the final stretch, so let’s look at the players that have got them in contention for the Super Bowl.

In this piece we’re looking at the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year for each remaining franchise. 

These players have played an important part in getting their team to compete and now stand just three wins away from lifting the Lombardi Trophy. 

Kansas City Chiefs

MVP – QB Patrick Mahomes: When it comes to MVP’s, there is no doubting that Mahomes may just be the best player on not only his team, but in the National Football League. He currently has the best odds to lift the award in three weeks time after his spectacular season, where he finished first in passing yards, passing touchdowns and QB rating. All the while commanding his offence to first in DVOA and EPA per drive.

With the way the offence runs with Mahomes at the helm and the average defence he has to deal with, there is no more important piece to this Chiefs side and it seems he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. 

ROTY –  RB Isaiah Pacheco (7th Round): When Pacheco was selected with the 251st pick in the draft, there was probably no intention for him to make the impact he did in his rookie season. With 4.3 40-yard speed, Pacheco looked to be a return specialist that could also be a speedy piece in the backfield. 

That speedy piece has proved his worth and it was Week 1 when he started to make impacts with a rushing touchdown. It wasn’t soon after that Pacheco had beaten out the likes of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and was announced the starter by Week 7. From there, Pacheco grew into his role with 960 scrimmage yards on the season, leading NFL rookies and the most yards in NFL history from a seventh-round pick in his rookie year.

Philadelphia Eagles

MVP – CB Darius Slay / James Bradberry:  The Eagles have had a fantastic season on both sides of the ball, as it was hard to pick a standout. QB Jalen Hurts stepped up to be a franchise quarterback behind his impressive offensive line, but cornerback duo Slay and Bradberry, have shutdown opposing receivers all year to turn around Philly’s defence.

Having a lockdown corner is always important to defences, but the luxury of two is rare. In the Eagles’ case they did, with both defensive backs nabbing three interceptions on the season. Interceptions were only a small part of the story, as both corners ranked in the top-7 for passer-rating allowed and finished 1st and 2nd in NFL’s Next Gen stats for production score.

ROTY – S Reed Blankenship (UDFA): When you are as successful as Philly, it’s hard for rookies to make an immediate impact on the team. In Blankenship’s case he was the next man to step up when C.J. Gardner-Johnson went down mid-season and paved a way onto the starting defence.

Blankenship is the only rookie on this list to go undrafted, but that shouldn’t qualify how talented he is. Collecting 34 tackles, two pass breakups, and one INT, he started the season as No. 4 safety, but soon earned the right to No. 3 and got starting thanks to injuries. Gardner-Johnson soon returned but coaches still wanted the undrafted rookie on the field. Blankenship now comes into the lineup when the Eagles move into nickel, and will likely still play a key role in Philly’s playoff run. 

Buffalo Bills

MVP – QB Josh Allen: It’s no secret that Josh Allen is the engine to this high explosive offence. Allen isn’t afraid to take risks and is a reason why the Bills finished the season 2nd in offensive DVOA, as his passing touchdowns and QB rating were 2nd in the league, behind only Mahomes.

Allen brings a different style of play to the table though and is a force on the ground. At 6’4, 235 pounds, he’s a big fella to bring and loves to make contact with defenders. His erratic playstyle comes with its downside such as injuries and turnovers, but it’s the risk you take with Allen and the rewards have so far outweighed the consequences.

ROTY – RB James Cook (2nd Round): We’ve already spoken about the Bills’ offence under Allen, but the run-game has always been a weakness. The younger brother of Pro-Bowler Dalvin Cook, James exploded onto the scene in college thanks to his receiving ability out of the backfield. It got him drafted in the second round, but he was never able to be an outright starter.

Cook might have not had the season that was expected out of him, but he was far more successful on the ground. With 687 scrimmage yards, 507 of them have come on the ground at a fantastic 5.7 yards per carry. Though he shares the backfield in a committee, averaging the amount of yards he does, on limited carries is a great way to stand out from the rest.

San Francisco 49ers

MVP – RB Christian McCaffrey : The Niners look like one of the strongest teams in the playoffs right now, but their season didn’t start with great success. At the start it was a bumpy ride with a 3-4 record before a 10-game win streak to finish the year, making them the team they are today.

There are many factors on why this turnaround happened, but the trade in Week 7 for McCaffrey was a major turning point. The 49ers had weapons all over the team, but the superstar running back was the missing piece. Since landing CMC, the 49ers have scored 31 or more points in seven of 11 games with McCaffrey personally having 100+ scrimmage yards or a touchdown in every game but one. He fits like a glove in Kyle Shanahan’s offence and despite starting a seventh-round rookie at QB in Brock Purdy, McCaffrey’s presence on the field had tipped the Niners over the edge. 

ROTY – QB Brock Purdy (7th Round): That seventh-round rookie I just mentioned shouldn’t be taken as a negative and despite starting the season as the third-string QB, Purdy is the man of the hour in San Francisco right now. Being the last pick in the draft can be embarrassing when the title ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ comes into play, but Purdy has almost won it as a badge of honour.

Making his first appearance for San Fran, during their massive ‘Master vs Student’ game against Miami in Week 13, Purdy came in to replace Jimmy G mid-game and hasn’t looked back since. Brock has a sense of confidence you rarely see in a rookie QB, let alone one taken at pick 262 in the NFL Draft. His passer rating of 107.3 is the best amongst quarterbacks in the span of his first snap and he caused serious confusion on what the 49ers might do at the QB position next season,  which will have the third overall pick from 2021 Draft Trey Lance vying to start. 

Cincinnati Bengals

MVP – QB Joe Burrow: Mahomes and Allen are regarded as the best two quarterbacks in the NFL, but if there’s one man who can compete with them; it’s Joe Burrow. 

Burrow struggled to get playing time at Ohio State in college, but since his senior year at LSU, Burrow may be the most impressive and coolest quarterback out there. Shattering all the college records and then getting drafted to the Bengals, has led Burrow to this moment.

On Cincinnati’s’ run to the Super Bowl last year, Burrow showed he could get out of the AFC  and a year on it still feels the same. Finishing the season 5th in passing yards and 2nd in passing touchdowns, Burrow can conduct an offence and hit his receivers better than anybody. The confidence that surrounds him must be intimidating for opposing defences and to think he’s still on his rookie contract.

ROTY – OG Cordell Volson (4th Round): Much like the best teams in the NFL, the Bengals didn’t have too many rookies contributors on the team. Their first-round pick Dax Hill didn’t see the field too often, but left-guard Volson played in every offensive snap.

The Bengals’ offensive-line has been a problem over the years, but it gradually improved over the course of the season. For a Day 3 pick to make the contribution he has on a Super Bowl contender, should be seen as an enormous achievement, and his confidence should keep growing.

Dallas Cowboys

MVP – EDGE Micah Parsons: Parsons hit the scene when he was in contention for Defensive Player of the Year in his rookie season last year, and this past season was no different. Parsons is up for that same award again, with the versatility he brings to the linebacker and edge-rusher position. His 13.5 sacks on the season put him in 7th for that statistic, on a Cowboys’ defence that ranked 2nd in defensive DVOA.

The ability of Parsons makes him one of the most feared players on the defensive side of the ball and as he’s one of the main reasons why Dallas were able to get 12 wins on the season.

ROTY – OL Tyler Smith (1st Round): The pick of Tyler Smith back in the Draft was highly criticised as it was seen as a reach. These criticisms should get put to bed, as he’s had the best season of all the rookie offensive linemen. 

Smith was thrown straight into the action during training camp when star left-tackle Tyron Smith went down. Having spent the off-season training at guard, it caused him to have to switch to the tackle position. The transition hasn’t been perfect but better than expected. 

Smith was seen as a great run blocker which he has been and it was his pass blocking that was seen as a weakness. He’s had his ups and downs with penalties, but shutting down the likes of Trey Hendrickson early in the season was particularly impressive.

Jacksonville Jaguars

MVP – QB Trevor Lawrence: Lawrence didn’t quite have the start to his career that many expected from the ‘generational talent’, but his second half of the season was just what people hoped to see.

Lawrence struggled with interceptions but his decision-making has improved over Year 2. His completion percentage, yards-per-attempt, and TD-to-INT ratio have improved significantly, which led the Jaguars to the playoffs. In that first half to the Chargers, it wasn’t pretty with four interceptions but he didn’t let that affect him or the team. He triumphed back in the second half, making the right reads and completing passes that helped score Jacksonville a win for the ages and a place in the Divisional Rounds.

ROTY – C Luke Fortner (3rd Round): Jacksonville had many rookies thrown into the lineup and make contributions, but the third-round pick was the most valuable. Fortner went directly into the starting lineup during training camp and has played in all 17 games. He allowed just one sack all season from the centre position and has regularly received praise from head-coach Doug Pederson.

New York Giants

MVP – HC Brian Daboll: It may feel like cheating not choosing a player for this Giants team, but no person was more valuable to the organisation than the head-coach. Expectations for the season in the first year of a rebuild, was to build an identity and get a few wins. New York exceeded these and then some and now find themselves as one of the last eight remaining teams in the playoffs.

Daboll came from an offensive background and has turned round the career of Daniel Jones. In Jones’ first three seasons, it was looking like he may not have a future in the league, but Daboll has slowed things down for him at the quarterback position. It started with Daboll relying on the run-game and getting Jones to cut down on the turnovers that had haunted him up to that point in his career. It meant this offence relied on the run more, while Jones made the simple safe throws. 

When that started to work, he slowly amped Jones’ production up, letting him be more loose until in the Wild-Card round where he was the first QB in Playoff history to record 300+ passing yards, 70+ rushing yards, two touchdowns with zero interceptions. With the turn around Daboll has conducted with this team, his name is leading the way for Coach of the Year. 

ROTY – EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (1st Round): Thibodeaux was seen as the No. 1 prospect entering his Junior year in Oregon, but injuries and a down year found him to go fifth in the NFL Draft to the Giants.

He had a fairly slow start to the season and his stats didn’t jump out to you with four sacks, but his overall game looked good. His speed to power made him a force in the run-game with his Week 16 game vs the Commanders being a standout. Exploding in that NFC East divisional game with 12 total tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss and a touchdown, Thibodeaux finished the regular season second in total pressures among rookie edge-rushers.

NFL Playoff Power Rankings

By Conor Perrett  

After 18 weeks of football, the regular season of the NFL season may be finished, but that only means the playoff field has been set. In four and a half weeks time the Lombardi Trophy will be lifted, but before then, 14 teams must be squeezed down to two.`

So with the Wild-Card round starting this weekend, let’s look at all the teams in the play-offs and rank them.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)

The Chiefs finished another season as the No. 1 seed in the AFC and currently have an offence that is better than every other team left in the playoffs. Patrick Mahomes looks set to win another MVP award, as his 5,377 combined passing and rushing yards this season, is the most of any player in NFL history. 

It feels we have taken Mahomes for granted over the years and if he can keep this up, this superstar pairing of him and Andy Reid may have the potential to one day be mentioned in the same sentence of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. 

Up next: Bye

  1. Buffalo Bills (13-3)

Josh Allen and the Bills will one day make a Super Bowl, but it won’t be easy given how stacked the AFC conference currently is. Despite only losing three games on the season to a combined eight points, Buffalo won’t be getting a bye, but will play at a neutral site if they meet the Chiefs in the Conference Championship.

The Bills feel like the most complete team in the league, but they will be missing a few key players particularly Von Miller. Such a loss hasn’t stopped them yet though, as Buffalo finished as DVOA’s No. 1 team in the regular season. To one up on that, on offence, defence and special teams, no other team is ranked top-10 in each phase, while the Bills on the other hand finished Top-4 in all three phases.

Up next: vs. Miami, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)

The Bengals are among the league’s hottest teams entering the playoffs and it would be difficult to find a more confident player in the NFL right now than Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow. “The window is my whole career,” Burrow replied when asked about the Bengals’ championship window. He’ll need all that confidence if he wants to return to the Super Bowl.

Cincinnati’s path to Arizona may be the most difficult road, as they will have to beat a potential returning Lamar Jackson, then the Bills and possibly finish off the Chiefs again, and that is to only make the Superbowl. 

Up next: vs. Baltimore, Monday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)

The Eagles got a much needed bye, by beating the Giants’ B team to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC. No team feels more in need of a week to recover than Philly, as Jalen Hurts was extremely cautious in his return from an injured shoulder. For the first time in his career, Hurts went the entire game without scrambling for a run as he heals up.  

If Hurts, Lane Johnson, Josh Sweat and Avonte Maddox can regain some health over the course of the playoffs, and get back to how they were in the first half of the season, the Eagles should be considered NFC favourites with back-to-back games at home.

Up next: Bye

  1. San Francisco 49ers (13-4)

The Niners closed out the regular season on a 10-game winning streak, with only two of those games decided by six points or fewer. That alone is a fair shout for them to be the best team in the NFC, if Hurts isn’t 100%.

They also happen to have the best point differential in the league and the No 1 ranked defence by DVOA and EPA per drive. All of those statistics look great, but the only thing that could be holding them back is the fact they are starting a seventh-round rookie at quarterback. 

Brock Purdy has been awesome, filling in for Jimmy G towards the end of the season, but he’s Mr. Irrelevant for a reason. The playoffs are a different kind of game and in the crucial moments, Purdy will be put in situations he may not be familiar or comfortable with. The key is how he responds to that.

Up next: vs. Seattle, Saturday 9:30 p.m. GMT

  1. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

Since Mike McCarthy was hired as head-coach of the Cowboys, the expectation was to win playoff games. Dallas won’t get a better shot at one when they head to Tampa on Monday night.

In the end, nothing was lost in their regular season finale loss to the Commanders, but the pressure did heat up. Dak Prescott played one of his worst games of the season and led the Cowboys’ offence to a season-low 182 yards. Before that blowout loss, the offence was red-hot, but if they have another bad day at the office, fingers will start to be pointed at individuals within the organisation.

Up next: at Tampa Bay, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (10-7)

Head-coach Brandon Staley has the potential to be an amazing defensive genius, but the Chargers are far too inconsistent. With only one win on the season against a playoff team in Week 14 against Miami, it was by far their most impressive performance, but those kind of performances happen too little. 

The Bolts are 0-5 in every other game against a playoff contender and just played its starters deep into a meaningless game against the lowly Broncos, which they ultimately lost. They have the star-power in Justin Hebert, but it’s anyone’s guess which Chargers team will show up on the day.

Up next: at Jacksonville, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)

The Jaguars are 7-2 in their last nine games and their wild-card opponent is a team they have beaten already. Respectively it was all the way back in Week 3 and the Chargers were a lot more beaten up back then, but it should be noted down. Doug Pederson put on a masterclass in offensive play-calling that day and Trevor Lawrence has only gotten better since.

There will be holes in their game that Justin Herbert may take advantage of, but the confidence should be at full flow in Jacksonville. Whatever happens, the Jaguars should be delighted with their 2022 season. 

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Baltimore Ravens (10-7)

It’s hard to rank this Baltimore team with the status of Lamar Jackson in the air. With a healthy Jackson this team could push for a top-6 spot, but we don’t know what is going on with him. There’s a presumption Jackson will return for the trip to Cincinnati, but it’s been reported that would happen for the last few weeks now. 

By weighted DVOA, the Ravens Defence is the second best in the playoffs, but without Jackson it’s hard to see any way they walk out with a win against the Bengals.  

Up next: at Cincinnati, Monday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Minnesota Vikings (13-4)

The Vikings worked their dark-magic to win 11 straight one-score games, but that doesn’t make them a good team. Their defence is probably the worst defence in the playoffs, as they finished the season 29th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed. They have Justin Jefferson who looks likely to win Offensive Player of the Year, but even then this offence is ranked 20th in offensive DVOA. 

The Vikings have already beat the Giants before in a close event back in Week 16, but that doesn’t change the fact this is probably one of the worst 13 wins and third seed team in recent memory. 

Up next: vs. New York Giants, Sunday 9:30 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Giants (9-7-1)

No one can take away the fact that the Giants have had a spectacular and surprising season. First-year head coach Brian Daboll should be in the conversation for Coach of the Year honours, and both offensive pieces Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley have had great success in contract years. 

Yes, this team has had some luck along the way and there are probably better teams that missed out on the playoffs, but New York played good football late in games that has gotten them to this point. The only worry is how far they can go. The Giants are 2-6 against playoff teams and the only team they beat by more than eight points this season was the helpless Colts. They drew the easy straw in Minnesota, as there’s certainly a chance they can get revenge this weekend.

Up next: at Minnesota, Sunday 9:30 p.m. GMT

  1. Seattle Seahawks (9-8)

It certainly wasn’t pretty, and despite entering the week with a 16% chance to make the playoffs, the Seahawks got it done. The majority of their thanks can go towards the Lions, who had no hard feelings with Seattle who eliminated Detroit an hour before their win in Green Bay. 

Now the Seahawks set up a NFC West rivalry matchup with the Niners, that has playoff history in its roots. The two teams last met in Week 15 on a Thursday night game that was not as close as the 21-13 score indicated. Crazier things have happened in the past but Seattle must play the game of their life if they intend to get the last laugh this season with San Francisco.

Up next: at San Francisco, Saturday 9:30 p.m. GMT

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)

If every one of these teams had their starting QB healthy, Tampa would then rank last on this list. Luckily that’s not the case, so they can at least rank one spot higher. In fact their QB, Tom Brady is the Bucs’ only hope of progressing any further in what might be his last game for the team.

Never count out Tom Brady, especially in the playoffs, but this is an offence that has scored more than 23 points just twice all season and a defence that is mightily inconsistent. When you then also put a head coach in charge who looks lost at times, it’s fair to think why Brady may be done with this team. 

Up next: vs. Dallas, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Miami Dolphins (9-8)

It’s a shame Tua Tagovailoa has had the concussions he has withstood this season, as a rematch against the Bills would have been electric. But for the player’s safety, it’s the right choice to sit him. 

