We are back with our week eight Power Rankings. Once again we have a group of the finest minds from around the UK to rank all 32 teams and produce an overall rankings that should be as fair and correct as possible.
Gareth Pugsley (@jedihamster101) has looked at the Bears season so far and what they need to do to beat the Saints
Ok so lets get all the bye week arm chair general ideas and comments out the way over the Raiders loss. The Bears didn’t play good enough. Simple isn’t it. Offensive line was crap and the defence did not play with any passion until after half time.
Steve Ovenden (@happyhappysteve) looked back at last weekend’s game in London and reviews the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw its second game arrive in the form of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers. After my preview of this game last week, I was expecting a tight game from the divisional rivals but in the in end it saw a score line which flattered the home team somewhat. This however didn’t take anything away from the match day experience and the game was still the spectacle to watch.
Mark @markr1991 thinks that after a substandard showing against his former employers the Oakland Raiders, Khalil Mack gets Soldier Field bouncing and drives the Chicago Bears defence to a win over the New Orleans Saints.
Is there a better story in the NFL right now than Teddy Bridgewater. After tearing his ACL and causing structural damage to his knee in August 2016 he was told it would be at least 19 months until he could even attempt to play again. Now look at him; he has taken over from the all time passing yardage leader Drew Brees (due to injury) and has not looked out of place. He has kept the Saints not only ticking over but playing well and won four straight games. This week though he has the defence wrecker Khalil Mack to contend with.
Mark @markr1991 thinks that the Houston Texans will continue their impressive run and take control of the AFC South by beating their closest rivals the Indianapolis Colts.
Finally the Houston Texans have a solid running game to go with their passing attack. Houston have rushed for 839 yards through six games, averaging at 139.8 a game. A lot of this is down to that offensive line improving week in and week out, giving the Texans a chance to establish the run and not relying on Deshaun Watson creating plays. Between Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson they are averaging 4.9 yards per carry for the sixth best record in the league. With these two in the backfield teams would be ill-advised to neglect their running attack.
Steve Ovenden (@happyhappysteve) believes the winner of this AFC South match-up will cement themselves as a contender in the AFC
The Colts play host this Sunday and welcome the Houston Texans to Lucas Oil stadium. This AFC South divisional match is shaping up to be the biggest game of the season so far. Winner takes the lead in the division and whoever wins will show they potentially have what it takes to be playoff contenders.
Josh Capps (@JCapps_) believes the Jets can keep things close against the Patriots
Jets hopes will be sky high after their first victory of the season but the Patriots will want to ensure that the runway is blocked before they can take off on Monday evening.
Brady and the Patriots come off the back of a superior second half against the Giants, in a game which they started slowly and finished strong; a trend of New England this season.
The Jets secured their first win of the season in a surprising win against Dallas. Sam Darnold posting two touchdowns and 338 yards which saw him finish with a 113.8 rating. All be it a fantastic victory, the worst offence in YPG and 31st worst in PPG (12.6) will be coming up against the current best defence in football who tops the league in takeaways and interceptions.
The Jets do boast a pretty sound defence of their own, proving this last week against Prescott & Co. Some strong holds when it mattered and also standing tall against two-point conversions and also very strong against the running game. The men in green will certainly need to stand strong against the Patriots O-line who will be looking to go 7-0 and look ever more confident in making another Super Bowl.
The New England Patriots will want to show a stronger start than they have shown in some of their games so far this season. Two quick touchdowns against them in the first half last Thursday; one from a Brady fumble, gave the Patriots a slight scare before half time. The Pats have proven they can go on to win games but they will not want to continue to start slowly, especially away in New Jersey.
Looking to stay unbeaten, the Patriots should stay sound against the Jets but Sam Darnold will give this a good go and keep this tighter than it maybe should be.
Ones to Watch
Patriots: Julian Edelman – Over 110 yards against the Giants last week, Edelman is beginning to find space and with N’Keal Harry
Jets: Le’Veon Bell – The return of Bell this season is still yet to get started, but be fearful if Bell gets space and unleashes his true pace.
New York Jets 17 New England Patriots 27
Some of you may remember that when I first started First and Ten I ran these along with four other people. We combined our rankings to get an overall power ranking. I hope this gives a more balanced and hopefully correct view.
We are bringing them back, only bigger and better than ever. This week we have 16 different people ranking (I will list them at the end) but before this all kicks off I want to thank all of them for taking part.
I won’t waste any more time, why not start with a predictable number 32…
32 – Miami Dolphins
High 31 Low 32
So close to being unanimous. Somebody obviously sees something in these Dolphins.
31 – Cincinnati Bengals
High 30 Low 32
This team probably should have beaten the Seahawks in week one. That feels like a lifetime ago now.
30 – Washington Redskins
High 29 Low 31
A very predictable coaching change and got the win against Miami. There isn’t much else to say about them right now. 2020 it is.
