NFL Power Rankings are boring. They are generic. Now, as we approach Turkey Day, not only is the playoff picture getting clearer, so is the award for most dysfunctional franchise, which combined with potential outlook, paints a very ominous picture for many teams around the league.
But instead of simply ranking the teams 1 through 32, I break them down into one of five categories:
1. Super Bowl Contenders (list shrinks week after week)
2. Super Bowl Pretenders (list grows every week)
3. Stuck in the Middle (stays the same, with some newcomers and stalwarts)
4. Fun While It Lasted (hey, at least you don’t stink completely)
5. In Need of a Savior (time to change allegiances)
Are the Rams still number one from the last time we made the list ? Is there a new contender? Lets check it out!
Praying for an Answer
32. Oakland Raiders: Well Raider fans, at least you have 3 first round picks. Only one win, no true franchise quarterback, no long-term answer at running back or wide receiver, a coach that hates most of the front office and no pass rush. Hey, enjoy the offseason cleaning that mess up Mr. Gruden.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Sooner or later we are going to have to see something from Josh Rosen. Granted, there is no offensive line and a lack of weapons on offense. Not to mention the new offensive coordinator. With David Johnson with him, the offense should be better than this. 2-7 and looking at a 4-12 season is a major issue for the Cards.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: So the Fitszmagic is out and their “franchise” quarterback will never play another snap for the team. Mike Evans is not being targeted and they have no defense to speak of. A dumpster fire in Tampa, with nowhere to go but up.
29. New York Jets: They get blown out, at home, by the hapless Bills with Matt Barkley at Quarterback. Yes, that Matt Barkley. They have quit on head coach Todd Bowles, their prized rookie QB is hurt, they have no talent on offense and a defense, Bowles’ calling card, that stinks. Oh is it fun to be a NY football fan this year!
28. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Mullens was who we thought he was. A third string quarterback out of Southern Miss. The 49ers are better than this. Just with Jimmy G under center. An off-season of re-tooling the WR corps is integral to the team developing next year. Till then, it is ugly.
Who does Walter Football think is the most overrated bad team in the league? Find out HERE.
27. New York Giants: Hoooooray they won a game….at #28 San Francisco with their 3rd QB. And they did it in come-from-behind fashion. I don’t care. The O-Line still stinks, Beckham is still a diva and they are not going anywhere. Time for a full rebuild in NY for the Giants as well.
26. Buffalo Bills: Tons of credit to a team to go on the road, with their 3rd string QB and put up 40 points. Mazel Tov for Shady McCoy finding the end zone and us realizing who Zay Jones is. The team plays hard but is bereft of talent. 26 seems ideal for this hard-nosed team.
Fun While It Lasted
25. Denver Broncos: The trade of Demaryius Thomas was not a shock. Them struggling to find a QB given the pedigree of John Elway is. Keenum is not the answer. Neither is Chad Kelly who was cut earlier this year. They have some talent on offense, but not enough to compete. Sad for such a proud franchise.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Yuck. Another week, another loss. And this one came with Leonard Fournette back from an injury. The defense is overrated, the coach seems lost and the organization is now paying for the decision to make Bortles their starter entering the year instead of going after Teddy Bridgewater. Not a bright idea.
23. Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield is developing. So is Nick Chubb. The defense is becoming a force. And they have picks and a bright future. I am impressed with how the Browns franchise, now under John Dorsey, is moving in the right direction.
22. Indianapolis Colts: They play hard, Andrew Luck is healthy and they are vastly improved from last season on both sides of the ball. Now luck needs a tougher defense and a weapon or two at receiver. Next year will be a big one in Indy, as I see them returning to the playoffs, with another Free Agent class involved.
21. Detroit Lions: They traded Golden Tate. Now Marvin Jones is hurt. Not good for the offense moving forward. They are now 3-6, with their season virtually over. They still have the firepower to win games, but the key for the rest of the 2018 season needs to be determining whether Kerryon Johnson is the future at RB and who will be gone from the defense in Matt Patricia’s second year.
20. Miami Dolphins: I do not care that they are 5-5. The Dolphins are not a good football team. No answer at QB, no coach with imagination. They play the wrong running back. A hot mess. What makes it worse is they are 5-5 and likely the 2nd best team in their division. But they are still miles away from the Pats.
19. Atlanta Falcons: It is not the Falcons year. A week after a huge win at Washington, they get shellacked by the Browns. They made Baker Mayfield look like Bernie Kosar and yet again, their defense could not stop anyone. They are a figment of what they should be. And that is sad as they waste prime years of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.
18. Green Bay Packers: The way they lost to Seattle shows me the Packers season is over and its time for Mike McCarthy and the Packers to part ways. The play calling is not creative, they waited 8 weeks too long to unleash Aaron Jones and with Davante Adams the only consistent receiving threat, it is best to shut down Aaron Rodgers and play for next year. Simple as that.
Stuck in the Middle
17. Tennessee Titans: Huge win by the Titans against the Patriots. But does that prove anything? I do not think so. The Lions beat the Pats too this year and see where they are. I need a few more weeks to believe Mike Vrabel has made this team a legitimate contender, but for now, they are on the outside looking in.
16. Chicago Bears: Are they improved? No question. Are they going to win the division? No. Is there a bright future? Yes. But are they stuck in the middle? Yep.
15. Seattle Seahawks: The Hawks were on fire and have since dropped two games. To the Chargers and Rams. Not a bad two game losing streak to have. Now they take care of the Packers at home, virtually ending their season. Another team that may sneak into the playoffs but not win a game. But to Pete Carroll’s credit, they have not given up.
14. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys offense has looked improved since the addition of Amari Cooper. The win at Philly was enormous. But they need to back it up week after week. I do not think they are a threat to do damage in the NFC, but if they ever got good line play, that may change.
13.Baltimore Ravens: It is time for Lamar Jackson. Flacco injury or not, the future is now. Time to win some games and unleash the kid. Let’s see what he can do. They are on the edge of the playoffs. Nothing more. Thus, it is time.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: The loss of A.J. Green is enormous. Their defense is also dreadful. The first team in NFL history to allow 500 yards of offense in 3 straight games. The addition of Hue Jackson to the staff will not help. Tyler Boyd is no #1 receiver. Not without A.J. Green on the other side of the field. The Bengals are done.
11. Philadelphia Eagles: If the Eagles had not won the Super Bowl last year, they would fall into the previous buck, so this is out of respect. They are a shell of their former selves and something is just not kosher. Golden Tate was acquired for a spark on offense. He could not be found. Losing at home to a Cowboys team that looked listless the week before is inexcusable, but hey! They won the title last year.
10. 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. But last week they did what they had to do in beating Tampa Bay. They don’t seem like a postseason threat, but they crack the top 10.
9. Houston Texans: Time for the Texans, off a bye, to show what their chemistry is since acquiring Demaryius Thomas. Stay healthy and improve on defense and this becomes a team I would not want to face in the playoffs.
8. Carolina Panthers: Everyone was high on the job Norv Turner has done for the Panthers offense until they get destroyed on the road to the Steelers. The offense, outside of their first drive of the game, looked pedantic. They need to include speedster D.J. Moore…more. They need to overcome the bad road loss and rebound, as the division is likely out of reach, but the playoffs are certainly not.
7. Minnesota Vikings: I think the Vikes need to ratchet it up to move into this discussion. Yes the Bears are 6-3 and lead the division, but I do not trust Mitch Trubisky will be playing at this level once the weather turns ugly. It is time for Captain Kirk to take the step and get the Vikings over the hump in the division.
Super Bowl Contenders
6. Pittsburgh Steelers: Yes, the Steelers are on fire offensively and the situation with Le’Veon Bell has some clarity. But the defense is still very suspect and come playoff time, can they overcome their demons? It is a tough sell that this team will get hot again when the time is important. A huge game in a few weeks as they welcome the Pats to town. A potential preview of a 1st round playoff matchup.
5. New England Patriots: The loss to Tennessee was concerning. The Gronk forecast is frightening. No Gronk-no chance. They need him on the field. Hopefully a month without action will right that ship. They have a very winnable schedule to finish at worst 11-5. The Vikings and Steelers are their only tough games left. The AFC will likely not go through Foxborough, which means trouble for the Pats.
4. 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)
3. Kansas City Chiefs: If Mahomes can go on the road and defeat the Rams this weekend, they vault to #1. The road loss to New England was fine and they have looked dominant outside of that, but to me, the Rams and Saints are the more complete teams right now. Definitely the front runner to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
2. Los Angeles Rams: Until KC beats them this weekend, they are the better team. I think Sean McVay will have some tricks up his sleeves for Andy Reid and given the passion the community will have in the landscape of whats going on with the fires, expect the Rams to feed off that and win on Monday night.
Are the Saints a unanimous #1? Are the Pats out of the top 5? We get another opinion right HERE.
1. New Orleans Saints: Longest winning streak in the league, have not lost since opening day, ability to win on the road and blow out good teams. Drew Brees is on track to league MVP number 1….finally!