Updated: March 11
New York Jets (5-11) - Previously: 28.
I've asked a Jets fan friend of mine if he would trade one of his second-round picks to the Eagles for Nick Foles. His response: "For sure." Unfortunately, the Eagles want more.
Foles was amazing in the Super Bowl, but if I were the Jets, or any other team considering acquiring him, I'd be scared to death of what we saw from Foles in the regular season. Keep in mind that Foles had an amazing supporting cast surrounding him in Philadelphia. He won't have that with the Jets.
Regardless, I get the feeling that the Jets want Josh Allen, and they may have to trade up to get him.
Miami Dolphins (6-10) - Previously: 25.
The Dolphins really showed Jay Ajayi a lesson by shipping him off to the Eagles for a fourth-round pick. I bet he really learned not to be a malcontent from this traumatic ordeal.
Miami, meanwhile, is a complete mess. The team dealt its top receiver for nothing. Ja'Wuan James and Ndamukong Suh are likely gone. And the Dolphins have plenty of big needs elsewhere. They could be the worst team in the NFL.
Arizona Cardinals (8-8) - Previously: 23.
Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer are both gone, and because of Arizona's draft positioning, the team may have to make a move. I imagine the Cardinals will go after A.J. McCarron, but I don't think that will get the job done.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) - Previously: 21.
The Bengals have really struggled in recent seasons. A big part of that, at least in 2017, was the decline of their offensive front. Fixing the blocking has to be priorities A, B and C this offseason.
Cleveland Browns (0-16) - Previously: 32.
The Browns were slotted No. 32 a week ago, before this was published. Then, they made a billion trades to improve themselves. They're still not there yet, but the Browns will be much more competitive in 2018. You can check out all the NFL Trade Grades here.
New York Giants (3-13) - Previously: 27.
If anyone is surprised that Pat Shurmur wants to use Eli Manning next year, don't be. Shurmur tends to have an affinity for old, washed-up quarterbacks, as evidenced by his decision to start Jake Delhomme and Brandon Weeden in his two seasons as Cleveland's head coach. Granted, Weeden was a rookie, but he was still old and washed up.
Still, the Shurmur hire isn't bad. It all depends on whether or not the Giants are smart enough to avoid Josh Rosen at No. 2 overall.
Indianapolis Colts (4-12) - Previously: 29.
Indianapolis' ranking depends on Andrew Luck's health. If Luck is 100 percent, the Colts can compete for a playoff spot. If he's hurt, Indianapolis could go 4-12 again. For that reason, the Colts are the hardest team to slot.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) - Previously: 22.
Some of the stuff I hear from Jameis Winston scares me, and I wonder if he'll once again struggle to become a consistent quarterback. So many talented players have flamed out in Tampa, and I fear that Mons Jameis could belong in that group if he doesn't grow up soon.
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6) - Previously: 12.
Overrated NFL Team: The Jaguars reached the AFC Championship, but let's not forget that they almost lost to the Bills at home, and that they lost at Tennessee in Week 17, and that they were blown out in San Francisco the week before, and that they lost to Blaine Gabbert in Week 12, and that they were up just 10-7 at Cleveland the week before. The Jaguars were super lucky all year, both with their schedule and lack of injuries. They won't be as fortunate next year, and both Indianapolis and Houston will be back in 2018. It's likely that the Jaguars will slip back to 4-12 or 5-11 next year.
Denver Broncos (5-11) - Previously: 26.
I pegged the Broncos as the favorites to land Kirk Cousins, but it appears as though the Vikings have passed them. Minnesota simply has more money and better recent success. However, Case Keenum is not much worse than Cousins, so he's not a bad consolation prize.
Baltimore Ravens (9-7) - Previously: 13.
The Ravens lost defensive coordinator Dean Peas, which will hurt. There's also some weird stuff happening in the front office, with Ozzie Newsome leaving after this year for some reason. Meanwhile, John Harbaugh refuses to change the training staff, which has been partly responsible for Baltimore having so many injuries.
Seattle Seahawks (9-7) - Previously: 16.
The Seahawks' defense was so bad at the end of this past season that it couldn't stop Drew freaking Stanton in a must-win game. Sure, they had injuries, but their glaring lack of depth was a problem. Now, the team lost Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman, as Seattle is blowing things up.
