NFL Power Rankings Week 10: Midseason report cards, and we have a new No. 1

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NFL Power Rankings Week 10: Midseason report cards, and we have a new No. 1


We’re through nine weeks of the NFL season, and that means the Power Rankings can start handing out report cards. Be warned, we are grading on a curve, which is why you’ll see the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 3 with a B-plus while the Arizona Cardinals at No. 31 got an A.

The Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders as long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy and in his prime, and they have some flaws you can see under a harsh light. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are executing a nearly flawless pivot. After amassing tons of draft capital in the offseason, they are in the process of making those picks very valuable by not winning many games while also not looking like a total joke.

(Last week: 2)

Sunday: Beat Seattle Seahawks 37-3

Report card: A-plus

The Ravens outgained a good Seattle team 515-151. Baltimore has won four games in a row by an average of 20 points (including a 32-point win over the Lions) and is first in the league in offensive EPA (32.21) and third in defensive EPA (44.73) in that period. It has allowed nine touchdowns (first in the league) and scored 27 (third in the league) this season, and its point differential (plus-115) is the best in the league and 35 points higher than second place.

Up next: vs. Cleveland Browns, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 1)

Sunday: Beat Dallas Cowboys 28-23

Report card: A

Philadelphia fans are not going to be happy falling a spot after a win over the Cowboys. That’s fair, but the Eagles were outgained 406-292 by Dallas on Sunday, and there are a couple of areas of concern to monitor. The Eagles have averaged fewer than 100 rushing yards in their last four games (86.8), and they are 20th in the NFL in yards per play allowed (5.3). Big picture though, they are 24-5 dating to 2022 and have established themselves as the clear favorite in the NFC.

Up next: Bye

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3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)

(Last week: 4)

Sunday: Beat Miami Dolphins 21-14

Report card: B-plus

You can’t have a loss to the Broncos in the last month and get an A. Sorry, these are the rules. Travis Kelce became Kansas City’s all-time leading receiver Sunday in Germany (10,941 yards), but the story was the defense, which held the Dolphins 138 yards under their season average. The Chiefs are third in the NFL in defensive EPA per drive (.70), according to TruMedia. If there’s a worry, it’s that four of Kansas City’s seven lowest offensive success rate games in the Patrick Mahomes era have come this season. Sunday was its third lowest in that span (36.1).

Up next: Bye

4. Detroit Lions (6-2)

(Last week: 5)

Sunday: Bye

Report card: A-plus

The Lions have gone from 3-13 to 9-8 to now 6-2 in head coach Dan Campbell’s three seasons. Detroit’s only two losses have come against Seattle and Baltimore, and it is second in the league in yards per game (390.6) and fifth in yards allowed per game (296.9). And this is not a team that has mortgaged its future. The Lions are eighth in the league in available cap space for 2024 ($73.3 million), according to Over the Cap.

Up next: at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET


Bengals receiver Tee Higgins had a big game against the Bills on Sunday night. (Dylan Buell / Getty Images)

(Last week: 8)

Sunday: Beat Buffalo Bills 24-18

Report card: A-minus

Cincinnati has won four in a row and has beaten the 49ers and Bills in the last two weeks. Since Week 5, Joe Burrow leads the NFL in completion percentage (75.8), is third in offensive EPA per dropback (.15) and has 10 touchdowns against two interceptions. Getting Tee Higgins unlocked Sunday night, with a season-high 110 yards, feels like a notable development for this team.

Up next: vs. Houston Texans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

6. San Francisco 49ers (5-3)

(Last week: 6)

Sunday: Bye

Report card: B-minus

A month ago, this was a solid A, but the 49ers have lost three straight games. They averaged 33.4 points in their first five games and started 5-0. They have scored 17 points in each of the last three weeks and lost all three of them. Quarterback Brock Purdy is shouldering a lot of the blame, but the running game might be the real culprit. From Week 6 through Week 9, San Francisco was 17th in the league in rushing (95.3 ypg). Before that, it was third (156.4 ypg).

Up next: at Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

7. Miami Dolphins (6-3)

(Last week: 3)

Sunday: Lost to Kansas City Chiefs 21-14

Report card: B-plus

The Dolphins have played three teams this season that currently have a winning record. They are 0-3 and averaging 17 points per game in those games. Against everyone else, the Dolphins are 6-0 and averaging 39 points per game. Miami still leads the league with 435.3 yards per game, but it has been held under 300 yards by the Eagles and now the Chiefs in the last three weeks.

