Written By: David Scanlan
#10: Arizona Cardinals (5-2) Previously – Unranked
Starting the list off is a team who still doesn’t have a true identity, but has enough on their resume to make the list so far. The Cardinals have very impressive wins against the 49ers, Cowboys, and most recently, the Seahawks. This Cardinals team is the true definition of a high-powered, fast-paced offense. In all reality, they should be sitting at 7 wins and 0 losses, but two sad losses to the Lions and Panthers have held them back. These two games may come back to bite them towards the end of the year due to the division they are playing in. In the game against Seattle, a depleted defense forced Russ into 3 interceptions and put up 519 total yards on their defense. This Cardinals team can really prove whether they can compete or not within these next few games.
#9: Los Angeles Rams (5-2) Previously – #9
The Rams find themselves still sitting in the Number 9 spot after a Week 7 victory against the Chicago Bears. This game was not a pleasure to the eye, but ultimately, the Rams got the job done. Forcing Nick Foles into throwing two interceptions was all this Rams team needed to do to get the win. Jared Goff had a quiet but efficient night with 220 Yards and 2 Touchdowns. The run game was quiet as well but had a great rotation all the way through. I believe the Bears were a very overrated team and it showed Monday night. The Rams have the tools and coaching to keep winning, but they’re going to need more productions from receivers if they want to do so.
#8: Buffalo Bills (5-2) Previously – #6
Having the New York Jets as an opponent this week was probably the best possible opponent they could have faced. In this game, the Bills failed to score a touchdown the entire game and got all 18 points from Kicker Tyler Bass, who went 6/8. Cole Beasley led the game in receiving yards with 112 and ultimately showed he is an underrated piece to this Bills offense. The Bills got off to a shaky start and found themselves down 10-3 at halftime to a joke of a team in the Jets. Josh Allen also led all rushers with 61 yards after passing for 307 yards. This Bills team has some very tough competitions in the next few weeks, and if they play anything like they did this past week, you should expect their record to take a dip.
#7: Tennessee Titans (5-1) Previously – #4
This was a hard loss for all Titans fans, but I can’t play the sympathy card. Stephen Gostkowski missed a Game-Tying FG within the final few moments that could’ve pushed them to an Overtime appearance. Although the fact that Gostkowski missed was inexcusable, there were other factors that were nearly as big. The Titans 3rd Down defense was the reason the Titans had to rely on a last-second field goal instead of maybe having a bigger, more comfortable lead. The Steelers converted on 13 of their 18 third-down attempts and with statistics like that, it will be hard to win most games. The Titans must be better in that aspect but other than that, they aren’t in bad shape.
#6: Seattle Seahawks (5-1) Previously – #3
Even with only one loss, you can tell this team needs serious help on defense. Week in and week out, they have relied so heavily on Russ to carry them throughout the game, and this week the Cardinals had an answer for it. The Cardinals forced Russ into throwing 3 picks along with his 3 touchdowns, including what would be ruled as the game losing interception from Isiah Simmons, which helped lead the Cardinals to kick the game-winner. The Seahawks defense gave up 500+ yards and that is hard to overcome in order to win. It is very hard to overlook how much the Seahawks gave up for Jamal Adams just to not see him on the field in these tough stretches. All in all, with the deadline approaching soon, the Seahawks should look into getting a defensive piece if possible.
#5: Baltimore Ravens (5-1) Previously – #5
Coming off a bye week, the Ravens are well-rested and prepared for a big matchup against the Steelers. After a shaky performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, I don’t know what version of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens we will see against a team that makes few mistakes. During the bye week, The Ravens went out and picked up Defensive End Yannick Ngakoue, to bolster up their line. Pairing Ngakoue and Judon is a nightmare for offensive lines and I expect this upgrade to help force even more turnovers and get the offense back on the field. The Ravens must play a clean and efficient game against the Steelers because you can count on their defense to show up week in and week out. It is the offense many people are not certain about. The Ravens can grab a statement win this weekend if they defeat the Steelers.
#4: Green Bay Packers (5-1) Previously – #1
After watching Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams completely dominate the Houston Texans following a terrible outing against the Bucs, it was a sigh of relief. Davante Adams once again proved that he can be relied on to be consistent this year whenever he is on the field. Adams racked up 13 catches for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns, putting on a perfect performance. Aaron Rodgers needed a performance like this after throwing his first and only two interceptions on the season against the Buccaneers, one of which resulted in a pick 6. The only downside to this Packers team is they’re lacking weapons outside of Jones and Adams, but Rodgers has made do with what he is working with and is competing for an NFC North division title against the Chicago Bears.
#3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) Previously – Unranked
Man oh man did the Buccaneers find a time-traveling machine and throw Tom Brady in there. This dude was on FIRE all game long, racking up 369 yards and 4 touchdowns. Speaking of turning the clock back, Rob Gronkowski was also a beast this weekend, hauling in 5 catches for 62 yards and 1 touchdown grab. Another bright spot from this game was Scotty Miller. It seems Brady has found a favorite target for the time being. The rushing attack between Fournette and Ronald Jones Jr. was fantastic as well. The Bucs finished this game with 45 points while holding the Raiders to only 20 points. As soon as Week 9, the Bucs will be adding another generational talent in Antonio Brown to an already loaded offense. The sky’s the limit for this team.
#2: Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) Previously – #7
The Steelers are the real deal man. This team has an elite defense and we all know the saying, “Defense wins championships”. If the Steelers do end up winning the Superbowl, the majority of the credit should be given to the defense. This past Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger threw 3 Interceptions, and still was able to put up 27 points and scrape by with a win. It was not a pretty offensive performance, but without how well the defense consistently plays week in and week out, they would be in trouble. This team is going to be very hard to beat when both sides of the ball are clicking.
#1: Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) Previously – #2
This was a hard choice for the number 1 spot between KC and Pittsburgh, but I had to hand it to the Chiefs. The fact that Patrick Mahomes played like a human being QB for once and the Chiefs still hung 43 points on the Broncos head just shows how dynamic they are as a squad. Patrick Mahomes only threw 200 yards and 1 touchdown, going 15 of 23 on completions. That seems like a pretty below average stat line for a QB, especially a winning QB, but this team stepped up and took the load off Mahomes this week. In this game, the Defense got a Pick-6, and a Kickoff return en route to a 43-16 win. C.E.H. also scored once while rushing for 46 yards as well. This team just has too many angles to attack from and will continue to dominate the league.
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