NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys move into top 10 ahead of MNF clash
Join BetAmerica Extra columnist Zack Rhodes as he fearlessly slices and dices all 32 teams and ranks them in order according to their Week 8 performance and Week 9 outlook.
1. New England Patriots (8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS)With its defense playing at a historic level, the Patriots continue to look unbeatable. However, after an incredibly soft schedule over the first half of the season, things get considerably more challenging in the back half and it starts this week against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. It will be fascinating to see the talent of Lamar go up against the genius of Belichick.
2. New Orleans Saints (7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS)The Saints are a joy to watch week in and week out, but we won’t get that opportunity this Sunday as the Saints are enjoying their bye week. Teddy Bridgewater played admirably in Drew Brees’ absence, but it was great to see the future Hall of Famer not skip a beat against Arizona in his return.
Next up: Atlanta Falcons (Week 10)
3. Green Bay Packers (7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS)Aaron Rodgers has been on an absolute tear over the last month and you have to expect that to continue this week against a very suspect Chargers secondary. And to think he’s done it without top target Davante Adams on the field, although it looks like the former Fresno State star could return this week. Rodgers is now the deserving favorite to win the MVP.
4. San Francisco 49ers (8-0 SU and 5-3 ATS)Kyler made it interesting late, but the 49ers remained perfect last night in defeating the improved Cardinals. Now they have 10 days off before a big home game against divisional foe Seattle next Monday night.
Next up: Seattle Seahawks (Week 10)
5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS)With Kirk Cousins playing at a high level, the Vikings have now won four in a row and come into this showdown in Kansas City well rested after playing last Thursday. It’s still unclear whether Patrick Mahomes will play, but it may be smart for the Chiefs to exercise some patience and not let a hobbled Mahomes go up against this punishing Vikings defense.
Next up: Kansas City Chiefs
6. Los Angeles Rams (5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS)There are still questions about this Rams team as they enjoy their bye this week, but the addition of Jalen Ramsey is big. I love the swagger and juice he brings to the back-end of a Rams defense that needed some help.
Next up: Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 10)
7. Indianapolis Colts (5-2 SU and 4-2-1 ATS)The boring Colts just continue to get the job done. And you have to give it up for Jacoby Brissett, who has turned himself into a star this season. Did you see the play he made last week against Denver to start the game-winning drive? Dude somehow breaks away from the grasp of the great Von Miller at his own goal line, rolls right and delivers a strike on the sideline for a 35-yard completion to T.Y. Hilton. Unreal. The Colts have developed into one of the better stories of the year.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3 SU and 4-4 ATS)As covered in the Vikings write-up, the Chiefs have to continue to play it safe with their franchise quarterback if he isn’t fully healthy. Although not ideal, the Chiefs may be smart to wait one more week to get Mahomes back on the field because this Vikings defense is nothing to play with.
Next up: Minnesota Vikings
9. Baltimore Ravens (5-2 SU and 2-4-1 ATS)It will be truly fascinating to see Lamar Jackson go up against Bill Belichick and this historically good Patriots defense. Lamar has been unstoppable at times this season, but this will be the toughest test of his career so far and the truest barometer of his development as a NFL quarterback. Sunday night can’t come soon enough.
10. Dallas Cowboys (4-3 SU and 4-3 ATS)After a bye last week, the Cowboys get back to work this week as they prepare to take on the Giants on Monday night. It’ll be fun to watch Zeke and Saquon go head to head, as I expect Zeke to continue his improved play of late and have a big night against a questionable Giants D. And as we know, as Zeke goes, so go the Cowboys.
11. Seattle Seahawks (6-2 SU and 3-5 ATS)As expected, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks got back on track last week against the Falcons. This week they welcome the Bucs to town in what will likely be an entertaining, high-scoring affair.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS)The roller coaster season for the Eagles continued last week as they broke open the game against the Bills in Buffalo to pick up a much needed win. With the tough three-game road trip behind them, Philly returns home this Sunday to take on the struggling Bears and then gears up for a home showdown two weeks later against the Patriots.
