In an NFL season marked by surprises and unexpected rises, no teams are doing it better than New Orleans and L.A. As the Saints keep stomping, the Rams keep romping.
Their hungry fans already feel like they’re in playoff heaven, but here’s a reminder that it’s still only Week 11. For now, how their offenses and defenses have started to thrive, these two NFC upstarts belong in the top five.
Who has the most power and which team is most dour?
MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture
NFL Power Rankings: Week 11
1. Philadelphia Eagles 8-1 (last week: 1)
Carson Wentz tops the most valuable chart, as no quarterback has had such a start. Don’t forget these Birds also are running all day, something that will get even better with Jay.
This week: at Cowboys, a chance to make more division noise
2. New England Patriots 7-2 (last week: 3)
Age is just a number for Tom Brady, and with the Patriots, there’s nothing shady. The defense still isn’t all that pretty, but it keeps picking the right spots to turn gritty.
This week: at Raiders, where Belichick is still Vader
3. New Orleans Saints 7-2 (last week: 5)
It’s starting to become a Brees when they run the ball with such ease. Who Dat Nation also once again has a defense worth celebratin’.
This week: vs. ‘Skins, a chance for eight straight wins
4. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-2 (last week: 2)
The Killer Bs still haven’t found their typical sting, but that defense keeps on doing its thing. They are not afraid to keep feeding Bell, still leaving opponents in matchup hell.
This week: vs. Titans, where they hope the offense will frighten
5. Los Angeles Rams 7-2 (last week: 6)
They finished as Lambs under Jeff Fisher, but Sean McVay has made their offense much richer. Now here comes Wade Phillips on his side of the ball, developing a team that’s more complete, y’all.
This week: at Vikes, a chance for a fifth road spike
6. Minnesota Vikings 7-2 (last week: 5)
Keenum keeps building his Case as the guy for the season, and as for a QB change, there is no reason. With a thriving Thielen, there’s nothing but good feeling.
This week: vs. Rams, when they’ll need more offensive bam
7. Kansas City Chiefs 6-3 (last week: 7)
Andy Reid is known for rolling after a bye — it just must be something about that big guy. If they think this is a special season they don’t want to punt, they better go back to more of Kareem Hunt.
This week: at Giants, where they’ll face little defiance
8. Carolina Panthers 7-3 (last week: 8)
See Cam Newton run, see Cam Newton have fun. But also he can still pass, and Christian McCaffrey is finally cooking with gas.
This week: a bye, a needed and worthy ally
9. Seattle Seahawks 6-3 (last week: 9)
Their defense will need to move on without Sherman shutting things down, making it hard to earn another division crown. Where there’s a Wilson, there’s an offensive way, but they could use some better running just about any day.
This week: vs. Falcons, with which nothing really rhymes
10. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-3 (last week: 10)
They’ve got the sacks and they’ve got the picks, but they’ve also got some special teams tricks. They need to Leonard Fournette to shake that rookie wall and finish by playing his absolute best ball.
This week: at Browns, where their defense can keep going to town
11. Atlanta Falcons 5-4 (last week: 14)
There has been more put on Matt Ryan, as the running game hasn’t been flyin’. With the offense hurting, they might be saved by the fact that their defense is spurting.
This week: at Seahawks, where they can’t afford to be rocked
12. Tennessee Titans 6-3 (last week: 13)
They’re quick, but don’t hurry with Mariota and Murray. They don’t get many style points for how they’re winning, but with that record, they have to be grinning.
This week: at Steelers, where Mariota needs to be a dealer
13. Dallas Cowboys 5-4 (last week: 11)
Dak was under attack in the first game without Zeke, but the offensive outlook isn’t that bleak. The real concern should be on D, where they’re really going to miss Sean Lee.
This week: vs. Eagles, where they’ll need to be their most regal
14. Detroit Lions 5-4 (last week: 15)
You can’t spell Stafford without Ford, and the offense is back above board. They’re driven to motor back into the dance, and their QB’s great play restores that chance.
This week: at Bears, where they will look to avoid a scare
15. Green Bay Packers 5-4 (last week: 17)
You have to hand it to Hundley and friends — without Aaron Rodgers, the season is not yet a sudden end. Upending the Bears, however, is only a mild feat, because many tougher teams they’ll need to beat.
