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Halfway through the season, who is the NFL’s best team?

Hint, they were also the best team last year.

1. New England Patriots (8-0)

Redskins Patriots Football Tom Brady is having ANOTHER ridiculous season. Source: Winslow Townson/AP/Press Association Images

Change from week 4: None

Could it really be anyone else? 8-0 despite the loss of seemingly 40 offensive linemen. It’ll be interesting to see how they adapt to the injury to breakout running back Dion Lewis but it’s the Patriots, you know they’ve a plan B, C, D, E and F.

2. Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)

Change: +1

Stop waiting for the Andy Dalton screws his own team game from the Bengals. It’s not happening. Last week’s win over the Browns was his fifth game without an interception this season. Cincinnati are a very good football team, it’s time to get used to that.

3.  Arizona Cardinals (6-2)

Change: +2

The Cardinals have been the best team in every single game they’ve played this season and the re-emergence of Chris Johnson as a legitimate run threat is one of the storylines of the 2015 NFL season. Games against divisional rivals Seattle as well as the Bengals over the next couple of weeks will be a big test of just how good Bruce Arians’ team really is.

4. Carolina Panthers (8-0)

Change: +6

Stop talking about Cam Newton as an MVP candidate. It’s Tom Brady and it’s not even close. Carolina are a great defence with a good young quarterback who is beating everything put in front of him. There’s a real chance, given their schedule, this team goes 16-0.

5. Green Bay Packers (6-2)


Change: -3

The Green Bay Packers are just off the back of two tough defeats to two (at the time) undefeated teams. Sure the defence is a bit of a worry but when you’ve #12 in the backfield it’s time to, in the words of the man himself, relax. The Packers will be there or thereabouts.

6. Denver Broncos (7-1)

Change: -1

For the first time this season the Denver defence looked human and, as soon as it did, the Broncos lost a game. That’s the big worry when you try to ride one side of the football all the way to the Super Bowl. And let’s not start on Peyton Manning who leads the league in interceptions.

7. Seattle Seahawks (4-4)

Change: None

Out of sight, out of mind. The Seahawks are coming off a bye and you have to hope the offensive line that’s already given up 31 sacks through eight games will have put the extra hours in or else Seattle will start to freefall in our rankings fairly quickly. However, only two games back from the divisional lead — with a pair of games against Arizona to come — Seattle can’t be discounted.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)

Change: +1

While the injury to Le’Veon Bell is obviously not ideal, the Steelers showed last week that DeAngelo Williams is a more than adequate replacement. Ben Roethlisberger is out for a few weeks — including their bye — but Pittsburgh should be able to cope. Just keep throwing to Antonio Brown seems a decent strategy.

9. Oakland Raiders (4-4)

Change: +6

It’s been more than 13 years since the Raiders made the postseason and, even with last week’s loss to the Steelers, the Silver and Black remain very much in the playoff hunt. Derek Carr has surpassed all expectations and if the Raiders can manufacture anything resembling competent secondary play in the second half of the season they’ll continue their rise.

10. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

On Football Key Injuries Teddy Bridgewater suffered a concussion last week. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Change: +1

I can’t help but feel that the Vikings are all smoke and mirrors and have taken advantage of the NFL’s easiest strength of schedule to date to sit joint-top of the NFC North. Raiders, Packers, Seahawks and Cardinals make up four of their next five games. Let’s see what their record is like after that.

11. New York Jets (5-3)

Change: -3

The Jets should have lost to the Jags last weekend but I suppose it’s a sign of a good team when they play badly and still win. Chris Ivory looked one of the best running backs in the league up until a few weeks ago. They need him back and soon.

12. New York Giants (5-4)

Change: +6

Does anyone want to win the NFC East? It seems the Giants are the most likely but, really, it’s between them and the Eagles. It’s a toss up as to which is the better team but, for now, it goes to Big Blue.

13. Buffalo Bills (4-4)

Change: None

The Buffalo Bills with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback are a very different beast and one that remains very much in the playoff hunt. However, as brilliant as Sammy Watkins is, having 92.8% of all your receiving yards — as they did against the Dolphins — come from one player is not sustainable.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

Change: +13

Now that the Eagles seem to realise that Jordan Matthews should get more of the football — though DeMarco Murray is slowly but surely improving too — their offence is finally starting to click into gear. While it’s far from perfect, that may still be enough given the division.

