Continuing our updated power rankings it's the teams who aren't terrible but are going nowhere fast....
26) St Louis Rams
Very quietly Robert Quinn has been one of the biggest disappointments of this season. Signed to a huge six year $65.6 million contract in September the Rams were looking for Quinn to be their version of J.J. Watt, save that the rest of the St Louis defensive line is more talented than the Texans line.
The only bright spot for the Rams is third string QB Austin Davis
The Rams needed Quinn to lead the defensive line this season. More than this though the pressure he would bring on the QB was necessary to paper over the weakness in the secondary and keep the team competitive in games. So far though this is not happening. Quinn has no sacks and 12 tackles for the season. If the Rams are going to do anything this season they need this to change pronto.
The only bright spot for the Rams is that third string QB Austin Davis looks like he should have been starting ahead of the injured Bradford and Hill all along. Right now the inexperienced QB is keeping his team competitive throwing for 192 yards, 235 yards, 327 yards and 375 yards against the Vikings,Buccaneers, Cowboys and Eagles respectively. He's fight a losing battle though.
25) Minnesota Vikings
It is fair to say that the Vikings are going through a transitional period right now. Adrian
Petersen is effectively done for this season. Rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater has taken over the QB spot whilst the highly touted Cordarelle Patterson seems to delight in super-gluing himself to opposing corners.
With Norv Turner as offensive co-ordinator you would think things will improve over the course of the season but right now the Vikings just aren't very good.
24) Atlanta Falcons
In HBO's Hard Knocks the Falcons made a big thing about getting tougher and nastier. They had got a reputation for being soft and they were going to eradicate it. Six weeks into the season the Falcons are 2-4 and we can conclusively say that they have failed in this task.
Teams are wise to the fact that the Falcons can be bullied and they are doing so with gusto.
23) Pittsburgh Steelers
Time may show that it was only reputation keeping the Steelers this high up in the rankings but for now I'm going to give Pittsburgh the benefit of the doubt. Right now it seems that that the Steelers lack more for consistency than talent.
Their redzone offense is the 31st worst in the NFL, converting chances just 36% of the time
At times, such as the first half against the Browns week one and the week 3 victory over the Panthers, the Steelers have looked really, really good. Then against the Browns, Buccaneers, Ravens and Jaguars they have looked awful.
The biggest worry though is the redzone offense which is the 31st worst in the NFL converting chances just 36% of the time. The Steelers have a lot of work to do.
22) Houston Texans
The reason the Texans are so high in these rankings is due to one man - J.J. Watt. Right now he is my candidate for MVP. Since the retirement of Lawrence Taylor no defensive player has been as dominant as Watt is right now.
If the Texans had a decent NFL quarterback as opposed to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Had they for example, got Kyle Orton, Brian Hoyer or Michael Vick then the Texans would have beaten the Colts last Thursday and would be set to win the AFC South.
21) Miami Dolphins
Were it not for the heroics of Aaron Rodgers then the situation in Miami would look very different. It would be only one win but it would give them a 3-2 record rather than a 2-3 record - and that could make all the difference because the next six weeks of football are TOUGH.
Out of the next six weekends of football it is only the away trip to Jacksonville that they will be favorites for. Link this tough schedule with a roster that has potential but is not really showing it yet and the Dolphins are one of the NFL's nearly teams.
20) New Orleans Saints
From number three in the power rankings to number 20 the Saints are the biggest fallers in the rankings. Saints fans better hope that Drew Brees & co have put the bye week to good use because at the moment they are awful.
Their record is 2-3 so far and even those two wins have not been especially impressive. In particular the win OT win over Tampa Bay should have set alarm bells off. Tampa Bay are awful - a good or even average Saints team should be dispatching them comfortably at home.
19) Buffalo Bills
The Bills are a less good version of the Bengals. They have a strong roster but are being held back by poor quarterback play. Kyle Orton is an improvement over EJ Manuel but he is still Kyle Orton
The Bills are a less good version of the Bengals
Buffalo could challenge for honors in the AFC over the next few seasons, especially if Sammy Watkins follows up on his early promise, but right now they are an average team. They are 3-3 currently and it would not surprise if they were to go 8-8.
18) Kansas City Chiefs
Just imagine what Jaamal Charles and Knile Davis could do if they had a decent offensive line in front of them. The decision not to strengthen either at wide receiver or offensive line in the draft is one of the most perplexing in the NFL.
If Andy Reid had done either or both then it is easy to see the Chiefs picking up wins against the Broncos and 49ers rather than the narrow defeats they suffered.
As it is, Kansas City are one of the most underwhelming sides in the NFL. They aren't awful but they aren't anything special and in an AFC West containing the Broncos and the Chargers this isn't good enough.
17) Carolina Panthers
More than any other team in the NFL the Panthers are completely reliant on quarterback Cam Newton. The good news for the Panthers is that Newton is finally getting back to full fitness and is once again able to make plays with his feet as well as inside the pocket.
Unfortunately, for the Panthers the rest of the roster is still almost completely uninspiring. The offensive line is a liability. The run game is going nowhere fast and the much heralded defense is giving up point after point.Their next four games are against the Packers, Seahawks, Saints and Eagles. That's about as tough as it gets.
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