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SQ NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

Buffalo Rumblings

With the Saint bursting towards the top of our rankings, how does the Top 5 shake out?

Over/under 1.5K Saints marching puns made between their dominant win over Buffalo and their upcoming game against the Skins? Well, every pun is well deserved as the Saints have moved from last week into our Top 5. Drew Brees has always been a great player, but last week’s win highlighted the run game and the defense which has often been lacking for New Orleans. The sky is the limit if they can continue to get those types of contributions from places other than Brees’ arm. Check out the rest of the rankings below and let us know what you think.

   Ranking (Change)

1 (-)

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)

Not that they really needed it, but the Eagles got a week off to rest up and attempt to continue their seven-game win streak. Their lone loss of the season came in the only game where they lost the turnover battle against Kansas City. Carson Wentz is arguably the front-runner in the MVP discussion, they have a dominant 1-2 punch in the run game with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, and their defense currently sits atop the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (66.4). If they can keep the momentum going, they will steamroll to another NFC East title and potentially make a run at the Super Bowl. (Ryan Grube)

2 (+1)

New England Patriots (7-2)

New England Patriots (7-2)

New England is as hot as any team in the league and the biggest key has been defensive improvement. The unit has held opponents to 17 points or less in five straight. Furthermore, New England’s defense has allowed 350 yards or less in three consecutive games after yielding over 400 yards in each game prior. No other AFC team has been as steady as the Pats this season, and if they can maintain their strong defensive play they’ll handle their upcoming schedule (OAK, MIA) with ease. (Nick Cardozo)

3 (-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2)

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2)

The Steelers’ win streak is up to five, and as of now they are one of the only AFC teams that look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. With Le’Veon Bell and the NFL’s second-ranked defense, Pittsburgh is very well-suited for winter football. On the other hand, the Steelers tend to struggle on the road and just barely squeaked by the Colts in Week 10. The team has a favorable upcoming schedule before facing off with New England in Week 15, and this stretch will be Pittsburgh’s opportunity to grab the one-seed and avoid any road playoff games. (Nick Cardozo)

4 (+3)

New Orleans Saints (7-2)

New Orleans Saints (7-2)

Very few people saw the Saints’ run game being their key to success coming into the season; however, they are third in the NFL in rushing yards per game (142.2). The dynamic duo of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara has provided a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and has taken some pressure off Drew Brees. On Sunday, they rushed for a whopping 298 yards and recorded six rushing touchdowns, compared to zero passing. Only the Eagles stand in the way of the Saints for the title of NFL’s hottest team, as both have rallied off seven consecutive victories. (Ryan Grube)

5 (-1)

Los Angeles Rams (7-2)

Los Angeles Rams (7-2)

If you were still skeptical, it’s time to start believing; the Rams are one of the best teams in football. On Sunday, they did what great teams do: completely manhandle an inferior team. On offense, Jared Goff continued to show he’s becoming one of the best deep ball throwers in the NFL, tossing a dime to Robert Woods for a 94-yard TD. He’s got the offense firing on all cylinders right now. Defensively, the Rams took advantage of Tom Savage, turning the quarterback over four times. They have a tough schedule in the coming weeks, but LA has more than proven that they’re up for the challenge. (Kyle Trapp)

6 (-1)

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)

After starting the season off on a tear, the Chiefs have come back to Earth some. Still, they are a very good football team. They have the third-best point differential in the AFC at +45 and it doesn’t hurt that their division, the AFC West, suddenly got very bad in a very short amount of time. With the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders struggling this season, and with the Los Angeles Charges still being bad, Kansas City has the room to get past this rough patch without it harming their playoff chances. That being said, if they want any chance of making the Super Bowl, Alex Smith needs to play like he did in Weeks 1 to 5. (Adrian Nelson)

7 (+5)

Minnesota Vikings (7-2)

Minnesota Vikings (7-2)

The Vikings are a team that does everything well. On the offensive side of the ball, they are ninth in yards per game and 10th in points per game. On the defensive side of the ball, they are fifth in both yards and points per game. There are few teams that can claim to be as balanced as the Vikings have been this season. When the Vikings are firing on all cylinders there are few teams that stand a chance. Going forward it will be interesting to see if the Vikings can win on days where their defense or their offense struggles, because if not, that is the perfect formula for a first-round playoff exit. (Adrian Nelson)

8 (+1)

Carolina Panthers (7-3)

Carolina Panthers (7-3)

After watching their division rival in the Saints blow out the Bills by 37, the Panthers did what they had to do on primetime Monday night: get a win against a sub-par Dolphins team. Carolina traded away their number-one receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, to Buffalo in hopes of elevating their running attack. The transaction has done just that, as they’ve eclipsed 200 rushing yards in the two games without him and have climbed to seventh in the NFL in rushing yards-per-game at 127.8. If their stingy defense, which sits third in the NFL in points allowed per game (18.0), can maintain their level of play, Carolina will be a force to be reckoned with and a real threat to the Saints atop the NFC South. (Ryan Grube)

9 (-1)

Seattle Seahawks (6-3)

Seattle Seahawks (6-3)

Seattle’s victory against Arizona in Week 10 was bittersweet, as the team lost Richard Sherman for the year to a torn Achilles. Although a player of his caliber can’t be replaced, the secondary will receive a boost now that Earl Thomas is due back in Week 11. The Seahawks are in position to make the playoffs, but have to face several dangerous teams over the next few weeks, including the Falcons, Eagles, Jaguars, and Rams. An ailing defense and no running game could sink Seattle during this stretch, but the team always seems to hit its stride at this point in the season. (Nick Cardozo)

10 (-)

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3)

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3)

Jacksonville captured a crucial victory on Sunday in an overtime thriller against the underrated Chargers. However, it wasn’t an overly impressive win by any means, as the offense largely struggled. Blake Bortles didn’t have his worst game by any means, but he completed less than 55% of his passes and threw a pair of picks. On the ground, Leonard Fournette was completely stifled for the first time in his young career, rushing for just 33 yards on 17 carries. But despite the underwhelming performance, Jacksonville still came out on top, a testament to the talent this team has. (Kyle Trapp)

11 (-5)

Dallas Cowboys (5-4)

Dallas Cowboys (5-4)

A week ago, Dallas looked like it had reestablished itself as an NFC contender. Since then, Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension was enforced, Sean Lee suffered a hamstring injury, and Tyron Smith‘s ailments kept him shelved. The question now is if Dallas can tread water and stay in the playoff hunt without some of its most crucial players. A date with Philadelphia this week won’t make things easier, but the NFC Wild Card spots are wide open. Now is Dak Prescott‘s chance to prove he can win games without supreme talent surrounding him. (Nick Cardozo)

12 (+1)

Detroit Lions (5-4)

Detroit Lions (5-4)

Matthew Stafford has the Lions playing good football. The only issue is given his status as the league’s highest paid quarterback good won’t be good enough in the playoffs. With all the money due Stafford the Lions have to skimp somewhere. Outside of Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, Stafford doesn’t have many weapons on that offense. He especially has no run game, which is becoming all too common for the Lions every season. Regardless, in a weakened NFC North, the Lions have a chance to catch the Vikings or at least grab a Wild Card spot in the league’s best conference. (Adrian Nelson)

13 (+2)

Tennessee Titans (6-3)

Tennessee Titans (6-3)

Tennessee has quietly rallied off four consecutive victories and are currently tied with Jacksonville at the top of the AFC South. The Titans have relied heavily on the run during their win streak, as they are averaging 125 rushing yards per game with five rushing touchdowns over that span. While their run game has been solid, the rest of the offense hasn’t been as sound, as Marcus Mariota has surpassed 300 passing yards just once all season, and that was against Indianapolis’ last-ranked pass defense. The Titans will need to improve their passing attack if they want to contend with the Jaguars come the end of the season. (Ryan Grube)

