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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Racing Post Power Rankings: Rested LA Rams a threat to everyone

All 32 NFL teams ranked

The Rams head the pack
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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.

Here's this week's 1-32:

1 Los Angeles Rams Unchanged
Record: 4-0
Last week: Won 38-31 at home to Minnesota 
This week: Seven-point favourites at Seattle

The Rams receivers have earned some lofty comparisons, and while they don't compare to the franchise's Greatest Show on Turf wideouts, the team as a whole could match them in reaching a Super Bowl.

Kansas City Chiefs Unchanged
Record: 4-0
Last week: Won 27-23 at Denver
This week: Three-point favourites at home to Jacksonville

While the Rams are the most awe-inspiring team this year, there's little argument that the Chiefs offence is the most exciting unit in the league. They need to keep scoring to make up for the slack performances of their defence, though.

3 Jacksonville Jaguars Unchanged
Record: 3-1
Last week: Won 31-12 at home to the New York Jets
This week: Three-point underdogs at Kansas City

Our faith in the Jaguars was justified when they bounced back from losing to the Titans with a big win over the Jets but this week provides another huge test.

4 Baltimore Ravens Up four
Record: 3-1
Last week: Won 26-14 at Pittsburgh
This week: Three-point favourites at Cleveland

The Ravens deserved a lift up the list after a decisive divisional victory at Pittsburgh. They have conceded only 65 points in four games.

5 New England Patriots Up two
Record: 2-2
Last week: Won 38-7 at home to Miami
This week: Ten-point favourites at home to Indianapolis

Reports of the Patriots' demise may have been premature. They crushed the unbeaten Dolphins and get Julian Edelman back from suspension this week.

6 Minnesota Vikings Down one
Record: 1-2-1
Last week: Lost 38-31 at Los Angeles Rams
This week: Three-point underdogs at Philadelphia

The Vikings restored their reputation with a solid effort against the Rams but the champions provide another stern test this week.

7 New Orleans Saints Down one
Record: 3-1
Last week: Won 33-18 at New York Giants
This week: 6.5-point favourites at home to Washington

The Saints dispatched the Giants with few problems and the Monday Night Football cameras will be there to see QB Drew Brees, who needs 201 passing yards to break Peyton Manning's all-time record.

8 Philadelphia Eagles Down four
Record: 2-2
Last week: Lost 23-26 at Tennessee
This week: Three-point favourites at home to Minnesota

The champions have lost both of their road games, which is a concern but they have home comforts for this week's tough test.

9 Carolina Panthers Unchanged
Record: 2-1
Last week: Bye
This week: Seven-point favourites at home to NY Giants

Coaches don't like taking their bye week before the injuries have really begun to mount, but the Panthers should be raring to go.

10 Green Bay Packers Unchanged
Record: 2-1-1
Last week: Won 22-0 at home to Buffalo
This week: One-point favourites at Detroit

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is getting plaudits for improving his unit and it's hard to argue with a shutout - even against the Bills.

11 Cincinnati Bengals Up four
Record: 3-1
Last week: Won 37-36 at Atlanta
This week: 6.5-point favourites at home to Miami

The Bengals get a bounce up the list after their offence impressed again in a shootout in Atlanta.

12 Atlanta Falcons Down one
Record: 1-3
Last week: Lost 36-37 at home to Cincinnati
This week: Three-point underdogs at Pittsburgh

The Falcons desperately need some wins to justify a top-half slot but their offence should be hopeful of another high scoring against an AFC North defence this week.

13 Denver Broncos Up three
Record: 2-2
Last week: Lost 23-27 at home to Kansas City
This week: One-point underdogs at NY Jets.

The Broncos lost, but they were more competitive than many expected against a top team and there is hope for them.

14 Tennessee Titans Up eight
Record: 3-1
Last week: Won 26-23 at home to Philadelphia
This week: 3.5-point favourites at Buffalo

A win over Jacksonville could have been a fluke, but backing it up by beating the Super Bowl champions had to give the Titans a decent rise.

15 Los Angeles Chargers Down two
Record: 2-2
Last week: Won 29-27 at home to San Francisco
This week: 5.5-point favourites at home to Oakland

Scrambling home against the 49ers was rather disappointing considering San Francisco had lost their starting quarterback. 

16 Washington Redskins Up three
Record: 2-1
Last week: Bye
This week: 6.5-point underdogs at New Orleans

Sometimes not playing can make you look better than playing. Several teams in this region lost while Washington had their week off, and their win over Green Bay reads even better now.

