NFL Power Rankings: Steelers force their way into the top two while the Patriots fail to make the top half

Jake Goodwill
·9-min read
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates a score in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. - Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates a score in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. - Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Still the best team in football, despite their blip against the Raiders. Their Patrick Mahomes-led offense can tear any team apart and their defense is solid enough. The improvement to the running game makes them adaptable and allows them to win in all conditions.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

The best defense in the league, plenty of experience and some weapons on offense. The Steelers are outperforming expectation and are the only unbeaten side in the NFL.

3. Baltimore Ravens

Although the Ravens have lost this year, it was to the Chiefs and there is no shame in that. Baltimore are still some way off last season’s level but have enough on both sides of the ball to beat nearly all opposition.

4. Seattle Seahawks

Yes, they lost to Arizona on Sunday but the Seahawks offense still looks remarkably strong. Russell Wilson has been dominating games all season. They need to improve their defense quickly, however, if they want to go deep into the postseason.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa are a very well-rounded team. Their defense has been impressive, notably dismantling Green Bay’s offense in a dominant win. On Sunday, Tom Brady showed he can still throw the ball with real power and precision. A team on the rise.

6. Tennessee Titans

The Titans have built on their playoff run last year, once again looking a serious outfit. They were beaten by the Steelers on Sunday but have claimed some impressive scalps already in other weeks. Derrick Henry is starting to find his best form which is ominous for the rest of the league.

7. Green Bay Packers

The Packers and Aaron Rodgers have been in supreme form this season, bar the loss to Tampa. Green Bay will be hoping it is just a blip. However, they also suffered similar losses to the 49ers last year, including in the NFC Championship game. They face San Francisco in two weeks time, a huge moment in their season.

8. New Orleans Saints

There seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding the Saints but they still could be a contender. New Orleans are 4-2, with a number of tricky fixtures coming up. It is time for them to prove they are a team to be reckoned with.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. - Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. - Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

9. Buffalo Bills

A fast start was halted in its tracks by back-to-back defeats. Buffalo got a much-needed win on Sunday and still look set to win the AFC East. They are talented on offense and defense. If Josh Allen can find his early season form, they will be alright.

10. Los Angeles Rams

Sean McVay’s team are tricky to evaluate this year with a mixed bag of performances. They dominated a Bears team that had only lost once this year on Monday night, propelling them into the top 10. However, the NFC West is the strongest division in football and there is no guarantee they will make the playoffs.

11. Arizona Cardinals

Another NFC West team. The Cardinals’ win over Seattle was extremely impressive, matching one of the best offenses in the league blow for blow. Their defense has been playing well in patches this year but it is their wide receiver heavy offense that is the most exciting element alongside elusive running quarterback Kyler Murray.

12. San Francisco 49ers

This might seem a bit high for a team that has lost three times this year, but hear me out. The 49ers have been decimated with injuries and are getting stronger week by week. We know they can be an elite team, as shown by their Super Bowl run last campaign. Their successive wins over the Rams and the Patriots show they are a team to be respected.

13. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland are a good team, not a great one. They have won against good teams but have been outplayed in defeats to the Ravens and the Steelers. Five wins should not be dismissed, but they are not Super Bowl material yet.

Cleveland Browns' Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates his touchdown with David Njoku (85) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. - AP
Cleveland Browns' Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates his touchdown with David Njoku (85) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. - AP

14. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders are a fascinating team. They have won three games, including against the Chiefs and the Saints but have also lost three, including to the Bills and the Bucs. Las Vegas and Derek Carr looked so good in the win against Kansas City but they just could not compete with Tampa on Sunday. Jon Gruden’s team have three winnable games in a row coming up, it is time to put a run together.

15. Chicago Bears

The Bears have a habit of winning tight games, in large part due to their impressive defense. Their offense is just too lacklustre for them to be any higher, however. Due to the Vikings poor season, the Bears remain in contention for the playoffs.

