After calling it a career after 45 years of sports writing — including 36 Super Bowls covered — former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Paul Domowitch is bringing his weekly power rankings to the 33rd Team. Here he gives us the skinny on the good news and bad news that each NFL team is dealing with.
1) Titans (8-2) Previous: 3
Last week: W23-21NO
This week: v 1-8 Texans
Good news: Seven of the Titans’ eight wins have come against 2020 playoff teams.
Bad news: Titans have averaged just 2.4 yards per carry in the two games since Derrick Henry got hurt.
2) Packers (8-2) Previous: 4
Last week: W17-0SEA
This week: at 4-5 Vikings
Good news: The Packers managed to beat the Seahawks even without a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers. The only other time he didn’t throw a TD pass in a game this season was the Packers’ 38-3 Week 1 loss to the Saints.
Bad news: Their leading rusher, Aaron Jones, suffered a significant knee injury and will be out for a while..
3) Cardinals (8-2) Previous: 1
Last week: L10-34CAR
This week: at 3-6 Seahawks
Good news: Kyler Murray, who missed his second straight game with an ankle injury, is one week closer to returning.
Bad news: The Cardinals run defense could be a playoff concern. They gave up 150-plus rushing yards for the fifth time this season.
4) Cowboys (7-2) Previous: 5
Last week: W43-3ATL
This week: at 6-4 Chiefs
Good news: Dak Prescott has a plus-15 touchdowns-to-interceptions differential.
Bad news: The defense had three more interceptions Sunday, but the offense turned just one of them into points.
5) Bills (6-3) Previous: 6
Last week: W45-17@NYJ
This week: v. 5-5 Colts
Good news: The Bills defense leads the league in least touchdown passes allowed (6) and most interceptions (15).
Bad news: Just one of the Bills’ six wins has come against a team that currently has a winning record.
6) Bucs (6-3) Previous: 2
Last week: L19-29@WAS
This week: v. 3-6 Giants
Good news: The Bucs play just two more games against teams that currently have a winning record (6-3 Bills, 5-4 Saints).
Bad news: The heart of their defensive line, Vita Vea, suffered a bone bruise and a slight MCL tear in his knee. He could miss multiple games.
7) Patriots (6-4) Previous: 9
Last week: W45-7CLE
This week: at 4-5 Falcons
Good news: The Patriots have won four in a row for the first time since October of 2019.
Bad news: The Patriots’ next four games after Falcons are against 8-2 Titans (home), 6-3 Bills (away), 5-5 Colts (away) and a home rematch against the Bills.
8) Chiefs (6-4) Previous: 11
Last week: W41-14@LVR
This week: v. 7-2 Cowboys
Good news: Patrick Mahomes appears to have straightened out his problems just in the nick of time. He had 5 TDs and no interceptions against the Raiders.
Bad news: The Chiefs’ pass rush has been underwhelming. Their 14 sacks are the second fewest in the league.
9) Rams (7-3) Previous: 7
Last week: L10-31@SF
This week: Bye
Good news: After back-to-back losses to the Titans and 49ers by 33 points and some really bad play by Matt Stafford, the bye couldn’t be coming at a better time.
Bad news: Going all in does not come with a money-back guarantee.
10) Ravens (6-3) Previous: 10
Last week: L10-22@MIA
This week: at 3-6 Bears
Good news: Miami may have given the Ravens’ future opponents the blueprint for defending Lamar Jackson. Dolphins DBs blitzed him on 24 of 48 dropbacks. He averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt and was sacked four times.
Bad news: The Dolphins converted just 3 of 13 third-down opportunities. The Ravens are third in the league in third-down defense (31.8%). Opposing QBs have completed just 49.4% of their third-down pass attempts against the Ravens.
11) Vikings (4-5) Previous: 19
Last week: W27-20@LAC
This week: v. 8-2 Packers
Good news: Only Tom Brady and Matt Stafford have better TD-to-INT differentials than Kirk Cousins (plus-16).
Bad news: Run defense is shaky. The Vikes are 30th in opponent rush average (4.7).
12) Chargers (5-4) Previous: 10
Last week: L20-27MIN
This week: v. 5-3-1 Steelers
Good news: After giving up 735 rushing yards in their previous four games, they held the Vikings to 103 yards and 3.1 yards per carry.
Bad news: They have lost 3 of their last 4 and haven’t scored more than 27 points in a game since Week 5.
13) Saints (5-4) Previous: 13
Last week: L21-23@TEN
This week: at 4-6 Eagles
Good news: Saints have the best run defense in the league.
Bad news: Playmaking RB Alvin Kamara missed Sunday’s game (knee) and is questionable for this week as well.
14) Colts (5-5) Previous: 18
Last week: W23-17JAX
This week: at 6-3 Bills
Good news: Carson Wentz has just 3 interceptions in 334 pass attempts.
Bad news: The collective record of the five teams the Colts have beaten is 11-34. Four of their next five opponents are the Bills, Bucs, Patriots and Cardinals.
15) 49ers (4-5) Previous: 21
This week: at 2-7 Jaguars
Good news: The Niners defense held the Rams to season lows in points (10), yards (278) and first downs (16).
Bad news: Even after picking off Matt Stafford twice, the Niners still are 30th in takeaways (7) and 29th in turnover differential (minus-7).
