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

The NFC and AFC Playoff Scenario

By David McDonnell 

We are almost half way through December, so from now I will begin to focus more on the teams threatening the top seven in both the NFC and AFC as the NFL begins to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Lets talk through the current playoff scenario starting with the NFC.


One of the most interesting stories from Sunday was the performance of Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy, who beat out Tom Brady and his Buccaneers in the first start of his NFL career.

Last week, the rookie QB came on after Jimmy Garoppolo broke his leg and was very impressive. From what I saw last night, 49ers fans should be greatly encouraged by Purdy.

I realise I am going by a small sample size but Purdy’s remit is to not turn over the ball and make the throws when asked by Kyle Shanahan. On Sunday, the 49ers rushing offence had over 200 yards on the ground with Purdy throwing to eight different receivers. His throws were on point and he completed 16/21 throws against the Bucs and seemed very comfortable in this offence.

I didn’t see any step down from anything Jimmy G has shown this season.

Purdy has a very calm demeanor under centre and comes across a very cool customer whether he is under pressure from pass-rushers or being asked questions on national television in the after match interviews. There may be a fun personality behind that calm façade he is showing presently, and I am sure I am not the only one to notice the Shooter McGavin pistol celebration whenever he throws a touchdown pass. 

The 49ers have now won six games in a row and are genuine contenders to win the NFC Championship. Although Deebo Samuel was carted off with an ankle injury, it is not suspected to be serious.

The 49er main rivals for the NFC crown are the Eagles, who went 12-1 on the season thus becoming the first team to secure their NFC playoff spot after making light work of the Giants. 

The Eagles run game was dominant throughout as the Eagles rushed for over 250 yards and four touchdowns. 

It was all too easy for Philly who went 21-0 up when AJ Brown caught his 10th touchdown of the season. Not to be outdone, Jalen Hurts ran in his 10th rushing TD in the second half.

It leaves the Giants in seventh spot in the NFC rankings with a record of 7-5-1, just one place behind the Commanders, who with the same record somehow jump two places to sixth seeds despite being on their bye week. 

The Commanders and Giants are set to renew acquaintances on Sunday Night Football in Week 15, which is next weekend, which should open the door to the Seahawks and the Lions to stake a playoff claim.

The Seahawks lost their play-off positions for now after falling to the Carolina Panthers who took an early 17-0 lead in the contest. Seattle replied and Tyler Lockett did well to tow-tap his way at the back of the endzone for his first touchdown.

Smith also found DK Metcalf for a touchdown and also connected with Terrace Marshall for a memorable catch. 

Although Geno got his side close, they found it difficult to stop the Carolina run game, who had over 220 yards, while the Seahawks could only amass 48 yards from their rushing attack. 

After starting the season 1-5, coach Steve Wilks has the Panthers at 5-8 and only a game behind the Bucs who sit top of the NFC North with six wins. With both teams lined up to face each other in Week 17, this division is still there to be won. 

Another team that started 1-5 and are on the edge of a playoff position are the Detroit Lions, who lived up to their billing as favourite to turn over the 10-2 Vikings. 

The Lions are littered with young talent across their roster and former Alabama star wideout Jamison Williams opened the scoring with a touchdown on the first reception of his career. 

Dan Campbell has his charges on a roll and with their high powered offence could surprise a higher seed in January. The Lions kept the Vikings at arm’s length throughout and sealed victory when they threw to tackle Penny Sewell to pick up a late first down. 

Another team with their playoff prospects almost secure are the Dallas Cowboys who were pushed all the way by the one-win Houston Texans. 

They needed a stop from Dexter Laurence on fourth and goal from the one yard line which was then followed by a late 98-yard drive from Dak Prescott which ended with an Ezekiel Elliot TD for a 23-27 win. 


The Tennessee Titans dropped their third straight loss as Trevor Laurence continues to build on his recent good form. Derek Henry had a great first quarter running for 96 yards and a touchdown but Laurence led the Jags to 26 unanswered points in the second and third quarters. 

It leaves the Titans looking over their shoulder but with a two game lead and four weeks left to play in the regular season, they still should represent the AFC South in January. 

Joe Burrow got his first win against his Ohio neighbors, the Cleveland Browns, with a routine victory. Burrow opened the scoring in the second quarter when he found Ja’Marr Chase with an accurate pass for his seventh touchdown of the season to go with 119 receiving yards.

Further scores from Samaje Perine and a flea-flicker pass to Trenton Irwin to extend the lead in the third quarter. 

Staying in the AFC North the Ravens won the battle of the backup QBs after both Kenny Pickett and Tyler Hunt had to leave the game injured. They were replaced by Mitch Trubisky and Anthony Brown. 

Although a late Pat Friermuith touchdown left just two points between the teams, Baltimore saw the game out without any drama.

It means the Bengals and Ravens are both 9-4 and they still have to meet later in a few weeks.

Patrick Mahomes took the Chiefs into a 27-0 lead against the Broncos during which he threw a nonchalant touchdown pass to Jerrick McKinnon. 

Another piece of magic in the second half saw Mahomes find Juju Smith-Schuster in the endzone as he added more highlights to his MVP candidacy.

The Kansas City QB wasn’t perfect and threw three interceptions and the Broncos narrowed the gap to a one-score game after receiver Jerry Jeudy scored a hat-trick of touchdowns. 

The Buffalo Bills got their season back on track after a recent dip in form by overcoming the New York Jets. The Bills defence turned up this week and landed some big hits on Mike White. 

The Bills led throughout after a memorable score by Dawson Knox, whose landing in the endzone resembled that of an Olympic gymnastic fail for six points. 

Josh Allen continues to put his body on the line with ball in hand on most third down situations and as big and athletic his frame is, in my opinion, it is only a matter of time until he picks up a significant injury.

The Bills are currently top of the AFC standings at 9-4 and are ahead due to their head-to-head win over the Chiefs earlier in that epic game earlier in the season.

The Bills win leaves the Jets outside the playoff positions, although with the same 7-6 record as the LA Chargers, who overcame the Miami Dolphins  in the late kick-off on Sunday Night: https://tinyurl.com/4c9r3h6j and the New England Patriots, who won on the road against the Cardinals on Monday Night Football: https://tinyurl.com/4cr8p8ct .

It leaves the Pats as seventh seeds in the AFC with four games left to play. Of the three, my two-cents would be on the Chargers and because of Justin Herbert, who in my book is already an NFL superstar.

Don’t worry the rest of you will catch up soon enough.

TNF: Falcons @ Panthers

By Conor Perrett 

We start Week 10 of the NFL season with an NFC South clash as the tied for first place Atlanta Falcons travel to Carolina, who are operating a revolving door with their quarterbacks. Both teams are at the bottom half of the league, but a late charge for the playoffs is always possible with how wide open the NFC South division is.

Carolina Panthers (2-7)

Power Rankings: 30th

DVOA Rankings: Offence – 31st, Defence – 28th. Special Teams – 10th; Overall – 32nd

The last time these two teams met was only 11 days ago and it feels that a lot has changed in that time for both sides. From the Panthers point of view, they look like a new team under interim head coach Steve Wilks, but an embarrassing first-half performance last week versus Cincinnati led to a useful blowout loss. 

Right now the Panthers have a quarterback situation that seems all over the place. They started the season with Sam Darnold in situ, but an injury to him led to a trade for former first overall pick Baker Mayfield. Mayfield didn’t exactly hit the ground running with an QB rating of 16.9, so when he went down with an injury, PJ Walker was the next man up and he flashed with the lights on him. 

In his first three starts, a touchdown to interception ratio of 3:1 was inspiring until last week against the Bengals when he recorded a 0.0 passer rating in the first half. 