Unfortunately without him, rookie QB Skyler Thompson can’t keep up with Mike McDaniel’s fast playing style and the defence is far too weak to win games for them. The rollercoaster of the Dolphins’ season finished on a high in the regular season, but it’s hard to see anything other than it going back down for the playoffs.

Up next: at Buffalo, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

Week 18 Power Rankings

By Conor Perrett 

This past week’s set of games have shaped up for many anticipated fixtures for the last week of the NFL season that is sure to leave us with final day dramatics. With two spots in the playoffs still up for grabs and a No. 1 pick in the draft to sort out, It’s set up to be a cracking finish.  

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)

Last Week – 1st

With the current state of the NFL, it’s all about offence and the Chiefs are the best in the league in that department. Patrick Mahomes just became the third player in NFL history to throw for 5k passing yards in multiple seasons, and looks set to win his second MVP trophy. It’s tough to bet against Mahomes and Andy Reid but the defence will need to be better if they want another Super Bowl.

Kansas’ defence is currently 23rd in defensive DVOA and great teams in the playoffs will take advantage of that. It’s also not a great sign that the underwhelming Russell Wilson has had his best two games of the season against the Chiefs’ defence.

Up next: at. Raiders, Saturday 9:30 p.m. GMT

  1. Buffalo Bills (12-3)

Last Week – 2nd

Buffalo had a juggernaut of a game planned against the Bengals this Monday night, but it was tragically stopped after safety Damar Hamlin collapsed with 5:32 minutes left in the first quarter.

With Hamlin’s health still unknown, out of respect we won’t talk about Bill’s football and send our prayers to him.  

Up next: vs. Patriots, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. San Francisco 49ers (12-4)

Last Week – 3rd

It wasn’t a perfect performance for the Niners this week, but they got the job done in the end. Before their game against the Raiders, San Fran would have been jumping at the chance of Jarrett Stidham as the new starting QB, but he showed flaws in their defence. 

Brock Purdy struggled to push the ball downfield at times, but he is yet to blow up or look flustered. With the weapons of Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk, they look deadly as ever and are still in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. All that’s needed is an Eagles’ loss to the Giants and a win for the 49ers in Arizona to secure a first-round bye.

Up next: vs. Cardinals, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

Last Week – 4th

Similar to the Bills, out of respect for Damar Hamlin, his wellness is more important than what happened in the first quarter of this game.

Up next: vs. Ravens, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)

Last Week – 6th

The Cowboys find themselves in an interesting position heading into Week 18, with their playoff seed still up in the air. Currently they sit fifth and have done so for the better half of the season. If Philadelphia were to have a late season collapse and results go their way, Dallas could see themselves at either of the top two positions in the NFC.

All that you could ask of this team late in the season is to cut down on the turnovers. Dak Prescott has had some questionable turnovers as of late, but their strong defence has them first in turnover margin in the NFL and by some distance.

Up next: at. Commanders, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

Last Week – 5th

Philly were the best team in the NFL with Jalen Hurts on the field. But Hurts hasn’t played for the past two weeks, and the Eagles have dropped both games. While their Gardiner Minshew offence looked good against Dallas a week ago, it came up short against the Saints. Philadelphia’s only score came by way of a heroic effort by A.J. Brown, as they cannot afford to wait any longer for Hurts if they want to progress far in the postseason.

Up next: vs. Giants, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (10-6)

Last Week – 9th

It feels a bit weird having this Chargers team this high after things looked bleak just a month ago, but they’ve carried themselves up here. Suspect contenders falling also helps, but LA have been one of the better teams in the league over the past three weeks. Their defence ranks first in defensive DVOA over that time and Justin Herbert has started to get some weapons back on offence.

Now , the Chargers look set for the No. 5 seed, setting up a game against the winner of Jaguars vs Titans on Wild-Card weekend.

Up next: at. Broncos, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)

Last Week – 10th

Similar to the Chargers, Jacksonville has been shot out of a cannon the past four weeks to climb this high. The emergence of Trevor Lawrence has been what’s got them to this point, but will their 27th DVOA ranked defence be strong enough to get them any further?

With a Saturday night clash against the Titans setting up a winner-takes-it-all matchup, the Jags will be favourites and if they can get past that, Jacksonville will be hosting a playoff game at a minimum.

Up next: vs. Titans, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Detroit Lions (8-8)

Last Week – 12th

After getting absolutely dominated by the Panthers just a week ago, Detroit returned the favour to the Bears in a beatdown on Sunday. I mentioned last week that this young team can’t let all the work they have done over the past two months get undone because of one bad game, and they took that to heart.

Granted it was against the Bears, but apart from one big run, this defence contained the ‘new’ Justin Fields better than anyone else this season. Sacking him seven times on the day, Fields had just 30 net passing yards on the day, with five of Chicago’s six second half possessions being three-and-outs. When you then put that with an offence that is 5th in points per game, they are very dangerous. 

Detroit could also have an early playoff game this week when they take the trip to Lambeau field on Sunday Night. If the Rams can return the favour for Matthew Stafford and their Super Bowl by beating the Seahawks, it would mean the winner of Lions vs Packers would take the last wild card spot in the NFC.

Up next: at. Packers, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Green Bay Packers (8-8)

Last Week – 13th

Five weeks ago when Green Bay had a record of 4-8, it looked to be an unfamiliar lost season. But a second half of a season resurgence, that has seen them takedown playoff contenders Miami and Minnesota over the past two weeks, has got them back to what they know best. 

Entering the last week of the season, the Packers know their destiny. Win against Detroit and they are in the playoffs, while losing would mean they’re going to be watching it from the comfort of their home.

Up next: vs. Lions, Monday 1 :20 a.m. GMT

  1. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)

Last Week – 8th

Baltimore was one of the suspect contenders I mentioned earlier in the rankings. It feels wrong for them to be this low with the turnaround they have had on defence, but without Lamar Jackson at quarterback, it’s bad.

First half of the season the offence was carrying the defence, but during the second half, it’s been the other way round. Here’s to hoping they get a healthy Jackson back and can compete as one just in time for the playoffs.

Up next: at. Bengals, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)

Last Week – 7th

With a 12-4 record and the NFC North wrapped up many weeks ago, the Vikings are probably the most wanted team to face in the playoffs. Their 20th ranked, -19 point differential on the season tells the story. Let me explain; despite winning eight more games than they have lost. When adding up having many points Minnesota have won or lost by, it tallies to -19 points.

They’ve feasted on one-score games, using some sort of dark magic to come out on top every time. But when faced with a true challenge, apart from their miraculous win in Buffalo, they have been stepped on like a piece of gum on the streets of London. When you look at their three losses to fellow NFC teams they could meet in the postseason. The Eagles, Cowboys and Packers have beaten the Vikings by a combined 78 whooping points.

Up next: at. Bears, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Giants (9-6-1)

Last Week – 14th

The Giants punched themselves a ticket to the playoffs this week, when they took down the Colts 38-10 in dominant fashion. Completing this goal in the first year of their rebuild is a great accomplishment for Brain Daboll and his staff. They are turning this ship around quicker than anyone would have thought. 

Reports are also starting to come out with New York looking to extend both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Extending Jones may be a risk with this being the first season where we’ve seen adequate play from him, but Daboll seems to have a skill in turning risky QB’s into greatness.

Up next: at. Eagles, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New England Patriots (8-8)

Last Week – 17th

The Patriot’s offence may be concerning, but if their defence continues to not only stop teams but score for them as well.  It’s been an up and down season for New England in that sense, but it can end on a high if they beat Buffalo this Sunday. A win against the Bills would guarantee the Patriots the 7th seed in the AFC and book themselves into the playoffs. However, will the NFL let this game go ahead after the trauma faced by the Bills players on Monday night?

Up next: at. Bills, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)

Last Week – 18th

Once again, it looked like Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offence was going to keep shooting themselves in the foot early on. However, they found a mismatch with Mike Evans late on and it resulted in them winning the NFC South division. 

If we’re being honest this team doesn’t belong in the playoffs discussion, but with how the NFC works they are. Now, Tom Brady gets to host a playoff game and no matter how bad his team is, it’s hard to bet against the GOAT.

Up next: at. Falcons, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Miami Dolphins (8-8)

Last Week – 11th

When we talk about a rollercoaster of a season, this Miami team should be the definition of that. After winning their first three games, the Dolphins followed that up with three losses. Things got back on track when they won five games straight, but now they are currently on a five game losing streak. On that run they have flown up and down our rankings and now find themselves slap bang middle. 

A playoff appearance is still viable, but they will need to beat a Jets team without their starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Up next: vs. Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)

Last Week – 19th

If you’ve been reading these rankings weekly, you would have known we have been following the Steelers streak of .500 season for the past few weeks. That streak is still alive after a late win against the Ravens on Sunday. Now, if Pittsburgh wins next week and the Dolphins and Patriots lose, not only will they have a winning record, they’ll also make the playoffs after a 2-6 start.

Up next: vs. Browns, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)

Last Week – 22nd

Seattle’s win against the Jets this Sunday was huge and keeps their hopes of the play-offs alive. Their rushing attack averaged 5.2 yards per carry against a strong Jets defence, after many weeks of that department being underwhelming.

Despite currently sitting in the No. 7 seed, the Seahawks will need a few results to go their way to progress. A win against the Rams will be a good starter and then a Packers loss will cement their placing.

Up next: vs. Rams, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Carolina Panthers (6-10)

Last Week – 20th

Carolina had a chance to extend their hopes for the division title to next week, but slipped up against the Buccaneers. The loss eliminated them from playoff contention, but don’t let that take away the credit interim head coach Steve Wilks deserves. The job he has done over the last 11 weeks could earn him the permanent head coach job, after turning around Carolina’s 1-4 start. However, it has emerged they are one of the teams along with the Broncos who have talked with Jim Harbaugh about the position of head coach. 

Up next: at. Saints, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New Orleans Saints (7-9)

Last Week – 23rd

The Saints got their most impressive win of the season when they took down the Eagles. Cowboys and 49ers fans will probably be more happy about the result, but New Orleans have started to look better after a rough start. With people in the NFL media starting to think a Sean Payton return could happen, it might mark the only good news the Saints will have this season.

Up next: vs. Panthers, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Jets (7-9)

Last Week – 15th

The Jets were one of the more exciting teams in the NFL early in the season, however, their inability to find consistent production at QB position has been their downfall. It led them to miss the playoffs for a 12th consecutive year. 

A healthy Jets team in 2023 with competent QB play could be dangerous, but GM Joe Douglas must be smart about this decision or he could fall into the same trap Chris Ballard did in Indianapolis.

Up next: at. Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Tennessee Titans (7-9)

Last Week – 21st

Tennessee still has a shot to win the AFC South division after a horrible last month of football. They will be beaten up going into the game, but a win against the Jaguars will be enough to host a playoff game. Their identity has almost solely been Derrick Henry and the NFL is built on the passing game. The Titans don’t have the quality at the wide-receiver position to be like that and unfortunately they will need a retune in the off-season to fix that.

Up next: at. Jaguars, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Cleveland Browns (7-9)

Last Week – 24th

Deshaun Watson only threw the ball 18 times on Sunday, but in that time, he threw three touchdowns and finally started showing why the Browns decided to hand him a lucrative guaranteed deal. 

The Browns’ defence in the recent weeks has also seen improvement. Their defence has jumped from 21st to 13th in defensive DVOA over that span, with it feeling better late than never.

Up next: at. Steelers, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Washington Commanders (7-8-1)

Last Week – 16th

It may feel rational but the decision to start Carson Wentz this past Sunday could be a fire-able offence for head coach Ron Rivera. Just three weeks ago Washington were in pole position for one of the last two wild-card spots in the NFC and now they’ve been eliminated – Rivera didn’t even know the Commanders could have been eliminated until it was brought up during his post-game press conference.

Rivera made the decision to return Wentz to the lineup, and in a must win game he threw three interceptions to zero touchdowns. The consequences were missing out on the playoffs and just a few days later Washington dropped Wentz for the last game of the season.

Up next: vs. Cowboys, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Las Vegas Raiders (6-10)

Last Week – 25th

The Las Vegas Raiders weren’t supposed to have a chance against the 49ers but they at least put up a fight. With a new look Vegas side that had Jarrett Stidham taking Derek Carr’s place at quarterback, the offence scored 34 points against a Niners defence that felt impenetrable.

But still Josh McDaniel’s side blew a 10 point lead and found a way to lose games they stand a chance of winning. Fans will look at this game as a moral victory, but with pre-season expectations of playoffs at a minimum, the Raiders season has been nothing short of a failure.

Up next: vs. Chiefs, Saturday 9:30 p.m. GMT

  1. Atlanta Falcons (6-10)

Last Week – 27th

Atlanta ended a five-game losing streak this week with a 20-19 win against the Cardinals. The Falcons are in an interesting spot with Desmond Ridder. Ridder hasn’t been disastrous, but he also shouldn’t be the reason Atlanta pulls their hat out of the QB ring for the upcoming draft. 

Going into their third season under this regime, they will need to start competing more next season. With a Tampa team that is undecided at the QB position and the Saints about to experience cap hell, the division will be wide open for them.

Up next: vs. Buccaneers, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Rams (5-11)

Last Week – 26th

After their dominating win against the Broncos on Christmas, they came back down to reality this past Sunday. They suffered a 31-10 defeat where the Chargers ran over them. On the offensive side the Rams continued to try to run the rock and actually had some success. Akers topped the 100-yard mark on 19 carries at a 6.5 yard per carry pace. 

But the Rams season was lost many weeks ago and the big decisions that will need to be taken now, is what happens with the future of their superstar players and coach after an injury riddled season.

Up next: at. Seahawks , Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Denver Broncos (4-12)

Last Week – 30th

Denver have had an underwhelming season by all means this year, but their two most impressive games have come against our No. 1 ranked team in this rankings. In those two games Russell Wilson turned back the clocks and used his legs as a weapon more. It seems that is the way to get the best out of Wilson and something the next head coach of the Denver Broncos will need to consider.

Up next: vs. Chargers, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Arizona Cardinals (4-12)

Last Week – 28th

If there was a sim button for the Cardinals to skip the end of this season, they would be pressing it over and over again until it blew up. It feels the front office and head coach could be gone by this time next week with them needing to construct their roster again. Arizona does have what they think to be a franchise QB, but he will be needing another offensive-minded head coach to try and get the best out of him. What makes it harder is Kyler Murray looks set to miss the majority of his next season with his ACL injury.

Up next: at. 49ers , Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Chicago Bears (3-13)

Last Week – 29th

This Bears team right now may be the worst team on paper in the league. They can easily make an argument to have the worst offensive-line, wide-receivers and defence in the league. They do happen to have a game changing weapon in Justin Fields, but without any help it will be pointless having him. Chicago will hold a top-two pick in the draft but there doesn’t seem to be any offensive weapons viable for that pick. That may not be the end of the world though, as they can trade the pick for a king’s ransom.

Up next: vs. Vikings , Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Houston Texans (2-13-1)

Last Week – 31st

While the team is likely still some way away from contending, drafting a quarterback with the top pick in the draft should inject some life into a currently lifeless franchise. Head coach Lovie Smith has done some nice things with this team, but with an unpredictable front office, there’s a realistic chance this team could be looking for their fourth head coach in four years.

Up next: at. Colts , Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1)

Last Week – 32nd

No team’s futures look as dull if owner Jim Irsay is being serious when he gave a vote of confidence for head coach and general manager, Jeff Saturday and Chris Ballard. It is worth taking what owners say with a pinch of salt, but it seems he genuinely believes it. The Colts should have a top-6 pick in the upcoming draft and they must hit on that pick if they want to turn things around.

Up next: vs. Texans, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

Week 17 Power Rankings 

By Conor Perrett 

With just two weeks left of the regular season, the Christmas weekend of NFL football did not disappoint. We had upsets and dramatic endings to go with our Christmas dinners, leaving shuffle amongst our rankings. 

With the Eagles falling atop of their perch and newcomers entering the top-10, let’s rank them all ahead of the end of 2022.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3)

Last Week – 2nd

Now, the Chiefs regain the top spot on our rankings thanks to the misfortune of the Eagles, but this doesn’t mean I see them as Super Bowl favourites if the season ended today. Over the course of the season their offence has been so consistently good that they deserve to hold this spot. The offence can thank Patrick Mahomes for that, as he looks in pole position to win his second MVP award. 

The defence worries me for when the postseason rolls around, but right now this offence is the best in the league by almost any measure.

Up next: vs. Denver, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Buffalo Bills (12-3)

Last Week – 3rd

The Bills turned things on in the second half against the Chicago Bear on Christmas Eve, when they went 29-3 in the second period. The rushing attack led the way with 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just 23 carries.

Now, in this week’s game of the week, they face the Bengals in what could have big repercussions on both teams’ playoff seeds. If Buffalo is able to top Cincinnati, it will put them in destiny’s hands to grab the No. 1 seed in the AFC. If not, then they could be looking at the 3rd seed and a rematch in Cincinnati for the divisional round.

Up next: at Cincinnati, Tuesday 1:30 a.m. GMT

  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-4)

Last Week – T4th

It sounds weird to say but Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy’s 49ers are Super Bowl contenders. The Niners are undefeated in their four games with Purdy at the helm and they’ve the third-ranked scoring offence in that time. Purdy still isn’t throwing the ball downfield a lot, but he doesn’t have to. The floor of the offence is already so high with Kyle Shanahan pulling the strings and San Fran’s cast of weapons, that Purdy just needs to keep the offence on schedule and success will be had.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

Last Week – T4th

The Bengals nearly found themselves blowing a 22-0 halftime lead, but like a good team does, they stayed strong and found a way to win. What might be more worrying for this side is the injury to right-tackle La’el Collins just before the playoffs. Collins is set to be out for the year and force Cincinnati to backtrack to a new offensive line for the first time this season.

They will  have a warm-up playoff game with Buffalo on Monday night, to try and plan ahead for that injury. 