16) Raiders (5-4) Previous: 12
This week: v. 5-4 Bengals
Good news: Despite back-to-back losses to the Chiefs and Giants, the Raiders still are tied for first in the loss column in the AFC West.
Bad news: They’ve scored a total of 30 points in those two losses.
17) Bengals (5-4) Previous: 17
Last week: Bye
This week: at 5-4 Raiders
Good news: Three of their four losses were by three points.
Bad news: Joe Burrow’s fearlessness has resulted in 11 interceptions, the third most in the league.
18) Broncos (5-5) Previous: 15
Last week: L13-30PHI
This week: Bye
Good news: Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon give the Broncos a potent 1-2 running punch. They’ve combined for 1,036 yards and are averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Bad news: Teddy Bridgewater is a decent QB but doesn’t have the capability to put a team on his shoulders.
19) Browns (5-5) Previous: 14
Last week: L7-45@NE
This week: v. 0-8-1 Lions
Good news: Their plane didn’t develop any engine trouble on the flight home from Foxboro.
Bad news: The injuries keep piling up for Baker Mayfield. Now it’s a knee to go with the torn labrum in his shoulder.
20) Steelers (5-3-1) Previous: 17
Last week: T16-16DET
This week: at 5-4 Chargers
Good news: The defense held Jared Goff without a touchdown pass.
Bad news: It didn’t do nearly as well against D’Andre Swift and the Lions’ ground game, which gashed them for 229 yards.
21) Eagles (4-6) Previous: 25
Last week: W30-13@DEN
This week: v. 5-4 Saints
Good news: With Sunday’s win over the Broncos, the Eagles are 4-2 on the road this season.
Bad news: This week’s game against the Saints is at home, where they’re 0-4.
22) Panthers (4-5) Previous: 26
Last week: W34-10@ARI
This week: v. 3-6 Washington
Good news: Christian McCaffrey had 161 rushing and receiving yards against the Cardinals.
Bad news: The Panthers’ 70.8 collective passer rating is the lowest in the league. They’ve got just eight TD passes and are averaging 6.2 yards per attempt. Next up: Cam Newton.
23) Bears (3-6) Previous: 22
Last week: Bye
This week: v. 6-3 Ravens
Good news: They’re well-rested, which will come in handy as they chase Lamar Jackson around Soldier Field.
Bad news: The end zone has been unfamiliar territory for the Bears this season. They’re 30th in the league in scoring (16.7 points per game). They’ve given up an NFL-high 33 sacks already.
24) Giants (3-6) Previous: 24
Last week: Bye
This week: at 6-3 Bucs
Good news: The Giants hope to get RB Saquon Barkley and LT Andrew Thomas back this week. Barkley has missed the last four games with an ankle injury. Thomas (ankle/foot) has missed the last three games.
Bad news: The Giants have been outscored in the first half this season, 113-68.
25) Washington (3-6) Previous: 28
Last week: W29-19TB
This week: at 5-5 Panthers
Good news: Washington was the first team since 2012 to intercept Tom Brady twice in the first quarter.
Bad news: WFT has given up 14 sacks in the last three games after allowing just six in the first six.
26) Falcons (4-5) Previous: 20
Last week: L3-43@DAL
This week: v. 6-4 Patriots
Good news: The Falcons held Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to 3.l yards per carry.
Bad news: Matt Ryan’s 21.4 passer rating in the Cowboys loss was the lowest of his career.
27) Seahawks (3-6) Previous: 23
Last week: L0-17@GB
This week: v. 8-2 Cardinals
Good news: They’ll always have that 31-7 Week 8 win over Jacksonville.
Bad news: The defense has just 15 sacks. Hasn’t had more than two in a game since Week 2.
28) Dolphins (3-7) Previous: 30
Last week: W22-10BAL
This week: at 2-7 Jets
Good news: The Dolphins defense has given up just six passing TDs in the last five games and has nine sacks in the last two games.
Bad news: Their run game still is on a ventilator. They averaged just 2.7 yards per carry against the Ravens.
29) Jaguars (2-7) Previous: 27
Last week: L17-23@IND
This week: v. 4-5 49ers
Good news: The Jags had 179 rushing yards against the Colts.
Bad news: Rookie QB Trevor Lawrence completed just 16 of 35 passes and didn’t have a TD pass for the second straight game.
30) Lions (0-8-1) Previous: 31
Last week: T16-16PIT
This week: at 5-5 Browns
Good news: D’Andre Swift notched the second of what coach Dan Campbell hopes will be many 100-yard rushing performances by the second-year running back.
Bad news: Jared Goff has thrown one touchdown pass in the last five games.
31) Jets (2-7) Previous: 29
Last week: L17-45BUF
This week: v. 3-7 Dolphins
Good news: The Jets’ two 2022 first-round draft selections (their own and the one they got from the Seahawks in the Jamal Adams trade) currently would be the third and tenth picks.
Bad news: Wednesday’s Mike White For The Hall of Fame rally at the Rockefeller Center ice rink was postponed after he threw four interceptions against the Bills.
32) Texans (1-8) Previous: 32
Last week: Bye
This week: at 8-2 Titans
Good news: It couldn’t be any worse than the 40-0 Week 4 loss to the Bills, could it?
Bad news: Yes. Yes, it could.