NFL Power Rankings: Eagles Still On TopDate: November 16, 2017
By: Dalton Allison
10. Jacksonville Jaguars- This Jaguars team is strictly based off of defense, and that is the way that they are going to win games. They have the best passing defense in the league, with the least passing yards allowed per game in the league with 165.1. This is important in a league where many teams are reliant on the passing game for their scoring. Speaking of scoring, the Jaguars allow the least amount of points per game in the league, sitting at a solid 14.9 points per game allowed. Whether it be Calais Campbell on the defensive line with 11 sacks, or Tashaun Gipson in the secondary with three interceptions, this is a defense that can compete with the Seattle Seahawks.
9. Kansas City Chiefs- After losing three of their last four games, the Chiefs needed a week off. What has been the cause of the recent slide for the Chiefs? It could possibly be the recent slide of once Rookie of the Year favorite Kareem Hunt, or the fact that the defense has been allowing scores at an embarrassing rate. Whatever it is, the Chiefs look to get back to their winning ways against the New York Giants. This should be a good game for the Chiefs, who need to restart Hunt and his run game. The Giants defense, which allowed 31 points to the San Francisco 49ers, is perfect to see after a bye week. Hunt should be licking his lips at this opportunity.
8. Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton is officially back to MVP form. He showed just how deadly he could be in the Panthers victory over the Miami Dolphins. Newton threw for four touchdowns and 254 yards in the 45-21 romping. The Panthers received a solid performance from Jonathan Stewart as well, as he contributed 110 yards on the ground. Newton's top target, Devin Funchess hauled in five catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, Luke Keuchly is the difference maker. At linebacker, he is the leader of the defense, and was a stalwart on Sunday. He recorded six tackles and intercepted Jay Cutler once in an effort where the defense was able to contain the Dolphins.
7. Seattle Seahawks- Some victories can be costly, and the Seahawks learned that the hard way in their 22-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. In the win, Richard Sherman, their leader at cornerback, suffered an Achilles injury that ended his season. This is a tough blow for the strong Seattle defense but they should be encouraged by other players on the same side of the ball. Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor, and K.J Wright all recorded at least ten tackles. On offense, Russell Wilson found Doug Baldwin five times for 95 yards, and tight end Jimmy Graham twice in the end zone. While the Seahawks will miss Sherman, they should still be a playoff team come the end of the season.
6. Minnesota Vikings- Case Keenum showed off his gunslinger abilities against the Washington Redskins. Against a secondary that features Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, Keenum slung 304 yards and four touchdowns in his winning effort. His favorite target, as usual, was Adam Thielen. Thielen hauled in 166 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. Keenum is once again in a position where he needs to project his job from his backup, with Teddy Bridgewater officially back in play. The Vikings would be silly to try and break the momentum of what Keenum has going right now. If he maintained the job over Sam Bradford, there should be no reason why can't maintain it over Bridgewater.
5. New Orleans Saints- The Saints came marching in to Orchard Park, New York, and a Buffalo Bills team that was undefeated at home. It didn't seem to faze them though, as they trounced the Bills 47-10. In this win, the focus of the offense was not future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. This victory came on the heels of an absolute monster performance from Mark Ingram. In 21 carries, Ingram amassed 131 yards on the ground, including three touchdowns. Alvin Kamara produced a nice game of his own, as he rushed for a touchdown and 106 yards on 12 carries. Who would have thought that the Saints would be the biggest threat to the Philadelphia Eagles at this point in the season?
4. New England Patriots- There may not be a better quarterback at spreading the ball than Tom Brady. Brady found nine targets on his way to victory against the Denver Broncos. Rex Burkhead, Dwayne Allen, and James White were the recipients of Brady's three passing touchdowns Sunday night. But the real story about this team is the turn around that the defense has pulled off. This team has spun a complete 180 on defense from the beginning of the season. They have now gone five straight weeks of not allowing twenty or more points, after allowing over thirty points in both of their losses. The key for this team is not Tom Brady, it is the efficiency of the defense.
3. L.A Rams- The Rams and Jared Goff easily decimated the Deshaun Watson-less Houston Texans 33-7. Now riding a four game win streak, the scariest part of this team should be their youth. The average age of the Rams is 25, which is second youngest only to the Cleveland Browns. Even their coach, Sean McVay, is the youngest head coach in NFL history. This should scare the Seattle Seahawks, the team that the Rams are battling for NFC West supremacy. Jared Goff rattled off 355 yards and three touchdowns, his biggest target on the day being Robert Woods. Woods reeled in eight catches for 171 yards and touchdowns, proving to be a threat alongside Cooper Kupp.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers- Things got a little testy Sunday against the Colts. Entering the fourth, the Steelers trailed 17-9. With Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell both being limited by the defense of the Colts, the Steelers relied on Ben Rothlisberger to pull them out of the hole. He was able to connect with JuJu Smith-Schuster five times for 97 yards and a touchdown in their comeback effort. Kicker Chris Boswell nailed a field goal with time winding down to seal the deal on the game. The ability to come back like they did gives another reason for the Steelers to be considered as the best team in the AFC.
1. Philadelphia Eagles- Entering the bye week, it was clear that the Eagles are the best team in football. Carson Wentz has showed that he has made significant strides in his growth as a quarterback, adjusting to the system of the Eagles to much success. With the addition of Jay Ajayi, the Eagles seem nearly unstoppable. In their upcoming bout against the Dallas Cowboys, it is unknown if the Cowboys will have Sean Lee on defense. If Lee is there, expect it to be a close game propelled by both defenses. If the Cowboys don't have Lee, expect the Eagles to virtually seal up the NFC East division on Sunday night.
Dalton Allison can be reached at email@example.com.