Which games impacted this week’s NFL Power Rankings the most?
Written by: Greg Lehr | @greglehr3
Power Rankings by: The Blitz Team | @Blitzalytics
Throughout the first eight weeks of the season, the New England Patriots reigned at the top of our rankings while the Miami Dolphins were stuck in the basement. Now, just a week into November, both of those factors have already changed after an exciting weekend of football. It's nearly impossible not to start at the top, where New England's historical defensive statistics took a blow under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football in Baltimore. Lamar Jackson added to his MVP-caliber resume while leading the Ravens to a 17-point victory over the previously undefeated Patriots. Anticipation is already building for a potential postseason rematch between these two AFC contenders.
Now sliding into the top spot are the 8-0 San Francisco 49ers, not that it comes as any sort of surprise after they took care of business on a short week in Arizona. Kyle Shanahan's team gets a few days of extra rest before a huge division showdown against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks on Monday night.
Down to the bottom of the rankings, let's forget about the Jets losing for a minute (which shouldn't be too difficult to do) and instead give credit where credit is due. Miami has heard nothing but laughs and criticism all season long during a year in which they are clearly planning for the future, but the team continues to play hard for first-year head coach Brian Flores. It was good to see our old friend Ryan FitzMagic deliver a win for Flores and avoid what easily could have turned into a winless first season.
Of course, the top and bottom spots in power rankings will always get a little extra attention, but there's always plenty of room for craziness everywhere in between. How did the rest of the Week 9 games impact the Blitzalytics' NFL Power Rankings? Turns out some games were more impactful than others. Check out how results have some teams trending in the right direction and others...not-so-much. (Full rankings below).
Minnesota Vikings 23 at Kansas City Chiefs 26
Power Ranking Impact: Vikings (-4), Chiefs (+3)
Aside from the Patriots/Ravens, this may have been the best pure football matchup of the weekend - two top ten teams facing off at Arrowhead. Losers of three out of their last four, the Chiefs were desperate to get their mojo going again, despite still being with Patrick Mahomes. It was the home team, led by backup QB Matt Moore, that came out with the win in what was a close game throughout. The Vikings came in boasting the third-best rushing attack in the league, but it was the Kansas City defense that solidified themselves up the middle, holding Dalvin Cook to just 71 yards on 21 carries (3.4 YPC). The defense's performance, particularly against such a quality running back and ground game, has to give Chiefs fans a vote of confidence after such a poor start defensively earlier this season. On the contrary, there should be some cause for concern with Minnesota's execution down the stretch. Kirk Cousins' incompletion with just over two minutes left, when he could've eaten the ball and taken a sack instead, allowed the Chiefs to save a timeout as well as some valuable time on the clock. On the ensuing punt, Britton Colquitt shanked a measly 27-yard punt, giving the Chiefs' offense the ball on Minnesota's side of the field. After a Stephen Weatherly sack/fumble on Moore, luckily recovered by Damian Williams, Moore found Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for gains of 17 and 10 yards, respectively. This put Harrison Butker in range for the game-winning kick, moving each team to 6-3 on the season.
Indianapolis Colts 24 at Pittsburgh Steelers 26
Power Ranking Impact: Colts (-7), Steelers (+4)
We praised the Colts last week for their success putting up a 5-2 record at the midseason point, leading the division, and rising as high as seventh in our power rankings. This week? Different story. Indy caught a bad break when Jacoby Brissett had to leave the game early in the second quarter after Quenton Nelson landed on his left leg. The Steelers can sympathize to a certain degree, as they too have had to play a third-string QB this year (if you count Luck for Indy), not to mention having to play without James Connor in this game. Considering the circumstances, backup Brian Hoyer came in and played fairly well in the Colts' rally effort, tossing 3 TD and 1 costly INT (a Minkah Fitzpatrick pick-6). Hoyer's 4-yard touchdown pass to Chester Rogers in the final quarter gave them a brief, one-point lead, but after a Chris Boswell field goal put Pittsburgh up 26-24, the Colts' special teams let them down at the end. With a chance to escape with a last-second win, Adam Vinatieri struck the laces on his 43-yard field goal attempt, likely affecting the kick and causing it to miss wide left. The interconference loss is not ideal for Indy, especially with Houston winning and regaining control in the AFC South, placing the Colts back in a Wild Card slot for the time being. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has found new life by evening up their record to 4-4 and moving into the thick of the AFC Wild Card picture.
Full NFL Power Rankings: Week 10
Rankings by: The Blitz Team
San Francisco 49ers
New Orleans Saints
New England Patriots
Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Chargers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Giants
New York Jets