13. Buffalo Bills (5-2 SU and 4-3 ATS)After rolling along to open the season against one of the softer schedules in the league, Buffalo got a bit of a reality check last week against Philly. However, the Bills return to cupcake city this week as they welcome the Redskins.
14. Detroit Lions (3-3-1 SU and 4-3 ATS)Although losing running back Kerryon Johnson to the IR is a big blow to Detroit, Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay and the rest of this talented Lions passing attack should be in for a big day against this shaky Raiders secondary.
15. Carolina Panthers (4-3 SU and 4-3 ATS)Kyle Allen’s impressive run to start his career finally came to a crashing end last week against the 49ers. It’ll be interesting to see how the young QB responds this week as he goes up against another talented group in this Titans defense.
16. Houston Texans (5-3 SU and 4-4 ATS)I’m president of the Deshaun Watson fan club and as its dedicated leader, I couldn’t have been more proud in watching the star QB make perhaps the play of the year so far. With one eye closed after being kicked in the face on an attempted sack, Watson still managed to throw the game-deciding touchdown pass to Darren Fells. It was an unbelievable play by an unbelievable player. Losing J.J. Watt for the season is a body blow to the Texans, but they’re going to have a shot in every game as long as #4 is on the field.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4 SU and 5-3 ATS)Minshew Magic is alive and well eight games into the season, and the Jags are going to need that magic once again as they take on the Texans this week in London in a key divisional match-up. The first game between these two resulted in a 13-12 Texans win and I expect another competitive game on Sunday.
18. Tennessee Titans (4-4 SU and 4-4 ATS)It’s only right that the Texans, Jags and Titans are grouped together in the rankings as so little separates these divisional rivals. The Titans have picked up two much needed wins after making the switch to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. They’ll look to keep things rolling this week in Carolina.
19. Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1 SU and 6-2 ATS)After struggling to open the season, the Cardinals have showed marked improvement under rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Although they came up a bit short against the undefeated 49ers on Thursday night, they were able to make it interesting late and have now covered as underdogs four out of the last five weeks.
Next up: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 10)
20. Chicago Bears (3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS)Matt Nagy has gone from Coach of the Year to one of the warmer seats in the league in just 12 months. Such is life in the NFL, and such is life when you have a back-up ACC quarterback who somehow went second in the draft. Just imagine if the Bears had traded for Cam Newton or even Andy Dalton. Hell, pretty much anyone would be an upgrade over Mitch Trubisky, who seems to be losing more confidence with each passing game. It’s such a tragedy that the Bears defense is going to waste this season.
21. Oakland Raiders (3-4 SU and 4-3 ATS)I’m not sold on this Raiders team, especially defensively as their secondary is very questionable. Aaron Rodgers was perfect against the Raiders two weeks ago and you have to think Matthew Stafford and Co. are anxious to see what they can do this week in Oakland.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4 SU and 3-3-1 ATS)You have to be impressed with rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph, who struggled badly for the first part of the Monday night game against the Dolphins in his first action since being knocked unconscious several weeks ago. However, with an impressive display of poise and maturity, he settled in as the game went along and led the Steelers to a pretty easy win. Rudolph will need to be on his game from the start this week, as Pittsburgh hosts Indianapolis. The Colts seem to be a pretty big public play this week, but I can’t blame them, as Indy has proven to be the better, more consistent team all season. The Steelers season continues to teeter on the edge, but a win Sunday could go a long way in steadying the ship.
23. Cleveland Browns (2-5 SU and 2-5 ATS)I get that Baker Mayfield rubs some people the wrong way, but to call him overrated and blame him for Cleveland’s struggles is a bit too convenient. The Browns’ problems stem from a bad head coach and a worse offensive line. Yes, Baker has to continue to develop as a quarterback and be better at going through his reads, but that’s nearly impossible with this pathetic O-line. And with Von Miller lining up on the other side this weekend, it’s going to be challenge again this week, but I love the passion and moxie he plays the game with. The dude went from being a walk-on to winning the Heisman Trophy and being the #1 pick in the draft. Things are tough right now, but better days are ahead.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5 SU and 2-5 ATS)Despite the current three-game losing streak, Jameis Winston’s bone-headed turnovers and its shaky pass defense, I’m still convinced this Bucs team has significant upside. That upside will certainly be needed this week against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Seattle.
