NFL Power Rankings: Nos. 25-21
W, 32-31 @ Buccaneers
The Giants shouldn’t be this high in our NFL power rankings, especially after losing running back Saquon Barkley for the next few weeks with a high-ankle sprain. And the Buccaneers essentially gifted a win to New York, too, thanks to a missed last-second field goal.
But rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, making his first NFL start, looked good. He’ll help spike interest in the G-Men for a while.
L, 34-14 @ Vikings
The final score of Oakland’s first game of a long, long road trip suggests this game was closer than one might think.
Well, the Vikings were out to a 34-7 lead late in the fourth quarter. And while quarterback Derek Carr and tight end Darren Waller managed to have nice games, the Raiders’ collective offense couldn’t find much pay dirt against a stiffening Minnesota defense.
If only the Raiders had that kind of defense.
L, 32-31 vs. Giants
Kickers matter, people. And the Bucs learned that the hard way at home against the Giants.
Despite the score, Tampa Bay’s defense looks good this season, and coordinator Todd Bowles has turned what was a horrid group on that side of the ball into something relatively formidable.
But the big story of the game was watching quarterback Jameis Winston hit wide receiver Mike Evans for what turned out to be a massive 190-yard, three-touchdown day.
Can’t pin this loss on the offense, and special teams are important.
L, 20-7 @ Jaguars
Quarterback Marcus Mariota was asked to sling the ball around 40 times in the Titans’ Thursday Night Football loss to the Jaguars, and that went about as well as you’d expect. Mariota was sacked nine times, and there was comparatively little balance in the run and passing games.
It’s time Tennessee starts to have a serious conversation about moving on from Mariota. Sadly, the Titans offense hasn’t been much fun to watch for a while now.
He’s the common denominator.
W, 20-7 vs. Jaguars
“Sacksonville” returned to Jacksonville on Thursday night, which is reminiscent of the Jaguars’ phenomenal defensive efforts from 2017. If that’s the trend moving forward, especially if cornerback Jalen Ramsey stays put, look out.
Still, it’s all about the hype train surrounding quarterback Gardner Minshew. He is the story in Jacksonville right now.