NFL Power Rankings

My current NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 4 of the 2016 season.

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. 27

  1. Chicago Bears (0-3) – Previously: 29.
    If the Bears couldn’t stay close at the Cowboys, a team with no defense and no homefield advantage, then they have no hope. As commenter MadTurk said on the NFL Picks page, “Bears should be a no bet team.”

    I agree, for now. Once the Bears are getting tons of points against bad teams, there will be wagering opportunities. However, the books really need to adjust because Chicago is an absolute mess.

  2. San Francisco 49ers (1-2) – Previously: 30.
    I need to copy-paste what I wrote last week:

    Some delusional 49er fans believe that their team has a good chance to not finish with the worst record in the NFL. I know this because I received complaints about putting San Francisco atop my 2017 NFL Mock Draft. The 49ers are horrible, and it’s a shame that some of their fans don’t recognize this because they’re in for a rude awakening the rest of the year. They’re just… awful.

    Hello, rude awakening! If it weren’t for garbage time, the 49ers would’ve lost their two previous games by about 30 points each. They are terrible, and Communist Kaepernick won’t help because he can’t read defenses and refuses to spend time in the film room.

    Speaking of Red Kaep, I loved seeing the exchange he had with Cam Newton following the game last week:

  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) – Previously: 28.
    Everyone talks about the Jaguars firing Gus Bradley, but I don’t get it. Sure, his record is abysmal, and Jacksonville is currently 0-3, but the Jaguars were at least very competitive in two of their three games. They were extremely close to beating the Packers and Ravens. I don’t think they need to shake things up quite yet. It’s kind of pointless to fire a coach in the middle of the season anyway, so Jacksonville should just stay the course and see what happens the rest of the year.

  4. Cleveland Browns (0-3) – Previously: 32.
    Hey, looks like Cody Kessler can do more than just throw 2-yard passes! The Browns actually would’ve won in Miami had Cody Parkey had not whiffed on three field goals in the 41-46 range. Then again, that’s a good thing, as the Browns are still in the lead for DeShone Kizer, as seen in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.

    Let’s do an update 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: 244
    Currently on Pace for: 1,301
    Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 119.7

    You know, for the first time, this doesn’t seem so crazy!

  5. New Orleans Saints (0-3) – Previously: 26.
    As I wrote in the recaps, Drew Brees’ contract is an albatross, and it’s very difficult for the Saints to make significant moves in free agency to improve the defense because of it. Brees is still very good, but he’s not the same player he once was.

    The Saints need to make a decision. They either have to dump Brees and start over with a much cheaper quarterback, or they have to just accept that they’re going to win six games at most every year until Brees retires. It’s a shame that it’s come to this, and the only solution is for Brees to realize that he’s eating up too much money and surrender some of it. However, given that Brees doesn’t have much time remaining to collect big contracts, I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t take a reduction in pay.

  6. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) – Previously: 27.
    The Colts are costing me serious money. I’ve lost five units thanks to bulls*** endings the past two weeks. And by the way, I subconsciously wrote in 0-3 for the Colts’ record before noticing my mistake. I guess they really lost to the Chargers in my mind.

    Andrew Luck is carrying this bad team on his own. He’s also doing some naughty things, according to Rotoworld. Check out the fourth blue line:

    “Jis interception?” Eww! No wonder the Chargers didn’t cover!

  7. Miami Dolphins (1-2) – Previously: 21.
    The good news is that the Dolphins won on Sunday, saving their season in the process. The bad news is that their season is over because the NFL has rescinded their victory:

    Seriously, Dolphins? You let Cody Kessler and Terrelle Pryor nearly beat you at home? And you needed missed field goals to prevail? You guys suck.

  8. Buffalo Bills (1-2) – Previously: 31.
    I’m utterly shocked the Bills won. I guess I bought into their dysfunction too much, but they looked utterly inept against the Jets. In hindsight, how did they lose to New York and then beat the Cardinals, especially when the Jets went on to have eight interceptions at Kansas City? Hey, NFL, you make no sense sometimes!

    So, what’s going to happen next? Will Buffalo beat New England? It wouldn’t be the craziest thing, given the Patriots’ quarterbacking situation. I actually considered giving the Bills a chance … and then I saw this:

    Yep. Get ready for 1-3, Buffalo.

  9. Atlanta Falcons (2-1) – Previously: 25.
    I wrote my overrated-underrated teams Monday afternoon, but the Falcons might be overrated now in the wake of their win in New Orleans. They beat a horrible Saints team, and their defense is pathetic, failing to place any sort of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

    For more on the game, check out my NFL Game Recaps.

  10. Los Angeles Rams (2-1) – Previously: 24.
    Isn’t it insane that just two weeks ago, we all watched the 49ers destroy the Rams on national television? Now, we all know that Los Angeles is much better than San Francisco. It just goes to show that one NFL game can be so misleading.

    By the way, can announcers of every Rams game stop pining for Jeff Fisher to use Jared Goff? Goff sucks, and the Rams f***ed up by not taking the quarterback every other team had rated higher. Case Keenum, sadly, is their best chance of winning games right now.

  11. San Diego Chargers (1-2) – Previously: 19.
    Ugh, can’t believe the Chargers didn’t cover. It seems like they could be 3-0 right now. I don’t want to list them as underrated, however, because of all their injuries.

    Speaking of which, I posted a Disaster Grade for the Chargers losing Manti Te’o to an Achilles injury. I’m sure Manti’s girlfriend was upset to read what I wrote about him, but I’ll only begin to really worry if she shows up to my house and tries to murder me.

  12. Washington Redskins (1-2) – Previously: 23.
    It’s nice to know that the Redskins were able to admit they were wrong and adjust accordingly. I was worried we wouldn’t see Josh Norman on Odell Beckham Jr., but the coaching staff smartly corrected its earlier mistake. Maybe Washington will win some games now.

    Speaking of Norman, check this out:

    This got me thinking… I do crackpot theories every week on the Game of Thrones podcast. Why not one for the NFL?

    NFL Crackpot Theory: I believe that in 10-15 years, Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. will be married. Seriously. I think they’re secretly in love with each other, and once they admit that there’s some serious sexual tension between them, they’ll realize that it’s better to love than hate.

  13. Tennessee Titans (1-2) – Previously: 20.
    Underrated NFL Team: Did you know that the Titans haven’t been outgained in terms of yards per play yet this year? This includes their Week 1 battle against the undefeated Vikings! People may have forgotten this, but Tennessee had the lead in the third quarter versus Minnesota before two turnovers were taken back for touchdowns. The Titans also appeared to have the tie against the Raiders at the very end, but two penalties crushed them.

  14. New York Jets (1-2) – Previously: 15.
    This is exactly why Ryan Fitzpatrick asked for lots of money this offseason. He knows he sucks and could be exposed at any moment, so he recognized this as his final opportunity to steal from an AFC East franchise. Fitzparick failed, however, and he threw six interceptions at Kansas City – the most picks a signal-caller has thrown in a game since Ty Detmer in 2001!

    Despite Fitzpatrick not being very good, he didn’t look like quite himself against the Chiefs. Here’s a picture, so perhaps you can see what I mean:

  15. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) – Previously: 22.
    The Cowboys could be 3-0 if they didn’t drop a billion passes in the season opener. Then again, they’d be 1-2 if the Redskins didn’t screw up in the red zone in Week 2. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are exciting to watch, but Dallas’ defense is a mess. That’s the difference between the Cowboys and the Eagles even though both rookie quarterbacks have been brilliant thus far.

  16. Baltimore Ravens (3-0) – Previously: 18.
    “The Ravens might be the most underwhelming 2-0 team of all time.” This is what I wrote last week. I guess I can say they’re the most underwhelming 3-0 team of all time. They barely beat the woeful Bills in Week 1 – they don’t even cover if Buffalo doesn’t whiff on a field goal – and then they trailed 20-2 at Cleveland before Josh McCown got hurt. This past week, Jacksonville would’ve beaten them if Blake Bortles wasn’t so sloppy in the fourth quarter. That said, Baltimore’s defense is better now with Elvis Dumervil being back in the lineup, and Kenneth Dixon’s return should help the stagnant offense.

  17. Oakland Raiders (2-1) – Previously: 17.
    Signs of life from the Raiders’ defense? They limited the Titans to only 10 points, though Tennessee would’ve sent the game into overtime if it weren’t for two penalties at the very end. Plus, Khalil Mack still hasn’t logged a sack. Still though, any sign of improvement is something the Raiders will take at this point, given how bad their defense was in the first two weeks of the season.

  18. New York Giants (2-1) – Previously: 14.
    I had the Giants overrated as last week, so I’m not surprised that they lost outright to the Redskins. They could be 0-3 right now, but then again, they’ve thoroughly outplayed their previous two opponents at times, only to kill themselves with dumb mistakes.

    Meanwhile, Odell Beckham Jr. had quite the afternoon. He made some great plays, was carried around like a figure skater, cried on the sideline and was punched in the face by a kicking net. Here’s why Beckham was really so upset:

    But what about the kicking net? I think you know what it’s time for…

    The Adventures of Derek Anderson’s Magic Flask!

    Derek Anderson: Heyeyy Olldelell hhahaa yoyouurr nanammee iisis Ooollldd hhahah hic!

    Odell Beckham Jr: What do you want? I’m busy focusing on this matchup against my nemesis, the horrible, miserable, no good, beautif, I mean, ugly Josh Norman.

    Derek Anderson: Heyyeye mannn yoou’lll fofocucusus mmoroore witith thtiisis diririnkkk.

    Odell Beckham Jr: Really? OK, I’ll try it. Anything to give me an edge!

    *** Ten minutes later ***

    Odell Beckham Jr: Yyeahaha I”mmm susuppeprr fofofucucusseed ririirghht noowowow I”mmm gogognnna dessttororyu mmyyy nnamemeesisis evevenn thoouuggh he’sdsss kiinndaa hootott.

    Derek Anderson: Duudude thhaats kkdindnnaa ggaayay noto thatat thrhehress annbytning wororong wiitith thaht.

    Odell Beckham Jr: Thehhreess mmy nneemmsmssisi I’mm m goonnanakilll yooouuu!!!!

    Derek Anderson: Duududee thhhaatsss hthehe kkicickninng nneett hic!

    Odell Beckham Jr: Takakkee ththhaatta annndnd thhtaatat anndnd thhahatt yoouu lllikeke thagatt?? Yyoouu llikekke ththahat sexxyxyy bbiiiiiiccttchchh!??!?!

    Derek Anderson: Thisisis itiisis totoo weeieird foforor mmeme I’mmmm ooututtaa hheherre.

  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2) – Previously: 11.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Buccaneers just lost to the Rams, but they were the better team. They outgained Los Angeles in total yards and yards per play. Had Roberto Aguayo not missed a chip-shot field goal in the second half, Tampa would’ve prevailed. The Buccaneers were also hurt by fluke turnovers and horrible clock management at the end. They’re definitely better than their 1-2 record indicates, and there will be plenty of great betting opportunities as a result going forward.

  20. Detroit Lions (1-2) – Previously: 13.
    Underrated NFL Team: Since Jim Bob Cooter has taken over as the offensive coordinator, the Lions are 7-4 straight up and 7-3-1 against the spread (would be 8-3 straight up if Aaron Rodgers didn’t hit that Hail Mary). They lost to the Titans in Week 2, but they were the better team for all four quarters. They held the lead throughout – they were up 12 heading into the fourth quarter – and had numerous touchdowns wiped out by penalties. As for the Packer contest, they were down 31-3 at one point, but never seemed out of it, as they were even in yardage at halftime. Eric Ebron had a ball ripped out of his hands near the red zone, and the Packers ran it back to set up a quick score, while the kicker missed a 43-yarder. The game should’ve been closer the entire time. Detroit is a solid team, as Matthew Stafford appears to be playing at the top of his game right now.

  21. Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) – Previously: 10.
    Overrated NFL Team: You know a team is overrated when they turn an opponent over eight times and still nearly lose. Prior to the Derrick Johnson pick-six with four minutes remaining, the Jets were down 17-3 – would’ve been 10-3 if it weren’t for that kickoff fumble – and the Jets were in scoring territory on numerous occasions, only to have Ryan Fitzpatrick carelessly give the ball away. The Chiefs should be 1-2 right now, and they could’ve easily lost to the Jets if Fitzpatrick didn’t suffer a mental breakdown.

  22. Houston Texans (2-1) – Previously: 8.
    Most people were shocked by the result Thursday night. I thought the Texans would lose to the Patriots, but I didn’t think it would be 27-0 bad. Houston appeared to be overrated following two middling home victories against average teams like the Chiefs and Bears, so going into New England and winning on a short work week would be tough. The Texans, however, didn’t appear to be ready for the big stage. They made numerous mistakes, constantly choking away their chances at a victory.

    Bill O’Brien was outcoached by a million light years, and he was pissed at the media afterward. Here’s a glance at what he looked like while coaching the game:

    Yeah, I know, my second Jordan meme of the week, but both were very appropriate as far as I’m concerned.

  23. Arizona Cardinals (1-2) – Previously: 7.
    Overrated NFL Team: I was down on the Cardinals entering the season, so this is not an overreaction to their loss at Buffalo. They crushed Tampa, but that score was misleading, thanks to Jameis Winston’s shockingly sloppy play. Something wasn’t quite right about Carson Palmer in the preseason, and so I wasn’t surprised that he struggled this past week. Palmer had five dropped interceptions in the first two games, and the Bills finally capitalized on those horrible throws. Palmer just looks close to being done.

  24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) – Previously: 16.
    I picked the Eagles to beat the Steelers. But, 34-3? Wow. My projected score was 23-20. In a season in which there don’t seem to be any dominant teams – at least not in the NFC, unless the Vikings are considered – perhaps the Eagles can make a run with Carson Wentz, who is playing like a 10-year veteran.

    Speaking of Wentz, I found this amazing:

    OK, maybe it’s not so amazing because Case Keenum is on the list, but it’s still impressive nonetheless. And yet, Dak Prescott is right behind Wentz! These two are going to have a tremendous rivalry for the next dozen or so years. I can’t wait.

  25. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) – Previously: 5.
    The Bengals have been a major disappointment thus far. They nearly lost to the Jets, failed to cover at Pittsburgh and were torched by Trevor Siemian this past week. Vontaze Burfict returning to the lineup is huge, but the safety play has been miserable. It seems like Cincinnati really misses Reggie Nelson, though Nelson isn’t performing all that well in Oakland.

  26. Seattle Seahawks (2-1) – Previously: 12.
    Overrated NFL Team: More people are realizing this now, but 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, and his new knee injury complicates matters. Wilson was already limping around prior to that versus San Francisco. He threw very well, but didn’t scramble at all.

  27. Carolina Panthers (1-2) – Previously: 6.
    I called the Panthers overrated last week. I’m not sure how the public feels about them, so I’ve taken them off that list for now. They’re probably still overvalued, as the public hasn’t recognized that Carolina’s defense isn’t the same without Josh Norman, while the offense will be exposed against teams with great pass rushes because the tackles can’t block.

    Besides, Cam Newton’s crazy outfits could serve as a distraction. I mean, seriously, what the hell is this?

    Who does Cam think he is, Mr. Peanut?

  28. Green Bay Packers (2-1) – Previously: 4.
    I was close to listing the Packers as an overrated NFL team. They looked great offensively against Detroit, but they were battling a defense missing its top two players. The defense, on the other hand, looked horrible, even before garbage time, as the Lions equaled the total yardage in the first half. The reason I’m not listing the Packers as overrated is because they currently have numerous injuries on defense, so their stop unit will be much better when everyone returns.

  29. Denver Broncos (3-0) – Previously: 9.
    Things just got interesting in Denver. It was apparent their defense would see the slightest bit of a decline in the wake of the Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan departures (as well as DeMarcus Ware aging) but perhaps that’ll be made up with Trevor Siemian being better than Peyton Manning was last year. And so far, he has been!

    Speaking of Siemian, I loved how John Elway trolled some guy on Twitter:

    Elway waited SIXTEEN MONTHS for this! He had this in the back of his mind for 16 months, waiting to troll this @nfkrauss dude. As a man who has held certain grudges for decades, I can highly appreciate this.

  30. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) – Previously: 1.
    I’m not ready to move the Steelers down that much. They were coming off a divisional victory, playing an emotional Philly squad looking to prove itself against one of the league’s best teams. It was a very difficult situation, and it didn’t help that the Steelers killed themselves with drops and a blocked field goal. The game just spun out of control very quickly for them. I think they’ll bounce back.

  31. Minnesota Vikings (3-0) – Previously: 3.
    Underrated NFL Team: Can you have an underrated, undefeated NFL team? Apparently, as the Vikings opened as 7.5-point underdogs at Carolina last week. The Vikings prevailed, but I still don’t think they’re getting the credit they deserve! The betting public should be all over Vikings -4 over the Giants, but they’re not. Why do people refuse to admit that this is one of the best teams in the NFL?

  32. New England Patriots (3-0) – Previously: 2.
    I feel like most people thought the Patriots’ first four games would be a success if they came out of it with a 2-2 record. So much for that! They’re 3-0, and it’ll be a huge surprise if they’re not 4-0 after battling Buffalo, no matter who the quarterback happens to be.

    And yeah, it really doesn’t matter who New England starts at quarterback. Bill Belichick can win with anyone. In fact, take a look at who Belichick is considering this upcoming Sunday:

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