Tom E. Curran's AFC Power Rankings: Did Patriots take a hit?
So why, if the Patriots lost to the Ravens by 17, are the Ravens still behind the Patriots in the power rankings? Cuz I say so. No, honestly, the Patriots are 8-1. Yes, they got undressed defensively for the first 16 minutes and, yes, the Ravens made some huge conversions in the late third/early fourth to put it away, but the Ravens are 6-2 and are a month removed from a loss to the Browns. The Patriots are 8-1 and just lost their first game since last December and won a Super Bowl in February. If and when the Ravens draw even, we’ll give them the tiebreaker. And there’s a good chance that happens over the Patriots' next four games.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)
The Bengals had a bye. They did some self-scouting, raked leaves, kept wanting to ask A.J. Green if he really said he wanted to finish his career in Cincinnati and why he would ever say something like that. But they didn’t.
(Last three rankings: 15, 16, 16)
15. New York Jets (1-7)
LLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. Jets are 1-7.
(Last three rankings: 11, 11, 14)
14. Miami Dolphins (1-7)
From last week’s summation: They got up 14-0 on the road and then saw 27 unanswered dropped on them. They’ll win Sunday against the Jets.
If I wasn’t so scatterbrained, I’d remember to put my money where my mouth is once in a while.
(Last three rankings: 16, 15, 15)
13. Cleveland Browns (2-6)
Freddie’s fellas have lost four straight. They host the Bills this weekend. Baker Mayfield vs. Josh Allen. Imagine if you were told at the beginning of the year that the Bills would be 6-2 and the Browns would be 2-6 when this game rolled around.
(Last three rankings: 10, 9, 10)
12. Tennessee Titans (4-5)
So the Titans are 4-5 after their loss to Carolina. Following their habit of winning two, then losing two they have a scheduled loss this week against the Chiefs.
(Last three rankings: 10, 9, 10)
11. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5)
These clowns. Their four wins this year are against the Jets, Bengals, Broncos and Titans. They have a big game with a chance to be taken seriously against Houston and they barely show up, losing 26-3.
(Last three rankings: 8, 8, 9)
10. Denver Broncos (3-6)
These guys are 3-6. But they beat the Titans and barely lost to the Jaguars, both of whom you’ve already clicked by. So I stick them here because they shoulda beat Indy last week and I appreciate anybody beating the Browns. And really, these teams from 10 to 16 are a cluster.
(Last three rankings: 9, 12, 12)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
Last week, I said the Steelers hadn’t beaten a team worth a damn and that I’d wait to see what happened with the Colts before I removed them from the cellar. They beat Indy. Out of the cellar they come. They’ve won three straight and the schedule isn’t too bad the rest of the way.
(Last three rankings: 13, 14, 13)
8. Los Angeles Chargers (4-5)
It’s one thing to absolutely destroy Mitch Trubisky as the Chargers did in Week 8. It’s something else entirely to discombobulate Aaron Rodgers as thoroughly as the 4-5 Chargers did Sunday. With Melvin Ingram back in their pass rush and a shakeup for the offense, the Chargers scored more than 20 for the first time since the end of September.
(Last three rankings: 13, 14, 11)
7. Buffalo Bills (6-2)
They dispatched the Redskins as everyone does and they are still at 6-2 and firmly in contention for a playoff spot. But after these next two – at Miami and Cleveland – they have Denver, Dallas, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and the Patriots. Their run defense has suddenly gotten porous and if they have to rely on Josh Allen to lug them to a win with his arm, they’re screwed.
(Last three rankings: 4, 6, 7)
6. Oakland Raiders (4-4)
They got to 4-4 with a solid win over the Lions. They get the Chargers, Bengals and Jets over the next three weeks and the team nobody pays attention to has quietly become an intriguing story in the AFC West.
(Last three rankings: 6, 7, 6)
5. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
I get that Jacoby Brissett was hurt on Sunday. But even with Brissett, the Colts barely got by Denver the week before until Adam Vinatieri saved them. He couldn’t do it for them in back-to-back weeks as Indy lost to Pittsburgh when Vinatieri hooked the would-be game-winner into the orchestra pit. At 5-3, they have the Dolphins and Jaguars at home the next two weeks and should bounce back.
(Last three rankings: 5, 2, 2)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)
They barely lost at Green Bay in Matt Moore’s first start and then followed that up with Sunday’s 26-23 win over the Vikings at Arrowhead. At 6-3, they’ve negotiated this little bit of adversity better than I thought they might. At Tennessee and the Chargers coming up. KC is undefeated on the road this season.
(Last three rankings: 4, 4, 4)
3. Houston Texans (6-3)
They’re at 6-3 after their clinical takedown of the Jaguars in London. A bye week for them then at the Ravens, hosting the Colts and Patriots for their next three.
(Last three rankings: 2, 3, 3)
2. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
The Ravens’ (6-2) have an interesting little course ahead of themselves. They’re at winless Cincy then they host Houston, visit the Rams, host the Niners and visit the Bills. There’s a lot of losable games there if Baltimore falls victim to the post-Patriots win hangover that so many teams experience.
(Last three rankings: 7, 5, 5)
1. New England Patriots (8-1)
Ironic thing about Sunday night? The 8-1 Patriots offense had its best game of the season (aside from the fever-dream in Miami). Their defense – obviously – had its worst game but still was able to rectify things on the fly to a high degree. The Ravens had a better plan, made more plays and didn’t beat themselves. But I think the Patriots are going to be a much better team because of what they saw on the field Sunday night.
(Last three rankings: 1, 1, 1)