NFL Power Rankings: Eagles On Top with Tough Stretch Ahead

Date: November 28, 2017

By: Dalton Allison

10. Jacksonville Jaguars- (Last week: 9)

jags

(Photo: Yahoo Sports)

The Jaguars were finally exposed for their weakness at the quarterback positon on Sunday. Usually their aggressive defense or tough run game can protect Blake Bortles, but against the Cardinals they were forced to rely on him. He ended up going 19/33 in the air, throwing for 160 yards and an interception. The duo of Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon were limited to just 35 rushing yards. Bortles was responsible for the team's two rushing touchdowns on the day. The defense, which is usually the stronger half of the team, only recorded one sack on the day. Barry Church had the largest impact on the day, recording nine tackles and an interception.

9. Tennessee Titans- (Last week: NR)

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(Photo: Tennessee Titans)

The team from Nashville possesses one of the more underrated defenses in the league. Their defensive line ate up the offensive line of the Indianapolis Colts, recording eight sacks, to go along with eight tackles for losses. Avery Williamson was a presence, recording nine tackles and a sack up front. On offense, Derrick Henry delivered a solid rushing game, finishing with 79 yards. Marcus Mariota had a touchdown pass, but at the cost of two interceptions. It will be interesting to see how their last game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will play out. After taking the first matchup, all eyes will be on the way Mariota leads his team, on the last game of the season.

8. Seattle Seahawks- (Last week: 8)

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(Photo: Seattle Seahawks)

Here is an idea: Russel Wilson should be considered as a dark horse candidate to win NFL MVP. A case can be made that Wilson is one of the only elite quarterbacks in the league without an elite wide receiver to be paired with. We have seen the Seahawks win not only closely contested, low-scoring affairs, but also come out on top of high action shootouts. Wilson is the unquestioned leader of this offense, and he is fun to watch. To further his dark horse candidacy, one must note that Wilson not only leads this team in passing yards and passing touchdowns, but also rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. This team is reliant on Wilson, and he does not let them down.

7. Carolina Panthers- (Last week: 7)

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(Photo: Carolina Panthers)

Most NFL teams are successful based on the play of their running back or their quarterback. Yes, Cam Newton is important to the success of the Panthers, but he isn't the most vital member. That spot would belong to Luke Keuchly, who once again was the force that pushed the Panthers to their mean win over the Jets. Keuchly was tied for the team lead in tackles, while also delivering a fumble return for a touchdown. This team was also triumphant in their special teams play, even having Kaelin Clay return a punt for a touchdown. Although it was against the deteriorating Jets, this type of victory is very encouraging for the Panthers.

6. New Orleans Saints- (Last week: 4)

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(Photo: Bleacher Report)

Even after their loss against the young, talented Rams team, the Saints are the most dangerous team in the NFC South. This team would not be who it would be without quarterback Drew Brees, but the key to the offense is the versatile Alvin Kamara. Officially listed as a running back, Kamara does more than fit the description of a utility back. He rushed five times for 87 yards, and added a touchdown to that total. Kamara did his real damage receiving the ball on Sunday however, registering 101 receiving yards and a touchdown through the air. His presence can sometimes hide when Mark Ingram has an off-day, much like he did on Sunday with 31 rushing yards on 11 carries.

5. Minnesota Vikings- (Last week: 6)

vikings

(Photo: USA Today)

On Thanksgiving, Case Keenum showed that he was thankful for all of his offensive weapons. Keenum threw two touchdowns to tight end Kyle Rudolph, but also completed passes to five other receivers. His biggest target was Adam Thielen, who caught eight passes for 89 yards. Keenum was also able to hand the ball off to Latavius Murray, who carried the ball for 84 yards and a touchdown. This diverse offensive attack, coupled with a strong defense, buried any hopes that the Lions had for winning the division by taking the win on Thanksgiving in Detroit. This Vikings team should have this division on lockdown.

4. L.A Rams- (Last week: 5)

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(Photo: Sports Illustrated)

Against an elite team filled with veterans, the Rams passed the test and proved that they truly belong in the conversation for best teams in the NFL. Jared Goff outplayed Drew Brees in their matchup, as he stepped up to the plate and delivered 354 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Cooper Kupp came through, catching 116 of those yards from Goff. Todd Gurley chipped in with 54 receiving yards and 74 yards on the ground in a balanced attack. Aaron Donald was his normal self against the Saints, providing five tackles and a sack. The Rams defense is a great mix of veterans and youth players, creating an exciting defense to watch on the field.

3. New England Patriots- (Last week: 3)

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(Photo: ESPN)

For the first time this season, a New England Patriots running back eclipsed 100 yards rushing in a game. Dion Lewis achieved this with 112 yards. This should do nothing but strike fear into opposing defenses. If defenses not only have to focus on Tom Brady, but also a dangerous running game, this offense should prove unbeatable. When the Dolphins were focused to pay attention to the running game, Tom Brady took advantage and threw for four touchdowns and 227 yards. Brandin Cooks, Brady's top receiver, recently stated that he thinks Brady has many good years ahead of him. At this point, only Tom Brady knows when he will be unable to play at Tom Brady levels.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers- (Last week: 2)

steelers

(Photo: USA Today)

It was a little concerning to see that the Steelers barely beat the Green Bay Packers on a last second field goal. However, it was even more concerning to see that they let Brett Hundley put up 245 yards and three touchdowns on them. The defense was shaky to say the least against the Packers. The offense and its main three players are too good to write off though, and that is why they came away with the victory. Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdowns and 351 yards. Le'Veon Bell rushed for 95 yards, and Antonio Brown caught two touchdowns to go along with 169 yards on ten receptions. Unless you can stop two of these three players, you can't stop this team.

1. Philadelphia Eagles- (Last week: 1)

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(Photo: Philly.com)

There was no doubt in anyone's mind at this point that the Eagles were going to come away victorious over the Chicago Bears. Is the strength of schedule hurting the Eagles though? Their last four victories, which have come over the 49ers, Broncos, Cowboys, and Bears, weren't exactly hard games to win. Have the Eagles truly been tested this season? Their hardest game was against the Panthers, a game they won by only five points. They will be tested these next two weeks, with away matchups against the Seahawks and Rams looming. If they win these next two games as handily as they did these past four games, then there will be no doubt that the Eagles are the most lethal team in the NFL.

 

Dalton Allison can be found on Twitter @DaltonAllison4 and can be reached by e-mail at dalton.allison@student.shu.edu.

Posted in: Sports, WSOU

 

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