On Monday night, Nov.16, 2015 the Houston Texans went into Cincinnati and pulled off a huge upset as they bested the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals by a final score of 10-6. Defensive end JJ Watt and the rest of the Houston defense front, harassed Cincy quarterback Andy Dalton all night long and the defensive backfield prevented Bengals receivers from making big plays down the field. The way the game ended was a microcosm of the evening. The home team had one last chance to come through in a crucial situation, but as had been the case all night long, they came up short.
With less than a minute left in regulation time, the Bengals trailed 10-6 but had the ball at the Texans 33-yard line. The situation was was fourth down and six yards to go for a first down. Dalton then completed an 10-yard pass to star wide receiver A.J. Green; the yardage would have been more than enough for a first down, but Green fumbled the ball when tackled by Houston defensive back Quintin Demps. Demps then recovered the fumble and the Houston offensive took the field and ran out the clock. This was the final game of the tenth week of NFL action in the 2015 season.
Cincinnati fell to a record of 8-1, while Houston improved to 4-5. The Bengals still lead the AFC North division, and the Texans are now tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the lead in the AFC South division. Suddenly looking a bit vulnerable, Cincy will now go on the road to face a tough 7-2 Arizona Cardinals team in Week 11. With 10 weeks of NFL action now in the books, here is a look at the latest NFL Power Rankings.
1) Last week # 2: New England Patriots (9-0) The Pats survived a tough test against the New York Giants. There is no doubt about the mental toughness and preparation of this team. Unfortunately they suffered another big loss on offense, as wide receiver Julian Edelman went down with a broken bone in his left foot. Edelman will miss the rest of the regular season. Nobody knows what the future holds, but the Pats roll on.
2) LW # 3: Carolina Panthers (9-0) Up to this point, the Panthers have been left out of any discussions regarding the possibilty of an undefeated season. Now at 9-0, it may be time to put them in that conversation. At this point, it looks like the toughest remaining games will be against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12 and the New York Giants in Week 15. It would be a shocker, but it very well might happen.
3) LW # 4: Arizona Cardinals (7-2) Managed to blow a 19-0 lead against Seattle last week, before settling down and pulling out another win. Riding a three-game win streak, the Cards will face Cincinnati in the Sunday night game in Week 11. This should be a fantastic way to end the day. The big battle of ginger quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer, should be a classic.
4) LW # 1: Cincinnati Bengals (8-1) There is no need for panic. It is quite possible the Bengals got caught looking past Houston and forward to the big meeting in Arizona. There is only one way to prove the Monday night loss was a fluke; go out and compete hard against the Cardinals. Expect tight end Tyler Eifert to make up for a horrible Monday night performance during which the normally sure-handed third-year player dropped at least three well-thrown Andy Dalton passes. It’s time for this team to regain focus.
5) LW # 8: Minnesota Vikings (7-2) In some circles, the Vikes are still an unknown quantity. In others, they are well-respected and it is known that this five-game win streak is not just by chance. Last week Adrian Peterson ran for over 200 yards. With that kind of firepower in the backfield and good steady leadership from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, this team will be introducing themselves to the entire Nation when they face the Green Bay Packers in Week 11. This Minnesota squad is for real.
6) LW # 14: Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) It has been a topsy-turvy season in the Steel City. Fortunately they will benefit from a very timely bye week. This should give future hall of fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enough time to heal to at least 80 percent. In Week 12, they will be going to Seattle and more than likely stick a final dagger in the Seahawks playoff hopes.
7) LW # 10: New York Giants (5-5) The news taht wide receiver Victor Cruz will miss the rest of the season, may actually settle this team down. Now that it is known there is no expectation of him returning, they can work with what they have. The record is only .500, but if they can master the mystery of clock management, look out.
8) LW # 5: Green Bay Packers (6-3) The problems began in the weeks leading up to the current three-game losing streak. The Packers offense is out of sync and there seems to be more chaos than ever during the Mike McCarthy/Aaron Rodgers era. There is also the issue of overweight running back Eddie Lacy. The struggle is real; Rodgers is not going to be telling folks to r-e-l-a-x anytime soon.
9) LW # 6: Denver Broncos (7-2) Though he surpassed Brett Favre for the all-time lead in passing yardage, Peyton Manning’s future looks a little cloudy. Manning threw four interceptions this past week and the team is now turning to quarterback Brock Osweiler. manning does have a foot injury, but the question becomes, how bad would Osweiler have to be in order for Manning to get his job back ?
10) LW # 7: Seattle Seahawks (4-5) It is possible the Seahawks have this ranking based on reputation. Even so, it is increasingly hard to believe that a team this good has fallen this fast. Blown coverages, blown leads, none of it makes much sense. The roster talent is here, but they just are not functioning well as a unit.
Honorable mention: 11) Buffalo Bills (5-4) Got a big win over the New York Jets last week. They need running back LeSean McCoy to stay healthy. 12) New York Jets (5-4) It looks as though running back Chris Ivory may be wearing down. If so, it could be trouble. 13) Oakland Raiders (4-5) Were brought back down to earth last week against Minnesota. They now know how much work needs to be done. 14) Atlanta Falcons (6-3) Started off well, but have tailed off. If they cannot beat Indianapolis this week, it may be time to abandon all high hopes. 15) Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) Took down division rival Denver last week. If they can do the same to San Diego his week, they can restart playoff dreams.
NFL News: Monday, Nov 16, 2015 – The New Orleans Saints fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The Saints defense ranks last in the NFL in points per game, yards per play, and yards yielded per game. Also on Monday, the St Louis Rams announced that starting quarterback Nick Foles has been benched and quarterback Case Keenum will get the start in Week 11 vs Baltimore. Foles has struggled mightily and cannot seem to execute in key moments of the game. In Philadelphia, quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a shoulder injury and a concussion in the Week 10 loss to Miam. Bradford is not expected to play in the Eagles game against Tampa Bay in Week 12.