Up next: Bye

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(Last week: 10)

Sunday: Bye

Report card: B-plus

Don’t look now, but Jacksonville is 12-3 in its last 15 games. The Jaguars aren’t dominant in any one area of the game. They are 18th in the league in yards per play allowed (5.2) and 19th in yards per play (5.1). But they have created more turnovers (2.25 per game) than anyone in the league and are ninth in point differential (plus-37). Their matchup this week with the 49ers with both teams coming off a bye is the game of the week.

Up next: vs. San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

9. Seattle Seahawks (5-3)

(Last week: 7)

Sunday: Lost to Baltimore Ravens 37-3

Report card: B-plus

Adding defensive tackle Leonard Williams at the trade deadline didn’t have the desired effect, at least immediately. Seattle was eighth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (96.9 per game) entering Sunday’s game. Baltimore rushed for 298, the second-most surrendered by any team in a game this season. Still, we’ll give Pete Carroll the benefit of the doubt on defense, and the Seahawks still are tied for the NFC West lead.

Up next: vs. Washington Commanders, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET


Quarterback Deshaun Watson is back and the Browns are looking good. (Jason Miller / Getty Images)

(Last week: 13)

Sunday: Beat Arizona Cardinals 27-0

Report card: B-minus

Cleveland held Arizona to 58 yards Sunday. That’s the third-lowest total in a game in the last 10 years. Quarterback Deshaun Watson also returned from his shoulder injury and threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns. The Browns are looking like they are going to be a real part of the postseason mix. The only reason their grade is not higher is the production doesn’t quite match the investment. Only the Ravens are investing more cash into this season than the Browns ($281.4 million).

Up next: at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

11. Buffalo Bills (5-4)

(Last week: 11)

Sunday: Lost to Cincinnati Bengals 24-18

Report card: C-plus

Buffalo spends more salary-cap space on its defense ($111 million) than any team in the NFL other than Pittsburgh. Yet it has a defense that ranks 14th in the league in total defensive EPA (27.09). Josh Allen has to be Super Josh Allen for this team to win big games, and he wasn’t that Sunday, completing 26-for-38 for 258 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Up next: vs. Denver Broncos, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

12. Dallas Cowboys (5-3)

(Last week: 9)

Sunday: Lost to Philadelphia Eagles 28-23

Report card: C-plus

The Cowboys always get graded harshly because of their place in the league’s history and owner Jerry Jones’ penchant for drawing a bull’s-eye on his squad. This year, the spotlight is all the brighter because Mike McCarthy jettisoned offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and designated himself the man to take Dallas over the top. Instead, the Cowboys are now 0-2 in their showdown games (against San Francisco and Philadelphia) and they are middle of the pack offensively (14th in yards per play, 5.3).

Up next: vs. New York Giants, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

(Last week: 12)

Thursday: Beat Tennessee Titans 20-16

Report card: B-minus

Yes, the Steelers are two games above .500, but we can’t forget the hype surrounding this team’s preseason offensive performance, and the subsequent uptick in expectations it caused. Through that lens, this team (which ranks 26th in the league at 4.7 yards per play), feels less than what it should be. Pittsburgh is the 34th team since 1933 to be outgained in each of its first eight games and is the only team from that list to have a winning record after eight games, according to ESPN.

Up next: vs. Green Bay Packers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 19)

Sunday: Beat Chicago Bears 24-17

Report card: B

The Saints lead the NFC South, but that still doesn’t equate to more than a B because of the state of the NFC South. All of New Orleans’ wins have come against teams with losing records, and it was outgained by the Bears on Sunday (368 to 301). After Paulson Adebo’s two interceptions against the Bears, the Saints lead the league in that category (12).

Up next: at Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 22)

Sunday: Beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 39-37

Report card: A

Houston has its quarterback. That’s an automatic A. On Sunday, C.J. Stroud set an NFL rookie record with 470 passing yards. He also threw five touchdowns (versus no interceptions), including the game-winner with six seconds remaining. He became the sixth player in NFL history to have more than 450 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in a game, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Overall, he is seventh in the league in passing yards (2,270) and third in yards per attempt (8.1).

