Week 11 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus biggest game left for each team

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The NFL Power Rankings by nature look at what teams have done thus far, but this week we're looking ahead. With six or seven games left on the schedule, there are some matchups that loom larger than others in deciding how the story of the 2019 season will be written.

Some of these matchups will determine playoff seeding (49ers-Saints looks particularly fun). Others will decide the 2020 NFL draft order (see the Dolphins/Bengals/New York duo royal rumble below). And still others involve fringe playoff contenders looking to stay alive. Our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings:10 |9 |8 |7 |6 |5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

1. New England Patriots (8-1)

Week 10 ranking: 2

Most important game left: Dec. 8 vs. Chiefs

A rematch of the AFC Championship Game, but this time at home, should be a playoff-type environment and provide a solid barometer as to how ready the Patriots (8-1) might be to make a return trip to the Super Bowl. Road games against the Eagles (Sunday) and Texans (Dec. 1) easily could have qualified, but Tom Brady-Patrick Mahomes has produced some of the best the NFL has had to offer within the last year. -- Mike Reiss

2. San Francisco 49ers (8-1)

Week 10 ranking: 1

Most important game left: Dec. 8 at Saints

The 49ers have put themselves in position not only to win the NFC West but also to nail down home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Niners also have a big one against Green Bay two weeks before this, but that one is at Levi's Stadium. The Saints game will go a long way in determining the Niners' playoff position and offer an idea of how they stack up against another top team in the conference. -- Nick Wagoner

3. Baltimore Ravens (7-2)

Week 10 ranking: 4

Most important game left:Sunday vs. Texans

A win over the Texans could prove huge for a Ravens team looking to secure a first-round bye for first time since 2011. Baltimore, which is one game ahead of Houston for that No. 2 seed, can extend its lead over the Texans and grab hold of the head-to-head tiebreaker. A loss would bump the Ravens out of that No. 2 spot with six games remaining and give the Texans the inside track to one of those first-round byes. -- Jamison Hensley

4. Seattle Seahawks (8-2)

Week 10 ranking: 6

Most important game left: Dec. 29 vs. 49ers

The Seahawks' remaining six games are against NFC teams, meaning they'll all carry added weight in terms of playoff importance. As it stands now, none looks more important than the regular-season finale. The Seahawks' next four games are against teams currently above .500, so they could be clinging to a wild-card spot heading into Week 17. It's hardly out of the question that the 49ers could slip during a difficult stretch of their own. If so, the rematch at CenturyLink Field could determine the NFC West champion. -- Brady Henderson

5. Green Bay Packers (8-2)

Week 10 ranking: 7

Most important game left: Dec. 23 at Vikings

Yes, the Nov. 24 game at the 49ers might help decide first-round playoff byes, but the Packers likely will be underdogs there, so the NFC North race might be more important if the Packers can't upset the 49ers. With the Vikings only a game behind, a sweep of Minnesota could be key to winning the division. -- Rob Demovsky

6. New Orleans Saints (7-2)

Week 10 ranking: 3

Most important game left: Nov. 24 vs. Panthers

Up until this past Sunday, I would've picked the Week 14 home date with the 49ers -- which still might determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the NFC. But the Saints need to take care of their own backyard first after their stunning loss to the Falcons. The Saints must lock down the NFC South title, and that means they can't open the door by slipping up again at home against another division rival in two weeks. It won't be easy with the way league MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey has been playing. But ideally, the Saints can get the division title wrapped up before heading to Carolina for the Week 17 rematch. -- Mike Triplett

7. Minnesota Vikings (7-3)

Week 10 ranking: 9

Most important game left: Dec. 2 at Seahawks

The Vikings took the first step to proving why they belong in the postseason by beating a contender in Dallas. If they want to cement themselves further in the playoff picture, they need to do it again by going to Seattle and coming away with a win. Playoff seeding comes into play between the seven-win Vikings and the Seahawks, who are currently seeded No. 6 and No. 5, respectively. A victory could boost Minnesota's postseason standing even further and earn it a more favorable matchup. -- Courtney Cronin