Up next: vs. Buffalo, Tuesday 1:30 a.m. GMT

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)

Last Week – 1st

Philly’s big drop from the top stop may seem like I’m overreacting, but it’s a collection of things that have caused it. The loss to the Cowboys should be the least of their worries, with injuries starting to stack up and the defence regressing.

The Jalen Hurts injury would worry me significantly if I was a part of the organisation and now star tackle Lane Johnson is out for at least the remainder of the regular season. The defence also didn’t have a great time against Dallas allowing a key third-and-30 conversion. Over the first two months of the season this defence was 1st in EPA per drive. But over the last two months, a drop to 12th. Not ideal for the lead up to the postseason.

Up next: vs. New Orleans, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Dallas Cowboys (11-4)

Last Week – 6th

Dallas got a much needed win against their NFC East rival this week to keep the battle for the division somewhat alive. Things would need to go heavy in their favour with Philly losing out, but wilder things have happened. The offence is starting to find their groove, and are starting to look more like a complete team. 

All of these six teams here look to be in a league of their own, as I expect one of them to be lifting the Lombardi trophy once it’s all said and done. 

Up next: at Tennessee, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Minnesota Vikings (12-3)

Last Week – 8th

Another week and another one-score victory for this Minnesota side. Their 11 one-score wins is now an NFL record for most in a season and they managed that without losing a single one of them. That stat has its pros and cons, but for now we’re let them have their celebration. 

The Vikings may have the tied-second best record in the league and are still in the mix for the No. 1 seed if the Eagles fail to win another game, but their play on the field does not warrant them to be championship contenders. I feel if they were to meet any of the teams ranked above them they wouldn’t stand a chance, but at the end of the day, they know how to win late on. 

Up next: at Green Bay, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Baltimore Ravens (10-4)

Last Week – 10th

By defensive EPA per drive, no defence in the league has improved more since the first half of the season. They’ve jumped up a whooping 24 spots from 27th to 3rd, after the trade for Roquan Smith looks to have helped them a lot. Baltimore have only allowed more than 14 points once in the last seven games, with this defence now becoming its centrepiece. 

As Lamar Jackson returns looms, the offence will get its QB back and have the potential to be a dangerous team come the play-offs. 

Up next: vs. Pittsburgh, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6)

Last Week – 11th

The Chargers confirmed their playoff spot with their win on MNF against the Colts, and are playing their best football of the season when it matters most. Their team has started to get healthier as the season goes on  and they may be able to compete in a stacked AFC conference now. If LA can continue to produce on both sides of the ball to finish the season, they may have a real chance to be considered contenders.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8)

Last Week – 12th

Winners of four of their last five, the Jaguars are now in the pole position in the AFC South. No matter what happens this week, the Week 18 clash between the Jaguars and Titans will determine who wins the division. Jacksonville are peaking at the right time thanks to Trevor Lawrence hitting his stride, ranking seventh in weighted DVOA.

Up next: at Houston, Sunday 6 a.m. GMT

  1. Miami Dolphins (8-7)

Last Week – 7th

The Dolphins opened the season winning their first three games and followed that up with a three-game losing streak. Winning five straight games after that, Miami now found themselves on a four-game losing streak. Along with this bad run, the Dolphins as an organisation find themselves in another ‘Tua concussion’ controversy. Tua self-reported concussion symptoms for a third time this season, after the Packers’ defeat and yet again Miami failed to care for their players by not removing him in-game.

Up next: at New England, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT 

  1. Detroit Lions (7-8)

Last Week – 9th

The Lions no longer control their destiny for the playoffs after their ‘ass kicking’ – according to Dan Campbell – from Carolina. This team is young, but it’s important to not let one horrible game waste away two months of good work. With two divisional games left, Detroit can still find themselves in the playoffs, with a potential Week 18 matchup in Green Bay, with the winner getting in.

Up next: vs. Chicago, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Green Bay Packers (7-8)

Last Week – 16th

From their end, Green Bay’s path to the playoff was simple. Win out. They got past their easier opponents in the Bears and Rams, but then found themselves looking down the barrel of three playoff contenders to finish the season. They completed part one when they got past the Dolphins on Christmas Day, as the dream stays alive. Next up the Packers have Minnesota and if they stand any chance of winning such a game, the secondary will need another strong performance similar to Miami if they want to stop Justin Jefferson.

Up next: vs. Minnesota, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Giants (8-6-1)

Last Week – 14th

New York’s special start to the season has worn off, but they still find themselves one win away from clinching a playoff berth. Daniel Jones topped 300 passing yards for just the second time this year against Minnesota, but his play has been vastly important to expectations entering the year. Head coach Brain Daboll has put an offence around him that has been successful, but if the Giants want to take the next step, an improvement at the position may be for the best.

Up next: vs. Indianapolis, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Jets (7-8)

Last Week – 13th

If Mike White was not cleared to return, the Jets would drop much further down this list. In his small sample size, White has been the Jets best option and their only saving hope to get to the playoffs. On the other hand, second overall pick from last year’s draft Zach Wilson, looks to have played his last snap in New York, with reports of him being on the move after only two years when the off-season rolls around.

Up next: at Seattle, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT 

  1. Washington Commanders (7-7-1)

Last Week – 15th

Washington still holds the last wild-card spot in the NFC, with them potentially needing to win out to see it out. In a risky decision, Carson Wentz has been given the opportunity to see it out for the Commanders, with them facing Cleveland this week. Beat Cleveland and they might get a Cowboys team with nothing to play for in Week 18, so things are shaping up like a redemption story of sorts for Wentz. 

But if anyone watched him for the Colts last season, they will know it’s never quite that simple and it’s just as easy for Wentz to screw this up for Washington.

Up next: vs. Cleveland, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New England Patriots (7-8)

Last Week – 18th

Rhamondre Stevenson fumbled the potentially game-winning drive away against the Bengals, on a play that could have been blown dead for forward progress. It’s a tough break for this New England side but their 28th ranked DVOA offence has led to that. With Mac Jones showing his frustrations on the field toward the play calling, there are already reports starting to come out of Bill O’Brien making a return to Foxboro to fill the position for next season.

Up next: vs. Miami, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8)

Last Week – 19th

The Bucs can put an end to this four-way battle for the NFC South if they beat the Panthers this weekend. With an offence that averages 17.7 points per game which is good for 28th in the league, Tom Brady is still dragging this team through the dirt late in games. 

Up next: vs. Carolina, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

Last Week – 21st

In the first half of the season, this Steelers offence was horrible with Mitch Trubisky at the helm and rookie Kenny Pickett getting off to a chaotic start. They ranked dead last in EPA per drive, but over the last eight weeks have ranked 6th in that same statistic. With nine teams on a record of 7-8, Pittsburgh stands the worst of those teams to make the playoffs with a 1.5% chance, via Football Outsiders. The Steelers can thank their 3-7 conference record for that.

Up next: at Baltimore, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Carolina Panthers (6-9)

Last Week – 26th

The Panthers dismantled the Lions in their 37-23 win when they rushed for 320 yards. It’s now put them in a position to win out and complete one of the more surprising playoff runs in recent memory. With this run it feels Steve Wilks has earned the opportunity to coach this team next season from a permanent basis, as he has turned this ship around. 

Up next: at Tampa Bay, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Tennessee Titans (7-8)

Last Week – 17th

Tennessee finds themselves on a five-game losing streak and the AFC South division title fading away fast. They are without starting QB Ryan Tannehill for the rest of the season and have seen their once dominant defence fall to 19th in EPA per drive over the last eight weeks. 

Without Tannehill this team doesn’t stand a chance on turning things around in the next two weeks, with third-round rookie Malik Willis struggling. In Willis three starts to the season, he has yet to throw for more than 100 yards, with zero touchdowns, three interceptions and taken 10 sacks.

Up next: vs. Dallas, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Seattle Seahawks (7-8)

Last Week – 20th

Seattle has been a sinking ship for over a month now with one win in their last six. The Seahawks started as one of the NFL’s feel good stories but are quickly losing that title. If they go another week without a win and Washington beat the Browns, they will be eliminated from the playoff conversation. 

Up next: vs. New York Jets, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. New Orleans Saints (6-9)

Last Week – 25th

New Orleans has strang together some impressive wins to keep their playoff chances to a merely 4.3%. But what happens after this season is the bigger question. In salary cap and draft capital hell, this team has no future to improve. They have no answer at the QB position, with Andy Dalton a free agent and backup Jameis Winston due $15.6 million. Taysom Hill is a great versatile piece to have but playing the majority of his snaps at tight-end, his $13.9 million cap hit next season will make him the fifth-highest paid player at that position. 

Up next: at Philadelphia, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Cleveland Browns (6-9)

Last Week – 22nd

When Jacoby Brissett was at the helm of this offence, they ranked 4th in EPA per drive. Now with their $230 million dollar man Deshaun Watson, they rank 27th. For the moment, Cleveland can use the excuse of Watson not playing for a year and a half. But to be honest, we have seen no improvement in a month now. If this is to continue the Browns will soon find themselves in a deep dark hole similar to what’s happening in Denver. They say karma is a bitch.  

Up next: at Washington, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Las Vegas Raiders (6-9)

Last Week – 23rd

It feels the Las Vegas Raiders are so similar yet so unlike the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams have new offensive head coaches, QB’s just outside the top-10, a star wide-receiver, running back and tight end, with a defence that’s under performing. The biggest difference that sees them on the opposite side of the rankings though, is their ability in late game situations. 

While Minnesota are 11-0 in one-score games, Vegas are 5-8. In a parallel universe out there I’m sure the Raiders find themselves in a situation the Vikings are in. 

Up next: vs. San Francisco, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Rams (5-10)

Last Week – 29th

Baker Mayfield got the audition to receive his career in LA and is making the most of it. In his three starts he’s managed two wins and threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams 51-14 domination on Christmas Day. If anything Mayfield has shown he can be a capable starter in this league if he has a few things in his favour, and it will likely earn him a gig at a starting position for the 2023 season.

Up next: at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Atlanta Falcons (5-10)

Last Week – 27th

Rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder took some steps forward in his second career start this past weekend. He had no turnovers and completed 22 of 33 passes for 218 yards, yet Atlanta still found themselves on the losing side of things. After now being eliminated from the dismal NFC South race, the Falcons are likely to go three straight seasons with a top-10 draft pick, with Arthur Smith’s seat starting to heat up.

Up next: vs. Arizona, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT  

  1. Arizona Cardinals (4-11)

Last Week – 28th

The Cardinals have some major questions coming up in the next few months, with three of their biggest positions at the organisation all under the spotlight. General manager Steve Keim has taken indefinite leave from the team just when the off-season is to begin. Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury’s looks set to leave his position in two weeks time, while QB Kyler Murray will be out with a long term ACL injury . 

One of the best defensive players of this generation, JJ Watt is also to retire at the end of the season.

Up next: at Atlanta, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Chicago Bears (3-12)

Last Week – 31st

The Bears have a human highlight reel in Justin Fields but that’s about it. Apart from a few rookie defenders that have shown flashes, they still rank dead last 32nd in defensive DVOA. The off-season may look promising with over $100 million in cap space and the second overall pick, but there’s a lot of holes that need fixing on this team. 

Up next: at Detroit, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Denver Broncos (4-10)

Last Week – 24th

Last week I made the bold approach to say Denver may be turning things around and how wrong I was. In the Draft Super Bowl for teams that didn’t own their own pick, LA wiped the floor with them that got Nathaniel Hackett fired. The problem may be deeper than Hackett, with a certain QB looking to be the main issue, but the Broncos feel Russell Wilson can be fixed with the right person in charge. 

Up next: at Kansas City, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Houston Texans (2-12-1)

Last Week – 32nd

Despite having the worst record in the league and being the league’s laughing stock for the last few years, Houston has quietly put together a good last month of football. They took Dallas to the very end and forced the Chiefs to overtime, in two improved performances and got a deserved win to the Titans this week. The Texans also have a rookie on either side of the ball that could be in contention for ROTY, with Dameon Pierce and Jalen Pitre.

Up next: vs. Jacksonville, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Indianapolis Colts (4-10-1)

Last Week – 30th

Since Jeff Saturday took over things in Week 10 the Colts find themselves with a -58 point differential, three different starting quarterbacks and a partridge in a pear tree. Nick Foles did not improve things at the QB position, with two interceptions in the first quarter, seven sacks and a 0-10 third-down conversion rate. It was only a couple years ago this Indy team looked like a rising star and now find themselves amongst the years worst.

Up next: at New York Giants, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

Week 16 Power Rankings

Week 16 Power Rankings

By Conor Perrett

What a weekend of NFL football!

It kept on getting better and better during Week 15 of the season which included the biggest comeback in league history, two comebacks of 17 points and probably the dumbest last play we’ve ever seen in the NFL.

So without further ado, let’s get ranking everyone.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-1)

Last Week – 1st

Just when you think Philly will have an easy path to the No. 1 seed with Dallas’ loss, a bit of drama struck at the end with QB and MVP frontrunner, Jalen Hurts expected to miss the next two weeks with a shoulder sprain in his throwing arm. 

The Eagles should be fine in the meantime and still hold their own fate, but it’s always a worry to see your quarterback go down with an injury to his throwing shoulder. It’s the most prized possession of any QB and when issues start popping up, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Gardener Minshew has a chance to play a hero, similar to Nick Foles back during Philadelphia’s last Super Bowl run.

Up next: at Dallas, Saturday 9:25 p.m. GMT

2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

Last Week – 2nd

The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes still own the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but it got a bit shaky when they went to overtime with the Texans. Mahomes completed 36 of 41 pass attempts, good for the best completion percentage of his career at 87.7%. He started and finished the game, yet it got to squeaky bum time by the end, against the worst team in the league.

Why was that? Their 24th ranked defensive DVOA is why!

Kansas City has never had an amazing defence, but this season has been worse than normal. They’re currently on pace to have the worst defence in the playoffs, as Mahomes and the offence tries to carry this team further.

Up next: vs. Seattle, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

3. Buffalo Bills (11-3)

Last Week – 3rd

Whether Josh Allen is 100% or not, it will never stop him going to the lengths of superman diving over the goal line in the snow to win for his team. Allen is the second-ranked quarterback in EPA per drop-back behind just Mahomes. 

This Bills team still doesn’t quite feel like its normal self with injuries stacking up, especially on defence, but they still boast the shortest odds of winning the Super Bowl.

Up next: at Chicago, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

Tied 4.  Cincinnati Bengals (10-4)

Last Week – 4th

We have our first tied rankings of the season, with the Bengals and 49ers being too close to split in my opinion. In all honesty this could have been a triple tie along with the Cowboys, if they didn’t throw away a late lead.

We knew just how good this Bengals team could be when we saw them get to the Super Bowl last year. Since then, their young players have progressed and are starting to look even better. They had no easy path towards the end of this season to progress to the postseason after a slow start, but they’ve stepped up to the plate and now look like a serious Super Bowl contenders. 

Up next: at New England, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

Tied 4. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)

Last Week – 5th

The Niners moved up half a spot his week, with me having them tied with Cincinnati.

If I was a betting man, part of me thinks this team could make it to the Super Bowl out of the NFC. Their defence is the best in the league with the aggression they come at offences with and they’ve done it before. There will always be question marks at the QB position, especially when the last pick of this past draft is starting, but Kyle Shanahan may be the offensive genius in the league. Not to mention San Fran are peaking at the right time and are currently on a seven-game winning streak. 

Up next: vs. Washington, Saturday 9:05 p.m. GMT

6. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

Last Week – 6th

The recent Jalen Hurts injury news might be worse to hear from a Dallas fan than it actually is for Eagles fans. Philadelphia has maintained a two-win gap from the Cowboys for the majority of the year, but with the Cowboys collapse on Sunday to Jacksonville, that now grew to three with three games to play.

With the Eagles missing the engine to their machine and them playing each other on Christmas Eve, Dallas had a chance to cut the lead down to one and claim the top spot in the NFC. Now they are staring down the 5th seed and face many playoff games on the road, if they keep progressing to the Big Show.

Up next: vs. Philadelphia, Saturday 9:25 p.m. GMT

7. Miami Dolphins (8-6)

Last Week – 7th

“They look the business right now and we’ll find out how real they are in the next few weeks when they travel to San Francisco, LA for the Chargers and to Buffalo.” 

That quote is from my rankings three weeks ago about the Dolphins.

Back then they were ranked third and we found out how real they were, losing every one of those games. That was a really difficult set of fixtures and I still view them at the bottom of the contenders, but a blueprint on how to slow down this offence was created by San Fran, and showed the rest of the league how to do it.

The difficult run doesn’t end here, with their last three games still against teams in the playoff hunt. Two of which are divisional rivals in the AFC as well.

Up next: vs. Green Bay, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

8. Minnesota Vikings (11-3)

Last Week – 9th

Just when you think the Vikings have run out of luck and can’t keep coming back with these ridiculous comebacks, they prove you wrong and one up themselves. Being down 33-0 at halftime, Minnesota triumphed back and managed to get the win in overtime. It was the biggest comeback in NFL history, as the Vikings totaled for five second-half touchdowns.

Minnesota has been involved in 10 one-score games and has managed to win all 10 of them. It does speak to volume that the Vikings have only managed to win one game by more than one score, but if that’s how they want to get to the second best record in the league, then we cant really complain.

Up next: vs. New York Giants, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

9. Detroit Lions (7-7)

Last Week – 11th

After starting the season 1-6 and holding the worst record in the league, the Lions have restored their roar and won six games in their last seven matches. That could have very easily been seven wins out of seven if it wasn’t for a Josh Allen wonder-throw, but Detroit are in full swing right now. Since Week 11, via DVOA, they rank the Lions as the 4th best team in that span, with Dan Campbell turning things around.

Their win in New York this past Sunday wasn’t any means of a classic, with a missed field-goal to tie the game by from the Jets. But they are showing they can win in a multitude of ways. Their offence has shown to be high powered and capable of scoring 30 points in a shootout manner, while Sunday’s win showed another side of them, winning a low scoring, sluggish affair on the road.

