16. New England Patriots
The Patriots are one of a few teams that are better than their record, as they took the Buccaneers and Cowboys, two clearcut contenders, down to the wire. We still have a ton of questions about their overall ceiling, but they hung 54 points in a drubbing of the Jets over the weekend. Tough to play much better than that.
15. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been decimated by injuries, but Carson Wentz is reminding everyone why he’s a former MVP candidate and Darius Leonard is generating turnovers every week despite playing on a bum ankle. Indy picked up a huge win on the road against the 49ers in primetime on Sunday night, and they could ascend up the rankings with another W in Week 8 vs Tennessee.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are another weird team. They have Pro Bowl-caliber talents on both sides of the field and Mike Tomlin is still one of the best coaches in the league. However, they’re two years too late moving on from Ben Roethlisberger. They’ll go as far as Big Ben takes them. Our guess is that won’t be very far.
13. Las Vegas Raiders
The firing, or resignation, of Jon Gruden came at a perfect time for the Raiders. Maxx Crosby is playing out of his mind and Yannick Ngakoue is still flying under the radar as one of the most consistent pass rushers in the NFL. Derek Carr, meanwhile, seems to throw for over 300 yards every game.
12. Cleveland Browns
Down Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt — and with Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry nowhere near 100% — the Browns embarrassed the broncos on Thursday Night Football. This one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but we need to see more explosiveness from their passing game before can buy into them as a true contender.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Until further notice, the Chiefs aren’t a playoff contender. Patrick Mahomes continues to turn the ball over at an alarming rate and their defense would have trouble stopping a college offense. KC hasn’t dealt with much adversity during the Mahomes era, so we’re intrigued to see how they respond.