Texans Still No. 1 in Our Power Rankings After Wacky Week 10
Something wasn't quite right about the NFL in Week 10.
Sunday's 24-24 tie game between the 49ers and Rams serves as a fine example of this weekend's odd events, but hardly the only.
For starters, we saw four NFL quarterbacks suffer game-ending injuries. Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and Michael Vick each suffered concussions. Ben Roethlisberger suffered an upper-body injury Monday night and couldn't return.
All four NFC division leaders, the Giants, Bears, Falcons and 49ers, lost (or tied) in Week 10. Those squads came into the weekend with a combined 27-6 record in 2012.
The Titans, whose previous three wins in 2012 came by a total of seven points, obliterated the Dolphins 37-3 in Miami. Tennessee, who had been allowing 34.2 points a game, won by 34.
Didn't see that coming.
Perhaps the only strand of normalcy we have to latch on to is Houston once again posting up in the No. 1 spot of our Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stats Power Rankings.
Oh, and the Chiefs and Jaguars lost again. Nothing new there.
1. Houston Texans (8-1) - I mentioned last week that Cutler probably wouldn't sleep well heading into a battle with Houston's defense. Sure enough, he became one of the NFL's four QB casualties in Week 11. Best believe Blaine Gabbert and the Jags are might excited about heading to Houston Sunday.
2. Denver Broncos (6-3) - Looks like we've got a new No. 2 in town. Peyton Manning continues to put on a clinic week in and week out, and the Broncos (No. 1 in Real Quarterback Rating by a comfortable margin) are bucking their way to another AFC West crown.
3 San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) - David Akers has now been the kicker responsible for sending the NFL's last two tie games into overtime. The regular season series between the Rams and Niners remains tied at 61-61-3. Sunday was Nov. 11 (11/11). Yeah, it still doesn't make sense.
4. Green Bay Packers (6-3) - Maybe a week off will slow these guys a bit. Green Bay won four straight games heading into its Week 10 bye—all of which were won by two possessions or more. Much of this came without Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Charles Woodson and others. Packers are No. 1 in the all-important Passer Rating Differential as well.
5. Atlanta Falcons (8-1) - Atlanta's 31-17 road loss to New Orleans doesn't loosen its grip on the NFC South much, but it does raise concerns regarding a defense that ranks outside the top 10 in all but one defensive Quality Stat.
6. Chicago Bears (7-2) - The Bears were 7-3 in 2011 when they lost Cutler and dropped five straight. Now they'll face a 49ers team that has allowed a combined 17 points following their five losses under Jim Harbaugh. A tie isn't a loss, but it feels like one to San Fran.
7a. Seattle Seahawks (6-4) - Seattle is now 5-0 at home and 1-4 on the road. Russell Wilson's passer rating is a mind-boggling 122.0 at CenturyLink Field, but only 65.8 away from it. Following a Week 11 bye, three of the 'Hawks next four games far, far from home.
7b. Baltimore Ravens (7-2) - Joe Flacco could go for playing the Raiders every week, but who wouldn't? Baltimore rose 10 spots (to No. 8) in Real Passing Yards per Attempt and went from No. 9 to No. 2 in Scoreability after its 55-20 dismantling of the Bay Area's biggest embarrassment.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) - The Steelers have put together five straight wins, but losing Big Ben was the last thing they needed with a chance to take over the NFC North at home this Sunday. Not to mention, Troy Polamalu, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Clark and Antonio Brown are all injured, too.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) - The Bucs have scored 28 points or more in four straight games (three of them wins) and have quietly leaped into the No. 3 spot in Scoreability. Josh Freeman has thrown 13 TD passes to just one interception since Week 4.
11. New England Patriots (6-3) - The Pats are on a three-game winning streak and haven't lost after Week 9 since 2009. That said, it may be a difficult streak to sustain with a defense that is No. 28 in Defensive Passer Rating.
12. New York Giants (6-4) - After an impressive 6-2 start, the defending champs head into their bye week having lost two straight. The G-men have dropped from No. 5 to here at No. 12 in losses to the Steelers and Bengals. Don't look back, Dallas isn't far behind.
13. New Orleans Saints (4-5) - A healthy Jimmy Graham is compensating for the loss of Darren Sproles, and Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram's effectiveness in the run game have helped the Saints jump to No. 4 in our Offensive Hog Index.
14. Dallas Cowboys (4-5) - The 'Boys five losses have been against the Giants, Ravens, Bears, Seahawks and Falcons—all Quality Teams. Only one of their final seven opponents are .500 or better, while the Giants have yet to face Green Bay, Baltimore, New Orleans and Atlanta.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) - Who knew the Bengals would end a four-game losing streak in such a convincing manner. A 31-13 win over the Giants shot Cincy up from No. 25 to No. 15 in one week.
17. San Diego Chargers (4-5) - The Chargers have dropped four of five and get the Broncos, Ravens and Steelers for three of their next four opponents. Now or never, Norv.
18. Washington Redskins (3-6) - Let's see if the Redskins used their bye week to get the offense back on track. Washington scored 16 points per game in its last three losses after putting up 25.6 PPG the first six games of the year.
19. Minnesota Vikings (6-4) - Adrian Peterson has 1,128 rushing yards through 10 games, and Minnesota has doubled its win total from 2011. The combined record of the Vikings post-bye opponents is 37-15-1. Doesn't get much tougher than that.
20. Detroit Lions (4-5) - Getting swept by the Vikings is a tough pill to swallow. With Green Bay and Houston coming to town the next two weeks, there's little time to sulk. Detroit dropped seven spots to No. 25 in our Defensive Hog Index.
21. Miami Dolphins (4-5) - Miami lost by more points to the Titans (34) than in its previous four losses combined (29). Falling to No. 21 from No. 13 last week shouldn't come as a big surprise.
22. St. Louis Rams (3-5-1) - Had the Rams been able to avoid a handful of brain farts Sunday, they would've defeated the No. 3 team in the rankings instead of tying them. St. Louis committed 13 penalties in Week 10, with several of them proving to be quite costly.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) - Philly has now lost five straight and allowed 26 points or more in its last four. The Eagles are No. 31 in Scoreability and No. 25 in Bendability. That's not a winning recipe, if you hadn't noticed.
24. Carolina Panthers (2-7) - The Panthers were no match for Peyton and the Broncos on Sunday and it's unlikely they'll put up much of a fight against Tampa Bay in Week 11. Carolina is now No. 28 in Passer Rating Differential.
25. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) - Indy hasn't played a team of New England's caliber, their week 11 opponent, since beating Green Bay in early October. Now is as good a time as any to figure out if the Colts are worthy of their impressive record, as their ranking here suggests they aren't.
26. Cleveland Browns (2-7) - Cleveland needed its Week 10 bye in a big way. The No. 31 team in Offensive Passer Rating heads to Dallas this weekend having not scored a touchdown in its last seven quarters of football.
27. New York Jets (3-6) - The Jets have been outscored 58-16 in their past two games. That about sums it up.
28. Buffalo Bills (3-6) - Hats off to the Bills, who dumped a boatload of money into their defensive line this offseason only to see it fall to dead last in our Defensive Hog Index this week. Mark Anderson hasn't played since Week 5, but he was severely under-performing when he was healthy.
30. Oakland Raiders (3-6) - The Raiders are No. 24 or worse in all but two Quality Stats, they've allowed 97 points in their last two games and are now a full three games back of the AFC West-leading Broncos.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) - Jacksonville is bad at many things, but mainly at scoring points. The Jags are No. 32 in the NFL in scoring at 14.1 PPG.