16. Indianapolis Colts

Although the Colts have won four games, they have been underwhelming. The defense started the season well but has fallen off, the offense has been hit and miss. The Colts are a solid team, but not much more than that.

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert has been playing ludicrously well for a rookie quarterback, completely transforming this offense. The Chargers have only won twice this season, but defeats have come against the Chiefs, Bucs and Saints. The Chargers have a relatively easy stretch of games coming up, expect a run of wins to be put together.

18. New England Patriots 

Really, the Patriots are this high on history alone. They did start the season rather well, when Cam Newton seemed an intelligent acquisition. Things have gone down hill and gone down hill fast since then. New England usually bounce back and find a way to start winning. Can they do it again?

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) walks off of the field after throwing an intercepting against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at Gillette Stadium.  - Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) walks off of the field after throwing an intercepting against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at Gillette Stadium. - Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

19. Carolina Panthers

Given Carolina has a new coach and new quarterback, they have been impressive, pulling off a number of good wins. Their loss to the Saints on Sunday puts them in a tricky, but not insurmountable, position in terms of making it out of their division.

20. Detroit Lions

The Lions pulled off a remarkable comeback against the Falcons on Sunday, taking them to a 3-3 start. Detroit have a nice run of games coming up, but they are inconsistent from week to week.

21. Miami Dolphins

Miami are another team that has won and lost an equal amount of games. Given their decision to swap quarterbacks from Ryan Fitzpatrick to rookie Tua Tagovailoa, it is hard to assess them. The Dolphins could improve with the change, or things could regress this season. Miami has a solid roster and a fascinating few weeks await as the Tua era begins.

22. Philadelphia Eagles

I am loathed to put any NFC East teams even this high, but here come the Eagles. They have enough talent to win games despite being a very disappointing team this year. In fairness, Philadelphia has been decimated by injuries and are still top of a very poor division. 

23. Houston Texans

Houston has had a very tough schedule and since firing Bill O’Brien have looked an improved side. They have the potential to put some wins together.

24. Denver Broncos

The Broncos showed what they can do when they shut down the Patriots for an impressive road win. The following week they could not make things remotely competitive with the Chiefs. Drew Lock remains unconvincing at quarterback.

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock scrambles under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Denver. - AP
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock scrambles under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Denver. - AP

25. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are heading in the right direction with Joe Burrow at quarterback. Although they have only won one game, they have tied another and lost a number of close games. Cincinnati could easily be on three or four wins right now.

26. Washington Football Team

A strong defense and a poor offense has resulted in a 2-5 start to the season. Washington are in contention to win the NFC East and, with the Eagles and Cowboys faltering, it seems entirely possible.

27. Dallas Cowboys

A season that had so much promise has fallen apart. Dak Prescott’s injury has diminished their playoff hopes considerably. The Cowboys have one of the worst defenses in football. Not the start to the Mike McCarthy era that he would have wanted.

28. Minnesota Vikings

Another team that looked as if they would be playoff contenders that has struggled. The defense has been seriously concerning and Kirk Cousins has under-performed. A season down the drain for the Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is hit, forcing an incomplete pass, by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Edmond Robinson (46) in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. - AP
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is hit, forcing an incomplete pass, by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Edmond Robinson (46) in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. - AP

29. Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta’s ability to lose games they should win is quite incredible. They look stronger since moving on from Dan Quinn and have an offense that can trouble most teams. The Falcons could put together a stronger second half of the campaign.

30. New York Giants

Only one win so far this season. The Giants put together good moments but are inconsistent across entire games. A disappointing season for the Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars

The season started well with a win over the Colts but it has been poor since, registering six successive losses. Gardner Minshew is faltering at quarterback and his status as an NFL starter is under serious threat. James Robinson looks a real find, on a positive note. 

32. New York Jets

The only team in the NFL yet to win a game this year. The Jets have shown remarkable, and misguided, loyalty to Adam Gase. The talented Sam Darnold is now under serious pressure to remain the long-term quarterback. A horror show all season long.