This is one nice addon.
I’ve received plenty of “feedback” on Twitter (@DanHanzus) that the Patriots — on the basis of their incredibly soft schedule — do not deserve to be No. 1 on the Power Rankings, a spot they’ve held since the preseason. To which I say, yes, New England’s slate of opponents has included some of the worst teams in football. But if you really want to see the Belichicks drop in this exercise, someone is going to have to take them out.
So far, the NFL is 0-for-7. The Pats stay where they are. Let’s get to the rankings.
NOTE: The previous rankings referenced in the lineup below are from the Week 7 Power Rankings.
No. 1 Same old story. The
Patriots have feasted on the
Jets for years, and
Monday night was no different. ESPN mics caught
Sam Darnold admitting he was
“seeing ghosts” in the pocket. We could have guessed that without the wire — Darnold threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in a game as one-sided as we’ll see all year.
Tom Brady and the
Patriots offense set the tone on the game’s first possession: a 16-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that sucked the energy out of MetLife Stadium. While Darnold was under constant assault, Brady had all day in the pocket and was rarely harassed by a weak
Jets pass rush. One more note on that dominant Pats defense: New England has 18 interceptions, the second-highest total through seven games for a team
in the past 30 years. Bill Belichick is running out a historically great secondary.
No. 3 Sean Payton is chasing only one trophy this season, and it will be the one handed out in Miami on the first Sunday in February. But he’s already got the NFL Coach of the Year award in the bag for what he’s done with the 6-1
Saints. New Orleans has been without
Drew Brees for most of the season, and on Sunday, superstar running back
Alvin Kamara sat with ankle and knee ailments. Didn’t matter in
a blowout of the Bears at Soldier Field. At some point, attrition is supposed to take its toll, but somehow, the
Saints keep getting stronger. It’s a testament to Payton’s ability as both a coach and team-builder. And things are only getting better: Brees (out since Week 2 with a thumb injury)
is returning to practice this week and could even be back in action on Sunday
against the Cardinals. This is your
Super Bowl favorite in the NFC.
No. 2 It will be one of the most indelible images of this
Nick Bosa, clinching
another win for the
49ers with a sack, then kicking off a celebration with
a FedExField Slip ‘N Slide. The fast and loose
49ers are 6-0 for the first time since 1990 and have now held opponents scoreless over their last 18 possessions. The driving rain and wind gusts made this an impossible setup for
Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners offense to make a significant impact, so the defense handled most of the business. The biggest play on Sunday was made by linebacker
Kwon Alexander, who ended Washington’s last real scoring threat by
stripping Adrian Peterson of the football for a turnover.
Robbie Gould was the hero on offense, kicking three short field goals to account for all the scoring. This was a game where no style points were necessary.
No. 4 In a lot of ways, it was
the perfect Sunday at Lambeau Field — the type of day
Packers fans will look back wistfully upon when this is all over.
Aaron Rodgers, under a cloudless blue sky, playing quarterback at the height of his powers. His final stats tell the story of position mastery: 25 of 31, 429 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions … and a rushing score, for good measure. It was the most flawless game we’ve seen from a quarterback all season, and there’s something satisfying as a football fan that it came from Rodgers, who struggled enough in the past two seasons
to make you wonder if Peak Rodgers was a thing of the past. His play this season has debunked that theory, and as we saw
in a jubilant Packers locker room after the game, the whole team is flush with confidence knowing No. 12 is out front.
No. 8 The
Kirk Cousins Revitalization Project rages on. The quarterback — identified as The Problem in Minnesota three weeks ago — has played as well as any passer in the league during the
Vikings’ three-game winning streak, continuing with
Sunday’s conquest in Detroit. Cousins absolutely shredded the
Lions in play-action, continuing a trend that began (perhaps not coincidentally) at the start of this surge. Over the past three weeks, Cousins has a 157.2 rating on play-action, completing 32 of 42 passes for 592 yards and seven touchdowns without an interception, according to Pro Football Focus. Throw in another huge day from running back
Dalvin Cook (25 carries, 142 rushing yards, two rushing TDs), and we’re beginning to see the full potential of this
Vikings offense. It’s an attack with a ceiling as high as that of any team in the NFC.
No. 5 How strange was it to be watching a
Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field in which
Russell Wilson wasn’t the most exciting quarterback on the field? Such is the power of
Lamar Jackson, the young
Ravens star who inserted himself into the MVP discussion that Wilson has headlined following
a 30-16 Baltimore win. Playing a
Ravens defense that has struggled mightily for much of the season, Wilson completed less than half of his pass attempts (20 of 41) and threw his first interception of the season,
a pick-six by former Rams cornerback Marcus Peters. Wilson has been a rock of elite consistency all season for the
Seahawks, finishing Seattle’s first six games with passer ratings of 134.4, 131.0, 102.6, 114.3, 151.8 and 117.6. On Sunday against the
Ravens? 65.2. It was an off day for Wilson, which usually means an off day for the team he leads.
No. 11 Now that’s more like it. The
Cowboys came out angry and sharp against the
Eagles, jumping on their NFC East rivals early and coasting to a
37-10 win at Jerrah World. The victory was effective on three levels: 1) It snapped Dallas’ three-game losing streak; 2) it moved the
Cowboys back into sole possession of first place; and 3) it sent the
Eagles into a minor panic and potential existential crisis. This was the
Cowboys’ most lopsided win over Philadelphia since a 34-0 shutout on Nov. 2, 1998. This is all excellent news for head coach Jason Garrett, who was at the center of a particularly heated week of national discussion about his worth and job security. NBC’s Cris Collinsworth put it well as Garrett jogged to midfield to me
These components are quite smart!
Copyright for syndicated content belongs to the Linked Source