NFL Power Rankings Week 11


As the NFL Power Rankings dive into the second half of the season, we decided to be gluttons for punishment and play the “What if?” game. We asked every NFL Nation reporter one thing that the teams they cover have done in 2020 that they wish they could take back. From clumsy in-game decisions (like the Falcons’ onside kick coverage) to offseason personnel decisions that didn’t work out (cough, DeAndre Hopkins, cough) to potential moves that were never executed, we reminisce about mistakes that were made.

How we rank in our Power Rankings: 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

Jump to:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

end rule

pit

Week 10 ranking: 1sw ye 40

What would they take back: Cutting Jordan Berry

When your team is 9-0, it’s hard to want to take back anything. That leaves us with the punter situation. Searching for more consistent distance, the Steelers cut Berry and signed veteran Dustin Colquitt just before the season. But that experiment didn’t last long when the Super Bowl champ averaged 43.1 yards per punt — lower than Berry’s 45.5 average in 2019. The Steelers cut Colquitt after five games and brought Berry back. Since the switch, Berry has averaged 47.4 yards per punt. The punter switch obviously didn’t cost the Steelers any games, but it made some more stressful than they needed to be. — Brooke Pryor


kc

Week 10 ranking: 2sw ye 40

What would they take back: Not handling the Raiders’ passing game in Week 5

Between an ineffective pass rush and unfavorable matchups against wide receivers down the field, the Chiefs didn’t have much of a defensive game plan against the Raiders when the teams played in October. The results were four Las Vegas pass plays of at least 40 yards, 40 Raiders points and the only Chiefs loss of the season. The Chiefs will demonstrate how well they learned their lessons on Sunday, when the teams get together again, this time in Nevada. — Adam Teicher


gb

Week 10 ranking: 4gn arrow

What would they take back: Drafting Jordan Love in the first round

One of general manager Brian Gutekunst’s tasks is to find the quarterback of the future, but with the way Aaron Rodgers has played this season, that future could be a long way off. To be sure, Gutekunst couldn’t have known Rodgers would return to his MVP level; but in hindsight, the GM might have been better off by trading up to take, say, linebacker Patrick Queen or a wide receiver instead of moving up to pick a quarterback. Now, even if Rodgers continues to play at this level, the Packers are going to have to turn to Love to find out whether he can play, perhaps moving on from Rodgers too soon. — Rob Demovsky

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0:57

Ryan Clark weighs in on who the Saints should start at quarterback with Drew Brees sidelined with fractured ribs and a collapsed lung,

no

Week 10 ranking: 5gn arrow

What would they take back: Their coverage on Allen Lazard in Week 3

I’m getting specific here since it’s hard to argue with much of the Saints’ offseason personnel decisions. (They were hoping first-round pick Cesar Ruiz would develop faster at right guard, but that position was still a big need.) So I’ll let their defense hit the reset button on a Week 3 loss to Green Bay that could wind up having major playoff seeding implications. The Saints’ secondary got off to a slow start this season with some inexplicable coverage busts — including two deep passes of 72 and 48 yards they gave up to Lazard. They would love a do-over after cleaning up those issues in recent weeks. — Mike Triplett


bal

Week 10 ranking: 3rd arrow

What would they take back: Not adding a proven No. 1 wide receiver

The Ravens needed to help out Lamar Jackson this offseason, as Arizona and Buffalo did with their young quarterbacks. The Cardinals got DeAndre Hopkins for Kyler Murray, and the Bills acquired Stefon Diggs for Josh Allen. The biggest veteran addition at wide receiver for Baltimore was Dez Bryant, who hadn’t played in three years. Jackson ranks 24th in passing yards (1,762) and 26th in completion rate (64%). — Jamison Hensley

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2:39

Ryan Clark and Stephen A. Smith debate whether Tom Brady’s offense or the Buccaneers’ defense has the bigger impact on Tampa Bay’s success.

tb

Week 10 ranking: 8gn arrow

What would they take back: Inserting Joe Haeg into the lineup instead of A.Q. Shipley in Week 9