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17 Chicago Bears Up four
Record: 3-1
Last week: Won 48-10 at home to Tampa Bay
This week: Bye

The Bears will have gone into their mid-season break feeling good about themselves after sinking the Buccaneers.

18 Pittsburgh Steelers Down six
Record: 1-2-1
Last week: Lost 26-14 at home to Baltimore
This week: Three-point favourites at home to Atlanta.

The Steelers were in a sorry state as the stands emptied towards the end of their home beating by Baltimore.

19 Miami Dolphins Down five
Record: 3-1
Last week: Lost 38-7 at New England
This week: 6.5-point underdogs at Cincinnati

The Dolphins turned in a shocker at New England and there were no obvious excuses. They face another tough test this week.

20 New York Jets Down three
Record: 1-3
Last week: Lost 31-12 at Jacksonville
This week: One-point favourites at home to Denver

The Jets have lost three in a row and it's questionable whether they should really be favourites to end their slide this week.

21 Cleveland Browns Down one
Record: 1-2-1
Last week: Lost 45-42 at Oakland
This week: Three-point underdogs at home to Baltimore

Maybe a Browns winning streak was too much to ask for after their first win since 2016, but they looked to have beaten the Raiders at least twice. Scoring 42 points on the road should really be enough for a win.

22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Down four
Record: 2-2
Last week: Lost 48-10 at Chicago
This week: Bye

The bye has probably come at a good time for Tampa Bay, who will be switching back to Jameis Winston at quarterback for Week Six.

23 Dallas Cowboys Up two
Record: 2-2
Last week: Won 26-24 at home to Detroit
This week: Three-point underdogs at Houston

The Cowboys are 2-0 at home but both teams in this week's Texas derby would hope to have arrived at it in better form.

24 San Francisco 49ers Unchanged
Record: 1-3
Last week: Lost 29-27 at LA Chargers
This week: 4.5-point favourites at home to Arizona

Maybe all is not lost for the 49ers after Jimmy Garoppolo's injury. They acquitted themselves well against the Chargers.

25 Detroit Lions Up two
Record: 1-3
Last week: Lost 24-26 at Dallas
This week: One-point underdogs at home to Green Bay

You can argue the Lions deserve to be losing if they don't make more use of the talent they have in rookie running back Kerryon Johnson.

26 Seattle Seahawks Unchanged
Record: 2-2
Last week: Won 20-17 at Arizona
This week: Seven-point underdogs at home to the LA Rams

Well they beat Arizona, but only just. And this week the Seahawks go from playing the lowest team in our rankings to the top dogs.

27 New York Giants Down four
Record: 1-3
Last week: Lost 18-33 at home to New Orleans
This week: Seven-point underdogs at Carolina

The Giants have one of the best wide receivers in the game and a great rookie running back but it appears that other positions must be important too.

28 Oakland Raiders Up three
Record: 1-3
Last week: Won 45-42 at home to Cleveland
This week: 5.5 point underdogs at LA Chargers

The Raiders secured head coach Jon Gruden's first win for more than a decade but it took a couple of controversial calls for them to scrape home.

29 Houston Texans Unchanged
Record: 1-3
Last week: Won 37-34 at Indianapolis
This week: Three-point favourites at home to Dallas

The Texans had their first win rather handed to them when Colts coach Frank Reich's fourth-down gamble misfired. 

30 Indianapolis Colts Unchanged
Record: 1-3
Last week: Lost 34-37 at home to Houston
This week: 10.5-point underdogs at New England

The Colts not only threw away their game against Houston, they came out of it with a huge injury list. And they play on Thursday this week. At New England. Ouch.

31 Buffalo Bills Down three
Record: 1-3
Last week: Lost 0-22 at Green Bay
This week: 3.5-point underdogs at home to Tennessee

No points, no love from the rankings. The Bills' win over Minnesota seemed like a freak result at the time and it looks even more of one now.

32 Arizona Cardinals Unchanged
Record: 0-4
Last week: Lost 17-20 at home to Seattle
This week: 4.5 -point underdogs at San Francisco

The Cardinals showed a bit of fight against Seattle, and rookie QB Josh Rosen showed some promise but this season could be a real school of hard knocks for him.

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The Ravens deserved a lift up the list after a decisive divisional victory at Pittsburgh
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