15. St. Louis Rams (4-4)

Rams Vikings Football Todd Gurley has had a brilliant debut season. Source: Ann Heisenfelt/AP/Press Association Images

Change: -3

It’s all well and good having one of the league’s best defences and the offensive rookie of the year when the entirety of your offensive playbook consists of handing the ball off to Todd Gurley or gadget plays to Tavon Austin.

16. Atlanta Falcons (6-3)

Change: -12

At one stage this season I was very excited about what the Falcons were doing on both sides of the ball but how can you continue to believe in a team that’s lost to the Saints, Bucs and Blaine Gabbert’s San Francisco 49ers in the last four weeks.

17. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

Change: +3

Beating the Broncos is good, losing your quarterback to a lacerated kidney is bad. The Colts have an AFC South title before going one and done in the playoffs written all over them.

18. New Orleans Saints (4-5)

Change: +11

Just when it looked like the Saints were going to make a bid for one of the NFC’s wildcard spots, they go and lose to the Titans. Sean Payton and Rob Ryan’s last year in New Orleans? Probably.

19. Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)

Change: +3

Life without Jamaal Charles wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Chiefs who’ve won both games since their star running back went down with an ACL injury. Frisky enough to give the Broncos a scare this week, don’t sleep on Kansas just yet.

20. Baltimore Ravens (2-6)

Chargers Ravens Football The Ravens will really miss Steve Smith Sr. Source: Gail Burton/AP/Press Association Images

Change: -1

The Ravens have been in nearly every game this season but the simple fact is there’s no such thing as a good 2-6 team.

21. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Change: +5

Say what you like about Jay Cutler, but those two long touchdown drives of 93 and 80 yards on Monday against the Chargers shows there’s life in the old dog yet. They can’t keep winning games decided by three points or less though, as they’ve done in three of their last five.

22. Miami Dolphins (3-5)

Change: +2

It turns out that firing your coach midway through a season can have a short term bounce — especially if you play two AFC South teams in a row — but ultimately you revert to the mean.

23. Dallas Cowboys (2-6)

Change: -9

At the quarter point of the season I wrote “the Cowboys may not win another game until Tony Romo comes back so expect this to slide by week eight”. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Unless it’s digital of course.

24. Tennessee Titans ( 2-6)

Change: -3

The Tennessee Titans have lost six of their last seven games and sacked their head coach. They could still win the AFC South. Madness.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)

Jaguars Jets Football How good is Blake Bortles? He's getting better, that's for sure. Source: Seth Wenig/AP/Press Association Images

Change: -2

See above. Another decent draft and the Jags could be onto something special.

26.  Washington (3-5)

Change: -9

With just over four and a half minutes to go in the first quarter of last Sunday’s game with the New England Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champions had run 24 plays and led 14-0. The Washington football team had touched the ball just once on offence, throwing an interception, That’s not very good.

27. Cleveland Browns (2-7)

Change: -2

Johnny Manziel played well for a whole half. That’s, eh, something I suppose.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

Change: None

Jameis Winston’s slowly but surely going about his business. Unfortunately for the Bucs, they’ll probably win just enough games to keep Lovie Smith in his job.

29. San Diego Chargers (2-7)

Change: -12

At least they’ve a move to LA to look forward to.

30. Houston Texans (3-5)

Change: +2

Sure they’ve a better record than the Jags and Titans but they’ve also Brian Hoyer at quarterback.

31. San Francisco 49ers

Change: +1

They’re one spot up on the quarter point of the season. That’s progress. But Blaine Gabbert.

32. Detroit Lions

Change: -1

This team was one terrible refereeing decision away from winning a playoff game last year. Now it’s a trainwreck.

Disagree? Of course you do. Let us know where your team should sit in the comment section below.

Previously: A quarter of the way through the season, who is the NFL’s best team?

Here’s the brutal hit the Colts believe left their star quarterback with a lacerated kidney

About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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