Week 10 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus scary trends for each team

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The NFL Power Rankings celebrated Halloween just like everyone else did. While trick-or-treating is in the past, we picked scary trends for each team that aren't a once-a-year occurrence.

Instead, these tricks might be the things that prevent contenders from hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy and make already miserable seasons (sorry Jets) even more frightening. Our NFL Nation reporters were tasked with discarding the treats and finding the facts that spook each team the most. Our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings:9 |8 |7 |6 |5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

1. San Francisco 49ers (8-0)

Week 9 ranking: 2

Scary trend: 4.7 rushing yards allowed per attempt

The 49ers' defense has been one of the best in the league this season but has struggled at times against the run, especially recently. Since Week 4, the Niners are allowing 5.54 yards per carry, which is 31st in the NFL in that time. It hasn't mattered much because San Francisco has jumped out to such big leads that teams have abandoned the run. But the 49ers are now without linebacker Kwon Alexander for the rest of the season, and the competition level is about to increase. That means the run defense is going to be tested more consistently. -- Nick Wagoner

2. New England Patriots (8-1)

Week 9 ranking: 1

Scary trend: 369 rushing yards allowed over past two games

The defense that the Patriots play most is a nickel package, with two big defensive tackles, four linebackers and five defensive backs, and the Browns (159 yards) and Ravens (210) had success running the ball over the past two weeks. Getting back to playing fundamental football, with better fits in the run game, is a good place to start. -- Mike Reiss

3. New Orleans Saints (7-1)

Week 9 ranking: 3

Scary trend: Lack of production from receivers not named Michael Thomas

Thomas has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Saints again this year -- but it's the "one-man" part that remains a little unsettling. His NFL-leading 73 catches are 43 more than anyone else on New Orleans' roster. And he has 579 more receiving yards than anyone on the team. The Saints need a second-half surge from TE Jared Cook and WRs Ted Ginn Jr.and Tre'Quan Smith, among others, to avoid the offensive drop-off they suffered late last season. -- Mike Triplett

4. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)

Week 9 ranking: 6

Scary trend: The defense has only 14 sacks

The Ravens have done a better job at getting to the quarterback recently, making Russell Wilson and Tom Brady very uncomfortable in the pocket. But all that pressure -- which has come via a lot of blitzing -- hasn't resulted in many sacks. Baltimore has the fifth-fewest sacks, ahead of only the Jets, Dolphins, Bengals and Falcons -- who have combined for a 3-29 record. The Ravens need to do a better job at getting the quarterback to the ground when facing the likes of Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff and Jimmy Garoppolo in the second half of the season. -- Jamison Hensley

5. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)

Week 9 ranking: 5

Scary trend: Opponents have scored touchdowns on 24.7% of drives

This is in the territory of losing teams. The Chiefs are 25th in this category, and there are no winning teams below them, so this is unsustainable. The Chiefs have to be better at getting the opposing offense off the field through turnovers or punts. -- Adam Teicher

6. Seattle Seahawks (7-2)

Week 9 ranking: 7

Scary trend: The defense has only 15 sacks

That's easily the fewest among teams that have played nine games. The Seahawks are 27th in generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, as no one other than Jadeveon Clowney has consistently given them much in that department. The Seahawks' remaining schedule includes two games against the division-leading 49ers and one against the Rams. The results that the Seahawks have gotten from their pass rush won't cut it against teams like that, what with good quarterbacks and great offensive minds calling plays. -- Brady Henderson

7. Green Bay Packers (7-2)

Week 9 ranking: 4

Scary trend: Have allowed 39 plays of 20-plus yards

The explosive gains have killed the Packers' defense. Among the 39 plays of 20 or more yards allowed are 13 of 40 yards or more, including two in Sunday's loss to the Chargers. It's fine if the Packers are getting takeaways, which they've done better at than last season; but without turnovers, the big plays allowed are killers. -- Rob Demovsky

8. Houston Texans (6-3)

Week 9 ranking: 9

Scary trend: 277.3 passing yards allowed per game

The Texans right now have the sixth-worst passing defense in the NFL. Houston hopes part of that is due to injury. The Texans were without safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Lonnie Johnson on Sunday, and veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph has been playing through injuries to his neck and shoulder. That unit will look better as those players return to the field after the bye week. The secondary might be even more critical going forward after Houston lost defensive end J.J. Watt for the season with a torn pectoral muscle in Week 8. -- Sarah Barshop

