1. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-3)
The Niners put up a 28-16 win without McCaffrey scoring. This team is deep and dangerous, a lethal combo that has them with the best odds to win the Super Bowl.
2. BALTIMORE RAVENS (10-3)
The Ravens needed a late TD in the 4th quarter to overcome a 5-point deficit, but they would then allow the Rams to force OT with a field goal in the waning seconds of regulation. In OT, they kicked off to LA, forced a 3 & out, and subsequently returned the punt for a TD for the walk-off win. You would have liked to see a more convincing victory at home off of a bye, but a win is a win – and this win has Baltimore in sole possession of the top seed in the AFC.
3. DALLAS COWBOYS (10-3)
The Cowboys put on a convincing show and put the league on notice with a statement win. It’s still San Francisco’s conference to lose, but Dallas is nipping at their heels and solidified their status as a top Super Bowl contender – if that wasn’t clear already.
4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-3)
I thought the reason that the Eagles got blown out by the Niners last week was because they were looking ahead to the Dallas game. It made sense; The Dallas game was more important than the San Francisco game. It would be logical to be more concerned with beating the Cowboys – a divisional rival. But that clearly wasn’t the case. The Eagles didn’t look prepared at all. They lost by 20 or more for the 2nd straight week.
5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-5)
It’s Kansas City’s turn in the revolving door of frustration for the AFC’s top teams. The Bengals went through it, the Bills went through it, and now the Chiefs are in the middle of it. After an egregious mental mistake by Kadarius Toney saw an incredible go-ahead TD wiped off the board with less than 2 minutes left, the Chiefs suffered their 3rd loss in their past 4 games. The frustration boiled over postgame when Patrick Mahomes told Josh Allen that the offsides was “the worst fucking call I’ve ever seen”. Mahomes is catching some flak for this comment. Toney was clearly offsides, it wasn’t a bad call. You also probably shouldn’t make that comment to Allen at midfield. But hey, athletes are praised for being emotional after a victory, as it shows they “care”. Again, Mahomes shouldn’t have made that comment to Allen, but emotions go both ways, you take the highs with the lows.
6. MIAMI DOLPHINS (9-4)
The Dolphins allowed the Titans to steal a late win on Monday Night Football. The Dolphins were up 14 with under 3 minutes remaining, but would give up 2 TD’s and a 2-point conversion to fall to 9-4. This is a great football team, but when you have championship goals & potential you can’t lose a 14-point lead in the final 180 seconds at home.
7. DETROIT LIONS (9-4)
Jared Goff controls to struggle out in the elements. That could be a serious problem down the road, and while the 28-13 loss to the Bears allowed the Vikings to creep a game closer to the Lions for the division lead, it’s hard to picture this Detroit team not coming away with the NFC North crown.
8. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (8-5)
Trevor Lawrence took the field on Sunday, and despite being banged up, threw 50 passes. Three of those were caught by Cleveland, which helped aid the Browns to a 4-point victory in a sloppy game with 7 combined turnovers.
9. HOUSTON TEXANS (7-6)
It was a rough game for rookie sensation CJ Stroud. The young QB struggled, throwing for only 91 yards against the Jets before leaving with a concussion. The Texans fell to New York, 30-6, and at the time of my writing this, Stroud remains in concussion protocol, which is a tough blow for a team fighting for the postseason.
10. DENVER BRONCOS (7-6)
The Broncos look to start a new win streak after losing to Houston two weeks ago. They got the first win on the road against the Chargers this week by a score of 24-7.
11. BUFFALO BILLS (7-6)
The city of Buffalo should chip in and buy Kadarius Toney a “thank you” card. His offsides took away Kansas City’s late go-ahead TD. Toney was offsides by a mile, but it’s hard to believe that it affected the sensational improvisation by Travis Kelce to toss a lateral to Toney, who ran it in for the potential TD. But rules are rules, and that rule being enforced helped the Bills climb to 7-6. The AFC Wild Card race is crammed. The Browns hold the first spot at 8-5, but 6 other teams are duking it out for the final 2 spots, all with records of 7-6. So if the Bills had fallen to 6-7 they would have been in pretty bad shape considering the Cowboys, Chargers, and Dolphins are still on their schedule.
12. CINCINNATI BENGALS (7-6)
Jake Browning got a 2nd win while filling in for Joe Burrow, and is doing a fantastic job of keeping this team’s playoff hopes alive. When Burrow went down I thought Cincinnati’s season would go with him, but the Bengals are one of 6 teams tied for the final 2 wild card spots. Their remaining schedule consists of Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Kansas City, and Cleveland. Considering the job Browning has done, the Bengals should have a QB edge in 3 of those games, with the Chiefs game being the exception. Even in that game he could give the Bengals a chance considering the problems Kansas City has been having. In any case, the Bengals clearly have a shot at a wild card berth, with 2 of those games being against teams that currently hold two spots.
13. CLEVELAND BROWNS (8-5)
Joe Flacco threw for over 300 yards and 3 TD’s, as he helped the Browns pull out a 31-27 win over the Jags. David Njoku helped Flacco earn this impressive stat line, as the tight end caught 6 passes for 91 yards and 2 TD’s. This win keeps Cleveland in sole possession of the first wild card spot. They have the Bears, Texans, Jets, and Bengals remaining on their schedule, so there’s a fair chance Cleveland will see some playoff football.
14. LOS ANGELES RAMS (6-7)
The Rams went into Baltimore and hung around with the Ravens for 60 minutes. They needed to hang on a little longer than that, however, as they allowed Tylan Wallace to return a punt for a walk-off TD in overtime.
15. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-7)
The Seahawks fell by 12 to the 49ers, but honestly the fact that it wasn’t by more felt like a small victory. They faced the Niners in San Francisco this week, meeting them for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. The first meeting in Seattle ended in a 31-13 Niners win. This week they faced that same team, except now on the road and without the services of Geno Smith. Drew Lock did fine, but the Seahawks were just overmatched.
16. GREEN BAY PACKERS (6-7)
The NFL is a wild league. The Packers entered their Monday Night contest against the Giants as one of the hottest teams in the league, but they fell by 2 to a Giants team being led by 3rd string QB Tommy DeVito. The Packers still hold the final wild card spot with the tie-breaker, but this is the type of loss that winds up haunting teams and their fans.
17. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-6)
Just a horrible game all around, from the coaching staff to the players. Despite your QB1 being injured, as a team who is currently holding a playoff spot, it is inexcusable to lose consecutive home games against teams with only 2 wins. Tomlin and the players on the field both need to better, as collapses like this can often cost people their jobs.
18. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-6)
The Vikings kicked a field goal with 2 minutes remaining in an absolutely red-hot, scorching, barn burner of a game that allowed Minnesota to come away with a win by the score of… 3-0. What a snooze-fest.
19. ATLANTA FALCONS (6-7)
Desmond Ridder threw for 347 yards on Sunday, but that wasn’t enough for the Falcons to protect homefield and retain sole possession of 1st place in their division. Their remaining schedule is friendly, but 3 of their 4 games come on the road. Had they protected their lead against Tampa on Sunday, they would be in a much better position. Instead, the pressure is on and this team will have to win some games in some unfriendly environments.
20. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-6)
The Colts couldn’t carry the momentum of their overtime win into their meeting with the Bengals. The offense couldn’t find any points in the final 30 minutes after entering the half tied at 14, and the Bengals would pull away for a 20-point win.
21. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (6-7)
The Bucs pulled off a pivotal win on Sunday against the Falcons. With less than a minute remaining, Baker Mayfield tossed the game-winning TD to Cade Otton, which vaulted Tampa up into 1st place in the NFC South.
22. NEW YORK JETS (5-8)
Zach Wilson revenge SZN? After we found out that Wilson was somehow the best option that the Jets have, he got the start on Sunday and lit up Houston’s defense for 301 yards, 2 TD’s and no interceptions. This is the type of response a coach dreams of from a player who has been benched. It’s tough to picture Wilson saving the Jets’ season considering the amount of teams above them in the standings, but I’m sure crazier things have happened.
23. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6-7)
The Saints defense was having a tough time against the ground game, but they stepped up when it mattered. They held Carolina to only 1 conversion on 4th down attempts, helping the Saints cruise to a 28-6 victory despite the team not playing entirely all that great.
24. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (5-8)
The nightmare continues for the Chargers. They just got spanked on their home field by a division rival, and now Justin Herbert has undergone surgery on the index finger of his throwing hand after leaving Sunday’s game with an injury. As I write these rankings at 4:45 am on Wednesday morning, I am astonished that Brandon Staley is still the head coach of this football team. There’s no way he will still hold that title at the beginning of next season, is there?
25. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (5-8)
I wonder if its more embarrassing to get blown out against a contender on the road, or to lose a home game by a score of 3-0 to a 3rd string QB. Someone should ask the Raiders that since they have now done both this season.
26. NEW YORK GIANTS (5-8)
Just trade Daniel Jones and tell Tyrod Taylor he will be backing up Tommy DeVito from now on, as the Giants have found their QB of the future. Joking aside, DeVito ripped off a 3rd straight win for the G-Men, and has been a fun, feel-good storyline for a team who hasn’t had much to feel great about this season.
27. CHICAGO BEARS (5-8)
The Bears blew a late 12-point lead to Detroit a few weeks ago and it cost them the game. This week they got up by 12 in the 4th quarter and slammed the door shut on the Lions, eventually winning 28-13. Also, this wins allows Chicago to continue hanging around the playoff picture, albeit at the bottom.
28. TENNESSEE TITANS (5-8)
The Titans broke the streak. They won their first road game of the season in front of a national Monday Night Audience, and they did it in dramatic fashion, with 2 TD’s and a 2-point conversion in the final 3 minutes to win by 1. Will Levis was a huge factor, breaking the 300-yard mark for the first time in his young career.
29. ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-10)
The Cardinals were off this week, presumably trying to figure out a way to slow down San Francisco’s offense. We’ll see how that goes on Sunday – my guess is it won’t go well.
30. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (4-9)
The Commanders bye week mercifully came this past Sunday. They needed it about a month ago, but now they will try to salvage what they can of this season in their final 4 games, beginning with a trip to face the Rams on Sunday.
31. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3-10)
The Patriots FINALLY found some offense on Thursday night against the Steelers. New England won 21-18. While Pats fans wish this miserable season would end so that they can try to forget it, I’m sure it feels good to get a win in Pittsburgh, even with the horrid state of each team, after all of the “Brady vs Roethlisberger” battles we have seen over the years.
32. CAROLINA PANTHERS (1-12)
Brutal. Just Brutal. The Panthers outgained New Orleans by nearly 100 yards, with the ground game doing the heavy lifting. But they were only able to manufacture 6 points, which came from field goals. Turning the ball over and going 1 for 7 on 4th down is not a recipe for putting points on the board.