Updated: Nov 8, 2021
The Saints still own the Bucs in the regular season. However, that's not the only reason they make this list. They have been stringing together solid wins all season. I honestly think Sean Payton is the front runner for Coach of the Year. He lost Drew Brees, due to retirement. Recently, he lost Michael Thomas, due to a season ending injury, but Payton still has these Saints competing for the top of the NFC South. Olympia High School (Orlando, Florida) alumnus Trevor Siemian balled out on the defending champs this past Sunday. Is he the next man up? He certainly looked like the number one QB on Sunday. Defenses will be better prepared for Siemian next time, but Coach Payton and Siemian will be too.
9. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo struggled this week with a Miami Dolphins defense that isn't as good as it was last year. Through three quarters, the Bills only managed 10 points. They figured it out, and now they own both matchups against the Dolphins. However, I think the Bills offense needs to consistently play better before I can rank them higher in the power rankings. Nevertheless, they have the talent, and the defense is so good that they will always have a chance to win.
The Ravens didn't play this week, and last we saw them, they were getting blown out by a team who lost to the Jets. However, the Ravens are still competitive for the number one seed in the AFC, and also, we have seen what they can do. They are still one of the best teams in the NFL. They are at a crossroads. They can either ascend to greatness or fall off this week.
The Raiders also didn't play this week, but they have been so impressive that they deserve to be ranked above other teams, even at rest. However, with the news of Henry Ruggs being charged with a felony DUI, you have to wonder if this will be the straw that breaks the Raiders back.
Titans racked up another win, this time in a thrilling win over the Colts. The receivers are getting healthy, and the defense is playing better. However, now Derrick Henry is out for the regular season. The Titans made it to the top of the AFC, but their reign is way less than stable. With Henry gone, they will need to pull out all the stops to continue their roll. A lot of people believe Henry has made Ryan Tannehill look better than he really is. I personally think he is really good, but we are about to find out.
I was prepared to crown the Bucs the best team this week with a win. Then, they lost to the Saints without Winston, and now I have to question them. We knew the defense was suspect because of injury, so they pretty much played as well as we expected. However, Brady throwing a pick with the game on the line is so out of character. I think Sean Payton was definitely watching the Peyton Manning Monday Night cast when Brady said he struggled with defenses that don't roll their coverage. The Saints stayed in the coverage they showed Brady at the line and that got them a game-winning pick. However, I believe this game is the equivalent of the Bears game last year, an aberration. The Bucs are still getting healthier and they are still at the top of their division, and they could bounce back.
The Rams steamrolled the Texans, as they should. They have been one of the most dominant teams in the league. Now, they are getting Von Miller, and they are about to get even better. The only reason they are ranked this low is that they were stomped once by the Cardinals, a team ranked higher than them.
The Cardinals took their first loss in a very disappointing fashion. They lost to the Packers, who didn't have any of their leading receivers or number one corner. I know the Cardinals lost JJ Watt and didn't have Hopkins, but they still should have won. Also, Kyler Murray got hurt at the end of the game. Alarm bells are ringing. Even without Hopkins, the Cardinals should be a better team with all their talent, but they aren't. However, if they can get healthy, they can get back to their winning ways. Regardless, this previously undefeated team still has a lot to prove.
If the Packers won, I said they would be moving way up the list, and here they are. They finally got their signature win. They were injured as hell, on the road against the undefeated Cardinals, and they pulled out a win. Rodgers bet on Cobb, and this game definitely vindicated him. However, 4th and goal and Rodgers fails to convert, it's reminiscent of the conference championship game. You would hope that he would convert in those situations, especially after all the jokes about taking the ball out of his hands in the conference championship. However, as the best player on the team, he is also the most likely to improve over the season. The running game and defense are the real story of this game. They showed they could support Rodgers. They stopped Kyler Murray, and Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon ran it down the Cardinals throat. If the Packers can hang in like that with the elite teams, they might just make it over the hump.