8. Houston Texans (6-3)

Week 10 ranking: 8

Most important game left:Sunday at Ravens

The Texans have a tough three-game stretch coming up (at Baltimore, vs. Indianapolis and vs. New England), but it begins with a huge game in Baltimore coming off of a bye. Yes, the game against the Colts is huge for the division, but if the Texans want to take a step forward, their focus can't be on just winning the AFC South. Houston has won only one playoff game under Bill O'Brien, and if it wants to go to an AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history, it starts with proving it can beat the best teams in the conference. -- Sarah Barshop

9. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

Week 10 ranking: 5

Most important game left: Dec. 1 vs. Raiders

The following game against the Patriots once loomed large, but after losing four of their past six games, the more reasonable goal for the Chiefs is to hold on to their lead in the AFC West. The match against the Raiders could well determine which team wins the division. -- Adam Teicher

10. Dallas Cowboys (5-4)

Week 10 ranking: 11

Most important game left: Dec. 22 at Eagles

This is likely going to be for the division title and a spot in the playoffs -- if the Cowboys can grab wins before they get there. The Cowboys' best and presumably only path to the postseason is by winning the NFC East. There simply are too many teams with better records at the moment to consider a wild-card spot. Philadelphia has a much easier schedule, so the Cowboys have to be in a position to make the Dec. 22 meeting matter. If this game ends up for the division, we truly can say Jason Garrett will be coaching for his job. -- Todd Archer

11. Los Angeles Rams (5-4)

Week 10 ranking: 10

Most important game left:Sunday vs. Bears

A season after a making a Super Bowl run, the Rams' season hangs in the balance coming off a loss to the Steelers. The Rams still have a chance to make the playoffs, but it is shrinking at an alarming rate with a 5-4 record while being in a division that has been dominated by the 49ers. The Rams must find a way to regroup on offense and get past the Bears; otherwise, their season could be lost. -- Lindsey Thiry

12. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)

Week 10 ranking: 14

Most important game left: Dec. 22 vs. Cowboys

The Eagles and Cowboys are tied atop the NFC East at 5-4, and there's a real possibility this game will decide the division. The Cowboys currently have the advantage in the head-to-head and divisional-record tiebreakers, making it all the more important that Philadelphia takes care of business at home against the Cowboys. -- Tim McManus

13. Buffalo Bills (6-3)

Week 10 ranking: 13

Most important game left: Dec. 15 at Steelers

The Steelers have been resurgent over the past few weeks, winning four of five games to vault into AFC wild-card contention. With the Colts, Raiders and Titans all jockeying with Buffalo and Pittsburgh for the conference's two wild-card spots, this late-season matchup will go a long way toward deciding who gets it -- and establishing a tiebreaker. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

14. Indianapolis Colts (5-4)

Week 10 ranking: 12

Most important game left: Nov. 21 at Texans

Losses to Pittsburgh and Miami in back-to-back weeks prevented the Colts from being able to head into Houston in first place in the AFC South. A victory over the Texans -- combined with a win over Jacksonville in Week 11 -- would put the Colts in a solid position in the division, because they would have swept the season series against Houston, which is likely their biggest competition to win the division and get an automatic playoff spot. -- Mike Wells

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)

Week 10 ranking: 17

Most important game left: Dec. 29 at Ravens

Seemingly out of the playoff race before it started with an abysmal start to the season, the Steelers are right back in the thick of things with four divisional games coming up. The most important one of them is the last, a regular-season finale in Baltimore against a team they nearly beat in overtime with Devlin Hodges at quarterback. If the Steelers continue their hot streak, it could wind up being for the AFC North title. -- Brooke Pryor

16. Carolina Panthers (5-4)

Week 10 ranking: 15

Most important game left: Nov. 24 at Saints

Three of the Panthers' next four games should be winnable, with two games against Atlanta and one against Washington surrounding the Saints game. With an upset of New Orleans and wins in the other three tilts, the Panthers would be 9-4 with two of their final three at home. It looks like it will take 10 or 11 wins to make the playoffs in the NFC, so Carolina will need to pull an upset somewhere. -- David Newton

