Sometime Sunday afternoon, we officially passed the midpoint of the 2020 National Football League (NFL) season. For all the COVID-19 tests and pandemic rescheduling, every team has played at least eight games now, and it’s starting to feel like we may actually complete this season. But the question of who’s good and who’s not gets a bit murkier every week.
When you think about online sports betting, it’s always about the future much more than the past. Games are not won on paper, nor by what a team did last Sunday. NFL betting is always about looking forward, using what we’ve learned so far to make predictions about what may come next. So what exactly have we learned through nine weeks of NFL games?
Let’s count all 32 teams down from best to worst and see what we’ve learned along the way. These are the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings.
Tier I — A Rocky Week at the Top of the Heap
1. Kansas City Chiefs 8–1 (Previous rank: 2)
The Panthers pulled out all the stops against Kansas City. Carolina opened the game on an 18-play touchdown drive, converted a fake punt and three fourth-down conversions, and led at the halftime, and yet it never truly felt like the Chiefs were going to lose this one. Even scarier, it’s not clear whether Kansas City was ever particularly worried either. How worried can you be when you have Pat Mahomes? The Chiefs coast into their bye week with a lone blemish against the Raiders and the AFC 1-seed in their sights. And when they emerge from the bye, they’ll have a chance to correct that Raiders error.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 8–0 (2)
The Steelers are 8–0 for the first time in franchise history, and that’s truly saying something for a franchise with this much history. It wasn’t easy, though. Pittsburgh came out cold against the lowly Cowboys, but that’s nothing new for Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers have now failed to cover seven straight NFL betting lines as double-digit favorites, and it took them until the final two minutes to get the win in five of those. That’s ugly, but we’ve also learned not to put much stock into these oversights. Sometimes, you just have to get the W and go on with life.
Tier II — Starting to Round into Peak Form
3. Baltimore Ravens 6–2 (5)
The Ravens got their most impressive win of the season Sunday. They went down 7–0 on the road against a very good Colts team but rallied back to finish the game on a 24–3 run and dominate the game. Baltimore’s defense turned the game with a long touchdown return and made Philip Rivers long for retirement, even without cornerback Marlon Humphrey. It’s wild that Baltimore hasn’t even found its offense yet and that reigning MVP Lamar Jackson hasn’t gotten going, and still Baltimore looks this good. Start getting excited for the Steelers rematch on Thanksgiving evening.
4. Green Bay Packers 6–2 (6)
It already feels like forever ago, but the Packers had their best performance of the season in Week 9, dominating the banged-up 49ers on Thursday night. The final scoreboard read 34–17 thanks to a pair of garbage time touchdowns in the final five minutes, but this was over at halftime as Green Bay’s defense showed up for the first time all season. Then the Packers sat and watched Sunday as their top two competitors for the NFC 1-seed, the Bucs and Seahawks, both lost in ugly fashion. Green Bay is back in the driver’s seat in the NFC and has by far the easiest remaining schedule of the top NFC contenders.
5. New Orleans Saints 6–2 (10)
Oh how we want to be in that number, when the Saints go marching in! New Orleans had the single best game of the season thus far. The Saints thrashed the division rival Bucs 38–3, and honestly, it wasn’t even that close. New Orleans played perfect football in the first half, on both sides of the ball. They barely even allowed a first down on defense and did anything they wanted when they had the ball, against the best defense in the NFL. Suddenly, the entire season flips for the Saints. They hadn’t even played that well yet but have swept the Bucs now to own the tiebreaker and only play one more time all season with a winning record. The NFC road might still go through New Orleans.
6. Tennessee Titans 6–2 (8)
The Titans hung on to win by one touchdown but also put on one of their best performances of the season. It’s no great feat to shut down the Bears offense these days, but Tennessee’s defense has not been good and finally did its job. Chicago may not be good, but they’re not bad either, and Tennessee was up 24–3 with a few minutes left and never really let the Bears get in the game. That’s the way to bounce back after two ugly losses, but they can’t stop now. The Titans play the Colts twice the next three weeks with a trip to Baltimore in between.
Tier III — Things Can Change Quickly in a Single Week
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6–3 (3)
A week ago, we excused the Bucs for struggling against the Giants, figuring they were looking ahead to the Saints. Now that we saw how bad Tampa looked in that one, it paints the New York game in a different light. The Bucs still have strong metrics, but the defense clearly isn’t the same without Vita Vea. Tampa is only 2–3 against teams above .500, and Tom Brady has had one dud every four weeks. What looked so good a few days ago is suddenly on the brink with the Panthers, Rams, and Chiefs up next. Which version of Tampa is real?
