NFL Power Rankings Poll: 49ers Take Over the Top Spot, Bengals Sink

The Patriots lost a game, which drops them out of the top power rankings spot, and the Dolphins finally won a game, which elevates them from the cellar.
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Jimmy Garoppolo

This week’s NFL Power Rankings Poll voters:

Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Albert Breer, Senior NFL Reporter / Lead Content Strategist
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Kalyn Kahler, Writer/Producer
Bette Marston, Associate Editor
Conor Orr, Staff Writer
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Skinnies for each team written by Jake May.

1. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-0)

Previous rank: 2
Points in poll: 222
Highest-place vote: 1 (6 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 3 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Arizona, 28-25
This week: vs. Seattle (Mon.)

The 49ers stole this game from the youthful Cardinals, but Jimmy Garoppolo was excellent (28-of-37, 317 yards, 4 TDs) and Emmanuel Sanders (seven receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD) seems happy to be back at sea level as the 49ers are the last undefeated team left standing.

T-2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-1)

Previous rank: 1
Points in poll: 210
Highest-place vote: 2 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Baltimore, 37-20
This week: Bye

The defending champs turned in their first turd of the season as the top-ranked defense had few answers for Lamar Jackson. Mohammed Sanu appears to be getting up to speed, but a pitiful run game (74 rushing yards) and lack of identity are hurting this offense.

T-2. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-1)

Previous rank: 3
Points in poll: 210
Highest-place vote: 2 (4 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 5 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: vs. Atlanta

A well-timed bye should allow Drew Brees to be fully up to speed for Atlanta this weekend. The Falcons’ defense has been a delight for opposing quarterbacks this season.

4. BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-2)

Previous rank: 8
Points in poll: 203
Highest-place vote: 1 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 6 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat New England, 37-20
This week: at Cincinnati

Lamar Jackson dazzled on Sunday night as the Ravens handed the Patriots their first loss of the season. Plays like this helped, but so did Baltimore’s physicality; the team rushed for 210 yards and more than doubled the next-best point total scored against New England’s top-ranked defense this season.

5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-3)

Previous rank: 6
Points in poll: 197
Highest-place vote: 4 (4 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Minnesota, 26-23
This week: at Tennessee

Props to Andy Reid for putting Matt Moore in position to win this game for the Chiefs. Tyreek Hill (140 yards receiving, 1 TD) and Harrison Butker (4/4 on FGA highlighted by this nails 53-yarder) deserve nods as well.

6. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-3)

Previous rank: 5
Points in poll: 180
Highest-place vote: 5 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 10 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Kansas City, 26-23
This week: at Dallas

The Vikings had the ball with the game tied late before an inexplicably awful final two-and-a-half minutes sealed their fate. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen reverted back to their ineffective early-season selves (though Thielen reaggravated his hammy early), but Minnesota didn’t lose any ground on the Packers in the divisional race—though Green Bay did slide in this week’s rankings.

7. GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-2)

Previous rank: 4
Points in poll: 178
Highest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 11 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to L.A. Chargers, 26-11
This week: vs. Carolina

Ugly loss for a Packers team that, as Aaron Rodgers put it, will eat a “good slice of humble pie” this week. The Carolina defense isn’t as good as the Chargers’, but Rodgers and co. will need to improve on the 45 rushing yards and two third down conversions they logged against L.A.

8. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (7-2)

Previous rank: 7
Points in poll: 173
Highest-place vote: 6 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Tampa Bay, 40-34 (OT)
This week: at San Francisco (Mon.)

The Seahawks are taking years off the lives of Pete Carroll and their fans by continuing to win games like this. A 21-7 first half deficit and a missed game-winning field goal at the end of regulation couldn’t derail Seattle ahead of a huge divisional matchup with the 49ers on Monday Night Football.

9. DALLAS COWBOYS (5-3)

Previous rank: 10
Points in poll: 163
Highest-place vote: 8 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat New York Giants, 37-18
This week: vs. Minnesota

Coming off their bye, the Cowboys locked up another crucial divisional win—this one against the Giants at MetLife Stadium—to hold their lead atop the NFC East.

10. HOUSTON TEXANS (6-3)

Previous rank: 11
Points in poll: 159
Highest-place vote: 7 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Jacksonville, 26-3
This week: Bye

The Texans vanquished whatever hopes Jacksonville had of crawling back into the AFC South picture while also moving back in front of the Colts for the division lead. Deshaun Watson was clinical once again and Carlos Hyde had his best game of the season (160 rush yards on 19 totes).

11. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (5-3)

Previous rank: 9
Points in poll: 156
Highest-place vote: 9 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1 voter) 
Last week’s result: Lost to Pittsburgh, 26-24
This week: vs. Miami

An up-and-down season for Adam Vinatieri continued with this crucial chili-dip, laces-on-foot calamity with the game on the line. The loss of Jacoby Brissett to an MCL sprain hurts even more, but Brian Hoyer’s efforts in relief (17-of-26, 168 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) are a good sign from a quarterback who hasn’t started since 2017.

12. BUFFALO BILLS (6-2)

Previous rank: 14
Points in poll: 151
Highest-place vote: 2 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Washington, 24-9
This week: at Cleveland

For those keeping track at home, the best team Buffalo has beaten is the Titans. Their six wins came over squads that are a combined 9-41 (pending Giants MNF result) this season. Yes, you can only beat who’s on your schedule, but this team doesn’t face another team above .500 until Week 13 in Dallas.

13. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-4)

Previous rank: 13
Points in poll: 148
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Chicago, 22-14
This week: Bye

For a moment in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Eagles might be in trouble. But Carson Wentz kept the offense on the field late as Philly converted four times on third down to bleed the clock and get in field goal range for the win. The Birds are right back in the mix with Dallas at the top of the NFC East.

14. LOS ANGELES RAMS (5-3)

Previous rank: 12
Points in poll: 146
Highest-place vote: 10 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: at Pittsburgh

The Rams suddenly find themselves sitting third in their division and on the outside of the playoff picture in the NFC. San Francisco and Seattle both won this weekend, and the Rams will need to do the same against Pittsburgh to keep pace.

15. CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-3)

Previous rank: 16
Points in poll: 123
Highest-place vote: 13 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Tennessee, 30-20
This week: at Green Bay

With Cam Newton out indefinitely, it’s the Kyle Allen show for Carolina. More accurately, it’s the Christian McCaffery show featuring Kyle Allen, as the MVP candidate totaled 166 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, including this highlight reel burner to ice the game.

16. DETROIT LIONS (3-4-1)

Previous rank: 15
Points in poll: 127
Highest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Oakland, 31-24
This week: at Chicago

Another tight loss was decided by shoddy late-game execution for the Lions. The play itself seemed ill-conceived considering the personnel on the field, and you can’t help but wonder if and when Matt Patricia will start helping this team steal a few of these tight games instead of losing most of them.

17. OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-4)

Previous rank: 20
Points in poll: 107
Highest-place vote: 16 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Detroit, 31-24
This week: vs. L.A. Chargers (Thurs.)

The Raiders won the better-than-their-record-indicates bowl against the Lions, with another excellent Derek Carr outing (20-of-31, 289 yards, 2 TDs) and Josh Jacobs logging 120+ rushing yards for the third time in four games. The game against the Chargers on Thursday night is a showdown for second in the AFC West.

18. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-5)

Previous rank: T-21
Points in poll: 99
Highest-place vote: 18 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 20 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Green Bay, 26-11
This week: at Oakland (Thurs.)

Since hitting what was seemingly rock-bottom against the Titans, the Chargers have won two in a row. The defense, led by Joey Bosa, harassed Aaron Rodgers into his lowest passing yards output of the season while Michael Badgley hit four of five field goals in his first game of the season.

19. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (4-4)

Previous rank: 23
Points in poll: 91
Highest-place vote: 17 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Indianapolis, 26-24
This week: vs. L.A. Rams

Beneficiaries of a rare Adam Vinatieri crunch-time miss? Sure, but the Steelers have quietly gotten back to .500 and won four of their last five (with the lone loss coming in OT to the Ravens). They’ll make a run at the Wild Card despite an 0-3 start.

20. TENNESSEE TITANS (4-5)

Previous rank: 17
Points in poll: 89
Highest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Carolina, 30-20
This week: vs. Kansas City

Ryan Tannehill was never destined to stay undefeated forever, and the Titans forgot how to play football in the second quarter. They allowed 17 Carolina points while their own drives in the quarter ended fumble, interception, punt, missed field goal.

21. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-5)

Previous rank: 18
Points in poll: 82
Highest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Houston, 26-3
This week: Bye

Minshew mania might have ended in London this weekend, as the Jags got rolled by a divisional foe and the mustachioed signal caller turned in another stinker. With the bye approaching, the return of Nick Foles may be imminent for Week 11.

22. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-6)

Previous rank: T-25
Points in poll: 76
Highest-place vote: 18 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Seattle, 40-34 (OT)
This week: vs. Arizona

Tampa continues to find creative ways to blow leads but looked better doing it against the Seahawks. The game-tying drive was a highlight as Jameis Winston (29-of-44, 335 yards, 2 TDs, NO INTs) and Mike Evans (12 receptions, 180 yards, 1 TD) had big games. A chance to translate that into a win comes next week.

23. DENVER BRONCOS (3-6)

Previous rank: T-25
Points in poll: 70
Highest-place vote: 21 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Cleveland, 24-19
This week: vs. Buffalo

Brandon Allen surprised everyone with a tidy 12-of-20, 193-yard, 2-touchdown outing in his first career NFL start. He had help from Noah Fant and Phillip Lindsay (as well as the putrid Browns), but you have to imagine John Elway sees the writing on the wall and extends him into the next century by the end of the week.

24. CHICAGO BEARS (3-5)

Previous rank: 19
Points in poll: 65
Highest-place vote: 22 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Philadelphia, 22-14
This week: vs. Detroit

After running up nine pitiful yards of offense in the first half, the Bears “stormed” back to make it a game in the second half. But their vaunted defense couldn’t get the stops they needed late (so they could be let down one more time by the offense), and the Bears drop to last in their division.

25. ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-5-1)

Previous rank: 24
Points in poll: 63
Highest-place vote: 21 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to San Francisco, 28-25
This week: at Tampa Bay

A rookie head coach made some rookie mistakes that cost the Birds a tight one against the class of the NFC. But Kenyon Drake looked happy to be in the desert instead of the swamp, and the future in Arizona looks much brighter than it did last year.

26. CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-6)

Previous rank: T-21
Points in poll: 59
Highest-place vote: 21 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Denver, 24-19
This week: vs. Buffalo

The state of affairs in Cleveland has steadily devolved from underwhelming to disappointing to nearly unwatchable as the Browns dropped their fourth in a row to a two-win team playing their backup QB in his first career start. Baker looks haggard, Odell isn’t happy and Freddie is totally not worried about his job.

27. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-7)

Previous rank: 27
Points in poll: 44
Highest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (6 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Dallas, 37-18
This week: at N.Y. Jets

Saquon Barkley was kept quiet in another loss in this transitional season for the Giants. One promising takeaway from Monday night? Daniel Jones will be just fine.

28. ATLANTA FALCONS (1-7)

Previous rank: 29
Points in poll: 37
Highest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: at New Orleans

Dan Quinn hasn’t been fired yet, but a visit to the SuperDome won’t help one of the worst defenses in the league find its footing.

29. NEW YORK JETS (1-7)

Previous rank: 28
Points in poll: 24
Highest-place vote: 28 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Miami, 26-18
This week: vs. N.Y. Giants

Laughable loss for the Jets that everyone saw coming. That 33-0 drubbing at home to New England sent this bunch off the cliff, and Adam Gase could get the heave-ho after one season if he continues to display such a flagrant lack of head coaching ability.

30. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-8)

Previous rank: 30
Points in poll: 22
Highest-place vote: 29 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Buffalo, 24-9
This week: Bye

Dwayne Haskins looked serviceable for the first time (15-of-22, 144 yards, 86.2 rating) and AP unloaded this mean stiff arm, but those are about the only silver linings from another limp, lifeless and lame outing from the Dan Snyders.

31. MIAMI DOLPHINS (1-7)

Previous rank: 32
Points in poll: 17
Highest-place vote: 28 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Jets, 26-18
This week: at Indianapolis

YES! Many folks had this home game circled as the chance for the Dolphins to crack the goose egg, and they delivered their full game of NFL football this season (more than enough to beat the Jets). Brian Flores–take a bath!

32. CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-8)

Previous rank: 31
Points in poll: 11
Highest-place vote: 29 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (5 voters)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: vs. Baltimore

Why the Bengals benched Andy Dalton for Ryan Finley (?) a few hours before the trade deadline and over a week before their next game is truly confounding. This team’s problems run much deeper than that, and a visit from the Ravens won’t help.

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