Week 10 NFL power rankings: Cardinals reclaim top spot from Rams, Titans move into top 5
NFL power rankings entering Week 10 of 2021 season (previous rank in parentheses):
1. Cardinals (3): Are they unequivocally the league's top team? Hard to say, but it's not like anyone else has an airtight claim. What Arizona does have is the NFL's best record (8-1) and a proclivity for overcoming adversity, whether it's coach Kliff Kingsbury and others benched by COVID-19, or injuries sidelining QB Kyler Murray (ankle), WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), RB Chase Edmonds (ankle), and DE J.J. Watt (shoulder), who might still eventually return. And OLB Chandler Jones, who dealt with the virus himself, also appears back on track, registering his first sack since notching five in Week 1 to become the franchise's all-time leader (67). Yep, let's call the Cards the best. At least for now.
2. Buccaneers (4): What did they do after last season's bye? Simply went 8-0, including their Super Bowl 55 rout of Kansas City. So yeah ... look out, everyone.
3. Packers (2): Takeaways from the last week? AFC games are the least important on their schedule, at least in terms of tiebreakers. QB2 Jordan Love isn't ready to win NFL games. And Aaron Rodgers should say less about COVID-19. Otherwise, steady as she goes.
4. Titans (13): Minus RB Derrick Henry, they go into LA and KO the Rams (last week's No. 1 team in this space), solidifying themselves atop AFC standings. Oh, and any idea who owns easiest remaining schedule (.343 opponents winning percentage) in the league? You guessed it. These guys might just be OK.
5. Rams (1): Highly irregular performance Sunday night with 12 penalties, five sacks allowed and two ugly Matthew Stafford interceptions. Let's not overanalyze it ... unless y'all want to bring back Jared Goff?
6. Cowboys (5): Highly irregular performance Sunday with zero points through three quarters, a -2 turnover ratio, almost no run game to speak of, and QB Dak Prescott completing fewer than half his passes. Let's not overanalyze it ... unless y'all want to bring back Cooper Rush?
32 THINGS WE LEARNED:From Week 9 of 2021 NFL season, which had upsets galore
7. Ravens (7): Already the only quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 3,000 in the same season, Lamar Jackson is well on his way to a 1,000-4,000 campaign.
8. Bills (6): Shades of 2020 with the offense so heavily reliant on QB Josh Allen, which is especially concerning for a run game that's averaged 85.3 yards while Buffalo has gone 1-2 over its past three games. Yet also mystifying that Allen couldn't exploit a defense like Jacksonville's through the air.
9. Patriots (9): Elsewhere in the AFC East, New England has averaged 147 rushing yards during its three-game winning streak while enjoying a +5 turnover differential. The Pats obviously want that divisional throne back.
10. Chargers (10): You want to like them, but Bolts D allowing most rushing yards in NFL and league-worst 5.0 yards per carry makes it tough.
11. Chiefs (14): The good news? They notched franchise's 500th win by improving to 4-0 this season against NFC. The bad news? K.C. is 1-4 against the AFC, which will serve up seven of their final eight regular-season opponents.
12. Steelers (15): Their 19-game home winning streak on "Monday Night Football" is a record. They'll get a chance to extend it in Week 17 against Cleveland.
13. Browns (16): It had been 54 years since a team recorded a rushing, passing and defensive TD of at least 60 yards in the same game. Cleveland did it Sunday – and didn't need departing WR Odell Beckham Jr. to score any of them. Sometimes, less is more.
14. Saints (12): Given they're 1-2 at the Superdome, should be a plus New Orleans will play four of the next six ... away from New Orleans.
15. Raiders (11): In span of a week, they had to cut both their 2020 first-round picks, WR Henry Ruggs III and CB Damon Arnette, for reasons that had nothing to do with football. Have to wonder how much more this team can endure ... and how many more mistakes GM Mike Mayock can weather.
16. Bengals (8): Two weeks ago, they projected as AFC's No. 1 seed. Now they project as a non-playoff team. Massive game in Vegas on other side of bye.
17. Broncos (22): Though 5-4, Denver's rout of Dallas on Sunday was its first victory over a varsity opponent. A win over Eagles on Sunday would give Broncos sweep of NFC East.
18. Vikings (17): How good was Minnesota's defense Sunday? It gave up 500 yards, 36 first downs, was on the field for more than 46 minutes and had to make 89 tackles in the overtime loss to Baltimore. So basically, not good.
19. Seahawks (18): Despite QB Russell Wilson's three-game absence, they find themselves one game back for the NFC's final wild card with Wilson set to return Sunday. Nice work, Geno.
20. Colts (19): The last time they had at least 250 yards on the ground and through the air in same game was 1956, when the franchise was based in Baltimore. The last time they had a four-game streak of games with at least 30 points was 2010, when QB Peyton Manning was in charge. Now, time for this group to make its own history as it attempts to leapfrog five clubs to get back into the playoffs.
21. 49ers (20): TE George Kittle is fumbling? RT Mike McGlinchey is out for the year? They can't compete with a severely depleted Arizona squad? Put a fork in the Niners.
22. Eagles (23): The only team with a 3-6 record or worse that's outscored its opposition (by nine points) overall this season.
23. Falcons (27): The best thing about this team has to be QB Matt Ryan's kids, the "Ice Cubes." How else to explain why Atlanta (4-4) is presently a playoff team?
24. Giants (24): Nice to see S Xavier McKinney's emergence, including two INTs and a TD on Sunday, after a rookie season largely lost to injury in 2020.
25. Bears (21): They largely outplayed Pittsburgh on Monday night, QB Justin Fields finally striking downfield effectively. Shame about those dozen flags against Chicago, though.
26. Panthers (25): So after all the optimism surrounding QB Sam Darnold's fresh start and early season performance, he's now tied for the league lead with 11 INTs while sporting a career-worst 71.3 passer rating ... which is saying something.
27. Jaguars (29): The upset of the season in hand, what do they do for an encore given they won’t face another team with a winning record until December?
28. Washington (26): A loss to the Bucs on Sunday will drop the WFT to 2-7 – exactly where they were a year ago before sprinting to the NFC East crown. Just sayin' ... history.
29. Jets (28): Backup QBs Mike White and Josh Johnson have combined to throw eight TDs in 133 attempts. Four of rookie Zach Wilson's 181 throws have produced points.
30. Dolphins (30): How bad are they at running the ball and/or blocking for their backs? Myles Gaskin carried 20 times Sunday ... for 34 yards. Needless to say, Miami ranks last in the league rushing the ball.
31. Texans (31): QB Tyrod Taylor can be forgiven for being rusty, but throwing multiple (bad) INTs for just the second time in his career? Yikes.
32. Lions (32): It would have been more fun if they'd actually decided to claim OBJ.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.