Every Tuesday during the NFL season, Colin puts out his Herd Hierarchy Top 10 NFL power rankings, and the top teams continue to separate from the pack after Week 11.
This week, Kansas City drops out after holding the top spot for multiple weeks to start the season; the Chargers and Falcons sneak in after impressive wins; the Saints keep moving up after extending their win streak to 8-games; and the Seahawks drop down after a poor performance on Monday night.
Here are his Top 10 teams after Week 11:
10. L.A. Chargers – The Chargers struggled early in the year, but Colin thinks they’re the best team in the AFC West, right now. L.A. has the 3rd most Sacks in the NFL, led by the duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who have combined for 19 Sacks. Offensively, they have 11 touchdowns of 20+ yards, which is just one shy of the most in the NFL. The Chargers are a big play offense with a tremendous pass rush and big play offense. Colin thinks they win the West.
9. Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson has been amazing for Seattle, but he needs some help. Wilson accounts for 86.4% of his team’s total offense (Highest % in NFL), and is the only NFL QB leading his team in rushing. The Seahawks have had 6 different running backs play at least 50 snaps, and as a team, they’re averaging a league worst 2.7 yards per rush. Colin still thinks Seattle is a good team, but they need to stop relying so heavily on Wilson every week.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Colin has taken heat for downplaying the Falcons all year, but he has them at 8 this week. Over his last 5 games, Matt Ryan has thrown 9 Pass TD’s, 2 INT’s with Passer Rating of 104.9. One key to Atlanta’s success is their running game. They’re 6-1 when their running backs get at least 23 Touches (0-3 otherwise).
The Atlanta run D has been problematic in getting gashed for 148.0 Rush YPG, and 5.41 yards per rush over their last 3 games. Atlanta is good, not great, but playing as well as they have all year.
7. Carolina Panthers – Colin has been critical of Cam Newton, but has liked Carolina, as a team, all year. Cam leads the NFL with 3 giveaways in 3 different games, and the Panthers are 0-3 in those games. They’re 7-0 when he has fewer than 3 turnovers.
During their 3-game win streak, the Carolina D has allowed 4 Pass TD, 4 INT’s, and an average opponent passer rating of 75.7. This week, they get Greg Olsen and tackle Matt Khalil back from injury, which are key additions down the stretch and help Newton.
6. L.A. Rams – The Rams couldn’t get the offense rolling on the road in Minnesota, but Colin’s isn’t selling his stock. They’re 5-0 when Todd Gurley has at least 20 Touches (otherwise 2-3), and 7-0 when scoring 20 or more points (0-3 otherwise). Colin isn’t reading anything into their lack of offensive output against an elite Viking D, and has no doubt they’ll get it rolling again.
He’s still a believer in Sean McVay’s offense, and a long-term buyer on L.A. as a playoff team.
5. Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings move up to 5 after suffocating the high-flying Rams offense, and in their last 5 games, the Minny D has only allowed 3 Pass TD’s, while forcing 4 INT, and allowing an opposing QB Passer Rating of just 71.8.
Case Keenum isn’t an elite quarterback, but he’s completing 71.6 % of his passes, with 5 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a 110.5 passer rating in his last 2. Colin believes in Minnesota, even though they’re winning with a backup.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers defense hasn’t allowed 20 points in any game during their 5-game win streak, and are allowing just 58.6 rush yards per game in that span. They’re 5-0 when Le’Veon Bell has at least 100 yards from scrimmage, but Big Ben will need to show that he can still carry the team in the playoffs, especially against the Patriots, who will almost certainly scheme to take Bell out of the game.
Even though Colin thinks Pittsburgh’s has Super Bowl level talent, he doesn’t like their lack of discipline on the road, and isn’t convinced Mike Tomlin can get it done against Belichick to get to the Super Bowl.
3. New Orleans Saints – Colin didn’t see the Saints turnaround coming, but he’s a believer now. Even though the ground game and defense have been the keys to their turnaround, Drew Brees is still more than capable of carrying New Orleans. During the 4th quarter Sunday’s 34-21 comeback win over Washington, Brees was 12-13 (14.1 YDS/Pass) with 2 touchdowns, 0 INT’s for a perfect Passer Rating of 158.3
During their their 8-game win streak, Saints are 2nd in the NFL with 162.4 Rush YPG and lead the NFL with 15 Rushing Touchdowns. They also have the 2nd best scoring defense and are allowing the 2nd lowest opposing QB Passer Rating. The Saints are a legit Super Bowl contender.
2. New England Patriots – The Patriots come in at 2 because they’re only allowing 18.8 PPG over their last 6 after giving up an atrocious 32.0 PPG in their first 4. Tom Brady has been on fire in his last 4 games, throwing 9 touchdowns, 0 picks, for a Passer Rating of 117.4.
New England is 5-0 since Dion Lewis became their starting running back in Week 6 and he’s averaging 112.2 all-purpose YPG with 4 touchdowns since getting the nod. There isn’t a clear challenger in the AFC to stop the Pats from making back to the Super Bowl. It’s going to be hard to stop Belichick and Brady with a serviceable defense from making it back to the Super Bowl.
1. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles keep the top spot after destroying the Cowboys and making a statement in the NFC East. MVP candidate Carson Wentz leads the NFL in 3rd Down Passer Rating (124.4), Red Zone Touchdown to Interception Ratio (17 TD, 0 INT), and Touchdown to Interception Ratio when blitzed (8 TD, 0 INT).
Since acquiring Jay Ajayi, Eagles are averaging 206.0 Rush YPG at 5.89 Yds/Rush with 5 rushing touchdowns in their last 2 games. The Eagles defense is only allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 50.9 %, with just 2 TD’s, 7 interceptions, and a Passer Rating of 43.8.
11 weeks in, Philly is the best team in the NFL.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) November 21, 2017