NFL Week 10 Power Rankings



NFL team helmets are displayed at the NFL Headquarters in New York December 3, 2015. An impact absorbing helmet, a cushion for artificial turf and a rubberized tether that slows the speed of the head snapping back after a collision were products named winners of a research challenge co-sponsored by the NFL. Three separate innovation challenges are providing up to $20 million in research and technology development to better understand, identify and protect against brain injury. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The NFL is maddeningly unpredictable. I had another week of pedestrian predictions, going 7-6. Among last week’s biggest storylines, the Bills dropped a stinker, Tom Brady came up clutch to finally end the Bucs losing streak, the Packers continued to be impressively bad, and the Colts fired head coach Frank Reich in a shocking move. I’ll break down all of that later in the predictions. With lots of movement in the power rankings this week, let’s get right too it. Here’s to some better luck this week.

Each team’s record and rank in last week’s rankings is listed in parentheses.

The cellar dwellers:

#32. Houston Texans (1-6-1, 32)

#31. Indianapolis Colts (3-5-1, 31)

#30. Carolina Panthers (2-7, 29)

The disappointments and misfits:

#29. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6, 28)

#28. Green Bay Packers (3-6, 23)

#27. Detroit Lions (2-6, 30)

#26. Chicago Bears (3-6, 27)

#25. Los Angeles Rams (3-5, 15)

#24. Las Vegas Raiders (2-6, 17)

#23. New Orleans Saints (3-6, 16)

Longshot playoff contenders:

#22. Washington Commanders (4-5, 22)

#21. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6, 25)

#20. Atlanta Falcons (4-5, 26)

#19. Arizona Cardinals (3-6, 14)

#18. Denver Broncos (3-5, 21)

#17. Cleveland Browns (3-5, 18)

The over achievers:

#16. New England Patriots (5-4, 18)

#15. New York Giants (6-2, 20)

#14. New York Jets (6-3, 24)

Definite playoff contenders:

#13. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3, 13)

#12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5, 12)

#11. Tennessee Titans (5-3, 8)

#10. Seattle Seahawks (6-3, 11)

#9. Baltimore Ravens (6-3, 10)

#8. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4, 7)

#7. Minnesota Vikings (7-1, 9)

Super Bowl contenders:

#6. Miami Dolphins (6-3, 6)

#5. Dallas Cowboys (6-2, 4)

#4. San Francisco 49ers (4-4, 5)

#3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2, 2)

#2. Buffalo Bills (6-2, 1)

#1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-0, 1)

Week 10 predictions:

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers: Here we go with another terrible Thursday night matchup. The Panthers were fun for a couple weeks after firing Matt Rhule but their heartbreaking loss to Atlanta in week eight seems to have sucked all the life out of them, as they were clobbered 42-21 by the Bengals in week nine. They didn’t score their first touchdown until the third quarter when the score was already 35-0. The Falcons put up a good fight against the Chargers last week, but Los Angeles kicked a game winning field goal as time expired to spoil my upset pick. The Falcons should win this game, and it probably won’t be as close as this matchup was two weeks ago.

Prediction: Falcons 27, Panthers 17

Seattle Seahawks Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This will be the first ever NFL game played in Germany as the league is expanding their international series this year. This looks to be a great matchup on paper. Tom Brady saved the Bucs from a miserable loss to the Rams by leading a clutch 60-yard game winning touchdown drive in the final minute last week against the Rams, ending Tampa’s losing streak at three games. The Seahawks are such a fun team. They were supposed to be one of the worst teams in the league this year, but Geno Smith has come out of nowhere to play like one of the best quarterbacks in football this year to lead a surprisingly great offense, and the defense has also greatly outplayed their expectations. This game is a toss up. If the Bucs keep up their offensive momentum they gained on their game winning comeback against the Rams, then they should be able to win. If not, then Seattle should win easily. I’ll bet on Tom Brady to lead his team to a close win, but it could go either way.

Prediction: Buccaneers 26, Seahawks 24

Minnesota Vikings @ Buffalo Bills: The Vikings started slowly against the Commanders, scoring just once in the first three quarters. However, Kirk Cousins got it going when it mattered the most, leading the Vikes to a 20-17 come from behind win. The Bills had a bad week last time out, losing to the Jets 20-17. Josh Allen threw two bad interceptions and hurt his elbow late in the game. His status is still up in the air for this week. If he plays, I think the Bills have a bounce back game. Allen admitted that he played awful against New York and he knows that he can’t do that if the Bills want to win the Super Bowl. If he can’t go though, Minnesota should be able to win. I’ll take the Bills assuming Allen is able to play.

Prediction: Bills 28, Vikings 23

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears: Both of these teams impressed last week. The Lions defense intercepted Aaron Rodgers three times in a 15-9 win over the Packers. The offense was nothing to write home about, but Detroit’s defense has started to play much better over the past few weeks. Justin Fields is starting to make big strides as a quarterback for the Bears. His duel threat ability was on full display against the Dolphins last week, as he passed for three touchdowns and ran for a record 178 yards and another score. The 178 yards rushing was the most for a quarterback in a single game in NFL history. This performance won Fields the NFC offensive player of the week award. Their defense continued to struggle though, and they couldn’t quite keep up with Miami’s high octane passing game. This should be a shootout. The Bears have the better offense right now and they have home field advantage, so I’ll pick them to win.

