The NFL Power Rankings kick off another week, and this week brings us upsets – as usual! However, the actual story is that we saw another horrific week where referees determined the winners. They acted like the government does in picking who they help and who they allow to die or go out of business.
This week’s big story is the referees and terrible calls that directly impacted three teams’ losses where the call didn’t go their way. Many were blatant, as the film review proves:
Pittsburgh Steelers versus St. Louis Rams: penalty secured the Steelers victory.
Indianapolis Colts versus Cleveland Browns: penalties (plural) gave the Browns the win.
Miami Dolphins versus Philadelphia Eagles: multiple bad calls, each favoring the Eagles.
Buffalo Bills versus New England Patriots: multiple questionable calls.
Note: Numbers in parentheses by team name note their ranking last week.
Kansas City Chiefs (1) Record: 6-1 – this week’s game against the Chargers would prove exciting but uneventful as they do their best to lose games. Between some of the worst head coaching I’ve seen in my lifetime, along with the Chargers’ history, this game was never in doubt. The Chargers had no answer for QB Patrick Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce. While Mahomes and Kelce got all the media love, this win was a full-team effort with a rushing attack that faltered but made plays when needed. Mahomes also made a statement with the passing attack, racking up 415 receiving yards. This win is the type you need to claim the best team in the league mantle, and right now, the Chiefs are undoubtedly the best team overall. Ignore what other analysts say. They win when they must, and when they don’t, it’s usually because of elite teams, not “trap” games. Well, most of the time!
Philadelphia Eagles (3) Record: 6-1 – the Eagles were the superior team this week against the Miami Dolphins, but the statistics don’t matter because the referees gave them this win. Sure, QB Jalen Hurts and WR A.J. Brown lit it up, but the Dolphins had to play against Philadelphia and the referees. Congrats to the Eagles, but no one can say the refereeing didn’t directly affect the game. Those awful calls affected the game more than once. We can’t fully gauge how good they were this week because of the travesty. It’s not a stretch to state that an investigation must happen, as this referee team saw suspension for ethics issues once during a college game.
Baltimore Ravens (9) Record: 5-2 – some games are anomalies where an exciting game is the expectation, and an unexpected blowout ensues. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson put on a clinic the Lions didn’t see coming. They had no answer for Jackson or the rushing attack. They went deep, rushed for big chunks, and the defense shut down a team that many see as better than the Ravens and on the verge of being in the “elite” class (see Chiefs, 49ers, and Eagles). This win is a massive move forward in confidence for the Ravens, but even they likely know this game and how it went is more of an anomaly. However, if they can do it to the Lions, they can play like this against anyone. Is this the first big step forward for Jackson and company? We’ll find out, but also kudos to the rushing attack as they recover from the loss of RB J.K. Dobbins (Achilles). They destroyed the league’s No. 1 rush defense! As a team on the verge of being elite, these Ravens will be scary if play like this continues. Despite their erratic play, they’re 5-2, which is also scary.
San Francisco 49ers (2) Record: 5-2 – if you’re QB Brock Purdy, you’re becoming a victim of your success. Two years ago, injuries thrust him into the starting role with no expectations as the draft’s last pick, yet he shocked the NFL world, playing like a veteran. The problem is that he has a team around him where he doesn’t have to put the team on his back. Well, that was his job in the past two weeks, and he failed. Last week, a botched placekicker and play calling at the end gave him a legitimate excuse for the loss. However, this week, the loss is on him. He will see no mercy from his critics, especially those supporting young quarterbacks who’ve floundered. They’ll be the first to jump on him out of malice. Purdy is like any other young quarterback and must learn to overcome his shortcomings and rise to the occasion. It is becoming clear that this team is beatable and, dare I say, middle-of-the-road without RB Christian McCaffrey at 100 percent and when they don’t have WR Deebo Samuel (shoulder). The NFL is a league of attrition; thus, depth is critical. Look at the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. They lost their rushing attack, and while you can’t say they’ve not missed a beat, they’ve overcome. The Niners need to re-evaluate their depth and look to make moves. If Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry is available for trade, explore it. If another viable wide receiver is available, explore it. See the Eagles and A.J. Brown. The Niners are dropping because they look human, and the machine no longer posts 30 points weekly.
