As the Giants and Jets stacked victories, the same question had to be asked with the requisite, New York-accented suspicion: YO, are these teams any GOOD or WHAT?
The skeptics had every reason to be unsure about this early season success. After all, both New York teams finished 4-13 last season, as Jets coach Robert Saleh struggled in his first year and Giants coach Joe Judge got fired after two disappointing seasons and one epic rant. Week 3 defeats in late September appeared to indicate that chances for drastic turnarounds were premature and the teams were merely the same old Giants and Jets.
But that has not been the case. Both clubs have gone on to win three straight games. And the Giants and Jets have proven to be better than anyone outside their buildings expected so early in their respective rebuilds.
Under new coach Brian Daboll, the Giants play confident, resilient football and are talented enough to capitalize on opponents’ mistakes. Those qualities were on display again last Sunday, when the Giants took advantage of two late turnovers by Ravens QB Lamar Jackson to rally for 24-20 comeback win.
The young Jets appear to be maturing with every victory. For the second straight week, rookie running back Breece Hall powered the offense and the defense, with the growing swag of rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner, dominated Aaron Rodgers to produce the Jets’ own statement-making victory — a 27-10 stomping of the Packers in Green Bay.
So it’s no surprise that New York’s football teams have elevated themselves into the league’s high-rent district. Both reside in the top 10 of this week’s NFL Power Rankings, with the Giants rising three spots to No. 6 and the Jets jumping five places to 10th.
Elsewhere, the top four teams remain unchanged. The 49ers fell from fifth to 14th after inexplicably losing to the Falcons by two touchdowns in Atlanta, and the Buccaneers also tumbled nine spots to 15th after a 20-18 defeat to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The week’s biggest move belonged to the Seahawks, who shot up from 27th to 20th after beating Arizona 19-9 at home to reach .500.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s rankings.
NFL Power Rankings
1. Philadelphia Eagles (6-0, Last week: 1): The mark of a really good team is how it responds late in tight games. Philly’s 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took 7:37 off the clock in the fourth quarter was an impressive way to answer Dallas’ TD and ultimately remain unbeaten.
2. Buffalo Bills (5-1, LW: 2): You can’t avenge a crushing playoff loss with a regular-season win, but the victory in K.C. gives the Bills the tiebreaker if the teams finish atop the AFC with the same record.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2, LW: 3): Chris Jones has been fantastic, but Steve Spagnuolo’s defense is still not up to the level of the Chiefs’ recent Super Bowl vintage.
4. Minnesota Vikings (5-1, LW: 4): The Kevin O’Connell Effect — Last season, the Vikings were the NFL’s eighth-most penalized team (111) with the fourth-most penalty yards (1,043); this season, they’re the league’s second-least penalized team (25) with the fewest penalty yards (185).
5. Dallas Cowboys (4-2, LW: 7): Despite Sunday night’s loss in Philly, their five-game stretch without Dak Prescott — thanks to Cooper Rush — couldn’t have gone any better.
6. New York Giants (5-1, LW: 9): Saquon Barkley leads the NFL with 771 yards from scrimmage, but will anyone establish himself as the WR1 (Wan’Dale Robinson?) to help Barkley and QB Daniel Jones?
7. Los Angeles Rams (3-3, LW: 12): The star-driven Rams, of course, are being mentioned as a potential destination for Christian McCaffrey, who’s reportedly being shopped by Carolina.
8. Baltimore Ravens (3-3, LW: 8): They’ve become their own worst enemy with another late collapse in defeat. Said Lamar Jackson: “I just feel like we’re just beating ourselves with little mistakes here and there.”
9. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3, LW: 13): Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are still a dangerous duo.
10. New York Jets (4-2, LW: 15): They go to Denver and then play host to the Patriots before facing the ultimate measuring stick — the Bills — in the Meadowlands.
11. Green Bay Packers (3-3, LW: 10): Aaron Rodgers has career-low numbers for average yards per attempt (6.9) and 233.8 passing yards per game (233.8), but what’s the reason for the dip in production? The very green receiving corps or the aging quarterback? Or both?
12. Miami Dolphins (3-3, LW: 11): They were the talk of the league with a healthy Tua Tagovailoa. Now that he’s expected to return, maybe the Dolphins can recapture that buzz.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2, LW: 14): Like injured kicker Dustin Hopkins, the viewing audience was in pain on Monday night.
14. San Francisco 49ers (3-3, LW: 5): You just never know which Niners team you’re going to see.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3, LW: 6): Tom Brady thinks his offensive line can, um, play better.
16. Tennessee Titans (3-2, LW: 16): So what if they’re ranked 31st on offense and 28th on defense? The AFC South leaders welcome the second-place Colts to town in a big divisional showdown.
17. Indianapolis Colts (3-2-1, LW: 17): To quote Jim Everett (on Cover 2.0 with Sarina Morales): “Sometimes it's kind of ugly. But (Matt Ryan) is finding ways to win."
18. Atlanta Falcons (3-3, LW: 23): Head coach Arthur Smith knows how to celebrate after a big win.
19. New England Patriots (3-3, LW: 25): So who’s going to be your QB going forward, Bill Belichick — Bailey Zappe, now 2-0 as the starter, or Mac Jones?
20. Seattle Seahawks (3-3, LW: 27): The NFC West’s best quarterback plays in Seattle, where Geno Smith sports a 108.1 passer rating, behind only Tua Tagovailoa (109.9) an Josh Allen (109.1).
21. Arizona Cardinals (2-4, LW: 18): They lost Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to a foot fracture but gained DeAndre Hopkins (via suspension return) and Robbie Anderson (via trade) to help Kyler Murray, who still hasn’t found his rhythm this season in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.
22. Las Vegas Raiders (1-4, LW: 22): They didn’t play a game and still took an L — cornerback Nate Hobbs (hand) was placed on injured reserve.
23. Denver Broncos (2-4, LW: 19): Good news — they only have one more prime-time game scheduled to torture the nation (Week 14 vs. Chiefs on SNF).
24. Washington Commanders (2-4, LW: 30): They should just volunteer to play all of their games on Thursday nights with Carson Wentz.
25. Chicago Bears (2-4, LW: 20): Your eyes are not deceiving you — Justin Fields is regressing.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4, LW: 21): How quickly the Jaguars cookie crumbles after three straight defeats in which they’ve been outscored 76-54.
27. Cleveland Browns (2-4, LW: 24): Just five games left until Deshaun Watson is eligible to return. The problem is that all five of those opponents are currently .500 or better, so any playoff hopes will likely be gone.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4, LW: 31): The optimism from Mitch Trubisky’s off-the-bench heroics to snap a four-game losing streak sure didn’t last long, after Monday’s report of a Week 4 halftime locker-room incident involving Trubisky and wideout Diontae Johnson.
29. New Orleans Saints (2-4, LW: 26): Maybe Dennis Allen is right in pointing to the Saints’ injured difference-makers (Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Marshon Lattimore) as the reason for their three one-possession losses.
30. Houston Texans (1-3-1, LW: 28): Addition by subtraction — executive VP Jack Easterby was let go Monday and apparently he won’t be missed.
31. Detroit Lions (1-4, LW: 29): This is how it’s going for the Lions — Dak Prescott is expected to return in time to face them in Dallas on Sunday.
32. Carolina Panthers (1-5, LW: 32): Jacob Eason is the only healthy QB on the roster. So yeah, it CAN get worse.