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NFL 2018 SQ NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

Oregon Live

With a huge performance last Thursday night, how high did the Steelers climb in our rankings?

It happened early in the week, so in the NFL news cycle, we’ve almost forgotten it, but the Steelers opened up a can against the Panthers. They put up more than 50 points, and their recent successes overall have kicked them back into our top 5. Check out who slid out and how the rest of the rankings turned out below.

   Ranking (Change)

1 (-)

New Orleans Saints (8-1)

New Orleans Saints (8-1)

The Saints extended their winning streak to eight games on Sunday, maintaining their status as the hottest team in football. New Orleans manhandled the Bengals in every respect and had the game over by halftime, as Drew Brees and company jumped out to a 35-7 lead through the first two quarters. Brees and Michael Thomas continued their impressive rapport, as the two connected eight times (on eight targets) for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas has arguably been the most reliable receiver in the NFL to this point, as the third-year phenom has now caught 78 of 87 targets for 950 yards and seven touchdowns. An astonishing 89.7 percent catch rate is just unreal. The Saints’ wrecking crew of an offense will attempt to keep their win streak alive when they take on Carson Wentz and the Eagles this Sunday in a game that is sure to rack up some points. (Ryan Grube)

2 (+1)

Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)

Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)

The sample size is now big enough to confidently state that Kansas City is the team to beat in the AFC. Frankly, I believe that the 2018 Chiefs are the most legitimate non-Patriot contender in the AFC since the 2015 Broncos. The difference is that the Broncos’ defense carried the team that year, while first-year starter Patrick Mahomes II and the Chiefs’ offense will carry this team to their final destination: very possibly Atlanta in February. (Hunter Bonge)

3 (-1)

Los Angeles Rams (9-1)

Los Angeles Rams (9-1)

After the disappointing loss to the Saints, the Rams regained their confidence with a 36-31 win over the Seahawks. At 9-1, the Rams are one of the top teams in the NFC and don’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Lost in the shuffle of the win is the season-ending injury to slot receiver Cooper Kupp. The receiver was having a career year before the injury, which will cause McVay to get creative to make sure the offense keeps rolling. (Matt Fowler)

4 (+1)

Los Angeles Chargers (7-2)

Los Angeles Chargers (7-2)

The Chargers are quietly one of the hottest teams in the league right now, winning their sixth straight game. At 7-2, with their only losses coming to the Chiefs and Rams, the Chargers are firmly in control of the first wildcard in the AFC, and remain in striking distance behind the Chiefs atop the AFC West. Although their offense has stagnated the past three games, the defense is holding teams to 13.2 points per game over their past five games. When the offense catches up, this team will be dangerous in the playoffs. (Matt Fowler)

5 (+2)

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1)

A couple of seasons ago, Le’Veon Bell proclaimed that he was the Steph Curry of the NFL, changing the game for running backs with his patience-then-explode running style. It turns out that Pittsburgh is changing the game because of what the team has done without Bell, proving that even the best running backs are not worth $17 million per year. With Bell off the field, the Steelers are in first place and poised for another playoff run. (Hunter Bonge)

6 (-2)

New England Patriots (7-3)

New England Patriots (7-3)

There are one or two games every season in which you wonder if Father Time has finally caught up to Tom Brady, and Sunday’s matchup against the Titans was one of those games. His stat line wasn’t terrible (21/41 for 254 yards, no TDs or interceptions), but the future Hall-of-Famer routinely missed receivers as New England was manhandled in Tennessee, 34-10. This would hardly be the first time the panic button was hit prematurely, however, and with Gronk still on the shelf, we’ll give Brady and co. the benefit of the doubt. (Kyle Trapp)

7 (-1)

Carolina Panthers (6-3)

Carolina Panthers (6-3)

Well, the Super Bowl talk surrounding the Panthers can now be put on hold for a bit because Thursday night’s performance against the Steelers was less than impressive, and that of a non-contender. Their defense was gashed by Ben Roethlisberger to the tune of 328 passing yards and five touchdowns, while their offense only amassed 242 total yards. This equated to an abysmal 52-21 thumping, which dropped their record to 6-3 and placed them two games back of the division-leading Saints. Carolina has played well at home, going 5-0 in Bank of America Stadium. Their problems arise when they travel on the road, where they’re a meager 1-3. Although their next three contests all come against teams with losing records, the Panthers still have two matchups with New Orleans remaining on their schedule. Consequently, Ron Rivera and company could be dependent on a Wild Card spot to return to the playoffs for a second consecutive season. (Ryan Grube)

