NFL Week 10: Recap and Power Rankings

There weren’t a whole lot of surprises around the league in week 10 as 12-of-14 favorites won but there were a couple of impactful upsets. I still did well on straight picks and moved to 60 games over .500 on the season, but got walloped against the spread.

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The Steelers didn’t mess around back at home and easily dispatched the Bengals to remain undefeated atop the league. They are going to lose a game at some point but they have clearly established themselves as the team to beat this season.

Pittsburgh flexed their muscle in a one-sided division game

Green Bay survived an upset bid by the reinvigorated Jaguars to stay on top of the NFC, but a lot of their vulnerabilities were on display. While they hold the top spot right now, I don’t think they’ll win up there at the end of the season.

The Saints handled business against the wounded 49ers but they lost Drew Brees for at least five weeks in the process. Brees suffered a number of broken ribs and a collapsed lung after getting smushed by Niners’ DT Kentavious Street. It wasn’t a dirty play, but football is a physical game and sometimes players get hurt when the big guy falls on the little guy. Jameis Winston came in with mixed results, so Sean Payton is going to have to play the QB situation by ear. 

It’ll be an uphill battle without Drew Brees, but the Saints have been here before

Tampa Bay has not played well in the National spotlight games at all, but they do love to be buried in that out-of-market morning game. The Panthers made it a fight early but without Christian McCaffrey in the lineup again, Carolina just couldn’t keep pace with the Bucs’ offense. Ronald Jones III’s 98-yard touchdown run was the highlight of the game but Brady threw for 341-yds and 3-TDs to help set the pace. 

The Bills were gutted at the last second by a Kyler Murray miracle hail mary to DeAndre Hopkins. Despite that play, Buffalo did a great job shutting those two down but got a little complacent down the stretch. Given the chance, great players will make great plays and that’s what happened. The Cards leapfrog the top of the NFC West with that win while the Bills have a lot to think about heading into the buy.

DeAndre Hopkins made the Catch-of-the-Year to beat the Bills

Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Rams bested the Seahawks as Russell Wilson’s MVP campaign is on life support. The whole “Let Russ Cook” thing was going fine until both Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde were lost to injury. With almost no run game to speak of, defenses aren’t treating the Seattle offense with much respect and the turnovers have been mounting. The Rams’ top-5 defense may be unheralded, but they are effective. It seemed like Wilson was smothered on every drop back and the frustration led to some bad-decision picks. The Hawks wasted one of their best defensive games of the season and didn’t give up a passing TD, but Russ didn’t throw one either. The loss moves Seattle from 1st to 3rd in the division while the Rams settle in behind the Cards. 

Miami is the hottest team in football and made it five straight with a win over the tough luck Chargers. The Fins haven’t had the toughest schedule, but that’s not their fault and they’ve taken full advantage. With the Bills’ loss, the AFC is suddenly up for grabs again. 

Miami’s defense has led the way during the 5-game win streak

The next hottest team is the Raiders. They, on the other hand, have had one of, if not, the most difficult schedules in the league and hold a decisive win over the defending champion Chiefs. The Broncos have been playing well and scoring a lot more lately, but they were simply outmatched. The Vegas defense brought Drew Lock’s momentum to a screeching halt, picking him off four times. That makes three in a row for the Raiders heading into their rematch with Kansas City. 

Cleveland is a little under the radar but they are much improved from last season and have continued to play pretty well, even with the loss of Odell Beckham Jr. Somehow, Nick Chubb made it back and they ran all over the Texans. The Browns only scored 10-pts, but it was plenty as their defense completely shut down Deshaun Watson and the Houston offense. The AFC North is crowded right now, but the Wild Card spots are a realistic possibility for this Cleveland team.

Daniel Jones redeemed his Monday Night Football stumble, leading the G-Men over the Eags

The New York football Giants staked their claim to the NFC East with a big win over the imploding Eagles. Their defense has been solid and the offense has been getting better, while Philly seems to be headed in the opposite direction. To think Carson Wentz was the frontrunner in the MVP race just a few years ago is baffling as he often appears to be one of the league’s worst QBs this season. Detroit stayed in the hunt and did the Giants a favor by taking out Washington. It was really more like survival as the Lions blew a huge lead late in the game and managed to hang on by a field goal. 

Sunday Night Football was played in a monsoon, which you think would favor the team with the overwhelming best run game in the NFL but the Patriots had other plans. Bill Belichick has seen this Ravens team a few times over the years and, by now, he’s seen where they struggle the most. So, he took away the run and forced Lamar Jackson to win the game with his arm. He actually had one of his best games of the season in the pouring rain but, without the ability to dictate the pace on the ground, New England was able to scheme them up. Cam Newton broke his streak of no TD passes and the second consecutive win for the Pats put them right back in the hunt. 

Kirk Cousins finally got that elusive Monday Night Football victory

It wasn’t the dominant Dalvin Cook display we saw over the past two weeks, but he was effective enough as the Vikings’ defense made the Bears’ offense look even more pedestrian than usual. Chicago’s defense played a great game and kept it close but Nick Foles wasn’t playing well up until the point he got hurt. The Bears are now 2-5 with him under center and their season is in serious jeopardy. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins won his first-ever Monday Night Football game in 10 tries. Minnesota is playing their best at the right time and looks to be ready to make a playoff push. 

The power balance of the NFC West is on the line as Week 11 gets underway with a desperate Seahawks team hosting the Cardinals. If the Hawks can get one of their main rushers back for this game, it will go a long way in taking the pressure off Russell Wilson. Arizona took the first meeting after Seattle blew a 10-pt, 4th quarter lead in the desert. Thursday Night Football hasn’t been home to good, meaningful games this season but that’s about to change.  

Pittsburgh has cemented themselves to the throne, but there’s a lot of shake up with a bunch of teams bottle-necked at 6-3. Here’s the updated Sheist Power Rankings:

1. Steelers 9-0 (1=)
2. Chiefs 8-1 (2=)
3. Packers 7-2 (5⬆)
4. Saints 7-2 (4=)
5. Buccaneers 7-3 (9⬆)
6. Bills 7-3 (3⬇)
7. Raiders 6-3 (14⬆)
8. Dolphins 6-3 (10⬆)
9. Ravens 6-3 (6⬇)
10. Seahawks 6-3 (8⬇)
11. Browns 6-3 (15⬆)
12. Titans 6-3 (7⬇)
13. Rams 6-3 (12=)
14. Colts 6-3 (13⬇)
15. Cardinals 6-3 (11⬇)
16. Vikings 4-5 (21⬆)
17. Bears 5-5 (16⬇)
18. 49ers 4-6 (17⬇)
19. Lions 4-5 (18=)
20. Patriots 4-5 (24⬆)
21. Falcons 3-6 (22⬆)
22. Broncos 3-6 (20=)
23. Eagles 3-5-1 (19=)
24. Panthers 3-7 (23⬇)
25. Giants 3-7 (28⬆)
26. Chargers 2-7 (27⬇)
27. Bengals 2-6-1 (25⬇)
28. Texans 2-7 (26⬆)
29. Washington 2-7 (30⬇)
30. Cowboys 2-7 (29⬇)
31. Jaguars 1-8 (31=)
32. Jets 0-9 (32=)

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