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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Racing Post NFL Power rankings: No end in sight for Rams dominance

All 32 teams ranked from best to worst

Patrick Mahomes has been in sensational form for Kansas City
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Each week, we will list the 32 NFL teams in order of best to worst and see how far each one climbs up or falls down the list during the course of the regular season.

Last week's rankings

Here's this week's 1-32:

1 Los Angeles Rams (unchanged)
Record: 4-0
This week: Won 38-31 at home to Minnesota

The Rams are firmly in control of the NFC West, particularly after San Francisco lost their starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and they have been the strongest team in the NFL so far this season.

Kansas City (up two)
Record: 3-0
Last week: Won 38-27 at home to San Francisco
This week: Four-point favourites at Denver

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been a revelation and the Chiefs could not have hoped for a better start. They look genuine AFC challengers.

3 Jacksonville Jaguars (down one)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Lost 9-6 at home to Tennessee
This week: 7.5-point favourites at home to New York Jets

A defeat to the Titans was deflating after beating New England in Week Two, but their defence is holding firm and they still look a fearsome outfit.

4 Philadelphia Eagles (up one)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Won 20-16 at home to Indianapolis
This week: 3.5-point favourites at Tennessee

The return of quarterback Carson Wentz is a boost even if they limped over the line against the Colts. They should improve as Wentz builds on his match fitness.

5 Minnesota Vikings (down two)
Record: 1-2-1
This week: Lost 38-31 at Los Angeles Rams

Two defeats in a week have left the Vikings doing some soul-searching. At least they stayed with the Rams for the best part of three quarters after a dismal Sunday showing in their 27-6 defeat to the Bills.

6 New Orleans Saints (up two)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Won 43-37 at Atlanta
This week: 3.5-point favourites at New York Giants

The defence is still looking shaky but the offence is strong and this is the last week for which running back Mark Ingram will be suspended. A divisional win over the Falcons should prove a decent tonic. 

7 New England Patriots (down one)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Lost 26-10 at Detroit
This week: 6.5-point favourites at home to Miami

Two defeats on the bounce have left the Patriots playing catch-up in the AFC East. They will do well to stay calm if they are turned over by the Dolphins this week.

8 Baltimore Ravens (up one)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Won 27-14 at home to Denver
This week: Three-point underdogs at Pittsburgh

The Ravens bounced back well from the disappointment of losing to the Bengals in Week Two and a win against the Steelers would leave them in great shape.

9 Carolina Panthers (up two)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Won 31-21 at home to Cincinnati
This week: Bye

The Panthers will probably be content watching from the sidelines having claimed two victories. The NFC South could be even more competitive this year and they have made a decent start.

10 Green Bay Packers (down two)
Record: 1-1-1
Last week: Lost 31-17 at Washington
This week: Nine-point favourites at home to Buffalo

They have had one miraculous win over Chicago, were lucky to get a tie against Minnesota and lost to the Redskins. There's work to do in Wisconsin.

11 Atlanta Falcons (down one)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Lost 43-37 at home to New Orleans
This week: 3.5-point favourites at home to Cincinnati

The Falcons find themselves at the bottom of the NFC South but they still have enough offensive power to become a factor. There's no need to panic yet.

12 Pittsburgh Steelers (up two)
Record: 1-1-1
Last week: Won 30-27 at Tampa Bay
This week: Three-point favourites at home to Baltimore

It looks as if the Steelers are going to struggle to hit the heights they have attained in the last few seasons, but a win should at least give them a lift. It's a massive game against the Ravens.

13 Los Angeles Chargers (down one)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Lost 35-23 at Los Angeles Rams
This week: 10.5-point favourites at home to San Francisco

The fact they will not be facing Jimmy Garoppolo against the Niners could prove a blessing but they have their work cut out to keep the Chiefs in their sights. 

14 Miami Dolphins (up four)
Record: 3-0
Last week: Won 28-20 at home to Oakland
This week: 6.5-point underdogs at New England

The Dolphins have had a great start and can realistic anticipate a bold charge for the playoffs if they see off the Patriots this week.

15 Cincinnati Bengals (down two)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Lost 31-21 at Carolina
This week: 3.5-point underdogs at Atlanta

The Bengals are in the thick of the AFC North chase and look a lot more promising than they did this time last year. Progress is being made.