8. Buffalo Bills 7–2 (9)
That was certainly more like it for the Bills, who tallied their best win of the season with a dominant performance against the Seahawks. Neither team played much defense, but it is truly amazing seeing Josh Allen outduel Russell Wilson in a matchup of MVP hopefuls. Allen had four touchdowns for the third time this season and now gets to face another upstart MVP candidate in Kyler Murray. The NFL is in good hands with so many fun young quarterbacks.
9. Seattle Seahawks 6–2 (4)
Maybe it’s harsh to drop the Seahawks five spots in the Power Rankings for losing to a good Bills team, but it only seems fair to drop Seattle behind Buffalo after that performance. It is extremely rare to see Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson blown out like that, as their history has them at least competitive in almost every game. It has become clear that Seattle’s defense, or distinct lack thereof, is a serious problem. The Seahawks have scored at least 27 points in every game this season, but they are also allowing over 30 points a game. Where have you gone, Legion of Boom?
10. Indianapolis Colts 5–3 (7)
Every time the Colts have a good game, they come out flat in the next one. Indianapolis is 1–2 now against teams over .500, and they had their two worst games of the season in the pair of losses. Are the Colts this year’s good bad team? The defense is enough to dominate the bad teams, but Philip Rivers has looked terrible against real opponents. The Colts had finally tied up the AFC South but fell behind again, and now they’ll face the Titans two of the next three weeks with a Packers game sandwiched in the middle. It’s about to get real in a hurry.
Tier IV — The Up and Comers No One Wants to Face
11. Los Angeles Rams 5–3 (12)
The Rams did not play a game this week but still came away as one of the biggest winners of Week 9. Los Angeles sat at home and got healthy at the season’s midpoint and then watched while all three NFC West foes lost their games. The Rams feel like the overlooked contender in the NFC. Everyone’s buzzing about the Saints, the Packers and Seahawks are hanging around the top, the Bucs aren’t going anywhere, and the Cardinals are everyone’s sleeper. Meanwhile, the Rams may be one of the most balanced teams in the NFC, but they still have five games left against those fellow NFC contenders.
12. Miami Dolphins 5–3 (16)
The Dolphins continue to rise up the Power Rankings and are one of the hottest and most exciting teams in football. Tua apparently stands for Tua-and-oh because Tagovailoa remains unbeaten in the NFL after two starts against good teams. The Dolphins have won four in a row after a 1–3 start, thanks especially to brilliant defensive scheming under Brian Flores, and they may not slow down anytime soon. After surviving difficult games against the Rams and Cards, now Miami gets to catch its breath with four in a row against sub-.500 teams. It’s time to take the Dolphins seriously. They are absolutely a real playoff threat.
13. Arizona Cardinals 5–3 (11)
That was quite a showdown between Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa, the first ever between two quarterbacks wearing jerseys with the number 1 on them. Kyler and Tua are the future, and it sure looks like they might be the present too. Murray is starting to get some whispers in the MVP discussion. He’s been the league’s most dangerous runner, and his passing has come on over the last few weeks too. Arizona must be careful, though. As good as things look right now, they play Buffalo Sunday before a Thursday trip to Seattle. If the Cardinals let go of the rope, they could slip back to 5–5 in only a week.
14. Las Vegas Raiders 5–3 (14)
The Raiders continue to win without being particularly convincing, but only the standings count at the end of the day. Las Vegas is one of four AFC teams tied at 5–3 in the standings, and right now, only two of them would make the playoffs as wildcards. The Raiders already beat one of them (Cleveland) and face both of the others (Indianapolis and Miami) in December, so they control their destiny. The best news is they have only one other opponent above .500 left on the schedule, and that’s the Chiefs, who the Raiders already beat once.
Tier V — Sorry But No One Is Scared of You Right Now
15. Cleveland Browns 5–3 (15)
Cleveland has fallen a bit off of the radar over the past month. After starting 4–1, they were blown out by Pittsburgh, barely beat Cincinnati, and then lost to Las Vegas. The Browns scored only 13 points combined in the two losses and lost star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. along the way, and now Baker Mayfield is on the COVID-19 list. But don’t forget about Cleveland! The Browns are coming off a bye week at the perfect time, allowing Mayfield to quarantine without missing a game and hopefully getting the Browns’ once dominant run game healthier. Nick Chubb should return, and the Cleveland offensive line will be far healthier too. The Browns play the Texans and Eagles next. They’re better than both, but every win is vital now.