Nothing went right in that Saints game, but it all has to go through Tom Brady, and he couldn’t go through his progressions properly when pressured on over 46% of his dropbacks — the most he has faced since 2016. Having Shipley step into center and moving Ryan Jensen to left guard in Week 10 against the Panthers provided much better results in the absence of Ali Marpet, although the Panthers have a weaker rush. The Bucs got swept by the Saints, which could ultimately determine the NFC South champion. — Jenna Laine


buf

Week 10 ranking: 6rd arrow

What would they take back: DeAndre Hopkins‘ game-winning Hail Mary catch

There’s not much you can do when arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL makes a play worthy of that title, but the Bills would love a redo on Hopkins’ 43-yard Hail Mary grab in triple coverage at the end of their Week 10 loss. If Buffalo’s pass rush could have contained Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray better, perhaps he never would have scrambled out of the pocket long enough to find Hopkins downfield. And if the Bills’ three defenders timed their jumps better, perhaps Hopkins would have never made the catch. We’re nitpicking what-if scenarios, but that’s the name of this exercise, right? — Marcel Louis-Jacques


ari

Week 10 ranking: 10gn arrow

What would they take back: Any of Kyler Murray‘s three interceptions against the Lions in Week 3

All three happened in Detroit territory. Combined, they led to 10 Lions points, as Arizona lost its first game of the season on a last-second field goal to a team it should have defeated. Had the Cardinals won that game, they’d be in sole possession of first place in the NFC West instead of the three-way tie in which they currently reside. — Josh Weinfuss

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1:46

Stephen A. Smith breaks down why the Rams may be the team to beat coming out of the NFC West.

lar

Week 10 ranking: 11gn arrow

What would they take back: Picking Samuel Sloman to be their kicker

The Rams went into 2020 needing a new kicker after Greg Zuerlein signed with the Cowboys. They held a competition that included CFL kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, former XFL kicker Austin MacGinnis and Sloman, a seventh-round pick. Hajrullahu and MacGinnis appeared to lead the contest most of the way, but the Rams opted to keep Sloman. Fast-forward and Sloman was waived after Week 7 because of inconsistencies and the Rams signed veteran Kai Forbath, who hasn’t performed much better. In two games, Forbath has converted 2 of 3 field goal attempts, and he is 4-of-5 on PATs. The Rams must stabilize their kicking situation if they plan to make a playoff run. — Lindsey Thiry


sea

Week 10 ranking: 7rd arrow

What would they take back: Paying Greg Olsen $7 million

It was a perfectly logical move to add a Pro Bowl tight end to an offense that was going to be leaning more on Russell Wilson and its passing game. And it’s not as though Olsen has been a complete bust. But the Seahawks haven’t gotten enough bang (21 catches, 204 yards, one touchdown) for the $7 million they’re paying Olsen on his one-year deal. Now that we know their defense has been setting or threatening records for futility, that money would have been better spent on someone who could bolster a pass rush that was a big question mark heading into the season. — Brady Henderson


ind

Week 10 ranking: 12gn arrow

What would they take back: CB Xavier Rhodes caught peeking in Week 1

There are currently nine teams, including the Colts, with at least a 6-3 record in the AFC. Rhodes and the Colts might regret their Week 1 loss at woeful Jacksonville if they miss the playoffs or don’t earn a playoff home game. About the only bad thing Rhodes — who the Colts signed to a one-year contract — has done this season is get caught peeking in the backfield on the Jaguars’ go-ahead touchdown to Keelan Cole, as Rhodes was at least 10 yards behind Cole when the wideout caught it. — Mike Wells


ten

Week 10 ranking: 9rd arrow

What would they take back: Signing Vic Beasley Jr. as a free agent

The Titans thought they were adding pass-rushing help when they signed Beasley, who posted eight sacks with the Falcons in 2019. Despite questions about Beasley’s work ethic, the Titans assumed their blue-collar locker room and a clean slate would allow Beasley to thrive. Their $9.5 million investment didn’t pay off. Beasley got off to a terrible start by reporting to training camp 10 days late for unexcused reasons. The Titans released Beasley after only five games. Beasley played only 19% of the defensive snaps, finishing with three tackles and zero sacks. — Turron Davenport