Up next: at Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 15)

Monday: Beat New York Jets 27-6

Report card: C-minus

The Chargers hired Brandon Staley because he was a defensive innovator, but in his third year, Los Angeles is 27th in the league in defensive EPA per snap (minus-2). And that’s even after playing the Jets on Monday night. A better defense to go along with quarterback Justin Herbert might have given the Chargers something this year. Instead, they’re in the middle of the pack. On a positive note, defensive end Joey Bosa seems to be rounding into form. He had 2 1/2 sacks Monday night. On the offensive side, Keenan Allen crossed 10,000 receiving yards for his career.

Up next: vs. Detroit Lions, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

(Last week: 24)

Sunday: Beat Atlanta Falcons 31-28

Report card: B

On Sunday, Josh Dobbs was 20-for-30 for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 22 seconds remaining. Why is that so impressive? It was his first day taking a snap in Minnesota’s offense. Dobbs was acquired via trade Tuesday but did not take a snap in practice because the Vikings were starting rookie Jaren Hall. However, Hall got injured on the first series of the game, leading to Dobbs’ heroics. He also led the Vikings in rushing with 66 yards.

Up next: vs. New Orleans Saints, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 14)

Thursday: Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16

Report card: C-minus

This team, which is ranked 25th in defensive EPA per game (minus-.60), is 10-15 in its last 25 games. Mike Vrabel has had two double-digit win seasons in his five seasons in Nashville, and this is not looking like it’s going to be the third time. Rookie quarterback Will Levis has provided some hope in the last two weeks — throwing for 500 yards, four touchdowns and one interception — but this is still a team struggling to be average (21st in point margin at minus-12).

Up next: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 26)

Sunday: Beat New York Giants 30-6

Report card: C

The Raiders really didn’t like Josh McDaniels, did they? After failing to score more than 21 points under McDaniels in the first eight games of the season, they had 24 at halftime Sunday. Josh Jacobs rushed for a season-high 98 yards and two touchdowns to help Las Vegas stop a two-game slide and give Antonio Pierce his first victory as an (interim) head coach.

Up next: vs. New York Jets, Monday, 8:20 p.m. ET

(Last week: 23)

Sunday: Beat Carolina Panthers 27-13

Report card: B

Kenny Moore became the first Colt to return two interceptions for a touchdown in a game Sunday. That helped an offense that gained only 198 yards and helped Indianapolis keep its streak of scoring at least 20 points in every game this season alive. Since returning from his holdout/injury, Jonathan Taylor is 17th in the league with 50.8 yards per game.

Up next: at New England Patriots, Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET (Germany)

(Last week: 25)

Sunday: Beat New England Patriots 20-17

Report card: C-minus

Sam Howell has more passing yards than anyone in the NFL in the last two weeks (722). More surprisingly, he has been sacked only four times in those two games. Still, the Commanders haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record and their four victims have a combined record of 10-25.

Up next: at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

(Last week: 16)

Sunday: Lost to Minnesota Vikings 31-28

Report card: C-minus

In the third year under coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot, the Falcons have lost three of four. They have given up a season high in points in each of the last two weeks, and a quarterback change this week didn’t change their offensive fortunes. Taylor Heinicke threw a critical interception against Minnesota, and Desmond Ridder might get his job back this week.

Up next: at Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, 4:05 p.m.

(Last week: 27)

Sunday: Beat Los Angeles Rams 20-3

Report card: C-minus

The Packers had their highest yards per play average (5.8) and third-highest offensive success rate (40.5) of the season Sunday. The reason? They took some load off Jordan Love, running the ball a season-high 47.1 percent of the time. This team is much better with a healthy Aaron Jones getting 20 carries and could be on the rise if that continues.

Up next: at Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

24. New York Jets (4-4)

(Last week: 21)

Monday: Lost to Los Angeles Chargers 27-6

Report card: C-plus

How do you not have a better backup plan when you sign a 39-year-old quarterback? The Jets loaded up this season, building a dynamite defense and getting running back Breece Hall back from injury. Aaron Rodgers’ injury is not New York’s fault, but not having a better Plan B than  Zach Wilson is. The Jets knew Wilson was what they saw again Monday night, which resulted in seven punts and another wasted defensive effort. New York leads the NFL with 5.88 punts per game.

