NFL Power Rankings are boring.  They are generic.  Everyone has their thoughts on which of the teams sitting with 1 win are truly the worst.  And we all believe the Rams are the clear Super Bowl favorite, but we are entitled to debate whether the Patriots, Chiefs, Chargers or another contender is the choice in the AFC.  But instead of simply ranking the teams 1 through 32, I break them down into one of five categories:

  1. Super Bowl Contenders
  2. Super Bowl Pretenders
  3. Stuck in the Middle
  4. Fun While It Lasted
  5. In Need of a Savior

With the trade deadline behind us and some coaches on both sides of the ball being shown the door, there was plenty of movement this week amongst the 32 teams.  Are the Rams still number one? Is there a new contender? Lets check it out!

Praying for an Answer

  1. Oakland Raiders: The Oakland Raiders have been the epitome of dysfunction. No direction, no clear plan, no cohesion. Yes, they have three first round picks, but where do you invest them? A QB to replace Derek Carr?  But is he the problem?  Improve a defense that got lit up for 42 points by the Colts? At home? Draft a #1 RB or WR?  So many holes, so many problems.  Have fun Vegas! (Last week: 32)
  1. Buffalo Bills: Two words. Nathan Peterman. Enough said. (Last week: 28)
  1. San Francisco 49ers: They lost to the #29 team just last week. Guess where that lands you? #30.  With CJ Beathard out this week, it appears that Nick Mullens will be under center.  I could give you 15358345263 chances to try and guess what school he went to and you would not get it.  Hint, it is in Mississippi.  But NOT Ole Miss or Mississippi State. Yeh, Southern Miss.  But unlike fellow alum Brett Favre, he is not Brett Favre. (Last week: 30)
  1. Arizona Cardinals: Hooray, they came back and defeated the 49ers. Yet even under new OC Byron Leftwich, they did not properly utilize David Johnson and Josh Rosen continues to look lost.  Mazel Cardinals on being the most boring team in the entire league! (Last week: 31)

Who does Walter Football think is the most overrated bad team in the league? Find out HERE.

  1. New York Giants: Well, they are doing what they can to tank and even the backup QB Kyle Lauletta is getting into the act by being arrested earlier this week. At least unlike Eli, we know he can avoid the rush (Ducks). (Last week: 27)
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Fitzmagic time! Yeh, not quite. Not an exciting to see the 40+ year old geriatric play better than your “franchise” quarterback. Probably the end of the line for Famous Jameis in Tampa, so guess what? They are in the QB derby of 2019. (Last week: 25)
  1. Cleveland Browns: After another ugly loss, they clean house, firing their head coach and offensive coordinator. Yep, that should enhance the development of Baker Mayfield. Especially with psychopath Greg Williams now in charge.  Those poor, poor Browns fans. (Last week: 20)

Fun While It Lasted 

  1. Miami Dolphins: Finally, it appears as if Adam Gase has come to the realization that his two best offensive weapons, Kenyan Drake and DeVante Parker should be on the field. Too bad it took him till Week 8. Oh and they got smoked by the Texans on TNF.  Gase is just not that good of a Head Coach and the Dolphins are still, all the years removed from Marino, still looking for a franchise QB. (Last week: 24)
  1. Denver Broncos: So, they traded a 4-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for a 4th and 7th round pick. Most people would say that is a firesale, but not when they have talented SMU wideout Courtland Sutton, who is averaging over 19 yards per reception who can step right in. Not a bad move by Elway. They played inspired against Kansas City and for that, they get moved up.  Plus, they were not afraid to trade a veteran, to give a youngster an opportunity, all while amassing picks.  Now go find a QUARTERBACK! (Last week: 29)
  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Two words, number 2. Blake Bortles. Shocked he made it back from London without someone on the defensive side of the ball throwing him into the Atlantic Ocean.  Thanks for running your mouth Jalen, your team is bad. (Last week: 13)
  1. Indianapolis Colts: I am very encouraged by the improved offensive line play, the emergence of Marlon Mack and Andrew Luck’s health. They still play little defense, cannot win those kind of games and need a lot of work on that side of the ball. (Last week: 26)
  1. New York Jets: The Jets are just a MASH unit right now. No healthy receivers, no healthy DB’s, no coach with a clue. Well hey, at least they have a quarterback of the future. And likely a new regime come 2019. (Last week: 22)
  1. Tennessee Titans: The Titans defense is the real deal, but I am still not sold, all these years later, that they have a franchise quarterback. They have no star at running back or receiver, and that needs to be addressed this offseason. But for now, they are middle of the pack. Not good, not bad, not wonderful, not dreadful.  Just…average. (Last week: 19) 
  1. Chicago Bears: Continued progress from a 2nd year quarterback is always good to see. Even without Allen Robinson the Bears got it done against the Jets. A team I will be very high on entering 2019. A solid first year already for Matt Nagy. (Last week: 21) 

Stuck in the Middle

  1. Dallas Cowboys: The biggest question mark at the deadline will be the impact of Cooper on the Cowboys offense and in particular, Dak Prescott. Can they win the division? Sure. Can they also finish in 3rd? Sure.  Will be an interesting stretch run for Jason Garrett and the ‘Boys. (Last week: 18)
  1. Atlanta Falcons: After a bye week, lets see how the Falcons come out in a tough road game at Washington. This is make it or break it time. A win, they are in contention. A loss, peace out! (Last week: 16)
  1. Green Bay Packers: With the trade of Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, it is clear the Packers are thinking about next season. More picks, more potential ammunition to get a higher pick in the draft and load up for one more run with Rodgers. A showdown with Brady awaits.  But can the Pack really go into Gillette on a Sunday Night, with a defense that has not stopped anyone all season and emerge with a victory?  I doubt it. (Last week: 14) 
  1. Detroit Lions: What an ugly performance in a home blowout loss to the #14 team the Seahawks. With the trade of Golden Tate, expect Kenny Golladay to go off. Kerryon Johnson has also been a tremendous draft pick, so the future does look bright in Motown, despite their recent results. (Last week: 15)
  1. Seattle Seahawks: I am impressed with the Hawks road win at Detroit, yet in a division with the Rams, they are not going to win it. Can they challenge for a Wild Card? Maybe. But there are better teams in the NFC fighting for those spots.  So kudos on the road win, now keep it going.  (Last week: 23)

Pretenders 

  1. Baltimore Ravens: What an embarrassing display in Carolina in a blowout loss to the Panthers. Here is your opportunity Mr. Flacco. Go sweep the season series from the Steelers this weekend, by winning a home game and you get moved up into the top 10.  Until then, same old Fluko and the Ravens. (Last week: 11)
  1. Carolina Panthers: I must say, Cam Newton is silencing his critics in 2018. Norv Turner has done wonders for his quarterbacks confidence and there is no mistaking the success. With a juicy matchup against the reeling Bucs on the schedule, the Panthers are on their way to another victory and moving into the top ten. (Last week: 12)
  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Wonderful, you beat the Browns at home. Show me something Big Ben. Go knock off the team that beat you at home earlier in the season.  Maybe then, we can take this iteration of the Steelers seriously. (Last week: 10)
  1. Cincinnati Bengals: They almost choked away a game to the lowly Bucs, but hey, they pulled it out. Now, with a bye week, they can gear up for the second half. I love what I see from Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon, who have developed into Pro Bowl level offensive talents.  But can Andy Dalton live up to his regular season performance in the postseason? (Last week: 9)
  1. Washington Redskins: I must say, the Skins being where they are in the standings is impressive. With no game-breaking wide receiver, an aging running back and a game-manager at QB, it is tough to win games like that in this NFL. They are at #9 for that reason and make another statement by virtually ending the Falcons season this Sunday at home. (Last week: 17)
  1. Houston Texans: Brilliant move to replace the injured Will Fuller with Demaryius Thomas. That is an ideal fit. I expect the 4-time Pro Bowler to regain his form now that he is being tossed the ball by Deshaun Watson and not the likes of Tebow, Lynch, Osweiler and Keenum. Love the combination with D-Hop and even Lamar Miller looks like himself the last few weeks. A very dangerous team in the AFC with A LOT to prove. (Last week: 8)
  1. Philadelphia Eagles: Nice win against the helpless Jags in London. Now, with the Cowboys loading up with Amari Cooper and the Skins adding to their already impressive defense, the Eagles bolstered their receiving core with Golden Tate. It will be a fascinating three-horse race for the NFC East this season. I would favor the defending champs 10 times out of 10. Better coaching, better quarterback, better receivers, championship material. (Last week: 7)

Super Bowl Contenders

6. Minnesota Vikings: Many would rule out the Vikings as contender simply because of their home loss to the Saints. Remember, the Saints had something to prove following that crushing playoff loss on the Minnesota Miracle. Let the Vikings get healthy on defense, Cook hopefully return as well, and they will be just fine.  Still a contender for me in the NFC to make the title game. (Last week: 4)

5. Los Angeles Chargers: As long as Melvin Gordon is healthy, this team can make the AFC Title Game. But unless they upend the Chiefs in the West, they will not advance past a road playoff game in KC or New England. And to me, with every passing week that Joey Bosa is out, I become concerned whether he returns at all.  (Last week: 5)

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: They lost to the Pats head to head, so they cannot be ahead of them. The Saints have more impressive victories, so they go ahead of them. The Chiefs are good, but do you think they go back into New England in the playoffs and win? Given matchups with the Rams and Chargers still on the schedule, it is entirely possible the road to the Super Bowl again goes through the Pats. (Last week: 3)
  1. New Orleans Saints: Great victory against the Vikings on the road Sunday Night by Drew Brees and company. Now, go take out the undefeated Rams at home and ascend to #2 or #1 next week. If the Saints ever get homefield in the playoffs, they would be my pick to come out of the NFC, as going into the Dome and beating them in that environment is not something many teams are built to do. (Last week: 6)
  1. New England Patriots: They looked lethargic and uninterested against the Bills. Much of that had to do with the weather, the extra day to prepare, no Sony Michel and potentially the Josh Gordon situation. Now, with Aaron Rodgers in town, the excuses go out the window. if their defense can build off of their performance against the Bills and they get back Michel sometime soon, they will be on their way to their 1836517352th straight AFC Title game. (Last week: 2)

Can you imagine the Rams anywhere outside of the top 2? Someone can. And what team that has lost over the last few weeks is number one?  Find out why HERE.

  1. Los Angeles Rams: 3 words. Just defeat Saints. They do that, they remain at #1. They lose, they drop a few spots and need to be concerned about homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. (Last week: 1)

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