mia

Week 10 ranking: 14gn arrow

What would they take back: Signing Jordan Howard

The Dolphins attempted a temporary fix at running back with Howard and Matt Breida instead of taking multiple chances to add a long-term running back in the 2020 draft. Taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire or D’Andre Swift late in Round 1 or Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins or Antonio Gibson in Round 2 with one of their five selections in those rounds seemed like a better move. Howard, inked to a two-year, $9.75 million deal in March and waived Monday, had 28 carries for 33 yards and was a healthy scratch for four games. The good news is Miami gets another crack at correcting this in the 2021 draft. — Cameron Wolfe


oak

Week 10 ranking: 13rd arrow

What would they take back: Drafting Lynn Bowden Jr. in Round 3

Taking the most versatile player in the draft at No. 80 overall seemed a stroke of genius at the time. But Bowden never played a snap with the Raiders after they traded him and a conditional sixth-round pick to the Dolphins for a fourth-round pick after training camp. GM Mike Mayock insisted it was purely a football decision, as the Raiders were trying to convert the WR/QB/KR into an NFL running back. It turned out to be a wasted pick in a third round in which the Raiders are currently 0-for-3. Bowden is gone, WR Bryan Edwards has been injured and LB Tanner Muse is on IR. — Paul Gutierrez


cle

Week 10 ranking: 16gn arrow

What would they take back: Not adding another pass-rusher

It’s hard to fault the Browns for their mess at safety, considering second-round pick Grant Delpit was lost for the season with an Achilles injury in training camp. But given its ample cap space, Cleveland could’ve been more aggressive finding help for Myles Garrett, who is third in the league in pass rush win rate (no other Cleveland player is in the top 35). Whether it was being more aggressive in signing Jadeveon Clowney or Everson Griffen or trading for Yannick Ngakoue, the Browns probably could’ve done more to boost a defense that ranks just 24th in efficiency, even with Garrett. — Jake Trotter


chi

Week 10 ranking: 15rd arrow

What would they take back: Signing Robert Quinn

The Bears spent lavishly on the veteran defensive end to the tune of $30 million guaranteed. Quinn has one sack in nine games. To make room for Quinn, the Bears released former first-round pick Leonard Floyd in the offseason. Floyd, who now plays for the Rams, recorded three sacks versus the Seahawks in Week 10, giving him seven sacks in nine games for Los Angeles. Talk about your all-time backfires. — Jeff Dickerson


sf

Week 10 ranking: 17sw ye 40

What would they take back: Trading DeForest Buckner

The logic behind trading Buckner to the Colts was sound: He was about to land a massive contract extension; the Niners needed to re-sign key players such as Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward; and San Francisco was able to use the pick acquired for Buckner to land a cost-effective replacement in Javon Kinlaw. But in this injury-ravaged season, the 49ers miss Buckner’s unique combination of durability, productivity and leadership even more than they could have known at the time of the deal. — Nick Wagoner


ne

Week 10 ranking: 21sw ye 40

What would they take back: Cam Newton‘s fumble at Buffalo

If the ball was in the quarterback’s left hand or simply better protected, the Patriots at least would have tied the Week 8 game with a short field goal (if not win it) late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots’ record would then possibly be flipped to 5-4, and they would be 3-0 in division play. That marked the third game this season the Patriots had lost in the fourth quarter when trailing by one score with a chance to win. — Mike Reiss


min

Week 10 ranking: 19sw ye 40

What would they take back: Trading for Yannick Ngakoue

The Vikings acquired the 25-year-old defensive end from Jacksonville with the thought that they’d eventually be able to pair him with Danielle Hunter. A neck injury Hunter sustained in camp that eventually required season-ending surgery precluded that from happening, and the Vikings cut bait on Ngakoue after six weeks, taking on $6.8 million in dead cap. What if the Vikings would have used their resources to instead acquire an experienced cornerback to help their young secondary? What if Minnesota signed a veteran interior offensive lineman? Would those moves have panned out better long term than paying for less than two months of work from Ngakoue? — Courtney Cronin


car

Week 10 ranking: 18rd arrow

What would they take back: Fourth-and-1 to Alex Armah in the opener

The Panthers have arguably the best all-purpose back in the NFL in Christian McCaffrey and a chance to win Matt Rhule’s opener at home. Then on fourth-and-1 from the Las Vegas 46 with 1:23 remaining, they gave the ball to Armah, a fullback who was stuffed for no gain. Very conservative call for offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The Raiders won 34-30, and that seemed to set the tone for a season in which the Panthers haven’t figured out a way to consistently finish off games, losing five by eight points or fewer and three by four or fewer. — David Newton

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1:10

Mike Greenberg asks Ryan Clark for some analysis on the Eagles’ record and is instead treated to Clark’s impersonation of Greenberg on Philadelphia’s early-season tie.

phi

Week 10 ranking: 20rd arrow

What would they take back: Not trading for DeAndre Hopkins

The Eagles and Texans discussed a Hopkins trade before he was dealt to the Cardinals. Given the compensation Houston was requesting (apparently greater than the package it accepted from Arizona) and the amount of money the cap-strapped Eagles would have to commit to the wide receiver, they decided to replenish in the draft instead. While that approach might work out long term, it’s hard not to watch that ridiculous Hail Mary grab between three defenders on Sunday and think of what might have been. — Tim McManus


det

Week 10 ranking: 25gn arrow

What would they take back: The fourth-quarter strategy against Chicago

The Lions were up 17 points in the season opener against the Bears before suffering a collapse, resulting in a 27-24 defeat after D’Andre Swift dropped a pass in the end zone on the Lions’ final drive. The combination of Detroit’s conservative offensive play in the fourth quarter, a decision to try a long field goal that backfired and the team’s insistence on heavy man coverage turned a win into a loss and immediately altered the tenor of the season. — Michael Rothstein


den

Week 10 ranking: 22rd arrow

What would they take back: Not picking up Garett Bolles‘ fifth-year option

Passing on Bolles’ fifth-year option will cost Denver in the short term. Had the Broncos engaged Bolles’ option, he would have been paid slightly more than $11 million next season. While Bolles led the league in holding penalties during his first three seasons, he worked this past offseason to get stronger, and he has played with more composure as well as better hand technique. Some personnel executives believe he has played as well as any tackle in the league. The Broncos will face a decision, as well as competition for his services, when he is an unrestricted free agent in March. They’ll need to cut a big check to keep him. — Jeff Legwold


atl

Week 10 ranking: 24sw ye 40

What would they take back: Onside kick blunder in Week 2

Ever wonder where the Falcons might be today had one of three players fallen on an onside kick in Week 2? It was a comedy of errors and allowed Dallas to complete a comeback from 15 points down in the final five minutes. It set the tone for head coach Dan Quinn to be fired after a Week 5 loss to the Panthers as well as perhaps for other fourth-quarter collapses that ensued. Not since 1933, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, had a team that scored 39 points and had no turnovers lost. If Atlanta could have that moment back and started the season 1-1, there’s no telling where it might be in the NFC playoff picture. — David Newton


lac

Week 10 ranking: 23rd arrow

What would they take back: Not going for it on fourth down against the Chiefs in Week 2

The Chargers might have upset the reigning Super Bowl champions in Week 2 had they just gone for it instead of punting on fourth-and-short on their first overtime possession. Instead, the Chargers chose to punt and give the ball to Patrick Mahomes, who led the Chiefs to a winning field goal. This was the first of many close, frustrating losses the Chargers have had, and it set a tone that wasn’t good. — Shelley Smith


nyg

Week 10 ranking: 28gn arrow

What would they take back: Evan Engram‘s drop versus Philly in Week 7

Let’s go back to the Giants’ first meeting with Philadelphia, when Engram let a win slip through his hands. The Giants had an 11-point lead with just under five minutes left. After the Eagles made it a one-score contest, the Giants had a chance to put the game away. All Engram had to do was catch a perfectly lofted Daniel Jones pass down the left sideline with just over two minutes remaining. If he made the catch, the Giants would be 4-1 in the NFC East, with sweeps of Philadelphia and Washington, and they’d be 4-6 overall and in prime position to win the division with a cushion over the 2-6-1 Eagles. — Jordan Raanan


