24. Carolina Panthers (-3)
Carolina had two defensive touchdowns today and still didn’t win the game. That doesn’t make them a better or worse team than we expected based on last week’s power rankings, but if you are going to get those breaks in a game then you have to make the most of them.
Instead, the Panthers lost to one of the better “bad teams” in the NFL in the Vikings thanks to a comeback drive from Kirk Cousins.
The consensus on the Panthers has to be that they are a good team with a solid offense and a young, talented defense that is getting better and better. This isn’t their year, but they have the basis of a good team and I even think that you can win 9 or 10 games with Teddy Bridgewater if you surround him with more talent.
23. Houston Texans (+2)
The Texans made the box score look like they were powerhouses on offense, but that also included a trick play for a touchdown and a series of mistakes by the Detroit Lions that set Houston up for success.
While the final score is deceptive, that game wasn’t close and the Lions looked thoroughly outclassed against a team that is missing some of their better players.
I think the Texans were a coach away from being great in 2018 and 2019, and with the likely departure of J.J. Watt I don’t know what is going to happen next season. However, they didn’t quit and even though moral victories suck, it is better to have them than have nothing.