Up next: at Carolina, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

10. Baltimore Ravens (9-4)

Last Week – 8th

Lamar Jackson is reportedly likely to return this week after a two-game absence from a knee injury. That’s good, because Baltimore managed just three points against the 26th-ranked DVOA Browns’ defence, with Tyler Huntley at the helm. If Jackson was healthy this team would be ranked higher, as the defence has improved over the second half of the season.

The offence does have question marks at the skill positions, with a lacklustre of talent. So keeping Jackson in the off-season will be ever so more important. 

Up next: vs. Atlanta, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

11. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)

Last Week – 13th

The Chargers’ two-game winning streak gives them a 79.3% chance to make the playoffs, per Football Outsiders. It was starting to get a bit worrying for Brandon Staley and that coaching staff and with a closing schedule that looks relatively easy, they’ve pulled off some impressive wins of late.

The most impressive turnaround is on defence. We knew this defence under Staley could be great and they have, ranking 3rd in defensive DVOA over the last two weeks.

Up next: at Indianapolis, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

12. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8)

Last Week – 17th

Trevor Lawrence has finally hit the NFL and he’s single-handedly helping Jacksonville have a legit shot at winning the AFC South. Since Week 9, Lawrence has been the 3rd ranked QB in EPA per dropback and developing into what we saw of him in college. 

The are level with Tennessee in the AFC South and have their Week 18 rematch with the Titans in Jacksonville still to come. It seems destined that the winner gets into the playoffs.

Up next: at New York Jets, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

13. New York Jets (7-7)

Last Week – 12th

The Jets playoff chances dropped -15.4% in their defeat on Sunday, as the offence still struggles under Zach Wilson. Their defence is for real, keeping Detroit’s offence quiet all day apart from a sneaky 4th & 1 which caught them off guard. With how that unit is playing it would feel disrespectful for them to miss out, but there’s a reason why the QB position is the most important in football and it’s showing in New York. 

Up next: vs. Jacksonville, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

14. New York Giants (8-5-1)

Last Week – 19th

With their huge win in Washington, the Giants playoff chances jumped up a whopping 39.4% to 89.6%. They now hold a one-game lead over the Commanders and a 1.5-game lead on Detroit and Seattle. Their matchup this week to Minnesota could be a potentially Wild-Card preview in a few weeks time, as Brain Daboll and company have pulled off a miracle in New York’s first season under the new regime.

Up next: at Minnesota, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

15. Washington Commanders (7-6-1)

Last Week – 10th

Washington still remains in the No. 7 seed in the NFC, but a tricky last three games could see them slip out. Their game against the Giants couldn’t have been any bigger for both teams to make it into the postseason, as it felt the loser of that game was always going to have a tough time keeping that dream alive. 

Officiating calls will always be talked about, but in a must win game to score 12 points at home, is criminal in itself.

Up next: at San Francisco, Saturday 9:05 p.m. GMT

16. Green Bay Packers (6-8)

Last Week – 20th

If Green Bay can do the unlikely thing of winning out in their last three games, it would seem very likely they then sneak into the playoffs. The only thing stopping them, is those next three opponents all rank in the top-9 of these power rankings. With Miami next, who rank 4th in offensive DVOA, the Packers are 0-3 to teams in the top-10 of that statistic.

It won’t be an easy task and maybe will be one last effort from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.

Up next: at Miami, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

17. Tennessee Titans (7-7)

Last Week – 14th

Things are really not going well for the Titans, with them losing four games on the bounce. With Jacksonville fast approaching behind them, starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is slated to miss the end of the season with an ankle injury. It means they will have to fall back on rookie QB Malik Willis, who underwhelmed in his previous starts early in the season. 

With a rookie QB at the helm and not scoring more than 22 points in any of the last four games, Tennessee still has everything to play for in these last three games.

Up next: vs. Houston, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

18. New England Patriots (7-7)

Last Week – 15th

It’s probably best we don’t speak about the dumbest last play ever, I mentioned in the intro for the sake of New England fans who might have only just started getting over it.

For the few that havent seen it, just watching it will explain everything.

Up next: vs. Cincinnati, Saturday 1 p.m. GMT

19. Tampa Buccaneers (6-8)

Last Week – 18th

Despite the underwhelming record, Tampa still leads the worst division in recent memory. They have three favourable games to finish the year, but it’s all still up in the air in the NFC South. One game separates the four of them, as maybe no one won in the long term of things in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick divorce.

Except for the Super Bowl of course.

Up next: at Arizona, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

20. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)

Last Week – 16th

After a promising start to the season, the playoffs might be getting out of Seattle’s reach now with one win in their last five games. With the Chiefs next and wide-receiver Tyler Lockett needing hand surgery, it was still a successful season for the side. 

Their roster looks young and promising and they might not have to draft a QB after all, with the emergence of 2022 Pro-Bowler Geno Smith. The Seahawks currently hold the third pick in the draft thanks to Denver, with them waiting to run up to the podium for a defensive beast if the situation remains.

Up next: at Kansas City, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8)

Last Week – 22nd

The Steelers got an important win in Carolina to try and keep Mike Tomlin’s streak of a .500 season alive. It included an impressive 21-play touchdown drive to open the second half, which lasted nearly the entire third quarter. The season may be lost in terms of competing for things, but it wasn’t all failure as they transitioned away from the Ben Roethlisberger era.

Up next: vs. Las Vegas, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT

22. Cleveland Browns (6-8)

Last Week – 23rd

The expectation of Deshaun Watson’s play was hard to predict with his return, but I don’t think anyone thought it was going to be this bad. With QB’s that have started three games, he ranks 39th out of 43 quarterbacks. This is a player the Browns traded three 1st-round picks for, gave $230 million and their entire dignity for. With a run defence that is still historically bad, I can probably speak for many that are smirking to see this move not pay off.

Up next: vs. New Orleans, Saturday 1 p.m. GMT

23. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8)

Last Week – 24th

Entering Week 15, the Raiders were 0-4 in games when they led by double digits at the half and it should have dropped to 0-5 if it wasn’t for the Patriots embarrassing themselves. This keeps happening because Josh McDaniels is constantly getting out-coached with second-half adjustments. He has shown no ability to learn from it, as it’s no surprise a team trying to replicate the ‘Patriots Way’ is failing.  

Up next: at Pittsburgh, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT

24. Denver Broncos (4-9)

Last Week – 28th

I was one of the first to be down on the Broncos after their horrific start, and I will now put my foot forward to be one of the first to say this team should be this high up. The defence has been elite all year, yet the offence has let them down every stretch of the way. But over the last two weeks I’ve seen the improvement we’ve all been crying out for which is scoring points. 

After only scoring more than 17 points twice in their first 12 games, they’ve now scored 52 points over the last two games. Now, I don’t know if this improvement will keep Nathaniel Hackett his head coaching job at the end of the season, but it’s the improvement we needed to see at least.

Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:30 p.m. GMT

25. New Orleans Saints (5-9)

Last Week – 27th

Believe it or not, these next three teams we are going to talk about in the bottom quarter of the rankings, all still have a shot at making the playoffs. Why do you ask? Because they all belong to the worst division in football, the NFC South.

This segment should be dedicated towards the changes the NFL should make to the playoff structure. The NBA found themselves in a similar situation a few years back and they scrapped the idea of divisional winners hosting and playing in the playoffs. It’s worse for everyone involved. One of these four teams will be unfit to compete, the fans have to pay and watch to see their team get battered and a worthy team is sat at home missing out.

Up next: at Cleveland, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

26. Carolina Panthers (5-9)

Last Week – 21st

To further prove my point on why the NFC South division sucks, there is a realistic world where all fours teams in the division can finish with a record of 6-11 record and one of them make the playoffs. So yes, change this immediately please!!!

Up next: vs. Detroit, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

27. Atlanta Falcons (5-9)

Last Week – 25th

How do you ask that a four way tie of 6-11 can come into play? Lemme set it out for you.

Buccaneers: Lose to Cardinals, Panthers and Falcons.

Saints: Lose to Browns, Eagles and beat Panthers.

Panthers: Lose to Lions, beat Buccaneers and lose to Saints.

Falcons: Lose to Ravens, Cardinals and beat Buccaneers.

So really apart from some 50/50 games against each other, if the Cardinals can revive their season late on, this could all come into play.

Up next: at Baltimore, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

28. Arizona Cardinals (4-10)

Last Week – 26th

Back to the normal chatter now. After Kyler Murray suffered a torn ACL in the previous week, there are now reports of a change coming to the front office less than a year after both general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury received extensions. The Cardinals seem destined for a top-4 pick in the draft and with a potential new regime in place, anything could be on the cards (if you pardon the pun).

Up next: vs. Tampa Bay, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

29. Los Angeles Rams (4-10)

Last Week – 29th

Expectations came back down to reality for the Rams, after Baker Mayfield and the offence failed to capitalise on their momentum against the Packers on MNF. Now on Christmas Day, they host Denver. The game for most will be viewed as two bad teams against each other, but for the Seahawks and Lions it will be a must watch. 

Seattle and Detroit both own the rights to Denver’s’ and Los Angeles’ first-round picks, which currently stand as the 3rd and 4th picks in this upcoming draft. For the team that loses, the chances of a top-3 selection comes every closer. For the unlucky winner, a higher draft pick.

Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:30 p.m. GMT

30. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1)

Last Week – 30th

Similar to New England, what the hell were Indy thinking in that second half. How does one lose a game when they’re up by 33 points? Apparently hire a coach with no coaching experience and play him against the Minnesota Vikings. 

In all honesty the Colts were fortunate to be up by that much in the first place, with a lot of things going in their favour, but to then give up 36 points in a single half. Just scoring 30 points a game is an accomplishment for any team. In Indy’s last two fourth quarters, they have been outscored by 55 to 0. Safe to say Jeff Saturday most likely won’t be in-line for the permanent head coaching role now.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

31. Chicago Bears (3-11)

Last Week – 31st

Chicago saw exactly what Justin Fields could be this past Sunday against Hurts and the Eagles. Both QB’s are very similar in playstyle, yet on one side you saw what happens when there is no talent to protect or pass to. Watching Fields, I still don’t know if he has a promising future as a passer, but if one thing is for sure, he may be one of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen when scrambling. Week in week out he has a spectacular play which leaves your jaw dropped, but until this front office puts pieces around him on offence, there won’t be much success for the Bears.

Up next: vs. Buffalo, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

32. Houston Texans (1-12-1)

Last Week – 32nd

Though the Texans managed to take the Chiefs to overtime in Week 15, they’re still far out from doing that on a consistent basis. The two-quarterback approach with Davis Mills and Jeff Driskel is innovative, but there’s no reason to take them seriously until they’re starting one good QB rather than two bad ones.

Up next: at Tennessee, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

Week 15 Power Rankings

By Conor Perrett

With four weeks left in the regular season, we enter the final stretch as teams start to push for playoff glory or prepare themselves for the off-season ahead.

We have movement at the top of our rankings with contenders swapping for positions and welcome some new names into the battle of the top-10 with a late season resurgence. 

So without further ado let’s rank all 32 teams.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-1)

Last Week – 1st

It’s been a special year for the Eagles on both sides of the ball. The offence has set a team record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 27, and Jalen Hurts is leading the way for the MVP conversation. The defence also leads the league in takeaways, as right now there’s no other team that can compete to the level of Philadelphia on both sides.

Up next: at Chicago, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)

Last Week – 2nd

The Chiefs have been the best offensive team all season and they continued to show why they deserve that title, when they scored 34 points against a very good Broncos defence. 

This team may lack the explosive playmakers like they once had, but they remain  an unstoppable force. With the No. 1 seed still up in the air in the AFC, Kansas will have work to do to secure that top placement if they want a rest week before the playoffs begin.

Up next: at Houston, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

3. Buffalo Bills (10-3)

Last Week – 3rd

Entering the season Buffalo looked to be the team to beat, but has slowly fizzled down with impactful injuries getting the better of them. They still remain to be one of the elite teams, but the loss of some defensive playmakers have caused them to be a bit less fearful. 

A dominant run game has also been this team’s kryptonite for years, as the weight of the offence remains on Josh Allen’s shoulders despite clearly not being 100% healthy with his elbow injury.

Up next: vs. Miami, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT

4. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)

Last Week – 5th

Cincinnati have had no easy path over the past few weeks, but they have stepped up to the challenge. It’s put them in a position to repeat their success of last year, with them hoping they can go one step further this time round. The defence is back to playing to the levels we saw from them earlier in the season, while the offence is also back to the top of their game. 

Getting through the AFC won’t be easy, but for casual fans that want to see great football. A conference with young quarterbacks that includes Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa will be fun for many years to come.

Up next: at Tampa Bay, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

5. San Francisco 49ers (9-4)

Last Week – 6th

The Niners had their best win of the season last week but we mentioned how the loss of their second starting quarterback could hinder their title hopes. 

Well, their battling of the Buccaneers on Sunday showed that it doesn’t matter who’s at QB when Kyle Shanahan is running the offence. San Fran continued to look dominant on defence and the offence shined with Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy at the helm. 

The Deebo Samuel injury also seemed to look far worse than it actually was, with him expected to be back when the playoffs roll around.

Up next: at Seattle, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

6. Dallas Cowboys (10-3)

Last Week – 4th

Dallas find themselves down two spots this week, after they made hard work of a poor Texans team. They entered the game as 17 point favourites, but only led in the last minute when they scored the winning touchdown in a two-minute drill. 

At the end of the day a win is a win, but with the spots at the top here so close between teams, any disappointing performance this late into the season will cause movement in the rankings. 

Up next: at Jacksonville, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

7. Miami Dolphins (8-5)

Last Week – 7th

Miami’s season has been full of inconsistencies and they find themselves currently on the bad end of the stick, on a two-game losing streak. 

I mentioned last week that the Dolphins can’t let the blueprint San Francisco put out the previous week continue to happen in the following weeks. It seemed the Chargers used that to their advantage in their win this week and they probably won’t be the last. 

I still view Miami as a contender, but in a league where coaches have to learn and adapt, that saying couldn’t be said any louder to Mike McDaniel right now.

Up next: at Buffalo, Sunday 1:15 a.m. GMT

8. Baltimore Ravens (9-4)

Last Week – 9th

The Ravens emerged victorious from a matchup with the Steelers that saw both starting quarterbacks knocked out of the game. The defence has improved drastically over the last few months but until they get Lamar Jackson back at the helm, Baltimore won’t be contending for any Super Bowls.

Up next: at Cleveland, Saturday 9:30 p.m. GMT

9. Minnesota Vikings (10-3)

Last Week – 8th

The division title still looks firmly set in place for the Vikings, but their loss to the Lions this week was a surprisingly expected one. Kirk Cousins looks comfortable in this new system and gets to throw to one of the best receivers in the league, but the defence is at rock bottom right now. The Vikings have given up over 400 yards for the fifth consecutive game and were finally on the other side of a shootout. 

For everyone who has watched them or looked at the stats which shows this team is bang average, it won’t come as a surprise. But with a favourable schedule ahead for Minnesota, don’t be surprised to see them with one of the best records and amongst the league leaders still.  

Up next: vs. Indianapolis, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

10. Washington Commanders (7-5-1)

Last Week – 12th

Despite having the week off, Washington find themselves in the top-10 for the first time this season thanks to other teams’ misfortunes. They are about to get Chase Young back now.

Up next: vs. New York Giants, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

11. Detroit Lions (6-7)

Last Week – 14th

Can I rank a team in the top-11 when there’s a chance they don’t make the playoff? You bet your bottom dollar I will if that’s how they’re playing.

With five wins in their last six games, the Lions are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, with everything coming together for them towards the end of the season. The offence is winning in whatever way they want to, while the defence has seen a vast improvement from their league worst performances earlier in the season.  

With their last four games being @ Jets, @ Panthers, Bears and @ Packers, it’s the fourth easiest schedule remaining according to PFF and Detroit would have to win three of those four if results went their way to make the postseason. It’s a very doable task for a team that could cause some upsets amongst the NFC, if they carry on their recent form.

Up next: at New York Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

12. New York Jets (7-6)

Last Week – 13th

As impressive and gutsy as Mike White has been, himself and the Jets took one hell of a beating against the Bills this past Sunday. The defence has seen a massive improvement with a new and improved secondary, led by cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed. But the same can’t be said for the offence. That side of the ball has been holding them back all season, rankings 26th in EPA per drive. 

The rotations at quarterback and offensive tackle is a big factor for that and it may be the reason for them not making the playoffs for a 12th consecutive year. 

Up next: vs. Detroit, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)

Last Week – 18th

Week 14’s game against the Dolphins, was the first this season in which wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams were both available from start to finish. It showed when it came down to the tape as Justin Herbert was able to make the most out of that situation by throwing for 367 yards.

It was a much needed win for this coaching staff in prime time, as they edge ever closer to getting Herbert to the postseason for the first time.

Up next: vs. Tennessee, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

14. Tennessee Titans (7-6)

Last Week – 11th

This Titans stubbornness to build an offence around running the ball is starting to backfire on them. For many years we’ve known this Mike Vrabel team to out physical opponents into wins. It came with great success but is slowly dying out now. 

Ryan Tannehill is not a good enough quarterback to get you success in the postseason and more of an effort needs to be put in to acquire pass catchers. There is no ‘Plan B’ for when the run doesn’t work, leading to an offence that equivalates to watching paint dry.

Up next: at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

15. New England Patriots (7-6)

Last Week – 15th

The Patriots offence ranks about last in the majority of offensive stats and it has contributed to them being unable to complement the defence and special teams. This of which, has ranked on the better side being the best defence in the league, per EPA per drive. 

The Patriots are in no easy division but the playoffs aren’t completely out of play. For them to make a statement though the offence has got to improve, and that feels like it should start with the play calling duties.

Up next: at Las Vegas, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

16. Seattle Seahawks (7-6)

Last Week – 10th

Things might be slipping away for Geno Smith and the Seahawks, who could be staring at a 7-9 record unless they find a way to win one of their next three games against the 49ers, Chiefs or Jets. This team looked extremely promising at the start of the season but with one win in their last four games, it’s been downhill since.

