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Cue The Duck Boats Again? Patriots Ascend Atop AFC Power Rankings

How many duck boats would it take to hold championship parades on the same day for the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots? Hoist a Narraganett to Tiebreaker.com’s power ranking powerhouses.

AFC Power rankings

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New England Patriots

Throughout Steelers Nation, you could sense fans holding their breath, praying the team didn’t do anything stupid, like trade Le’Veon Bell to the Patriots on Tuesday. That would have been highly treasonous, don’t you think? If you saw the Patriots gain only 75 yards rushing in Buffalo, you figured Belichick might be looking for someone to help James White until Sony Michel gets back. And least we know it won’t be Bell – we think.

Kansas City Chiefs

For those waiting for Warpaint, the Chiefs beloved mascot, to stop galloping around Arrowhead Stadium after another of Pat Mahomes’ touchdown pass, we have some good news. The Chiefs will play at Cleveland this weekend and Warpaint will be back in his barn sucking on sugar cubes and having his coat gently brushed. That doesn’t mean the Pat Smackdown won’t continue against the lowly Browns. It will. And guess what, the Chiefs play Arizona in KC on Nov. 11! Giddy up, big fella!

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2013, something former coach Mike McCoy paid dearly for. Now in his second season, Anthony Lynn can see the path, albeit one blocked at the top of the AFC West by the Chiefs despite four straight wins. But now the Chargers will play four of their next seven on the road, where they’ve won just nine times since 2015. Will Melvin Gordon’s return be enough to help turn that around?

Pittsburgh Steelers

We repeat what we’ve been saying all season. Bell made a big mistake by not reporting. There is no doubt the Steelers can use him. What would they do if James Connor gets hurt, especially after gaining at least 100 yards rushing in three straight games?  Stevan Ridley? Gulp. But the situation is not as dire as it was earlier this season, when Antonio Brown was being asked about throwing furniture out windows. The Steelers are back in business.  By the way, is it our imagination or does Vance McDonald remind you a little of Heath Miller and Benny Cunningham?

AFC power rankings

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Houston Texans

The Texans have won five straight. If this eventually leads to another AFC North title, everyone will recall “The Great Train Ride of Deshaun Watson” that carried the injured QB from Houston to Jacksonville two weeks ago to protect his injured ribs and lung. Watson had been sacked 25 times, hit 70 times before that game. And yet he led the Texans to victory. Last weekend, he was 16-of-20 for 239 yards and five TDs against the Miami Dolphins. That’s leadership. All aboard!

Baltimore Ravens

Remember the good old days when Tiebreaker.com was comparing this Ravens defense to the one Ray Lewis, Tony Siragusa and Rod Woodson led to the Super Bowl championship in 2000? We may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. The Panthers rang up 36 points on it last week. We noticed. But the bigger problem is their stagnant offense. They acquired halfback Ty Montgomery from the Packers on Tuesday, which is fine as long as they let him return kickoffs.

Cincinnati Bengals

We are calling a misconduct penalty on the Bengals defense which has allowed at least 480 yards in each of its last three games and is allowing an league-worst 477.8 per game. Last week, without the injured linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil, they let Tampa Bay – Tampa Bay! – rack up 576 yards, and average of 6.9 per play. The Bengals are on their bye and things need to improve before they return Nov. 11 to play the New Orleans Saints.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos dealt receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Texans on Tuesday and that officially drops the curtain of sentimentality on one of the greatest plays in team history. The 2011 AFC playoffs. Pittsburgh at Denver. Tied 23-23 heading into overtime. Tim Tebow drops back on the first play of OT and connects over the middle with a striding Thomas who then speeds past Ryan Mundy and Ike Taylor for a 80-yard TD. Memories. Case Keenum-to-Courtland Sutton isn’t getting it done for you, is it?

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags have lost four straight and many of their fans were hoping for a trade before Tuesday’s deadline, maybe something that would bring Derek Carr, Josh McCown or Eli Manning to town to replace Blake Bortles. Instead, they decided to dish defensive end, Dante Fowler, the third overall pick in 2015, the Rams for a couple of low-round picks. OK, whatever. We have a suggestion: Last year, you led the NFL in rushing. This year, you can’t run at all.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans have lost three straight and have nearly gotten Marcus Mariota killed in the process. To celebrate his 25th birthday this week, he took off the glove that’s helped him grip the ball since September because of finger numbness caused by nerve damage in his throwing elbow. He has thrown for barely over 1,000 yards with just three TDs and a passer rating under 50.0. It’s a wonder he’s still standing.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have lost four of five and no longer can stop the run. Detroit and Houston have combined for 436 rushing yards over the last two games. So they signed defensive end Ziggy Hood, who had three tackles in four games with the Washington Redskins. They Zigged when they should have Zagged. But we get it, Hood is serviceable. He can play tackle, as well. And the Dolphins have suffered inordinate losses across the defensive line this season. Defensive tackle Vince Taylor was put on IR on Tuesday with a foot injury. It’s been a big problem.

New York Jets

Sam Darnold should look at the bright side. The New York Giants could have drafted him and he’d likely be on the bench watching Nate Solder, the $62 million offensive tackle, and his buddies along the offensive line, age Eli Manning beyond his years. Manning has been sacked 31 times.  We are reminded of something Gen. George C. Patton once said, and something rival defenses could use as their motto this season when playing Big Blue: “We land against the enemy, don’t forget to hit him and hit him hard. When we meet the enemy we will kill him. We will show him no mercy.” Sam Darnold is one lucky guy.

Indianapolis Colts

Did you know that Andrew Luck (23) is second only to Mahomes (26) in TD passes this season? Did you know that tight ends Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron and Mo Alie-Cox each caught TD passes last week against Oakland. Did you know Marlin Mack is the first Colts halfback since Joseph Addai 11 years ago to have consecutive 100-yard rushing games? Yep, that’s about all we have for you, Colts fans.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns fired coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Monday. Let’s face it, they put Browns fans out of their misery. We have only one question, now that Baker Mayfield been sacked 19 times in his last five starts. Who will protect and tutor this kid for the remainder of the season? Interim coach Gregg Williams is a defensive specialist. Interim OC Freddie Kitchens has never called a play. Paul Brown died in 1991.

Oakland Raiders

We have exhausted all our one-liners about Jon Gruden and we are just halfway through the season. Now the joke is on Thursday Night Football. This week’s game: Raiders vs. 49ers. The Raiders website tells us that Oakland is on a one-game winning streak over San Francisco in this heated rivalry. Who is the smartest guy in the Raiders organization? We vote for corner Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. He announced his retirement on Tuesday.

Buffalo Bills

Follow the time line: Josh Allen gets hurt. Nathan Peterman moves in. Peterman can’t play. Derek Anderson is signed. Anderson gets hurt. Allen still can’t play. Peterman moves in again. And you want to know why Buffalo’s 2-6 start is its worst since going 0-8 in 2010.

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