NFL Power Rankings

My final preseason NFL Power Rankings.

I’m going to use these rankings as the order for my 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Follow @walterfootball.

I’ve gone from WORST to FIRST, so if you don’t see reverse numbering (via Javascript), don’t worry; the Browns and 49ers aren’t my top teams.

Updated: Sept. 13

  1. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) – Previously: 32.
    I changed things up on my NFL Picks page, and I think it’s appropriate to do the same thing here. Rather than write up analysis on the top 10, bottom 10 and just list the 12 teams in between, I’m going to provide write-ups for each team. It’s a bit sad for me because the old power rankings format was how I began running the site back in 1999 – that, as well as the picks, were the only features back then – but I think it’s necessary in terms of helping me stay improved with my picks. I’m factoring in actual matchups and the strength of each teams with my selections now – what a concept, huh? – so I need to make this change. For the Fantasy Football Stats I used to include with my power rankings, click the link.

    That said, I’ll still provide some fun stuff, including the Colin Kaepernick Meme of the Week, which was a thing last year, so it’s not just a reaction to his antics, I swear!

    Ah, now I understand. I was confused about how Kaepernick thought he was oppressed, but now it’s clear to me. Because anyone who loses their job to Blaine Gabbert is oppressed for sure.

    In all seriousness, I still believe the 49ers are the worst team in the NFL. We saw what happened last year versus Minnesota. Their victory over the Vikings was a complete mirage, and in four or so weeks, we’ll all agree that the same thing happened to Los Angeles.

  2. Cleveland Browns (0-1) – Previously: 31.
    The Browns surprisingly beat the Eagles in terms of yards per play, but the Browns couldn’t remain consistent offensively. And oh, in surprising news, Robert Griffin is hurt. What a shocker! I mean, I am seriously, absolutely floored that Griffin got banged up. I didn’t think that could possibly happen!

    I think Cleveland’s main issue, beyond its incompetence in terms of passing up on Carson Wentz in favor of Griffin, is its lacking pass rush. Wentz had all day to throw most times. I guess that’s expected when starting two rookies on the edge, but still, it was pretty embarrassing.

    Oh, and let’s do some quick math for Terrelle Pryor, who, according to Charles Woodson, will accumulate 1,800 receiving yards this year:

    Terrelle Pryor’s Race for 1,800:

    Current Receiving Yards: 68
    Currently on Pace for: 1,088
    Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 115.5

  3. Los Angeles Rams (0-1) – Previously: 26.
    Welcome back to the NFL, Los Angeles. Have fun with your team. The one with 83 net yards against the worst team in the NFL.

    If you were lucky enough to miss the dreadful 49ers-Rams game, you can check out my NFL Game Recaps.

    Chris Berman called the game, and it was, well, sad. I grew up loving Berman and Tom Jackson, but so it’s upsetting to say that Berman has lost it. The amount of things he missed throughout the evening was startling. He didn’t recognize the Rams were going for it, thinking they were about to punt. He also didn’t seem to understand that a penalty flag was picked up, leading to utter confusion.

    Berman mispronounced some names, calling Shaun Draughn “Shaun Drawn,” and Anthony Davis “Anthony Brown.” He also referred to Communist Kaepernick as Blaine Gabbert, and he said Jeremy Kerley was released by the Colts, which isn’t true; Kerley was acquired from the Lions in a trade. He also said at one point, “It’s a long short punt.” Whatever the hell that means.

    Like I said, this was depressing. It was like watching my once-energetic, youthful dogs become lethargic in their old age. Berman’s time is coming to an end soon, but despite all of his errors, I’m going to try and enjoy it while it lasts.

  4. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) – Previously: 28.
    No surprise that the Falcons lost. They have no pass rush, and their offense continues to struggle in the red zone – a problem that has been consistent ever since Tony Gonzalez’s retirement. It’s pretty ridiculous how this has been an issue year after year, and nothing ever seems to change. You’d think Matt Ryan would just be able to throw the ball up to Julio Jones and have success, but that apparently doesn’t work or isn’t even utilized. I don’t get it.

  5. San Diego Chargers (0-1) – Previously: 17.
    R.I.P. 2016 Chargers. They lost Keenan Allen – check out my NFL Disaster Rating for the Keenan Allen injury here – and they watched their 24-3 lead in Kansas City evaporate before their very eyes. They’re done. That said, I do appreciate them holding on to the cover. My bank account says thank you!

  6. Buffalo Bills (0-1) – Previously: 16.
    The Bills are a mess. They have numerous injuries and suspensions in their defensive front seven, and their offense can’t do anything. In fact, excluding the Rams, they averaged fewer yards per play than any team in Week 1 at 3.3. No other team besides the Rams had anything worse than 4.2! The Bills can’t block with Cordy Glenn injured, and they have no healthy offensive weapons, as Sammy Watkins is banged up.

  7. New Orleans Saints (0-1) – Previously: 30.
    The Saints, despite their loss, were actually better than I thought they’d be. I figured they’d struggle offensively because of their questionable blocking unit, but Drew Brees surprisingly had all day to throw on most occasions. Their defense, unfortunately, is an abomination. I don’t know what’s scarier: cheering on a team with this sort of defense, or the monster from Stranger Things. I think I’d actually prefer trying to avoid bleeding in New Orleans.

  8. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – Previously: 23.
    What I wrote at the end of the preseason still applies: “I picked the Colts to win the Super Bowl back in July, but I’ve quickly realized how stupid that was. Their offensive line looks like trash once again, and that was with the currently injured Jack Mewhort on the field. Their defense, meanwhile, has radically declined in the wake of Vontae Davis’ injury.”

    Actually, it applies a lot. Holy crap, is Indianapolis’ defense putrid. The team might have the slowest linebacking corps of all time. Seriously, you need a sun dial to time them running the 40. The offensive line held up well against the Lions, but I don’t expect that to be a common occurrence.

  9. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) – Previously: 20.
    I answered my own question when I wrote: “Dak Prescott hype! Should the Cowboys be a bit lower?” upon ranking them 20. Yes, they should. The Cowboys’ defense was wretched against the Giants, thanks in part to the million drug suspensions they have all over their front seven. I don’t think Tony Romo would’ve helped.

    Speaking of Romo, I got a huge kick out of this business sign:

  10. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) – Previously: 27.
    Carson Wentz had a great debut. In fact, it was so great that a cousin of mine who moved to California texted me. She asked, “Do the Eagles really have a legitimate chance to win the Super Bowl?”

    Umm… no. Not this year, anyway. The Eagles beat up on one of the two worst defenses in the NFL. The Browns provided no pressure on Wentz, who could’ve eaten lunch, downloaded porn and filed a W-4 while standing in the pocket on most plays. Things will be much more challenging against real NFL teams.

  11. Tennessee Titans (0-1) – Previously: 25.
    The Titans had a two-score lead against the Vikings in the third quarter. They were performing well for the most part until two plays lost them the game. Both were turnovers, and both were returned for touchdowns. Otherwise, Tennessee may have prevailed because the Vikings weren’t doing anything offensively. Despite the loss, Tennessee fans have to be excited for the near future.

    Oh, and by the way, one of those defensive touchdowns was so crazy that the defender actually ran out of the stadium! Don’t believe me? Just check out CBS’ graphic:

  12. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) – Previously: 29.
    Underrated Team: I have the Packers No. 1 in my power rankings, and yet the Jaguars fought tooth and nail with them. They had a chance to win at the very end, and perhaps they would’ve done so had Allen Robinson gotten some calls throughout the game. Jacksonville actually outgained the Packers in total yardage and yards per play, and its defense, now armed with actual talent, did a decent job of containing Aaron Rodgers. The Packers averaged 4.9 yards per play, which is impressive for Jacksonville considering that Green Bay was limited to fewer than five YPP just six out of 18 times last year, and that was without Jordy Nelson. Blake Bortles, meanwhile, played well despite battling a top-level defense.

  13. Miami Dolphins (0-1) – Previously: 24.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Dolphins nearly won in Seattle, holding a 10-6 lead late in the fourth quarter. Now, the Seahawks are overrated, and Russell Wilson was injured, but I feel like no one gave this Miami squad any sort of chance heading into the season. The defensive line is amazing and will keep the Dolphins in most games. Ryan Tannehill, meanwhile, seems to really have taken to Adam Gase’s system. It’s hard to trust Tannehill, but he nearly posted a great stat line in Seattle, but Kenny Stills dropped a 71-yard touchdown. If you’re thinking back to how bad the Dolphins were at the end of last year, remember, they had some momentum in the middle of the season before Cameron Wake and numerous offensive linemen went down with injuries. We’re now seeing the Dolphins team that thrived in October last year, only with better coaching.

  14. Chicago Bears (0-1) – Previously: 19.
    Underrated Team: I listed the Bears as an underrated team last week, and I’ll stand by that. They battled the Texans very closely and even had a 14-10 lead at halftime. They ultimately lost by nine, but they were even with Houston in terms of yards per play (4.8). There were a number of small things in that game that could’ve allowed it to be much closer. The Bears have issues at tackle – seriously, why did they pass on Laremy Tunsil? – but their defense is terrific, and Jay Cutler is not nearly as bad as people want to make him out to be.

  15. Washington Redskins (0-1) – Previously: 14.

    The Redskins are dumb, and I was dumber for betting five units on them. For more, check out my NFL Game Recaps.

  16. New York Jets (0-1) – Previously: 21.
    R.I.P. 2016 Jets. The season is over. At 0-1, they have no chance at the playoffs.

