Chattanooga Times Free Press - - WEEK 10 - Mark Maske, The Washington Post

1. New Or­leans Saints (7-1) | Last week’s rank: 2

The Saints move up to No. 1 on the strength of their pul­sat­ing vic­tory Sun­day in New Or­leans over the pre­vi­ously un­beaten Rams.

2. New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots (7-2) | Last week’s rank: 3 Tom Brady ac­tu­ally seemed con­fused at times Sun­day night by the looks given to him by the Green Bay de­fense.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) | Last week’s rank: 4 Pa­trick Ma­homes and the Chiefs took care of busi­ness Sun­day in Cleve­land and now have a tuneup against the Car­di­nals be­fore their Nov. 19 meet­ing with the Rams in Mex­ico City. 4. Los Angeles Rams (8-1) | Last week’s rank: 1 The loss in New Or­leans is sig­nif­i­cant only if the Rams must go back there for the NFC ti­tle game. 5. Los Angeles Charg­ers (6-2) | Last week’s rank: 5 The Charg­ers are still the sec­ond-best NFL team in L.A. But the gap be­tween the two is not all that wide at the mo­ment. 6. Pitts­burgh Steel­ers (5-2-1) | Last week’s rank: 6

The four straight 100-yard rush­ing games by RB James Con­ner and the four straight wins have made it easy for the Steel­ers to stop fret­ting about when or if Le’Veon Bell will show up. 7. Carolina Pan­thers (6-2) | Last week’s rank: 8 The Pan­thers are an in­ter­est­ing team. But are they an ac­tual post­sea­son threat to the Saints or Rams in the NFC? 8. Hous­ton Tex­ans (6-3) | Last week’s rank: 10

The Tex­ans were for­tu­nate in Den­ver with the missed FG by the Bron­cos’ Bran­don McManus that could have been the game-win­ner. But good luck is part of it when things are go­ing well. And they are go­ing very well for the Tex­ans, with six straight wins and their bye week now at hand. 9. Philadel­phia Ea­gles (4-4) | Last week’s rank: 9

The Red­skins’ vul­ner­a­bil­ity means that the NFC East is there for the tak­ing for the Ea­gles, even with their earl­y­sea­son in­con­sis­ten­cies. 10. Chicago Bears (5-3) | Last week’s rank: 12

Even af­ter the Khalil Mack trade, few fig­ured the Bears would be lead­ing the NFC North at the half­way point of their sea­son, not with the Vik­ings and Pack­ers once look­ing so for­mi­da­ble. But there’s no rea­son that the Bears can’t win this divi­sion. 11. Min­nesota Vik­ings (5-3-1) | Last week’s rank: 13 Sud­denly, there’s a lot to like about the way the Vik­ings are play­ing. 12. Cincin­nati Ben­gals (5-3) | Last week’s rank: 11

The Ben­gals, as they re­turn from their bye, re­port­edly will play with­out WR A.J. Green for at least two games.

13. At­lanta Fal­cons (4-4) | Last week’s rank: 18

The Fal­cons have re­assem­bled their once-bro­ken sea­son, with three straight wins fol­low­ing a 1-4 start. 14. Washington Red­skins (5-3) | Last week’s rank: 7

Just when it seemed like time to be­gin trust­ing the Red­skins as a le­git­i­mate play­off con­tender, they gave a dud of a per­for­mance against the Fal­cons that was made even worse by the sea­son-end­ing in­juries suf­fered by WR Paul Richard­son and guards Bran­don Scherff and Shawn Lau­vao.

15. Mi­ami Dol­phins (5-4) | Last week’s rank: 21

It does not ap­pear that Ryan Tan­nehill is ready to re­turn to the lineup. That’s not the worst thing. 16. Ten­nessee Ti­tans (4-4) | Last week’s rank: 25 The Ti­tans got off to a shaky, turnover-marred start Mon­day night in Dal­las. But QB Mar­cus Mar­i­ota and the of­fense set­tled down from there. 17. Green Bay Pack­ers (3-4-1) | Last week’s rank: 14 The Pack­ers had some bad luck against the Pa­tri­ots, with the in­juries and the ques­tion­able ejec­tion of Jer­maine White­head. 18. Seat­tle Sea­hawks (4-4) | Last week’s rank: 15 The Sea­hawks, in this sea­son of tran­si­tion, have over­achieved even to be at .500. 19. Bal­ti­more Ravens (4-5) | Last week’s rank: 16 There’s lit­tle sense in fir­ing Coach John Har­baugh or bench­ing QB Joe Flacco in fa­vor of rookie La­mar Jack­son. 20. In­di­anapo­lis Colts (3-5) | Last week’s rank: 19

The Colts re­turn from their bye to play three straight home games against the Jaguars, Ti­tans and Dol­phins. 21. Dal­las Cow­boys (3-5) | Last week’s rank: 17

The ad­di­tion of WR Amari Cooper to the of­fense helped out a lit­tle bit Mon­day night. But not nearly enough.

22. Jack­sonville Jaguars (3-5) | Last week’s rank: 24 It’s now or never for the Jaguars. 23. Detroit Li­ons (3-5) | Last week’s rank: 20

The Li­ons said when they traded WR Golden Tate that they weren’t giv­ing up on their sea­son. 24. Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers (3-5) | Last week’s rank: 22 All of this Ryan Fitz­patrick stuff is en­ter­tain­ing to watch.

25. Den­ver Bron­cos (3-6) | Last week’s rank: 23 Noth­ing is go­ing the Bron­cos’ way, to the point that front of­fice ex­ec­u­tive John El­way is be­ing asked about the pos­si­bil­ity of an in-sea­son coach­ing change. 26. Ari­zona Car­di­nals (2-6) | Last week’s rank: 26

The Car­di­nals be­came the most re­cent con­trib­u­tor to the Sam Brad­ford Fund be­fore be­com­ing the lat­est NFL team to part ways with him. 27. New York Jets (3-6) | Last week’s rank: 27 No, Sam Darnold is not play­ing well at all. 28. San Fran­cisco 49ers (2-7) | Last week’s rank: 32 Nick Mul­lens? Se­ri­ously? 29. Cleve­land Browns (2-6-1) | Last week’s rank: 28 Maybe the per­for­mance against the Chiefs in Gregg Wil­liams’s first game as the Browns’ in­terim coach will lead to him get­ting four more se­cret head coach­ing of­fers.

30. Buf­falo Bills (2-7) | Last week’s rank: 29

All you need to know about Nathan Peter­man as a start­ing QB in the NFL is that throw­ing three in­ter­cep­tions and hav­ing a 45.4 passer rat­ing against the Bears ac­tu­ally qual­i­fied as a de­cent out­ing by his stan­dards.

31. New York Giants (1-7) | Last week’s rank: 31 When the bye week is your best week of the sea­son, things are not go­ing well.

32. Oak­land Raiders (1-7) | Last week’s rank: 30

The per­for­mance Thurs­day night against the Nin­ers was about as dread­ful as it gets.

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