Six of the teams in the top 10 of my Power Rankings lost this past week. Among those losses:
- A 15.5-point favorite in the Buffalo Bills losing to a Jacksonville Jaguars team that looked lifeless a week ago against Seattle.
- The Dallas Cowboys getting blown out at home by the Denver Broncos, who traded away Von Miller last week in a move that signaled maybe they were moving on from this season.
- The New Orleans Saints, fresh off their upset of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, lost at home to the Atlanta Falcons as seven-point favorites.
- The Derrick Henry-less Tennessee Titans went into Los Angeles and beat up the Rams without doing a whole heck of a lot on offense. The defense, a maligned unit in recent years, dominated the Rams' offense in the victory.
- The Las Vegas Raiders lost on the road to the New York Giants in a week that had to challenge them with receiver Henry Ruggs III being let go after his tragic DUI that resulted in the death of a young woman.
- The Green Bay Packers also lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Aaron Rodgers-less game with a lifeless offense.
That's six of the top 10. In one week?
That's the NFL this season. Trying to predict it week in and week out is maddening. It's also why it's the greatest sport of them all.
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One coach told me this summer that there might be something to the idea that getting hot down the stretch is more important than perhaps winning the division. He used Tampa Bay last season as the example. But that means a team has to get into the postseason party, which means bad losses like this week could cost some of them.
I still think teams like the Bills, Rams, Cowboys and Packers will be around in the playoffs -- and maybe deep into them. But this past weekend shows that you can't just line up and play, no matter who the opponent is on the other sideline.
My Power Rankings have been destroyed each and every week this season so far. Parity lovers rejoice. At the halfway point of the season, with nine weeks left, it's time for contenders to emerge and pretenders to fade away.
This past week, the pretenders made life miserable for a lot of the supposed contenders and turned the league upside down in the process.
|Winning the way they did on the road without Kyler Murray was truly impressive. They are the best team right now.||3||4-13-0|
|The Packers found out what life is like without Aaron Rodgers. It's not pretty, but he is back this week, which is a good and necessary thing.||1||8-9-0|
|They are such a tough team. Going to Los Angeles and winning without Derrick Henry is special. They are the best team in the AFC.||2||7-10-0|
|They went into their bye off a loss, which can only make one imagine the fire that is lit inside of Tom Brady this week. The good news is they get Washington to help fix their issues.||3||8-9-0|
|They made it interesting against the Vikings, but they found a way to win it in overtime. The passing game came to life, which it needed to do. The defense has to pick it up.||4||10-7-0|
|The Jaguars loss should be a wake-up call for a team that hasn't played that well in recent weeks. They need to run the ball more. Yes, I said that.||3||13-3-0|
|What was that against the Titans? The offense was a disaster. The all-in on the season took a big step back.||5||5-12-0|
|They looked awful in the loss to the Broncos, beaten in every phase of the game. Let's call it their season blip and move on to next week.||--||12-5-0|
|They got back to playing the type of offensive football they need to play, which is to let Justin Herbert be free and loose. He's too good not to do that.||6||10-7-0|
|They lost a tough one at home to the Falcons as big favorites with Trevor Siemian in his first start. He struggled early, but came on late. They will need more against the Titans this week.||4||7-10-0|
|The offense still isn't clicking, but the defense is getting better. It's only a matter of time before Patrick Mahomes gets it cranked up.||1||14-3-0|
|Don't look now, but they've won three straight games to get back into the division race. Now they face a tough game at home against the Browns.||2||8-9-0|
|They have won four straight games to get to 5-3. They made it interesting against the Bears. The defense came apart in the second half.||--||9-8-0|
|That was a bad loss against the Giants, one that they can't afford in a good division. They've dealt with a lot this season, and maybe that factored into the outcome.||4||6-11-0|
|So much for all the talk of how they would have issues without Odell Beckham Jr. They blew through the Bengals as an offense, using the ground game to do so.||2||7-10-0|
|The defense has fallen apart in the past few weeks as they've lost two straight. It's hard to believe it's the same defense. The bye this week is coming at a good time.||5||12-4-0|
|They dominated the Jets from an offensive standpoint. But that defense still has major issues that need to be fixed.||1||4-12-1|
|They will have Russell Wilson back this week, which is a must if they are to have any playoff chances. The bye came at a good time, but now they face a real challenge against the Packers on the road.||3||9-8-0|
|Give Vic Fangio credit for getting his team ready to beat the Cowboys. After trading Von Miller, who knew how they would play? The defense was outstanding against the Cowboys and they are in the playoff hunt.||3||5-12-0|
|They are 4-4 after their impressive road victory over the Saints. Matt Ryan is having an outstanding season to get this team into the playoff race.||3||7-10-0|
|They've lost a lot of close games, including to the Ravens in overtime Sunday. They need to start winning or the playoffs could be a long shot.||5||13-4-0|
|The offense is terrible with Sam Darnold. They might need to make a change. He can't get anything going.||3||7-10-0|
|Losing to the Cardinals at home when they didn't have Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins is inexcusable. They are pretty much done.||3||13-4-0|
|They've played much better the past few weeks, even if it might be too late to make a run. They've fought through a lot of injuries as they head to their bye.||2||9-7-1|
|They played a solid game against the Chargers, but at 3-6 their playoff hopes are slipping away. The defense was shredded in that game.||1||14-3-0|
|They lost to the Steelers, but the good news is Justin Fields played well in the second half. He did some really good things||1||3-14-0|
|Coming out of their bye, they have to hope they can turn things around quickly as one of the biggest flops of the year. It won't be an easy start to that process with the Bucs on tap.||--||8-8-1|
|The defense came up big against the Bills. Where has that been all season? The offense still needs to do more as they ready to face the Colts.||1||9-8-0|
|They looked like the Jets again in losing to the Colts. They have a long way to go to be competitive, no matter who plays quarterback.||1||7-10-0|
|Jacoby Brissett did some good things playing for Tua Tagovailoa. But the rest of this season is all about Tagovailoa.||--||9-8-0|
|So going back to Tyrod Taylor at quarterback wasn't exactly the move to ignite this team. He was bad against Miami and you have to wonder if they might not go back to Davis Mills at some point after their bye.||--||3-13-1|
|They come off their bye with the real possibility that they won't win a game this year. Is 0-17 a reality? You bet.||--||9-8-0|