25. New York Giants (2-6 SU and 3-5 ATS)Yes, Daniel Jones has shown flashes during his rookie season, but let’s keep things in perspective. In the six games he’s started this season, Jones has passed for 241 yards per game and a total of 10 touchdowns, while throwing seven interceptions, losing five fumbles, and being sacked 21 times. The spotlight will be bright this week against the Cowboys. I’m looking forward to DeMarcus Lawrence introducing himself to the “little Manning” several times on Monday night.
26. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5 SU and 2-5-1 ATS)Thanks to more bad field goal kicking from the Bears and the inadequacy of Mitch Trubisky, the Chargers were able to save their season on Sunday by picking up a much needed win. However, there’s no time to celebrate as Los Angeles welcomes the red hot Packers to town this weekend. You have to think Aaron Rodgers can’t wait to attack this questionable Chargers secondary.
27. Denver Broncos (2-6 SU and 4-4 ATS)Things went from bad to worse last week in the Broncos’ 15-13 loss at Indianapolis, as Joe Flacco was lost for at least six weeks with a neck injury and the usually mild-mannered QB was outspoken about the team’s conservative play-calling. Now the team turns to former Arkansas star Brandon Allen as they welcome in an angry Browns team desperate for a win. Flacco was awful behind a bad offensive line and I don’t expect Allen to be any better. Vic Fangio’s first year is quickly turning into a disaster.
28. New York Jets (1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS)The Adam Gase revenge game could be the beginning of the end for the crazy-eyed smelling salts addict whose career highlights are riding Peyton Manning’s coattails for a record-setting season before getting blown out by Seattle in the Super Bowl and getting Jay Cutler to be an adequate NFL quarterback. If the Jets lose to the lowly Dolphins this week, Gase should be fired on the spot and given a bus ticket back to New York. He’s the worst.
29. Atlanta Falcons (1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS)The embattled Dan Quinn seems to be on borrowed time as the Falcons welcome a much-needed bye this week. It can certainly be argued that Quinn has earned the right to try and turns things around, but there’s no denying that the team has underachieved the last couple of years.
Next up: New Orleans Saints (Week 10)
30. Miami Dolphins (0-7 SU and 3-4 ATS)The Dolphins got the spotlight on Monday night and surprisingly, looked pretty good in jumping out to a 14-0 lead over Pittsburgh in the first quarter. Eventually, Miami’s shortcomings got the best of them as Mason Rudolph found his footing and Pittsburgh pulled away, but the Dolphins showed some fight behind Fitzmagic and young head coach Brian Flores.
31. Washington Redskins (1-7 SU and 3-5 ATS)It is only fitting that the two most incompetent owners preside over the two worst teams in the league. Although they completely bungled the situation, at least the Bengals are looking toward the future in seeing what they have in Ryan Finley (which I don’t think is much). The Redskins, meanwhile, are amazingly hesitant to start Dwayne Haskins, as Case Keenum may still start this Sunday at Buffalo despite not practicing all week and remaining in the concussion protocol. While much of the league plays chess, Mike Brown and Dan Snyder continue to play checkers.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8 SU and 3-5 ATS)The Bungals drop to the bottom of the rankings as the dysfunction of the franchise and inexperience of their 36-year-old head coach was on full display Tuesday. Hours before the trade deadline, Taylor decided to bench Dalton in favor of the uninspiring rookie Ryan Finley and then Cincinnati did nothing as the deadline expired, deciding instead to hold on to an upset Dalton and valuable A.J. Green, who is in the last year of his contract. The incompetence is truly amazing.
Next up: Baltimore Ravens (Week 10)