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  • Our panel of seven voters ranks all 32 teams from the Saints to the Raiders.
By The MMQB Staff
November 06, 2018

We have a brand new team in the top spot this week, which was bound to happen whenever the Rams lost. They just happened to lose to the Saints, who had been our No. 2 team, which made finding a new No. 1 an easy decision. New Orleans becomes the fifth different team to claim the top spot this year. In week's 1-4, it was owned by the Patriots, Jaguars, Chiefs and Rams. The first three teams only lasted one week, before the Rams went on their run. Will the Saints get to stay awhile? Time will tell.

There was not a ton of movement in the poll this week, with most teams staying within a spot or two of where they were last week. The biggers fallers were the Redskins, who fell five spots. And the biggest risers were the Falcons and—believe it or not—the 49ers, who jumped three spots each.

This week's voters:

Ben Baskin, Staff Writer
Andy Benoit, Staff Writer
Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Mitch Goldich, Producer/Writer
Jonathan Jones, Staff Writer
Robert Klemko, Staff Writer
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Blurbs by Mitch Goldich


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1. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-1)

Last Week’s rank: 2
Points in poll: 224
Highest-place vote: 1 (7)
Lowest-place vote: 1 (7)
Last week: Win 45-35 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Next week: at Cincinnati

You beat the best, you become the best. The Saints were sitting at No. 2 in our rankings before spoiling the Rams’ perfect season, so naturally we have a new team atop the list.

2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (7-2)

Last Week’s rank: 4
Points in poll: 215
Highest-place vote: 2 (5)
Lowest-place vote: 3 (2)
Last week: Win 31-17 vs. Green Bay
Next week: at Tennessee

Remember when the Patriots were outside of our Top 10? One of these years we’ll learn not to write them off after a slow start. The Patriots not only jumped the Rams this week, but also the Chiefs.

BREER: Who Answered the Call? Week 9 in the NFL​

3. LOS ANGELES RAMS (8-1)

Last Week’s rank: 1
Points in poll: 208
Highest-place vote: 2 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 4 (3)
Last week: Loss 45-35 at New Orleans
Next week: vs. Seattle

The Rams’ five-week run at the top is over. They still might be the best team in football, despite losing a shootout in New Orleans, but of course they have to take a hit here.

4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-1)

Last Week’s rank: 3
Points in poll: 207
Highest-place vote: 2 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 4 (4)
Last week: Win 37-21 at Cleveland
Next week: vs. Arizona

The Chiefs took care of business against Cleveland and they’ve got one more tune-up game against Arizona before the big showdown with the Rams on Monday, November 12 in Mexico City. It may be a little unfair that they lost ground here, but there’s a clear top four and they’ll have their shot to gain those spots back.

5. CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-2)

Last Week’s rank: 5
Points in poll: 195
Highest-place vote: 5 (6)
Lowest-place vote: 6 (1)
Last week: Win 42-28 vs. Tampa Bay
Next week: at Pittsburgh

The Panthers may have been hurt by the Saints’ win over the Rams more than the Rams were. The winner of the NFC South looks likely to have a first round bye, and the second-place team would have to survive at least two playoff games on the road.

BENOIT: The Carolina Panthers Offense: A Love Story

6. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 6
Points in poll: 190
Highest-place vote: 5 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 6 (6)
Last week: Win 23-16 at Baltimore
Next week: vs. Carolina

The Steelers have now won four straight heading into a tough Thursday night game with the Panthers.

7. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (6-2)

Last Week’s rank: 7
Points in poll: 181
Highest-place vote: 7 (6)
Lowest-place vote: 8 (1)
Last week: Win 25-17 at Seattle
Next week: at Oakland

It’s hard to keep winning close games without a reliable kicker—as Chargers fans are well aware—but this year, at least, it seems to be working out mostly fine so far.

8. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (5-3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 9
Points in poll: 175
Highest-place vote: 7 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (1)
Last week: Win 24-9 vs. Detroit
Next week: Bye

There’s that Minnesota defense we were expecting all year. The Vikings go into the bye week as our panel’s favorite in the NFC North.

9. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-4)

Last Week’s rank: 10
Points in poll: 169
Highest-place vote: 8 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (6)
Last week: Bye
Next week: vs. Dallas

The Eagles got a nice present with Washington’s loss during their bye week. (And Dallas’s, Green Bay’s and Seattle’s losses, to be honest.) But the division remains the main focus for now. Five of their final eight games come against NFC East opponents, starting with Dallas traveling to Philly on a short week.

