NFL Top 10 Rankings - Week 10

by Wayne Root

Is anybody any good in this league? Doesn’t seem so.
10.New England Patriots (5-4)
This is the one team no one in the AFC will want to see in the postseason. Three wins in a row and the Patriots are once again a threat in the AFC East, but Mac Jones’ continued improvement will determine if they’ll be a Super Bowl factor come January. 
Highlighting the Pats’ defensive effort against Darnold & the Panthers was CB JC Jackson’s 88-yard pick-six interception in the 24-6 win. Not only was Darnold shutdown, the return of Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey soured as he was held to 52 yards on the ground and four catches by New England’s defense. Hosting the Browns (minus Chubb) this Sunday.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)
They desperately needed a win in Philly, and they definitely need to find a way to keep winning. QB Justin Herbert had three touchdowns on the road against the Eagles after the Bolts lost to the Patriots at home the week prior. Most importantly, Herbert drove his team down the field to setup the game-winning kick… the type of game Chargers fans got used to losing late for a long time. Justin Herbert was 17-of-20 for 205 yards with a TD and rushing TD in the second half of the Chargers’ win over the Eagles. LA didn’t punt all game. When the Bolts are clicking, they are scary. Next up, Minnesota Vikings. 

8. Buffalo Bills (5-3)
Not long ago, they were dominant. Now, they’re in real danger of losing the division to the Patriots. Buffalo’s offense was non-existent in a stinker against the Jaguars. And just like that, the Patriots are on their heels. The Bills’ reign might be over before it even began if Josh Allen can’t right the ship fast. The Bills had what was likely their worst day on offense since QB Josh Allen’s breakout 2020 year. Bills QB Josh Allen’s ugly games are pretty darn ugly. He’s failed to reach a passer rating of 80 or better in three out of eight games this year. Buffalo fell 9-6 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a shocker. But there was some good: the Bills’ improved defense is here to stay. Division game with the Jets; but did you see the point spread? -13.5!!

7. Dallas Cowboys (6-2)
The Cowboys will be fine, but getting punked at home by a Broncos team that just traded away its best player is inexcusable if you want to be considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender. In a big difference compared to the Bills and Chiefs, the Cowboys’ loss came with nothing good. The defense was smoked early and often and Dallas didn’t close the gap on the scoreboard until this one was over (but QB Dak Prescott coming off an injury wasn’t given time to rest. Huh?). The Cowboys will probably bounce back but this bad loss might cost Dallas their shot at the No. 1 seed.
Dallas plays Hotlanta this week.
6. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
The Ravens don’t always make it easy but they find a way to get the job done. Baltimore leads a very competitive AFC North. The Ravens are the comeback kids of the 2021 NFL season. QB Lamar Jackson was the centerpiece of Baltimore’s 34-31 win in overtime vs. the Vikes. The Ravens overcome a double-digit deficit for the third time this season. Sunday was the Ravens' fourth win this season when having a win probability of 15 percent or lower at some point in the second half. Lamar Jackson and the cardiac kids are hard to kill. Ravens get top billing on TNF against Miami. 

5. Los Angeles Rams (7-2)
After Sunday, the Rams are about to trade a 2029 first-round pick for Jeffery Simmons. In a battle of top-10 heavyweights, the Rams fell short against the Titans, 28-16. With RB Derrick Henry out, Tennessee leaned on their defense and it worked. Rams QB Matthew Stafford has costly giveaways and missteps he’ll have to cleanup. Matthew Stafford’s MVP hype took a hit with the veteran quarterback throwing one real bad interception near their own goal line (shades of Carson Wentz) and another pick to post a 71.0 passer rating in the Rams’ second loss. Missed opportunity for LA to gain ground on the push for the No. 1 seed. They get MNF against rival 49ers.
4. Tennessee Titans (7-2)
Tennessee now has five straight wins, with the last four coming over BUF, KC, IND, and LAR. No gimmes in that stretch. OK, fine, the Titans are more than just Derrick Henry. Happy? No King Henry? No problem. That defensive effort was highlighted by the Titans defense forcing two interceptions by Stafford only seconds apart on back-to-back throws. The second of which was taken back for a 24-yard score. The Titans will love if Henry gets back in time for a postseason run, but Tennessee showed they can more than keep their head above water without him. There aren’t many obvious losses left on the schedule. The Saints come marching in looking for an upset. 

3. Green Bay Packers (7-2)
Aaron Rodgers’ selfishness knocked the Packers out of the top seed in the NFC. Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs with Jordan Love at QB could be the difference between home-field advantage and a bye in the playoffs and a first-round date with the Rams or Cardinals. What a leader. Love struggled in his first-career start which came under weird circumstances. Thanks to QB Aaron Rodgers’ off-field, COVID-19 related distractions all week, the Packers’ loss to the Chiefs was more about that than anything else. The Seahawks are in Green Bay with Wilson back at QB.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
The Bucs had perhaps the best bye week ever, with plenty of contenders losing. Tom Brady sat at home and watched the Saints, Cowboys, Packers and Rams all lose. That’ll do. This is the time of the year that Tom Brady looks to separate his team from the rest. t Washington Football Team Sunday. 

1. Arizona Cardinals (8-1)
And speaking of not having your best… Murray, Hopkins and WR AJ Green didn’t play and the depth pieces in Arizona still stood out. QB Colt McCoy and RB James Conner led a 31-17 win over the 49ers in a NFC West win. How are you supposed to not give the Cards your No. 1 spot this week? With Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt and A.J. Green in sweatpants, the Cardinals bulldozed the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Take a bow, Kliff Kingsbury. Can Carolina pull a fast one this Sunday for the upset?

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