weather icon Clear

49ers most deserving of playoffs, but Patriots still lurking

Projecting the teams most deserving of the playoffs and ranking them heading into Week 10.

1. San Francisco (8-0)

49ers look to stay the lone unbeaten with the aid of 11 days off while Seattle is coming off an overtime game.

This week: vs. Seattle (7-2), Monday. Last week’s ranking: 2.

2. New England (8-1)

Not a good showing by the defense in Baltimore, but even the 1985 Bears had a stinker in a 38-24 loss at Miami.

This week: Bye. Last week’s ranking: 1.

3. New Orleans (7-1)

With 73 catches so far, receiver Michael Thomas is on pace to break Marvin Harrison’s NFL record of 143.

This week: vs. Atlanta (1-7). Last week’s ranking: 3.

4. Green Bay (7-2)

The upstart Packers face their first adversity after road wreck vs. Chargers with Panthers and Niners up next.

This week: vs. Carolina (5-3). Last week’s ranking: 4.

5. Kansas City (6-3)

The undermanned Chiefs earned a lot of respect by gutting out a win over Vikings, and the defense is improving.

This week: at Tennessee (4-5). Last week’s ranking: 5.

6. Baltimore (6-2)

Ravens looked like contenders in knocking off the champs, but — upset alert — many teams have hangovers after playing Patriots. Even the Dolphins won last week.

This week: at Cincinnati (0-8). Last week’s ranking: 6.

7. Seattle (7-2)

They add receiver Josh Gordon, but defense has allowed sixth-most points in league (230). Pass rush, not passing game, needs improvement.

This week: at San Francisco (8-0). Last week’s ranking: 9.

8. Houston (6-3)

Texans need to get a lot of rest because they return to face Ravens, Colts and Patriots. Yikes.

This week: Bye. Last week’s ranking: 10.

9. Minnesota (6-3)

Toughness questions continue to dog Kirk Cousins after Vikings blow 23-20 lead at KC. Final six plays: minus-7 yards.

This week: at Dallas (5-3). Last week’s ranking: 7.

10. Indianapolis (5-3)

Not a surprise Jacoby Brissett (MCL sprain) may play. He once won a game for Patriots with a busted thumb that later needed season-ending surgery.

This week: vs. Miami (1-7). Last week’s ranking: 8.

11. Dallas (5-3)

Michael Bennett had a sack and six quarterback pressures in debut. Might be putting the D in Dallas.

This week: vs. Minnesota (6-3). Last week’s ranking: 11.

12. Buffalo (6-2)

Free Devin Singletary. After getting 29 touches in the previous four games, the rookie back had 23 for 140 yards vs. Redskins.

This week: at Cleveland (2-6). Last week’s ranking: 12.

Dropped out: None.

Knocking on the door: Rams (5-3), Eagles (5-4), Raiders (4-4), Panthers (5-3), Chargers (4-5), Jaguars (4-5).

Like and follow Vegas Nation