10. HOUSTON TEXANS (6-3)

Last Week’s rank: 12
Points in poll: 159
Highest-place vote: 10 (5)
Lowest-place vote: 11 (2)
Last week: Win 19-17 at Denver
Next week: Bye

The Texans have won six games in a row, and they still have a couple easy games left on the schedule. They have not only taken charge in the AFC South, but they are in the mix for a first-round bye in the AFC, which was unthinkable a month ago.

11. GREEN BAY PACKERS (3-4-1)

Last Week’s rank: 8
Points in poll: 148
Highest-place vote: 10 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (1)
Last week: Loss 31-17 at New England
Next week: vs. Miami

The Packers had a chance to make a real statement against either the Rams or Patriots, but lost both games. We knew going into the season that the NFC was very deep, and that a good team or two would get squeezed from the playoff picture. The Packers are not one of the NFC’s elite teams and they are in danger of getting squeezed.

12. ATLANTA FALCONS (4-4)

Last Week’s rank: 15
Points in poll: 145
Highest-place vote: 11 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1)
Last week: Win 38-14 at Washington
Next week: at Cleveland

And they’ve done it, clawing all the way back to .500 and into the playoff race. The Falcons were way too talented to fold, and our rankings reflected that even when they were 1-4.

13. CHICAGO BEARS (5-3)

Last Week’s rank: 14
Points in poll: 142
Highest-place vote: 11 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (3)
Last week: Win 41-9 at Buffalo
Next week: vs. Detroit

It’s just Buffalo, but a 41-9 win is always welcoming and encouraging. The Bears move up a spot.

14. CINCINNATI BENGALS (5-3)

Last Week’s rank: T-16
Points in poll: 131
Highest-place vote: 13 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (4)
Last week: Bye
Next week: vs. New Orleans

The A.J. Green news is not what Bengals fans were hoping to hear on the Sunday morning of their bye week. But somebody has to claim the AFC’s sixth seed, and right now the Bengals have it.

15. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-4)

Last Week’s rank: 13
Points in poll: 128
Highest-place vote: 13 (4)
Lowest-place vote: 19 (1)
Last week: Loss 25-17 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Next week: at Los Angeles Rams

The Seahawks are always tough to play in Seattle, but narrow home losses to the Rams and Chargers this season go down as missed opportunities. Now they have play the next three at the Rams, against the Packers, at the Panthers.

16. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (5-3)

Last Week’s rank: 11
Points in poll: 120
Highest-place vote: 15 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 17 (1)
Last week: Loss 38-14 vs. Atlanta
Next week: at Tampa Bay

Here’s the Redskins loss our panel has been expecting. No fan base has been more vocal the last few weeks reaching out to us about feeling disrespected. We expect to hear from fewer of them this week, although they’ll still be upset to be seven spots behind Philly.

BREER: Redskins Hit Hard With Injuries, Le’Veon Bell on the Move, More News and Notes

17. BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-5)

Last Week’s rank: T-16
Points in poll: 106
Highest-place vote: 14 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 20 (3)
Last week: Loss 23-16 vs. Pittsburgh
Next week: Bye

Losses to the Saints, Panthers and Steelers are all understandable on their own, but to drop all three in a row is a brutal turn for a season that started off so promisingly.

18. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-5)

Last Week’s rank: T-18
Points in poll: 103
Highest-place vote: 17 (4)
Lowest-place vote: 21 (2)
Last week: Bye
Next week: at Indianapolis

I’m not sure any team in the league needed their bye week more than the Jaguars. They need a rebound win this week in Indy, or the hole might be too deep to dig out of.

19. TENNESSEE TITANS (4-4)

Last Week’s rank: 21
Points in poll: 96
Highest-place vote: 18 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 21 (1)
Last week: Win 28-14 at Dallas
Next week: vs. New England

The Titans got a save-your-season type win Monday Night in Dallas. Again, the sixth seed in the AFC is right there for somebody to go on a run and grab it, so why not the Titans? It could be theirs even if they don’t catch Houston.

20. MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-4)

Last Week’s rank: 22
Points in poll: 94
Highest-place vote: 17 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 22 (1)
Last week: Win 13-6 vs. New York Jets
Next week: at Green Bay

An ugly win is an ugly win. The Dolphins’ minus-38 point differential ranks 13th in the AFC, but they still have two dates with the Bills and can remain in the playoff hunt to the end.