Baker then stepped back in and led touchdowns drives on three of his four possessions to make his case if the job is back up for grabs. But just when you think it’s a two-horse race, pre-season starter Darnold has been activated off IR. For the time being it looks like Walker will start the game against the Falcons, but don’t be surprised to see the former 2018 draft class QBs get a run under centre.

Atlanta Falcons (4-5)

Power Rankings: 18th

DVOA Rankings: Offence – 8th, Defence – 29th, Special Teams – 8th; Overall – 16th

As I mentioned above, a lot has changed for these two sides since they met in their controversial match-up in Week 8 and none is bigger than the Falcons getting their best player back with the return of Corfarrelle Patterson.

In his return against the Chargers this past Sunday, Patterson didn’t miss a beat when he found himself into the endzone twice off only 13 carries. Now against a Panthers side that has allowed the third-most rushing yards in the league this year, look for Arthur Smith’s run-heavy approach to exploit that weakness.

Atlanta is currently tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the NFC South and there’s growing confidence around the organisation that they can win it. With an offence that largely looks to run the ball down opponents throats, quarterback Marcus Mariota is doing his job as well. Mariota is 14th in the NFL in passer rating after these nine games. He’s also 22nd in passing yards, 2nd in air yards per attempt, but is lacking in completion percentage at 28th. With exciting receivers including Kyle Pitts and Drake London on the roster, there’s potential for a well-rounded exciting offence, but Arthur Smith has focused on the run.

Previous Matchups

2022 Season:

Week 8 – Panthers @ Falcons, 34-37 Falcons Win

It was only a little over a week ago that these two teams met where things got very close towards the end. A late diving effort from DJ Moore looked to be the last twist in the game when he tied the game with only seconds remaining. While celebrating his score Moore was flagged for taking off his helmet and with the PAT moved back 15 yards, Eddy Pineiro missed the extra point and sent the two sides into overtime. 

From there, Carolina thought they pulled off an upset until Pineiro missed an easier field goal which allowed the Falcons back in to snatch the win.


The game two weeks ago was very close and higher scoring but I think it may be a bit different this time around. With the Falcons getting Patterson back and PJ Walker coming off a very poor performance last week, I expect both sides to run the ball and control the clock down more.

Both defences have been bad from a league perspective, so there is always the potential of big plays that can swing the momentum either way. 

Withboth defences not standing out from the rest, I am leaning with the away team who have the far superior offence. Panthers should have probably walked away with the win 11 days ago, but with the success Atalnata has shown on the ground through the first half of the season, I have no doubt they will remain the dominant in that area.

Falcons 24, Panthers 17

Week 7 Power Rankings

By Conor Perrett 

What a strange weekend of football that was. With underdog wins all over the place the NFL right now feels like it’s in a state of mediocrity. The top three teams look like the real deal, but below that we have a deep dark hole for the remaining 29 teams. 

Across the league, 10 teams have winning records, 10 are 3-3 and the other 12 are under .500. What that means is plenty of risers and fallers this week, so let’s get straight into the rankings.

  1. Buffalo Bills (5-1)

Last Week – 1st

In the most anticipated game of the regular season, with their eye firmly on avenging the playoff loss to Kansas City last season, Buffalo proved themselves as the league’s big boss. Thye won thanks to the players they added to get them to this point. 

Two-time Super-Bowl Champion Von Miller, solidified his name in Buffalo as he finished with two sacks and four tackles and was instrumental in stopping each of the last three Chiefs drives. He pressured Patrick Mahomes early in the fourth quarter to force a field goal that put Kansas City up 20-17, sacked him to end the next drive and then hurried him before the game-sealing interception by Taron Johnson. 

If the Bills dominance does not strike you enough, Football Outsiders who created the highly respected DVOA metric currently have Buffalo first on offence and defence. Yes that’s right, the best offence and defence in the league! 

