Top NFL Teams Heading Into Week 10
Which teams have the most hope for a playoff run
The NFL season is flying by. After concerns about whether or not there would even be a season this year, we find ourselves at the dawn of week 10. Some AFC teams are starting to solidify themselves as championship contenders. Meanwhile, the NFC is a week to week cycle of trying to gage which team is the favorite to win the conference. With that being said, let’s rank the top five teams of the season thus far.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I know it may seem odd to have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a top five team after the beatdown they endured at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. I however, am not going to overreact to one game. New Orleans may just be a bad matchup for Tampa. Even with the loss, the Buccaneers still have a 6–3 record. This is due to them being such a complete team. The Tampa Bay offense ranks ninth in points per game this season. It’s not just offense for the Bucs either, as their defense ranks in the top ten in points allowed per game (ninth-fewest), rushing yards allowed per game (fewest), and total yards allowed per game (fourth-fewest). The defense has also forced a league-high 16 turnovers this season. Tom Brady had his worst game of the season on Sunday, in large part due to the absence of guard Ali Marpet. Tampa’s offensive line has been a strength this year, as they’re ranked fifth by football outsiders. One bad game shouldn’t cause a panic for Brady (fourth-most touchdown passes this season) or the Buccaneers. They’re still well equipped for a deep playoff run.
4. Buffalo Bills
How about those 7–2 Buffalo Bills. The Bills currently have the third-most wins in the league, and don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. The biggest reason for Buffalo’s success this year is the leap from quarterback Josh Allen. Allen is currently completing 68.9% of his passes, up from his career high of 58.8% last season. The third-year quarterback also has the third-most passing yards, and his tied for the fifth-most passing touchdowns in the NFL. Allen has continued to be a threat on the ground as well, as he has 241 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Allen and the Bills have reaped the benefits of an offseason trade for Stefon Diggs. Diggs is currently the NFL’s leading receiver with 813 yards. The Bills defense hasn’t been the dominant unit is was last season (14th most points allowed per game compared to second-fewest in 2019). They however, have been opportunistic as they’re tied for the fourth-most takeaways this year. If the defense can start to perform more like last year’s, then Buffalo could cause even more problems moving forward.
3. Baltimore Ravens
There’s not the same hype surrounding the Baltimore Ravens as there was a year ago. While they may not be as dominant, these Ravens are still a very, very good team. Despite it not being all sunshine and rainbows for Baltimore, they still are averaging the eighth-most points per game, and the most rushing yards per game. The real MVP of Baltimore’s team however, has been the defense. Their defense currently ranks in the top ten in total yards allowed per game (eighth-fewest), passing yards allowed per game (tenth-fewest), rushing yards allowed per game (eighth-fewest), sacks per game (sixth-most), and points allowed per game (fewest). The Ravens are also tied for the fourth-most takeaways this season. The main reason there’s concerns around the team is their two losses. However, those two losses came against Kansas City and Pittsburgh, which is nothing to panic over. Not to mention Baltimore basically beat themselves against Pittsburgh. The Ravens held the ball for ten more minutes, and had 265 rushing yards against the Steelers. Baltimore had four turnovers though, allowing Pittsburgh to stay in the game and eventually win. While they may not be the same as last year, the Ravens are still an excellent team.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
The lone remaining unbeaten team checks in at number two on the list. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been outstanding this year. The rejuvenated offense with Ben Roethlisberger is currently averaging the fifth-most points per game. The dominant defense from last season has carried over into this one. The Steelers rank in the top ten in total yards allowed per game (sixth-fewest), passing yards allowed per game (fifth-fewest), rushing yards allowed per game (ninth-fewest), sacks per game (most), and points allowed per game (fifth-fewest). Pittsburgh is also tied for the second-most takeaways in the league. So why aren’t the Steelers number one on this list? Well even though they’re the last remaining undefeated team, many of the wins are against inferior opponents. Not to mention a good amount are only one possession victories. This season, Pittsburgh has defeated the Broncos by five points, the Texans by seven points, and the Cowboys by five points. Other Steeler victories include the Giants by ten points, and the Eagles by nine points. Now don’t get me wrong, Pittsburgh has proven themselves by defeating Cleveland, Tennessee, and Baltimore. They just aren’t better in my opinion than the number one team on this list.
- Kansas City Chiefs
Who else but the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. If the first half of the season is any indication, there’s a great chance the Chiefs repeat as Super Bowl champs. As a team, they’re as close to unstoppable as it gets. KC ranks in the top five in total yards per game (fourth-most), passing yards per game (second-most), and points per game (second-most). Patrick Mahomes has the offense clicking, and is playing at an MVP level. Mahomes currently has the second-most yards (2,687), and second-most touchdowns (25), while throwing a league-low one interception. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill rank third and twelfth in receiving yards respectively. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire has given the Chiefs are real rushing attack, as he has the fourth-most rushing yards in the NFL. Oh and the team only added Le’Veon Bell to help that. While Kansas City is known for their offense, their defense has also performed exceptionally well this season. They’re allowing the sixth-fewest points per game, while forcing 14 turnovers (tied for fourth-most). Besides a 40–32 loss to the Raiders, Kansas City has been almost perfect. The Chiefs aren’t going anywhere, which should terrify the rest of the league.