16. Philadelphia Eagles 3–4–1 (18)
The Eagles also had a perfectly timed bye week. Heck, as many injuries as Philadelphia has had this season, the Eagles could use a bye month or something. Then again, Philly played the Giants and Cowboys before the bye and now they get the Giants a second time, so maybe they actually did get that month-long bye. Philadelphia is starting to get healthy and still comfortably ahead in the NFC East, so they have a chance to run away with this division.
17. San Francisco 49ers 4–5 (13)
The 49ers and Eagles are like two ships passing in the night. Only San Francisco has had more injuries than Philadelphia, and it feels like this is finally the point of no return, now that George Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo are sidelined indefinitely, along with about half of the 49ers roster. San Francisco got blown out by Green Bay last Thursday and it doesn’t get any easier with the Saints, Rams, and Bills up next. The Super Bowl loser curse is real.
18. Chicago Bears 5–4 (18)
The Bears have lost three straight and somehow managed to make their quarterback situation even worse after benching Mitchell Trubisky. Remarkably, Chicago started the season 3–0 but has since been an underdog in six straight games. That turns into seven this week with the Bears a home Monday night dog to a Vikings team that was 1–5 a couple of weeks ago. I’d say this is starting to get embarrassing, but we are well past that point by now. With Minnesota and Green Bay up next, can Chicago save its season?
Tier VI — If There’s Eight Playoff Teams, We’re Not Dead Yet
19. Minnesota Vikings 3–5 (24)
The NFL announced Tuesday that the league will consider adding an eighth playoff team in each conference if the pandemic wreaks further havoc on the schedule. That gives a few of these teams a second chance when it seemed like their seasons had already been left for dead. Minnesota’s season looks a lot different after dominant back-to-back victories over the division rival Packers and Lions, and now they can complete the trifecta on Monday against the Bears. The Vikings have doubled down on Dalvin Cook, and they won’t play another winning team after the Bears until December 13. Minnesota can still save their season.
20. Carolina Panthers 3–5 (19)
The Panthers threw everything they had at the Chiefs and darn near pulled off the upset but couldn’t quite get the job done. It feels like that may be the story of this season for Carolina, when it’s all said and done. Remember, the Panthers were supposed to be one of the worst teams in the league and then lost star RB Christian McCaffrey for most of the season thus far. That they’re around average instead is already a huge win, and this coaching staff clearly has the rebuild moving in the right direction.
21. Los Angeles Chargers 2–6 (23)
The Chargers continue to invent new ways to lose each week, and somehow that has been true for years now. For a second straight week, Chargers fans were sure they had the win when the clock hit all zeroes, and yet again, the win was stolen out from under them. This week it was a disallowed touchdown catch at the buzzer. Last week was an epic collapse. The Chargers have six losses by a total of 24 points. They’re a handful of plays away from 8–0. Instead, the season is already gone.
22. Atlanta Falcons 3–6 (25)
Just like last year, the Falcons appear to have thrown away their season in the first month before remembering to play decent football for the rest of the season. It’s an impressive feat, somehow murdering Atlanta’s playoff chances and draft pick all at the same time. After an 0–5 start with several inexplicable late losses, the Falcons have won three of four heading into the bye week. It’s too little, too late now, but perhaps it’s better late than never.
Tier VII — You’ll Probably Beat Us, But It Won’t Be Easy
23. Cincinnati Bengals 2–5–1 (22)
The Bengals are still flying high after their shocking Week 8 win in Tennessee. Joe Burrow remains the cover king at 6-2 against the spread, so keep that in mind with your NFL betting picks. He has had a remarkable first half season to start his career. Burrow has completed 67% of his passes, fantastic for a rookie, and recorded 14 touchdowns with only 5 interceptions. While fellow rookies Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa have been getting more of the buzz lately, Burrow has looked every bit the part of the number one overall pick.
