NFL

NFL Big Brother Power Rankings: Massive Shuffle at the Top, Giants and Bears to the Lead

The NFL is starting to take shape on a very broad scale, but the top and the middle are still way out of focus. This week resulted in a seismic shift among tiers. Up top, Houston and San Francisco looked like the class of the league at 5-0 and 4-1 respectively. A week later, both lost at home to other playoff contenders in convincing fashion, and that tier is a mixed up mess. Add in the injuries and unimpressive play in Baltimore, and Atlanta continuing to toy at home with teams that are not in contention, but win close, and everyone has their candidate.

I ran a poll in yesterday’s Post Game Handshakes as to who the best team was. Here were the reader results:

1. New York Giants (33%)

2. Green Bay Packers (17%)

3. Chicago Bears (13%)

4. Atlanta Falcons (13%)

5. Houston Texans (9%)

6. San Francisco 49ers (5%)

7. New England Patriots (4%)

8. Other (4%)

9. Baltimore Ravens (2%)

So that’s what our readers say, but which way do I go? The temptation is not to overreact. I try, when I do these power rankings, to look at a variety of things, from record, to who teams have beaten, to advanced statistical measures and rankings, to point differentials and schedule adjustments. The Giants leap up here, not only for the huge win at San Francisco, but also because several other results that impact them. The Bucs look better now, the Browns look better now, and yes, with a close loss on the road at Baltimore, Dallas looks a little better relatively speaking. That week 1 loss to Dallas involved cornerback injuries, and so as we project forward, I’m fine with putting the defending champs #1 for now. Not much separates the top ten.

You’ll notice that I have the NFC in the top five spots now, with Baltimore dropping and Houston’s home performance. The fifth team is the only undefeated one. Some do the “bump a team up until they lose” thing. Not me. Atlanta needs to play better to be considered a top three team. You can say “but the 49ers lost big”. Yeah, they also have looked really impressive at their best. But who would you take right now in the playoffs in the NFC?

As for the AFC, I talked about what a mess it was, and we could have multiple below average teams in the playoffs.

The top tier comes to an end near the top 10, with Baltimore lingering there even though we have major concerns about them being more than an average team in coming weeks. St. Louis moves up to #13, but that’s more of a testament to how uneven the teams in the middle have been, than some belief that the Rams are a playoff contender.

Turning to our Big Brother ejections, last week it was Oakland that got eliminated when Matt Bryant made the long field goal. Had they not, we would have had yet another week where none of the candidates lost in this crazy year. I’ve included eliminated teams where I would rank them in the rankings, but we’ll try to axe two this week. This week, we will have at least one elimination game, as the Bills go against Tennessee.

  1. New York Giants (4-2)
  2. Chicago Bears (4-1)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (4-2)
  4. Green Bay Packers (3-3)
  5. Atlanta Falcons (6-0)
  6. Houston Texans (5-1)
  7. Denver Broncos (3-3)
  8. Seattle Seahawks (4-2)
  9. New England Patriots (3-3)
  10. Baltimore Ravens (5-1)
  11. Miami Dolphins (3-3)
  12. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)
  13. St. Louis Rams (3-3)
  14. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
  15. Detroit Lions (2-3)
  16. Washington Redskins (3-3)
  17. Arizona Cardinals (4-2)
  18. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3)
  19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
  21. San Diego Chargers (3-3)
  22. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3)
  23. Carolina Panthers (1-4)-X
  24. New York Jets (3-3)-X
  25. Buffalo Bills (3-3)
  26. Indianapolis Colts (2-3)
  27. New Orleans Saints (1-4)-X
  28. Oakland Raiders (1-4)-X
  29. Cleveland Browns (1-5)-X
  30. Tennessee Titans (2-4)
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)-X

[poll id="342"]

[photo via US Presswire]

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