NFL Power Rankings: A Change at the Top

Date: October 5, 2017

By: Dalton Allison

10. Philadelphia Eagles

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Against a Chargers team with no victories, the Eagles came into Los Angeles and eliminated any home field advantage that the Chargers would have had. That is in part due to the large contingency of Eagles fans that were present at the Stubhub Center. The game was decided purely on possession of the ball, which the Eagles completely dominated. The Eagles possessed the ball for nearly 40 minutes of the game, which kept Phillip Rivers off of the field. A strong run game, enabled by LeGarrette Blount, dominated the game. Blount had 136 yards on 16 carries, highlighted by a 68 yard run that set the Eagles up for an important touchdown. The Eagles have surprised many this season, and they appear to be getting stronger as the season goes along. Whether it is a mature Carson Wentz or a more concentrated defensive effort, the Eagles look like the favorite for the NFC East at this point.

9. Oakland Raiders

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The offense of the Oakland Raiders hit a wall on Sunday, as they dropped to 2-2 on the season. Marshawn Lynch was held to just 12 yards on the ground over nine carries, and the team as a whole finished with only 24 rushing yards. Derek Carr threw for a touchdown until he injured his shoulder on a fall from a hit. All that backup quarterback E.J Manuel could muster was 106 yards, an interception, and a drive resulting in a field goal. Amari Cooper was again a ghost, catching two passes for nine yards. The only thing keeping this team afloat right now is Khalil Mack and the defense of the Raiders, which held the Denver Broncos to 16 points.

8. Denver Broncos

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Trevor Siemian has been good this season. In the game against the Raiders, Siemian threw for 179 yards and a touchdown. Nothing spectacular, but a good game. Siemian and his mediocracy is slowly starting to take an effect on the Broncos. Denver rushed the ball 32 times on Sunday, totaling 143 yards. 95 of those yards belonged to C.J Anderson, who has produced finely all season for the Broncos. It will be interesting to see what happens to Siemian when the Broncos face an opponent that can stop the rushing game. Will Siemian have a game like he did against Dallas, where he threw for four touchdowns? Or will Siemian crumble under the pressure and make mistakes? The only sure thing about the Broncos is their defense, which came away with another interception on Sunday.

7. L.A Rams

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The Rams marched into Dallas and staged an upset over the heavily-favorited Cowboys. They were led by an explosive offense that put up 412 yards against the Cowboys. It was a balanced attack, with Jared Goff throwing for 255 yards and two touchdowns, and Todd Gurley rushing for 121 yards. Gurley has been a monster thus far this season, plowing through defenses. Against the Cowboys, not only was he a threat on the ground, but he was deadly in the air as well. He had seven receptions for 94 yards, and a touchdown. The secret weapon for the Rams this season has been wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who also had a receiving touchdown to go with 60 yards on Sunday. Without kicker Greg Zuerlein though, victory would not be possible. Zuerlein was a perfect 7/7 on field goals against the Cowboys.

6. Buffalo Bills

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The Bills have been the Cinderella team of the NFL season thus far. With no true superstar, the Bills have cut through a pair of elite teams to claim their place on top of the AFC East. This weekend's victim was the Atlanta Falcons, the class of the NFC. The surge of this Bills team has been led by the defense, which allows a league-best 13.5 points per game. Micah Hyde has been beastly for the Bills secondary, with three interceptions and 15 tackles on the season so far. Rookie head coach Sean McDermott is an early front-runner for Coach of the Year, as he has made the most of a team that was predicted to finish poorly this season.

5. Detroit Lions

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By the skin of their teeth, the Lions pulled out an important divisional win over the Vikings. In a game like the one they played against the rival Vikings, you'd expect the most important player to be the quarterback, Matthew Stafford. Stafford was good, but he did not throw for a touchdown over his 209 yards. You'd expect the running back, Ameer Abdullah, to have put up high numbers, but he finished with a nice total of 95 yards. The true game changer for the Lions in their 14-7 victory was punter Jeff Locke, who finished with 325 yards on seven punt attempts. The most important part of his game was his ability to put the Vikings in poor field position. Three times Locke pushed the Vikings inside the 20 yard line. This played a huge part in their victory.

4. Green Bay Packers

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The Chicago Bears did not provide much competition for the Packers on Thursday night, as the Packers torched them 35-14. Aaron Rodgers was a monster, throwing four touchdown passes against a weak Bears secondary. He was aided by a rushing attack that produced somewhat, although it saw the loss of both Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams. The biggest part of the win for the Packers was their ability to force Mike Glennon into four turnovers. Glennon was picked off twice, and was forced into fumbling twice. HaHa Clinton-Dix has turned into a leader on defense, and he contributed eight tackles and an interception against the Bears.

3. New England Patriots

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Nothing is wrong with Tom Brady and his offense. Brady connected with his receivers for two touchdowns and 307 yards total passing. The problem with this Patriots team is on the other side of the ball. The Patriots defense allowed 456 yards of offense against the Panthers. That is an unacceptable number, and it is nearly impossible to win a football game after allowing numbers like that. For the Patriots to be able to have true success this season, they need to be able to make important stops. They allowed the Panthers to go 6-9 on third down, which is an alarming stat. Matt Patricia needs to inspire some fight into this defense before it is too late.

2. Atlanta Falcons

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Everybody has a rough game now and then. This weekend, it was the Falcons' turn to have an uncharacteristically bad game. Matt Ryan threw more interceptions than touchdowns, which is a rarity. Ryan's turnovers eventually did the team in, as he also had a fumble in the game. This will simply be a bump in the road for the Falcons though, who will look to bounce back against the struggling Miami Dolphins this week. To win this game, the Falcons will just need to go out and be the team that went to the Super Bowl last season. Don't expect Matt Ryan to have three turnovers against Miami, or in any game for the rest of the season.

1. Kansas City Chiefs 

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Standing alone as the only team with a 4-0 record, there is no more deserving team that deserves to be at the top spot. Teams have still not been able to stop Kareem Hunt, who broke the 100 yard barrier again on the ground. Travis Kelce was unstoppable in the air, compiling 111 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins. Alex Smith once again was unstoppable, totaling 293 yards passing with a touchdown. Linebacker Justin Houston sealed the deal for Kansas City, as he returned a fumble for a touchdown late in the game, and making a statement that the Chiefs are a team to be reckoned with.

 

Dalton Allison can be found on Twitter @DaltonAllison4 and can be reached by e-mail at dalton.allison@student.shu.edu.

Posted in: Sports

 

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