NFL Power Rankings

My current NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 6 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: Oct. 11

  1. San Francisco 49ers (1-4) – Previously: 32.
    Hey, member when people thought the 49ers weren’t the worst team in the league after Week 1? I member! Actually, I don’t need to member because I can just pull up this piece of hate mail in the comment boards of my 2017 NFL Mock Draft that was made three weeks ago:

    Guess who’s laughing now!?!?!? Muhahahahahaha!!!

    Anyone who doesn’t believe the 49ers are the worst team in football hasn’t watched them at all over the past month.

  2. New Orleans Saints (1-3) – Previously: 31.
    Teams can sometimes use bye weeks to make some great adjustments and reevaluate their personnel. I have to wonder what the Saints’ front office was thinking … “Let’s see, we have one talented receiver, our running back is fine, our quarterback is aging, but can still get it done … our offensive line can’t block though … our defensive line can’t get pressure on the quarterback, our secondary can’t cover, and we’re starting the worst linebacker in the NFL. Holy s**t, we suck!”

  3. Indianapolis Colts (2-3) – Previously: 29.
    “When you pay a quarterback all that money, it’s going to take a while to build a defense around him.”

    Ryan Grigson said this during the week, apparently lashing out at a reporter who questioned why the roster around Andrew Luck sucks. The thing is, Grigson had four years to build around Luck before giving him his huge contract, so why not address his own incompetence during that stretch? And what about the offensive line? Why does that suck so much?

    Grigson is horrible at his job and can only make excuses for his failures. He must have compromising pictures of Jim Irsay to have kept his position for so long. My thinking is that these pictures include Irsay snorting coke while f***ing a giraffe. That, or Irsay snorting coke while f***ing a kangaroo. Either way, coke, f***ing and exotic animals are most definitely involved.

  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) – Previously: 28.
    The Jaguars had the week off, so their beat writers had to come up with some “interesting” stories. That includes this gem:

    Sounds like some great advice for how every single man should begin his day!

  5. Cleveland Browns (0-5) – Previously: 27.
    The Browns are not the worst team in the NFL. They could easily be 3-2 right now, but were screwed over by a Josh McCown injury, three missed field goals and one of the worst calls any official will make this year. I also think they could’ve been somewhat competitive with Cody Kessler, but they managed only six points in three quarters with Charlie Whitehurst piloting the offense. As soon as Kessler left the game, I wrote, “R.I.P. Browns +11.5.”

    Speaking of injured Browns quarterbacks, you have to respect the message this man was trying to send while holding up this sign:

    It’s so great that he’s trying to start a discussion, and his kneeling during the national anthem was very admirable.

    Anyway, 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: 338
    Currently on Pace for: 1,082
    Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 132.9

    Pryor hasn’t eclipsed 50 yards since Week 3, so I’m beginning to think he won’t get there!

  6. Miami Dolphins (1-4) – Previously: 26.
    As I noted in the NFL Game Recaps page, I’m not going to hold Miami’s loss to the Titans against them, given that they were having issues preparing for the game in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Plus, three of their four losses thus far have been to the Seahawks, Patriots and Bengals – all on the road.

    Still, Ryan Tannehill needs to improve. In the meantime, the national weather bureau is considering a name change:

  7. New York Giants (2-3) – Previously: 15.
    I wrote in my NFL Game Recaps that Eli Manning might have been struggling so much because he was either too drunk or busy watching the presidential debate, which he was secretly streaming. I then wondered whom Manning would vote for. I think Manning might be leaning toward Turd Sandwich, but then his dad found out during family dinner and growled, “No, boy, you’re not allowed to pick Turd Sandwich. As much as you’d like to go there, you can’t. I’m forcing you to vote for Giant Douche, or you won’t get your allowance this week!” Archie then sent Eli over to the kids’ table, where Eli had to sit next to 7-year-old cousin Sven. Sven Manning.

  8. Chicago Bears (1-4) – Previously: 30.
    Underrated NFL Team: Those who didn’t watch the Colts-Bears game will assume that Indianapolis was slightly better than Chicago. That was not the case, as the Bears were the better team; they outgained the Colts by about 120 yards and averaged 2.3 more yards per play, which is a huge disparity. Brian Hoyer has been better than Jay Cutler, and aside from the opening half against the Cowboys, who have turned out to be a very good team, the Bears have played well with Hoyer under center. Remember, they also beat the Lions, and that victory looks much better in the wake of Detroit’s win over Philadelphia.

  9. Baltimore Ravens (3-2) – Previously: 14.
    No surprise that the Ravens fired Marc Trestman after that abomination of a game plan. Here’s my grade for the Marc Trestman firing, though I’d have to wonder if Trestman would’ve been axed had C.J. Mosley not fumbled, which may have given Baltimore a 17-16 victory.