This week: vs. Ravens, when they hope it’s a Hundley haven
16. Buffalo Bills 5-4 (last week: 12)
The Bills have been successful because they don’t turn over the ball, but a couple slow starts have shown their warts and all. It’s starting to look like last year, picking the worst time to shift out of their playoff gear.
This week: at Chargers, where they need the offense to be larger
17. Washington Redskins 4-5 (last week: 16)
You never know what you’ll get from Captain Kirk, as he keeps trying to do his best work. The defense is lost and the running isn’t there, leaving Washington worse for wear.
This week: at Saints, where the passing offense can be ‘aints
18. Baltimore Ravens 4-5 (last week: 18)
They hope to be charmed with better health on their side, but no longer on their defense can they ride. They don’t need Joe to be elite, just for more consistent running with Danny Woodhead’s fresh feet.
This week: at the Pack, a good chance to get back on track
19. Oakland Raiders 4-5 (last week: 21)
They’re returning for a tricky game south of the border, and a win in almost every game has to be the order. Blackjack needs all the chips to come up right, and there’s no more sense in playing uptight.
This week: vs. Pats, a dance of Mexican hats
20. Arizona Cardinals 4-5 (last week: 19)
They still have All Day and Larry Fitz, but there’s no one else they can trust with their mitts. They’ve tried to be bold by going old, but what’s left leaves them to soon fold.
This week: at Texans, where they’ll hope for less Stanton vexin’
21. Miami Dolphins 4-5 (last week: 20)
Remember when it was the offense that was all blank? Now the defense has turned into total rank.
This week: vs. Bucs, where they’ll try to get unstuck
22. New York Jets 4-6 (last week: 22)
Todd Bowles has done well to bring out the best in his team, but the talent was bound to get them lost in a dream.
This week: bye, from which they’ll try to fly back high
23. Los Angeles Chargers 3-6 (last week: 24)
The Bolts have trouble locking down games, as more often than not, they come up lame. With Rivers and the defense, that shouldn’t be the case, but it’s the reality they have to face.
This week: vs. Bills. as Lynn goes for a revenge win
24. Houston Texans 3-6 (last week: 23)
Losing Watt and then Watson was a tough 1-2 punch. Now opponents are having them for lunch. It’s a Savage lesson to be learned, that winning a game now has to be hard-earned.
This week: vs. Cards, when Savage can keep falling hard
25. Cincinnati Bengals 3-6 (last week: 26)
They once again Bungled away a chance to redeem, and things are worse than they seem. Will Marvin Lewis last one more year? That’s once again becoming unclear.
This week: at Broncos, a chance at more close road woes
26. Denver Broncos 3-6 (last week: 25)
The demise of the defense is a shocking sight, especially when the offense can’t generate much might. Coaching also has been a rocky ride, bringing much chagrin to John Elway’s side.
This week: vs. Bengals, who will be no defensive pals
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-6 (last week: 29)
There wasn’t exactly much Fitzmagic, but he was a positive in a season gone semi-tragic. Will Koetter be saved because there’s no Winston? We won’t get that answer in an instant.
This week: at Dolphins, another chance to add to their wins
28. Chicago Bears 3-6 (last week: 27)
Trubisky is a trooper and may end up being super. But what was going well for John Fox now is lost, and it might come at a difficult cost.
This week: vs. Lions, kingly beasts who can keep them cryin’
29. Indianapolis Colts 3-7 (last week: 28)
Chuck Pagano is doing his best to stick around with what he’s got, but in the end, it’s a highly limited lot.
This week: a bye, with more news on that Andrew Luck guy
30. San Francisco 49ers 1-9 (last week: 31)
That first win was far from a cinch for Shanahan and Lynch. But now that it’s there, of the good vibes, everyone’s aware.
This week: a bye, riding a pre JImmy G high
31. New York Giants 1-8 (last week: 30)
What to do about Ben McAdoo? Whether or not they have “quit,” what they’ve put out there is a bunch of excrement.
This week: vs. Chiefs, when there will be plenty more beefs
32. Cleveland Browns 0-9 (last week: 32)
The color of Hue keeps turning blue, as his team still doesn’t know what to do.
This week: vs. Jags, in which they’ll take more drags