Grumblings Media was founded by fantasy sports pioneers. Now, as one of the few conservative sports companies fighting "woke" media, please consider following and supporting us!
NFL Power Rankings: Elitism is on their Radar!
Miami Dolphins (4) Record: 5-2 – let’s not sugarcoat this loss the Dolphins suffered under the Eagles. The Eagles were superior but weren’t good enough to claim or assume victory head-to-head, but they didn’t need to. They had the refs on their side. The Dolphins got beat, but they didn’t lose this game – refereeing kept them from competing with some of the most horrendous calls we’ve seen since the Colts versus Browns earlier in the day! Here, Pennsylvania native Brad Allen’s crew kept the Dolphins from sustained drives with what many believe were purposefully terrible calls against them. Statistically, the Dolphins couldn’t get their rushing attack going, which was vital in the loss. However, again, the referees gift-wrapped the win for the Eagles.
Jacksonville Jaguars (8) Record: 5-2 – the Jaguars are building momentum and showing improvement weekly after a mediocre start. That said, they’re not entirely on the level of the elite teams yet, but they are moving from being told they need to learn how to win into the actual “winning” mode. However, while still learning to do that, they held on for dear life, including getting lucky as New Orleans Saints TE Foster Moreau dropped a sure touchdown in the end zone that would’ve brought them within a PAT of tying it. This team still needs a consistent rushing attack because if they had one, they could have put this team away earlier than waiting for the clock to run out. Another negative is that injured QB Trevor Lawrence (knee) led their rushing attack. Despite the negatives, this team continues its growth and a solid win against the talented, albeit inconsistent, Saints.
Detroit Lions (5) Record 5-2 – what a beating! What can you say? The Lions will watch this film if they want to improve. They’re on the verge of being elite and must learn from losses like this. Why? They weren’t looking ahead, and the Ravens weren’t a “trap” game opponent. So, what happened? Reviewing the film will help. Nothing went right for the team this week, and much of that lay at the feet of QB Jared Goff, who couldn’t get going. That said, his growth is learning to overcome starts like this and get his team back on track. Sadly, these games happen. While this one is a blowout to an equal team, some losses are close but shouldn’t be, as we’ve seen with the Niners and Eagles. The Lions’ coaching staff isn’t immune either, as they had no answer from play-calling or halftime adjustments. One note: you can only do so much with adjustments at halftime, but you can, so it’s a lie when analysts state halftime adjustments affect nothing. It’s a lie.
Dallas Cowboys (7) Record: 4-2 – Bye Week.
Better than Average but Still has Kinks to Work Out.
Buffalo Bills (6) Record: 4-3 – this team seems to be struggling since having to go across the pond and play in London two weeks ago. They barely beat a poor team in the New York Giants and lost to a team they should’ve beaten in the 1-5 New England Patriots to give them their second victory. This team can’t do anything right since their big win against the Dolphins. Between starting slow, some decision-making throws, and play calling, it’s still no excuse for this team to lose or allow teams nowhere near their talent to be competitive or win. This team must regroup. However, they don’t get a “Bye Week” until Week 13, but they need it now. The coaching staff and veteran leadership must move this ship forward with solid play and wins. Bills fans, you better be nervous as this team is currently two games back of the Dolphins, and even worse, two of their losses are to division opponents (the New York Jets and now the New England Patriots)!
Cleveland Browns (10) Record: 4-2 – the Browns got lucky. They should’ve lost this game, and, despite inept play from QB DeShaun Watson, overcame almost getting caught in a “trap” game. The Colts offense looked all-world with backup Garner Minshew this week, but the Browns held on at the end. The vaunted elite defense validated my belief that they play inconsistently. This week, they gave up 456 yards to a backup and a rebuilding Indianapolis Colts. The actual story is, again, Watson, who left the game with no official injury reason given. However, he has a shoulder issue. It’s not the injury that should concern Browns Nation but his decision-making. It’s terrible with repeat errors, reads, and too many interceptions. He’s not winning games for them and arguably putting them in positions to lose. The defense will recover, but can the offense? Remember, the Colts aren’t elite and barely above mediocre with a defensive ranking of 25th. However, the Browns aren’t much better offensively, with a 28th ranking for offense. If they can’t improve offensively, they’re not going anywhere. They’re a lesser version of how many see the New York Jets – elite defense, subpar quarterbacks. The final caveat is that they better not lose DE Myles Garrett to injury. If they do, their season is over!
