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NFL Week 10 Power Rankings: Rise of the Saints

New Orleans takes over the top spot after a huge victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

A few more teams began to distance themselves from the pack in Week 10. A few pretenders were exposed and we’ve got a new No. 1 as well. Here are where the 32 teams stand nine weeks into the NFL season:

1. New Orleans Saints (7-1; won 45-35 vs LAR) (+3)

The Saints have won seven straight games against some of the best teams in the NFL. They knocked off the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Rams this week to close out a four-game run in which they defeated Washington, Minnesota and Baltimore. It does not get easier from here with the Bengals on the horizon, but there is no reason to doubt this team making it eight straight.

2. Los Angeles Rams (8-1; lost 45-35 vs NO) (-1)

It was probably going to happen eventually. A few first half missteps dug the Los Angeles Rams into a huge hole last week and they would eventually fall to the New Orleans Saints. While dwelling one on loss is an overreaction, they have now given the Saints an inside track to the top seed in the NFC putting a dent in a potential Super Bowl run.

3. New England Patriots (7-2; won 31-17 vs GB) (-1)

The Sunday night matchup between the Patriots and Packers was supposed to be a quarterback masterclass but it was instead a defensive chess match. New England’s defense stepped up big time for the first three quarters to help make up for the offense’s early ineptitude. Once the offense found its footing, the game was as good as over, though. New England looks like a better team this year than they were the last.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1; won 37-21 vs CLE) (-1)

Patrick Mahomes added 375 yards and three more touchdowns to his MVP-level season and the Chiefs rolled over the Browns. Kareem Hunt is quietly having another amazing season as well. Concerns on defense still exist but this team is still rolling.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (6-2; won 25-17 vs SEA) (-)

The Chargers rolled into CenturyLink Field and took down a good Seattle Seahawks team in a tough environment. While Philip Rivers did not have his best game, the defense is finally shaping up to be the amazing unit we thought it would be. This is the second straight game where the Chargers did not manage to lose on the last play, meaning whatever curse was on them in the past may have finally been lifted.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1; won 23-16 vs BAL) (-)

Pittsburgh offense is getting into full stride and the defense looks fine as well. The Steelers took down a good Ravens team in a tough road game. They are slowly starting to run away with the AFC North like the usually do.

7. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1; won 24-9 vs DET) (+2)

Minnesota put down a marker in this game. They laid a claim to NFC North supremacy by destroying a Lions team that has had their number in recent years. The Vikings are the clear favorites in the NFC North, even though they current are in second place.

8. Carolina Panthers (6-2; won 42-28 vs TB) (+2)

The stars were shining once again for Carolina. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey both had great games to help the offense roll over the Bucs. Curtis Samuel stepped up big time as well, with a touchdown through the air and another on the ground.

9. Houston Texans (6-3; won 19-17 vs DEN) (+5)

A Houston team that looked like one of the worst in the league early in the season has won six straight to take over the AFC South. They escaped a Denver with a tough road win and receiver Demaryius Thomas already looks like a great addition

10. Chicago Bears (5-3; won 41-9 vs BUF) (+2)

Chicago was this week’s beneficiary of the Nathan Peterman experience. The Bears defense ravaged the Bills, and Jordan Howard showed signs of life. This team is starting to find its stride.

11. Washington (5-3; lost 38-14 vs ATL) (-4)

Washington’s run game could not get going and for a team that does not really do anything except run the ball, that usually means a loss. Their defense is also built to stop the run, so Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ aerial attack was able to easily dispatch them. Turns out playing football like it’s the 1980s has its faults.

12. Seattle Seahawks (4-4; lost 25-17 vs LAC) (-1)

Seattle dropped their second home game of the season to a team based in LA. The Seahawks were a last-second dropped pass away from potentially sending the game to overtime but came up just short against a great Chargers team. A wild card spot is very possible for this team but they will have to navigate their tough schedule first.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4; BYE) (+2)

The Super Bowl Champions were on a bye and get extra time to prepare for a Cowboys team that will be coming off of a short week.

14. Green Bay Packers (3-4-1; lost 31-17 vs NE) (-6)

As talented as this Green Bay team is, their season may be on life support. Aaron Rodgers and the offense had a tough time getting by a usually not-so-good Patriots defense and it wasted another great game from the defense.

15. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3; BYE) (+1)

I hope Cincinnati’s defense remembered how to play football over the bye because they have an appointment with Drew Brees and the Saints next week.

16. Atlanta Falcons (4-4; 38-14 vs WAS) (+6)

The banged up Atlanta Falcons find themselves in the midst of the NFC wild card race. They still cannot defend against the pass, but does not matter when Alex Smith is the opposing quarterback. Julio Jones finally found the end zone and Atlanta is suddenly a factor in the playoff picture,

17. Baltimore Ravens (4-5; lost 23-16 vs PIT) (-4)

A Ravens team with Super Bowl aspirations has now lost three tough games in a row. They have been competitive in all three, and all three were against top eight teams in this very power rankings, but they need to get back on track. Joe Flacco is terrible again and the murmurs for Lamar Jackson under center are getting louder.

18. Tennessee Titans (4-4; won 28-14 vs DAL) (+3)

Marcus Mariota and his Titans came to play on “Monday Night Football.” The offense looked better than it had all year. On defense Malcolm Butler made a few errors but the front seven managed to hold Ezekiel Elliott in check. They still have ground to make up in the AFC South, but they are very much in the playoff race.

19. Miami Dolphins (5-4; won 13-6 vs NYJ) (-)

The only touchdown in this game was a pick-six by Jerome Baker. Brock Osweiler and the offense look lost without Albert Wilson and the defense holding the Jets to six points is not as big an accomplishment as it may seem.

20. Dallas Cowboys (3-5; lost 28-14 vs TEN) (-2)

While Amari Cooper looked good in his Dallas debut not much else did for the Cowboys. Dak Prescott still is bad. Ezekiel Elliott was bottled up all night. The defense, which was supposed to be the team’s strength, gave up 28 points to an anemic Titans offense.

To add insult to injury Kevin Byard did this:

21. Detroit Lions (3-5; lost 24-9 vs MIN) (-4)

The offensive line is bad. The secondary is bad. The quarterback is bad. The posture of their beat reporters is bad. The team is bad. Everything is bad.

22. Denver Broncos (3-6; lost 19-17 vs HOU) (-2)

The Broncos were a missed field goal away from ending the Texans win streak at the final whistle. Denver has a lot of problems on offense, though, and the the investment into Case Keenum looks worse every week. However, their defense has been okay and is keeping them from being a disaster.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5; BYE) (-)

Jacksonville got a bye week on their return from London. They get an extra week to prepare for a must-win game against the Colts.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5; lost 42-28 vs CAR) (-)

Their games are exciting every week but they play out the same way. Defense is bad and gets run over. Ryan Fitzpatrick makes a few great plays to drag them back into the game. Team falls just short. They need help basically everywhere on defense.

25. Indianapolis Colts (3-5; BYE) (-)

The Colts still have faint playoff hopes coming out of the bye week but this week’s matchup with the Jaguars feels like a must win.

26. New York Jets (3-6; lost 13-6 vs MIA) (-)

The Jets were on the losing end of an absolute snooze fest in Miami this week. Everything I type about this team every week is still true, Sam Darnold is still learning, everyone else is either really bad or injured.

27. Cleveland Browns (2-6-1; lost 37-21 vs KC) (-)

Cleveland chose to axe Hue Jackson last week and somehow downgraded at head coach by replacing him with Gregg Williams. Todd Haley, possibly the most competent person who worked in this organization, got fired too, for some reason. This team took another few steps back this week and are solidifying another last-place finish. Oh yeah, and on the field they got buzz-sawed by the Chiefs.

28. San Francisco 49ers (2-7; won 34-3 vs OAK) (+4)

Nick Mullens and the 49ers rolled over their brothers from the Bay. George Kittle showed his greatness, as the 49ers seemingly anemic offense ran up the score.

29. New York Giants (1-7; BYE) (-1)

New York gets an extra week to prepare for the Monday Night showdown between NFL heavyweights next week.

30. Buffalo Bills (2-7; lost 41-9 vs CHI) (-1)

Nathan Peterman threw 49 passes and only three were intercepted so that might help lower is ridiculously high interception percentage.

31. Arizona Cardinals (2-6; BYE) (-1)

Arizona might as well have spent the bye preparing for the Raiders in Week 11 because the Chiefs are going to annihilate them this week.

32. Oakland Raiders (1-7; lost 34-3 vs SF) (-1)

This is not a real professional football team just a really expensive social experiment.