9. Minnesota Vikings (6-3)

Week 9 ranking: 8

Scary trend: The interior offensive line allows too much pressure

Kirk Cousins was 0-for-9 passing under duress against the Chiefs on Sunday, the worst mark of his career. The Vikings' offensive line has played well at points this season, but interior line play is still an issue. Both Pat Elflein and Garrett Bradbury have each allowed 20 pressures this season, which accounts for a handful of Minnesota's issues in pass protection. The O-line was among the biggest storylines for the Vikings entering 2019, and the team did quite a bit to try to improve this unit. If the guard and center play doesn't improve, the entire offense is affected -- both in the running and passing games. -- Courtney Cronin

10. Los Angeles Rams (5-3)

Week 9 ranking: 10

Scary trend: 3.9 rushing yards per attempt

The Rams' yards-per-carry mark ranks 21st in the league. With a running back corps that includes Todd Gurley II, Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson, that number must grow in the second half of the season. However, picking up more yards per carry doesn't fall entirely on the backs. The offensive line, with three first-year starters on the interior flanked by veteran tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein, must show improvement. -- Lindsey Thiry

11. Dallas Cowboys (5-3)

Week 9 ranking: 12

Scary trend: Only four interceptions on defense

The Cowboys simply can't take the ball away enough, even factoring in the three turnovers they caused Monday night against the Giants. The only team with fewer interceptions and a winning record is New Orleans, but there can be only one exception to a rule. This isn't simply a 2019 problem. It has been an issue for years. Because of the lack of takeaways, the offense has to drive the length of the field far too many times. It rarely gets easy points. New England leads the NFL with 19 interceptions. After Monday's game against the Giants, the Cowboys have only 23 interceptions in their past 36 games. -- Todd Archer

12. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

Week 9 ranking: 11

Scary trend: Only 10.7 yards per reception

The Colts, who are relying on the running game, have not been a big downfield passing team under coach Frank Reich. Their 10.7 yards per reception is tied with two other teams for 25th in the NFL. T.Y. Hilton (11.3 yards), Zach Pascal (16.9 yards) and Eric Ebron (13.8 yards) are the only players with at least 10 receptions who averaging more than the team average. The passing game under Reich is based on quicker throws and a lot of underneath crossing routes. -- Mike Wells

13. Buffalo Bills (6-2)

Week 9 ranking: 13

Scary trend: 422 interior rushing yards allowed over past three games

The Eagles exposed it more than any of the Bills' opponents since the team's Week 6 bye, but Buffalo has allowed a league-high 422 interior rushing yards over the past three weeks. The Bills also have surrendered the NFL's most such yards before contact and after contact in that span. It's a problem Buffalo is rapidly attempting to fix, given it faces Nick Chubb, Phillip Lindsay, Ezekiel Elliott, Mark Ingram II, Lamar Jackson and James Conner within its next six games. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)

Week 9 ranking: 14

Scary trend: The wide receivers have 15 drops

The Eagles' receiving corps has fallen well short of expectations, in part because of the absence of DeSean Jackson (abdominal strain) -- and the rest of the group is failing to pick up the slack. Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery rank 87th and 66th, respectively, in receiving yards, while the group overall is second in drops and first in fumbles lost (3). The unit needs to provide better productivity for Carson Wentz during the stretch run. -- Tim McManus

15. Carolina Panthers (5-3)

Week 9 ranking: 15

Scary trend: The defense has yielded 25.5 points per game

Although the Panthers rank among the league leaders in sacks and forced turnovers, they still are 21st in points surrendered per game. That could be costly facing some of the league's top offenses -- Seattle, New Orleans twice, Green Bay -- down the stretch. Sunday's 30-20 win against the Titans easily could have been a one-score game at the end were it not for three missed field goals, so the defense needs to find a way to finish off teams. -- David Newton

16. Oakland Raiders (4-4)

Week 9 ranking: 19

Scary trend:Opposing quarterbacks have a 114.8 passer rating against the Raiders' D

It's no secret the Raiders have a hard time stopping the pass. And facing the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Matthew Stafford in the first half of the season didn't help. But unless Oakland's defense improves on its passer rating against figure, the third worst in the NFL, things could go south in a hurry for a team with an eye on making the playoffs. It's about pass rush and coverage working hand in hand to disrupt not only the quarterback, but the receivers too. We're not talking about pitching shutouts -- there just has to be marked improvement to lessen the stress. -- Paul Gutierrez

