11. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) Lost to Dallas 28-17. Last Week: 6
The Chiefs offense, explosive as it was to start the season, may have become too reliant on the big play. Tyreek Hill delivered one on Sunday afternoon, but the Chiefs managed only one other touchdown drive, and the big plays from rookie Kareem Hunt have dried up. After four scores from further than 50 yards in his first three games, the rookie hasn’t broken free for a run or catch further than 37 yards since.
12. Buffalo Bills (5-3) Lost to NY Jets 34-21. Last Week: 8
The Bills didn’t activate new wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin Thursday, but they sure could have used him as they fell behind early and had to throw to attempt a comeback which is, to put it gently, not how their offense is designed to run. This team routinely put up huge penalty numbers under Rex Ryan last season and Thursday – 11 for 99 yards – was no different.
13. Detroit Lions (4-4) Def. Green Bay 30-17. Last Week: 17
The Lions shattered a three-game losing streak against the Packers in prime time Monday night. While their struggles punching the ball into the end zone from up close continued, their offense was far enough ahead of the Packers to make it a non-issue this week. Matthew Stafford did find paydirt for his 200th career passing touchdown.
14. Washington (4-4) Def. Seattle 17-14. Last Week: 21
On a night where Washington only gained 244 yards, Kirk Cousins drove them 70 in the games closing minutes and, on a night where he averaged just 1.3 yards per carry, Rob Kelley found the end zone for his second score and the winning points Sunday. It was some welcome glimpses of their lost offense for Washington. But with Philadelphia and Dallas winning, all they can do is keep pace.
15. Atlanta Falcons (4-4) Lost to Carolina 20-17. Last Week: 13
The Falcons got outpaced in the rushing game 201-53 by Carolina, a performance that included surrendering a season-high 86 yards to Cam Newton. That the Falcons struggled so much with their own rushing attack is perhaps one reason a 10-0 lead in this game slipped away as easily and quickly as it came.
16. Tennessee Titans (5-3) Def. Baltimore 23-20. Last Week: 19
Just when it looked like Derrick Henry was pulling away with the running back job in Tennessee, DeMarco Murray finished with more carries despite fighting through a knee injury. It’s safe to say this is going to be a committee as long as both backs are productive. Oh and make it three wins in a row for the Titans, which is also good.
17. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) Lost to Tennessee 23-20. Last Week: 14
The Ravens enter their bye having lost three of their last four games. Buy boy was that one win a doozy, 40-0 over the Dolphins. They couldn’t come back in Tennessee, and now they have the bye week to sort out why they’re losing despite outgaining an opponent 341-257.
18. Oakland Raiders (4-5) Def. Miami 27-24. Last Week: 24
Marshawn Lynch returned from suspension to score two touchdowns and Derek Carr had his third straight 300-yard passing day. All that, and most importantly a win, are promising signs for one of the most surprising stories of the season, the Raiders struggling offense.
19. New York Jets (4-5) Def. Buffalo 34-21. Last Week: 25
Don’t tell the Jets defense their promising start to the season is over. The unit hit Tyrod Taylor eleven times, sacking him seven, and forced three fumbles Thursday night. That and some vintage Matt Forte coming in the form of a two-touchdown performance were enough to upset the Bills at home.
20. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) Bye. Last Week: 18
Despite their 0-4 start to the season, the Chargers leave their bye just two and a half games behind Kansas City. If they want to get back to winning ways, however, it will be a struggle on the road at Jacksonville, particularly in light of the news that Jalen Ramsey will not be handed down a suspension.
21. Arizona Cardinals (4-4) Def. San Francisco 20-10. Last Week: 28
At 32, you might figure Adrian Peterson was done setting career highs, but he logged 37 carries against the 49ers to do just that. His 159 yards took the pressure off Drew Stanton, making his first start at quarterback this season for the injured Carson Palmer, and were his second 100-yard performance in the three games since he’s arrived in Arizona.
22. Miami Dolphins (4-4) Lost to Oakland 27-24. Last Week: 22
The second of three straight prime-time games for the Dolphins became their second straight loss despite Jay Cutler’s 300-yard, three-touchdown performance. The rushing attack gained just 86 yards in their first game since trading Jay Ajayi.
23. Green Bay Packers (4-4) Lost to Detroit 30-17. Last Week: 15
Mike McCarthy isn’t hesitant to express his faith in third-year quarterback Brett Hundley, and maybe he isn’t wrong to. Plenty else was going wrong for the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers Monday night, whether it was the defense being picked apart by Matthew Stafford or the special teams being…not so special.
24. Chicago Bears (3-5) Bye. Last Week: 26
Catching the Vikings might be an unrealistic goal for the Bears second half of the season. But developing Mitchell Trubisky isn’t, and to that end the first round pick got a whole extra week to prepare for a Green Bay defense Matthew Stafford just dissected.
25. Indianapolis Colts (3-6) Def. Houston 20-14. Last Week: 30
The Colts could teach the Texans a thing or two about missing your quarterback and Sunday, they did. Jacoby Brissett had his best game this season, which tends to happen when you find T.Y. Hilton for 45 and 80-yard touchdowns.
26. Houston Texans (3-5) Lost to Indianapolis 20-14. Last Week: 16
Deshaun Watson’s practice injury was a brutal blow to the Texans and NFL. Now missing their defensive and offensive leaders for the season, hope this year is hard to see in Houston. Tom Savage, Watson’s replacement, who Watson himself replaced in the season opener, was 19-for-44 Sunday.
27. Denver Broncos (3-5) Lost to Philadelphia 51-23. Last Week: 20
Brock Osweiler’s return to the starting quarterback role in Denver could have gone better. He was intercepted twice, sacked thrice and harassed all day by the Eagles defense. He has another chance this week while second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch remains on the bench.
28. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) Lost to Jacksonville 23-7. Last Week: 23
A.J. Green somehow escaped Sunday’s game without a suspension, but the look is the same for the Bengals who, in addition to maintaining a reputation for bad behavior on the field, are quickly recovering their briefly lost one for bad football on it.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) Lost to New Orleans 30-10. Last Week: 27
Jameis Winston, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury since his game four weeks ago against the Cardinals, will be benched going forward to recover. With the Buccaneers promising season in tatters, it makes no sense to risk further damage to their quarterbacks arm.
30. New York Giants (1-7) Lost to LA Rams 51-17. Last Week: 29
Eli Manning seems an odd target for Ben McAdoo and the Giants fans to throw their ire at, but then maybe it’s just habit. Star corner Janoris Jenkins was benched for the game against his former team, and the Giants defense allowed 51 points and 473 yards in his absence.
31. San Francisco 49ers (0-9) Lost to Arizona 20-10. Last Week: 31
Operating without its best receiver, Pierre Garcon, and what they hope will be their new franchise quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers passing attack was unsurprisingly anemic, gaining 266 yards on 51 attempts, and allowing five sacks.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-8) Bye. Last Week: 32
The biggest news out of the Browns bye week was the surprise reinstatement of Josh Gordon by the NFL. Hey, any little bit helps, right?