Happy Halloween, NFL fans.
The Power Rankings are getting into the spirit of the season by picking out something scary associated with each team. Some of these are scary for fans of a given team, while others should be scary for the team’s upcoming opponents.
We hope all of them give you insight into where we stand with the NFL season nearly halfway complete.
(Last week: 2)
Sunday: Beat Washington Commanders 38-31
Something scary (for others): A.J. Brown
The 6-foot-1, 226-pound wide receiver/cyborg is playing at a historic level. He had eight catches for 130 yards Sunday against Washington and now has topped 125 receiving yards in six consecutive games, becoming the first NFL player in history to do that. He is second in the league in receiving yards (939) behind only Tyreek Hill.
Up next: vs. Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
Brooks Kubena: Going the extra mile to cover the Philadelphia Eagles
(Last week: 3)
Sunday: Beat Arizona Cardinals 31-24
Something scary (for others): Lamar Jackson under Todd Monken
The Ravens’ new offensive coordinator has the Ravens’ old quarterback playing at an MVP level. In the last three weeks, no quarterback in the league has more total expected points added (24.98) than Jackson, according to TruMedia, and his completion percentage (70.5) and yards per attempt (7.8) are on pace to be career highs.
Up next: vs. Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
(Last week: 4)
Sunday: Beat New England Patriots 31-17
Something scary (for others): Jalen Ramsey is back.
The veteran safety returned against the Patriots, just 94 days after suffering a meniscus tear in the preseason. The seventh-year cornerback had an interception that he returned 49 yards in his Dolphins debut, which will open up even more options for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The Dolphins are 16th in the league in defense (allowing 329.4 yards per game). If that improves and the offense keeps humming, Miami will be a problem.
Up next: at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET (Frankfurt, Germany)
(Last week: 1)
Sunday: Lost to Denver Broncos 24-9
Something scary (for them): Anything happening to Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City fans know what it’s like to hold their breath over news of their quarterback’s health. More than at any time since the Chiefs’ run began, Kansas City seems completely carried by its quarterback this season. With Mahomes suffering from the flu and posting the second-lowest passer rating of his career (59.2) Sunday, the Chiefs lost to the Broncos for the first time in 17 meetings.
Up next: vs. Miami Dolphins, Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET (Frankfurt, Germany)
(Last week: 6)
Sunday: Beat Las Vegas Raiders 26-14
Something scary (for others): A playoff game at Ford Field
There has never been one. The last time Detroit hosted a playoff game was on Jan. 8, 1994, and their home field was the Pontiac Silverdome then. The Silverdome has since been demolished, and General Motors doesn’t even make Pontiacs anymore. But the Lions are good again, and their home field was raucous for “Monday Night Football” as rookie Jahmyr Gibbs had a breakout game with a season-high 152 rushing yards. Imagine it for a playoff game. The Eagles should make sure the Lions stay in their rearview mirror.
Up next: Bye
(Last week: 5)
Sunday: Lost to Cincinnati Bengals 31-17
Something scary (for them): This losing streak
After starting 5-0, the 49ers have lost three in a row for the first time since October 2021. Brock Purdy is 26th in the league in passer rating (77.9) during the losing streak. In Weeks 1-5, he led the league in passer rating (123.1) Having offensive tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel (shoulder) out again Sunday didn’t help the top-heavy Niners. (Of course, San Francisco fans shouldn’t fret too much. That 2021 team went to the NFC Championship Game.)
Up next: Bye
Rating 16 NFL teams’ QB crisis levels after an injury-laden Week 8: Sando’s Pick Six
(Last week: 12)
Sunday: Beat Cleveland Browns 24-20
Something scary (for others): Boye Mafe’s ascent
The second-year outside linebacker is starting to look like an old-school Seattle defender. He has at least one sack in five consecutive games, the second-longest streak in team history. On Sunday, he had eight tackles, four quarterback hits and a fumble recovery. Seattle offensive tackle Charles Cross apparently said he’s more of a challenge to block than Myles Garrett.
Up next: at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
#Seahawks Offensive Linemen Charles Cross tells the Media
“Myles Garrett was honestly not as good as i thought he was, my teammate Boye Mafe in training camp was more of a challenge than him”
Is this a strike at Myles Garrett? pic.twitter.com/7KizuGGQ1j
— jah 🌬️ (@jahinterlude) October 30, 2023
(Last week: 11)
Sunday: Beat San Francisco 49ers 31-17
Something scary (for others): Joe Burrow is back.
And he’s bringing Ja’Marr Chase with him. Burrow was 28-for-32 for 283 yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers on Sunday. Chase had 10 catches for 100 yards. Since shaking off a preseason calf injury, Burrow has led the Bengals to three consecutive wins, and he leads the league in passer rating (111.8) in that span. Chase is averaging 124 receiving yards in those games.
Up next: vs. Buffalo Bills, Sunday, 8:20 ET
(Last week: 9)
Sunday: Beat Los Angeles Rams 43-20
Something scary (for others): This version of Dallas
The Cowboys led Sunday’s game 33-3 late in the second quarter. We’ve seen them do this to teams. Their first three wins were by a combined 108-13, but this was the best team the Cowboys have done this to. Cornerback Daron Bland returned his third interception for a touchdown this season, joining Derrick Brooks and Darren Sharper as the only players to do that in a single season in NFL history.
Up next: at Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
(Last week: 8)
Sunday: Beat Pittsburgh Steelers 20-10
Something scary (for others): Trevor Lawrence getting hot
We could have just added “in the playoffs” to this one because Jacksonville feels as good a bet for the postseason as any team right now. After Sunday, they have three more wins than the other three teams in the AFC South. The Jaguars have won five in a row, and Lawrence, who was 24-for-32 for 292 yards against the Steelers, looks like he’s starting to find his groove.
Up next: Bye
What we learned in NFL Week 8: Feed Tyreek Hill and A.J. Brown; Jets in playoff hunt?
(Last week: 10)
Thursday: Beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18
Something scary (for them): The injuries
Since Week 5, when linebacker Matt Milano was lost for the season with a knee injury, Buffalo is 25th in the league in defensive EPA per play (minus-.02). In Weeks 1-4, the Bills were fourth in the league in defensive EPA per play (.20). It’s not just Milano who’s gone either. All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White (Achilles) is also out for the year, and defensive tackle Daquan Jones (pectoral) probably is, too.
Up next: at Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
(Last week: 13)
Sunday: Lost to Jacksonville Jaguars 20-10
Something scary (for them): Mike Tomlin’s loyalty
Kenny Pickett had to leave Sunday’s game with a rib injury, but does it matter who the quarterback is with offensive coordinator Matt Canada in charge? Canada has been in charge of Pittsburgh’s offense since 2021. In that time, the Steelers are 29th in the NFL in scoring (18.63 ppg). Since the start of last season, Pittsburgh is dead last in scoring (17.5 ppg), and still, there’s no indication that Tomlin is going to get rid of Canada.
Up next: vs. Tennessee Titans, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET
(Last week: 7)
Sunday: Lost to Seattle Seahawks 24-20
Something scary (for them): The Deshaun Watson contract
Every time someone in Cleveland tries to explain what’s going on with Watson, it gets more confusing. The quarterback missed another game Sunday because of a shoulder injury, and no one is saying how long it will take to heal enough for him to play. Cleveland is committed to giving Watson $63.9 million of salary-cap space for each of the next three seasons and does not have a realistic financial out until after the 2026 season. In Watson’s 10 starts, the Browns are 6-4 and averaging 21 points per game. That fully guaranteed deal is a lot to pay for mediocrity.
Up next: vs. Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
(Last week: 22)
Sunday: Beat Atlanta Falcons 28-23
Something scary (for others): Mike Vrabel may have a QB.
Rookie Will Levis made his first appearance Sunday, and he became the third player in league history to throw four touchdown passes in his debut. Two have done it for the Titans (Levis and Marcus Mariota). The other is Fran Tarkenton. Levis’ scores came from 47, 16, 61 and 33 yards out. Ryan Tannehill (high ankle sprain) may not get his job back. In fact, the Titans might see if they can trade Tannehill to the Vikings this week.
Up next: at Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET
(Last week: 23)
Sunday: Beat Chicago Bears 30-13
Something scary (for others): Joey Bosa could be getting there.
The veteran defensive lineman hasn’t looked like himself in a while, but he had a season-high five pressures against the Bears, and his pressure percentage (23.5) was his second-highest of the season. Bosa has four sacks this year and only 6 1/2 in the last two seasons, but if he can get back to his 2020 form (10 1/2 sacks), it’ll be a boost for a Chargers defense that needs some help.
Up next: at New York Jets, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
(Last week: 15)
Sunday: Lost to Tennessee Titans 28-23
Something scary (for them): A quarterback controversy
The Falcons really want Desmond Ridder to take control of the starting job, but Ridder committed his seventh turnover in the last three weeks Sunday and was taken out of the game after a halftime concussion evaluation. Ridder was cleared by the medical staff, but the Falcons stuck with Taylor Heinicke in the second half anyway. Heinicke led four scoring drives in six possessions. Ridder’s eight possessions totaled 89 yards and three points. Coach Arthur Smith did not commit to a starter after the game.
Up next: vs. Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
NFL Week 8 takeaways: CeeDee Lamb delivers for Cowboys, Eagles find a way again
(Last week: 17)
Thursday: Lost to Buffalo Bills 24-18
Something scary (for them): The run game
Tampa Bay is last in the NFL in rushing success rate (26.5). That’s on pace to be the worst in the league since the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 (24.6). Rachaad White, the Bucs’ leading rusher, is averaging 3.3 yards per carry and doesn’t have a run longer than 15 yards. The Bucs’ second-leading rusher? Baker Mayfield.
Up next: at Houston Texans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
(Last week: 18)
Sunday: Lost to Dallas Cowboys 43-20
Something scary (for them): Turning back into a pumpkin
After a surprisingly OK start, the Rams have lost three of their last four, beating only the Cardinals in that span. Matthew Stafford left Sunday’s game with a thumb injury, and if he’s out for very long, Los Angeles is in real trouble. Leading rusher Kyren Williams has already gone on injured reserve and won’t be eligible to return until at least Week 12.
Up next: at Green Bay Packers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
(Last week: 21)
Sunday: Beat Indianapolis Colts 38-27
Something scary (for others): Taysom Hill
Like the horror movie villain who seems to move very slowly but constantly gains ground on his prey, Hill just keeps coming and coming. He had 44 yards passing and led the Saints in rushing (nine carries, 63 yards) on Sunday. In his seventh season, Hill has the highest rushing success rate (65.5 percent) of his career. On top of that, Alvin Kamara showed some flashes of being the Alvin Kamara of old Sunday.
Up next: vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Taysom Hill runs 20 yards for the @Saints TD!
— NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2023
20. Denver Broncos (3-5)
(Last week: 26)
Sunday: Beat Kansas City Chiefs 24-9
Something scary (for others): The defense is getting better.
After allowing 36.2 points per game through their first five games, the Broncos have given up 15 per game in the last three, and two of those games were against the Chiefs. Combine that with Russell Wilson’s continued quiet competency, and Denver could be a tough out in the second half of the season. Wilson had his 43rd career game with three touchdowns and a passer rating above 100 on Sunday, tying Tom Brady for third all-time in that category.
Up next: Bye
(Last week: 14)
Sunday: Beat New York Giants 13-10
Something scary (for them): Wasting this defense
The Jets held the Giants to 194 yards Sunday, but they gained only 251 themselves. Somehow, a team that includes Breece Hall was led in rushing by Zach Wilson. The Jets are allowing 4.8 yards per play, which ranks fourth in the NFL, but unless Aaron Rodgers makes a miraculous recovery, it might not matter. Wilson completed 47 percent of his passes Sunday. He’s 31st in the league in completion percentage (58.3) for the season.
Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
(Last week: 19)
Sunday: Lost to Carolina Panthers 15-13
Something scary (for them): An offensive drought
After averaging 24 points per game in the first month of the season, Houston is averaging 17.3 points per game in its last three. Rookie C.J. Stroud has a passer rating of 84.8 in that span, which is lower than Kenny Pickett, Bryce Young and Tyrod Taylor, among others. No one is worried about Stroud in the long run, but the Panthers held him to a season low in yards (140) on Sunday.
Up next: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
(Last week: 20)
Sunday: Lost to New Orleans Saints 38-27
Something scary (for them): The pass defense
Indianapolis gave up 354 passing yards to the Saints of Derek Carr and Taysom Hill. The Colts are the only team in the league to score 20 or more points in every game this season, but it’s been wasted the last three weeks by the defense, which has allowed an average of 38 points in those three games. The Colts are 25th in the league in passing yards (247.3 per game) and yards per attempt (7.6) allowed this season.
Up next: at Carolina Panthers, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
24. Minnesota Vikings (4-4)
(Last week: 16)
Sunday: Beat Green Bay Packers 24-10
Something scary (for them): Kirk Cousins’ injury
Cousins was playing perhaps the best football of his career before suffering a torn Achilles on Sunday. He is second in the league in passing yards per game (291.8), and that will end up being the second-highest single-season number of his career. Rookie Jaren Hall finished the game Sunday, but coach Kevin O’Connell indicated after the game that all options, including signing a street free agent or making a trade, are on the table to fill Cousins’ large shoes.
Up next: at Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Vikings locker room was pretty emotional. Multiple players, leaders, tearing up over how much Kirk Cousins has meant and means to them and to the locker room.
“I can’t describe it,” Harrison Smith said. “You really just have to experience it to know.”
— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) October 29, 2023
25. Washington Commanders (3-5)
(Last week: 25)
Sunday: Lost to Philadelphia Eagles 38-31
Something scary (for them): The trade deadline
New owner Josh Harris might decide to go full fire sale before today’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. Defensive lineman Montez Sweat is rumored to be on the market, and nobody should be off limits. Sam Howell does not look like the solution at quarterback, and Washington might be looking for draft capital. The Commanders are in position to have the 11th pick in next year’s draft and probably need to get a little higher to have a shot at a difference-maker at quarterback.
Up next: at New England Patriots, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
(Last week: 24)
Monday: Lost to Detroit Lions 26-14
Something scary (for them): The head coach hiring track record
Remind me, why did the Raiders fire Rich Bisaccia again? After taking over following the abrupt resignation of Jon Gruden in 2021, Bisaccia went 7-5 and took the Raiders to the playoffs. That makes him one of only three Raiders head coaches since 2001 to leave the job with a winning record. The others were Gruden (22-31 in his second stint) and Jack Del Rio (25-23). In that same time frame, seven coaches have left with losing records. Josh McDaniels fell to 6-12 in the role Monday night.
Up next: vs. New York Giants, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
(Last week: 27)
Sunday: Lost to Minnesota Vikings 24-10
Something scary (for them): Jordan Love’s play
The man Green Bay hoped would take over (somewhat) seamlessly for Aaron Rodgers is 32nd in the league in completion percentage (57.7). Only Zach Wilson has had a worse rate in any season since 2020. And it’s not because Love is taking deep shots. His 6.4 yards per attempt rank 26th in the league, and he’s tied for the league lead in interceptions (eight).
Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
28. New York Giants (2-6)
(Last week: 28)
Sunday: Lost to New York Jets 13-10
Something scary (for them): Saquon Barkley’s health
Down to their third quarterback (undrafted free agent Tommy DeVito) because of injury, the Giants gave the ball to Barkley 36 times Sunday. That’s the most carries in a game in the last two seasons, and the second most was Barkley’s 35 carries last year against the Texans in Week 10. After that game, Barkley didn’t top 90 yards the rest of the season. The Giants finished with minus-9 passing yards against the Jets, so it’s going to be tempting to try to ride Barkley the rest of the season. That might not be possible, though.
Up next: at Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
29. New England Patriots (2-6)
(Last week: 29)
Sunday: Lost to Miami Dolphins 31-17
Something scary (for them): Bill Belichick’s staples
Mac Jones has been bad (30th in EPA per dropback), but he’s not the only reason New England is four games under .500. The defense and special teams, Belichick’s specialties, also stink. The Patriots are allowing 26 points per game, which ranks 26th in the league. They’ve held just one opponent under 20 points, and that was the Jets. On top of that, New England’s special teams EPA is minus-19.68, which ranks 31st, according to TruMedia.
Up next: vs. Washington Commanders, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
30. Arizona Cardinals (1-7)
(Last week: 31)
Sunday: Lost to Baltimore Ravens 31-24
Something scary (for others): Kyler Murray has a lot of value
Murray was healthy enough to play Sunday but did not, so it’s still not clear if the new regime envisions him as their quarterback of the future or as a trade chip. Either way, he’s a valuable commodity for a Cardinals team that right now owns the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft. The rash of quarterback injuries means Murray might command more than usual on the trade market, and his skills on the field are undeniable.
Up next: at Cleveland Browns, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
(Last week: 30)
Sunday: Lost to Los Angeles Chargers 30-13
Something scary (for them): The quarterback decision-making
Tyson Bagent is a great story, but how can the Bears go into the season with an undrafted rookie from Division II college football as the only option behind Justin Fields, who plays a style that makes him vulnerable to missing time? Fields, who missed Sunday’s game with a thumb injury, has already been ruled out for this week. The Bears need him back. Bagent threw two interceptions and had a passer rating of 62 against the Chargers.
Up next: at New Orleans Saints, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
32. Carolina Panthers (1-6)
(Last week: 32)
Sunday: Beat Houston Texans 15-13
Something scary (for them): The defense
Maybe the bye week turned things around because the Panthers did hold the Texans down. Still, this defense was supposed to give Bryce Young some room to grow. Instead, it’s 30th in the league in points allowed (28.4 per game) even after Sunday’s game. Edge rusher Brian Burns was dominant in his first game of the season, but he’s had more than two quarterback pressures in a game only once since Week 3.
Up next: vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
(Top photo of Eagles receiver A.J. Brown: Kyle Ross / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“The Football 100,” the definitive ranking of the NFL’s best 100 players of all time, is on sale now. Order it here.