Things can change dramatically from week to week in the NFL, and this is one of those weeks for the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings held steady at No. 2 in our rankings last week following a brutal loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. After such a strong start to the season, with that dominant defense, we assumed the loss to the Eagles was an anomaly. Based on Minnesota’s performance against the Chicago Bears, the Vikings’ offensive line may be an even bigger problem than anyone realized.
It was a weird week for the NFC South, with the bottom-dwelling Carolina Panthers taking out the Arizona Cardinals, and the New Orleans Saints pulling off a win against the Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons managed to hold on for a close win at home against the Green Bay Packers, so all three teams move up a bit in our rankings this week.
Deep falls and big jumps
The Vikings are the obvious drop, after we gave them the benefit of the doubt last week against the Eagles. The way Minnesota played against the Bears, the No. 30 team in last week’s power rankings, suggests that there are legitimate issues — primarily the offensive line — that the Vikings need to correct.
The Bears had plays like where Jay Cutler hit Alshon Jeffery in the back of a head with a pass, and Chicago still managed to beat the Vikings.
The Seahawks fall from No. 3 to No. 7 because we really don’t know what’s going on with the offense. Seattle managed to only score 13 points against a porous New Orleans defense that’s allowing an average of 32.5 points per game. The other seven points came courtesy of safety Earl Thomas, who recovered a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown.
As a result of these games, the Bears jump up a couple of spots to No. 28, and the Saints move all the way to No. 17 this week after landing at No. 22 in Week 8.
They didn’t make huge jumps, but there wasn’t much room for the Broncos and Cowboys to improve anyway. Both moved up a couple of spots, benefited by the Vikings’ demise Monday night.
It looked as if the Cowboys might be plummeting in this week’s rankings as they struggled against the Eagles all night on Sunday Night Football, but a late-game rally by Dak Prescott and the offense, including a wide-open Jason Witten touchdown, helped them seal the win in overtime.
Bottom of the trash heap
We’re sorry, Cleveland Browns fans. We don’t want to keep your team at the bottom of the trash heap every single week. It’s just that the Browns are the only winless team in the league, and on Sunday, it looked for a moment like we might actually be able to bump them up a spot as they dominated the Jets early.
Then the Browns did the most Browns thing they could possibly do, blowing a 20-7 halftime lead and securing Cleveland’s spot at the bottom of our rankings for yet another week.
The San Francisco 49ers stay at 31, because they had a bye and no opportunity to redeem themselves. Jacksonville falls a spot to No. 30 after taking a painful loss to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football that probably should have gotten Gus Bradley fired.
Update: Also see the power rankings roundup.
|Week 8||Team||Last Week|
|1||New England Patriots||1|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||7|
|15||Green Bay Packers||14|
|16||New York Giants||17|
|17||New Orleans Saints||22|
|23||San Diego Chargers||18|
|24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24|
|26||Los Angeles Rams||25|
|27||New York Jets||27|
|31||San Francisco 49ers||31|