  10. Tennessee Titans (2-3) – Previously: 24.
    I listed the Titans as underrated last week, and they prevailed, so I can’t designate them that way any longer. It was a nice win, but as I noted earlier, I’m not sure how much can be read into it because the Dolphins couldn’t prepare very well for the matchup because of Hurricane Matthew.

  11. Washington Redskins (3-2) – Previously: 25.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Redskins are not as good as their 3-2 record indicates. They easily could’ve been 0-4 heading into last weekend, as they trailed against both the Giants and Browns in the fourth quarter until those teams began self-destructing and committing stupid turnovers. Both the Giants and Browns outgained the Redskins in terms of yards and yards per play. As for this past contest, the Ravens may have won if C.J. Mosley didn’t fumble a potential pick-six at the 1-yard line. Washington has some major injury issues on defense and some problems on the offensive line as well.

  12. Detroit Lions (2-3) – Previously: 23.
    I’m kicking myself for not picking the Lions over the Eagles. They were never as bad as their 1-3 record indicated, but I needed Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy in the lineup for me to bet them. It’s pretty remarkable that they won without them, though Philadelphia’s massive amount of penalties did have something to do with it.

  13. New York Jets (1-4) – Previously: 20.
    Underrated NFL Team*: I’m putting an asterisk on the underrated notation here, as it depends on whether or not Nick Mangold plays. New York was beating the Steelers late in the second quarter, 13-7, and trailing only 17-13 entering the fourth quarter, but it didn’t score a single point after Mangold left the game. Mangold is so important to this offense, so if he can play, this is an underrated squad. The Jets have fallen to 1-4, but they lost to the Bengals in Week 1, but were close and easily could’ve prevailed. Against the Chiefs, they committed eight turnovers, some of which came off fluke fumbles and weird bounces, and despite this, they were down just 17-3 with four minutes remaining in regulation. The Seattle game looks ugly on the surface, but the Jets were down by just a touchdown in the fourth quarter before Richard Sherman made a great play to intercept Ryan Fitzpatrick, allowing the Seahawks to seal the victory. So, in summary, the Jets have lost to three of the better teams in the NFL and one solid squad, being close in all four contests. Their victory, meanwhile, came against the Bills, which is looking a lot better right now.

  14. Houston Texans (3-2) – Previously: 13.
    Houston’s blowout could’ve been seen from a mile away. Here’s what I wrote last week: “Through four games, the Texans have been demolished by Jacoby Brissett and prevailed in underwhelming home victories against the Bears, Chiefs and Titans, who have a combined 4-8 record. Not good.”

    The Texans have been very underwhelming in general, including Brock Osweiler. I thought LaDainian Tomlinson made a great point when he noted that John Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback and a great general manager, wasn’t willing to pay Osweiler, whom he saw at practice every day, so what were other teams thinking when they were ready to throw tons of money at Osweiler?

  15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) – Previously: 17.
    There were so many mistakes in the Panthers-Buccaneers game, it was ridiculous. Was it bad coaching? Unfocused players? Ramifications of the debate between Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich? None of the above, actually. Only one man was responsible. I think you know what it’s time for…

    The Adventures of Derek Anderson’s Magic Flask!

    Derek Anderson: Immm;;mm fiinanally ognnana sttarrtt heehyey Jojhnnyn Mannazizielel snneeakak onnn theee Bucucuass siidiellinne anndd slliopp thiiss inntoto thhee Gattotoradde. I’lll hannfdlllee mmuyy teeamm hic!

    *** Derek Anderson and Johnny Manziel slip the contents of Anderson’s magical flask into the two Gatorade buckets. Ten minutes later… ***

    Jameis Winston: Woooo fifiirrsst Mmonnndayyy nniighgthht gamammee evvverrr I’mm goonnnaan ovovoerrthtroowow eevveryryoonene hahahahaahahah!!!

    Roberto Aguayo: Heheyeye guuysys I heaaarrddd BUcucuannneers plalayyiingn toonnihghtht I hehahrrdd theiririr kicickker suucckkss puututt mmemee innn thehehe gamamme cocooachch I’mm bebeititter thahahnn thhatat buuummm!!!

    Dirk Koetter: OOokkk dduududee yoouurr iinnn thrhehe ggammamee yoouu’llll bebee bebtttree thhaanan ooiuurr kkcicikker fofoorr susuuree hic!

    Kony Ealy: I’m googigign totoo grrrabab eveyryr siingnglle ffaaacce mamssskk I seeee hahaahah!!

    Ron Rivera: Tiriimmme oouutt!!!n TIimmemee oooutuutt!!! Hic! TIimmemememe ootutuututut!!!

    Graham Gano: Cocooachch giivive mememe a hahanncce I’mmm a gogoodd kiickkcker.

