It’s easy to pinpoint the handful of best and the handful of worst teams at the midpoint of this NFL season.
But the second tier? That’s a logjam highlighted by 10 teams with five wins apiece. Is the eighth-best team really any better than the 18th-best team? All four teams in the AFC North and all four in the AFC West are above .500.
Why so messy? Give credit to the Giants, Jaguars, Broncos and Falcons, who mucked up the picture with upset wins in Week 9.
Here are The Post’s power rankings for Week 10:
1. Tennessee Titans, 7-2 (4)
Derrick Henry’s injury was supposed to ruin the season. Instead the Titans’ often-discredited defense, led by three sacks from Jeffery Simmons, stymied the juggernaut Rams in a 28-16 win. The Titans managed only 194 yards of offense — Adrian Peterson scored in his first game as Henry’s replacement — but improved to 6-0 against last year’s playoff field.
2. Green Bay Packers, 7-2 (1)
Aaron Rodgers was forced to miss a game because he is unvaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19. The Packers lost to the Chiefs with Jordan Love under constant pressure in his first career start. In the long term, it’s a sign the Packers should get back on good terms with Rodgers for next year. In the short term, it might cost the Packers home-field advantage in the playoffs.
3. Arizona Cardinals, 8-1 (2)
No Kyler Murray, no DeAndre Hopkins, no A.J. Green, no problem for the Cardinals against the 49ers. James Conner scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) after Chase Edmonds also went out, and Colt McCoy showed why he is one of the NFL’s most valuable backup quarterbacks. Markus Golden’s three sacks keyed the defense.
4. Los Angeles Rams, 7-2 (3)
The Rams were penalized 12 times for 115 yards, including two roughing the passer calls on a game-sealing drive. Matthew Stafford looked nothing like an MVP favorite, taking five sacks and throwing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Von Miller (ankle) did not make his debut after a midweek trade from the Broncos.
5. Baltimore Ravens, 6-2 (9)
Justin Tucker’s 18th career game-winning field goal beat the Vikings, 34-31, and extended his streak to 53 consecutive makes in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Ravens have three wins after trailing by double digits during the second half. The stat of the game was first downs: Ravens 36, Vikings 13.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6-2 (8)
Twelve players were listed on the Buccaneers’ injury report in Week 8, so last week’s bye came at the right time for stars like Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Lavonte David, Jason Pierre-Paul, Richard Sherman and Ndaumkong Suh. Tom Brady’s old nemesis, the Giants, await on “Monday Night Football.”
7. Dallas Cowboys, 6-2 (5)
Dak Prescott returned from a calf injury but the Cowboys’ six-game winning streak went up in smoke. The Broncos built a stunning 30-0 lead and only two garbage-time touchdowns avoided the Cowboys’ worst home shutout loss since 1985. “We got thumped in every aspect of the game,” Prescott said. When do the NFC East matchups resume?
8. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-3 (11)
Just a couple weeks ago, it seemed certain the Steelers were the worst team in the AFC North. Since then, Cleveland and Cincinnati have reverted to their common 2000s form. The Steelers’ win over the Bears was their 20th straight playing at home on “Monday Night Football” — a streak dating to 1991 — and allowed Mike Tomlin to surpass Bill Cowher on the franchise victory list.
9. Buffalo Bills, 5-3 (6)
Huh? The 15-point favorite Bills laid an egg in a 9-6 loss to the Jaguars. Hard to explain this one, which wouldn’t have been so close if the Jaguars didn’t miss three third-quarter field goals. The Bills committed 12 penalties for 118 yards, and quarterback Josh Allen lost a fumble and took a devastating sack to end the final two drives.
10. New England Patriots, 5-4 (10)
Don’t look now, but the Patriots have won four of their last five games, and they played the Buccaneers and Cowboys tough in their most recent losses. Hunter Henry and Matthew Judon have been worth the big bucks in free agency, and Rhamondre Stevenson forms an improving rookie duo with Mac Jones.
11. Kansas City Chiefs, 5-4 (13)
12. New Orleans Saints, 5-3 (7)
13. Los Angeles Chargers, 5-3 (15)
14. Cleveland Browns, 5-4 (18)
15. Indianapolis Colts, 4-5 (16)
16. Las Vegas Raiders, 5-3 (10)
17. Denver Broncos, 5-4 (21)
18. Cincinnati Bengals, 5-4 (12)
19. Atlanta Falcons, 4-4 (24)
20. Seattle Seahawks, 3-5 (19)
21. Minnesota Vikings, 3-5 (20)
22. San Francisco 49ers, 3-5 (17)
23. New York Giants, 3-6 (27)
Make it three straight strong defensive performances on the heels of the back-to-back flops against the Cowboys and Rams. The Giants need to ride the defense because reaching 20 points often is a struggle and reaching 30 has happened just once in 25 games under Joe Judge. Only three of the remaining eight opponents have a winning record.
24. Chicago Bears, 3-6 (22)
25. Carolina Panthers, 4-5 (23)
26. Philadelphia Eagles, 3-6 (25)
27. Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-6 (29)
28. New York Jets, 2-6 (26)
The Jets wanted a head coach involved in all facets, but it would be nice if Robert Saleh used some of his defensive prowess. They were gashed for 260 yards on the ground by the Colts. Here’s the bigger concern for the Jets: Quarterbacks Mike White and Josh Johnson look competent running coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense, so why doesn’t Zach Wilson?
29. Washington Football Team, 2-6 (28)
30. Miami Dolphins, 2-7 (30)
31. Houston Texans, 1-8 (31)
31. Detroit Lions, 0-8 (32)
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