Jerry McDonald’s NFL weekly power rankings: Gurley, Rams at No. 1

Don't look now, but Los Angeles is back on the map as a football city

Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley II (30) runs against the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter of their NFL game at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


1. L.A. Rams (6-0)

Rams show why they’re weather proof and can slug it out as well as air it out — MVP candidate Todd Gurley rushes for 208 yards in Denver

Last week: 2 Next: at 49ers

2. New England (4-2)

Bill Belichick will talk up Khalil Mack big time this week. But be advised — Belichick would never pay that kind of money to a defensive player, no matter how good he is.

Last week: 7 Next: at Chicago

3. Kansas City (5-1)

No disgrace in losing to Patriots, but can Pat Mahomes and Chiefs offense keep this up when the weather turns? Alex Smith was tearing it up at this point last year. It bears watching.

Last week: 1 Next: Cincinnati

4. New Orleans (4-1)

After a one-week break, the Drew Brees appreciation tour resumes against a Ravens team that sacked Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota 11 times.

Last week: 4 Next: at Baltimore

5. L.A. Chargers (4-2)

Early flop against Chiefs is long forgotten. Philip Rivers gives Chargers a chance to win every week, and defense has pressured passer adequately even without Joey Bosa.

Last week: 8 Next: Tennessee (London)

6. Baltimore (4-2)

To steal a line from Michael Corleone in the long-forgotten Godfather III, `Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.’ The Ravens are like that.

Last week: 12 Next: New Orleans

7. Miami (4-2)

Stat that makes no sense at all — Brock Osweiler is 4-0 in overtime games in his career. Aaron Rodgers? He’s 1-7-1. (He usually wins before overtime).

Last week: 16 Next: Detroit

8. Green Bay (3-2-1)

Packers have a week off to figure out if they can stop anyone or if they’re going to need Aaron Rodgers to bail them out 10 more times. He just might.

Last week: 11 Next: Bye

9. Minnesota (3-2-1)

When Adam Theilen gets to the stadium, Kirk Cousins greets him at the car. Theilen is on pace to catch 155 passes this season. The record is 143 by Marvin Harrison.

Last week: 10 Next: at N.Y. Jets

10. Pittsburgh (3-2-1)

Miami-Ohio product Ben Roethlisberger keeps racking up wins in his home state. He’s 26-4-1 playing games in Cincinnati and Cleveland.

Last week: 13 Next: Bye

11. Cincinnati (4-2)

Vontaze Burfict couldn’t quite get the cheap shot knockout against Antonio Brown. This week sets his sights against Tyreek Hill.

Last week: 3 Next: at Kansas City

12. Washington (3-2)

OK, this alternating “very good to awful” thing week to week is getting strange. After beating Carolina, awful is up next against Cowboys in theory.

Last week: 14 Next: Dallas

13. Chicago (3-2)

Bears weren’t the first team to wilt in Miami. We’ll have a much better idea about Mitchel Trubisky and Co. after visiting the Patriots. He’s got nine TD passes in his last two games.

Last week: 5 Next: New England

14. Carolina (3-2)

Am on board with signing players on merit rather than standing/kneeling for the anthem. But when the Panthers sign Eric Reid and immediately make him a starter, something’s rotten — both in their own secondary as well as the NFL.

Last week: 6 Next: at Philadelphia

15. Seattle (3-3)

Seahawks are much better off when Russell Wilson is managing and creating and letting the defense do the work. Frank Clark looked the part of Seattle defenses of the past vs. Raiders.

Last week: 18 Next: Bye

16. Philadelphia (3-3)

Angling hard to bring LeSean McCoy back in to the fold from Buffalo. As it stands, running game rests with Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement. Who? Thought so.

Last week: 19 Next: at Carolina

17. Dallas (3-3)

Big win over Jacksonville has Jerry Jones under the delusion that this is a playoff team. It isn’t. Jags didn’t even show up.

Last week: 26 Next: at Washington

18. Jacksonville (3-3)

Crossroads game for Doug Marrone. Is he Jack Del Rio of the 2016 Raiders, destined for a slide and a ticket out of town? Defensive collapse vs. Cowboys was hard to fathom

Last week: 9 Next: at Houston

19. N.Y. Jets (3-3)

The legend of “Broadway Sam” Darnold is picking up steam. Jets aren’t that good, but they’re 3-3 and if they get to seven wins, it’s something to build on.

Last week: 23 Next: Minnesota

20. Houston (3-3)

In the morass that is the NFC South, this is what the favorite may look like. J.J. Watt is a reasonable facsimile of his old self and Deshaun Watson slowly rounding in to shape.

Last week: 21 Next: at Jacksonville

21. Cleveland (2-3-1)

Just when you thought the Hue Jacks were ready to make a statement, they do what Cleveland does. Still think Baker Mayfield will work out, though. No playoffs this year, though.

Last week: 15 Next: at Tampa Bay

22. Tennessee (3-3)

In an era where the NFL has legislated that offense is king, the Titans are coming off a loss in which they had 106 yards of total offense and seven first downs. With 11 sacks of Marcus Mariota.

Last week: 17 Next: L.A. Chargers (London)

23. Tampa Bay (2-3)

Jameis Winston loses for the 10th time in his last 11 starts. So naturally, Bucs do the right thing and fire defensive coordinator Mike Smith..Last week: 20 Next: Cleveland

24. Detroit (2-3)

After a week off, Lions and Matt Stafford go where teams just hate to play — Miami when there’s still a trace of humidity and heat.

Last week: 22 Next: at Miami

25. Denver (2-4)

Are the Broncos giving up on Case Keenum already? As well as coach Vance Joseph? John Elway is on the verge of going from Jerry West to Jerry Jones in terms of running a franchise.

Last week: 24 Next: at Arizona

26. Atlanta (2-4)

Matt Ryan never had a game last season with three touchdown passes. He’s got three such games already this season. Considering Falcons’ defense, he’ll need to keep it up.

Last week: 27 Next: N.Y. Giants

27. Buffalo (2-4)

Not trying to be mean-spirited or anything, but isn’t it time the Bills pulled the plug on Nathan Peterman? Considering what he’s gone through, hope he has a long, lucrative career as a backup.

Last week: 25 Next: at Indianapolis

28. 49ers (1-5)

How can a team dominate both sides of the line of scrimmage in a difficult road venue and still lose? Aaron Rodgers. Not many of those left on the schedule.

Last week: 32 Next: L.A. Rams

29. Indianapolis (1-5)

@CaptAndrewLuck is too often firing his cannons directly to the enemy. Three picks against the Jets, the ninth three-interception game of his career.

Last week: 28 Next: Buffalo

30. Arizona (1-5)

Showing some promise with Josh Rosen at quarterback, but not much evidence at this point he can remain upright considering his supporting cast.

Last week: 29 Next: Denver

31. N.Y. Giants (1-5)

Eli Manning may go down in history as the least respected quarterback with two Super Bowl rings in NFL history. He should call Jim Plunkett for comfort.

Last week: 30 Next: at Atlanta

32. Raiders (1-5)

London loss was awful on so many fronts. O-line was wounded and overwhelmed, giving Derek Carr no chance. If that doesn’t change, Raiders will stay right here.

Last week: 31 Next: Bye

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