17. Oakland Raiders (5-4)

Week 10 ranking: 16

Most important game left: Dec. 1 at Chiefs

If they handle their business over the next two weeks -- at home against the winless Bengals and at the 2-7 Jets -- the Raiders will go to Kansas City with a 7-4 record and first place in the AFC West on the line. Pretty heady stuff for a team that gave up 278 passing yards and four TDs to Patrick Mahomes in the second quarter of the Chiefs' 28-10 win in Oakland on Sept. 15, right? Especially since Arrowhead Stadium has been such a house of horrors for Raiders QB Derek Carr, who is 0-5 in Kansas City with three TD passes and five INTs. -- Paul Gutierrez

18. Tennessee Titans (5-5)

Week 10 ranking: 20

Most important game left: Dec. 1 at Colts

Having lost to the Colts at home, it will be imperative for the Titans to win in Indianapolis. They have to overcome some bad history against the Colts -- who have won 14 of the past 16 games in this series -- and stay on pace for a wild-card spot. If the tiebreakers come down to division or conference record, another loss to Indianapolis likely would knock the Titans out of the playoffs. The Texans appear to be the front-runners for the AFC South, and the Titans have two remaining games versus Houston in December. The race for the division is going to go down to the wire. -- Turron Davenport

19. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)

Week 10 ranking: 19

Most important game left: Nov. 18 vs. Chiefs

At 4-6, the most important game for the Chargers is the next one, a Monday Night Football tilt against the AFC West rival Chiefs. With Kansas City losing over the weekend against the Titans, the Chargers still sit two games back in the division with six left to play. So even though it has been up-and-down year for the Bolts, they could catapult themselves back into the playoff conversation with a win over the Chiefs. -- Eric D. Williams

20. Chicago Bears (4-5)

Week 10 ranking: 21

Most important game left:Sunday at Rams

Basically, the Bears have to win Sunday night to keep their dim playoff hopes alive. At 4-5, the Bears are 3.5 games behind Green Bay and 2.5 behind Minnesota in the NFC North. Chicago's best chance at qualifying for the postseason is probably a wild-card berth, but it's a crowded picture in the NFC. The Rams are one of the teams ahead of the Bears, but Los Angeles has lost four of its past six. Despite all of the Bears' struggles, the Rams game is winnable -- and vitally important to Chicago. -- Jeff Dickerson

21. Detroit Lions (3-5-1)

Week 10 ranking: 18

Most important game left:Sunday vs. Cowboys

It's cliché to say the next game is the most important because it's the next one, but based on what's happening with the Lions, it really is. Detroit has lost five of six games. Its defense doesn't appear to be improving, and its offense might or might not have Matthew Stafford. The Lions get the Cowboys at home, and if they can't beat Dallas, their season will be all but over considering the state of the NFC and that of the NFC North. -- Michael Rothstein

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5)

Week 10 ranking: 22

Most important game left:Sunday at Colts

That's the date of Nick Foles' return, and the Jaguars pretty much have to go 5-2 over the final seven games to have a realistic shot at the playoffs. Dropping the first one after the bye would leave the Jaguars two games below .500 and essentially eliminate any margin of error. The Colts have not played well over the past two games, and they are coming off a home loss to Miami, so the Jaguars could get the second part of their season rolling by beating a reeling team. -- Mike DiRocco

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)

Week 10 ranking: 25

Most important game left:Sunday vs. Saints

When you start 3-6, every game becomes must-win. Just ask the 1994 Patriots, 1995 Lions and 2012 Redskins, who all overcame 3-6 starts to finish 10-6 and reach the playoffs. The 1996 Jaguars also did it with one loss in their final eight games to finish 9-7. Granted, the mistakes the Bucs make don't warrant playoff conversation, but sometimes hope is the only thing keeping a struggling team running. This week's home game against the Saints -- which comes on the heels of the Bucs' first win in over a month -- could do wonders for the psyche of a young secondary that finally made a late stop. -- Jenna Laine

24. Arizona Cardinals (3-6-1)

Week 10 ranking: 23

Most important game left: Dec. 8 vs. Steelers

This is the Cardinals' next-best chance at getting another win. Arizona has been beating teams it should, and while the Steelers topped the Rams last week, Pittsburgh is playing with a backup quarterback. If the Cardinals can't win that contest, their next -- and possibly last -- chance to get a victory would come the week after against Cleveland. -- Josh Weinfuss

25. Cleveland Browns (3-6)

Week 10 ranking: 26

Most important game left:Thursday vs. Steelers

The Browns saved their season with a late, game-winning TD driveon Sunday. Now, they have a chance to generate momentum for the first time all year with a divisional rival coming to town. Beat the Steelers and all of a sudden Cleveland's playoff outlook begins to change, especially considering that the Browns own the NFL's easiest remaining schedule. -- Jake Trotter

26. Denver Broncos (3-6)

Week 10 ranking: 24

Most important game left: Dec. 15 at Chiefs

This is the game in which the Broncos definitively will know where their season stands. The Broncos will know how Brandon Allen looks in the offense; rookie Drew Lock will either be on the roster or remain on injured reserve; and Denver will either be flirting with .500 or looking at a top-five pick going into its fourth road game in five weeks. This is also a measuring stick after the 30-6 thrashing that the Chiefs gave the Broncos in October, along with considering the Broncos' traditional late-season woes in Arrowhead Stadium, where the Broncos are 2-14 all time in December visits. -- Jeff Legwold

27. Atlanta Falcons (2-7)

Week 10 ranking: 28

Most important game left: Nov. 28 vs. Saints

As bad as the Falcons' season has gone, things won't appear nearly as bad on paper if they can sweep their division rivals. The Falcons made it look easy in New Orleans and frustrated Drew Brees. They have to bring the same type of intensity on Thanksgiving night. -- Vaughn McClure

28. Miami Dolphins (2-7)

Week 10 ranking: 30

Most important game left: Dec. 22 vs. Bengals

The Dolphins are on a two-game winning streak and could play themselves out of what was setting up as the battle for the No. 1 pick. But as it stands, Cincinnati remains the biggest competition for Miami to land its choice of quarterback in the 2020 draft. The 0-9 Bengals have a two-game draft advantage over the Dolphins, but there could be a scenario going into Week 16 that the winner here gets the top pick. -- Cameron Wolfe

29. New York Jets (2-7)

Week 10 ranking: 31

Most important game left: Dec. 8 vs. Dolphins

File this one under "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice ..." The Jets can't afford to be fooled twice by the Dolphins, who beat them in Week 9. It was the low point for the Adam Gase regime. Fortunately for the Jets, they get a chance for payback -- at home. More than that, the Jets can use the game as a progress meter. If the team truly is making strides over the second half of the season -- the only thing to sell to an angry fan base -- it will take care of business. On a personal level, it would be embarrassing for Gase to go 0-2 against his former team. -- Rich Cimini

30. New York Giants (2-8)

Week 10 ranking: 27

Most important game left: Dec. 15 vs. Dolphins

If the Giants lose this one, watch out. Everyone is going to be gone. This would be the ultimate embarrassment for the Giants and co-owner John Mara. Hey, it might be mid-November, but this is what the Giants' season has become: trying to salvage some respectability; avoiding further embarrassment; and developingDaniel Jones. -- Jordan Raanan

31. Washington Redskins (1-8)

Week 10 ranking: 29

Most important game left:Sunday vs. Jets

When you're 1-8, there aren't a lot of significant games remaining, and this could just as easily be Dec. 22 versus the Giants. The Redskins have lost eight in a row at home and need to give their fans something to feel good about. If you can't beat poor teams, then it's difficult to sell belief that you're close to anything besides a massive rebuild. It's a chance for rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins to build some confidence. But if the Redskins lose these games, they will help themselves in April; don't be surprised if Redskins fans root for that to happen. -- John Keim

32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-9)

Week 10 ranking: 32

Most important game left: Dec. 22 at Dolphins

This one is a no-brainer. Right now, the Bengals are two games ahead of Miami in the race for the No. 1 pick. However, if the winless Bengals get a win over the Jets in Week 13, there could be a one-game difference between the Dolphins and Cincinnati ahead of the penultimate regular-season game. Even though Miami is on a two-game win streak, this one is still big. -- Ben Baby

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