16 Denver Broncos (down one)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Lost 27-14 at Baltimore
This week: Four-point underdogs at home to Kansas City

Wins over Seattle and Oakland have been put into perspective. They should raise their game against the Chiefs but they look a mid-division outfit.

17 New York Jets (down one)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Lost 21-17 at Cleveland
This week: 7.5-point underdogs at Jacksonville

They will be disappointed to have lost an 11-point lead against the Browns and need a strong performance against the Jaguars to restore some confidence. They look stronger than they did last year, though.

18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (down one)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Lost 30-27 at home to Pittsburgh
This week: Three-point underdogs at Chicago

Their unbeaten start came to an end last week but the Bucs should be comfortable about where they are. The competition for their quarterback spot is interesting but it looks as if they can continue their decent progress.

19 Washington Redskins (up one)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Won 31-17 at home to Green Bay
This week: Bye

The Redskins may well have wanted to play again this week after their win over the Packers and, with the Eagles not setting the world alight, they could turn into NFC East contenders.

20 Cleveland Browns (up two)
Record: 1-1-1
Last week: Won 21-17 at home to New York Jets
This week: 2.5-point underdogs at Oakland

After finally claiming a victory, the Browns are capable of pushing on, particularly as rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield had an excellent first game in their win over the Jets. Their worst days are probably behind them.

21 Chicago Bears (unchanged)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Won 16-14 at Arizona
This week: Three-point favourites at home to Tampa Bay

The Bears got the better of a poor Arizona team but they are a work in progress with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at the helm. They are moving in the right general direction.

22 Tennessee Titans (up two)
Record: 2-1
Last week: Won 9-6 at Jacksonville
This week: 3.5-point underdogs at home to Philadelphia

An excellent win over their divisional rivals with have lifted the mood in Nashville and they demonstrated that they cannot be regarded as a pushover by anybody.

23 New York Giants (up three)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Won 27-22 at Houston
This week: 3.5-point underdogs at home to New Orleans

The Giants have got their offence going and will fancy their chances against the leaky Saints. They should continue to improve. 

24 San Francisco 49ers (down five)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Lost 38-27 at Kansas City
This week: 10.5-point underdogs at San Francisco

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's knee injury is a massive blow when it looked as if they could be back to challenge this season. Their playoff hopes look to be in tatters.

25 Dallas Cowboys (down two)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Lost 24-13 at Seattle
This week: Three-point favourites at home to Detroit

The Cowboys looked to have progressed when they beat the Giants but they never got going against Seattle. Further disappointment may loom.

26 Seattle Seahwaks (up one)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Won 24-13 at home to Dallas
This week: Three-point favourites at Arizona

Victory over the Cowboys was a boost but they have miles to go if they are to seriously challenge the Rams in the NFC West.

27 Detroit Lions (up two)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Won 26-10 at home to New England
This week: Three-point favourites at Dallas

Two poor defeats were followed by a great win over the Patriots. They have plenty of the required components in place, so their season starts now.

28 Buffalo Bills (up three)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Won 27-6 at Minnesota
This week: Nine-point underdogs at Green Bay

The Bills proved they can perform well against a fancied team and the season may not prove to be the disaster many anticipated.

29 Houston Texans (down four)
Record: 0-3
Last week: Lost 27-22 at home to New York Giants
This week: One-point underdogs at Indianapolis

Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson has so far been unable to replicate the dynamism he displayed at times last season before he was injured. They could fail to reach their potential again this term.

30 Indianapolis Colts (down two)
Record: 1-2
Last week: Lost 20-16 at Philadelphia
This week: One-point favourites at home to Houston

The Colts battled well against the Eagles and at least they should make progress now Andrew Luck is fit. The playoffs look a long way off though.

31 Oakland Raiders (down one)
Record: 0-3
Last week: Lost 28-20 at Miami
This week: 2.5-point favourites at home to Cleveland

It was always unlikely that the Raiders would hit the ground running after coach Jon Gruden's long absence from the game. However, they need to get moving, and not just to Vegas.

32 Arizona Cardinals (unchanged)
Record: 0-3
Last week: Lost 16-14 at home to Chicago
This week: Three-point underdogs at home to Seattle

Another defeat for the Cardinals. Maybe they will improve with Josh Rosen in at quarterback. Something has to change.

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The defence is still looking shaky but the offence is strong and this is the last week for which running back Mark Ingram will be suspended
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