Last time that ever happened was 19 years ago back with Tampa Bay and they went on to win the Lombardi.

Up next: Bye week

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)

Last Week – 2nd

The NFC really isn’t cooking right now and it’s already starting to look like a one-horse race for the No. 1 seed, after only a third of the way through the season. Besides the Eagles, there are only three other teams with winning records, and Philadelphia has already beaten two of them (Cowboys and Vikings) quite comfortably and in prime time as well.

Philly on a by week

With the next three opponents after the bye being Steelers, Texans and Commanders, Philly has a very strong case to start 9-0, while not even breaking that much of a sweat. They’ve looked great on both offence and defence similar to Buffalo, but it does feel that they haven’t reached their top gear yet. In a way that’s exciting as a fan to know there is more to come from your undefeated team.

Up next: Bye week

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)

Last Week – 3rd

There is no shame in losing to the Bills but the road ahead for Kansas doesn’t get any easier. With one of the harder schedules remaining and being two games behind the Bills, that No. 1 seed might be slowly getting out of their reach. But being a lower seed isn’t the end of the road. It’s about maintaining consistency and being ready for the play-offs when January rolls around.

On a good note this defence does look better than units in the past. With a lot of turnover in the off-season, it was a bit of a mystery to how that side of the ball would play out. But with a solid defensive line, if they can just keep causing havoc and keeping things close, Mahomes will do the rest for them.

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

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3)

Last Week – 8th

For the first time in a while we finally got to see the Joe Burrow – Ja’Marr Chase connection we’ve been missing, and in no better place than where it all started, New Orleans.

The Bengals jump up a nice few spots thanks to their counterparts above them all failing. For the last month now Cincinnati have maintained their steady rise up as they look to regain their form of last year. The defence has been stellar throughout and with the offence slowly getting there, it’s beginning to spice up in the AFC.

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

  1. Baltimore Ravens (3-3) 

Last Week – 4th

Baltimore really has the quarterback, weapons and coach to compete with the ‘Big 3’, but their lack of execution in the fourth quarter is killing them. In all three of their losses, they have blown second-half leads of at least 10 points.

During these bottles, they have only trailed for an astounding total of 120 seconds in their three losses. The Ravens still rank No. 3 in overall DVOA, No. 3 in offensive DVOA and No. 15 in defensive DVOA. This rank is a vote of confidence on what Lamar Jackson brings to the table, but also just because there are no other better options. 

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

  1. San Francisco 49ers (3-3)

Last Week – 5th

San Fran has been on the rise the last couple of weeks and with one of the best defences in the league and  look to be one of the better competitors in the NFC. But with all the strange upsets over the weekend, the Niners loss to Atlanta was one of the most surprising.

A few key players were missing in Trent Williams and Nick Bosa but injuries happen to every team and it’s hard to use it as an excuse. Though a strange thing the 49ers did this week was stay over in West Virginia. This was their second consecutive game on the East Coast so saving themselves the travel, they stayed over on that side of the country. It was an interesting decision and clearly didn’t play out, so back to California for the game of the week against the Chiefs,

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

  1. Dallas Cowboys (4-2)

Last Week – 7th

All signs point to Dak Prescott returning against the Lions on Sunday, and what better way to try out his new thumb than against the worst defence in the league.

The Cooper Rush train had to end at some point and he went out diligently against Philly. But realistically Rush deserves great credit for the hope he restored in this team after how sour things seemed when Dak went down in Week 1. With an explosive push rush now and formidable defence alongside them, things are looking up for them Cowboys.

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

  1. Minnesota Vikings (5-1)

Last Week – 10th

Every week this team keeps on winning, yet every week I still remain unimpressed with them. I don’t mean to beat up on teams every week and if there are Vikings fans that read this, I’m not apologising but your record hides up the problems.

Minnesota ranks 17th in overall DVOA, 14th on offence, 21st on defence. Of the five teams they’ve beaten, none have a winning record, and only the Skylar Thompson/Teddy Bridgewater-led Dolphins had one entering their matchup with Minnesota. Now it’s fair that you can only beat what’s in front of you, but this type of play isn’t going to be sustainable when the playoffs come around.

Up next: Bye week 

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)

Last Week – 9th

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins on Monday night against Denver, but they got there in the end. 

I mentioned in a preview to the game, that the Chargers’ performance can depend on how well they run the ball. When it’s going smoothly they are like a well oiled machine that few teams could beat. The problem is how inconsistent they have been in the run game with the injuries to Corey Linsley and Rashawn Slater. The centre and left tackle have not been available as much as LA would have liked and it is holding them back when trying to run the ball down defences throats. Denver’s defence is elite and Monday was a prime example of when their run game gets stopped, problems start to occur for Los Angeles.

  1. New York Giants (5-1)

Last Week – 11th 

At this point, we all have to put our hands up and say fair play to what the Giants are doing. Stopping Lamar Jackson isn’t an easy task, yet week in-week out, New York keeps beating these teams no one gives them a chance against. Going into the year they were primed for a high draft pick and five wins on the season might have been a success. Yet they’ve gone and got five wins across six weeks, and with an easier schedule among the league, what’s stopping them from going to the play-offs?

Giants winning despite the metrics

The main question is how sustainable is this way of winning for New York. Three of their wins have been comebacks of at least 14 points, while they possess a bottom tier quarterback and 30th ranked DVOA defence. Whether they can keep this up we will see, but at the end of the day all that matters is the record tally. 

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

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3)

Last Week – 6th

When Brady made his big U-Turn out of retirement, I’m sure this is what he wasn’t expecting. Right now this Buccaneers side is being carried by a defence while it waits for its offence to pick things up. 

To be fair it’s not the worst situation for Brady to be in. This Tampa defence is great and can carry the load, while Brady and his weapons get themselves on the same page. Now whether they can do that will be the question, but knowing Brady it’s normally a safe bet to back him.

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

  1. New England Patriots (3-3)

Last Week – 18th

I’ve come up with a Hollywood story here, let me set the plotline. 

A senior does his duties and breaks the records as he becomes a legend for his respected college. Now our main character here wants to go to the big league, but they don’t care about records and want to know how athletic he is. Our star here isn’t very athletic so he falls all the way down Day 3 of the Draft and an old man that wears a sleeveless hoodie likes what he sees. Nothing is given to him and he must watch from the bench until the star QB gets injured and his name is called upon. From that moment the rest is history and he goes on to win seven Super Bowls.

Sounds familiar right. That’s the career for Bailey Zappe!!!

Up next: vs. Chicago, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. BST/GMT

  1. Los Angeles Rams (3-3)

Last Week – 13th 

The stories that dominated the headlines for the Rams this week was the Cam Akers situation. Akers is physically healthy, but the relationship between him and Sean McVay has been simmering throughout training camp, when Akers missed time with what the team said was a soft tissue injury. Afterwards McVay publicly said he needed more ‘urgency’ from Akers, as a trade now seems near.

The Rams may not have the most dynamic set of weapons like they once had, but it’s hard to believe they won’t be able to improve upon their No. 25 ranking in offensive DVOA after the bye.

Up next: Bye week

  1. New York Jets (4-2)

Last Week – 22nd

With Sauce Gardner, Breece Hall, Garrett Wilson and Max Mitchell, the Jets are one of only two teams in the league, with four rookies who have each played 200 snaps on offence or defence. The excitement about the resurgent Jets is not just because they’re playing well, but because they look like they have a young core that they can develop into building blocks for this team.

Not too many people can ever say they have the bookies favourite for Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year.

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

  1. Tennessee Titans (3-2)

Last Week – 15th

No Titans football last Sunday, but if you didn’t hear Tennessee beat Alabama. If you’re from the area and happen to see a goal post laying about let the university know, they’re missing one.