cin

Week 10 ranking: 26rd arrow

What would they take back: Giving A.J. Green the franchise tag

So far, this decision hasn’t aged well at all. The Bengals were hopeful a healthy Green was going to still look like a seven-time Pro Bowler after he missed the 2019 season with an ankle injury. But so far, Green has been very shaky. In Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, Green had no catches on five targets. Green is averaging a mere 35.1 yards per game. While he is still someone defenses must account for and helps open things up for rookie Tee Higgins, Green hasn’t provided the production the Bengals wanted when they tagged him at $18.2 million. — Ben Baby


hou

Week 10 ranking: 27rd arrow

What would they take back: Trading DeAndre Hopkins

This is a no-brainer. Hopkins showed exactly why Houston never should have traded him when he caught a Hail Mary to win the game for the Cardinals on Sunday. Midway through the season, it’s clear the Texans don’t have a playmaker like that on offense for Deshaun Watson to throw to. Not only did Houston lose Hopkins, but it traded for running back David Johnson and his $11 million 2020 salary. In the eight games he has played, Johnson has not been effective, running for 408 yards and three touchdowns on 103 carries. Yes, the Texans had salary-cap concerns and Hopkins wanted a new deal, but there was no immediate need to shed his salary. — Sarah Barshop


wsh

Week 10 ranking: 29sw ye 40

What would they take back: Their stance on Dwayne Haskins Jr.

Washington was devoted to Haskins because of his talent and how he finished the 2019 campaign; he also was the team owner’s selection in the previous draft. The incoming staff felt it could coax more from Haskins by challenging and supporting him, only to sour on him after 11 weeks and four starts. They were right to bench him, but they failed to pick up better backup options in the offseason. They needed to have Haskins compete against stiff competition, but they passed on other quarterbacks atop the draft to take Chase Young. Alex Smith is showing what a good quarterback can do in this offense, but it would have been nice to test Haskins earlier against better personnel. — John Keim

play

1:53

Stephen A. Smith would not be surprised if Jerry Jones drafted Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields should the Cowboys have the opportunity.

dal

Week 10 ranking: 30sw ye 40

What would they take back: Not re-signing CB Byron Jones

Just one? So many to pick from and some might trace back to not signing Dak Prescott long term, which helped lead to the big deal Jaylon Smith signed that ultimately cost them Jones. Yes, you want cornerbacks to take the ball away more than Jones, but what about the full body of work? Add this to the list: If the Cowboys knew they could get CeeDee Lamb in the first round, would they still have signed Amari Cooper to a long-term deal? Not at $20 million a year, which could have left room for Jones, too. 2020 has been a huge mess, but the Cowboys should have made a bigger pitch to keep Jones. — Todd Archer


Week 10 ranking: 31sw ye 40

What would they take back: Not trading up to draft Justin Herbert

The Jaguars might actually be a contender in the AFC South had they moved up to take Herbert, who has thrown for at least 264 yards in seven of his eight games and has 19 TD passes to six INTs. They would have had to give up their second first-round pick — which they used on edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, who has one sack and two QB hits in nine games — but they had the extra picks to put together a good deal. The Jaguars would have had a young core of offensive players with RB James Robinson and WR DJ Chark Jr. around which to build and could be playing meaningful late-season games. — Mike DiRocco


nyj

Week 10 ranking: 32sw ye 40

What would they take back: Not re-signing WR Robby Anderson

GM Joe Douglas already has admitted this mistake, saying the Jets miscalculated Anderson’s market value. New York let Sam Darnold‘s favorite target go to the Panthers for two years and $20 million — hardly an outrageous contract. Anderson has emerged as one of the league’s leading wide receivers, while the Jets have struggled mightily with their passing attack. The Jets signed Breshad Perriman to replace Anderson, but Perriman has missed four games because of injuries. — Rich Cimini



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