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)

Week 9 ranking: 21

Scary trend: 38.7 QBR when targeting JuJu Smith-Schuster

The Steelers' No. 1 wide receiver hasn't been connecting with quarterback Mason Rudolph consistently. Three of Rudolph's four interceptions have come when he has targeted Smith-Schuster. Against the Colts, a great pass from Rudolph sailed through the hands of Smith-Schuster, leading to an interception. His QBR when targeting all other receivers is 56.7. Smith-Schuster is a known quantity in the NFL and is attracting a lot of attention from opposing defenses, but the two need a stronger connection. -- Brooke Pryor

18. Detroit Lions (3-4-1)

Week 9 ranking: 16

Scary trend: 424.1 yards allowed per game

It's a simple number, but to truly address Detroit's defensive malaise,you must start at the most fundamental level. And the Lions, both on the ground and through the air, have allowed too many yards. This goes beyond the bend-but-don't-break approach that appears to be Matt Patricia's favored style. It's also hurting Detroit -- the Lions are 2-4 over the past six games despite scoring at least 24 points in five of them. Not solidifying the defense, which is supposed to be Patricia's hallmark, would lead to another wholly unsatisfying season. -- Michael Rothstein

19. Los Angeles Chargers (4-5)

Week 9 ranking: 23

Scary trend: Five turnovers in goal-to-go situations

No. 27 in the NFL in goal-to-go efficiency, the Chargers have turned it over five times in those situations, the worst in the NFL. It's one of the reasons the Bolts are averaging just 20.3 points a contest, 21st in the league. During the second half of the season, the Chargers must reverse this trend to have a chance to make the playoffs for a second straight year. -- Eric D. Williams

20. Tennessee Titans (4-5)

Week 9 ranking: 18

Scary trend: 38 sacks allowed (most in NFL)

The Titans' offense is at its best when the focus is on a ball-control scheme that revolves around Derrick Henry. Negative yards from penalties and sacks take the offense out of favorable down-and-distance situations, which lead to fewer carries for Henry. Minimizing the running game makes it a lot harder to throw the ball, an area in which the Titans rank 24th in the NFL. Given how their offense has struggled to be consistent, the Titans can't afford to lose yards by getting the quarterback sacked. -- Turron Davenport

21. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Week 9 ranking: 17

Scary trend: Mitchell Trubisky's 34.8 QBR

Trubisky's QBR is 31st in the NFL. Bears coach Matt Nagy routinely stresses that Chicago's problems on offense are greater than just Trubisky. That might be true, but Trubisky continues to play at an unacceptable level. At the current rate, Trubisky might not pass for 2,500 yards or double-digit touchdowns. That's how bad it's been. -- Jeff Dickerson

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5)

Week 9 ranking: 20

Scary trend: One rushing touchdown this season

This is a major reason why the Jaguars are next to last in red zone TD production (34.5%, ahead of only Cincinnati). Leonard Fournette is third in the NFL in rushing (831 yards) but has just the one rushing TD. The Jaguars have bogged down inside the 5-yard line. The offensive line hasn't prevented penetration and isn't pushing defenders off the ball, but the playcalling has been a big issue. The Jaguars have 11 snaps inside the 5-yard line and have run the ball six times (minus-0.33 yards per rush). Fournette has four carries for minus-6 yards. The Jaguars won't get any better if Fournette doesn't touch the ball more inside the 5. -- Mike DiRocco

23. Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1)

Week 9 ranking: 24

Scary trend: 35.5% red zone efficiency

The Cardinals have scored just 18 touchdowns this season in nine games and are struggling to convert red zone opportunities into scores. Their red zone efficiency rate is the fourth lowest in the NFL. Since Week 6, however, the Cardinals' red zone efficiency rate has increased to 45.5%. It's a definite improvement, but in order for the Cardinals to find more wins in the second half of the season, they need to jump into the top half of the league in red zone efficiency. -- Josh Weinfuss

24. Denver Broncos (3-6)

Week 9 ranking: 25

Scary trend: 29 sacks allowed on quarterbacks

The Broncos have surrendered 30 sacks overall -- one was on punter Colby Wadman on a poorly executed fake -- but finding a long-term answer at quarterback is a lot of wasted energy until the Broncos repair a line that has left their past five quarterbacks injured or with shattered confidence. Look, everybody gets that it is a passing league, but to continue to play in three-wide receiver sets when you can't protect in them seems like head-pounding-against-desk stuff. The Broncos have surrendered 23 of their sacks on quarterbacks in three-wide sets and 20 sacks on the quarterback in shotgun. -- Jeff Legwold

