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NFL Power Rankings

John deKay, Editor

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2017 record: 11-2

The Steelers have more sacks in 13 games this season than they did in all of 2016. Part of that is Cameron Heyward recording a career-high 9.0 sacks. Another is T.J. Watt recording the most sacks by a Steelers rookie since in 2001.

2. New England Patriots
2017 record: 10-3
The Patriots defense has gotten better after following a 2-2 start to the season. Through Week 4, they had allowed the second-most points per game in the NFL. They’ve allowed an NFL-best 13.5 points per game since, Monday night’s 27-20 loss to Miami is the only time the unit has allowed even 20 points in their past nine games.

3. Philadelphia Eagles
2017 record: 11-2

Carson Wentz’s season came to an end when he tore his left ACL in Sunday’s win over the Rams, but what he accomplished this year was amazing. Wentz currently leads the NFL in passing touchdowns and set a franchise record for touchdown passes in a single season.

4. Los Angeles Rams
2017 record: 9-4

The Rams averaged 14.0 points per game in 2016. This year they are averaging more than twice that. Jared Goff’s improvement has been notable, but Todd Gurley II has been the game changer. He has accounted for 34 percent of the team’s yards from scrimmage, highest in the NFL.

5. Minnesota Vikings
2017 record: 10-3

Case Keenum he’s stepped in for the Viking as QB. Even after Sunday’s loss to the Panthers, Keenum still ranks third in the league in Total QBR and has led Minnesota to an 8-3 record in his starts. He entered the season with a career 9-15 record as a starter.

6. New Orleans Saints
2017 record: 9-4

The Saints’ running game has been a way better this season, with both Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram ranking in the top five for yards per rush. As a team, they have 19 rushing touchdowns, their most since the 2009 Super Bowl season.

7. Carolina Panthers
2017 record: 9-4

Cam Newton has more completions to Christian McCaffrey this season than he has ever had to Panthers running backs in a single season. McCaffrey leads the team and all rookies in catches.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 record: 9-4

The Jaguars are allowing nearly 10 points fewer per game than they did last season, and currently have the league’s best defense in terms of points allowed, takeaways, and Total QBR.

9. Seattle Seahawks
2017 record: 8-5

Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas all have missed multiple games this season, but Seattle has done really good considering those injuries.

10. Atlanta Falcons
2017 record: 8-5

The Falcons pass rush was depending on Vic Beasley Jr. last year, but others are getting more involved, which has resulted in a sack rate two full percentage points more from 2016.

11. Los Angeles Chargers
2017 record: 7-6

The Chargers have a winning record considering an 0-4 start due to takeaways and giveaways. Philip Rivers has the lowest interception percentage of his career, Melvin Gordon has the most touches without a fumble0 and the defense has 20 takeaways since the start of Week 5, tied for most in the NFL.

12. Baltimore Ravens
2017 record: 7-6

Alex Collins was cut by the Seahawks on Sept. 2 and signed by the Ravens on Sept. 5. In December and he’s fourth in the NFL in yards per rush and 175 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season.

13. Kansas City Chiefs
2017 record: 7-6

The Chiefs offense being led by Alex Smith is probably surpriseing to most. Smith has 11 completions and eight touchdowns of at least 40 yards this season, which are both career bests. He had 10 touchdowns of at least 40 yards his first four seasons with the Chiefs.

14. Green Bay Packers
2017 record: 7-6

The Packers running back situation was rough entering the season, but now they have several strong options. Also. the rookie Aaron Jones has a pair of 100-yard rushing games.

15. Dallas Cowboys
2017 record: 7-6

DeMarcus Lawrence’s emergence has been one of the biggest breakthroughs for the Cowboys. His 13.5 sacks this season are second-most in the NFL and the most by a Cowboy since DeMarcus Ware.

16. Detroit Lions
2017 record: 7-6

The Lions allowed the worst completion percentage in NFL history last season. They’re allowing a 63.9 completion percentage this year, which ranks 23rd in the NFL, but the improvement is better than last year.

