21. Carolina Panthers (3-7)
Five of their seven losses are by eight points or less but the team has lost five in a row. QB Teddy Bridgewater is done everything in his power to keep the team afloat but the injury issues of star RB Christian McCaffrey have hit the offense hard.
Previous Ranking: 16
22. Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
As usual, the Atlanta Falcons are going on a bit of a run after a disastrous 0-5 start. Even in their losses, the Falcons have been competitive (all but one decided by one score). The team has won 3 of 4 but have possibly the toughest remaining schedule in the NFL; play the Saints and Bucs twice, the Chiefs and Raiders.
Previous Ranking: 28
23. Los Angeles Chargers (2-7)
When analyzing the Chargers last week I quoted Bill Parcells saying, “You are what your record says you are.” That said, when it comes to power rankings some allowance has to be made for being competitive in every game. All seven of the Chargers losses are by 8 points or less. QB Justin Herbert looks like a future star in the making, if he can stop turning the ball over. Looking at their schedule, the Chargers have the ability to win all their remaining games but they also have the ability to lose them all too. (Yes, even the Jets game.)
Previous Ranking: 19
24. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1)
QB Joe Burrow is the second-most sacked quarterback in the league. The team has been competitive week-in-week-out except for two blowout losses to the Steelers and Ravens; no shame there. The Bengals have some pretty tough games ahead but they still play three games against the NFC East so they have a chance to improve their record there.
Previous Ranking: 24
25. Houston Texans (2-7)
When you have two victories, and they are both against the Jacksonville Jaguars, you’re going to find yourself far down in the rankings. Giving credit where it’s due, though, the team has been competitive week after week. The schedule lightens up some for the team in the second half but that doesn’t change the fact that the Texans are just not a very good football team right now.
Previous Ranking: 29
26. Denver Broncos (3-6)
The Broncos started out competitive (2-3 with close losses to the Titans and Steelers) but have since regressed noticeably. They’ve lost 3 of 4 and that lone victory required a TD pass on the final play of the game to beat the choking Chargers.
Previous Ranking: 20