Prediction: Bears 30, Lions 27

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs: The Jags finally broke their five game losing streak by overcoming a 17-point deficit to beat the Raiders 27-20 last week. The Jags are better than their record suggests. Believe it or not, they have a point differential of +21, meaning they have scored 21 more points than they have given up. Jacksonville’s point differential is actually better than winning teams like the Giants, Jets, and Titans. However, the Chiefs are still a much better team. Although they didn’t play their best game last week against the Titans, they still escaped with an overtime win thanks to Patrick Mahomes, who led a game tying touchdown drive in overtime and then a game winning field goal drive in overtime. Having an elite quarterback goes a long way in football. The Jags are a respectable team and should make this a decent game, but the Chiefs should win.

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Jaguars 20

Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans: The Broncos are coming off their bye week. Back in week eight, they beat the Jaguars 21-17 as Russell Wilson had one of his best games of the season. If they can build off that win and if they used their bye week to make some necessary adjustments, they could be a dark horse contender. The Titans put up a good fight last week against the Chiefs, but the offense didn’t quite have enough firepower without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill should be back this week, but I actually think Denver wins this game. The Titans have a -9 point differential, so I think they are due for some regression in the standings. The Broncos have a good defense, and if Wilson and the offense continue to make strides, they should have a good shot at winning this one.

Prediction: Broncos 23, Titans 20

Cleveland Browns @ Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins offense is rolling. Receiving duo Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are impossible to defend, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is playing better than he ever has. The defense is another story however. They are dealing with some injuries right now but that can’t fully explain how badly they have struggled of late. The Browns unexpectedly crushed the Bengals 32-13 before their week nine bye. However, I think that had more to do with Cincinnati having a really bad day than Cleveland making any long-term improvements. The Browns are decent, but they don’t pose much of a threat to great teams like the Dolphins as long as they are playing up to their ability.

Prediction: Dolphins 30, Browns 24

Houston Texans @ New York Giants: The Giants lost to the Seahawks 27-13 back in week eight before their week nine bye. The Texans put up a pretty good fight last week against the Eagles considering their expectations, but they still lost 29-17. The Giants should win this one. Both of these teams play physical and disciplined football but the G-men have more talent, although not by a landslide.

Prediction: Giants 23, Texans 16

New Orleans Saints @ Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers were crushed by the Eagles 35-13 prior to their week nine bye. The Saints majorly disappointed against the Ravens in week nine, losing 27-13. Neither their offense or defense kept up the momentum they seemingly started building with their 24-0 win over the Raiders the week prior. The Steelers are well coached and well rested, but the Saints have too much talent for them to overcome. I expect Pittsburgh to make it close, but the Saints should be able to pull out a win.

Prediction: Saints 24, Steelers 20

Indianapolis Colts @ Las Vegas Raiders: Here is probably the most fascinating matchup of the week. Following their 26-3 loss to the Patriots last week, the Colts fired head coach Frank Reich. Then, straight out of left field, they hired former six-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday to be their interim head coach. Saturday was working at ESPN and serving as a special consultant to the Colts before his hiring. Saturday has never coached at the college or pro level, and the last time he coached high school his team went 3-7. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. Just a week ago, Saturday tweeted that “the Raiders look horrible.” Well, his Colts face those Raiders this week. Vegas is in a slump as well, as they have dropped two in a row after they blew a 17-point lead in a loss to the Jaguars last week. The Colts are starting Sam Ehlinger at quarterback for the third straight week, so I don’t see a way in which Indi wins this one. Ehlinger is incapable of leading a competent offense.

Prediction: Raiders 27, Colts 14

Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers: The Cowboys are coming off their bye week, before which they beat the Bears 49-29. The Packers are broken. They have no wide receivers and they lost eight starters to injury in a loss to the Lions last week. Their coaching is bad and their front office is worse. It’s just a disaster. They aren’t beating the Cowboys.

Prediction: Cowboys 31, Packers 17

Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams: Both these teams are coming off disappointing losses. The Cardinals reverted to their early season mistake-prone ways in a 31-21 loss to the Seahawks last week. The Rams offense continued to be inept against the Bucs last week, and the defense blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter on route to a 16-13 loss. This game is going to be ugly. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is questionable with a hamstring injury and Matthew Stafford is in concussion protocol. If they both end up playing, I think the Cards will win. Their offense is much better right now. If neither quarterback plays, then this might be the ugliest game of all time. If only one plays, then that team will win. We’ll pretend that they both play for the sake of the predictions

Prediction: Cardinals 21, Rams 17

Los Angeles Chargers @ San Francisco 49ers: The Chargers edged out a 20-17 win over the Falcons last week on a last second field goal. It was a good win considering wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams were both out with injuries. The Niners are coming off their bye week, before which they crushed the Rams 31-14. Christian McCaffrey ran, caught, and passed for touchdowns in a dominant performance. With Deebo Samuel set to return from a hamstring injury this week, this offense is going to be electric. With Los Angeles still undermanned, the Niners should win this one relatively easily.

Prediction: 49ers 30, Chargers 21

Washington Commanders @ Philadelphia Eagles: The Commanders were on the verge of beating the Vikings for their fourth straight win last week, but they choked away a 17-7 lead in the fourth quarter and Minnesota won 20-17. The Eagles kept the good times rolling by beating the Texans to improve to 8-0 on the season. Washington is too inconsistent to trust against a great team like Philly, but they have the talent to make it close if they play well for all 60 minutes.

Prediction: Eagles 28, Commanders 24