29 – Atlanta Falcons
High 26 Low 30
Tipped by so many to be a contender for the Super Bowl. Maybe the biggest disappointment for a second season running. Dan Quinn’s time in Atlanta is surely running out.
28 – New York Jets
High 24 Low 30
Feel like they are a contender to rise up these rankings now Sam Darnold is back.
27 – Tennessee Titans
High 21 Low 30
I almost forgot to rank them. Until they get their now quarterback in the offseason they are the most forgettable franchise in the league. The good news for Titans fans is with a real quarterback they could well be a contender next season.
26 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
High 21 Low 27
It looked like things were turning for Jameis Winston. He then went to London and threw 700 interceptions.
25 – New York Giants
The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching and with the contenders starting to separate themselves, there could be some talented players finding themselves lining up for a new team before the October 29 deadline passes.
Strong rumours coming from Philadelphia suggest this could be a goer. The price will be pretty big for one of the best pass rushers in the game and he is due big money through 2021, but I feel the Broncos would like extra picks in this years draft to perhaps package with their own picks to finally secure the quarterback they so desperately need. Drew Lock was taken in the second round of the 2019 draft but the team are far from tied to him if there is an opportunity in what is seen as a more talented quarterback group in 2020.
The former All-Pro cornerback is currently serving a six game suspension for violating the leagues PED policy. On what is a team lacking in talent he is one of the few valuable trade pieces the Cardinals could use to start rebuilding their offence. They have the QB in place and now they need to start filling out some more skill positions. Look for the Eagles, Seahawks & Chiefs to be interested here.
The 2015 sixth overall pick has never quite lived up to the expectations the Jets had when they drafted him. Sure he’s been good but he hasn’t been the game wrecking sack machine you’re after from a sixth overall pick. He’s set to make $14.2m this season which could put off a few teams but interest is believed to be high. I’d be looking at the Jets getting back at best a first round pick but more realistically it could look very similar to the deal the Rams made to get Dante Fowler last year which ended up being a 3rd and a 5th round pick
Will not be moving
Someone who won’t be getting traded however is AJ Green. Despite the Bengals being god awful this season and Green being injured, the team have never traded away star players and that’s mainly because when Green does return he will ensure bums on seats. Something that’s seemingly more valuable to the ownership than a winning team.
Steve Ovenden (@happyhappysteve) believes the crowd in London will get a good game in this tight clash between the Buccaneers and Panthers
Week s brings us to London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for our second International Series game as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) host their NFC South Divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers (3-2). The first game in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last week saw the Oakland Raiders overcome the Chicago Bears 24-21 in a thrilling match-up.
Last week we saw the Carolina Panthers complete the turn around of their season with a 34-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This win took the Panthers onto a three game winning streak which means they are now sitting at 3-2 after starting the season 0-2 with one of those losses coming at home to the Bucs. Tampa however, went in the opposite direction last week after a road loss of 31-24 to another divisional rival the New Orlean Saints and they now see themselves with a 2-3 record. The Bucs will want to take advantage of the enthusiastic London crowd to give themselves a boost to try and complete a season double over Carolina.
Both sides this week are finding preparation for Sundays game a little difficult as training is seeing numerous players limited or not participating because of injury. It has already been reported that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton did not travel because of his foot injury but perhaps more worryingly, Christian McCaffrey missed mid week practice due to a back injury. McCaffrey was highly influential in Carolina’s victory over the Jags by recording 176 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and six receptions for 61 yards and a third touchdown on the day. His absence would be a big miss for the Panthers and the British audience should he not play. Stand-in quarterback Kyle Allen would also be missing out. The improving Allen has started the last three games for the Panthers and they have won all three. The QB really has changed the Carolina offence and he himself has 60/90 for 674 yards over the three games. He will be hoping to top up these stats if all his weapons are available on Sunday.
Tampa have also had their fair share of players not practising so far this week. One notable absentee would be defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. He has been missing practice due to a knee problem but doesn’t mean he will miss the game on Sunday. He will be key if the Panthers have all their offence available. Bruce Arians has said this week that all injuries are minor apart from Guard Alex Coppa who is out with a broken arm. Jaimis Winston has been making steady progress over the course of the season so far and could provide some inspiration for the Bucs. His 102 completions from 160 attempts for 1371 yards puts him in good stead to put on a show with some big plays.
This game could be a tight affair. A divisional game which is essentially being played on a neutral field in a different country with both teams needing a win to stay in touch with the Saints who are sitting atop the division with a 4-1 season so far. Both teams have improving QB’s and talent on the offensive side of the ball. It could actually be the defences that have a big say on the fate of this game. Carolina boast the NFL’s third ranked pass defence and the Bucs have allowed the second fewest rushing yards per game. The London crowd shouldn’t be disappointed with this one.
Last Time They Met
12/9/2019 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 @ 14 Carolina Panthers
Ones to Watch