Up next: vs. San Francisco, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8)

Last Week – 23rd

It’s been a while since the Jaguars have had an offence that ranked in the top half of the league and it’s mainly because of how well quarterback Trevor Lawrence has played from November on. Since Week 9, he has thrown 10 touchdowns and no interceptions, as he’s finally starting to look like the QB we expected to see out of Clemson. 

Up next: vs. Dallas, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)

Last Week – 16th

The Buccaneers are averaging less than 17 points per game and it’s some things we’ve never seen from a Tom Brady offence before. To be fair to the GOAT, it doesn’t even feel like his offence. Losing former Head Coach, Bruce Arias is seen to be a bigger miss than expected as the players and coaches are on completely different pages. They somehow remain at the top of the division, but it may not be for long.

Up next: vs. Cincinnati, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

19. New York Giants (7-5-1)

Last Week – 17th

This is the exact kind of worry we had with this Giants team after they started the season 6-1. New York were one of the bigger surprises a few months ago, but now only have one win in their last six games. With a tough set of fixtures remaining, it won’t get any easier but confidence must remain around the organisation. 

A seven win season is still a massive overachievement when you think at where this rebuild is at. Though it’s not going to be a pretty finish to their season, it’s been a successful season regardless for the Giants.

Up next: at Washington, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

20. Green Bay Packers (5-8)

Last Week – 20th

By playing on MNF and coming off a bye week, Green Bay will have had over two weeks of preparation for their game against the Rams. You would hope with all that time they won’t let a Baker Mayfield comeback happen again.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

21. Carolina Panthers (5-8)

Last Week – 26th

The Panthers have found a lot more success since interim head coach Steve Wilks took over and committed to a running game. They’ve averaged 155 rushing yards per game and scored 10 rushing touchdowns in their past seven games, a big reason they are 4-4 under the spell of  Wilks.

On defence and special teams, the Panthers are about where they should be with their young players starting to flourish in those two phases of play.

Up next: vs. Pittsburgh, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8)

Last Week – 22nd

Kenny Pickett suffered a concussion in the first quarter of Sunday’s game and in familiar fashion Mitchell Trubisky threw three interceptions in his absence. It feels like a lost season for Pittsburgh as they wait to see if some of their rookies can progress into the past great like they once had. 

What may be the most worrying is the Steeler defence. That unit is the most expensive unit in the NFL, yet ranks 26th in EPA per drive.

Up next: at Carolina, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

23. Cleveland Browns (5-8)

Last Week – 19th

Offensively, the Browns have fallen apart since their bye with injuries along the offensive line hurting the running game. QB Deshaun Watson also hasn’t hit the heights that were expected of him. He’s led just one offensive TD in two games as it’s been a lousy start to his Browns’ career. In that span Watson ranks 31st in EPA per drive and last in offensive points per game.

Up next: vs. Baltimore, Saturday 9:30 p.m. GMT

24. Las Vegas Raiders (5-8)

Last Week – 21st

As the Raiders try and recover from their ever-too-familiar loss to the Rams this past Thursday night, they have ‘their Super Bowl’ this week when Josh McDaniels faces his old team. 

Las Vegas has now lost three games in which they led by 17 points and that doesn’t even include the melt down they just had on TNF. This team wants to fight for the playoffs and if they could finish games they could be. The sad truth though is that it comes down to the mentality of the Raiders. A well drilled team would never let that happen and the fact we’ve seen it from them multiple times now is not a good look at all.

Up next: vs. New England, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

25. Atlanta Falcons (5-8)

Last Week – 24th

Atlanta finds themselves all the way down here, but their playoff hopes are still alive by just being one game behind in a horrible NFC South division. With rookie QB Desmond Ridder getting his first taste of NFL action this week, who knows if the Falcons can be playing meaningful games deep in December.

Up next: at New Orleans, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

26. Arizona Cardinals (4-9)

Last Week – 25th

Kyler Murray left the game after three plays on Monday night with a non-contact injury that ended up being an ACL tear. The injury will finish Murray’s season and end a pretty miserable season for him. The future of Arizona looks misty with the head coach and QB getting new contracts less than a year ago, but an underwhelming season has caused questions to be asked. 

Up next: at Denver, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

27. New Orleans Saints (4-9)

Last Week – 27th

Similar to their opponents this week, the Saints had the bye week to prepare for things. With a division that is still up for grabs, every game is still important in New Orleans.

Up next: vs. Atlanta, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

28. Denver Broncos (3-9)

Last Week – 31st

Now it’s no secret I’ve been critical of this Denver team, so it may come as a surprise to them to move up three spots despite losing this week. My reasoning for this is they did actually what I needed to see out of them. Yes this defence did just give up 34 points, but it was to one the best offences in the league and my opinion of them being an elite defence won’t change from that. 

The fact their offence scored 28 points was the spark we’ve been waiting to see all season now. It’s a step in the right direction and if their offence can keep that up for the last month of the season, they will win a few more games. 

Up next: vs. Arizona, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

29. Los Angeles Rams (4-9)

Last Week – 30th

Just two days after being picked up by the Rams, Baker Mayfield led an eight-play, 98-yard, game-winning touchdown drive using zero timeouts in the final 1:45 against the Raiders on TNF. Tom Brady blew the NFL world away when he did it last week, but Baker’s cover of the task was just a little bit more impressive.

The question now is whether this was a wild one-off NFL game to remember, or is it what the 2022 Los Angeles Rams actually are.

Up next: at Green Bay, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

30. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1)

Last Week – 28th

The Colts have had a lot of time to think about that fourth quarter in Dallas . The offence has been the biggest issue with this team, as they are fundamentally bad on offence with the worst pass-block win rate in the league.

Up next: at Minnesota, Saturday 6 p.m. GMT

31. Chicago Bears (3-10)

Last Week – 29th

The Bear’s season has been heading towards a downhill swirl over the last month, with injuries starting to pile up on an already lacklustre roster. The off-season for Chicago looks promising, but this new regime still needs to prove to the league they are capable of turning the glimmers of success into consistent wins.

Up next: vs. Philadelphia, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

32. Houston Texans (1-11-1)

Last Week – 32nd

The main reason for the Texans’ poor offensive output is their quarterback play, which is one of the worst in the league. Houston quarterbacks have a passer rating of 75.7, the lowest in the NFL, and have thrown 16 interceptions. For this season there’s nothing they really can do about that now, but they might be able to change that with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft early next year.

Up next: vs. Kansas City, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

Week 14 Power Rankings

 By Conor Perrett

As we enter the month of December, there’s five weeks remaining in the regular season. So on a special edition of this week’s power rankings, we’ll be looking at all the team’s playoff chances down the final stretch.  

It was an impactful weekend in the NFL and as the Christmas spirit starts to grow, we now have an Eagle on top of the pear-tree. 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-1)

Last Week – 2nd

Chances of Playoffs – 100%

Things looked a bit shaky for a moment in Philly, but back-to-back winning performances against the Packers and Titans takes them back to the top. Jalen Hurts has continued his case for MVP, by backing up his record-setting rushing performance last week with 380 yards passing, including three touchdowns of 29 yards or more this week. 

With playoffs already guaranteed, it’s No. 1 seed or nothing now. Their game against the Cowboys on Christmas Eve is the only thing stopping them, as they continue to be one of the most consistent teams in the league.

Up next: at New York Giants, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)

Last Week – 1st

Chances of Playoffs – 100%

As long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy, the Chiefs are in the elite tier of teams in the NFL. The Bengals do seem to have the Chiefs’ number, but Mahomes is still the best quarterback in the league and at the helm of the best offence as well. 

Defensively, the Chiefs are still below average. But to be fair to them, they always have been and that’s not stopped them from being the best football team over the last five years.

Up next: at Denver, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Buffalo Bills (9-3)

Last Week – 4th

Chances of Playoffs – 100%

Buffalo look good to make the postseason but they have to get healthy if they want to set themselves apart at the top again. Von Miller may be able to return if they make it to February, but with a banged up Josh Allen still, that’s their two best players on either side of the ball not 100%.

Both offence and defence are still amazing though, as they shut down the Patriots last Thursday. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds especially made his presence known in his return from injury. Scheduled to be a pending free agent, he’s going to get a lot of money thrown at him.

Up next: vs. New York Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)

Last Week – 6th

Chances of Playoffs – 100%

Per EPA per pass, Dak Prescott had his worst game in a win this season. You wouldn’t have thought the Cowboys scored 33 unanswered points in its 54-19 win against the Colts then. Dallas are in a great position now and aren’t far behind the three top teams above them. Currently they are scheduled to play some playoff games on the road and getting their revenge on the Eagles should be the main goal ahead. Who knows, maybe a certain Odell Beckham Jr can help them.

Up next: vs. Houston, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)

Last Week – 7th

Chances of Playoffs – 89%

I mentioned a few weeks ago that this Bengals team has the potential to compete deep into the postseason, but a slow start and tough end of schedule might stop them.

There’s nothing they can do about that slow start now, but they are not letting a tough set of games stop them from getting to where they want to get. A gritty win against the Titans last week got followed up with another classic win against the Chiefs. They still have divisional leaders Bills, Ravens and Buccaneers to go, but they have firmly established themselves as a contender now.

Up next: vs. Cleveland, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. San Francisco 49ers (8-4)

Last Week – 5th

Chances of Playoffs – 98%

What a brutal Sunday for the Niners. Just as San Fran delivered one of their most impressive wins of the year and could be one of the biggest threats in the NFC, they lost their second starting quarterback for the season. 

It feels like a big blow to San Francisco’s title chances, but wilder things have happened before. The defence is still one of the league’s best and maybe there’s just enough on offence to get by with. Mr Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, got them through Miami, but there will be many more tougher games down the line.

Up next: vs. Tampa Bay, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Miami Dolphins (8-4)

Last Week – 3rd

Chances of Playoffs – 91%

Miami’s offence looked unstoppable but when Mike McDaniel came up against his master, Kyle Shanahan, just like in the movies, the master always wins. The Niners defence created a blueprint on how to stop this Dolphins’ offence by dialing up pressure and press coverage to take away the quick plays. Now, not all teams will be able to replicate this easily, but it’s still out there on tape and Miami can’t let other teams take advantage of that.

Up next: at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

Last Week – 9th

Chances of Playoffs – 100%

Nine of the Vikings’ 10 wins this season have been by one-score and the Vikings are proving they come up big at clutch time. Your keep finding me saying it’s unsustainable, but you would think I would have been proved right by now. To be fair to the Vikings, I haven’t, as they look likely to host a playoff game as the No 2 seed. That’s great for the meantime, but their performances don’t scream a deep postseason run and it unfortunately ranks them at the bottom of my top-eight contenders.

Up next: at Detroit, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Baltimore Ravens (8-4)

Last Week – 8th

Chances of Playoffs – 84%

The most important news for Baltimore right now is the health of their quarterback. Lamar Jackson left Sunday’s game in the first half and is considered week-to-week for the foreseeable future. He’s the main reason why this team was considered a title challenger and without him they aren’t. The Ravens defence, meanwhile, has been the second-best in the league over the past four weeks by DVOA. That will take pressure off them in Jackson’s absence. 

Up next: at Pittsburgh, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

Last Week – 11th

Chances of Playoffs – 90%

A 90% playoff chance seems very high for a team that’s not leading a division and loses a tiebreaker to the Commanders and Giants but it’s what the statistics say. They are two games ahead of the pack behind them and with teams still playing each other, the fate of their post-season will be in their own hands. But their play has declined over the past month and a tough last three games will make it a hard fought battle.

Up next: vs. Carolina, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Tennessee Titans (7-5)

Last Week – 10th

Chances of Playoffs – 97%

The Titans have one of the league’s most established identities and while it’s great to be amazing at a particular thing, Sunday’s loss to the Eagles showed the downsides of what happens when it doesn’t work. When Derrick Henry is rolling it’s an incredible sight, but the Titans need a B or C plan. Rookie first-round pick Treylon Burks went down with a concussion, taking away plan B, but that’s all Tennessee has. Look at the top offences in the league and they will have four to six options that they can rely on to get them out the mud.

Up next: vs. Jacksonville, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Washington Commanders (7-5-1)

Last Week -13th

Chances of Playoffs – 44%

In the NFC playoff picture, the top five seeds are starting to look set in stone. That leaves two wild-card spots left and in my own unqualified opinion I see Washington as the favourite to get one of them spots. Their defence ranks 10th in DVOA and without the long awaiting return of Chase Young, they are getting by. Is Taylor Heinicke going to carry them to playoff wins against the top teams? Probably not, but they have the makings of a solid team.

Up next: Bye

  1. New York Jets (7-5)

Last Week – 12th

Chances of Playoffs – 55%

Mike White put together another good performance and while the loss to Minnesota stings, they sure do look better at the QB spot. Robert Saleh keeps insisting Zach Wilson will get another chance at some point this season, but with crucial games ahead I can’t see it happening. Head Coaches aren’t exactly known for always telling the truth and if White keeps up the good play, it isn’t a bad lie to tell to the media.

Up next: at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m. GMT

  1. Detroit Lions (5-7)

Last Week – 18th

Chances of Playoffs – 12%

If you’re wondering why a 5-7 Detroit team are flying up the rankings right, then them opening as 2.5 point favourite against the 10-2 Vikings should help explain that.

The Lions are playing their best football of the season right now and are 4-1 since the start of November. Most importantly they are starting to get healthy and it’s really starting to show. No team in the league has had more 30+ point games, as the offence is starting to do whatever they want to opponents. D’Andre Swift is back healthy and Amon Ra St Brown is a star. All the while they are about to put first-round pick Jameson Williams into the action.

Playoff hopes might be a longshot at 12%, but life is looking up from the discussions of a first overall pick just a month ago.

Up next: vs. Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m. GMT

  1. New England Patriots (6-6)

Last Week – 14th

Chances of Playoffs – 29%

The Patriots offence is frustrating and Mac Jones is not looking like the problem. In an outburst on the sideline, Jones pleaded for his coaches to call more downfield passing concepts. Unfortunately, Matt Patricia has avoided calling plays that way all year and Bill Belichick doesn’t seem fond of a change of idea. 

Up next: at Arizona, Monday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)

Last Week – 16th

Chances of Playoffs – 85%

Tom Brady made his name in college for being the ‘Comeback Kid’, so it’s always fun to see him still do it at the age of 45. 

There’s a few teams that probably deserve a play-off appearance over the Bucs, but that’s how the cards fall. Now with the NFC South in the palm of their hands, Tampa can use the rest of the regular season to prepare for what figures to be a wild-card round matchup with the NFC East runner-up.

Up next: at San Francisco, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Giants (7-4-1)

Last Week -19th

Chances of Playoffs – 40%

Having a team with seven wins that has a decent chance to make the playoffs might be low for down here, but it’s their performance on the field that’s put them at 17. They’ve won one game in their last five, which was against the league’s worst Texans and have the league’s best Eagles next. 

None of their seven wins this season have been by more than eight points, and they’ve only had a lead going into the fourth quarter in three of their 12 games. It’s a gritty way to play each week, but the Giants simply have no elite talent to win any other way.

Up next: vs. Philadelphia, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)

Last Week – 15th

Chances of Playoffs – 34%

The Chargers offence is in shambles right now as they gave up 13 quarterback hits to a terrible Raiders’ defensive line outside of Maxx Crosby. That’s tied for the fifth most hits given up in a game this season, with last week’s game against the Cardinals.

This team is already banged up all everywhere and Justin Herbert is the last one left standing for now. If the Chargers lose to Miami this week, their chances to make the playoffs will drop below 15 percent. If that’s the case it will be hard to imagine a situation where the coaching staff is held intact if they miss the postseason again.

Up next: vs. Miami, Sunday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Cleveland Browns (5-7)

Last Week – 20th

Chances of Playoffs – 7%

Deshaun Watson finally made his big return in almost two years and it was disappointing to say the least. The play on the field was sub-par, as they secured the win thanks to the help of the defence and special teams. 

But off the field as well, everyone seems to be handling this poorly. Watson declined to answer non-football questions, as the entire organisation seems to be trying to use their ‘Men in Black gadget’ to have everyone forget what Watson did. 

Up next: at Cincinnati, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT 

  1. Green Bay Packers (5-8)

Last Week – 21st

Chances of Playoffs – 11%

At the start of the season Aaron Rodgers relationship with his receivers room was awkward. It was clear he didn’t trust any of the new guys while the older players in the room weren’t good enough anymore. 

As the season has gone on though, second-round pick Christian Watson has set himself apart from the rest. The rookie speedster has eight touchdowns over the last four games, with at least one in each game. In a down year by the Packers standards, Watson alone has been a much needed source of optimism for everyone involved.

Up next: Bye

  1. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)

Last Week – 23rd

Chances of Playoffs – 8%

Sunday marked the best single game performance for the Raiders in the Josh McDaniels’ era. The defence limited Justin Herbert better than most Chargers opponents have all season, while the Derek Carr-Davante Adams combination continues to live up to the hype. A win on Thursday Night Football would take them to four-in-a-row and give them a glimmer of hope for the playoffs. It’s not been the ideal start for this new regime, but they’re finishing strong.

Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Thursday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7)

Last Week -25th

Chances of Playoffs – 4%

Similar to other teams around them like the Lions and Raiders, Pittsburgh is making a late push after a slow start to the season. With three wins out of their last four, the Steelers are getting together with the return of TJ Watt and the improvement of play from their rookies. 

Kenny Pickett and George Pickens will get the majority of the headlines but, full-back / tight-end, Connor Hayward caught his first career touchdown this Sunday. The new era is looking good in Pittsburgh, as Mike Tomlin continues to try and keep his .500 or above streak alive.

Up next: vs. Baltimore, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)

Last Week -17th

Chances of Playoffs – 4%

Jacksonville’s long-shot playoff hopes evaporated in their blowout loss to Detroit, as the team was outplayed and outcoached on all levels. It never looked like they had an answer for anything that was thrown at them, with the defence in particular being poor. The Jaguars didn’t force a punt all day with the pass-rush defence being nonexistent.