Up next: at Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

(Last week: 17)

Sunday: Lost to Houston Texans 39-37

Report card: B-minus

Not many people expected the Bucs to be good this year, and they aren’t. After a 3-1 start, Tampa Bay has lost four in a row. On a positive note, Mike Evans is still getting it done. The 10th-year wide receiver is 15th in the league in receiving yards (594) and 11th in yards per catch (16.1).

Up next: vs. Tennessee Titans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 18)

Sunday: Lost to Green Bay Packers 20-3

Report card: C

With Brett Rypien starting in place of injured Matt Stafford (thumb), the Rams gained 187 yards. That’s their second-lowest total since 2020. (The lowest was 156 yards against the Packers last season with Baker Mayfield at quarterback.) Los Angeles has a bye this week, and Stafford could come back in Week 11. Stetson Bennett, who was drafted in the fourth round, remains on the non-football injury list and is not likely to return this season, Sean McVay said.

Up next: Bye

27. Denver Broncos (3-5)

(Last week: 20)

Sunday: Bye

Report card: D-plus

Denver traded three players, three first-round draft picks and three second-round draft picks to acquire Russell Wilson and Sean Payton. For all that, the Broncos are 26th in the league in point differential (minus-54). Wilson, at least, has made strides from his disastrous first season in Denver. He has 16 touchdowns versus four interceptions, is fifth in the league in passer rating (101.7) and has the second-lowest off-target percentage among starters (6.9 percent).

Up next: at Buffalo Bills, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

28. Chicago Bears (2-7)

(Last week: 31)

Sunday: Lost to New Orleans Saints 24-17

Report card: D-plus

Why don’t the Bears get credit for having the Nos. 2 and 3 picks, at the moment, in the upcoming draft when Arizona gets an A? Because it feels more like the result of Carolina’s panic than a discernible Chicago plan. The Bears have only three picks in the top 100 of the 2024 draft. Tyson Bagent is a fun story, but he’s not a plan. He’s thrown five interceptions in the last two weeks. Justin Fields might be back this week, and the Bears need him.

Up next: vs. Carolina Panthers, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

29. New York Giants (2-7)

(Last week: 28)

Sunday: Lost to Las Vegas Raiders 30-6

Report card: F

It’s gotten so bad that the Giants aren’t even fun to pick on anymore. Daniel Jones returned from a neck injury Sunday and promptly suffered a season-ending ACL tear. Backup quarterback Tommy DeVito gives New York a great chance to get into the top-two pick conversation, but would the Giants take a quarterback high after giving Jones a big contract in the offseason? The answer is probably yes because New York can get out of the deal relatively cheaply ($22.2 million in dead money) after next season.

Up next: at Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

(Last week: 29)

Sunday: Lost to Washington Commanders 20-17

Report card: F

The Patriots have the same record as the Giants yet are still fun to pick on. That’s the cost of having dominated the league for so long. Folks tend to savor your ensuing misery more, and things are pretty miserable in New England. Mac Jones, the Patriots’ first-round quarterback from 2021, is not good and for some reason threw the ball 44 times Sunday. He is ninth in the NFL in attempts this season (304) and 29th in yards per attempt (6.1). Why?

Up next: vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET (Germany)

31. Arizona Cardinals (1-8)

(Last week: 30)

Sunday: Lost to Cleveland Browns 27-0

Report card: A

Right now, the Cardinals are set to have picks No. 1, 16, 33, 65, 72 and 80 in the upcoming draft. They have executed their rebuilding plan exactly how they planned. They had to trade away Josh Dobbs and start Clayton Tune (who had 58 yards and a 20.8 passer rating Sunday) to keep the tanking train on track, but so be it. Now, all eyes turn to how Arizona handles Kyler Murray, who is healthy enough to play but might help this team win games.

Up next: vs. Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

32. Carolina Panthers (1-7)

(Last week: 32)

Sunday: Lost to Indianapolis Colts 27-13

Report card: F

The F is not for Frank, and Frank (Reich) might not be for the Panthers for more than one season. Rookie Bryce Young had his lowest passer rating of the season (48.3) Sunday against a Colts team that has the 26th-ranked defense in the league by yards allowed. In what has become a weekly occurrence, Carolina coaches and teammates rallied behind Young after the game, but somebody is going to take the fall for this soon it seems.

Up next: at Chicago Bears, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

(Top photo of Gus Edwards and Ronnie Stanley: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)


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