Cowboys are the number one team in the NFL right now. They only have one loss, and no one has punked them. In their one loss, they looked great, and they were a few field goals away from beating the defending champs. Also, the teams who would be in contention for this spot all have bad losses. The Saints were trounced by the Packers. The Bucs have two losses and were wrecked by the Rams. Rams were sunned by the Cardinals. The Cardinals weren't beaten badly, but they were beaten by a Packers team that wasn't even at full strength.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys just sat Dak Prescott and still beat a talented Vikings team. They shut down Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, and Kirk Cousins. For reference, the Cardinals (#2) barely beat the Vikings at full strength. Do you think they could afford to sit Murray and still beat the Vikings? The Cowboys are talented at every level—the best team in the NFL.
The MVP Race
5. Lamar Jackson
After the blowout loss and the bye, I feel Lamar Jackson is on the edges of the conversation for MVP. He is taking Dak's spot because Dak's team won without him. However, Dak could get back on the list when he gets healthy. Likewise, Lamar could shoot back up the list if he hits the ground running out of the bye. He is, undoubtedly, the driving force in the Ravens success. He just has to keep playing like a Raven and shutting down the haters.
4. Tom Brady
Tom Brady took a huge step back this week in his loss against the Saints. However, I haven't knocked him off the MVP list because while it is his fault they lost, Brady is also the only reason they were in the game in the first place. Also, he continued his historic four touchdowns per game strike. Brady is certainly not done in the MVP race. He will be back.
3. Kyler Murray
Kyler also took a major step back this week. He lost his undefeated status and got injured, and he didn't perform that well. However, he was on a previously undefeated team. He is, undoubtedly, the driving force in his team's success, and his team is the second-best team in the NFL.
2. Derrick Henry
This is likely Derrick Henry's last time being in the MVP race because of his injury. He didn't put up any impressive numbers. However, he fought through his season-ending injury to support his team to a win. It's a microcosm of Derrick Henry's season. He has been the driving force of their success—MVP stuff.
Matt Stafford has really only had one misstep, and that was against the Cardinals. Otherwise, he has looked like an MVP candidate. He has been consistently great, and he seems like the missing ingredient that will take the Rams to the top. Also, while all the other MVP candidates either didn't play last week or slipped, Matt put in another great performance, which is why he is now leading the race.
Rookie QB Radar
Jimmy G. looked great, and Trey is hurt and firmly behind Jimmy G. for the rest of the season. Jimmy G. is even handling the goal-line work. The only way I see Trey starting this season is if Jimmy G. gets hurt, which is possible.
Zach Wilson might not even be the starter. He hasn't proven much this season, and random Mike White has made the offense look way better in one start. To be fair, White has been doing this for a while, and Zach is a rookie, but it's definitely White's job to lose.
4. Mac Jones
Mac Jones didn't do much in this game, but he also didn't have to. The best that can be said about him here is he did his job and didn't lose the game.
3. Trevor Lawrence
He was outdueled by Geno Smith and couldn't move the ball on a Seahawks defense that isn't very good. After an impressive performance against the Dolphins, this was a definite step back. The Jaguars need more from Lawrence if they are going to win. These are the types of games Jaguars and Lawrence should win. That said, he had a touchdown and nearly two hundred and fifty yards passing with one interception so it wasn't terrible.
2. Davis Mills
The Texans were blown out, but, hey, they were never going to beat the Rams. At least the QB, Davis Mills, had a good day. He survived a very tough defense. He threw for three hundred yards, he had two touchdowns and only one pick.
1. Justin Fields
I know Fields lost to the team that didn't draft him. However, the guy they did draft didn't even play, and Fields controlled the game. Fields did not cost the Bears that game over one hundred yards rushing and one hundred passing with TDs from both. I would even argue he broke out. This is the best Fields has played this season. He looked like Lamar Jackson with his legs. Also, he had a grand passing TD, where he put the ball where only the tight end could get it. I was at that game, and what I saw gave me hope. Fields has arrived, and if the rest of the team gets on the same page, they could be dangerous.
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