17. Buffalo Bills
2017 record: 7-6

The Bills lost Zach Brown and three of their top defensive backs — Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby and Nickell Robey-Coleman — this offseason. But, they’ve allowed fewer points per game and are forcing more turnovers.

18. Tennessee Titans
2017 record: 8-5

The Titans defense have been thanks to some players in the secondary. Kevin Byard is tied for the league in interceptions and both Adoree’ Jackson and Logan Ryan already have more pass breakups than any Titans defender did last season.

19. Oakland Raiders
2017 record: 6-7

Not a lot of noticeable performances for the Raiders this season, but they do have one player who has had no problem literally breaking through. Marshawn Lynch, after missing a year, is averaging 2.4 yards per rush after contact, which would be the second-best rate of his career.

20. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 6-7
Chandler Jones already has a career-high 14.0 sacks and leads the NFL, something no Cardinal has done across an entire season.

21. Washington Redskins
2017 record: 5-8

Before his injury, Chris Thompson was the biggest highlight of Washington’s season. Thompson was on going for nearly 1,300 yards and through Week 11, his last game of the season, he led all running backs in receiving yards.

22. Miami Dolphins
2017 record: 6-7

Kenyan Drake is showing why the Dolphins were willing to deal Jay Ajayi at the trade deadline. Drake has rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back games and accumulated an NFL-best 334 scrimmage yards in the past two weeks. Superbowl?… Maybe.

23. Cincinnati Bengals
2017 record: 5-8

It’s rare for Bengals rookies to play in other years, but Carl Lawson is making a difference. Lawson is the team leader in sacks and the first Bengals defensive rookie to play 300 snaps since Vontaze Burfict in 2012.

24. Denver Broncos
2017 record: 4-9

This season has been awful for Denver, but the best thing to come out of it is the rookie left tackle Garett Bolles has been getting more experience. He has played the most snaps of any left tackle this season, and the Broncos are averaging more yards per rush and allowing less pressure than they did last season.

25. Houston Texans
2017 record: 4-9

DeAndre Hopkins has had good seasons before. He leads all players with 11 receiving touchdowns and he’s second in receiving yards. And in what has been a running game for his career, he has caught multiple touchdowns from three different quarterbacks this season.

26. Chicago Bears
2017 record: 4-9

Mitchell Trubisky is getting better, and it helps that he has a duo of running backs making plays for him. Jordan Howard has rushed for 1,000 yards for the second straight season while the rookie Tarik Cohen leads the team in 20-yard plays.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2017 record: 4-9

Rookie tight end O.J. Howard has only 25 receptions this season, but he has still found the end zone five times for the second-most receiving touchdowns on the team. Howard and Cameron Brate have led the Bucs to the second-most touchdowns by tight ends this season.

28. New York Jets
2017 record: 5-8

After losing Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the Jets’ receivers were supposed to be one of the worst in the NFL. Robby Anderson is 152 yards shy of 1,000 for the season, and his six touchdowns of at least 20 air yards are most in the NFL.

29. San Francisco 49ers
2017 record: 3-10

The quarterback position was looking like a weakness for the 49ers, but the trade for Jimmy Garoppolo may have made it better. Garoppolo is 2-0 with a 66 Total QBR for San Francisco. The 49ers’ other starting quarterbacks went 1-10 until Gorroppolo.

30. Indianapolis Colts
2017 record: 3-10

One of the better spots for the Colts is tight end Jack Doyle, who has caught 64 passes which is second most among tight ends behind only Travis Kelce. Doyle could have a bigger impact next season with Andrew Luck back.

31. New York Giants
2017 record: 2-11

The Giants have had some issues, but the good news is that some other pass-catchers are getting better with Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall out. Sterling Shepard has caught 73 percent of his targets, and rookie tight end Evan Engram is just the fourth Giants rookie to catch at least 50 passes in a season.

32. Cleveland Browns
2017 record: 0-13

The Browns are winless, but there have been some good spots, and nothing is more encouraging than a good rushing defense. They’ve allowed 3.3 yards per rush, the fewest in the NFL this season and a big improvement.

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