21. DALLAS COWBOYS (3-5)

Last Week’s rank: T-18
Points in poll: 90
Highest-place vote: 18 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (2)
Last week: Loss 28-14 vs. Tennessee
Next week: at Philadelphia

The Cowboys traded a first-round pick for Amari Cooper because they thought they were ready to win now. They might soon realize what everyone else thought at the time. Their next five games: At Eagles, at Falcons, Redskins, Saints, Eagles.

ORR: After Cowboys Lose to Titans on MNF, How Much Longer Can Jerry Jones Hold His Tongue?​

22. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-5)

Last Week’s rank: 23
Points in poll: 78
Highest-place vote: 19 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (4)
Last week: Bye
Next week: vs. Jacksonville

It’s hard to declare a game must-win for both teams on November 11, but the Colts and Jaguars are both coming off a bye week and the loser will drop to 3-6.

23. DETROIT LIONS (3-5)

Last Week’s rank: 20
Points in poll: 77
Highest-place vote: 21 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1)
Last week: Loss 24-9 at Minnesota
Next week: at Chicago

The Lions have been inconsistent and hard to read, but they still control some of their own destiny with two games against the Bears in the next three weeks.

24. DENVER BRONCOS (3-6)

Last Week’s rank: 24
Points in poll: 63
Highest-place vote: 24 (7)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (7)
Last week: Loss 19-17 vs. Houston
Next week: Bye

Maybe Bill O’Brien said it best. (Maybe he didn’t.) Either way, it’s a little weird that our panel was unanimous in ranking the Broncos 24th. It’s the first time all year a team was unanimous in a spot other than first or last.

25. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-5)

Last Week’s rank: 25
Points in poll: 55
Highest-place vote: 25 (6)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (1)
Last week: Loss 42-28 at Carolina
Next week: vs. Washington

Maybe Dirk Koetter should just tell Ryan Fitzpatrick he’s down a few touchdowns at the start of the game, so he plays like he’s in comeback mode the whole time.

26. NEW YORK JETS (3-6)

Last Week’s rank: 26
Points in poll: 46
Highest-place vote: 26 (5)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (1)
Last week: Loss 13-6 at Miami
Next week: vs. Buffalo

Things looked promising early, but this feels like another familiar Jets season.

27. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-7)

Last Week’s rank: 30
Points in poll: 40
Highest-place vote: 25 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (5)
Last week: Win 34-3 vs. Oakland
Next week: vs. New York Giants

Earlier this week, legendary SI football writer Dr. Z passed away. That night, screenshots of his power rankings from the week Tom Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe made the rounds on Twitter. I look forward to seeing screenshots of these rankings when Nick Mullens wins his fifth Super Bowl.

28. ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-6)

Last Week’s rank: 28
Points in poll: 35
Highest-place vote: 27 (5)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (1)
Last week: Bye
Next week: at Kansas City

Listen, there’s not much to say about the Cardinals after their bye week.

29. CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-6-1)

Last Week’s rank: 27
Points in poll: 30
Highest-place vote: 27 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 30 (1)
Last week: Loss 37-21 vs. Kansas City
Next week: vs. Atlanta

Sometimes a team responds in the first week with an interim head coach, but knocking off the Chiefs was always going to be a tall order. The season is quickly spiraling to a familiar place for the Browns.

KLEMKO: Dysfunction in Cleveland: Hue Jackson’s Paranoid Final Days and Baker Mayfield’s Resilience

30. NEW YORK GIANTS (1-7)

Last Week’s rank: 29
Points in poll: 22
Highest-place vote: 29 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 30 (6)
Last week: Bye
Next week: at San Francisco

Listen, there’s not much to say about the Giants after their bye week.

31. BUFFALO BILLS (2-7)

Last Week’s rank: 31
Points in poll: 16
Highest-place vote: 29 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (6)
Last week: Loss 41-9 vs. Chicago
Next week: at New York Jets

Jokes about the QB situation aside, the Bills have had way too many games this year for which they just haven’t bothered to show up.

32. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-7)

Last Week’s rank: 32
Points in poll: 8
Highest-place vote: 31 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (6)
Last week: Loss 34-3 at San Francisco
Next week: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

It’s almost impressive that the Bills have looked so hapless and yet the Raiders are still so clearly the worst team in the NFL.

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

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