3 things we learned, Patriots, Broncos
Tom Brady had an easy time slicing through the Denver defense. Getty Images

1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) Bye. Last Week: 1

The league got a taste of adding Jay Ajayi to what was already a top five rushing attack when he sprinted for a 46-yard touchdown on the handful of carries he was given against Denver. Now the Eagles have had their bye week to fully integrate Ajayi into the offense.

2. New Orleans Saints (7-2) Def. Buffalo 47-10. Last Week: 4

After they began the season unable to score in the red zone, the Saints had four touchdown runs of three yards or less Sunday. After they began the season allowing Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook career performances, they held the Bills to 198 yards, a large chunk of them coming in garbage time. They did all this in Buffalo, New York, to win their seventh straight game.


3. New England Patriots (7-2) Def. Denver 41-16. Last Week: 2

It was a night of records for New England. Tom Brady passed Peyton Manning with his 86th career road victory. The Patriots tied their own AFC record of 12 straight road wins. And Bill Belichick moved into a tie with Tom Landry for the third most coaching victories in league history. They’ll get a chance to extend all those marks next week when they travel to Oakland.

4. Los Angeles Rams (7-2) Def. Houston 33-7. Last Week: 5

A week after Robert Woods had 70 yards and two scores against the Giants, he upped the stakes with 171 yards and another pair of scores - one on a 94 yard dash - against Houston. Offensive threats are coming out of the woodwork for Jared Goff, who had a career best 355 yards passing against Houston.

5. Minnesota Vikings (7-2) Def. Washington 38-33  Last Week: 6

With Mike Zimmer refusing to say who will start at quarterback going forward, the Case Keenum vs Teddy Bridgewater argument hangs in limbo. Keenum is the Vikings third string qb. Bridgewater was their first round pick and the future of the franchise. But they're 7-2 with Keenum. Like the Cowboys  season ago, that's a dangerous mojo to mess with.

6. Carolina Panthers (7-3) Def. Miami 45-21. Last Week: 7

The Panthers racked up 548 yards - a franchise record - Monday night, a clear sign to the league that they're more than just a defense with Cam Newton. Though, their star quarterback did contribute 254 yards passing, 95 rushing, and four touchdowns to the record night.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) Def. Indianapolis 20-17. Last Week: 3

Pittsburgh’s stars were held in check Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger had under 250 yards passing and an interception, Le’veon Bell had 80 yards on 3.1 yards per carry, and Antonio Brown had 47 yards receiving and a couple drops. They pulled together for a game winning drive, but the Steelers remain the high ranked team most likely to throw out a dud because of performances like these.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) Def. LA Chargers 20-17 (OT.) Last Week: 9

The Jaguars have their first three game winning streak since 2013. To get it, they survived taunting calls on Marquise Lee and Aaron Colvin that jeopardized the game’s ending. A fake punt gave them most of their rushing attack on a day where Leonard Fournette was held in check upon rejoining the team.

9. Seattle Seahawks (6-3) Def. Arizona 22-16. Last Week: 10

The Seahawks have yet to lose to Bruce Arians in Arizona, but they did suffer a pretty big loss there this week. Richard Sherman became the latest victim in a season of stars suffering season-ending injuries when he ruptured his Achilles. Sherman’s streak of consecutive games played comes to an end at 105 - an impressive legacy of playing through injuries that finally caught up to him Thursday.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) Bye. Last Week: 11

The Chiefs have endured a rough time since their 5-0 start, but things could be looking up: they leave their bye with both Andy Reid’s vaunted post bye week success and games against the Giants, Bills, and Jets to look forward to.

11. Atlanta Falcons (5-4) Def. Dallas 27-7. Last Week: 15

The Falcons fared alright on the ground after losing Devonta Freeman to his second concussion of 2017 early. They'll have an extra day to see if he can be ready for Monday night against the Seahawks, a matchup that should have Adrian Clayborn salivating after he torched the Cowboys for six of Atlanta's eight sacks on the day.

12. Detroit Lions (5-4) Def. Cleveland 38-24. Last Week: 13

Detroit dodged an embarrassing defeat to keep themselves in the playoff conversation, spotting the winless Browns an early lead and allowing them to rush for 200 yards before relying on Matt Stafford’s $135 million right arm and Golden Tate’s legs to bail them out. The Lions have a chance to move to 3-0 in their division against the Bears this week, which would set them up nicely for an important contest with Minnesota the following week.

13. Dallas Cowboys (5-4) Lost to Atlanta 27-7. Last Week: 8

It wasn't just Ezekiel Elliott the Cowboys missed Sunday. Without left tackle Tyron Smith they were terrorized by the Falcons defense, allowing eight sacks. They also lost star linebacker Sean Lee against the Falcons on their way to allowing 132 rushing yards to a team missing Devonta Freeman. Both are troubling signs with the Eagles approaching.

14. Tennessee Titans (6-3) Def. Cincinnati 24-20. Last Week: 16

The Titans four game win streak stayed alive against Cincy, but kicker Ryan Succop saw his personal streak of an NFL record 56 consecutive field goals from inside 50 yards come to an end against the Bengals when he missed from 48 yards away. Demarco Murray scored all three touchdowns for the Titans this weekend, rushing for two and catching a third. Prior to this game, he had just two scores on the season.

