Each week, we will bring you staff NFL Power Rankings. The overall rankings are a combination of polls submitted by Justin Rozzero, Marc Clair, Chad Campbell, Greg Phillips, Andrew Flanagan & Maurice Pogue. Each team is assigned points based on rank and then compiled and ranked overall based on total points. Managing Editor Brad Woodling has the power to break ties.
- Denver Broncos (192 pts): It wasn’t easy, but the Broncos remained undefeated after winning their biggest challenge to date. Despite giving up nearly 50 points, the defense got a huge turnover when they needed one the most. Peyton Manning took care of the rest. Was this an aberration or can the defense keep up with Manning’s manic pace that leads to them seeing quite a bit of field time? That could make or break their Super Bowl chances.
- New Orleans Saints (186 pts): The Saints hit the road and stifled the Bears on their own turf. The defense has been much improved from a year ago and Drew Brees has the offense humming. A win in Foxboro will be a major statement for Sean Payton’s gang.
- Seattle Seahawks (175 pts): The knock on the Seahawks is their shaky play on the road and they did nothing to quell those concerns but giving away a lead in Indianapolis. They still sit at a hearty 4-1 and welcome a depleted Tennessee team to Seattle, which should get the Hawks back on track.
- Kansas City Chiefs (174 pts): The Chiefs stayed unbeaten as their rebuilt ferocious defense smothered Tennessee on the road. Alex Smith still hasn’t had a break-out day, but Jamaal Charles is off to a great start and piled up another 100 yard outing. They welcome Oakland on Sunday and will look for another win to keep them on pace with Denver.
- Indianapolis Colts (166 pts): The Colts picked up another big boy win and have now picked off the perceived top two NFC squads early in the season. The division is theirs for the taking and to this point they have shrugged off that expected regression.
- San Francisco 49ers (164 pts): San Francisco dominated the Texans on Sunday night as they have gone back to their bread and butter: running and hard hitting defense. There are rumors of a Josh Gordon trade, which would be a big boon to their struggling pass game.
- New England Patriots (154 pts): Despite the return of Danny Amendola, the Patriots offense again struggled mightily and this time the defense couldn’t do it all themselves. Even with that loss and all of the struggles, the Pats still sit atop the division. However, Brady and his young weapons better get things figured out as Drew Brees and the Saints come to Beantown this Sunday.
- Cincinnati Bengals (146 pts): The Bengals gutted out a big AFC win as the defense continues to dominate. Andy Dalton may prove to be the weak link of a team on the cusp of being a championship contender. They head north to Buffalo for a very winnable game, so they need to avoid the trap loss.
- Green Bay Packers (138 pts): The Packers offense struggled early, but once they got cooking they were able to easily blast past the Lions to get a much needed victory. Eddie Lacy returned from his concussion and just missed a 100 yard day. They head on the road to face the Ravens with a chance to get over .500.
- Detroit Lions (128 pts): The Lions have played well and there is no shame in losing in Green Bay to a desperate Packers team, especially without Calvin Johnson. Regardless, they had a chance to really choke out the division with a win and they couldn’t get it done. They face the resurgent Browns in Cleveland this week, but this is a game they should win with or without Megatron.
- Chicago Bears (128 pts): Despite the loss, the Bears had to be encouraged by the play of Alshon Jeffrey, who piled up 218 yards through the air. With the Lions loss, the Bears are still in good shape in the division. They should be able to take care of business against the hapless Giants on Thursday night, leading to a well-earned ten day layoff.
- Miami Dolphins (124 pts): After shooting out to a 3-0 start, Miami has now dropped two straight, including a tough loss in a winnable home game against the Ravens. The Fins have a week off to rest up before a divisional showdown against Buffalo. The defense needs to get back on track and a withered Buffalo offense should provide the elixir.
- Dallas Cowboys (123 pts): The Cowboys tried. They gave it their all. But Peyton Manning is just unstoppable so far this year. Tony Romo played the game of his life but was snakebitten by an ill-advised pick down the stretch. Dallas has nobody else to blame but themselves for not having a commanding division lead at this point. They need to stomp out Washington on Sunday night to get back on track.
- Baltimore Ravens (116 pts): The Ravens may be the trickiest team to figure out in football. They blow games they should win and they win games you peg as losses. One week Joe Flacco looks like he deserved to be one of the highest paid players of all time and the next he looks like the worst QB in football. Ray Rice came back and looked strong but until this team shows some consistency week to week, they are hard to take seriously.
- Tennessee Titans (104 pts): The Titans were hot and playing with tons of confidence but the loss of Jake Locker has rattled them. It took a while but Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to keep the Titans in the game on Sunday, but they couldn’t close it out. If the team has any playoff hopes, Locker needs to be back sooner than later.