14 (+3)

Atlanta Falcons (5-4)

Atlanta Falcons (5-4)

Atlanta is coming off of a 27-7 beatdown of Dallas and looks to be trending in the right direction. Now, the Falcons have to string together some wins to be taken seriously, as they haven’t won consecutive contests since their 3-0 start. The defensive backfield has stepped up as of late, allowing an average of just 176.6 passing yards per game since Atlanta’s Week 5 bye. The secondary must maintain its high level of play for the Falcons to make the postseason, especially with Russell Wilson, Drew Brees (twice), and Cam Newton left on the schedule. (Nick Cardozo)

15 (-4)

Buffalo Bills (5-4)

Buffalo Bills (5-4)

One of the league’s biggest surprises through the season’s first eight weeks, the Bills have come crashing back down to earth over their past two games. In losses to the Jets and the Saints, Buffalo has given up 81 points compared to just 31 points scored. The defense’s ability to stop the run has been particularly alarming; after giving up 181 yards on the ground to New York, they let Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, and even undrafted rookie Trey Edmunds run all over them for 285 yards and five TDs. On offense, Tyrod Taylor mustered just 56 passing yards. It looks like the team will turn to Nathan Peterman moving forward. (Kyle Trapp)

16 (-2)

Washington Redskins (4-5)

Washington Redskins (4-5)

The Redskins have played the toughest schedule in the NFL to date; their opponents so far own a combined record of 52-30 (good for a .634 winning percentage). They currently sit at 4-5 and third in the NFC East, and although the run game has struggled, Kirk Cousins is playing well. Cousins is third in the NFL passing yards (2,474) and has an impressive touchdown to interception ratio of 14/5. There is still hope for the Redskins’ playoff chances, as their schedule does get easier with matchups against the Giants twice, Cardinals, and Broncos. However, they will need to find more production at the running back position; perhaps it starts this week, with rookie Samaje Perine getting the start in place of the injured Rob Kelley. (Ryan Grube)

17 (+3)

Oakland Raiders (4-5)

Oakland Raiders (4-5)

Oh, how the tides have turned; a team many expected to be Super Bowl contenders entering the season now sits at 4-5. Their Achilles’ heel has been on the defensive side, as they are surrendering 245 passing yards per game (good for 21st in the league), 116.6 rushing yards per game (20th), and still have yet to record an interception through their first nine games. The Raiders will have to be more effective on defense if they even want a shot at making the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl berth. Their second-half schedule isn’t very forgiving either, as they still have remaining games against the Patriots, Chiefs, Cowboys, and Eagles. (Ryan Grube)

18 (-2)

Los Angeles Chargers (3-6)

Los Angeles Chargers (3-6)

All due respect to 13th century writer Dante, but he was wrong. There aren’t nine circles of Hell as he wrote in his epic poem. There are 10, and the 10th is the one that Phillip Rivers and the Chargers find themselves in every week, coming out on the wrong side of a one-score game. I tend not to believe that teams have an inherent ability to win close games, but at this point you have to believe the Chargers have an ability to lose them. Add losing on an overtime field goal that was blocked but went in anyway to the list. The Chargers need to tear this thing down and build from the Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram up. (Adrian Nelson)

19 (-)

Denver Broncos (3-6)

Denver Broncos (3-6)

The Broncos have now dropped five straight games and their previously elite defense is nowhere to be found. Through Week 8, the most yards the defense allowed in a game was just 276. In the two games since, the unit has allowed an average of 407.5 yards per game. To be fair, those games were against Philadelphia and New England, but now the Broncos have dug a hole they aren’t equipped to get out of. Denver’s remaining schedule is soft, but in one of football’s strongest divisions, this season is as good as over. (Nick Cardozo)