Jacksonville ranks 31st in sack rate, despite having first-round picks on the line in Travon Walker and K’Lavon Chaisson. After a hot start to the season defensively, the Jaguars now rank 29th in defensive DVOA.

Up next: at Tennessee, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Atlanta Falcons (5-8)

Last Week -22nd

Chances of Playoffs – 7%

The Falcons have reached the point of the season where optimism has gone and fans want the young players to get a chance. Head Coach Arthur Smith hinted at the possibility of it as well, as everybody’s eyes turns to the quarterback position. Marcus Mariota has been on a rapid decline since the start of the season, with rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder waiting in the wings.

Last year’s QB Draft class didn’t blow people away, but Ridder was an interesting prospect that scouts started to love in the mid-rounds. He has the athleticism to leave the pocket, while running a successful RPO offence at his time in Cincinnati that got them to the playoffs. It feels like only a matter of time before he gets his shot.

Up next: Bye

  1. Arizona Cardinals (4-9)

Last Week – 24th

Chances of Playoffs – 2%

Rewind to the start of last season and the Cardinals were 7-0 looking like they started something new with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. Now the process is at an all-time low and it looks like there will be new people running things next year.

Up next: vs. New England, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Carolina Panthers (4-8)

Last Week -27th

Chances of Playoffs – 5%

The Panthers have looked good under Steve Wilks and it will be interesting to see which way they look when it comes to choosing a new head coach. Wilks will obviously be an option but there’s some young exciting OC’s and DC’s that could take their fancy. 

Up next: at Seattle, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. New Orleans Saints (4-8)

Last Week – 28th

Chances of Playoffs – 7%

In one of the most painful losses of the NFL season, the Saints went from pulling within half a game of the division lead, to bottom of the NFC South and their season being over. 

New Orleans had a 98.1% chance of winning with 3:19 left in the game according to ESPN’s win probability model, yet they let it slip from poor game management. Playoffs now look like a complete longshot for this side and to make matters worse their first-round pick is heading to Philadelphia.

Up next: Bye

  1. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1)

Last Week – 26th

Chances of Playoffs – 0%

The Colts were outscored 33-0 in the fourth quarter of a blowout loss to the Cowboys. It now makes interim head coach Jeff Saturday 1-3 in his tenure, as it does hurt to say that we all sort of saw this coming, with his only experience of coaching being at a high school level. The Colts will now most likely enter a rebuild for next season, with owner Jim Irsay, potentially looking for a new head coach and general manager.

Up next: Bye

  1. Chicago Bears (3-10)

Last Week – 29th

Chances of Playoffs – 0%

Justin Fields took some steps forward as a passer in the loss to the Packers, throwing for 80% completion and 254 yards. But in the crucial late game situations he continued to fail, throwing two interceptions. Chicago’s losing streak now extends to six games, as I do wonder why this team was sellers at the trade deadline? The defence does not look good anymore with the loss of Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, but hey ho, they’re in a rebuild so we’ll let it play its course.

Up next: Bye

  1. Los Angeles Rams (3-9)

Last Week – 30th

Chances of Playoffs – 0%

Despite possessing the fourth  worst record in the league, the Super Bowl Champs from last year actually haven’t been the most disappointing team to watch. Spoilers, that label goes to our next team. Injuries have been a big issue for this team, but there’s still enough talent on that roster for them to not be in this position. Being in LA though, the stars will be lining up and it seems Baker Mayfield will be the next hopeful walking through the doors of the Rams facilities.

Up next: vs. Las Vegas, Thursday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Denver Broncos (3-9)

Last Week – 32nd

Chances of Playoffs – 0%

To be truthful I’ve gotten bored talking about how big of a disaster this Broncos team has been this season. Despite entering the year with one of the deepest receiving cores, a former Super Bowl winning QB and hiring a head coach that was the coordinator to last year’s MVP. This Broncos offence has only scored more than 17 points twice in their 12 games. I just feel sorry for all the defensive players at this point.

Up next: vs. Kansas City, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Houston Texans (1-10-1)

Last Week – 31st

Chances of Playoffs – 0%

Yes Houston’s chances of the playoffs are at 0%, but under those statistics are a 86% chance of the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. That’s all this team can be hopeful for now, as they already seem on the clock to decide whether to go quarterback or defence with the pick. 

Up next: at Dallas, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

Week 13 Power Rankings

By Conor Perrett 

With December soon upon us, things will change down the final stretch of the regular season, but there appear to be about eight real Super Bowl contenders.

The NFL is all starting to heat up with six games remaining to determine the race for playoffs, the draft order and most importantly fantasy leagues around the world. 

Let’s get into the rankings for those eight and the rest of the 32. 

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)

Last Week – 1st

Another week, and another dominant offensive performance from the Chiefs. Kansas look like they’ve reached full gear and at a good time as well. With only two teams with a winning record remaining on their schedule, they can afford to put one eye forward to the playoffs in January, to get in the best position possible for the AFC No. 1 seed.

The job isn’t finished yet and they’ll have a big test this week against the Bengals, but the bottom line is, no other team is able to consistently move the ball on offence as well as the Chiefs right now.

Up next: at Cincinnati, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)

Last Week – 2nd

After two Eagles-light weeks, the Philly O-line were back to performing at a top level on SNF and dropped 40 points and 363 rushing yards on the Packers. Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders both set career highs for rushing yards in the game, while the rushing total is good for eighth-most for any team in the Super Bowl era.

The Eagles have a two-game lead over the Cowboys atop of the NFC East, but Dallas is likely to hold a tiebreaker, if it wins the rematch. Philly cant afford to slip up if they want that No. 1 seed in the NFC, so i am looking forward to the Christmas Eve matchup between the two. 

Up next: vs. Tennessee, Sunday 1 p.m. GMT

  1. Miami Dolphins (8-3)

Last Week – 3rd

Miami has a perfect 8-0 record in games started and finished by Tua Tagovailoa, but they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since Week 3. They have one of the three best offences in the league by most measures, but they now may need to prepare for life without left tackle Terron Armstead for the rest of the regular season.

They look the business right now and we’ll find out how real they are in the next few weeks when they travel to San Francisco, LA for the Chargers and to Buffalo. The offence may be able to keep up with all of them, but there’s still work to be done on the other side of the ball.

Up next: at San Francisco, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Buffalo Bills (7-3)

Last Week – 4th

The NFL sometimes works like a revolving door, with former All-Pro corner-back Tre’Davious White returning from injury this week, but Buffalo’s biggest defensive star Von Miller went down with an injury. Bills have a deep pass rush that won’t fold with the loss of one player, but boy is he a good one.  

Miller’s loss comes at a bad time as well, with three straight AFC East games on the horizon for Buffalo. With a division that looks the closest in football and a 0-2 record, a poor return so far in the AFC East, every game is important if they want to win the division and not try their luck on the road through the playoffs.

Up next: at New England, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. San Francisco 49ers (7-4)

Last Week – 5th

My favourite stat of the week may be the fact the Niners’ defence haven’t allowed a point in the second half since Week 8! 

That’s a whole month of football and Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans should start preparing for vacant head coaching jobs sooner rather than later.

The offence did take a hit this week with an MCL injury to Elijah Mitchell, sidelining him for at least four weeks. But looking at their No. 2 running back Christian McCaffrey, you would think there be fine. 

There’s a lot of great matches this week but 49ers vs Dolphins might be the one that tops it for me. The Kyle Shanahan vs Mike McDaniel, teacher-student matchup will teach us a lot and lucky for us in Ireland and the UK, its not at stupid o’clock.

Up next: vs. Miami, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Dallas Cowboys (8-3)

Last Week – 7th

Since Dak Prescott’s return in Week 7, Dallas ranks third in EPA per offensive drive, behind only the Chiefs and Dolphins. Dallas are looking great right now and it’s not just the offence that’s playing great. In that same stretch, Micah Parsons has continued his campaign for DPOY, leading a Cowboys defence that ranks first in quarterback pressure rate and passing yards allowed per game. 

They may have to settle for a wildcard spot if Philly becomes uncatchable, but home or away this team will be a tough matchup for anyone.

Up next: vs. Indianapolis, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Last Week – 8th

The top of the NFL is looking more competitive as ever and that’s easy to see when the Bengals are ranked 7th. Their performance on Sunday in Tennessee, was a statement win we needed to see out of them and Joe Burrow said it himself: “This was the type of game that great teams win.”

The Bengals’ defence held Derrick Henry to 38 rushing yards on 17 carries, his second-fewest yards per attempt over the past three seasons. After a bad month on that side of the ball, they came back with a statement to stop the Titans. 

They look like Super Bowl contenders, if they can just make it through their late season gantlet of games against a host of fellow contenders. 

Up next: vs. Kansas City, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Baltimore Ravens (7-4)

Last Week – 6th

After a good few weeks for this Baltimore side, they fell back to their usual fourth quarter self this Sunday, with a late defeat to the Jaguars. 

Using ESPN’S win probability model, the Ravens had at least a 70% to win in all four of their losses during the fourth quarter. As talented as Lamar Jackson is, none of it will matter if the Ravens can’t play good football and close out games in the playoffs.

Up next: vs. Denver, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Minnesota Vikings (9-2)

Last Week – 11th

The Vikings had highs and lows on both sides of the ball during their win on Thanksgiving, leaving many questions to be answered about them still. We’ll start at the highs: The Vikings scored 33 points on Thursday against the No. 1 defence in football. New England has been dominant, especially in the pass game, as they got Zach Wilson benched. But Vikings won in that area, as Belichick had no answers to the weapons of Jefferson, Thielen and Hockenson. 

But what comes up must come down, as the Patriots have been horrible on offence yet Mac Jones looked like Tom Brady against the Vikes on Thanksgiving. Even at 9-2 the Vikings are still an unknown quantity and are opening as just three-point favourites at home against Mike White and the Jets.

Up next: vs. New York Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Tennessee Titans (7-4)

Last Week – 9th

The Titans are a real physically tough team but they tend to go as their defence goes because the offence just isn’t the type to get into shootouts. As seen in their 1-4 record in games where they’ve allowed 20 or more points. 

Treylon Burks has been a pleasant surprise of late with 181 receiving yards over the last two weeks, good for best in the league among rookies. But they need more weapons to be more explosive.

Overall Tennessee are a good football team that looks likely to host a playoff game. Such game will not be easy for most teams, but if they are to make a deep run into the postseason the offence will need more about it. Sadly, it’s kind of the reason why they have failed to consistently do that in past seasons as well.

Up next: at Philadelphia, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

Last Week – 10th

The Seahawks had reality hit them this week after a pretty disappointing team performance. In a 40-34 overtime loss to the Raiders, they were out-gained by 204 yards, as the defence showed their early-season selves.

Despite playing a Raiders defence that ranks 32nd in DVOA, Kenneth Walker was held to just 26 rushing yards on 14 carries. With two winning games up next in the Rams and Panthers, Seattle will need to be on their A-game if they hope to keep up with the rest of the teams fighting for a wild-card spot.

Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Jets (7-4)

Last Week – 14th

Zach Wilson was benched this week and taking his place, Mike White showed what the Jets can really do. White completed 22 of 28 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns in the Jets 31-10 win. By EPA per drive, it was the best offensive performance in the league during Week 12 and the Jets best offensive performance since 2020. 

How long Wilson’s benching goes on will be telling to his future in New York, but it seems for now he will continue to stay there.

Up next: at Minnesota, Sunday 6 p.m GMT

  1. Washington Commanders (7-5)

Last Week – 15th

Washington has been quietly climbing the rankings over the last couple of months with a sneaky 6-1 record across their last seven games. The results have put them in Playoff contention along with the rest of the NFC East. With two games against division rivals Giants over the next three weeks, it will determine the fate of both teams’ seasons, but the Commanders should open as favourites.

Up next: at New York Giants, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New England Patriots (6-5)

Last Week – 13th

Much to what we wrote about the Vikings you could reserve that and it would apply to New England. It was great to see Mac Jones set up, but the defence looked nowhere near its usual self. Despite a record over .500 in a tough conference and division nothing is certain for the Patriots. They do have an elite defence going for them, but until Jones shows some consistency they may continue to look from outside into the playoff picture.

Up next: vs. Buffalo, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

Last Week – 16th

After back-to-back weeks with a failed attempt at a late game-winning drive, Justin Herbert finally came through in Sunday’s 25-24 win. Scoring a 1-yard touchdown with 15 seconds remaining put them in an opportunity to tie but Brandon Staley had other ideas. Known for his aggressiveness, Staley went for a 2-point conversion and it paid off. 

With five teams fighting for three spots in the AFC wild-card spots, it will come down to the end, but one thing for sure, Staley and the Chargers can’t afford to be one of the two teams that miss out or he may be looking for another job. 

Up next: at Las Vegas, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)

Last Week – 12th

Tampa has not had the season we expected and Sunday’s late game collapse against Cleveland has been an all too familiar sight. The good thing though is this team still leads its division and just has to take care of its divisional games if they want to host a playoff game. 

Up next: vs. New Orleans, Monday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7)

Last Week – 19th

Trevor Lawrence finally looked like the Trevor Lawrence we knew with a game winning drive performance. 

Trailing by seven points with just over two minutes remaining, Lawrence completed 7 of 7 passes (spikes not included) for 91 yards, a touchdown and the winning two point conversion. The stats looked good and the throws were even better with three perfect dimes during the drive.

Up next: at Detroit, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT 

  1. Detroit Lions (4-7)

Last Week – 17th

Detroit went head-to-head with Buffalo for Thanksgiving but unfortunately came up short. This team is steadily improving, but are still finding ways to lose. Playoffs seem like a slim chance but with an ideal schedule down the stretch nothing is impossible in this league.

One thing for sure though, is the long-term future for the quarterback position may need to be figured out and they have the perfect opportunity to do it this off-season, with two potential top-10 picks in the draft. 

Up next: vs. Jacksonville, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Giants (7-4)

Last Week – 18th

We mentioned earlier about how competitive the NFC East has been this year, but there’s potential for it to be the best division since 2002. All four teams are in the playoffs and have at least 7 wins. They currently have a non-division record of 26-7 and if they can keep it up, the NFC East will be the best division since 2002.

Up next: vs. Washington, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Cleveland Browns (4-7)

Last Week – 23rd

What a way for quarterback Jacoby Brissett to go out with the Browns this season. Brissett threw a touchdown to Njoku to force overtime and has led Cleveland to a top-five offence by EPA per drive. It’s been a pleasant surprise to how well he has played and if his defence could hold their own he would be in the comeback conversation with Geno Smith.

Now though, Cleveland begins a new era with Deshaun Watson, who is set to make his first start in 700 days. Coincidentally it happens to be against Houston as well. The NFL just loves scripting these storylines don’t they?

Up next: at Houston, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Green Bay Packers (4-8)

Last Week – 20th

In what might become a familiar sight in the next few years, we saw a Aaron Rodgers-less Packers against the Eagles late on. Rodgers left with a rib injury but it might be a blessing in disguise to get game experience for Jordan Love.

Think of it, this season is already done for the Packers and they need to start looking towards the future. If Rodgers does retire, then Love will be your new QB, so see what you got with him in an actual game like situation. 

But if Rodgers does stay, maybe Love impresses and you can get some sort of trade value for him. Basically Love’s stock is at rock bottom, so if he impresses you either have your  future QB or some trade value at least. Better than sitting on the bench like he has done for three seasons.

Up next: at Chicago, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Atlanta Falcons (5-7)

Last Week – 21st

The NFC South is the prime example for why division winners shouldn’t automatically be granted a home playoff game. At 5-7, the Falcons are just a half-game behind the Bucs for the NFC South, with the Panthers and Saints only a game behind them. All teams have been below average and there’s a realistic world where one of these teams get in with seven wins, while another NFC team will miss out with perhaps nine wins.

Up next: vs. Pittsburgh, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Las Vegas Raiders (4-7)

Last Week – 28th

Josh Jacobs has been one of the breakout stars this season and if you didn’t know him before Sunday, you will now when he totaled 303 yards from scrimmage, while playing through a calf injury. Jacobs averaged almost seven yards per carry on 33 touches with an offensive line in front of him that’s the weakest unit on their offence.

It’s great to see Jacobs break out, but the front office in Vegas will be kicking themselves after declinding his fifth-year option in the pre-season. They made the effort to extend Derek Carr, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller but are letting the biggest play-maker be a free agent in this upcoming off-season. Jacobs won’t mind though with the offers he will receive at least.

Up next: at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Arizona Cardinals (4-8)

Last Week – 22nd

Things are starting to turn ugly in Arizona and it feels like it’s only going to end one way. We have seen all the spats on the sideline between players and coaches, but now Kyler Murray came out publicly to say they lost this Sunday due to “Schematically.” 

With Marquise Brown back to pair with DeAndre Hopkins for the first time, maybe they can bring it back down the stretch, but things will have to change. Murray and Kingsbury, both got big new contracts, but cutting the head coach won’t affect their salary cap.

Up next: Bye

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7)

Last Week – 27th

Kenny Pickett has shown real improvement over the last three weeks and played the best game of his young career as a starter in the Steelers’ 24-17 win over the Colts on MNF. 

Pickett was decisive and threw accurate balls to each of his top three receivers. He’s limiting turnovers as well, as he and George Pickens look like a great rookie pair for Pittsburgh.

Up next: at Atlanta, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1)

Last Week – 24th

Jeff Saturday got this team playing well in his first couple of games in charge, but his lack of experience showed towards the end against Pittsburgh. 

Rumours have started to grow on the vines of Michigan head coach and former Colt, Jim Harbaugh making the move back to the NFL for Indy. But this offence needs revamping all over and it isn’t as simple as in college where a few transfers and recruits come easy. 

