NFL Power Rankings

My current NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 7 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. 18

  1. San Francisco 49ers (1-5) – Previously: 32.
    Colin Kaepernick started over Blaine Gabbert, and the 49ers predictably had the same result. They are the worst team in the NFL by far, as they haven’t been competitive in more than half of their games. Sure, they kept it close for a while against the Bills, but their lacking talent was eventually overwhelmed at the end, resulting in a blowout.

    How bad was it, you ask? ESPN didn’t even bother listing the 49er players on their app:

  2. New York Jets (1-5) – Previously: 31.
    Holy s**t, this team is bad, and I’m a f***ing idiot for thinking they were underrated heading into Week 6. DERP DEE DOO!

    On the bright side, this was at least an entertaining find on Twitter:

  3. Cleveland Browns (0-6) – Previously: 30.
    I swear, I’m going to have an aneurysm if I have one more argument about Hue Jackson’s two-point attempt. It was the right call, though almost irrelevant regardless. It’s simple math, people. 8 + 7 = 7 + 8, no matter how often you rearrange the numbers. Plus, it’s better to know what you need to do, so Jackson was 100-percent correct. Where Jackson screwed up was not kicking a field goal sooner on the ensuing drive – I have no idea why he kept running the ball in the red zone – but it ultimately didn’t matter. On Facebook, I likened it to putting your dying dog down on Tuesday or Wednesday. It probably doesn’t matter when you do it, but it’s almost better to end the suffering as soon as possible.

    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: 413
    Currently on Pace for: 1,101
    Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 138.7

    Pryor’s chances of 1,800 yards are quickly slipping away…

  4. Indianapolis Colts (2-4) – Previously: 29.
    It’s baffling to me that Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano should have been fired last offseason, yet they received contract extensions instead. It made no damn sense. What led to this dreadful decision-making? I think you know what it’s time for…

    The Adventures of Derek Anderson’s Magic Flask!

    Derek Anderson: Heyeyyey iitt’s’s Jiiijmmm Iirirssayayy dididn’t yoouru ppaayyy foforoo hoooekkkerss oororr sosomemehthinngg?


    Derek Anderson: Duduudee calallmm dodowownwn anndnd haaavveve a siiipp offrromm myyy flflalasks hic!


    *** Ten minutes later ***


    Derek Anderson: DUduduee itiss nnototo cocooll toooofiirire yootuurursselellff! Hic!


  5. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) – Previously: 28.
    The Jaguars have been involved in some close games this year, nearly beating the Packers and Ravens at home. What if they were 4-1 right now? I’m willing to bet that the world would be imploding at this very instant if that were the case. Actually, that’s probably going to happen with the Cubs win the World Series.

    By the way, I think a legitimate case can be made that the Jaguars are underrated. I won’t list them as such, but they’ve outgained four of their five opponents in terms of yards per play. I still don’t trust Blake Bortles, but their defense is so much better.

  6. New Orleans Saints (2-3) – Previously: 27.
    The Saints had a nice victory over the collapsing Panthers, and it was a reminder that their season could’ve gone much differently. They would’ve beaten the Raiders had it not been for a very ticky-tack pass interference flag, and they nearly defeated the Giants on the road after that. How much different would our thought process be of the Saints if they were 4-1 right now? Then again, they did beat the Chargers in a game they should have lost, so all of this thinking is probably irrelevant.

  7. Chicago Bears (1-5) – Previously: 26.
    Underrated NFL Team: Those who didn’t watch the Colts-Bears game two weeks ago 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. The Bears also had control of the Jacksonville game despite having a game to look ahead to in four days, but lost at the end. Brian Hoyer has been better than Jay Cutler, and aside from the opening half against the Cowboys, who have turned out to be a great 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 wins over Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

  8. Baltimore Ravens (3-3) – Previously: 25.
    The Ravens weren’t as good as their 3-0 record indicated three weeks ago, but they’re not bad enough as they’ve looked in their three-game losing streak, either. What is clear is that they need some of their important players – C.J. Mosley, Elvis Dumervil, Ronnie Stanley, Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, Jimmy Smith, etc. – to return from injury. Things fell apart for Baltimore once the latter Smith left the Giants game.

  9. New York Giants (3-3) – Previously: 24.
    The Giants’ victory over Baltimore was a crucial one for Eli Manning, who was finally permitted to come back to the adults’ table during his final dinner prior to his trip to London. Eli is fond of his cousin, 7-year-old Sven Manning, but being treated like a child is a shot to his self-esteem.

    In all seriousness (or rather, somewhat more seriousness), New York’s victory over Baltimore was somewhat questionable, as the banged-up Ravens had control of the game prior to losing Jimmy Smith, resulting in numerous blown coverages for Odell Beckham Jr. to take advantage of. And speaking of Beckham, what the hell is he doing? Why is he proposing to kicking nets? And more importantly, did anyone find it dubious that Beckham hit the net after “she” “said” yes?

  10. Miami Dolphins (2-4) – Previously: 23.
    Underrated NFL Team: Many were confused by Miami’s blowout victory over Pittsburgh. Part of that had to do with Ben Roethlisberger’s knee injury, sure, but I think the Dolphins would’ve been competitive regardless. Roethlisberger’s knee had nothing to do with Miami’s running game. The reason the Dolphins were able to pound the rock so effectively was because its offensive line was completely intact for the first time all year. That’ll be absolutely huge going forward, and I think the Dolphins will be competitive with most teams as a result.

  11. Tennessee Titans (3-3) – Previously: 22.
    I thought it was impressive that the Titans were able to maintain a 28-13 lead with a bit more than two minutes remaining. Sure, they were battling an 0-5 opponent, but the Browns have been competitive in most of their games this season. Marcus Mariota was exceptional, but let’s see if he can keep it up.

  12. Houston Texans (4-2) – Previously: 21.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Texans are definitely not a 4-2 team. Not even close. Their victories have all been unimpressive wins against middling or horrid opponents. They trailed the Bears in the third quarter. They struggled to put away the Chiefs. They needed a punt return touchdown to defeat the Titans, whom they were tied at 20 with at the end of the third quarter. And Sunday night, the Colts led by two touchdowns, but blew the lead because of injuries and abysmal decision-making by Chuck Pagano. The Texans could easily be 2-4 or worse right now, which is saying a lot considering how easy their strength of schedule has been.

  13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) – Previously: 20.
    Tampa’s victory at Carolina seems so much less impressive now that the Saints also defeated the Panthers. Plus, the Buccaneers did so with Cam Newton sidelined, and yet, they barely got there. I’m suddenly very uneasy in terms of my prospects of cashing my Over 6.5 ticket with Tampa.

  14. Detroit Lions (3-3) – Previously: 19.
    The Lions have somehow clawed their way back to 3-3 despite having Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy available for three collective games. Not bad. Detroit gets to battle another team heading into London this week, so perhaps it’ll improve to 4-3.

    I have to comment on the sorry state of the Lions’ franchise. I know, I know, it’s like kicking a passed-out bum in the face, but I thought it was ridiculous that they held a 25-year anniversary celebration for the 1991 team. What did that 1991 team do? They won the NFC Central division. That’s it. That’s all they did. They obviously went to the playoffs, where they lost to the Redskins, 41-10.

    How in hell is that deserving of a 25-year anniversary celebration? I can’t imagine how amused the Packers were upon learning about this. If they had anniversary celebrations for each divisional championship, they’d have a hell of a lot of anniversary celebrations.

  15. Carolina Panthers (1-5) – Previously: 18.
    Even at 1-5, I don’t think the Panthers are out of it. Sure, they have some glaring problems, but the same could’ve been said last year about the 1-5 Chiefs, who ended up making the playoffs. Carolina has a ton of talent, so I wouldn’t dismiss its chances, especially with having a bye to clean things up.

    This absolutely needs to change:

    And Cam Newton wonders why people hate him. It’s because he’s so arrogant when he wins, and yet he turns into a crybaby when he loses. Cam, if you somehow stumble on to these power rankings during your week off, do yourself a favor, and stop being a whiny douche, and also quit wearing silly costumes after losses.

  16. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) – Previously: 17.
    How much worse are the Eagles now without Lane Johnson? Ryan Kerrigan versus some mobster rookie named Big V was such an obvious mismatch, and Redskins took advantage right away. Other teams will take note and apply pressure on Carson Wentz that way, at least until Big V gives them an offer they can’t refuse.

    By the way, what the hell was Charles Woodson talking about when he said this?

    “The Eagles began the season 4-0, and then they went huntin’!”

    The Eagles didn’t even begin the year at 4-0, and what does he mean by “they went huntin’?” I feel like that’s something someone would say after hitting a bong a few times.

  17. Washington Redskins (4-2) – Previously: 16.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Redskins are not as good as their 4-2 record indicates. I actually wrote about this when they were 3-2, so they’re even more overrated now. They easily could’ve been 0-4 a couple of weekends ago, 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. Meanwhile, the Ravens may have won if C.J. Mosley didn’t fumble a potential pick-six at the 1-yard line. The victory over the Eagles was nice, but Philadelphia is a regressing team in the wake of Lane Johnson’s injury. Washington has some major injury issues on defense and some problems on the offensive line as well. Plus, Kirk Cousins can’t be trusted whatsoever.

  18. Los Angeles Rams (3-3) – Previously: 15.
    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. The same thing occurred against the Lions; Quinn was out, and Brockers left the game early. Los Angeles will improve once the two stud linemen return to action.

  19. Buffalo Bills (4-2) – Previously: 14.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Bills have won four 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 four 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 beat the Rams, but Los Angeles was missing some key defenders and was still tied at 16 before Case Keenum’s horrible pick-six. The 49ers, meanwhile, were able to hang around. The Bills put them away late, but San Francisco is the worst team in the NFL, so that wasn’t overly impressive.

  20. Oakland Raiders (4-2) – Previously: 13.
    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. It’s no surprise that the Raiders were blown out by the Chiefs at home, Andy Reid coming off a bye or not. This is pretty telling, too: The Raiders have been outgained in terms of yards per play in EVERY SINGLE GAME THIS YEAR.

  21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-4) – Previously: 12.
    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 losses at Dallas and New England, but in terms of the former contest, 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. As for the Patriots game, they led 14-10 in the third quarter, but some horrible penalties derailed their chances. Thus far, the Bengals have lost to the Steelers (4-2), Broncos (4-2), Cowboys (5-1) and Patriots (5-1) – four 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 for Dallas. Also, Tyler Eifert will be back soon, which will make the offense more consistent.

  22. Arizona Cardinals (3-3) – Previously: 11.
    I can’t say Arizona’s victory on Monday night was that impressive. Sure, they won in a blowout, but they should’ve beaten the abysmal Jets by more. Further details can be found on my NFL Game Recaps page.

  23. San Diego Chargers (2-4) – Previously: 10.
    Nice win by the Chargers, as Mike McCoy managed to save his job despite yet another late-game scare.

    Speaking of McCoy, a friend of mine messaged me about him during the second half of the San Diego-Denver game:

    So true. I feel like McCoy is so close to snapping. If a serial killer suddenly emerges in San Diego, I think he should be the primary suspect.

  24. Green Bay Packers (4-2) – Previously: 9.
    I had the Packers as an overrated team last week, so their outright loss to Dallas was hardly a surprise. There’s something terribly wrong with Aaron Rodgers, and he needs to fix whatever the issue is. Perhaps he should stop shooting so many commericals, or maybe he should stop dating Olivia Munn. I have no idea if he’s married to Olivia Munn, but he should stop dating her regardless.

  25. Kansas City Chiefs (3-2) – Previously: 8.
    You can’t call it a fluke anymore. Andy Reid is invincible after the bye week. What does he do to suddenly turn things around so easily? Some will point to extensive film study and self-evaluation. My guess is cheese steaks. Much like Popeye is with spinach, Reid consumes lots of cheese steaks during his week off, and it acts as sort of a brain booster to help defeat his next opponent. Hey, scoff all you want at this theory of mine, but as a resident of Philadelphia for most of my life, I can tell you that it’s foolish to dismiss the power of the cheese steak.

  26. Dallas Cowboys (5-1) – Previously: 7.
    The Cowboys have blown out the Bengals and upset the Packers in consecutive weeks. And yet, they’ve done this without Dez Bryant. They’re a legitimate contender to make a deep run into the playoffs.

    I also think it’s a positive for Dak Prescott that he doesn’t have to worry about hearing all the talk regarding his interception-less streak. He set the record, and now it’s all over. However, I found this oddly suspicious, and I’m beginning to wonder if Prescott’s streak would still be alive had this event not occurred:

  27. Denver Broncos (4-2) – Previously: 6.
    I’m willing to throw out that San Diego loss because the Broncos had to prepare for a tough opponent on three days of rest without their head coach. That said, I can’t resist posting what one Denver homer wrote in the comment section below:

    I leave most of my analysis up, so people can go back and point out the stupid things I wrote. Now, it is my turn to do that to a reader. My, how the tables have turned!

  28. Atlanta Falcons (4-2) – Previously: 5.
    If there’s such a thing as a quality loss, the Falcons certainly had one in Seattle. They were down early, but they mounted an impressive comeback and eventually had the lead before a dropped pass turned into an interception and a horrible call capsized them. Still, they played a great game, considering the circumstances, and they shouldn’t move down in the rankings at all for that effort.

  29. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) – Previously: 4.
    The Steelers are getting a ton of criticism for losing to the Dolphins, but as noted earlier, the Dolphins will be better going forward because their offensive line is finally healthy. Plus, they were up, 8-6, in the second quarter when Ben Roethlisberger injured his knee. Roethlisberger wasn’t the same after that, so there’s a chance Pittsburgh still could’ve prevailed with a healthy Roethlisberger under center.

    Speaking of Big Ben, I have a Disaster Grade for Ben Roethlisberger’s injury listed here.

  30. Seattle Seahawks (4-1) – Previously: 3.
    The Seahawks were able to hold on for dear life against the Falcons, and they needed the help of a horrific call by the officials, but they prevailed to improve to 4-1, and they did so without Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks have been much better following the bye the past couple of years, so this result bodes well going forward.

  31. New England Patriots (5-1) – Previously: 2.
    If you’ve ever doubted the significance of great coaching in the NFL, Bill Belichick has made you look pretty dumb this season. Belichick was brilliant once again Sunday. The Bengals confused Tom Brady early by taking away his crossing routes, but Belichick and his staff made the appropriate adjustments, and Brady was sharp as a result beginning in the middle of the second quarter. Still, the offensive line is a concern, and I think it’ll ultimately be New England’s downfall.

  32. Minnesota Vikings (5-0) – Previously: 1.
    I have to say that it was upsetting not having the Vikings playing this past weekend. I missed the feeling of having a free spread victory in my back pocket. Minnesota is an unbelievable 29-9 against the spread with Mike Zimmer, whom I would consider the best coach in the NFL right now if it weren’t for Bill Belichick.

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