20 (+2)

Green Bay Packers (5-4)

Green Bay Packers (5-4)

The Packers captured their first victory since Aaron Rodgers‘ injury on Sunday, beating the Bears 23-16. But while Green Bay sits just a game out of a Wild Card spot, expectations should be tempered. Brett Hundley seemingly improves every game, but this is a team that was able to hide its deficiencies behind the best player in football. Getting a consistent, healthy running back would go a long way towards stabilizing their offense, but injuries to Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery have prevented that from happening. There are a few winnable games left on the schedule, but a .500 record won’t be enough to make the playoffs in the NFC. (Kyle Trapp)

21 (+4)

Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

The Ravens nearly overcame a fourth quarter 10-point deficit on Sunday, but a botched onside kick all but sealed their fate against the Titans. A couple interceptions from Joe Flacco didn’t help the cause, but for the most part the veteran quarterback played well. Perhaps most encouraging was his rapport with Jeremy Maclin, who caught eight passes for 98 yards. Getting him in a groove, along with some consistency from the running back position, would go a long way towards getting Baltimore in the playoffs. Despite a 4-5 record, they’re just a game out of a Wild Card spot. (Kyle Trapp)

22 (-1)

Chicago Bears (3-6)

Chicago Bears (3-6)

Firefox is not just an internet browser. It’s a movement from loyal Chicago Bears fans who want John Fox anywhere but the sidelines of a Bears game on Sunday afternoons. Coming off a bye week and playing at home against a Green Bay Packers team without Aaron Rodgers should have been one of the easier games for the Bears this season, but they didn’t seem ready to play. Matters weren’t helped much when John Fox turned a first and goal from the two into a turnover with the worst challenge of all time. The Bears are in full rebuild mode with their rookie quarterback and need a coach that won’t stunt his development. (Adrian Nelson)

23 (-)

New York Jets (4-6)

New York Jets (4-6)

The Jets we saw this past Sunday were the Jets we expected to see all season long. Against their former quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and a very beatable Buccaneers team, New York couldn’t get anything going offensively, mustering just 10 points. Josh McCown didn’t have a bad game, but he didn’t do anything special either. On the ground, the Jets managed just 56 yards. The defense played admirably, but it’s tough to win when your offense can’t put more than 10 points on the board. (Kyle Trapp)

24 (-)

Arizona Cardinals (4-5)

Arizona Cardinals (4-5)

Arizona has had an interesting pattern of games this season: Loss-Win-Loss-Win-Loss-Win-Loss-Win-Loss. It means they’ll obviously win on Sunday, right? Not so much. It mainly serves to demonstrate that this team is a 7-9 or 8-8 type team. They struggle against good opponents and scrape by against the bad. They’ve done better than many would have thought after losing star running back David Johnson and later losing quarterback Carson Palmer, but are still just an average team. Not because of the pattern, but the Cardinals probably will win this week. They’re taking on the Texans and should be able to pull one out on the road. (Adrian Nelson)

25 (-7)

Houston Texans (3-6)

Houston Texans (3-6)

Following their narrow loss to the Seahawks just two weeks ago, things were looking up for Houston; they had an MVP contender in Deshaun Watson, who was leading an explosive, high-octane offense and a legit chance to earn a playoff spot. An ACL tear later and the Texans are 0-2 without Watson and are averaging just 9.3 points and 220 passing yards per game with Tom Savage at the helm, compared to 34.7 and 266.1 with Watson under center. Texans fans might just want to look forward to next season with their star quarterback healthy and a possible high draft pick. (Ryan Grube)

26 (-)

Miami Dolphins (4-5)

Miami Dolphins (4-5)

The Dolphins have now lost three straight and look as terrible on defense as they do on offense. Strangely, Miami has the NFL’s second-best red zone touchdown percentage, but the offense gets there so rarely that a stat normally indicating a good offense is wildly misleading in this case. The offense has actually improved since dealing Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia, but the move has coincided with a defensive collapse. With two of their next four games against New England, the Dolphins will need a miracle to finish above .500. (Nick Cardozo)