- New York Jets (101 pts): The Jets picked up a huge road win Monday Night as Geno Smith bounced back to deliver the most efficient game of his career. The defensive line played fantastic and Nick Folk delivered another game winning kick. If the Jets can take of business against Pittsburgh at home, they could be looking at a chance to play for first place the following week. Can they avoid the usual Jet traps and win a must have game?
- Cleveland Browns (99 pts): God hates Cleveland, that has been proven over and over again. Just when it looks like they may tank the season, Brian Hoyer rides in and turns things around. And then he blows out his ACL. Brandon Weeden returned and still sealed a win, but can he keep it going? And will he have Josh Gordon to chuck the rock to? Time will tell.
- Houston Texans (97 pts): The Texans are in serious trouble now as even in their two wins, they looked easily beatable. Matt Schaub has lost all confidence and the boos are getting louder. Gary Kubiak will stand by his QB but it may cost both of them if they can’t turn it around.
- Atlanta Falcons (92 pts): Atlanta lost another heartbreaker as the injuries continue to cripple this team. The OL could not hold up against the Jets pass rush and the DL could not pressure Geno Smith until late in the game. Until Roddy White, Stephen Jackson and the rest of the reinforcements return, things could get worse before they get better. The division may be gone, but the Falcons have a chance at the Wild Card if they can start to pick up some wins out of a much needed bye.
- San Diego Chargers (81 pts): Thanks to a couple of big wins, the Chargers were looking like a frisky fringe playoff contender, but a bad loss in Oakland will set them back quite a bit. They can regain their mojo with a Monday night showdown with the Colts, but it won’t be easy.
- Philadelphia Eagles (81 pts): The Eagles stayed strong once Michael Vick went down and picked up a key win over the Giants. It has yet to be seen how effective Nick Foles can be in this offense, so Philly needs to hope Vick is back quickly. Despite what the early going has looked like, this team sits tied for the division lead as they face off with the brutal Buccaneers this week.
- Oakland Raiders (65 pts): Terrelle Pryor is back and the Raiders grabbed a nice home win against the Chargers. This team has been much more competitive than expected but they still have a lot of work to do.
- Arizona Cardinals (61 pts): The Cardinals defense is legit and when the offense can take advantage, this team can win some games. They are not built to contend but they will give teams fits down the stretch. They need to target a young QB in the draft and develop him slowly.
- Buffalo Bills (59 pts): It has been rough going in Buffalo as the injuries continue to take their toll. This time, rookie QB EJ Manuel is down for the count and with an awful lack of depth at the position, the Bills will be running, running and running some more. With the man-eating Bengals D on deck, things do not look good in upstate New York.
- Carolina Panthers (46 pts): After they demolished the Giants, it looked like the Panthers may be turning things around, but after a sloppy inefficient loss in the desert, the Panthers are on the ropes. They can’t seem to decide what type of team to be and once Arizona was able to stuff the run game, they sat back and waited for Newton to make a mistake. They now head to Minnesota to what amounts to an NFC elimination game.
- Washington Redskins (44 pts): Washington had a much needed week off and now look to turn their season around as they travel to Dallas with a chance to get right into the thick of the division race. However, the Skins need to hope their defense can pull it together or else Tony Romo may shred them up and down the field.
- Minnesota Vikings (44 pts): The Vikings have finally realized that Christian Ponder was hurting this team more than helping, so they went out and picked up Josh Freeman. Freeman won’t start this week, but he will soon. It is likely too late to salvage things, but they will have plenty of time to analyze if he is the future at the position.
- St. Louis Rams (42 pts): The Rams got a win. Against the Jaguars. Does it really count?
- Pittsburgh Steelers (22 pts): The winless Steelers will look to get on the board with a road game against the Jets. Le’Veon Bell looked good in his first game, so with the semblance of a running game in place maybe the team can get the offense moving in the right direction.
- New York Giants (17 pts): The Giants couldn’t come back against Philly’s backup QB. It may be time to look to next year, yet they are just one game out of the division lead. A win over Chicago would be a big one on many levels. A loss may officially bury them.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17 pts): Things were quiet for Tampa in their bye week. That may change quickly with another loss on Sunday.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (3 pts): The Blaine Gabbert era looks to finally be over on Jacksonville. A historical matchup against the Broncos now looms.
Biggest Rise: Cincinnati Bengals & Oakland Raiders(+6)
Biggest Fall: Houston Texans & Atlanta Falcons (-6)
PTB Game to Watch: New Orleans @ New England
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