Things stand a chance to get spooky this week, but a look at the second list of NFL power rankings from the hosts of WARR’s “All-32” podcast should bring with it the comfort of the familiar.
If you looked at our first list from the tail end of September, you’ll see most of the same teams this time around — 12, to be exact — but a lot of the order has changed, particularly at the top and the middle.
As put together by our NFL and Chicago Bears writer, Ryan Bukowiecki, you’ll see a familiar name at the top this time around with an old power that has resurrected itself this season atop the NFC. In the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers the NFL has two clear undefeated standard-setters above all others, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t competition close behind, especially in the NFC.
Listen to Ryan unveil our latest “Sweet 16” right here and make sure to check back with us at the end of October for our next rankings.
1. New England Patriots
The defending Super Bowl champs have not been above playing down to the level of some opponents, but its just so damn hard for most offenses to get going against New England’s superior defenders. And then there’s that Brady guy…
Right now, nobody’s better, but competition will step up in the second half, starting with a contest at Baltimore this week.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Much like the Pats, SF could be said to have a bit of a lesser schedule and there are some personnel issues potentially on offense. But also like the Pats, the Niners’ defense is lights out and its hard to guess too many teams in the League will really be able to slug it out with these guys going forward.
3. New Orleans Saints
Brilliant with Brees, brilliant without him, and brilliant with him again. A returning Drew Brees showed again this week just how dominant the Saints can be, but after a perfect October with Teddy Bridgewater calling most of the shots, they also know that it takes a lot to keep them from surviving as well.
4. Green Bay Packers
Damn, those Packers — any hope that this team, or simply Aaron Rodgers, would slow down or complete an awkward transition to new coach Matt LaFleur was put to rest in October. The Pack bounced back from a loss to the Eagles with some dominant offensive showings, including Rodgers and Aaron Jones showing out in Kansas City this past Sunday night.
5. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have played it close with a few opponents but you still got to have faith that this team knows as much about winning as any team in the League does. Essentially, an unexpectedly dominant 49ers team is the only thing standing in their way from the postseason.
6. Minnesota Vikings
7. Baltimore Ravens
8. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are definitely a team to look at if your team is letting you down (*ahem* *Chicago*) while the Ravens and Vikings have both dealt well with some early tough losses and have sprinted beyond once-hyped and former power ranked teams like Cleveland and *ahem.*
9. Kansas City Chiefs
10. Los Angeles Rams
11. Houston Texans
12. Dallas Cowboys
Former No. 1 KC takes our biggest fall in this quarter’s rankings but they are obviously not whole now. The Rams, Texans and Boys all have pieces of what it takes to jump higher in the rankings but for their own reasons give plenty of distrustful material.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars
14. Carolina Panthers
15. Philadelphia Eagles
16. Buffalo Bills
Carolina makes its debut in this year’s rankings while it seems like the other three teams in this section may have played their best ball in one way or another.
The Bills have a 5-2 record but they didn’t match up well at all with Philly and you figure they’ll have a bad time with patient teams that run the ball and put in the work to defend at every level of defense — pretty much what you’d see in most of the 15 teams above them.
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