Up next: at Dallas, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Carolina Panthers (4-8)

Last Week – 30th

Sam Darnold got the nod this week and it paid off with a win over Denver. Steve Wilks has made the most of his interim head coaching job and it’s worth debating whether he will get the job permanently. I’m sure he’ll get a go at interviewing and Carolina will conduct a wide search but it’s been a good signing to get this team back on track.

Up next: Bye

  1. New Orleans Saints (4-7)

Last Week – 25th

The Saints have been up and down this year more than one of those whack-a-mole games. Both offence and defence can look completely different each week, but if there’s been one consistency about this team it’s Chris Olave. 

The rookie receiver has been fantastic and stepped up as veterans Micheal Thomas and Alvin Kamara have underwhelmed. At the moment Olave is the brightest light at the end of the tunnel of a dark tunnel. 

Up next: at Tampa Bay, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Chicago Bears (3-9)

Last Week – 26th

The Bears were a fun team a few weeks ago, but injuries have now derailed their season towards the end. First, all the running caught up with Justin Fields as his season is on hold. Now against the Jets, Chicago lost both Darnell Mooney and Eddie Jackson for the rest of the season. A lot less of a fun team to watch with those guys missing.

Up next: vs. Green Bay, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Rams (3-8)

Last Week – 31st

The Rams are currently going down as the worst defending Super Bowl champions of all time, and their season could get summed up with the clip of a player running into Sean McVay this Sunday, dropping the shoulder nicely on his jaw. With all of the injuries this team has faced, the end of the season can’t come soon enough as they try to understand what the future holds for their players and head coach.

Up next: vs. Seattle, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Houston Texans (1-9-1)

Last Week – 32nd

Houston rallied back from a 30-0 start against Miami, it just so happened to be against their backups. Now the Texans have their Super Bowl this week when they take on the Browns and Watson. Expect a feisty crowd that will be going full force at Watson, as maybe the pressure will get to him and Houston can win the first bout of their trade bragging rights. 

Up next: vs. Cleveland, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Denver Broncos (3-8)

Last Week – 29th

Denver deserves being ranked at the bottom here as they might be the franchise in the most crisis right now. The Russell Wilson trade is looking like the worst trade in league history, with players on his own team getting in his face and yelling. 

In a life comparison, the Broncos dumped everything to be with a supermodel, but are now slowly finding out it’s not quite the lifestyle they wanted. Nathaniel Hackett seems likely to be one-and-done, but they’re stuck with Wilson for the long haul.

Up next: at Baltimore, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

Week 12 Power Rankings

By Conor Perrett 

It’s Thanksgiving week in the land of America. That means with Week 12 of the NFL season fast approaching with roast dinners and football on Thursday, let’s see where everybody fairs after the action from Week 11.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (8-2)

Last Week – 1st

When the Chiefs got the ball on their own 25-yard line, down four points with 1:46 to go Sunday night, it felt inevitable that they would score the go-ahead touchdown. It’s something that we have come accustomed to for Patrick Mahomes to pull off and this time against the Chargers it only took him six plays. 

Travis Kelce’s name can go under the radar sometimes being in an offence that has Mahomes as its quarterback and Andy Reid as his head coach, but the tight-end is making a claim to be a future hall of famer. Kelce has already tied his career high with 11 receiving touchdowns and is on track to set a career high in receiving yards this season as well. 

He just passed Rob Gronkowski for fifth in receiving yards among tight ends and is only 101 yards away from Shannon Sharpe for fourth. With a good few seasons still left in the tank, God knows what records he and Mahomes can break.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

Last Week – 2nd

In Weeks 1-9, Philadelphia led the league in turnover differential with 18 turnovers forced while committing just three turnovers of their own. In their last two games, they’ve turned their own ball over six times and rank 31st in turnover differential. Their reckless play got them their first loss last week against the Commanders and nearly another in Indianapolis last Sunday, if it wasn’t for a heroic fourth quarter. 

I made a comment in Week 7’s edition of our Power Rankings that talked about whether their turnover differential is sustainable. I wrote then: “It shows Philadelphia’s dominance through the first half of the season, but is it sustainable? For the time being there is no reason not to doubt that, but things can come crashing down fast. Just ask the Cardinals of last year.“

I made that Cardinals comment at the end as a joke, but could it  be heading that way? 

Up next: vs. Green Bay, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Miami Dolphins (7-3)

Last Week – 3rd

The Dolphins are coming off a bye week heading into Week 12 and could afford to take another, with a home matchup against Houston waiting for them.

Up next: vs. Houston, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Buffalo Bills (6-3)

Last Week – 5th

The snow that hit Buffalo last week must have changed something in their mentality when Devin Singletary and James Cook combined for 172 rushing yards on 29 carries. It’s the first time in a while the run game has looked any good, especially without Allen taking the load. It was against a historically bad Browns’ run defence, but they’ll be back in their home away from home on Thanksgiving, with a tummy full of turkey when they take on the Detroit Lions. A win could take them back on top of the competitive AFC East.

Up next: at Detroit, Thursday 5:30 p.m. GMT

  1. San Francisco 49ers (6-4)

Last Week – 7th

Everything went just as expected for the Niners in Mexico after their 38-10 blowout against the Cardinals. Jimmy Garoppolo is the fourth-ranked quarterback in EPA per dropback behind just Tagovailoa, Mahomes, and Allen. George Kittle is healthy and coming off a two touchdown game. A backfield of Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell and a sprinkle of Deebo Samuel might be the most dangerous in the league. 

Combine that with the top-ranked defence in points allowed, all while Philly and Minnesota hit a dip and the 49ers have entered the conversation as serious Super Bowl contenders.

Up next: vs. New Orleans, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

Last Week – 6th

The trade Baltimore made to get Roquan Smith is looking like a hit for this defence. He recorded seven tackles and a sack this week as the Ravens held Carolina to a sad three points. Since his acquisition Baltimore are undefeated and have not allowed an opponent to score over 20 points. His play has rubbed onto others around him as well, with Patrick Queen shining. With a favourable schedule ahead for the Ravens, everything’s coming up Millhouse!!!

Up next: at Jacksonville, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Dallas Cowboys (7-3)

Last Week – 8th

The Cowboys took no prisoners in their 40-3 win over the Vikings on Sunday. Dak Prescott completed 22 of 25 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns in an offensive masterclass where he and running-back Tony Pollard couldn’t put a foot wrong.

It’s the kind of complete game we needed to see from Dallas after their defeat to Green Bay, with the defence getting in on the action as well. Micah Parsons added two sacks to his campaign with a pressure rate of 60 percent, the highest rate in a game this season. While corner-back Trevon Diggs allowed just two catches for 19 yards against Justin Jefferson.

Up next: vs. New York Giants Thursday 9:30 p.m. GMT

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

Last Week – 9th

The Bengals’ win over the Steelers on Sunday kept their playoff hopes alive, and more good news flooded in Monday with Ja’Marr Chase returning to practice. Burrow ranks fifth in EPA per dropback and getting Chase back will only add to the heights we saw from both last season.

On a two-game winning streak, the Bengals now enter their hardest stretch. With seven games left in the season, they are scheduled to face six teams currently ranked 13th or higher in these Power Rankings. Perfect timing for the Chase return if you ask me.

Up next: at Tennessee, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Tennessee Titans (7-3)

Last Week – 12th

After starting the season 0-2 the Titans have since won seven of their last eight games, with their only loss coming in overtime at Kansas City. With the league’s No. 1 DVOA run defence and a grind-it-out style that drags opponents into the mud with them, Mike Vrabel has another case for Coach of the Year with the way things are going.

Tennessee is in a four-way tie for the second-best record in the AFC at 7-3, and we finally saw an element of a passing game on TNF when rookie Treylon Burks had seven receptions for 111 yards. That extra element on offence is a welcome sight to start putting them up there with the big dogs.

Up next: vs. Cincinnati, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

Last Week – 10th

On their bye with no game, Seattle sadly lost their top spot in the NFC West to the Niners this week. Though they still have a 84.5 percent chance of making the playoffs according to Football Outsiders.

Up next: vs. Las Vegas, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)

Last Week – 4th

I’ve been on top of Minnasota’s back all year and the minute I praise them with a 4th placed ranking last week, they suffer the most lopsided loss of the NFL season to date.

This team had been riding high after that insane win in Buffalo and it seems it caught up to them. I mentioned that Minnesota had been an overachiever and it’s important for them now to not let this free-fall. With a game against New England next which will see them play another top defence, they have to get their head back on straight,  otherwise things can start to come crashing down real fast.

Up next: vs. New England, Friday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)

Last Week – 13th

There’s probably no better place to have a bye week than in Tampa, Florida. The sun, the beach, it all sounds so nice while I’m taking in 1 degree weather in Newcastle, UK.

Up next: at Cleveland, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New England Patriots (6-4)

Last Week – 14th

Back in the Draft, Bill Belichick spent a third-round pick on a return specialist and it all paid off when Marcus Jones had a game winning 84-yard punt return.

However, there’s no denying that Mac Jones and the offence have been abysmal even in the team’s three-game win streak. Since Week 9, no offence ranks lower in offensive EPA per drive, and Jones ranks 32nd in EPA per dropback. That’s not going to cut it as they face the hardest remaining schedule in the NFL.

Up next: at Minnesota, Friday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. New York Jets (6-4)

Last Week – 11th

The Jets aren’t gone yet, but after Zach Wilson led them to just two offensive yards in the second half and answered “no” to a question about whether he let the defence down, New York has a big decision on their hands. For their next game, Robert Saleh refused to commit to Wilson and that’s going to lead to bigger talks about the QB in the off-season.

The Jets have the 6th ranked DVOA defence, they got weapons all over the offence, but their 2nd overall pick from last year is taking longer than expected to come good. Game It would feel rushed if the Jets were to change their plans at quarterback, but right now it feels the coaching staff don’t believe in the man and his recent comments won’t win over any of his teammates either.

Up next: vs. Chicago, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Washington Commanders (6-5)

Last Week – 16th

Ron Rivera’s decision to continue riding with Taylor Heinicke was an easy one from the outside. Washington was 2-4 before Carson Wentz was placed on injured reserve with a finger injury. The Commanders are 4-1 in games since, including a blowout win in Houston this Sunday. Heinicke, who’s been great, has not solely been responsible for that turnaround though as the defence ranks fifth in defensive EPA per drive over that span.

But when you have a defence as successful as that, not turning the ball over is simply enough to win a game. That’s exactly what Heinicke has over Wentz and the major reason why he gets to keep the job. Sure Wentz has the higher ceiling, that’s why he’s a former 2nd overall pick, but his erratic play can lead to mistakes. With a top defence now the Commanders will take less highlight plays if it means less mistakes.

Up next: vs. Atlanta, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (5-5)

Last Week – 17th

There’s no questioning Justin Herbert’s brilliance, especially after his effort against the Chiefs, but there will be questions surrounding head coach Brandon Staley, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and the rest of the Los Angeles coaching staff if this team misses the playoffs again.

The good news though is Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both back and they only have to face two more teams with a current winning record.

Up next: at Arizona, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Detroit Lions (4-6)

Last Week – 22nd

Three weeks ago after getting torched by Miami for a fifth straight defeat on the season and an overall record of 4-19-1 in the Dan Campbell era. A deflated Campbell stood on a press podium to say, “It’s frustrating. I know everybody’s tired of hearing it’s close, but I do know we’re close, and you just don’t know when it’s going to turn.”

At the time, frustrations were starting to grow among the Lions fan-base as this rebuild they were so hoping to work, looked to be failing like the ‘Same Old Lions.’

But it almost feels prophetic that since then, the Lions have put together a three-game win streak after dismantling the 7-2 Giants 31-18, on the road in a one sided event. With two teams with winning records left on their schedule the Playoffs might feel like a stretch, but more importantly this young team is starting to get wins under their belt and still might get a top-5 pick in the Draft due to the Stafford trade with the Rams.

Up next: vs. Buffalo, Thursday 5:30 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Giants (7-3)

Last Week – 15th

It feels harsh putting the Giants in the bottom half of the rankings when they have seven wins on the season, but it’s where they belong. That’s not taking anything away from Brain Daboll and his coaching staff. This New York side has overachieved and look amazing for a team in the first year of their rebuild, but they have a glaring weakness.

The Giants have won six of their games on one score wins, having been down by double-digits points multiple times before coming back. It’s a great talent to win close games and be perfect at the end of games, but this team functions on running the ball and when they get too far behind there’s no way back for them. That’s exactly what happened against the Lions, as a 24-6 deficit in the third quarter was too much to ask.

Up next: at Dallas, Thursday 9:30 p.m. GMT

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)

Last Week – 20th

The Jaguars might not be overly happy after how they started the season, but what they can be happy about is how Trevor Lawrence looks significantly better this season compared to last year. He’s a top-10 quarterback in EPA per dropback, while Jacksonville has the same point differential as the 7-3 Dolphins and Titans. They just happen to be 1-6 in one score games.

Up next: vs. Baltimore, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Green Bay Packers (4-7)

Last Week – 18th

With games against the Eagles, Dolphins, and Vikings to come, there’s a world where the Packers are drafting in the top-10 of the 2023 NFL draft. It hopefully will allow them to get young and press restart on their team, but will Aaron Rodgers be there? 

With four years left on his contract you would think so, but with the rumblings of retirement for years and a less than ideal season, I wouldn’t count it out. It would leave the Packers in hell, hauling in $99.7 million in dead cap.

Up next: at Philadelphia, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

Last Week – 26th

Cordarrelle Patterson, who scored his ninth career kickoff return touchdown Sunday against the Bears and the tough offensive line are saving the Falcons right now. This team ranks sixth in EPA per rush and focuses heavily on it. However how the run game is going will determine how they do, and they’ll be tested this week against Washington’s strong run defence. Maybe Kyle Pitts and Drake London will get more of an opportunity this week.

Up next: at Washington, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Arizona Cardinals (4-7)

Last Week – 19th

That was an ugly loss in Mexico Monday night, and showed where this team is really at. San Francisco is a serious team and if Arizona wanted to make a late push for the play-offs, then being semi-competitive would have been a start. Instead they suffered a one-sided defeat and that win they got two weeks ago against the Rams, feels like one step forwards and two steps back now.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Cleveland Browns (3-7)

Last Week – 21st

When the Browns traded the world to acquire Deshaun Watson it kind of felt like this was going to be the most realistic scenario. Knowing he would miss three months of the season without a backup plan felt foolish and they are paying the price. To be fair, the offence has been the better of the two units, but with such a poor defence this season kind of feels like a gap year for Cleveland.

Up next: vs. Tampa Bay, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1)

Last Week – 29th

Over the last two weeks since Matt Ryan has taken the reins back on the offence, the Colts passing attack ranks 19th in EPA per dropback over that span. It does beg the question to what was going on in that building at the start of the season?

In Frank Reich’s first year he looked like the real deal and it seemed he would be a head coach for a long time. But this season Indy’s offence ranked 32nd in the majority of metrics under his spell. At the time we assumed that Ryan had clearly ran out of steam in the tank, but since Jeff Saturday took interim head coach duties he’s got him looking five years younger again.

Up next: vs. Pittsburgh, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. New Orleans Saints (4-6)

Last Week – 30th

The Saints feel like a yo-yo at the minute with their performances sending them up and down our rankings. Andy Dalton has surprisingly not looked too bad in a weak offence, ranking 10th in EPA per dropback after 11 weeks. 

But Chris Olave is the real star of this offence. His 760 receiving yards on 51 catches are 10th among all players and best among rookies. Micheal Thomas, Drew Brees and Sean Payton feel like a distant memory for Saints fans and it feels they’ve replaced at least one of those.

Up next: at San Francisco, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Chicago Bears (3-8)

Last Week – 23rd

Chicago feels like they’re having a bit of a personality crisis right now. Realistically their first year in the rebuild is going well, with three wins and being competitive in many more. But they got to figure out what their identity is on offence.

Justin Fields when using his legs looks special, like elite special. There’s a reason why he ranks fifth in rushing yards from the quarterback position, but he is still so limited as a passer. When the Bears play the kind of offence they want to with Field’s legs, they look like a top offence. 

But in the last two games with the offence on the field needing to score in the dying minutes, they kept going to Field’s arm. That’s only normal to do so with a quarterback, but this passing scheme is clearly not working so trust what you have with the run game.

Up next: at New York Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7)

Last Week – 27th

TJ Watt has returned to this defence, but it feels to have lit a spark among the entire team. The offence has shown a sign of new life in his return, scoring a season-high 30 points in the loss to Cincinnati. Their two best performances of the season by EPA per drive have come over the past two weeks, as it feels they’ve figured some things out with this offence.

Up next: at Indianapolis, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Las Vegas Raiders (3-7)

Last Week – 31st

The Raiders’ defence held an opponent under 20 points for the first time all season in Sunday’s overtime win in Denver. Even against an awful Broncos offence it feels like a stepping stone for this defence which has let Vegas down this year. Maxx Crosby showed us he never went away by winning Defensive Player of Week 11 in Smashmouthing Football’s award, but he’s never been the problem. Vegas has the star players you need but the lack of play-makers elsewhere has hampered them out of the playoff race already.

Up next: at Seattle, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Denver Broncos (3-8)

Last Week – 24th

Losing to the Raiders at home on Sunday all but secured the Broncos’ position as the league’s most disappointing team in 2022. In their pursuit of Aaron Rodgers, they ended up with Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson. One of which looks broken and the other lost. I’ll leave you to decide which ones which. 

The path forward will be a rocky one after swinging and missing so badly, but something will have to change. For the next few weeks, look for Hackett’s seat to get even hotter if the Broncos don’t start showing offensive improvement late on.

Up next: at Carolina, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Carolina Panthers (3-8)

Last Week – 28th

So as bad as Carolina has been this year, their defence has remained promising. They have youngsters on all levels of the D and just held Lamar Jackson and company to their season low 13 points. The head coach in waiting will have a much more attractive job than it seemed a month ago, with a QB from their draft pick in May maybe making this team relevant again. 