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

  1. Las Vegas Raiders (1-4)

Last Week – 17th

Up one spot and they probably spent all weekend in the casino. Nice work Vegas. If you just keep taking a bye week every week, you’ll probably be in the top-10 sooner rather than later.

Up next: vs. Houston, Sunday 9:05 p.m. BST/GMT

  1. Atlanta Falcons

Last Week – 21st

Arthur Smith has really brought that Tennessee run game with him, and seemingly done it without Derrick Henry. Atlanta ranks No. 1 in rushing DVOA and third in rushing yards per game, with three 50-yard runs in Sunday’s win over the Niners. The big question now is whether he can start getting their unicorn Kyle Pitts more involved. Getting his first TD of the season last Sunday was a good start. 

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

  1. Seattle Seahawks

Last Week – 24th

After the offence carried the Seahawks defence through the first five games of the season. Seattle shut down Kyler Murray to nine points thanks to a surprise performance from a run defence that had been exposed through the start of the season. 

All while the offence remains consistently good, with rookie Kenneth Walker shooting onto the scene this week winning Smashmouthing Football’s ‘Rookie of the Week.’

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

  1. Green Bay Packers

Last Week – 12th

As sluggish as the Packers’s offence has been, the defence is arguably now their biggest disappointment, ranking 24th in DVOA and 32nd against the run. It sounds strange but as a Lions fan I was over the moon when Rodgers extended his stay in Green Bay for this very reason. As much as people think the salary cap is a myth, it’s not and the Packers had to let go of some good players to keep them under it. A guy like Za’Darius Smith would come very handy for this defence now but instead they have to keep an ageing quarterback who will be gone in two years.

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

  1. Miami Dolphins

Last Week – 14th

It’s never easy winning in this league when your starting quarterback goes down and it’s even tougher when the backup quarterback also follows suit. With the carousel of quarterback-backs coming through in Miami, you’d think it would make life easier when throwing to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. 

Well that’s partly true as they rank first in EPA per play against man coverage. The problem that comes with that is opposing defences have started to steadily decline in man coverage plays, with Minnesota this Sunday only running this scheme 6.8% of the time.

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

  1. Indianapolis Colts

Last Week – 25th

Matty Ice keeping things cool

Indy’s offence has been nothing short of abysmal this season, ranking dead last in the majority of statistics, but Sunday’s performance was the turnaround fans have been waiting for. Part of the reason for that was the emergence of rookie Alec Pierce who went on to catch the winning touchdown in their come from behind win. Credit to Matt Ryan as well, who got the passing game going by completing a staggering 42 passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns.

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

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last Week – 16th

The Jaguars rank last in the league in Football Outsider’s variance, meaning they have been the least consistent team in the league on a week-to-week basis. That’s what happens I guess when you go from beating the Chargers by 28 points to losing at home to the Texans. Don’t be surprised when they beat the 5-1 Giants at home this week then. 

Up next: vs. New York Giants, Sunday 6 p.m. BST/GMT

  1. Cleveland Browns

Last Week – 20th

Despite the losing record Cleveland was keeping games close before this weekend against the Patriots, with their first three losses all being one score games. That changed when the Patriots beat them badly in their own backyard, as the Browns now run the risk of being out of the playoff race before Deshaun Watson even gets under centre. Their next two games are back-to-back AFC North affairs against the Ravens and Bengals, in what will be crucial games for the future of their season.

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

  1. New Orleans Saints

Last Week – 23rd

Ja’Marr Chase’s 60-yard touchdown catch Sunday was the longest winning touchdown scored with less than two minutes in a game since the Dolphins famous lateral touchdown on the final play of their 2018 win against the Patriots. As well as the Saints played, it felt like a fairy story waiting to come true for Chase and Burrow in Louisiana and it did. 