Cincinnati Bengals (11) Record: 3-3 – Bye Week.
Pretenders or Contenders?
Seattle Seahawks (12) Record: 4-2 – this team bounced back as expected. They did it without one of their top guns in WR DK Metcalf (hip/ribs), but no worries. Toss in the rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba, 4-63-1-7, and Jake Bobo, 4-61-1-5, and no worries! QB Geno Smith did enough to win this game, but he must play better. Overall, the offense has been inconsistent in the past two weeks. They must improve that to keep pace with the Niners and keep the Rams at bay. The Seahawks are a physical team that relies on a savage rushing attack. This week, they rushed for 115 yards, and it was just enough, along with the fact they faced the Arizona Cardinals to win. I say that because three turnovers only resulted in three points; that’s a disgusting tragedy and a significant reason the Cardinals lost. However, credit goes to the defense in this win for overcoming the inept play of their offense. The offense must get it together after two weeks of subpar play.
New York Jets (13) Record: 3-3 – Bye Week.
Pittsburgh Steelers (18) Record: 4-2 – The Steelers looked strong, yet they couldn’t put away a middle-of-the-pack team like the Rams. It took the referees to seal the victory for them. QB Kenny Pickett will continue to have difficulties, but this week, after the Bye, helped get him back on track as he suffered zero turnovers. That’s a massive win for him. The defense played well enough, with both sides – offense and defense – playing physical ball, and that’s what we expect from Mike Tomlin-coached teams. Tomlin’s teams also play better as the season progresses. This game didn’t tell us much, except the team may be ready to take off.
CHECK OUT ALL OUR GREAT PODCASTS… CLICK AN IMAGE TO GET STARTED!
NFL Power Rankings: The Rest of the Best or Pretenders
Minnesota Vikings (21) Record: 3-4 – what a significant victory for the Vikings and QB Kirk Cousins. “He can’t win the big one” is the knock on him. Until the Netflix show “Quarterback,” where the fans saw how much he puts into his work and how much the team betrays him by not protecting him and putting him in a constant perpetual world of physical hurt week in and week out. That said, at the start of this season, many still tried to blame him despite a lack of a rushing attack, questionable play calling by head coach Kevin O’Connell, catchable passes turning into tipped balls and interceptions, and a defense that can’t rush and doesn’t know how to adjust. Typical of defensive coordinator Brian Flores. The talk is that this team is close to blowing up and making trades to clear salary cap and begin looking toward the future without Cousins. Bad move! Cousins has the one skill most quarterbacks lack – the ability to go through his reads and spread the ball. That’s one reason he takes so many hits; he hangs tough in the pocket looking for that open receiver versus going to one guy every time (see Justin Jefferson). Jefferson (hamstring) is a massive loss but could force the offense to create better balance and for Cousins to build chemistry. They still need to find a rushing attack, as they rank No. 28 for the season, and their defense must step up. As much as I loathe Brian Flores, he is a capable defensive coordinator, but he is stubborn and arguably set in his ways. Because of their offense, this team is never truly out of a game and will be fun to watch over the next few weeks.
Houston Texans (17) Record: 3-3 – Bye Week.
Los Angeles Rams (14) Record: 3-4 – the Rams placekicker left seven points off the board and in a 24-17 matchup, well, you do the math. You add horrific management by head coach Sean McVay, and not leaving the team any timeouts for challenges burned them. One of many terrible referee calls this week cost them. However, in this case, it would’ve likely been reversed by being able to challenge the call. McVay is one of the league’s overrated head coaches. His Super Bowl win came because of poor officiating. That said, he’ll take this terrible call and the loss versus the Super Bowl two years ago. The referees robbed the Rams, but the game shows the Rams are a middle-of-the-pack team. They make too many errors for a team with this many veterans. Thus, one can assume the coaching staff doesn’t discipline much or stress fundamentals because they’re veterans. That’s always been a reason for losing incredibly close games against lesser teams.
Los Angeles Chargers (15) Record: 2-4 – This is unacceptable because this is a division game, and these teams know one another well, including strengths and weaknesses. The fans and analysts can blame QB Justin Herbert’s finger, and he may be talented but has yet to prove he can consistently put this team on his back and be a playoff contender. Is the league catching up with him? If they are, he’s an overpaid player, but I don’t think that’s the case. It’s more of a “soft” player treated as an elite individual without tough love. That’s the problem with this team overall. Herbert went for 17-of-30 for 259 yards, one touchdown, AND two interceptions. That’s not the statistics you want your $263 million player to produce. Finally, assume head coach Brandon Staley is currently coaching for his job. He’s likely to be fired if they don’t turn it around.
The Get it Together or Else and Overachievers Section
Atlanta Falcons (25) Record: 4-3 – let’s say QB Desmond Ridder knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat! He went 19-of-25 for 250 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He didn’t hurt them with interceptions but coughed the ball up three times in the red zone, including one in the end zone. It’s a horrific play that will continue to generate hate from the fanbase. Hell, his coaching staff can’t be happy either. Yet, they won without rookie Bijan Robinson making an impact, as he didn’t return after the half because he wasn’t feeling well. This game is a clinic on how not to play. Turnovers, lackluster plays, and inconsistency are issues most teams would forget. However, the Falcons must learn how to win and learn from their mistakes. For Ridder, it’s about turnover and poor decision-making. Will that come in time? He should be playing better than he is, but he came away with a victory. That’s what matters most. They held off against the division-leading Bucs and now lead the division by a half-game. This ugly but important victory could provide a little momentum. That said, we’ve yet to see consistency from this Falcons team, so who knows what shows up next week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16) Record: 3-3 – last week, I said the Bucs are a team that can beat mediocre teams and lose to anything above that. Well, this week, they lost to a mediocre team. You can’t blame all that on QB Baker Mayfield. However, his decision-making is the same as we’ve seen throughout his career. He has some great plays and duds, but this is his first year in this offense; thus, chemistry will take time. Once that happens, some of these broken plays will resolve themselves into receptions for touchdowns. The real problem is that the Bucs have no rushing attack. Their offense has a 29th ranking in the league overall. Their passing offense is No. 17, but their rushing offense is 29th. Thus, you can see where the problem is. Right now, they have no solution and don’t appear to be searching for one! Mayfield accounted for nearly half of their rushing attack, with 32 yards out of 73 total rushing yards. Then there’s also the fact they’re not as good as the elite and above-average teams. We’re unsure which direction this team is heading, but head coach Todd Bowles generates no confidence as his track record is poor. It’s a wait-and-see with this team.
Indianapolis Colts (23) Record: 3-4 – the Colts faced an elite defense, posted 38 points, and lost. They should’ve won. Especially once the Browns lost QB DeShaun Watson. There is no excuse to be an underdog and let the game get away from you. This team still thinks it can compete for the AFC South, and technically, it can, but they must win these games when it unfolds as it did. QB Gardner Minshew went 15 of 23 for 305 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was also a beast on the ground, going 3-29-2, and yet, the defense squandered arguably a career game from their backup quarterback. Okay, he wasn’t perfect with four turnovers. Regardless, if you think you can compete for a division crown, you can’t turn the ball over like they did and allow a subpar offense to post 39 points. This team plays hard for their rookie head coach, Shane Steichen, but this loss is partly on him for not keeping his tired players focused at the end of the game. Penalties, the refs (a very controversial series of plays, including an uncatchable pass that cost the Colts), and inept special teams play. This game is the type of game that doesn’t move a team forward; instead, it destroys morale. Thus, the coaching staff must be on top of the team this week to bounce back. A fantasy football note: the odds of Minshew being in many fantasy lineups probably weren’t high, outside some teams on their Bye Weeks with stud quarterbacks (Dak Prescott and Joe Burrows).
New Orleans Saints (20) Record: 3-4 – look, this team is struggling offensively but is a mediocre defense and offense with minimal game-to-game improvement. Is it time for offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael to go? That will probably be the first scapegoat coach Dennis Allen uses to protect his job. This team doesn’t know how to win, but that’s understandable as they don’t have chemistry on offense yet, and the poor play-calling is hindering them. QB Derek Carr will take much of the blame from the fans, but he’s not why this team can’t get it together. This team’s inconsistency is also a big part of its failure right now, and that comes from team leaders and coaches. Carr needs to do better as the de facto team leader. The one positive thing is they never quit this week and were competitive to the end, including a horrific drop by Saints TE Foster Moreau in the end zone that would’ve likely led to a tie in the waning moments. Brutal! Regardless, being competitive and in a position to win after not performing well earlier in the game – that’s something to build on in a season that’s becoming disappointing.
Washington Commanders (19)Record: 3-4 – this game is why head coach Ron Rivera will probably get fired. Deservedly so. If you think and believe you can compete for the division crown in the powerful NFC East division, you’ve got to beat teams like the New York Giants. This loss is an embarrassment. The team faced a Giants squad coming into the game at 1-5 without their starting quarterback! This offense played poorly this week, and that’s on offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Bieniemy has an offense that can move the ball, albeit inconsistently, and losing 14-7 is unacceptable. Their offense ranked No. 12 at this point in the season, should improve, not regress or be inconsistent. That includes sacks, as QB Sam Howell went down six times again today. They continue to lead the league with 34 sacks given up and are on pace for 96 sacks. This new ownership will look for a new head coach and general manager. Hell, Rivera may not make it to the end of the season – Howell, too, with the beating he’s taking.
As long as there are celebrities, Grumblings MediaBreaking News will be there to share their major announcements via our platforms!
NFL Power Rankings: What the Hell, We Have No Clue or Playing for Draft Positions
Tennessee Titans (24) Record: 2-4 – Bye Week.
New England Patriots (30) Record: 2-5 – this was a massive victory for the team. Not only does it lift their spirits and help change their potential momentum, but they beat a division rival. It was a hard-fought battle and a win they earned and not given. That said, they should’ve never been in this game against the Bills, but this is division play, and anything can happen as division teams know the nuances of their rivals, and sometimes you can toss records out. Their statistics don’t matter as much as what they can take from this game. A big key to keep moving forward is the defense’s play in creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The final caveat is that this is head coach Bill Belichick’s 300th win. Congratulations to him, and against a division rival where it could have playoff ramifications is always a positive. That said, we don’t see the Patriots doing enough to turn it around to sniff the playoffs with the Dolphins, Jets, and Bills in this division.
Denver Broncos (29) Record: 2-5 – While they beat up a Packers team that is a shell of its former self, this was a significant win for the much-maligned Broncos. While QB Russell Wilson didn’t have a great statistical game, going 20-for-29 for 194 yards and one touchdown, the key statistic is zero interceptions. The big stat fans were looking for ways to protect the football. The rushing attack was vigorous with 145 total rushing yards, and this game is a huge step forward; while not a complete game by the offense, it played out with the team winning with solid play in the passing and rushing attacks. The defense is coming along after the 70-point debacle against the Miami Dolphins. Is this the start of a turnaround? It’s too soon to tell, but we’ll see.
New York Giants (28) Record: 2-5 – this team won ugly this week but won. That’s all that counts. Last week, I asked if the Giants could learn from their close loss to the Bills. They did. They had a close win against a division rival. In the past two weeks, they’ve only given up 21 points. They gave up more every other game this season. This win is something to build on. I dislike their defensive coordinator, Wink Martindale, who I believe is collecting checks. He’s proving me wrong, and this game allowed him to do what he likes best – blitz. Hell, the Redskins give up the most sacks per any team in the league, and this one garnered the Giants defense six sacks. Their offense is another story, but RB Saquon Barkley came through with a “nice” day, with 118 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown to help keep the pressure off backup QB Tyrod Taylor, who had zero interceptions and two touchdowns. He did what he needed to do, and the team escaped with a clutch victory over a division rival. Their meager hopes to contend for a playoff spot are still alive. The question you’ll see is a quarterback controversy, as Taylor’s been at the helm the past two weeks when the Giants were at their most competitive. Taylor’s a backup of 13 years, so they know what they have. He’s a skilled player off the bench but not starter material.
Chicago Bears (31) Record: 2-5 – no Justin Fields, no problem. Let’s start Tyson Bagent, an undrafted rookie quarterback. Bagent hails from Division II Shepherd University and came in and won decisively. He won’t usurp the position from Fields, but this game was a mismatch that shouldn’t have been. The Bears game planned well, including limiting Bagent, and it paid off, with the focus on RB D’Onta Foreman, 16-89-2 rushing and 3-31-1-5 receiving. Making Freeman and the rushing attack, the focal point paid off with 173 rushing yards. This win is massive for the team but a bigger one for the coaching staff and game-planning, considering how under the gun they’ve been with the fan base and media this season. It’s a good win to build on, but it was against a mediocre team. They have a long way to go still.
Las Vegas Raiders (22) Record: 3-4 – the Raiders are so inconsistent you can’t tell if the team is improving. They look the same every week – terrible. This week gave us an inconsistent to terrible performance from their backup, Brian Hoyer, as starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo (back) couldn’t suit up for a second time this season. If he’s not playing, it’s clear this team is unlikely to win. The backups, Hoyer and the rookie Aidan O’Connell, look terrible. Their rushing attack continues to sputter with Josh Jacobs, 11-35-0 rushing and 1-6-0-4 receiving) Grumblings Media called a down year for him based on the statistical data from last year and how the team used him to his holdout and coming into the season, not in football shape. This team is in for more losses, likely starting next week against the Lions. It will not be surprising if the losing continues that second-year head coach Josh McDaniels finds himself on the hot seat with an excellent chance to get fired. Finally, no, Raider Nation, this wasn’t a “trap” game.
Green Bay Packers (26) Record: 2-4 – is there any doubt in anyone’s mind anymore that Packers’ head coach Matt LaFleur’s success is a product of former QB Aaron Rodgers? This writer would say so. Look, new starter Jordan Love is learning, as he was a three-year backup, so he knows the playbook, but developing the chemistry and timing takes a year. We’ll give him a pass, but this coaching staff needs to get this team playing hotter from the start versus a catch-up game, as is becoming their norm. They were playing the Broncos, who aren’t very good, and Green Bay believes it can compete in the North. Love must learn to read and see the blitz. That’s easier said than done. The rushing attack had 137 total rushing yards, but it wasn’t enough. The Packers aren’t showing much growth, and that’s the real takeaway. It will be a long season if Love doesn’t improve. He’s the key to the offense in both positives and negatives. That said, what happens if this team continues to lose and becomes a candidate for the top pick in the draft? Unlikely, but never say never.
Arizona Cardinals (27) Record: 1-6 – the Cardinals play hard for their rookie head coach, Jonathan Gannon, but their talent level is not as good as the rest of the league, offensively. This week was no different, with their offense not able to convert three turnovers into touchdowns. They got only three points out of three turnovers. You can’t win that way. They need a legitimate playmaker, as Marquise Brown isn’t all that right now as a No. 1 wide receiver. He’s in a contract year to boot – OUCH! This team’s offensive attack couldn’t pass or rush this week. You can credit the Seahawks’ defense but must question the play-calling and execution from Arizona. These are division rivals; thus, you can toss out the records, and that’s one reason this game turned out to be competitive. Both teams understand the culture and nuances of their opponent. This team isn’t improving as much as they should be, but they play hard, and maybe once their petulant child, QB Kyler Murray (ACL), returns, we may see their fortunes change. We wouldn’t count on it, but never say never.