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)

Week 9 ranking: 26

Scary trend: The defense has given up 31.5 points per game

The Bucs are 31st in the league in points surrendered per game, behind only the Dolphins. They're also giving up more points per game right now than they ever have, topping the 30.9 points per game given up in 2011. Considering the Bucs have invested six draft picks in defensive backs over the past two years, this is particularly alarming. -- Jenna Laine

26. Cleveland Browns (2-6)

Week 9 ranking: 22

Scary trend: 46.2% red zone TD rate

Though the Browns are among the league leaders in penalties and turnovers committed, they at least corrected those in the loss at Denver. Problem was, they were -- and have been -- a disaster in the red zone, scoring only one TD in five red zone attempts on Sunday. Notably missing red zone targets once again was star wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who hasn't had a TD catch since Week 2. If the Browns are going to make a miraculous run in the AFC North, they'll need to dramatically turn their red zone offense around. -- Jake Trotter

27. New York Giants (2-7)

Week 9 ranking: 27

Scary trend: 22 turnovers committed

That is the number of turnovers the Giants have committed after Monday night's game against the Cowboys, which is the most in the league. It's impossible to win games this way, especially when their defense lacks talent. Much of it has to do with Daniel Jones. The rookie quarterback is taking his lumps, with 15 turnovers in seven starts. He has had splash plays but also his fair share of mistakes that have cost his team points. Jones has talked for weeks about improving ball security and his decision-making. Easier said than done for a rookie quarterback. The end result is the Giants having a minus-10 turnover differential, with only the Falcons and Dolphins being worse. -- Jordan Raanan

28. Atlanta Falcons (1-7)

Week 9 ranking: 28

Scary trend: Have registered sacks on only 2.8% of opposing pass attempts

Although the Falcons got to Russell Wilson a couple of times in their most recent outing, they still have only seven sacks this season and rank dead last in the league in sacks per pass attempt. If the Falcons and coach Dan Quinn -- also the defensive coordinator -- don't find a way to generate consistent pressure, they'll remain in the same predicament they've been in during their current six-game losing streak. They have to face New Orleans and Drew Brees twice over the final eight games, and Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston has had his best outings when sacked fewer than three times this season. -- Vaughn McClure

29. Washington Redskins (1-8)

Week 9 ranking: 30

Scary trend: 51.6 red zone passer rating over the past five games

That number coincides with their 13-quarter touchdown-less streak. It doesn't figure to get a lot better, though playing the Jets in two weeks could help. Still, having a raw rookie quarterback paired with a lack of red zone weapons will make this number tough to improve upon. In the past six weeks, Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum are a combined 4-of-9 for 13 yards and no touchdowns inside the 20-yard line. That explains why the Redskins have scored nine or fewer points five times this season -- their most since doing so seven times in 1993. -- John Keim

30. Miami Dolphins (1-7)

Week 9 ranking: 32

Scary trend: Minus-111 second-half point differential

The second-half Dolphins are an affront to everything good (yes, there are a few things) about this team. They have been outscored in the second half in every game this season by an average of nearly 14 points per game. Their minus-111 second-half deficit is historically bad, and it often dooms what have been strong first halves in recent weeks. It has been a season-long issue trying to figure out better adjustments after halftime, and they finally did enough in Week 9 against the Jets to get their first win. But every team won't be the Jets. -- Cameron Wolfe

31. New York Jets (1-7)

Week 9 ranking: 29

Scary trend: 0.81 points scored per drive

Not surprisingly, this is the worst in the NFL, by far. The last team to approach it was the 2011 St. Louis Rams, who finished at 0.89. The Jets face some of the lowest-ranked defensive teams over the second half of the season, but there's no evidence they will make improvement. QB Sam Darnold is regressing, and so his offensive line. -- Rich Cimini

32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)

Week 9 ranking: 31

Scary trend: 6.59 yards allowed per play

Cincinnati has no shortage of scary numbers. One that is as concerning as any is the amount of yards allowed per play. The Bengals are comfortably last in the league and have allowed a league-high 62 explosive plays (rushes of 15-plus yards or passes of 20-plus yards). Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo might be OK with the yardage as long as it doesn't lead to touchdowns, but it's still a cause for alarm. -- Ben Baby

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