With week ten concluding in the NFL, here are the top five teams in the league.
1. Dallas Cowboys (8-1)
The Dallas Cowboys have won eight games in a row, and much of it is due to their consistency and explosiveness on offense. Thanks to their primary running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are ranked first in rushing yards per game. Elliott’s skillset helped the Cowboys grab a fourth quarter touchdown to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-30 at Heinz Field Sunday. Dak Prescott has also been a key player for the Cowboys. He has thrown for 2,339 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 66.8 percent of his passes. He has also kept the turnovers at a minimum, throwing two interceptions this season. With the help of a stout offensive line which creates holes for the running backs and gives the quarterback time in the pocket, the Cowboys have been able to remedy a weaker defense with an offense that can bleed time off the clock and keep the defense rested.
2. New England Patriots (7-2)
Despite suffering their first loss under Tom Brady Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks, the Patriots are still the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Patriots’ offense, led by Brady, has shown great versatility in scoring touchdowns, with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Martellus Bennett scoring three, one and four times, respectively. The Patriots have also had a strong running game with LeGarrette Blount, who leads all running backs in touchdowns with 12 on the season. The Patriots’ defense has been shown to bend at times, and with the loss of former linebacker Jamie Collins, the defense has lost some depth. Their overall balance on offense and defense has helped keep them on top of the AFC.
3. Denver Broncos (7-3)
The Denver Broncos have shown some offensive struggles in the past few weeks, and their offensive line has failed at times to protect quarterback Trevor Siemian. Running back C.J Anderson has also been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury which has taken away from the explosiveness the Broncos have at that position. Despite this, the Broncos’ defense is still ranked fourth in the league, and thanks to a last-minute blocked extra point try by Will Parks yesterday against the New Orleans Saints, the Broncos managed to pick up a difficult road victory. With a defense capable of making big plays when needed and an offense that makes winning plays, the Broncos are still amongst the NFL’s top teams as the defending champions.
4. Oakland Raiders (7-2)
The Oakland Raiders’ offense has carried them through the season, and is the biggest reason why they have only lost two games. Derek Carr has been consistent, as he has completed 66.1 percent of his passes and has thrown for 17 touchdowns. Receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts have helped Carr push the offense. Running back Latavius Murray has also carried the load with eight touchdowns on the season. The main issue for the Raiders has been their defense, which has seen them play a few games close to the wire. Despite this, the Raiders’ offense has shown the ability to win shootout games.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have been middle of the pack offensively. Led by quarterback Alex Smith, the Chiefs’ offense ranks 18th in points per game, 26th in yards per game and 22nd in passing yards per game. Despite this, their defense has been able to hold teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Carolina Panthers to under 20 points. The Chiefs are a chemistry-based and system-based team, relying on a steady running and passing attack along with a consistent defense to win games. At 7-2, there is no question that this formula has worked for them.
Isaiah Chisolm is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.