8 (-)

Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)

Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)

Watching the Bears and Packers win on its bye week wasn’t the best case scenario for Minnesota, but a primetime matchup against the division-leading Bears gives the Vikings a chance to take control of the division. Before the bye, Minnesota was one of the best teams in football, although its record doesn’t exactly reflect that. This stretch should give us a better look at how good this Minnesota team actually is. (Matt Fowler)

9 (+2)

Chicago Bears (6-3)

Chicago Bears (6-3)

Mitch Trubisky is playing as well as any quarterback in the NFL over the last six weeks. With 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions during that stretch, Trubisky has a chance this week against the Vikings to show the rest of the league he has arrived and is ready to lead the Bears to the NFC North title. (Max Vukelich)

10 (+3)

Washington Redskins (6-3)

Washington Redskins (6-3)

The Redskins benefited from some historically terrible red zone offense by Tampa Bay, but a win is a win and Washington now has a two-game lead in the division. Despite the 6-3 record, the team has been very difficult to get a read on. The front seven and rushing attack are strong, but Alex Smith hasn’t been himself this season and it feels like Washington’s 2018 ceiling is capped. With four divisional games remaining on the schedule, the Redskins will be able to control their own destiny, but even a divisional title wouldn’t mean much given this year’s NFC landscape. (Nick Cardozo)

11 (+4)

Houston Texans (6-3)

Houston Texans (6-3)

The Texans got Week 10 to rest up on the heels of their current six-game winning streak. However, it was not all smooth-sailing, as they watched Tennessee pick up a shockingly dominant victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots and also saw Indianapolis continue a four-game winning streak with a 29-26 win over the Jaguars. Consequently, the AFC South finally appears to be heating up with Houston still clinging to a one-game lead over the Titans. The good news for the Texans is that quarterback Deshaun Watson looks to have found his groove from his rookie campaign. The second-year man out of Clemson has thrown for seven touchdowns and no interceptions over his last two games. Things will not get easier for Watson and company on Sunday, though, as they prepare to take on the NFC East-leading Redskins in what could turn out to be a defensive showdown in Washington. (Ryan Grube)

12 (+2)

Green Bay Packers (4-4-1)

Green Bay Packers (4-4-1)

Following two straight losses to sure-fire playoff contenders, Aaron Rodgers and company were able to right the ship against the up-and-down Dolphins on Sunday. The win shouldn’t come as a surprise—not just because it was Miami—but because the Packers were at home. Green Bay is an almost-perfect 4-0-1 at Lambeau Field, as opposed to 0-4 on the road. It’s a testament of how overpowering their home crowd is, but also to how poorly Mike McCarthy’s crew plays away from Lambeau. In their four wins—and one tie for that matter—the Packers are averaging an impressive 27.8 points per game, compared to just 21 points per game in their four losses. If this team wants to fulfill its playoff and Super Bowl aspirations, it will have to prove it can execute and win on the road, especially with teams like the Rams and Saints surely to be in the way come January. (Ryan Grube)

13 (+5)

Tennessee Titans (5-4)

Tennessee Titans (5-4)

Where has THAT been all year? It takes a very, very good team to embarrass the Patriots, yet the previously 4-4 Titans did just that on Sunday. They completely took away the New England running game, and it’s time to start giving the Tennessee defense some praise for the unit they’ve turned into. Offensively, Corey Davis did plenty of damage and may be the team’s key to success on that side of the ball. Should Marcus Mariota actually start playing with some consistency, this team could steal the division. (Nick Cardozo)

14 (-4)

Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Baltimore started the season off hot, going 3-1. The Ravens now find themselves at 4-5 and losers of three straight. To make matters worse, their quarterback situation is up in the air, as Joe Flacco has been placed on the injury report with a hip injury that could have him missing anywhere from no games to two months. That could end up being a blessing in disguise as Flacco has once again been one of the league’s worst quarterbacks this year. For the Ravens to make the playoffs they will need improved play from the quarterback position, one way or another. (Adrian Nelson)

15 (-6)

Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)

Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)

The Super Bowl hangover continues to rear its ugly head in the City of Brotherly Love, as the Eagles fell at home to the division-rival Cowboys, 27-20. Frustratingly, the seven-point margin of defeat was Philly’s largest of the season, as each of their five losses has been by a single possession. To make matters worse, things won’t get easier moving forward; the seven teams left on their docket have a combined record of 40-23. (Kyle Trapp)

16 (-4)

Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)

Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)

The Bengals have arguably the worst defense in the NFC right now. The good news is they could be facing a rookie QB this week if Joe Flacco can’t start for the Ravens. A win this week will put the Bengals in a strong position to finish the season with the sixth playoff spot in the AFC, but a loss diminishes their chances immensely. (Max Vukelich)

17 (-)

Seattle Seahawks (4-5)

Seattle Seahawks (4-5)

The Seahawks had their second opportunity to knock off the Rams this season, but couldn’t hold on in the fourth quarter. Seattle is still barely breathing in the wild card race, but Russell Wilson looks to be turning things around after a slow start. Next up are the Packers and Panthers, and this stretch will likely define Seattle’s 2018 season. With the most rushing yards in the NFL, the Seahawks can hang with anyone if they control the ground game, but will need help defensively in order to string together a few wins. (Nick Cardozo)

18 (-2)

Atlanta Falcons (4-5)

Atlanta Falcons (4-5)

The Falcons missed a golden opportunity to get themselves firmly back into the NFC Wild Card race last week. After their loss to the Browns they sit at 4-5 with no margin of error going forward. They can probably only afford one more loss, so if they are going to make a run this weeks game against Dallas is a must win. (Max Vukelich)

19 (+3)

Dallas Cowboys (4-5)

Dallas Cowboys (4-5)

Dallas shocked just about everyone by going into Philadelphia and beating the Eagles, 27-20, in a primetime matchup. And it wasn’t just some fluky win where they won at the end. Dallas controlled the game from the opening kickoff and had the Eagles on their heels for 60 minutes. For Dallas, it was the blueprint that won 13 games just two seasons ago. The Cowboys fed Ezekiel Elliot and controlled the clock, and Dak Prescott made a few plays but more importantly avoided the big mistake. If Dallas hopes to capitalize on this momentum and turn it into a run, it will need to replicate this game plan. (Adrian Nelson)

20 (+5)

Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

The Colts seem to have found their grove, winning three straight games and putting up 37, 42, and 29 points during that run. QB Andrew luck is on track for the best passer rating of his career at 98.4, putting him between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady so far this season. That’s 15th in the league among starters, but hey, it’s good company. (Hunter Bonge)

21 (-2)

Miami Dolphins (5-5)

Miami Dolphins (5-5)

After sprinting out the gates, the Dolphins are crashing back to Earth. Miami has lost three of its last four games and the offense is mustering just 17.2 points per game over that stretch. The bye week will give Ryan Tannehill time to return to the lineup and get Miami ready for a final stretch that features games against the Bills (twice) and the Colts. If there’s a time for Tannehill to prove his worth, it’s now. (Matt Fowler)

22 (+1)

Denver Broncos (3-6)

Denver Broncos (3-6)

Denver has lost six of its last seven games. While that looks bad, and it is bad, if you look at the schedule, the Broncos just haven’t been as talented as many of the teams they’ve faced. Aside from a loss the Jets on the road, they’ve lost to the Chiefs twice, the Ravens, the Rams, and the Texans. Two of those teams have only one loss apiece and the other two are very good football teams. Denver isn’t the type of team that can overcome drastic differences in talent. It has a middle-of-the-road defense and a subpar offense that will keep it in the game against the league’s bottom-third teams. The unfortunate news for the Broncos is that things don’t get any easier soon. Their next three games are against the Chargers, Steelers, and Bengals. Denver could very well end up dropping another three to those teams. (Adrian Nelson)

23 (-3)

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)

Despite staking the Colts a 29-13 lead in the first half, the Jaguars certainly had their chances to pull off a season-saving come-from-behind win in Indianapolis. However, a Rashad Greene fumble just before the red zone with a minute and a half to play quelled the comeback attempt, and Jacksonville dropped its fifth straight game, 29-26. A month ago, this team looked like one of the league’s best, but inconsistency on both sides of the ball now has the Jags on the outside looking in. (Kyle Trapp)

24 (-3)

Detroit Lions (3-6)

Detroit Lions (3-6)

Just three weeks ago, the Lions followed up a big win over the Packers with a gritty win on the road against a tougher-than-advertised Dolphins team. Since then, though, the wheels have fallen off. They’ve lost three straight games and lost them by an average of 13 points each. They’ve been sacked 19 times in the last three weeks, which is a huge reason that the offense has looked abysmal. The other is that they lack weapons. Detroit traded No. 1 wide receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles a few weeks back. Without him, the Lions’ passing attack is missing its roar. (Adrian Nelson)