Up next: at Arizona, Friday 1:15 a.m. BST/GMT

  1. Arizona Cardinals

Last Week – 19th

Things keep going downhill for the Cardinals after a nine-point performance and an injury to Marquise Brown, who potentially could be for the year. The one last hope for them is the return of DeAndre Hopkins this week. The Cardinals are 16-10 with him and 5-8 without him. With this last throw at the dart board, if it seemingly fails, it might be time for a coaching and general manager change in Arizona.

Up next: VS. New Orleans, Friday 1:15 a.m. BST/GMT

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last Week – 29th

In a tale of events that no one saw coming, Kenny Pickett went down with a concussion during Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, and Mitch Trubisky came in and saved the day. Now Trubisky put on a good performance but you would hope Pittsburgh aren’t too hasty and bench the young guy before things really even got started. That said, with a matchup against Miami this week, we would rather not have controversy of two recently concussed players going head-to-head.

Up next: at Miami, Monday 1:20 a.m. BST/GMT

  1. Denver Broncos

Last Week – 26th

Denver entered Monday night ranked second in defensive DVOA and played to that level, getting after Herbert throughout. The defence looks well-coached and strong, which sadly still can’t be said for the offence. I feel like a broken record banging on about it every week, but you can tell some of the starting players in that offence are not happy. With a trade deadline looming, moves may or may not be made but something needs to change in personnel for sure.

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

  1. Detroit Lions

Last Week – 28th

Off a bye week, it felt like the perfect time for this team to huddle up, hash things out and get healthy. However, only negative news continued to come out of Detroit. Last year’s second round pick Levi Onwuzurike had potential career ending back surgery, 13 players are still on the injury reports and Dan Campbell announced the owner is frustrated with how things have developed. It’s really going to be a tough few months unless they turn it around and fast.

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

  1. Washington Commanders

Last Week – 31st

Thursdays Night Football seems to be an offensive curse, but the Commanders escaped Chicago with a win. It just so happens Carson Wentz escaped with a fractured finger that’s going to require surgery, keeping him out for four to six weeks. Ron Rivera gets his wish of a new quarterback and will have to choose between backup Taylor Heinicke, or let the young gun rookie Sam Howell have a crack. This Sunday, Heinicke gets the nod. 

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

  1. Chicago Bears

Last Week – 27th

The running debate in Chicago seems to be what’s the bigger issue on offence, and which person is going to lose their job because of it come the end of the season. On one hand you have Justin Fields, who can make the case for the lack of talent around him, though his reaction after his helmet interception doesn’t do himself any favours. 

Fields is 23rd of 33 quarterbacks in EPA per dropback, while the offence is 30th in DVOA. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has somehow structured an offensive system that is entirely uninterested in working around Fields’ pros and cons, which is rarely a good idea. There’s plenty of weeks remaining so we’ll see how this debate plays out.

Up next: at New England, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. BST/GMT

  1. Houston Texans

Last Week – 31st

Davis Mills and the offence are playing their way to a new quarterback next offseason, which is exactly what the doctor ordered for the rebuilding Texans. Houston ranks 27th in offensive EPA per drive and Mills is at the centre to all the inefficiency. Only Baker Mayfield has a lower EPA per dropback average through Week 6 than Mills, and his coach just got fired. 

Up next: at Las Vegas, Sunday 4:05 p.m. BST/GMT

  1. Carolina Panthers

Last Week – 32nd

Steve Wilks was given the interim job after Matt Rhule’s firing last week and he had a fun science experiment in his first game in charge. 

The Panthers attempted 21 passes on the weekend with the travel average of such passes being 0.9 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Yep on average they throw the ball less than 1 yard every time. I’m as mind-boggled as you are reading that stat. How does that even happen? 

Unsurprising in TruMedia’s database, that is the lowest average depth of target they have ever recorded in their eight years of existence.

Up next: vs. Tampa Bay, Sunday 1 p.m. BST/GMT