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  • The Rams held off the Chiefs, the Texans made the biggest jump and the Titans and Broncos dropped.
By The MMQB Staff
October 09, 2018

We have a change this week, in that there was no change at the top. The undefeated Rams kept the No. 1 spot in our poll even though the undefeated Chiefs had an easier time with the Jagaurs than the Rams did with the Seahawks. The Texans made the biggest jump, up eight spots, while the Titans and Broncos led the way by dropping six.

This week's voters:

Andy Benoit, Staff Writer
Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Mitch Goldich, Producer/Writer
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Jonathan Jones, Staff Writer
Kalyn Kahler, Writer/Producer
Robert Klemko, Staff Writer
Bette Marston, Senior Producer
Mark Mravic, Executive Editor
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Blurbs by Mitch Goldich


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1. Los Angeles Rams (5-0)

Last Week’s rank: 1
Points in poll: 251
Highest-place vote: 1 (7)
Lowest-place vote: 4 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 33-31 at Seattle
Next game: at Denver

The Rams are the first team to maintain their hold on the No. 1 spot for more than a week, but the top four is much tighter than a week ago.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

Last Week’s rank: 2
Points in poll: 249
Highest-place vote: 1 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 4 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 30-14 vs. Jacksonville
Next game: at New England

The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC, a fact nobody will be able to dispute if they knock off Jacksonville and New England in consecutive weeks.

3. New England Patriots (3-2)

Last Week’s rank: 5
Points in poll: 235
Highest-place vote: 3 (5)
Lowest-place vote: 5 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 38-24 vs. Indianapolis
Next game: vs. Kansas City

The Patriots seem to have returned to form since we dropped them to No. 11 a couple weeks ago. Now they get Kansas City at home on extra rest.

4. New Orleans Saints (4-1)

Last Week’s rank: 3
Points in poll: 233
Highest-place vote: 2 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 43-19 vs. Washington
Next game: Bye

Everyone is already talking about Chiefs-Rams on Monday night in Week 11—and for good reason—but Saints-Rams in Week 9 will be a great game with NFC seeding implications.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)

Last Week’s rank: 4
Points in poll: 219
Highest-place vote: 4 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 30-14 at Kansas City
Next game: at Dallas

On paper, a loss at Kansas City shouldn’t be too damning. But perhaps Ted Danson said it best.

6. Carolina Panthers (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 7
Points in poll: 206
Highest-place vote: 3 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (3)
Last week’s result: Win 33-31 vs. New York Giants
Next game: at Washington

The Panthers are 3-0 at home, but now go on the road for back-to-back games in Washington and Philly.

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7. Minnesota Vikings (2-2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 10
Points in poll: 198
Highest-place vote: 7 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 11 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 23-21 at Philadelphia
Next game: vs. Arizona

It didn’t exactly avenge the NFC Championship Game loss, but the win in Philly did halt a two-game skid and keep the Vikings firmly in the thick of the NFC’s crowded playoff picture.

T-8. Cincinnati Bengals (4-1)

Last Week’s rank: 11
Points in poll: 195
Highest-place vote: 5 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (3)
Last week’s result: Win 27-17 vs. Miami
Next game: vs. Pittsburgh

The Bengals escaped with a win against Miami, but they’ll need to play better if they expect to win next week hosting Pittsburgh or the week after that in Kansas City.

T-8. Green Bay Packers (2-2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 6
Points in poll: 195
Highest-place vote: 6 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 31-23 at Detroit
Next game: vs. San Francisco

The Packers can’t get lulled into a trap game on Monday night at home against the 49ers. After that they have a bye week and then road games against the Rams and Patriots.

10. Los Angeles Chargers (3-2)

Last Week’s rank: 14
Points in poll: 190
Highest-place vote: 5 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (2)
Last week’s result: Win 26-10 vs. Oakland
Next game: at Cleveland

The Chiefs may be running away with the AFC West, but Chargers fans can take comfort in being 3-2 since this is usually the time of year when we’re asking if they can dig out of an early-season hole.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 15
Points in poll: 181
Highest-place vote: 9 (5)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (3)
Last week’s result: Win 41-17 vs. Atlanta
Next game: at Cincinnati

It feels like every week we’ve said it’s an important game for the Steelers to show us what kind of team they are this year. It was true going into the Atlanta game and now it’s especially true going into a crucial game in a tightly-bunched AFC North.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)

Last Week’s rank: 8
Points in poll: 179
Highest-place vote: 8 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 23-21 vs. Minnesota
Next game: at New York Giants

The Eagles desperately need to take care of business Thursday at the Meadowlands before a stretch of schedule that goes Panthers, Jaguars, Cowboys, at Saints.

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13. Chicago Bears (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 12
Points in poll: 170
Highest-place vote: 10 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 13 (5)
Last week’s result: Bye
Next game: at Miami

A scheduling quirk now has the Bears playing four straight games against the AFC East. They could be in great position going into some meaningful division games come November.

14. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

Last Week’s rank: 9
Points in poll: 150
Highest-place vote: 11 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 19 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 12-9 (OT) at Cleveland
Next game: at Tennessee

The Ravens still have the best point differential in the AFC (+55 to the Chiefs’ +46) but they let an opportunity slip away on Sunday.

15. Houston Texans (2-3)

Last Week’s rank: 23
Points in poll: 127
Highest-place vote: 14 (4)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 19-16 (OT) vs. Dallas
Next game: vs. Buffalo

The Texans made the biggest jump of any team this week, but the trend won’t continue if Deshaun Watson keeps taking hits like he did on Sunday night.

16. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)

Last Week’s rank: 13
Points in poll: 121
Highest-place vote: 14 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 41-17 at Pittsburgh
Next game: vs. Tampa Bay

The Falcons are still good enough to reel off a few wins and get back into the playoff picture, but now they have basically no margin for error the rest of the season.

17. Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Last Week’s rank: 18
Points in poll: 117
Highest-place vote: 16 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 27-17 at Cincinnati
Next game: vs. Chicago

The Dolphins actually… rose… in the power poll? Is it possible our voters missed the fourth quarter?

18. Detroit Lions (2-3)

Last Week’s rank: 20
Points in poll: 116
Highest-place vote: 12 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 22 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 31-23 vs. Green Bay
Next game: Bye

The Lions’ two wins this season have come against Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. They should spend the bye week trying to figure out how to play like that every week.

19. Washington Redskins (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: 17
Points in poll: 108
Highest-place vote: 15 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (3)
Last week’s result: Loss 43-19 at New Orleans
Next game: vs. Carolina

The good news for the Redskins is that they still sit alone in first place after all four NFC East teams lost this week.

20. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Last Week’s rank: 19
Points in poll: 106
Highest-place vote: 16 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (2)
Last week’s result: Loss 19-16 (OT) at Houston
Next game: vs. Jacksonville

Jerry Jones publicly questioning Jason Garrett’s overtime decision making. Ah yes, just another season in Dallas.

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21. Seattle Seahawks (2-3)

Last Week’s rank: 22
Points in poll: 104
Highest-place vote: 16 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 22 (2)
Last week’s result: Loss 33-31 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Next game: at Oakland

The Seahawks moved up a spot in the rankings with a hard-fought loss against the Rams, but the NFC West is practically wrapped up at this point.

22. Tennessee Titans (3-2)

Last Week’s rank: 16
Points in poll: 99
Highest-place vote: 15 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 13-12 at Buffalo
Next game: vs. Baltimore

We heard from so many angry Titans fans last week who thought Tennessee should have been higher than 16th. (Full disclaimer: This particular voter agreed with them.) But we shouldn’t hear from as many this week after a dispiriting loss to the Bills. (We still might.)

23. Cleveland Browns (2-2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 26
Points in poll: 85
Highest-place vote: 21 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 12-9 (OT) vs. Baltimore
Next game: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

I declare that we stop talking about the Browns the way we have the last few years. It’s no longer a novelty when they win. They are an average team, capable of winning any week.

24. New York Giants (1-4)

Last Week’s rank: 25
Points in poll: 73
Highest-place vote: 19 (4)
Lowest-place vote: 30 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 33-31 at Carolina
Next game: vs. Philadelphia

The good news for everyone ripping the Giants for drafting Saquon Barkley instead of a quarterback is that they may get another chance to pick in the top five this year.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: 24
Points in poll: 71
Highest-place vote: 21 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1)
Last week’s result: Bye
Next game: at Atlanta

It almost feels like the real Bucs’ season begins in earnest in Week 6, as Jameis Winston makes his first start following the bye week.

26. New York Jets (2-3)

Last Week’s rank: 28
Points in poll: 61
Highest-place vote: 24 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (5)
Last week’s result: Win 34-16 vs. Denver
Next game: vs. Indianapolis

Rushing for 300 yards every week would be a great way to make life easy on a rookie quarterback.

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27. Denver Broncos (2-3)

Last Week’s rank: 21
Points in poll: 57
Highest-place vote: 22 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (4)
Last week’s result: Loss 34-16 at New York Jets
Next game: vs. Los Angeles Rams

Sunday against the Jets was a reminder that we’re another year removed from the Broncos’ Super Bowl defense. 

28. Indianapolis Colts (1-4)

Last Week’s rank: 29
Points in poll: 35
Highest-place vote: 27 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 30 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 38-24 at New England
Next game: at New York Jets

The schedule gets a little easier now but getting Andrew Luck back to the playoffs remains a multi-year project, as expected.

29. Buffalo Bills (2-3)

Last Week’s rank: 30
Points in poll: 31
Highest-place vote: 26 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 30 (3)
Last week’s result: Win 13-12 vs. Tennessee
Next game: at Houston

Average points allowed in wins: 9.
Average points allowed in losses: 33.3.

30. Oakland Raiders (1-4)

Last Week’s rank: 31
Points in poll: 28
Highest-place vote: 23 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (4)
Last week’s result: Loss 26-10 at Los Angeles Chargers
Next game: vs. Seattle

The Raiders got more 32nd place votes than any other team in our poll, but a couple of believers kept them from hitting the bottom.

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-4)

Last Week’s rank: 27
Points in poll: 18
Highest-place vote: 28 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (3)
Last week’s result: Loss 28-18 vs. Arizona
Next game: at Green Bay

A season that started with so much promise has unraveled quickly, and now we’ve reached the stretch where four of the 49ers’ next five games are in prime time.

32. Arizona Cardinals (1-4)

Last Week’s rank: 32
Points in poll: 16
Highest-place vote: 29 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (3)
Last week’s result: Win 28-18 at San Francisco
Next game: at Minnesota

Despite our panel voting unanimously to put the Cardinals in 32nd last week, they were still the consensus pick to win at San Francisco in the MMQB’s staff picks from a group of largely the same people. Then we put them in last again? I don’t know, guys.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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