27 (-)

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6)

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6)

Cincinnati is in the midst of a three-game road trip (if you can call it that in the NFL). Having lost to the Jaguars and Titans in their last two contests, they will look to avoid completing the trifecta by winning in Denver. After stabilizing their season behind the average-to-good play of Andy Dalton, the Bengals have once again entered a slump. A major reason has been their lackluster run game. They rank dead last in the league with 70.1 rushing yards per game, despite having a backfield of Mixon, Bernard, and Hill which is one of the league’s best on paper. The offensive line is the key reason why as they have been consistently beaten at the point of attack. There’s no sign of things turning around with that play likely to continue. (Adrian Nelson)

28 (-)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)

This season has been thoroughly disappointing for the Buccaneers. They have failed to live up to the hype and the key reason is turnovers. Despite being third in passing yards, they are 22nd in points scored. They are tied for eighth in interceptions and when you combine that with not finishing drives and shaky field goal kicking, it results in an offense that hasn’t been as dynamic as advertised. On the bright side, the Bucs were able to end a five-game losing streak with a win over the Jets this past week. Maybe it can serve as a launching point for the rest of the season. They’ll need to get equally hot to have a chance of climbing back in. (Adrian Nelson)

29 (-)

Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

Through three quarters on Sunday, the Colts looked well on their way to upsetting an AFC powerhouse in the Steelers, as they led 17-9. However, they squandered the lead and allowed 11 unanswered points to Pittsburgh en route to a 20-17 loss. This Indianapolis team has had their issues finishing games so far this season, as they have also led the Cardinals, Titans, Bengals through three quarters and they were up on Seattle at halftime. On a positive note, Jacoby Brissett has been solid in relief of Andrew Luck, completing the most 60-yard touchdowns (four) by a Colts quarterback in a season since Johnny Unitas in 1966 (four). The big plays have aided the Colts’ three wins, but this team badly needs Luck back. (Ryan Grube)

30 (+1)

San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

It took 10 weeks, but the 49ers finally entered the win column on Sunday, beating the Giants 31-21. C.J. didn’t perform like a future Pro Bowler, but he played well enough, throwing for 288 yards and a pair of scores. The running game was the highlight, as Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida ran for 153 yards on nearly six YPC. This is a San Fransisco team playing for development’s sake at this point, and the flashes some of the young players have shown are encouraging. (Kyle Trapp)

31 (-1)

New York Giants (1-8)

New York Giants (1-8)

If Ben McAdoo’s seat was hot before Week 10, it has to be flaming after the Giants’ 31-21 loss to a previously winless San Francisco team. What used to be a suffocating run defense has completely fallen off this year, as the team has allowed over 100 yards rushing in eight of nine games. At this point, the Giants are looking at a top-five pick in next year’s draft, which they desperately need to fill all the holes on the roster. The main question is who will be coaching the team when the 2018 season rolls around. (Nick Cardozo)

32 (-)

Cleveland Browns (0-9)

Cleveland Browns (0-9)

Despite suffering yet another loss, there were some positive takeaways from Cleveland’s performance against the Lions on Sunday. DeShone Kizer, who has for the most part looked lost this season, led the team on multiple scoring drives while also turning the ball over just once. Additionally, Isaiah Crowell and company ran the ball well, as the Browns finished with 201 yards on the ground. The defense had their highlights as well, but they ultimately couldn’t hold onto an early 10 point lead. However, the lone winless team in the league should be happy with positive developments as they look to lock up the first overall pick. (Kyle Trapp)

Edited by Jeremy Losak.

SQuiz
What rank were the Saints in rushing yards per game in 2016?
Created 11/15/17
  1. 6th
  2. 16th
  3. 26th
  4. 30th

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