Tennessee Titans (9-7) - Previously: 15.
New offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur was part of the team that turned Jared Goff around, so Tennessee fans should feel optimistic about their 2018 chances. Marcus Mariota should be able to bounce back in 2018, though that was obvious even before the LaFleur hiring because the Titans canned Mike Mularkey and his super-awesome exotic run schemes that were anything but exotic.
Washington Redskins (7-9) - Previously: 19.
I still can't believe the Redskins traded for Alex Smith in exchange for a third-round pick and a solid cornerback. That said, to be fair, it didn't sound like Kirk Cousins was willing to even negotiate with the Redskins prior to the deal being made, so I can't completely blame Washington for pulling the trigger on Smith, even though I still think the team gave up too much for a quarterback who will be in decline in the near future.
Detroit Lions (9-7) - Previously: 18.
Underrated NFL Team: The Lions seldom had anything close to a complete roster this past season. In their most crucial game of the year, they were missing three starting offensive linemen. Detroit will be better in 2018 with improved injury luck, and perhaps Matt Patricia will improve the defense.
Buffalo Bills (9-7) - Previously: 14.
There have been pictures of this circulating around the Web:
You know, I think there's a good chance Andy Dalton ends up on the Bills somehow. Marvin Lewis talked about starting from scratch, so what if that involves trading Dalton? I'm sure Buffalo would love to have him.
Dallas Cowboys (9-7) - Previously: 17.
The Cowboys only showed glimpses of their 2016 form this past season, thanks mostly to their offensive line struggling. Tyron Smith's injury hurt, while Ronald Leary's departure was never accounted for. Dallas has to find an upgrade at left guard and two new receivers. If not, Dak Prescott could continue to underperform in 2018.
Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) - Previously: 6.
Overrated NFL Team: The Steelers are definitely not the same without Ryan Shazier, as they couldn't stop Alex Collins runs and Joe Flacco passes without him. The freaking Ravens scored 38 points against them! No one should be surprised that they lost to Jacksonville. Shazier, as of this writing, isn't walking yet, so he unfortunately won't be playing anytime soon. It'll be very difficult to replace him.
Chicago Bears (5-11) - Previously: 20.
Underrated NFL Team: The Bears were extremely competitive in most of the games that Danny Trevathan played. They beat the Steelers, Panthers and Ravens, and they nearly took down the Falcons and Vikings (in the first meeting). Chicago will have its receivers back from injury, and Mitchell Trubisky will have more experience under his belt. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Bears went something like 10-6 and made the playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons (10-6) - Previously: 4.
Overrated NFL Team: The Falcons were two kicks on national TV away from being 8-8. They also beat Dallas when the Cowboys lost Sean Lee and already didn't have Tyron Smith or Ezekiel Elliott. Even the win over the Rams was misleading; Los Angeles made so many mistakes, and the Falcons couldn't really do anything offensively until Michael Brockers got hurt.
Atlanta should have fired Steve Sarkisian, but it will have to endure his poor play-calling next year. The Falcons also have to get tougher on defense after getting pushed around in Philadelphia.
San Francisco 49ers (6-10) - Previously: 10.
It's amazing what a competent signal-caller can do. The 49ers have had bad (Brian Hoyer) and abysmal (C.J. Beathard) quarterbacking last year, but Jimmy Garoppolo was great against the Bears, Texans, Titans and Jaguars. With Garoppolo, the 49ers are so much better than 6-10. They have a solid running back, two talented tackles, and several impressive play-makers in the front seven. They still have some glaring holes at receiver, center and cornerback, but had Garoppolo started all year, I get the sense that the 49ers would've finished 11-5 or better.
Green Bay Packers (7-9) - Previously: 30.
You know how the city of Green Bay names streets after Packer legends? Do you think the converse applies for the worst players in franchise history? Like, if there's a toxic waste dump in Green Bay, they can call it the Brett Hundley Toxic Waste Dump.
Not to pile on Hundley, but he was atrocious, and the Packers need to find a legitimate backup quarterback this offseason. They traded for DeShone Kizer as a future reserve, but a veteran backup should be acquired.
Oakland Raiders (6-10) - Previously: 24.
Everything I hear coming out of Oakland is positive right now. The Raiders are working hard to get back on track after being a big disappointment in 2017. Remember, many considered them to be potential Super Bowl contenders, and they could easily revert to that status with a superior coaching staff.
Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) - Previously: 8.
What would've happened had the Chargers made the playoffs? They certainly would've beaten the Jaguars, so the question is if they could've upset the Patriots. Perhaps they would've lost by three, but an upset could have been possible.
By the way, it's kind of ridiculous that the Bills qualified over the Chargers, if you think about it. The Chargers destroyed Buffalo, and they finished with the same record, so why can't common sense prevail and allow the Chargers to play in the postseason? Shouldn't there be some sort of NCAA-type committee to make sure stuff like this doesn't happen?
Los Angeles Rams (11-5) - Previously: 5.
The Rams improved by leaps and bounds this past season, but despite all the upgrades they made to the secondary, they could take a step backward in 2018. They lost two great offensive coaches in Greg Olson and Matt LaFleur, so Jared Goff might regress a bit next year. Plus, their offensive line barely had any injuries in 2017, so that could change. Sean McVay is a great coach, so the Rams won't revert back to what they used to be, but they might disappoint a bit.
Carolina Panthers (11-5) - Previously: 9.
The Panthers dealt with lots of injuries this past season, yet were still able to finish 11-5. Carolina should be able to contend for a Super Bowl with better luck in 2018. Some help in the secondary and receiving corps would help as well. Torrey Smith, by the way, isn't any sort of help. From a "help" perspective, he's like if an old lady asks you to help her cross the street, but instead, you fling her into an oncoming car.
New Orleans Saints (11-5) - Previously: 3.
What if the Saints had won? What if Marcus Williams didn't blew that tackle? Could the Saints have beaten the Eagles? It's definitely possible. Either way, New Orleans is looking great heading into next year, as its young, talented, defensive players will only improve. Plus, Alvin Kamara will continue to dominate, if his ability to carry SUVs on his shoulders is any indication.
Houston Texans (4-12) - Previously: 31.
The Texans finished 4-12 last year, but they could be one of the top teams in the NFL this upcoming season. They'll have Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus all back from injury. Watt getting hurt, by the way, may have been a blessing in disguise, as strange as it might sound. Watt hurting his knee allowed him to rest his back, and that could allow him to be 100 percent for the 2018 season.
As for Watson, there are tons of positive things about his rehab. Not only is it going well, but he has packed on lots of muscle to perhaps avoid further injuries. It's great to hear that he's working so hard.
Minnesota Vikings (13-3) - Previously: 2.
I actually asked every Uber driver I met in Minneapolis what they thought the Vikings should do at quarterback, and all of them gave me different answers. One response I didn't hear? Sign Kirk Cousins. No one in Minnesota seemingly wants him, and I would agree. I would sign Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater to 1-year deals and then pick up a quarterback in the first three rounds of the draft.
Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) - Previously: 7.
Underrated NFL Team: The Chiefs did a tremendous job of unloading Alex Smith. Not only did they obtain a big upgrade at cornerback in Kendall Fuller, but they also improved their situation at quarterback. Smith was solid last year, but Patrick Mahomes has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl winner. I'm excited to see what he can do with an entire offseason under Andy Reid's tutelage. Meanwhile, with Fuller in the mix, and Eric Berry returning from injury, Kansas City's defense is going to be better in 2018, even with the departure of Marcus Peters.
New England Patriots (13-3) - Previously: 1.
At some point, Tom Brady will slow down...
I said, you'll slow down at some point, Tom. Perhaps it'll be 2018, but I don't think so, despite Brady turning 41. The Patriots will get several key players back from injury, including Dont'a Hightower and Julian Edelman.
Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) - Previously: 11.
I had a 35:1 ticket on the Eagles to win the Super Bowl, which I placed in July. I was very confident about it the entire time. Never a doubt.
OK, maybe not. I would've sold it for $5 when Carson Wentz went down. I never thought Nick Foles would perform well; let alone on a Super Bowl MVP level. My pessimism was confirmed by how horrible he was versus Oakland and Dallas. And yet, Foles' confidence grew each week, and he was unstoppable by the very end.
The thing is, Wentz is obviously better than Foles, so it's remarkable that the Eagles were able to win without their starting quarterback. Philadelphia has to be considered the early favorite to win Super Bowl LIII, especially in the wake of the Michael Bennett trade.