24. Detroit Lions 3–5 (20)
What do we make of Matthew Stafford at this stage of his career? Stafford is having another good-not-great season, pretty much par for the course at this point. He’s on pace for another 4000-yard season with 28 touchdowns, which is right about in line with his typical production over the past decade. Unfortunately, so is his 3–5 record. Stafford has already started 157 games and thrown for over 43,000 yards in his career, but he’s only led his team to even a .500 record in four of 11 seasons. At what point does Detroit cut bait?
25. Houston Texans 2–6 (26)
In a very weird way, we haven’t actually learned much about the Texans this season. Houston is 2–0 now against the Jaguars. They’re 0–5 against the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, Titans, and Packers, like many teams would be. The only game that was actually a fair fight was a close loss to the Vikings that got Bill O’Brien fired. Houston is almost certainly better than their record, so that might make them a tasty underdog pick when you check out NFL betting odds. The Texans led comfortably all the way against Jacksonville but failed to cover when they allowed a touchdown in the final two minutes.
26. Denver Broncos 3–5 (21)
The Jake Lock experiment is not going well. Denver’s defense has started to come together under Vic Fangio, but Lock just doesn’t look like the guy at quarterback. The Broncos look like they need new blood at quarterback and could use a high draft pick, but right now Denver’s defense is doing just enough to keep the Broncos around average and hurt their draft positioning. Rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy looks like a future star, though.
Tier VIII — Would the Patriots Even Win the NFC East?
27. New England Patriots 3–5 (27)
It feels like the Patriots’ dynasty is over. Sure, they got the win Monday night, but it took a 10-point fourth quarter comeback against the historically bad Jets. That’s the sort of loss that gets an ordinary coach (not Bill Belichick) fired midseason things have gone so awry. Would New England even win the NFC East if they could switch conferences for one season? They may not have enough talent, even as pathetic as that division is.
28. New York Giants 2–7 (31)
The Giants are now 2–0 against Washington and 0–7 against all other football teams, which is a pretty sad storyline at the season’s midpoint. It feels like the Giants are swimming in place at this point. Has Daniel Jones shown any real improvement this year that makes him look like the long term answer at quarterback? New York badly needs to find an answer to that question in their final seven games, because they’re almost certain to have a high enough draft pick to make a change if they think they need it.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars 1–7 (29)
The Jaguars are awful, which makes it all the more shocking that they’re not even in the bottom three of the Power Rankings. Sixth-round rookie Jake Luton was shockingly competent in his first start and even had the Jags a two-point conversion away from overtime. It looks like Luton will start again this week, which either means Gardner Minshew is still hurt or that the Jags already have one eye on next year’s draft in hopes of replacing both Minshew and Luton.
30. Washington Football Team 2–6 (28)
Washington changed their team name heading into the season, hoping for a culture change and a fresh start. It doesn’t look like they changed their injury luck. After everything he’s gone through fighting just to stay alive and keep his leg after his gruesome Washington injury, it was especially cruel to see Alex Smith come in and replace Kyle Allen at quarterback after Allen’s injury ended his season. Was Joe Theismann in the stands watching too? Poor Washington. Maybe Dwayne Haskins will get one last shot at redeeming himself now.
31. Dallas Cowboys 2–7 (30)
On the one hand, the Cowboys very nearly beat the 7–0 Steelers, and did so with their fourth or fifth string quarterback, depending on who’s counting. On the other hand, Dallas only lost to Pittsburgh because of a string of like 10 uniquely Cowboys errors that continued to leave the door open all game until the Steelers finally squeaked through. The good news is that Garrett Gilbert was not terrible in his first career quarterback start, so maybe he can at least help the team be respectable going forward.
Tier IX — How Many College Teams Would Beat the Jets?
32. New York Jets 0–9 (32)
The Jets blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead and lost their most winnable game of the season Monday night, but you could argue this was actually New York’s best moment of the year. The Jets fought hard and got a few great throws from Joe Flacco, entertained the fans, and still secured the loss to keep their 0–9 record perfectly awful. It looks like it could be a heated battle for the #1 pick, and Jets fans will be much happier with a loss than a win here if it means securing Trevor Lawrence in a few months.
Place your bet today at BetMGM
Another new week of NFL games means another full slate of sports betting for the weekend ahead. But before you visit your sportsbook casino, make sure to check all of the matchups and injury news so you make the right picks. Read through these Power Rankings again and remember to look forward not backward.
Whether you use these Power Rankings or your own methods for online sports betting in Week 10, you can always trust BetMGM to have some of the best NFL betting lines around.
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