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Matt Tabeek's Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings: A new No. 1; Saints slide, Cowboys crack top 10

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We’re heading into the final quarter of the 2018 season and while the top contenders in each conference appear to be set, things are still very much wide open when it comes to the AFC and NFC wild-card races. And the latest Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings reflect as much. 

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Outside of the Cowboys cracking the top 10 following their stunning win over the Saints on “Thursday Night Football,” there was little movement up top. For starters, there’s a new No. 1 this week – the Rams assume the top spot – but the top three teams have been the same for most of the season, with some variation of the Rams, Chiefs and Saints.

Beyond the top 10, it’s a free-for-all. In the NFC, the Vikings fell three spots to No. 12 and the Panthers slipped all the way from No. 11 to 17 this week. The Falcons lost their fourth straight game and now find themselves sitting at No. 24. In the AFC, the Ravens and Broncos continue to trend upwards and are in the thick of the wild-card race following wins. You can check out the rest of my rankings below:

Table inside Article
RANK TEAM TABEEK'S TAKE PREVIOUS (Nov. 27)
1 Rams (11-1) They’re back in the top spot and, for now, the road to the NFC title runs through Los Angeles. 2
2 Chiefs (10-2) Losing Kareem Hunt will hurt some, but they’ll be fine as long as they protect Patrick Mahomes. 3
3 Saints (10-2) Took one on the chin against the Cowboys. They’ll look to avenge an early season loss to Bucs. 1
4 Chargers (9-3) I’ve said it all season long and I’ll keep saying it: Watch out for the Chargers; no one wants to face them. 4
5 Patriots (9-3) If the Chiefs slip down the stretch, they’ll pounce on that No. 1 seed. Wouldn’t that be something. 5
6 Texans (9-3) Another team that’s red-hot and has won nine straight. They’re still the third-best in the AFC though. 6
7 Bears (8-4) Surprising loss the to the Giants. Peeking ahead at the Rams? Huge one coming up at home. 7
8 Steelers (7-4-1) They had the Chargers down and let ’em come back. That one could hurt down the road. 8
9 Seahawks (7-5) There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Seahawks right now – and they’ve got an easy final stretch. 10
10 Cowboys (7-5) They crack into the top 10 after a statement win against the Saints. Crucial game vs. Philly up next. 12
11 Ravens (7-6) Their defense is legit but it’s going to be tested against the high-powered Chiefs. Tough road assignment. 13
12 Vikings (6-5-1) They’re currently the sixth seed in the NFC but not for long if they can’t knock off the Seahawks. 9
13 Eagles (6-6) Huge win at home against the Redskins puts them in position to challenge Dallas in the NFC East. 17
14 Broncos (6-6) They’ve won three straight and suddenly find themselves in the thick of the AFC wild-card race. 19
15 Colts (6-6) They’re 4-1 in their last five games but have a monster game on the road vs. division-leading Texans. 14
16 Redskins (6-6) No team has been hit harder with injuries than the Redskins. Somehow they still have a pulse in the NFC. 15
17 Panthers (6-6) What is going on in Carolina? They’ve lost four straight and are playing themselves right out of the NFC playoff picture. 11
18 Titans (6-6) Jaguars-Titans on ‘Thursday Night Football’ … Aren’t you excited? Woo-hoo. OK, I’ll stop. 22
19 Dolphins (6-6) The Dolphins are currently the seventh seed in the AFC. A win over the Patriots would do wonders for them. 20
20 Packers (4-7-1) Strange week in Packers land. How much different will the offense look against the Falcons? 18
21 Browns (4-7-1) They could deal a severe blow to the Panthers’ fading playoff hopes with a win this weekend. 16
22 Buccaneers (5-7) Will they pull off another stunning upset of the Saints, like they did in Week 1? Probably not. 24
23 Bengals (5-7) Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are done for the year … and so is the Bengals’ once-promising season. 21
24 Falcons (4-8) A big win at Lambeau Field would be a nice shot in the arm for this team as it heads into the final quarter of the season. 23
25 Giants (4-8) They’re starting to find their groove as a team and look to play the role of spoiler down the stretch. 27
26 Lions (4-8) They hung with the Rams for about three quarters. They’ve lost five of their last six games. 26
27 Jaguars (4-8) They shut out Andrew Luck and the Colts, which is impressive (but only scores six points in the win). 28
28 Bills (4-8) Once again rookie QB Josh Allen was their leading rusher in another loss. 25
29 Cardinals (3-9) They’re riding high after a huge win up in Lambeau Field for their first-year coach and rookie quarterback. 32
30 Jets (3-9) They’re looking to snap a six-game losing streak – and can do so against their AFC East rivals. 29
31 Raiders (2-10) They’ve been officially eliminated for the AFC playoff race and are counting down the days until the NFL Draft. 31
32 49ers (2-10) They’ve lost nine of their last 10 games but can affect the playoffs. Next four games are against the Broncos, Seahawks, Bears and Rams. 30

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