25 (+1)

Cleveland Browns (3-6-1)

Cleveland Browns (3-6-1)

It only took Gregg Williams one game as head coach to rack up as many wins as Hue Jackson did in his first two seasons. The victory wasn’t against any slouch, either; instead, Baker Mayfield and company bested one of the league’s hotter teams in the Falcons. Mayfield and Nick Chubb stole the show, as the rookies combined for 392 yards and all four of Cleveland’s scores. However, the defense deserves credit as well; they contained Matt Ryan and limited Atlanta to just 71 yards on the ground. (Kyle Trapp)

26 (-2)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)

I’d thought I’d seen it all in this league, but on Sunday the Bucs managed to put up just three points despite posting 503 yards of total offense. It’s tough to assign blame when it comes to such an anomaly like this, but what’s clear is that Dirk Koetter’s days as head coach are numbered. Fortunately for him, Tampa Bay’s next two opponents are the Giants and 49ers. With no long-term answer at QB and a head coach halfway out the door, expect the Bucs to look quite different entering next season. (Nick Cardozo)

27 (+2)

New York Giants (2-7)

New York Giants (2-7)

In a Monday night battle between a pair of teams with a combined record of 3-14, it was the Giants who came out on top over the 49ers, 27-23. Eli Manning turned back the clock with a vintage game-winning drive, and the oft-criticized signal caller turned in his first three-touchdown performance of the season. However, despite what OBJ may think, New York is all but out of the playoff race at this point, so while the victory was certainly a morale booster, it may have just hurt their chances at drafting Eli’s successor. (Kyle Trapp)

28 (-1)

New York Jets (3-7)

New York Jets (3-7)

The New York Football Jets just suffered what may be their most embarrassing lost in franchise history. I know it may sound prisoner of the moment, but think about it. They lost at home. They lost at home to a two-win Bills team. They lost at home to a two-win Bills team starting Matt Barkley. They lost at home to a two-win Bills team starting Matt Barkley who had been on his couch two weeks ago. They lost by 31 points at home to a two-win Bills team starting Matt Barkley who had been on his couch two weeks ago. Damn, that’s embarrassing. (Adrian Nelson)

29 (-1)

San Francisco 49ers (2-8)

San Francisco 49ers (2-8)

San Francisco fought admirably as it has been known to do, but in the end, it didn’t have enough to beat the Giants. Despite leading for much of the game, the combination of Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham proved too much. Nick Mullens made a few mistakes, but he looked serviceable and could be a good backup for the team next year. The year is over for San Fran. The 49ers should look to develop their young players to see what they have for next year and get a head start on scouting. They’ll need to hit in the draft to improve a team lacking in talent in many areas. (Adrian Nelson)

30 (+1)

Buffalo Bills (3-7)

Buffalo Bills (3-7)

In what was probably the biggest shock of the weekend, the Bills went to New York and blew out the Jets on their home field led by Matt Barkley. With Josh Allen likely back after their bye week, they will continue their goal of developing their young QB for next year. (Max Vukelich)

31 (-1)

Arizona Cardinals (2-7)

Arizona Cardinals (2-7)

Although it was another loss that sent the Cardinals’ record to 2-7, it came at the hands of Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and the high-powered Chiefs’ offense, and their defeat also offered points of optimism for Steve Wilks’ bunch. They held a Kansas City offense, which came into Sunday’s contest averaging 36 points per game, to just 26, while putting up 14 of their own. All in all, a respectable performance, considering the defensive struggles they’ve endured thus far. On the offensive side, David Johnson finally delivered the 2016-esque performance we have been waiting for. Johnson finished with 21 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while adding an additional 85 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions through the air. However, Arizona is all but out of the playoff picture with the Rams running away with the division. The future of this team is dependent on Johnson returning to his 2016 form, and rookies Josh Rosen and Christian Kirk developing into a quality quarterback/wide receiver duo. (Ryan Grube)

32 (-)

Oakland Raiders (1-8)

Oakland Raiders (1-8)

I love the NFL’s parity. As one team rises, another must fall. The Raiders are the anti-Rams. It’s rare to see a two-year turnaround like the one that’s taken place in Los Angels. It’s also rare to see a two-year freefall like this one in Oakland. It takes a unique accumulation of mistakes to make a team this talented so bad. (Hunter Bonge)

Edited by Emily Berman.

SQuiz
What round was James Conner drafted in?
Created 11/14/18
  1. 1st
  2. 3rd
  3. 5th
  4. 7th

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