    Confused? Yeah, me too. But it makes sense, according to Trent Dilfer, who proclaimed the Jets’ Week 1 contest against the Bengals to be a must-win. They apparently had to win, and they didn’t, so they’re done. Goodbye.

  17. New York Giants (1-0) – Previously: 22.
    Overrated Team: All I heard on TV after the Sunday action was how the Giants were overwhelming favorites to win the NFC East. Why is that? Because they beat the Cowboys and their rookie backfield and skeleton-crew front seven? Dallas dropped so many passes in the sunlight during the opener, and it could have won the game. The Giants were the better team on the field, and I love their defense – no one is going to run against them this year – but their offensive line is still a mess. It gave Eli Manning plenty of protection against Dallas, but all of the Cowboys’ top pass-rushers weren’t available because of drug suspensions. I don’t think this was an adequate test for New York. I think the Giants could win the division, but they are definitely not overwhelming favorites to do so.

  18. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) – Previously: 15.
    The Ravens may have won, but I don’t know how impressive their victory was over Buffalo. The Bills are a mess on both sides of the ball, so Baltimore should’ve been able to prevail by more than six points. Still, it’s not a bad start for the Ravens, who seemingly had everything go against them last year.

  19. Detroit Lions (1-0) – Previously: 18.
    The Lions were very close to being mentioned as an underrated team, but they’re coming off a victory and are now favored by about six against the Titans. I think that window might be closed, though some people still actually believe that the Lions are one of the worst teams in the NFL, which is not even close to being true. Calvin Johnson is not missed at all, given how mediocre he was last year, and people seem to forget that Detroit went 6-2 against the spread in its final eight games last season – and it would’ve been 7-1 had Aaron Rodgers not completed that crazy Hail Mary to Richard Rodgers. The Lions had no reason to regress, so their win at Indianapolis is hardly a surprise – though I have to say that I was disappointed in their pass rush.

  20. Oakland Raiders (1-0) – Previously: 9.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Raiders had a supposedly incredible win in New Orleans, but I honestly wasn’t very impressed. The Saints are one of the worst teams in the NFL; they own a dreadful defense, while their offensive line isn’t very good. The Raiders trailed by 14 at one point, failing to put any pressure on Drew Brees and struggling to maintain some drives. They finally caught fire late, but needed help via a horrible pass interference call to prevail. Moving forward, I’m concerned with two things. The first is the tackle situation, as the two right tackles got hurt at New Orleans, forcing Donald Penn to move to that side and Kelechi Osemele to shift to left tackle. The second is the cornerback spot, as Sean Smith was so bad that he was benched. The Saints averaged more yards per play than the Raiders in their matchup, which is a bad omen.

  21. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) – Previously: 6.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Seahawks have some major offensive line issues. In fact, they might just possess the worst blocking unit in the league. This is a major problem, and it’s something barely anyone is talking about. They were double-digit favorites against the Dolphins, for crying out loud. How can a team that can’t block whatsoever be favored by 10 over any competent opponent? Now, Russell Wilson is banged up and no longer has his mobility. The defense will still put the Seahawks in position to win some games, but they’re going to struggle.

  22. Denver Broncos (1-0) – Previously: 12.
    The Broncos legitimately beat the Panthers, winning the extremely important yards-per-play battle. Their defense was absolutely dominant in the second half, and I have to say that I was highly impressed by Todd Davis, who did a good job of replacing Danny Trevathan next to communist Brandon Marshall.

    Speaking of Marshall, I think you know what it’s time for…

    The Adventures of Derek Anderson’s Magic Flask!

    Derek Anderson: Brananddoodn Mmarashshsall I’mmm aa bigiggf ffanann hic! Yoou’reee greeatt ooonn Shsowowtitmmee, mmamann hic!

    Brandon Marshall: Showtime? Nah, that’s not me. That’s the other Brandon Marshall.

    Derek Anderson: Whhhaattt thhehehe ffffkkkccucuckk thheerees twowow Breananddoon Mmareshshalls hic? I nnneedd mmororee to dririrnk to cocmprpraheeendd thiisis, wananatt a siiopppp?

    Brandon Marshall: I am thirsty. Sure, why not?

    *** Ten minutes later ***

    Brandon Marshall: Whhooaoaa hoowoww arreee thrherreee twoooeo Brranndddonn Mareshshallslss???

    Derek Anderson: Quuieiett mamanna thehehe nanatitionanall annththemmss begiginninngg!

    Brandon Marshall: Oohhh mamamnan feeelliingng siiickck nneeedd to knweeell dodowwnwnn onnn thrheee grrooundnnd hic! Bblleegghhh!!!

    Hmm… perhaps Marshall isn’t a communist after all.

  23. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) – Previously: 10.
    Let’s not forget that the Chiefs were able to come back because the Chargers couldn’t sustain drives after losing Keenan Allen. I have to believe Kansas City would’ve lost had Allen remained on the field, and I don’t think it would’ve been close. They had no answer for Allen, and San Diego’s offense was flawless with him in the lineup. People are saying the comeback was great, but it’s like running up to a wounded animal, stabbing it repeatedly, and then calling yourself a great hunter.

  24. Houston Texans (1-0) – Previously: 11.
    The Texans won, but they couldn’t outgain the Bears in terms of yards per play, and J.J. Watt wasn’t quite himself. I suppose it’s a good thing that Houston was able to prevail with Watt at less than 100 percent, but the question needs to be asked: With a bad back, will Watt be completely healthy at all this season? That’s definitely a big concern!

  25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) – Previously: 13.
    Underrated NFL Team: I gushed about the Buccaneers prior to Week 1, citing that they had outgained 13 of their 16 opponents last year in terms of yards per play. I was confident they’d win in Atlanta, but I did not expect them to lead 31-13 prior to garbage time. With Jameis Winston now having experience, and Mike Evans being more focused, the sky is the limit for the Buccaneers, whom I will actually project to win the NFC South.

  26. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) – Previously: 7.
    Overrated NFL Team: I was down on the Cardinals entering the season, so this is not an overreaction to their Week 1 loss to the Patriots. Something wasn’t quite right about Carson Palmer in the preseason, and so I wasn’t surprised that he struggled at times Sunday night. Palmer’s stat line wasn’t bad, but he could’ve easily thrown four interceptions; three were dropped, while another was just barely out of bounds. Meanwhile, Arizona’s defense isn’t all its cracked up to be. There have some stellar players, but the Cardinals possess the worst starting cornerback in the NFL in third-round rookie Brandon Williams. Oh, and the offensive line has to be considered a problem as well if Evan Mathis isn’t healthy.

  27. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) – Previously: 5.
    Some guy below said he stopped reading last week when he saw that the Vikings were so high. Well, at least he made it through 27 write-ups. I’ll take that as a compliment!

    In all seriousness, the Vikings are still one of the better teams in the NFL because of their amazing defense and ability to run the ball, but they need to start Sam Bradford. The Titans did not respect Shaun Hill whatsoever. Besides, I think Bradford has the playbook down pretty well:

  28. Carolina Panthers (0-1) – Previously: 3.
    I wrote prior to the season: “The Panthers lost Josh Norman and still have a very shaky offensive line, so I don’t feel comfortable ranking them at the top. Norman’s absence is going to have a big impact on that defense. Plus, the Panthers are bound to battle some decent pass-rushers this year, so their crappy tackles will be tested.”

    Well, their tackles were definitely tested Thursday, but they surprisingly performed well. The defense, however, was clearly not the same. Trevor Siemian couldn’t be stopped, for crying out loud! All of this could’ve been averted had Josh Norman not been released. I still don’t understand that decision-making. It was almost as bad as Washington opting to keep him on one side away from Antonio Brown!

  29. New England Patriots (1-0) – Previously: 8.
    Roger Goodell just can’t win. He just can’t win.

    Wah wah. The Patriots had a nice win with Jimmy Garoppolo, especially considering they were missing Nate Solder and Rob Gronkowski. However, I think some of that had to do with the Cardinals not being exactly who we thought they were.

  30. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) – Previously: 2.
    Though I only picked the Bengals for one unit, I thought they’d have an easier time with the Jets in the season opener, though it was quite apparent how much Vontaze Burfict was missed when old man Matt Forte picked up chunks of yardage throughout the afternoon. Burfict will be out for just two more games.

  31. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) – Previously: 4.
    Wow. The Steelers never win games like this. They constantly have disappointed in the role as a road favorite, yet they had their way with the Redskins, doing so without Le’Veon Bell. Their defense is a concern, but what’s that matter if they can score any time they want to? The kicker is that Le’Veon Bell wasn’t on the field! Imagine how great the Steelers will be once Bell returns. I’m fine with moving Pittsburgh up to No. 2, but the Packers remain at the top because of their defense.

  32. Green Bay Packers (1-0) – Previously: 1.
    It’s amazing how much parity there is in the NFL. I had the Packers ranked No. 1 heading into the season, and I still stand by that. Yet, they almost lost to a team that has a pool in their stadium! Save for the 49ers and Browns, all of the teams in this league are close to one another, which is going to make lasting in a Survivor pool more difficult than ever.

    And yes, speaking of pools, it’s still my dream to bathe in Jacksonville’s pool one day. I don’t even care if I catch eight diseases doing so. It’ll be worth it.

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2022 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings | Post-Free Agency Power Rankings | Post-NFL Draft Power Rankings | Post-Preseason Power Rankings | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17

2021 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings | Preseason Power Rankings | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | Playoffs |

2020 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | Playoffs |