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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Racing Post Power Rankings: Unbeaten pair lead the chart

All 32 teams ranked from best to worst

Ace LA Rams running back Todd Gurley stretches the Seattle defence
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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: 5-0
Last week: Won 33-31 at Seattle
This week: Seven-point favourites at Denver

Nine unanswered fourth-quarter points saw the Rams over the line against Seattle as they demonstrated the battling qualities that should enhance their championship credentials.

Kansas City Chiefs unchanged
Record: 5-0
Last week: Won 30-14 at home to Jacksonville
This week: 3.5-point underdogs at New England

The Jags contributed to their own downfall but the Chiefs still had to get the job done. Victory over the Patriots would see their stock take a huge leap.

3 New England Patriots up two
Record: 3-2
Last week: Won 38-24 at home to Indianapolis
This week: 3.5-point favourites at home to Kansas City

There is no panic at Foxborough after two comfortable victories steadied the ship. The Pats are on the right path and victory over the Chiefs would solidify their claims.

4 Minnesota Vikings up two
Record: 2-2-1
Last week: Won 23-21 at Philadelphia
This week: 10.5-point favourites at home to Arizona

The Vikings survived a late scare to beat the Eagles and that victory was a shot in the arm after successive defeats to Buffalo and the Rams. Two games against Arizona and the Jets should give them the opportunity to push on.

5 Jacksonville Jaguars down two
Record: 3-2
Last week: Lost 30-14 at Kansas City
This week: Three-point favourites at Dallas

Five turnovers from QB Blake Bortles contributed to the Jaguars' downfall and running back Leonard Fournette's hamstring injury is a concern - he has already been ruled out of the Cowboys game. Their stellar defence cannot do it all on their own.

6 New Orleans Saints up one
Record: 4-1
Last week: Won 43-19 at home to Washington
This week: Bye

Record-breaking quarterback Drew Brees got the job done on Monday and the Saints are looking the strongest outfit in the competitive NFC South. Tough away games at Baltimore and Minnesota follow their bye week as their schedule gets harder. 


7 Baltimore Ravens down three
Record: 3-2
Last week: Lost 12-9 at Cleveland
This week: Three-point favourites at Tennessee

A solid defensive performance from the Browns meant Baltimore were unable to build on their wins over Pittsburgh and Denver. They have conceded more than 14 points in just one of their five matches, though, so they should remain a test for anyone.

8 Philadelphia Eagles unchanged
Record: 2-3
Last week: Lost 23-21 at home to Minnesota
This week: Three-point underdogs at New York Giants

The defence are struggling at times after playing a key role in last season's Super Bowl success, but QB Carson Wentz should continue to improve after recovering from injury. Losing running back Jay Ajayi for the season with a knee injury is a blow, though.

9 Carolina Panthers unchanged
Record: 3-1
Last week: Won 33-31 at home to New York Giants
This week: One-point underdogs at Washington

A 63-yard Graham Gano field goal got the Panthers over the line against the Giants. Two more games against wobbly NFC East opponents provide opportunities for further progress.

10 Cincinnati Bengals up one
Record: 4-1
Last week: Won 27-17 at home to Miami
This week: 2.5-point favourites at home to Pittsburgh

Few would have predicted the Bengals would have been favourites to beat the Steelers at the start of the season, but the contrast to last season's start is vast. They look genuine AFC North contenders.

11 Green Bay Packers down one
Record: 2-2-1
Last week: Lost 31-23 at Detroit
This week: 9.5-point favourites at home to San Francisco

The Packers were unable to recover from a 24-point half-time deficit against Detroit and there was little gloss to put on their divisional defeat. They have their work cut out to make the playoffs.

12 Atlanta Falcons unchanged
Record: 1-4
Last week: Lost 41-17 at Pittsburgh
This week: 3.5-point favourites at home to Tampa Bay

The Falcons were stuffed by the Steelers and four defeats in their opening five games speak for themselves. Defeat against rested Tampa Bay is unthinkable for a team who were fancied as one of the NFC's top challengers. They have too much talent to be written off yet, though.


13 Los Angeles Chargers up two
Record: 3-2
Last week: Won 26-10 at home to Oakland
This week: One-point favourites at Cleveland

Any victory over Oakland has to be tempered by the quality of the opposition but the emphasis for the Chargers has to be just to hang in on Kansas City's coat-tails. Their two defeats have come against the Chiefs and the Rams so they could still prove to be a factor.

14 Pittsburgh Steelers up four
Record: 2-2-1
Last week: Won 41-17 at home to Atlanta
This week: 2.5-point underdogs at Cincinnati

Their victory over Atlanta was just the result Mike Tomlin's side needed after a stuttering start to the season in which running back Le'Veon Bell's contract situation has dominated proceedings. A win over the Bengals would make life even sweeter.

15 Denver Broncos down two
Record: 2-3
Last week: Lost 34-16 at New York Jets
This week: Seven-point underdogs at home to Los Angeles Rams

The Broncos claimed opening victories over Seattle and Oakland but three successive defeats have demonstrated there is still work to do. Conceding 88 points in three games is not a good look for a team who pride themselves on their defensive capabilities.

16 Tennessee Titans down two
Record: 3-2
Last week: Lost 13-12 at Buffalo
This week: Three-point underdogs at home to Baltimore

After victories over Jacksonville and Philadelphia, the Titans were brought back down to earth by unfancied Buffalo. Their defence have been performing well though.

17 Chicago Bears unchanged
Record: 3-1
Last week: Bye
This week: Three-point favourites at Miami

The Bears are still top of the NFC North despite sitting out last week. They have placed a solid foundation for what could be a much-improved season after a couple of dismal efforts. 

18 Washington Redskins down two
Record: 2-2
Last week: Lost 43-19 at New Orleans
This week: One-point favourites at home to Carolina

Washington were unable to keep pace with the Saints but they are still top of the NFC East, so it was no calamity. Three home matches in their next four games give them opportunities to consolidate their position.

19 New York Jets up one
Record: 2-3
Last week: Won 34-16 at home to Denver
This week: 2.5-point favourites at home to Indianapolis

The Jets dominated against Denver and received a confidence boosting victory. In-form running back Isaiah Crowell would fancy his chances against the struggling Colts, but missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury.

20 Miami Dolphins down one
Record: 3-2
Last week: Lost 27-17 at Cincinnati
This week: Three-point underdogs at home to Chicago

The Dolphins have slipped off the pace after successive defeats, but three home games in their next four games and visits to unconvincing Houston and Green Bay mean they can get back on track before their Week 11 bye.

21 Cleveland Browns unchanged
Record: 2-2-1
Last week: Won 12-9 at home to Baltimore
This week: One-point underdogs at home to Los Angeles Chargers

Confidence increases with every victory at the Browns and a divisional success over the Ravens was an great tonic. The potential is there for a decent season.

22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers unchanged
Record: 2-2
Last week: Bye
This week: 2.5-point underdogs at Atlanta

The Bucs have had plenty of time to think about their 48-10 humbling by Chicago. Victory at Atlanta, however, could put them in the picture as they have three home games in their four outings after that. 

23 Detroit Lions up two
Record: 2-3
Last week: Won 31-23 at home to Green Bay
This week: Bye

The Lions have demonstrated they can win big home games against Green Bay and New England, but now have to show they can perform against teams they are expected to beat. That's not a bad thing to ponder on their bye week.

24 Dallas Cowboys down one
Record: 2-3
Last week: Lost 19-16 at Houston
This week: Three-point underdogs at home to Jacksonville

The Cowboys are generally uninspiring at the moment and will have to be at the top of their game to stop Jacksonville, who should be fired-up after their disappointment against Kansas City. They have scored an average of just 16.6 points, which is plainly a concern. 

25 Seattle Seahawks up one
Record: 2-3
Last week: Lost 33-31 at home to Los Angeles Rams
This week: Three-point favourites at Wembley against Oakland

Pete Carroll's side deserve to move up after running the unbeaten Rams close and that should boost their confidence for the remainder of the season.

26 New York Giants up one
Record: 1-4
Last week: Lost 33-31 at Carolina
This week: Three-point underdogs at home to Philadelphia

Three of the Giants' four defeats have been tight and they should take heart from a good offensive performance at Carolina. The tide could be about to turn.

27 San Francisco 49ers down three
Record: 1-4
Last week: Lost 28-18 at Arizona
This week: 9.5-point underdogs at Green Bay

Their season continues to fall apart after Jimmy Garoppolo's knee injury. The Niners need to show some signs of life and it is just not happening at the moment.

28 Houston Texans up one
Record: 2-3
Last week: Won 19-16 at home to Dallas
This week: 9.5-point favourites at home to Buffalo

The Texans did enough to battle their way past Dallas in overtime, but there is still room for them to improve. They need to post a convincing performance to show they can force their way into the playoff fight.

29 Buffalo Bills up two
Record: 2-3
Last week: Won 13-12 at home to Tennessee
This week: 9.5-point underdogs at Houston

The Bills are averaging just 12.6 points per game and their passing game is virtually non-existent, but they still have the scope to surprise having beaten Tennessee and Minnesota. That could still be as good as it gets.

30 Arizona Cardinals up two
Record: 1-4
Last week: Won 28-18 at San Francisco
This week: 10.5-point underdogs at Minnesota

A victory will at least lift the gloom in the desert, but harder tests are around the corner than the one provided by a poor San Francisco outfit. It's difficult to see them making much more headway.

31 Oakland Raiders down three
Record: 1-4
Last week: Lost 26-10 at Los Angeles Chargers
This week: Three-point underdogs at Wembley against Seattle

The Raiders have scored more than 20 points just once this season and the only way appears to be up as they head to London for a date with the Seahawks.

32 Indianapolis Colts down two
Record: 1-4
Last week: Lost 38-24 at New England
This week: 2.5-point underdogs at New York Jets

The Colts showed some fight after falling 24-3 behind against the Patriots but they have to start giving themselves a chance to win matches.

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There is no panic at Foxborough after two comfortable victories steadied the ship
E.W. Terms
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