    Dirk Koetter: OOkkk I’lll trryryry twowowo kiiccikkersss bebecauause mmuiinen suucckks soo muucchh waiitit WHWHYYY ARREEE TIMMEME NOTOTO RUNNINGNG OOIUTUT ONNNN 10-SEECOCONDNDNS RUN-OFF!!>>!!>

    Official: Thhee guuyy ranann oooutut oofff booiunndds sososo clloocock stotoops.

    Johnny Manziel: Derek, you finally did it. Everyone’s drunk!

    Derek Anderson: Thiisisiss isisiiss pproroududesstt dayayay ofofofo myyy liififee tiimeme foorro mmee toooo tyryryr wiinnn ggamammee oooppsisiee I thrroowwo passsi intntersppeeiionn hic!

  16. Carolina Panthers (1-4) – Previously: 12.
    Maybe I’m crazy, but I think the guys on MS-ESPN were making too big of a deal in regards to Cam Newton being spotted on a Segway in downtown Charlotte. I mean, yeah, he shouldn’t have been riding around with his helmet off, but at least he asn’t driving a car and endangering others. Besides, given what Derek Anderson did to the Gatorade tubs at the stadium, Newton was probably safer on his Segway.

    At any rate, the Panthers-Buccaneers recap can be available via the link.

  17. San Diego Chargers (1-4) – Previously: 21.
    What I wrote last week still applies, but change 4-0 to 5-0: “It’s crazy to think that the Chargers could easily be 4-0 right now. Well, not “easily” because they have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot in the final two minutes, but they’ve been in position to win every game. I don’t want to list them as underrated, however, because of all their injuries, but I will be looking to wager on them as underdogs of more than a field goal in the near future.”

    How can this team keep finding ways to lose? The few Charger fans still remaining aren’t happy about the situation. Take a look:

    I meant to write “too excited,” but you get it. Unfortunately, my situation doesn’t apply because McCoy, in fact, is married.

  18. Los Angeles Rams (3-2) – Previously: 18.
    Underrated NFL Team: Casual bettors miss injuries to significant role players. Part of the reason for that is ESPN focusing on stars and not spending enough time talking about actual substance. Thus, most people may have missed the fact that the Rams were without two of their defensive studs, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers, against the Bills. Despite this, Los Angeles and Buffalo were tied at 16 late in the game when Case Keenum lofted a horrible pick-six. Keenum is obviously not any good, but the Rams weren’t themselves because they were missing half of their awesome defensive line.

  19. Buffalo Bills (3-2) – Previously: 22.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Bills have won three games in a row! They’re great again! That’s what the public is thinking, but it doesn’t seem like that is the case. Buffalo’s three victories aren’t overly convincing. The Arizona win was nice, but the Cardinals have since proven to be a middling team. Prevailing in Foxboro may look good on paper, but the Patriots’ quarterback in that game, Jacoby Brissett, was so banged up that he needed thumb surgery immediately afterward. The Bills just beat the Rams, but Los Angeles was missing some key defenders and was still tied at 16 before Case Keenum’s horrible pick-six.

  20. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) – Previously: 16.
    It’s pretty telling that the Chiefs are just a one-point dog at Oakland as of this writing and that the sharps are betting on them. Excluding Denver, all three teams in the AFC West seem the same to me, minus the final two minutes when the Chargers choke like dogs.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t post something that e-mailer Chris D. sent over, which effectively recaps the past few weeks:

  21. Oakland Raiders (4-1) – Previously: 10.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Raiders are basically the opposite of the Chargers. They’ve been close in every game, but they’ve just been great in the final two minutes. The question needs to be asked, though: Why are they having so much trouble putting away bad teams like the Saints and sub-par ones like the Titans? The Raiders did win at Baltimore, but they were outgained by about 150 net yards and lost the yards-per-play battle, 5.2-4.8. The Ravens were a drop away from attempting a field goal to win the game. San Diego, meanwhile, would’ve tied the game had the holder not bobbled the ball. This is pretty telling, too: The Raiders have been outgained in terms of yards per play in EVERY SINGLE GAME THIS YEAR.

  22. Arizona Cardinals (2-3) – Previously: 11.
    I’ve received complaints from commenters before for placing a 1-3 team in the top 15. Well, the Cardinals are 2-3 now. Is it OK to put them in the top 15 now, or do I have to wait until they beat the Jets to improve to 3-3? Are 3-3 teams OK to be in the top 15?

    This thought process doesn’t seem too smart to me, as it isn’t too wise to be so focused on records. The Cardinals were 1-3 heading into this week, sure, but they would’ve beaten the Patriots if it wasn’t for a missed field goal at the end, and they could’ve had a chance to defeat the Rams had Carson Palmer not gotten hurt. So, they’d be 4-1 with some Oakland Raiders-type luck right now. If they were 4-1, would they be permitted in the top 15, oh wise sages of NFL record-dom?

  23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) – Previously: 7.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Bengals are definitely not as bad as their losing record indicates. That may sound odd to say in the wake of their blowout loss at Dallas, but I think there’s a chance they may have been looking ahead to their matchup against the Patriots. They may not have respected the Cowboys very much, which is understandable, considering that Dallas was going to be without Dez Bryant again. Thus far, the Bengals have lost to the Steelers (4-1), Broncos (4-1) and Cowboys (4-1) – three teams in the top 10 of these NFL power rankings. The first two contests were at least close, which is why I think the Bengals weren’t completely focused. Also, Tyler Eifert will be back soon, which will make the offense more consistent.

  24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) – Previously: 8.
    Ryan Mathews will forever be known as the man responsible for Carson Wentz’s first career interception. Seriously though, what is Mathews doing on the field at that point? The Eagles have running backs who are more talented, so why not use them? I know, I know, hindsight is 50-50 – according to the great Emmitt – but Mathews was already falling out of favor with the coaching staff, so why did they use him so much at Detroit?

    At any rate, the Eagles are still near the bottom of the top 10, but some holes were exposed in their defense. Nolan Carroll and Mychal Kendricks played very poorly.

  25. Dallas Cowboys (4-1) – Previously: 19.
    So much for the Cowboys being overrated! They deserve to be shot up these NFL Power Rankings, as I underestimated the impact that DeMarcus Lawrence’s return would have. Lawrence was obviously seen as a great player, but he was only one man, and there was a chance he wouldn’t be 100 percent after serving a four-game suspension. Lawrence was a stud, and he bolstered the pass rush, which swarmed Andy Dalton. This also helped Morris Claiborne, who shut down A.J. Green. Claiborne was already having a great season, and now he’ll have a much-improved pass rush to aid him.

    As for the offense…

  26. Green Bay Packers (3-1) – Previously: 6.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Packers don’t look right to me. They’ve had shaky victories over the Jaguars and Giants, two teams that obviously aren’t very good. The secondary has some issues, but Aaron Rodgers is not playing like the vintage version of himself. It’s telling that the Packers have averaged more than 5.3 yards per play in only one contest this year.

  27. Atlanta Falcons (4-1) – Previously: 9.
    My No. 24 ranking of the Falcons seems even dumber now. The Falcons are legitimate, and if Vic Beasley can get going and not just abuse matchups against injured, backup right tackles, the Falcons will have a chance to do some major damage in the playoffs. That said, Seattle will offer a big test, as the Falcons will be battling a great team coming off a bye, all while spending their second-consecutive week on or near the West Coast.

    By the way, I’m leaving Atlanta behind Denver because the Broncos were missing their starting quarterback and were unfocused because they had to prepare for a game in just four days.

  28. Denver Broncos (4-1) – Previously: 3.
    Some trolls continued to chide me for not ranking the Broncos No. 1 overall in my NFL Power Rankings. Well, I doubt I’ll be hearing from them now. I’m not going to dock the Broncos very much, however, given that Trevor Siemian was out and Denver had to prepare for another game in just four days.

    That said, I think it has to be disconcerting for any Denver supporter that their team had such issues dealing with running backs catching passes out of the backfield. The Broncos will have to defend Le’Veon Bell and potentially Dion Lewis during their march back to the Super Bowl.

  29. Seattle Seahawks (3-1) – Previously: 5.
    The past couple of years, the Seahawks have gotten off to middling/disappointing starts but really excelled following the bye. Well, they were already 3-1, so it’s scary to think how much better they’ll get once they improve their offensive line situation, which they were able to do during the bye last season.

  30. New England Patriots (4-1) – Previously: 4.
    Think Patriot fans were excited to have Tom Brady back? This was pretty much the basement of every New England fan during Sunday afternoon when Tom Brady threw his first touchdown pass:

    Brady looked great, though the level of competition needs to be considered. Kirk Cousins also performed very well versus the Browns, and I’m not quite sure a 39-year-old quarterback can play on a high level for an entire season, especially when considering the state of the offensive line.

  31. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) – Previously: 2.
    If the Steelers can get Sammie Coates to play up to his talent level, they’ll be nearly unstoppable on offense. Their defense is still a concern – the Jets only failed to score once Nick Mangold left the game with an injury – but it won’t matter too much if Pittsburgh can outscore everyone.

  32. Minnesota Vikings (5-0) – Previously: 1.
    I’m proud to say that I’ve had the Vikings at No. 1 or 2 for most of the year, so I’m not reacting to their previous two blowout victories. They’re the best team in the NFL; there’s no doubt about that. Sam Bradford is playing very well; the coaching staff is amazing; and the defense is completely dominant. Maybe too dominant. Take a look at what they’ve been getting away with:

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