15. Washington (4-5) Lost to Minnesota 38-33. Last Week: 14

Washington faced another tough battle after winning in Seattle a week ago. They couldn't pull off the repeat upset but if you're looking for good news the passing offense appears to be back. Thanks in no small part to rookie Maurice Harris beginning his career with one of the best catches you'll ever see.

16. Buffalo Bills (5-4) Lost to New Orleans 47-10. Last Week: 12

It was bad when Buffalo allowed the Jets almost 200 yards and three touchdowns rushing last Thursday. But at least they had extra time to rest and prepare for the Saints so that they could allow nearly 300 (298!) yards and six (six!) rushing touchdowns Sunday. Kelvin Benjamin led the team in receiving in his first appearance for the Bills, with three catches for 42 yards.

17. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) Bye. Last Week: 17

The Ravens are about to get a crack at some backup quarterbacks, with games upcoming against the Packers and Texans. The Packers look a little better after their win against Chicago, but if Baltimore wants to stay in the playoff race these are opportunities they must take advantage of.

18. Oakland Raiders (4-5) Bye. Last Week: 18

Poor Oakland. The other teams on bye have pretty nice welcome back matchups awaiting. They have the Patriots. It still feels odd that this team is only two games back in their division, given the way their season and the Chiefs began.

19. Green Bay Packers (5-4) Def. Chicago 23-16. Last Week: 23

Brett Hundley got his first win and the Packers overcame injuries at tailback to Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery to get their first win since Aaron Rodgers was injured against the Vikings. Davante Adams was the target of the day for Hundley, catching his only scoring strike and leading the team with 90 yards.

20. New York Jets (4-6) Lost to Tampa Bay 15-10. Last Week: 19

Unable to capitalize on their impressive performance against Buffalo, the Jets didn't have Matt Forte Sunday and even though Bilal Powell has had his share of success this season, Forte’s absence was felt as the Jets finished with 56 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

21. Arizona Cardinals (4-5) Lost to Seattle 22-16. Last Week: 21

The Cardinals leaned on Adrian Peterson heavily again in their second game without Carson Palmer, but it looks like Peterson’s success is shaping up to be an every-other-week thing in Arizona. In two victories with the Cardinals he has 63 carries for 293 yards and two scores. In two losses, he has just 32 carries for 50 yards.

22. Los Angeles Chargers (3-6) Lost to Jacksonville 20-17 (OT.) Last Week: 20

The Chargers let the game slip away with a fumble and a roughing the passer call that set up the game tying field goal from Josh Lambo before he bounced the game winning one over the crossbar in overtime. Thought the Chargers kicking game woes were through? Not this week.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) Def. NY Jets 15-10. Last Week: 29

Tampa Bay broke out of a five game losing streak without Jameis Winston or Mike Evans in the lineup. Instead, Ryan Fitzpatrick pulled one over on his former team in his first start of 2017. They'll try to keep their first momentum in awhile against Miami.

24. Indianapolis Colts (3-7) Lost to Pittsburgh 20-17.  Last Week: 25

The Colts could have felt a lot better about going into their bye week with a win, but they've been in short supply this season. Still, the rest will come in handy after Jacoby Brissett was banged around plenty by the Steelers.

25. Miami Dolphins (4-5) Lost to Carolina 45-21. Last Week: 22

The Dolphins offense again fared alright in their second game without Jay Ajayi. But an ill-timed Jay Cutler interception gave the Panthers a touchdown right after the Dolphins had made it a 10-7 game at the half, robbing any momentum.

26. Chicago Bears (3-6) Lost to Green Bay 23-16. Last Week: 24

The Bears lost their second in a row despite rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky coming close to his first 300-yard passing day. He finished with 297. Of more concern is the disappearance of Chicago's running game, which looked so formidable early in the season.

27. Houston Texans (3-6) Lost to LA Rams 33-7. Last Week: 26

The Texans stayed in the game for a half, but turnovers, four by quarterback Tom Savage, two interceptions and two lost fumbles, doomed any chance they had of keeping up with the NFL’s leading offense. It was their second straight loss without rookie qb DeShaun Watson.

28. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) Lost to Tennessee 24-20. Last Week: 28

For the second week in a row the Bengals lost a key player to an ejection, but dodged any further damage when Vontaze Burfict was not suspended by the league. Since it looked like they might be recovering their season the Bengals have lost three of four, their lone victory coming against the Colts.

29. San Francisco 49ers (1-9) Def. NY Giants 31-21. Last Week: 31

Often this season, it's looked like the 49ers are playing better football than some of the teams ahead of them on this list, but without a win...now they have one, and it's well earned. C.J. Beathard had his best day, throwing two long touchdowns and running for a third.

30. Denver Broncos (3-6) Lost to New England 41-16. Last Week: 27

The Broncos haven’t lost by less than two scores in five weeks. Statistical anomaly: the Broncos for all their troubles still rank fourth in the league in total defense. But they rank 29th, fourth from bottom in scoring defense. They’re allowing just 293 yards but 26.6 points per game. That minus-14 turnover differential probably isn’t helping.

31. New York Giants (1-8) Lost to San Francisco 31-21. Last Week: 30

Nobody expected much from the already winless Giants when they lost Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall in the same game. But what's going on with this once great defense? The Rams torch everyone, but the 49ers are a different story.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-9) Lost to Detroit 38-24. Last Week: 32

The Browns blew 10-0 and 24-17 leads in this game, the latter in the third quarter. DeShone Kizer threw his first touchdown pass since September Sunday, he now has four passing and four rushing scores.

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