17. San Diego Chargers (16)
San Diego is a team on the rise. This past weekend they scored two defensive touchdowns. Combine that with Melvin Gordon rushing for over 190 yards against a team that gives up slightly more than 80 yards per game on the ground, and a veteran quarterback playing at a very high level and you have a team that can win this year. The slow start killed them, but this team could easily be 6-3 or 7-2, and has one of the most balanced rosters in the league.
18. New Orleans Saints (24)
All of the sudden, the Saints are hot as they have climbed all the way back to .500. They chose a perfect time to host the defending champion Broncos this week. The Saints offense is rolling, and the Broncos defense is battered, allowing 30 on Sunday Night to the Raiders. Combine that with the fact that the Saints weakness is their defense—a weakness that a terrible Broncos offense is unlikely to be able to exploit. For weeks, the Broncos futile offense has been making average to poor defenses look like absolute world beaters. Combine all this with the fact that the 11am start time is typically a tough game for a Pacific/Mountain time zone team, and you have a good recipe to get a win if you are the Saints.
19. Buffalo Bills (18)
There are no moral victories in the NFL, but the Bills came about as close to that as they could hope. They delivered a very good showing in an extremely hostile environment as they nearly out-gained the Seahawks 2 to 1. It really doesn’t help them at all in the win column, but they should feel good about themselves moving forward as many teams have fared far worse in front of the 12th man.
20. Tennessee Titans (17)
Are the Titans going to win the AFC South? Who knows. What is certain is, despite the loss, the Titans have the look of the best team in that division. Not sure if that says more about the weakness of the division or the strength of the Titans, but either way, it’s good news for a team that has been down for a long time.