Week 11 NFL Power Rankings – Are the New Orleans Saints Now the Team to Beat?
NFL power rankings are a funny thing. They tend to be grabby, or they’re predictable.
That can make them boring or volatile. It just depends who writes them, where their biases lie, how they view what’s happened, and what could still come to fruition.
I’ll lay it out there; I’m a Green Bay Packers fan. I always have been and always will be. But you’ll see in a hurry that there’s no bias here. I’m a realist, and I take the NFL for what it is and do my best to project it from there.
The NFL as a whole is trying to tell us the truth every single week. Sometimes it trips up and even tricks itself. Sometimes it just lies. At the end of the year, however, the very best team usually does prevail.
That’s why the team with the best system (New England) often gets to the league’s final game. It’s also why other historic franchises (Pittsburgh, Dallas, Green Bay, and others) have found consistent success as well.
But each season is different, and as much as we hate to admit it, each week in the NFL can be different.
I do prefer to write up my NFL power rankings based on feel for each specific football season, though. Just pushing them out there each week feels monotonous and forced.
Sometimes not enough has changed. Sometimes too much has changed. You need to give it a couple of weeks, maybe a few, maybe even an entire month. Sometimes, at least.
I haven’t pieced together an updated look at the 2018 NFL power rankings basically since before the regular season started, and I honestly think it’s for the best. Because I’m done being yanked around by the bad teams, I’m not being tricked by the pretenders, and I’m pretty sold on the truly great teams.
Agree or disagree, that’s where I’m at as we gear up for week 11. Here’s where all 32 NFL teams stack up and where their betting upside lies for the remainder of the year.
All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from SportsBetting.ag on 11/13/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.
1. New Orleans Saints (8-1)
The Saints have ascended to the top of the NFL mountain. They have balance, they’re explosive, and their defense has been rather sharp ever since a bad loss in week one.
The team as a whole is 8-0 since that happened, too, including their big week nine win over the previously undefeated Rams. They’re quickly looking like a lock to win the NFC South (-800 favorites at SportsBetting.ag) and still offer solid value (+450) as a Super Bowl threat.
That home win over the Rams two weeks ago was impressive, but now the Saints seem to be just trolling us. A massive 51-14 week 10 win over the Bengals only furthers their argument to be here.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
Next would be the Chiefs, who have been the most explosive team in football all year. They rank second in points per game and can kill defenses with a plethora of weapons.
Everyone keeps waiting for the wheels to fall off of second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but he seems to only be getting better.
The Chiefs could easily be undefeated right now, while their lone loss came by the hands of the Patriots in a 43-40 shootout.
Nobody can scoff at that, and it’s probably high time sports bettors start taking KC seriously. I wouldn’t say they’re a flat-out lock yet to claim the AFC West (-700), but they’re pretty close. They also offer pretty staggering value (+500) as Super Bowl contenders.
Up next is a showdown with the Rams, and as you can imagine, the winner of that game will slide into the #2 spot and perhaps even challenge for the 2018 NFL power rankings crown.
3. Los Angeles Rams (9-1)
For a while there, I was feeling the Rams, who were 7-0 before losing in New Orleans two weeks ago. They’ve certainly displayed more breaks in the bone than the Chiefs and Saints, but 9-1 is 9-1.
Seattle pushed this team hard twice, and both the Vikings and Packers also gave the Rams a scare. That being said, few are as good offensively, and the Rams absolutely have the players to be a force on defense at some point.
The latter hasn’t happened yet, so the Rams could be in trouble come week 11 against the Chiefs. For now, they are a given to take the NFC West and look like a fine Super Bowl favorite (+400).
Losing Cooper Kupp for the year to a torn ACL hurts this team, but it shouldn’t cripple them.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1)
Bettors always knew the Steelers had the talent to be one of the most dynamic offenses in football, but last Thursday, you could actually see it. Stomping a solid Panthers team with a 52-point drubbing was just mean.
The Le’Veon Bell situation is a big distraction, but the Steelers have held their heads high throughout, and it’s arguable it’s actually brought this team closer together.
Pittsburgh got off to a slow start, but the team has now ripped off five straight wins and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
More importantly, Pittsburgh is in sole possession of first place in the AFC North and look like absolute locks (-325 favorites) to secure the crown there. In fact, they are offering amazing value even at that price considering the Bengals and Ravens appear to be falling further and further away from contention.
Pittsburgh is also a viable title threat and may be one of the best Super Bowl value picks (+1000) on the board.
5. New England Patriots (7-3)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I’m actually not only reacting to New England getting spanked (34-10) in week 10 by the hands of the Titans. That was bad, but it wasn’t just the Pats’ third loss of the year; it was their third blowout loss.
That’s three different times New England looked completely overmatched and couldn’t get anything going. You need to note New England’s history and hot run up until this point, but Tom Brady has one touchdown in his last three games.
Has Brady hit the old man wall? Probably not, and truly, we’ll probably all be kicking ourselves when New England just trolls us all the way to yet another Super Bowl win. Their +700 price tag is clearly a steal right now, while their -2500 AFC East line is hilarious.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (7-2)
The Bolts are dangerously close to trumping the Pats and maybe even the Steelers. They’re 7-2 against their better judgment, seeing as they have routinely shot themselves in the foot over the years.
LA has found a way to avoid tripping themselves this year, and it’s pretty impressive that they’ve мейд it this far with Joey Bosa on the shelf. Just wait until he gets back.
For now, the Bolts are still a very good team that is balanced offensively and can do enough on the other side to keep teams at bay.
Is it enough to get past the Chiefs in the AFC West? I doubt it, but that +450 price tag to snag the division sure is alluring.
The more interesting play is a Philip Rivers Super Bowl run, which looks pretty inviting with +1200 odds. I don’t see this as the team at the top when it’s all said and done, but I’ve been wrong before.
7. Chicago Bears (6-3)
I mentioned the Bears as one of the few Super Bowl 53 sleepers to monitor going into the new season, and they’ve responded with a stellar 6-3 start.
Trading for Khalil Mack was the start of something special, while offensive guru Matt Nagy has somehow turned Mitchell Trubisky into a difference-maker in just half of a year on the job.
The Bears still aren’t a total lock to win the NFC North (+125), but they’re growing a compelling case to be vouched for as a title threat (+2000).
8. Carolina Panthers (6-3)
For a second there, Carolina looked like a top-five team. Cam Newton is suddenly accurate and as dangerous as ever on the ground, Christian McCaffrey is enjoying a breakout year, and Carolina’s defense does just enough.
Then the Panthers got housed in Pittsburgh, giving up a 50-burger to the Steelers.
There’s no shame in losing that game or giving up some production to an offense that nasty, but teams typically don’t get slammed that hard and go on to win titles.
Carolina is a good team, but looking back at their 2018 schedule, it’s quickly becoming less impressive the deeper into it you go. That being said, they’re still in the mix for a title run (+3300) and still have a slight shot at storming the castle in the NFC South (+500).
9. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)
Minnesota has the dynamic offense and stingy defense you look for out of a title threat. They’ve just been remarkably inconsistent and have some really bad losses on their ledger.
The Vikings are hot at the moment, though, as they’ve won four of their last five games and have a massive week 11 showdown with the Bears.
That game may very well хэнд you the NFC North division winner, and at +125, Minnesota is a pretty solid play at the moment.
I won’t count the Vikes out of the Super Bowl 53 running just yet, and their balance across the board makes them an arguable steal at +2000. I just don’t trust Kirk Cousins when it all really matters, is all.
10. Houston Texans (6-3)
If history wasn’t so against the Texans (teams that start 0-3 don’t tend to win Super Bowls or even make the playoffs), I’d be more excited about Houston.
It’s hard to allow history to control your thoughts here, regardless, as the Texans have ripped off six straight wins and are in the driver’s seat to win the AFC South. The Titans and Colts may have something to say about that before the year is up, but their -175 price tag is fairly telling.
Deshaun Watson is a gamer, but it’s worth wondering how many more injuries this roster can withstand. That’s what derailed them last year, after all. Still, for the moment, they’re a top-10 team and a fun Super Bowl sleeper (+2500).
11. Tennessee Titans (5-4)
Gearing up to knock on Houston’s door are the Titans, who looked dead in the water before two big wins over the last two weeks. Going into Dallas and dominating was one thing, but then Mike Vrabel’s crew completely dismantled the Patriots.
That certainly is not nothing, and Tennessee’s top-ranked defense needs to be taken seriously.
The Texans offer way more upside, and the Colts aren’t looking like pushovers, either, but Tennessee (+275) is looking very interesting in the AFC South these days.
I do not fully trust Marcus Mariota and a pretty middling Titans offense, but this team did make the playoffs last year and appears to be progressing.
They’re a squad to watch, and their next opportunity to soar up these NFL power rankings arrives with a week 11 tilt with the Colts in Indianapolis.
12. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
Usually, sports bettors don’t waste their time with a team that started the year off at 1-5, but I think we need to pay attention to the Colts.
For one, the majority of those five losses were all of the brutal. Brutal, as in really close games that simply broke the wrong way for a team that has only looked healthy for about four games now.
Andrew Luck deserved the ability to start off slowly after being out of football for an entire season, too. He’s only been heating up ever since, though, and with three wins in a row, the Colts are looking like a sneaky play (+500) to win the AFC South.
That may be Indy’s only realistic avenue to the AFC playoffs, so I’m still not too excited about their title odds (+5000).
However, if the Colts sneak in, they are not going to be a team anyone wants to face. That may get bettors to give them a long, hard look.
13. Washington Redskins (6-3)
Welcome to the fraudulent zone. Pretty much from the 13th spot on, bettors either aren’t sure what to make of teams, or they’re afraid to admit what they’ve already seen.
Washington just gave up 500+ total yards in week 10 and still somehow won. They’ve also gotten completely destroyed twice this year, yet are 6-3 and are safely atop the NFC East.
Are they good? Are they lucky? Nobody really knows. I do trust that Alex Smith remains a very steady game-manager, and Adrian Peterson is going to push as hard as he can for as long as his legs hold up.
I’m not completely sold that equates to anything more than a 10-6 run and the NFC East title before this team immediately bows out in the playoffs. Still, if they can secure the NFC East at their -125 price tag, there’s a little money to be мейд there.
14. Green Bay Packers (4-4-1)
Green Bay saved their season with a pretty convincing home win over the Dolphins in week 10. They even played the Rams and Patriots very well in tough road environments in the two weeks prior.
Aaron Rodgers has been what мейд this offense go in the past, but he’s been hurt/not as good as usual for much of 2018. He’s still been plenty fine, and Green Bay finally bought into Aaron Jones being an asset on the ground last week.
Unfortunately, the Packers do not have a good defense and have been incapable of winning (0-4) on the road. Something tells me they could be in trouble in Seattle on a short week.
All that said, betting against A-Rod is usually a losing endeavor. The Packers aren’t the Super Bowl 53 locks everyone wanted them to be (+4000), but they still offer solid value in the NFC North (+400).
15. Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
The Falcons have all of the offense anyone needs to win games, but they’ve been blown out twice this year and simply don’t have a good enough defense to survive mistakes.
Matt Ryan leads a very potent offense, but Atlanta dug themselves quite the hole early, and a week 10 loss to the Browns probably cements their season.
Atlanta still has a path to the wild card, but they probably can’t lose many more games.
This team is not going to win the NFC South (+3300), but they’re not the worst flier bet (+8000) when it comes to their Super Bowl odds just because of how explosive they can be.
16. Seattle Seahawks (4-5)
The Seahawks have rebounded since an 0-2 start, and two of their last three losses have come in tight games against a good Rams team.
Translation: Seattle is a little bit better than they appear to be at 4-5.
There is no chance of a revival in the NFC West at this point, but the Seahawks still hold a little value (+8000) as unlikely title threats.
Their validity in that department must start this week with a big home win over the Green Bay Packers, but knowing their inconsistent nature, even that is far from a lock.
The good news is that the Seahawks do have the ability to run the ball, they have a decent defense, and Russell Wilson always gives them a chance. They’re down but not quite out just yet.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
Perhaps I’m giving the Eagles a longer leash than some, largely due to the immense talent they have as well as the fact that they won Super Bowl 52.
That might be true, but Philly absolutely has the coaching and talent to still get hot and turn their season around.
The NFC East remains pretty wide open behind the Washington Redskins, and due to their upside, I can’t write the Eagles off as a fun bet (+225) inside the division.
I’m not too excited about betting on Philadelphia (+3300) making another title run, though.
Their running game has evaporated, and they’re banged up on defense. If they do crack the playoffs, their stay there will probably be short-lived.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
This is probably the lowest you’ll ever see me hang a 5-4 team. Initially, I really liked the Bengals this year, but they have been a little erratic offensively and completely abhorrent on the defensive side.
Cincinnati can still make things happen when things click offensively, but an injury to A.J. Green has them about ready to go off the tracks. They also can’t stop anyone, which puts the Bengals inches from an implosion.
The Bengals are mathematically still very much in the conversation for the AFC North (+450), but they have not looked great recently. Betting on them to run the table even if they did back their way into the playoffs (+6600) is a good way to make someone laugh.
19. Dallas Cowboys (4-5)
I am not a big believer in Dak Prescott, who clearly needs everything to go right for the Cowboys to even compete in most games. The good news is that Ezekiel Elliott is a monster, and the Cowboys also have a very solid defense.
That can all mask Prescott for a little while longer, but Dallas remains a long shot to make the playoffs this year.
The NFC East is not an impossible task (+350), and Dallas does offer value there, but that’s the only realistic bet involving them you should be considering.
Dallas is in very real danger of dropping a lot further in a hurry. A loss in Atlanta in week 11 would expedite that notion.
20. Miami Dolphins (5-5)
The Dolphins are pretty fortunate they got off to a hot 3-0 start this year. Without it, they’d be several spots lower.
Miami has competed in a lot of games, and having five wins through 10 games isn’t nothing, but they’re simply mediocre.
This team can run the football a bit, and they have a respectable no-name defense, but they seem to be falling apart with a 2-3 record over their last five contests. They aren’t a legit threat to the Patriots in the AFC East (+1200), but they’re the only pivot play left in that division.
I’d like to hold out hope for something magical in Miami, but the Dolphins going anywhere with Brock Osweiler leading the charge is an impossibility.
Their +15000 Super Bowl 53 odds are pretty staggering for a team at 5-5, but it’s fool’s gold.
21. Cleveland Browns (3-6-1)
The Browns are slightly better than their record shows, as they’ve been in a lot of games and arguably should have at least two more wins.
Baker Mayfield has given this offense serious life, and it seems Nick Chubb gives them the balanced attack they’ve been lacking for years. The defense is talented, too, but it’s fair to say it’s not quite there yet.
That can all be put aside for at least one week, as a big home win over the Falcons is something to celebrate. The future is bright for Cleveland, but I’m not wasting time on them in the AFC North (+5000) or as a Super Bowl flier (+15000).
22. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
The Ravens lost to the Browns, Bengals, and Steelers, so despite a 4-5 record that shows they still have life, they’re probably toast in the AFC North. Add a Joe Flacco hip injury to the table, and Baltimore is likely done.
They’re still mathematically alive, though, so bettors can certainly consider backing them (+600) in the division, and they aren’t utterly hopeless (+5000) as Super Bowl flier bets.
I mean, they totally are, but this is sports betting. Sometimes you just need to take a chance.
That’s what the Ravens should do by handing over the keys to their offense to rookie passer Lamar Jackson. The Louisville product is raw and inexperienced, but he could inject some fresh life into a paltry offense.
Baltimore is in trouble regardless, so they might as well see what they have in the rookie during the second half of the year. If he’s as good as some people think he is, the move could be just what Baltimore needs.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)
The Jags have experienced a free fall, as they were one good quarter away from competing for a championship last year, and now they’re probably one more loss away from missing the playoffs.
It’d be easy to blame everything on the ineffective Blake Bortles, but the reality is that Leonard Fournette has missed a ton of time this year, and Jacksonville’s once-lauded defense has not been remotely elite.
The Jaguars are down, but even at 3-6, they’re not completely out. Their +2500 AFC South odds are at least a little interesting, even if their +10000 Super Bowl odds suggest this is already a lost season.
24. Detroit Lions (3-6)
The Lions have been a very inconsistent team under rookie head coach Matt Patricia. Their defense has been dangerous in spurts, but the offense has largely been inefficient for much of the year.
It’s never going to be easy to fully count out Matthew Stafford, but the Lions are clearly trending in the wrong direction.
A date with the Panthers in week 11 likely sends the Lions to 3-7 and has them looking at a lost season.
Detroit was never winning Super Bowl 53, and talk of a rise up the ladder in the NFC North (+5000) should be non-existent at this point.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)
Ryan Fitzpatrick was as fraudulent as everyone expected, but the Buccaneers have at least been pretty fun to watch at times in 2018. This team is otherwise a complete mess.
Not only do the Bucs struggle to run or defend, but they don’t know if they have their franchise passer on their roster. Head coach Dirk Koetter is surely on his last legs with this team, too.
Tampa Bay isn’t completely out of the NFC wild card picture, but they’re not winning the NFC South, and nobody should be betting on a “super” run.
26. Denver Broncos (3-6)
John Elway has failed the Broncos. He basically has struggled to land a franchise quarterback since the erosion of the great Peyton Manning, and even his defense hasn’t remained elite over the last two years.
Despite a nice 2-0 start, the Broncos have cratered in recent weeks and are headed toward a full-blown implosion.
Bettors can look to them to beat the spread in the right matchup, but you can safely count Denver out of any playoff betting conversations.
27. Buffalo Bills (3-7)
Buffalo shocked with a huge blowout win over the Jets in week 10, showing us once again that they have the core of a good defense, and they can run the ball when they put their minds to it.
Matt Barkley was a big reason for their success, and that’s just baffling. Eventually, the team will turn back to raw rookie Josh Allen, though, and it’ll largely be downhill from there.
Buffalo’s future isn’t quite as murky as it appears to be, but their 2018 upside is very limited. They aren’t going anywhere and will routinely be a team to bet against.
28. New York Jets (3-7)
I thought the Jets were better than that, but I guess not. Sam Darnold being hurt hasn’t helped, but even when he’s been on the field, he’s been a turnover machine.
New York just has nothing going offensively, and a leaky defense hasn’t helped matters.
Todd Bowles was once regarded as a rising assistant, but in the last few years, he’s simply looked to be in over his head.
The Jets have eroded under his watch and are going nowhere in a hurry. That big blowout win over the Lions in week one is now a very distant memory.
29. Arizona Cardinals (2-7)
Arizona put up a valiant effort in KC in week 10, and they’ve looked way better on offense ever since promoting Byron Leftwich. I still wouldn’t classify them as “good,” though, and they are what their record says.
This team has two wins over the 49ers, and that probably tells you all you need to know. They still have a solid foundation on both ends of the ball but probably need to make a coaching change before next year.
The NFC West is out of the question, and I don’t see some amazing turnaround for the playoffs in Arizona’s immediate future, either.
30. New York Giants (2-7)
Few people make pedestrian football as painful as Eli Manning, but give credit where credit is due; he tossed three touchdowns and led New York out of a 20-10 hole to get a big road win this past week.
The G-Men are still awful, but the NFC East is not locked up, and we’ve seen them go on hot runs in the past.
I don’t think they have the tools to make it happen, but at least for the moment, they’re better than the 49ers and Raiders.
31. San Francisco 49ers (2-8)
There are those 49ers I was just talking about. San Francisco can’t be above Arizona after getting swept by their division rivals, but they’re really not that far away from being a respectable team – if not a contender.
Kyle Shanahan knows how to dial things up offensively, and next year when Jimmy G returns, the Niners may end up being a tough out.
Their 2018 season is clearly a lost cause, however. A loss to the Giants of all teams sends them closer to dead last in my NFL power rankings.
32. Oakland Raiders (1-8)
Jon Gruden’s grinders are dead last in his first season back in the NFL. They were at least competitive early in the year, but they’ve eroded horribly thanks to injuries and trades.
Gruden may be overseeing a drastic rebuilding process, but he’s мейд grave mistakes every step of the way. It’s possible he and Mark Davis laugh about this in 2-3 years, but right now, things couldn’t be a whole lot worse.
If the refs hadn’t gifted Oakland a 45-42 win over Cleveland early in the year, they’d be in serious contention to go 0-16.
The most complete team in football right now appears to be the New Orleans Saints. Everyone knows how dangerous they are offensively, but they also boast the league’s #1 run defense.
Running the ball, striking defenses over the top, and denying the run are signals of a winning team that just might be able to go on a title run.
Let’s not forget, either, that this team was one magical play against them from reaching last year’s NFC title game.
New Orleans feels like a team on a mission, and right now, I think they are the best overall bet to get to and win the Super Bowl.
That being said, they’re far from alone. The Rams are their biggest threat in the NFC, and you can’t completely rule out the likes of the Bears, Vikings, Redskins, and Panthers.
On the other side, you’ll always have New England, while the Steelers, Chargers, and Chiefs all look like viable Super Bowl 53 bets.
The Saints lead the way for now, but there are still seven weeks of football left in the 2018 NFL regular season. Check in next time to see if New Orleans still has the top spot and where the other 31 teams end up stacking up.
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