Up next: vs. Denver, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Rams (3-7)

Last Week – 25th

Yikes, who would have seen this coming? Poor play from every position on offence led to a disappointing start but after years of good injury luck, it seems to have hit them all at once. First we had offensive linemen, then Cooper Kupp required surgery. But now their Super Bowl winning QB Matthew Stafford left Sunday’s loss to be evaluated for a concussion one week after missing a game for being in the concussion protocol.

Up next: at Kansas City, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Houston Texans (1-8-1)

Last Week – 32nd

The Texans are a game and a half clear of the teams with the next-fewest wins, and they don’t exactly look on the verge of making up that difference any time soon. It’s never too early to start talking about the draft, so allow me to greet you with some names the Texans will be choosing between. 

First, out of Alabama QB Bryce Young looks like the top prospect with fellow five star recruit, QB CJ Stroud (Ohio State) just below. But if Houston feels like skipping that position again, then look no further to Young’s teammate, EDGE Will Anderson, who looks like a young Khalil Mack.

Up next: at Miami, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

Week 11 Power Rankings

By Conor Perrett 

With another week of the NFL season ticked off the list, our rankings look like an iPod on shuffle with only three teams remaining in their same spot from last week. We had one of the craziest games in the last four years, an upset no one saw coming and an interim head coach who’s now undefeated in his coaching career.

So without further ado, let’s welcome our newcomers to the top spot of the Smashmouthing

Football Power Rankings. 

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)

Last Week – 3rd

The Chiefs lead the league in offensive EPA per drive with a mark of 1.23. For reference, that would be the highest mark in TruMedia’s database since the 2011 New Orleans Saints. The difference in EPA per drive between the Chiefs and the No. 2 team, the Dolphins, is the same as the difference between Miami and the No. 15 team.

Despite losing Tyreek Hill this off-season, Kansas City continue to light up the league as Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid adapt to their new cast. Kadarius Toney is the newest man to enter that bunch and his emergence on Sunday was promising. The 2021 first-round pick caught four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, while adding two carries for 33 yards. He looks to be an exciting weapon that they happily took off the hands of the Giants.

Up next: at Los Angeles Chargers, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)

Last Week – 1st

Philadelphia’s run finally ended leaving us without an undefeated team in the league now. The turnover battle finally caught up to them on Monday Night, as crucial mistakes led to the upset loss versus the Commanders. It marked the first time this season the Eagles had trailed in the second half at any point and two costly late fumbles in the fourth quarter spoiled any chances of a comeback win.

While it’s easy to brush over uncharacteristic mistakes, this defence has really struggled to stop the run over the last two weeks. Nose tackle Jordan Davis has missed both games after being placed on IR and Philly has now given up 320 rushing yards in that time. This run defence got brushed over last week and it’s clear now it’s a problem. Today, the Eagles signed former Charger’s DT Linval Joseph to a one-year deal in a bid to address this issue. 

Up next: at Indianapolis, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Miami Dolphins (7-3)

Last Week – 7th

The Dolphins have been on a roller-coaster across these power rankings, flying up and down the board. On our first edition they started off 2nd but fell as low as 20th at one point during Tua’s concussion injury. Now they have their QB back and boy are they back to being electric. Over the last three weeks Miami have averaged 35 points per game and most recently dropped 39 points on the Browns, who we last saw shutdown the Bengals.

The run game looks dominant, the pass game looks unstoppable, they just need to fix up that defence and we might have a new Super Bowl contender on our hands.

Up next: Bye

  1. Minnesota Vikings (7-2)

Last Week – 10th

Before we get into my weekly Vikings rant, that Justin Jefferson catch might be one of the best I’ve ever seen.  It alone could earn that title but it was ridiculous when you account for the down and distance along with the stakes. 

As for whether the Vikings are actually one of the league’s four best teams, that’s up for debate. Their play up to date didn’t warrant having the tied best record in the league, but can they be taken seriously now that they beat what many thought to be the best team in football in their own backyard? I’m still skeptical but Sunday’s late rally did them many favours. Maybe they are for real?

Up next: vs. Dallas, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Buffalo Bills (6-3)

Last Week – 2nd

The NFL season is a slog, and the Bills aren’t the first team to hit a mid-season bump after looking like the best team early on. There’s plenty of reason to believe they can get to that level again. They still rank No. 1 in overall DVOA, with a 1st and 5th defensive and offensive DVOA rankings respectively. But the road ahead won’t be easy.

For starters the real problem right now is they sit third in their AFC East division. With a 0-2 record in the division, that could come back to haunt them, if they have to win three road games to make it to a Super Bowl. If anyone can do it then Josh Allen would be a good choice, but his 13 turnovers on the year would worry you.

Up next: vs. Cleveland, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

Last Week – 5th

The bye week is in place to get teams healthy and so it did with Mark Andrews likely to return this Sunday. The doors have opened for Baltimore to fight for the AFC No. 1 seed now.

Up next: vs. Carolina, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. San Francisco 49ers (5-4)

Last Week – 6th

The 49ers still look good and one of my favourites out of the NFC, but Kyle Shanahan does do some weird stuff that puts questions in your mind. First, remember that trade they did for Christian McCaffery where they sent an entire draft class to earn his rights. Well he started off amazingly but this past Sunday he got out-carried by Elijah Mitchell. Next, San Fran decided to kick a field goal from the two-yard line with one minute remaining to extend the Niners lead to six points. What was that about?

Now it meant the Chargers had to score a touchdown to win, but if he was successful from the two, it would have ended the game and not allow Justin Herbert to get a chance to spoil the party. It was only one game and San Francisco won in the end, so we won’t overreact but late game management has been Shanahan’s Achilles heel in the past. 

Up next: at Arizona, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Dallas Cowboys (6-3)

Last Week – 4th

Dallas blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in their loss at Lambeau Field, after their defence fell apart. But Dak Prescott’s turnovers can’t keep happening if the Cowboys are going to be a serious threat in the playoffs. Despite throwing for three touchdowns, Dak did not have a good game as he finished this week ranked 31st in EPA per dropback.

Sunday was a chance to get a game behind the Eagles and have fate back in their hands. Now they’re coming off an ugly defeat and have to play Minnesota this week, who are feeling a sense of high like no other team after the way they upset the Bills in Buffalo. 

Up next: at Minnesota, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)

Last Week – 9th

The bye week for Cincinnati didn’t make the look of their remaining schedule any easier, but they have a nice warm up fight against Pittsburgh this week to get ready for the seven difficult weeks after that.

Up next: at Pittsburgh, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

Last Week – 8th

Things didn’t go great for the Seahawks in Germany, but overall this team is in a rebuilding year, yet are still 6-4 with rookies all over the place. Seattle are leading the league in offensive and defensive snaps played by first-year players, according to TruMedia.

The Seahawks rookie class includes a pair of starting tackles in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, an ascending star corner-back, who’s tied first for interceptions in the league, Tariq Woolen and a dynamic home hitter running-back in Kenneth Walker.  

Up next: Bye

  1. New York Jets (6-3)

Last Week – 11th

Defensive star Quinnen Williams has hit the quarterback on 6.5% of his pass-rush snaps this year. To put that into context Aaron Donald, who needs no explaining, has a single season high mark of 5.1%. The Jets have themselves a player on their hands and their defence is among the elite in the NFL this season. 

Up next: at New England, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT.

  1. Tennessee Titans (6-3)

Last Week – 12th

Barring a collapse, Tennessee looks to be hosting a play-off game come January. This defence has looked strong in the last few weeks but we will get to see who they really are in their next three-game stretch. First they travel to Green Bay for Thursday Night Football, and then follow that up with the Bengals and Eagles. If the Titans want to be serious in the playoffs then they can prove it here, but if not then the door might open slightly ajar for Jacksonville or Indianapolis.

Up next: at Green Bay, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)

Last Week – 16th

Tampa’s running game finally came into fruition when rookie Rachaad White ran for 105 yards on 22 carries in Munich. It’s the first time as a team they have topped 100 rushing yards since Week 1, as Tom Brady got some much deserved help.

The defence is looking better, ranking 7th in defensive DVOA as they take control of their NFC South division. The ball is in their court now as they hold a one game lead over Atlanta and only have to face two teams in their remaining seven games that rank higher than 18th in these Power Rankings.

Up next: Bye

  1. New England Patriots (5-4)

Last Week – 13th

The Patriots are the only team with a winning record that ranks in the bottom 10 of the league in offensive DVOA. It speaks to how well their defence have played this year, but also to the limitations they face with the ball in their hands. Their run game is strong but teams have caught onto that and they are packing the box to stop it. 

This theoretically should open up the passing game but right now, Mac Jones ranks 34th out of 35 qualifying quarterbacks in EPA per dropback. Whether the blame is to fall on Jones, his receivers, or Matt Patricia, whose offensive play calling is up for debate. One way or another things will have to change for a deep season for Pat’s run.

Up next: vs. New York Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New York Giants (7-2)

Last Week – 14th

Yes, the Giants have the third best record in the league, yet are 15th in these power rankings. While their play on the field creates their record, it also speaks to how good they are and you could also say they have had a bit of fortune.

In DVOA they rank 20th in overall, split between 15th on offence and 24th on defence. They’re 7-1 in one-score games, which says a lot about their mentality but is probably unsustainable and masks their overall quality. The Giants are probably going to be a playoff team, which would be an awesome accomplishment for Brian Daboll in his first year on the job. They just aren’t yet among the league’s best yet. 

Up next: vs. Detroit, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Washington Commanders (5-5)

Last Week – 22nd

Credit to the Commanders for fully committing to their run-heavy game plan in the first half of their 32-21 win over the Eagles. It hadn’t been a strength of theirs to date, but they played on the Eagles weakness and it worked out. They ended up holding the ball for 40:24, the second most lopsided time of possession in a game this season.

There was no bigger way for Washington to cement this kind of win, as they get back to .500 on the season and can push on for the playoffs.

Up next: at Houston, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)

Last Week – 15th

The Chargers can look to injuries for their failure this season so far, but they have the second easiest schedule in the league, per Football Outsiders. They’ve been poor offensively and defensively throughout the season and Sunday’s game against the Niners might have looked close, but should have been finished way before the last drive.

Before the season this Kansas City matchup looked really tasty. Let’s hope they can get Keenan Allen and Mike Williams back so we can see an exciting shootout.

Up next: vs. Kansas City, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT

  1. Green Bay Packers (4-6)

Last Week – 26th

Christian Watson was a riser up the draft boards earlier in the year with his performances in the Senior Bowl and draft combine. He found himself land on the Packers and was instantly expected to make an impact in the Davante Adams-less wide-receiver room. 

Things didn’t start off great when he dropped a touchdown pass on his first NFL target and entered Sunday with only 88 receiving yards. But against the Cowboys he put his name on the scene with his three touchdown performance. With four catches for 107 yards and those touchdowns, it led the Packers back to a comeback win over the Cowboys and former coach Mike McCarthy.

The Packers offence in that fourth quarter was different to anything we had seen all season, but is it just an anomaly?

Up next: vs. Tennessee, Friday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

Last Week – 23rd

Kyler Murray missed the game on Sunday due to a hamstring injury, as Colt McCoy took his place and excelled. He went 26 of 37 for 238 yards and a touchdown, as McCoy looked better than, dare I say, Murray. Colt also got rid of the ball quicker than Murray has all season, with a 2.08 second average time to throw, which caused the Rams all kinds of problems getting to him. Murray is day-to-day according to Kliff Kingsbury at the moment, but against another top defence this week, there is little reason why Colt can’t do it again.

Up next: vs. San Francisco, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)

Last Week – 21st

The Jaguars opened their game against the Chefs this week with a successful onside kick! Sadly it went downhill from there. There’s no shame losing to Kansas City but this team has been playing better than their record suggests. Their first round picks Devin Lloyd and Travon Walker are looking solid, as their offence is coming together with Christian Kirk and Travis Etienne. Trevor Lawrence should continue to improve as the Jags add more talent around him, with a good foundation in place for 2023 and onwards.

Up next: Bye

  1. Cleveland Browns (3-6)

Last Week – 17th

That was not the kind of performance we were expecting out of the Browns this week. Granted they have been poor this season, but before their bye week we saw them put on an amazing performance both on offence and defence during a prime time game against the Bengals. It looked like their 31st ranked DVOA defence was about to turn things around and then they took a big defeat to the Dolphins. A playoff appearance continues to look out of reach, even when they get Desahun Watson back in two and a half weeks time.

Up next: at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m. GMT

  1. Detroit Lions (3-6)

Last Week – 27th

Woo-ah!!! The Detroit Lions won back-to-back games against divisional opponents for the first time in what feels like an eternity. This team showed exactly what Dan Campbell wants out of his team, with a 14-point fourth quarter comeback. 

Justin Fields continued to dominate with his legs until his old familiar Ohio State teammate, Jeff Okudah scored a pick-six. They proceeded to stop Fields again with two sacks to get the ball back on downs, as this team is starting to finish games they control. Now can Detroit continue this run and put an end to the surprising Giants on the road this week? I am optimistic they can. 

Up next: at New York Giants, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Chicago Bears (3-7)

Last Week – 24th

The Bears went from 30th in offensive DVOA over the first six weeks of the season to 5th in offensive DVOA over the last four weeks. Sunday against Detroit was no different, with the offence catering to Justin Fields’ legs more as he looks like one of the league’s best scramblers. 

They were up two scores but when Detroit came back and forced the Bears into a potential game winning drive, Chicago fell back into their bad habits of the first six weeks. With two minutes on the clock, three timeouts remaining and only needing 50 yards to get inside field goal range, the ball was put into Field’s arm instead of using his amazing legs. It led to exactly what we had been seeing at the start of the season with no one open and allowing the pass-rush to get in his face. Not surprisingly, it ended with a gut-wrenching home defeat.

Up next: at Atlanta, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Denver Broncos (3-6)

Last Week – 20th

Denver spent way too much to acquire Russell Wilson for the offence to still be this bad. The bye week is meant to be a time where teams review how things are going and change the things that aren’t working. Well Denver looked the same as they have every week and that’s not a good thing. There’s going to be a lot of pressure to make significant changes at the end of the season to ensure their bet on Wilson hits, which could mean first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett being given the old heave-ho if things don’t improve dramatically.

Up next: vs. Las Vegas, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Los Angeles Rams (3-6)

Last Week – 19th

All is lost for the Rams this season. They were already a long shot to make the playoffs going into Week 10, and their odds only worsened with a loss to the Cardinals. Now they’re expected to miss their best offensive player Cooper Kupp for an extended period of time, possibly four weeks. Maybe a few players including Aaron Donald in Los Angeles might be wishing they had retired after that Super Bowl win last February. 

Up next: at New Orleans, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Atlanta Falcons (4-6)

Last Week – 18th

The season is still far from over but that loss last Thursday Night to the Panthers was ugly. Marcus Mariota is a big part of their successful rushing attack which ranks 5th in EPA per rush, but he’s not getting the ball out well and that’s not good when their best player is a pass catcher.

With Desmond Ridder waiting in the wings, his time may come sooner rather than later. It’s important to enter an off-season with a clear idea of what your team is and understanding if Ridder has a place in this league is a big question they will need to know.  If Ridder is not the answer, Atlanta may think of upgrading at that position.

Up next: vs. Chicago, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)

Last Week – 29th

Pittsburgh came out of their bye week last Sunday with a clear idea in mind of how they were going to beat the Saints. That idea was running the ball and boy were they successful, running it for 217 yards in that win. Just two months on from tearing his pectoral muscle, T.J. Watt returned to the field with the Steelers now looking on the rise. His presence allowed a season low 10 points against the Saints, and if their defensive performances can stay consistent, it will only make things easier on the other side of the ball for rookie quarterback: Kenny Pickett.

Up next: vs. Cincinnati, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT

  1. Carolina Panthers (3-7)

Last Week – 30th

The Panthers were a laughing stock at the beginning of the season, but their young defensive players are starting to look like stars out there. Derrick Brown is looking like the destructive nose tackle we saw from him in Auburn and Jaycee Horn currently leads all corner-back with over 200-plus snaps played in passer rating, with 23.1 yards allowed, according to PFF. Along with edge rusher Brian Burns and safety Jeremy Chinn, Carolina has the makings for a top defence. They just need to hire the right head coach for the job.

Up next: at Baltimore, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Indianapolis Colts (4-5-1)

Last Week – 32nd

Almost as stunning as Justin Jefferson’s catch this week was Jeff Saturday winning at his first time of asking on the sideline. Okay maybe a bit of a stretch, but Indy had been a mess this season before Sunday. 

Credit to Saturday and his gameplan, as this was the first time all season the Colts had jumped out to a double-digit lead and the first time since Christmas, they were leading at halftime. It won’t get any easier as Indy faces top of the NFC Philadelphia this week, but there’s still enough time to cement a culture change inside this organisation.

Up next: vs. Philadelphia, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. New Orleans Saints (3-6)

Last Week – 25th

Andy Dalton hasn’t been the main cause to New Orleans problems so far, but he does add limitations to this offence. With the run game not working out and Dalton struggling at times, why not throw Jameis Winston out there? There may be low times with Winston at the helm but at least he will have upside with that. In a way, this team has already hit rock bottom and with nothing to lose in terms of draft picks, they might as well look at the upside Winston offers.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT

  1. Las Vegas Raiders (2-7)

Last Week – 28th

The Raiders season really is not going to plan and Derek Carr’s emotional post-game press conference made clear how much this season has already bottomed out. Josh McDaniels just got out-coached by a front-office personnel and they rejected the fifth-year option of Josh Jacobs before the start of the season, meaning it’s going to cost them more to keep him or they lose him entirely. 

The chances of playoffs ended a while ago for Vegas and now they have to make sure the culture doesn’t come crashing down, just like how every other Patriot head coach not named Bill Belichick has gone.

Up next: at Denver, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT

  1. Houston Texans (1-7-1)

Last Week – 31st

I doubt there are many loud Houston sports fans these days in Ireland and the UK with the worst record in the NFL and NBA. They might be enjoying touch days at the moment, but It looks like a talented draft to have the top draft pick.

Up next: vs. Washington, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT