After defeating the Rams by 12 Sunday night, the Titans have proven they’re not here to mess around.
I think we need to tell it like it is with the Titans.
This is an extremely well-coached team with a great roster, even without star running back Derrick Henry. Tennessee is also coming off an impressive win over the talented Rams.
It’s time to be serious about this — the Titans are a Super Bowl contender, and because of their recent success, find themselves near the top of our latest 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
32. Detroit Lions ( → )
The Lions didn’t have the chance to improve their ranking in Week 9 due to their annual bye.
They’re 0-8 heading into Week 10 and are…you know…really bad.
31. Houston Texans ( → )
The Texans dropped their eighth straight game and are now 1-8 heading into their Week 10 bye.
This season has always been a lost cause for Houston — don’t expect much to change.
At least quarterback Tyrod Taylor is back.
30. Miami Dolphins ( ↓ 1 )
The Dolphins drop one spot for only defeating the Texans by one possession.
There was hope for Miami coming into this season, but nine weeks in, the Dolphins are just 2-7 and far from a playoff spot in the AFC.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars ( ↑ 1 )
The Jaguars won!
They somehow defeated the talented Bills by a score of 9-6 in what was essentially an unwatchable game.
But don’t get too excited — this is still a weak roster with a rookie quarterback. This victory won’t be one that somehow turns Jacksonville’s season around.
28. New York Jets ( ↓ 1 )
27. Chicago Bears ( ↓ 2 )
The Bears were so close to defeating Pittsburgh Monday night with Justin Fields throwing a go-ahead touchdown pass in the waning minutes of the game.
However, the Steelers eventually prevailed. Ben Roethlisberger led a game-winning drive that culminated with a 40-yard field goal from Chris Boswell with under a minute remaining.
26. Washington Football Team ( ↓ 2 )
Washington’s bye came in Week 9 but the Football Team move back two spots to make room for the Giants’ ascension in the rankings…
25. New York Giants ( ↑ 3 )
New York is just 1.5 games back of the final NFC Wild Card spot — can the team turn a corner at the right time?
24. Carolina Panthers ( ↓ 4 )
I think it’s time for us all to admit Sam Darnold is a bust.
I understand there was the argument the Jets organization ruined him and he needed a fresh start in Carolina.
But it’s time to stop the excuses. Draft busts exist — it’s okay to admit that.
The Panthers drop four spots following a rough 18-point loss to New England.
23. Philadelphia Eagles ( ↓ 1 )
The Eagles move back one spot following their three-point loss to the Chargers. They’re 3-6 but will look to get back on the right track against Denver this Sunday afternoon.
22. Atlanta Falcons ( ↑ 4 )
The Falcons are actually in possession of the final NFC Wild Card spot, which is absolutely wild in my opinion.
Regardless, I still don’t think this is a great team — Atlanta will need to remain consistent in order for me to dramatically increase its ranking.
21. Seattle Seahawks ( → )
The Seahawks don’t move from No. 21 following their Week 9 bye.
But Russell Wilson is returning, which is obviously fantastic news for Seattle fans. The 3-5 Seahawks will look to go on a run with their No. 1 signal-caller back on the field.
20. Denver Broncos ( ↑ 3 )
Is Denver getting back on the right track following two consecutive victories, the latest of which was against the talented Cowboys?
Thanks to the recent success, we elevate the Broncos’ ranking by three spots. Will they go on a run moving forward?
19. San Francisco 49ers ( ↓ 2 )
Oh look, Kyle Shanahan lost yet another game and the last-place Niners are now 3-5.
But of course, we won’t talk about his job security. He’s now 32-40 in the regular season as a head coach and just suffered a 31-17 defeat at the hands of a Colt McCoy-led Cardinals team, but we’ll just keep denying he’s on the hot seat.
18. Minnesota Vikings ( ↑ 1 )
The Vikings are not a reflection of their 3-5 record.
This team is competitive, can put points on the board, and can keep up with some of the league’s best.
The highly talented Ravens needed overtime to defeat Minnesota, which is why we move the Vikings up one spot in the rankings.
17. Indianapolis Colts ( ↑ 1 )
The Colts are playing good football and have won three of four games, with their only loss during that stretch being by just three points to the talented Titans.
Indy is 4-5, in second place of the AFC South division, and has the Jaguars on deck.
16. New Orleans Saints ( ↓ 2 )
The Saints suffered a two-point loss to the Falcons in Week 9 and are not in a great spot whatsoever. Jameis Winston is out for the year and, unless Sean Payton makes a call for someone like Cam Newton, Trevor Siemian may be the every-week starting quarterback moving forward.
Siemian isn’t exactly primed to be the savior, so the Saints may keep descending the standings and these power rankings.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers ( ↑ 1 )
The Steelers climb up the rankings after a win over the Bears but only do so by one spot because…well…it’s the Bears.
Nonetheless, if the season ended today, Pittsburgh would be in the AFC playoffs as a Wild Card ballclub.
14. Cleveland Browns ( ↑ 1 )
The Browns are right behind Pittsburgh in the AFC North standings, but I still believe they have a better roster than their division foe.
I trust Baker Mayfield over Ben Roethlisberger and the team may be on the right track following the release of Odell Beckham Jr. and Week 9 blowout win over Cincinnati.
13. Kansas City Chiefs ( → )
The Chiefs remain right where they are after only defeating Jordan Love — yes, Jordan Love — by six points.
Kansas City isn’t playing great football in 2021 but is now 5-4.
12. Cincinnati Bengals ( ↓ 3 )
Are the Bengals in a slump after a 5-2 start to the season?
They’ve now lost two straight (to the Jets and Browns) and find themselves out of our top 10 because of it.
11. Las Vegas Raiders ( ↓ 1 )
The Raiders exit the top 10 following a tough loss to the Giants.
Vegas’ talented offense failed to find any sort of consistency against a New York defense that has been strong in recent weeks. The Raiders dropped to 5-3 and are now in second place in the AFC West.
10. Los Angeles Chargers ( ↑ 2 )
The Chargers are back in the top 10 following a much-needed win over the Eagles this past Sunday.
Los Angeles dropped two straight (to the Ravens and Patriots) prior to this victory but is back to being the top team in the AFC West division.
Second-year quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for another score in the win.
9. New England Patriots ( ↑ 2 )
Are the Patriots going to eventually be in the playoffs?
If the season ended today, they would be a Wild Card squad in the AFC — do not doubt Bill Belichick, even if Tom Brady is down South.
New England is officially in the top 10 following a third straight win. The Patriots recently defeated the Panthers with ease after they beat the talented Chargers in Week 8 and the Jets by 41 points in Week 7.
Sure, the Jets are the Jets, but they beat them by 41. Teams in this league don’t win by that much.
The Pats are really starting to turn a corner.
8. Baltimore Ravens ( → )
The Ravens won their Week 9 matchup with the Vikings in overtime but remain right at No. 8 — I just don’t think Baltimore is as talented as the next team on our rankings (Dallas) and I would trust Dak Prescott over Lamar Jackson if either squad went up against one another.
7. Dallas Cowboys ( ↓ 4 )
The Cowboys drop four spots following a brutal loss to the inferior Broncos.
Denver defeated Dallas 30-16; the Cowboys allowed the Broncos to gain 407 total yards.
Dallas will look to get back on track against the Falcons this Sunday.
6. Green Bay Packers ( ↓ 2 )
The Packers need Aaron Rodgers back.
And I mean, like, really need him back.
Green Bay was not the same team with second-year quarterback Jordan Love under center against the Chiefs. The Packers’ Week 9 loss drops them two spots in the rankings.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( ↑ 1 )
The Buccaneers move up one spot following their Week 9 bye to make room for the Packers’ aforementioned drop-off.
Tampa Bay faces Washington on the road this Sunday.
4. Buffalo Bills ( ↓ 2 )
How did the Bills possibly lose to the Jaguars?
How did quarterback Josh Allen possibly play that bad?
The Bills officially move back to No. 4 following their worst loss of the year and second in three games.
3. Tennessee Titans ( ↑ 4 )
The Titans are one of the top teams in football. They’ve won five straight games, including ones over the Bills, Chiefs, Colts, and Rams.
Even without Derrick Henry, Tennessee put together an impressive performance on the road against Los Angeles Sunday night and is really establishing itself as a Super Bowl contender in the AFC.
2. Los Angeles Rams ( ↓ 1 )
The Rams move back one spot after losing to the Titans, but I still believe they’re superior to Tennessee.
If these squads faced one another again, I seriously feel as if the Rams would notch a crucial victory. I just trust Matthew Stafford more than I do Ryan Tannehill — I don’t know why you wouldn’t.
1. Arizona Cardinals ( ↑ 4 )
The Cardinals are back to No. 1.
Even without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona defeated the division-rival 49ers by two touchdowns.
This is a well-coached team and it was fascinating to see the Cardinals bounce back following a tough Week 8 loss to the Packers.
Expect the Cardinals to remain on top at least for the next week or so — they face the struggling Panthers in Week 10.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY