NFL Power Rankings

My current NFL Power Rankings to begin the 2017 NFL offseason.

I’m going to use these rankings as the order for my 2018 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. 12

  1. New York Jets (0-1) – Previously: 32.
    As I wrote last week, the Jets are the worst team I’ve ever graded. They had just 15 stars in the NFL Position Ratings, and I can’t remember any team being that low before. Even the 0-16 Lions were graded higher. They lost to the Bills by “only” nine points, but it could’ve been far worse, as Buffalo doubled up the Jets in yardage but made some careless errors to keep New York in the game.

  2. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – Previously: 31.
    The Colts are the worst team in the NFL without Andrew Luck and Ryan Kelly, except for maybe the Jets. The two teams actually don’t play each other this year, so if Luck doesn’t return, we might witness NFL history: two 0-16 teams!

    I should note that those following the Yahoo fantasy app may have been thinking that Luck was actually playing. Take a look:

    Stupid Chuck Pagano! Not only did he think he was playing the 49ers; he had Luck starting at receiver!

  3. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) – Previously: 30.
    Kyle Shanahan had a, well, interesting debut. He foolishly went for it twice on fourth-and-short near midfield in the middle of the second quarter; he failed to call timeout in time on a key fourth down in the second half; and he barely called any running plays for Carlos Hyde when the game was still close. Reuben Foster’s injury didn’t help, but Shanahan’s poor coaching was the primary factor in San Francisco’s loss.

    What happened? Wasn’t Shanahan supposed to be the next brilliant coach? I think you know what it’s time for…

    The Adventures of Derek Anderson’s Magic Flask!

    Kyle Shanahan: Oh boy, it’s my first game as a head coach! Let’s make sure I’m ready. Playbook? Check. Balanced breakfast in the morning? Check. Strange vial in my pocket? Wait, what is this, and how did it get here?

    Derek Anderson: Heeyeye Miikkeke Shahannaahahn, I pputututt a prpressenentn iinnnn ththhee ppoockkektt fofoorr oyoouu.

    Kyle Shanahan: I’m Kyle. Kyle Shanahan. Mike is my daddy. What is this vial?

    Derek Anderson: Iiittss” googood lluucuck fflllalasskkk. Iififf yooiuu ddriiinkk iititt,, yoou’lll mamkee thehe bbebsstt cocooachchinng deccisisionns eevver hic!

    Kyle Shanahan: Oh boy, this sounds like cheating, but I want to win my first game. Oh boy, I guess I’ll take a chance with this!

    Derek Anderson: Goooddo mmaakkee susuurree yoouu driiinnk ititi uquuiickck annnd dodonn’t eeeaat breeeaadd bbeecasusue thhatt’ll ccannnceel theee effeeccttss.

    *** Later, during the game… ***

    Brian Hoyer: Coach, the play clock is ticking down! Should I call timeout!?

    Kyle Shanahan: Oohhhh bbbooiyy thisiiss bbalalannceed brbeakkfasst iissnn’t hoollddingn upp veryrr welelll hic!

    Brian Hoyer: What does that mean!? What’s the play!?

    Kyle Shanahan: Oohhhb bbboouyyy whehhrreess thhehe babathtrooommm I hhahvvee totooo ppiuikke. Blleleghghhhh!!!

    Brian Hoyer: Eww! Ugh, what should we…

    Official: Delay of game, on the offense. That’s a 5-yard penalty. Still fourth down.

    Kyle Shanahan: Stiill fofoiurthh dododwnwnn? Wassnnsnt iitit jjuusust fofouurthh dodownwn? Hehaadd cocoaocchhiinnng isiiss hhaaarrdd hic!

  4. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – Previously: 23.
    Overrated NFL Team: Save for the Seahawks, and the Texans until Duane Brown returns, the Bengals could have the worst offensive line in the NFL. Their tackles are trash, and they have just one viable starting blocker in Clint Boling, who didn’t even play well in the opener. Meanwhile, their defense is missing some key players, including Vontaze Burfict who has been suspended for two more games.

  5. Houston Texans (0-1) – Previously: 16.
    I know the Texans may have had some difficulty preparing for the game in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but I have to question some of Bill O’Brien’s formations:

    No wonder the Jaguars had 10 sacks!

    I’d delve more into the Texans, but e-mailer Scott S., who went to the game, put it best:

    That was like being touched by your uncle without the benefit of “friendship lotion”. Literally the worse game in team history. Stonehenge Savage can’t see the light of day again. Watson at least brought some juice. The worst oline in Houston. OB with worst coached game I’ve seen. And no hope for next years draft since we don’t clock in until the 3rd. Not sure jj is healthy. Lost 3 TE to head injuries. At least we didn’t pay Bouye. He was awful. There is no one that can get open. I liked Braxton Miller as a weapon project. I don’t like him as a football player. Vrabel brought nothing. Clowney is only effective as dlineman. Not olb. Cushing is old. Only positive was my new parking pass is some kind of VIP thing that allows me to park damn near in the stadium. The parking lady literally said “look at you Mr VIP”. So I’m graduated from hnic to Mr VIP. And yes I will make staff call me that. Hope your day is going better than mine did.

  6. Chicago Bears (0-1) – Previously: 29.
    I loved what I saw out of Tarik Cohen in the preseason, but I didn’t think he’d see much action because he was behind Jordan Howard, and that’s why I didn’t recommend him as a fantasy sleeper. Oops! Cohen was dynamic in the season opener, and he single-handedly allowed Chicago’s offense to keep things interesting. Many have been compared to Darren Sproles and failed to live up to it, but it seems as though Cohen is the real deal.

    Despite Cohen’s best efforts, the Bears still lost they game. They would’ve prevailed over the defending NFC champions had Jordan Howard hung on to the ball, so they definitely showed me something.

  7. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) – Previously: 28.
    Overrated NFL Team: I never thought I’d say the Jaguars were overrated because I figured no one would ever rate them highly. Lo and behold, following the Week 1 victory, Deion Sanders proclaimed that the Jaguars would win the AFC South, while NFL Network’s Ike Taylor rated Jacksonville cornerback duo as the best in the league. Umm… no. A.J. Bouye is not a good player, and he was exposed against the Texans. The Jaguars simply beat up on a Houston team that was distracted and unable to block without Duane Brown. The Jaguars were still starting Blake Bortles, and I still don’t trust their offensive line.

  8. Buffalo Bills (1-0) – Previously: 27.
    The Bills were totally the “everyone thinks we suck for what happened in the preseason, so we’ll show everyone we’re not nearly as bad as they think we are” team for Week 1. There was a ton of sharp action on the Jets, but the Bills still covered. They won by only nine, but as mentioned, it could’ve been a much greater blowout had they not made so many mistakes.

    That said, I still have to question what the Bills are doing. Despite being in first place by themselves right now, they don’t have a realistic chance of making the playoffs, so why not trade LeSean McCoy, Jerry Hughes, Marcell Dareus and other veterans to begin the rebuilding process?

  9. Cleveland Browns (0-1) – Previously: 26.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Browns are definitely not one of the worst teams in the NFL this year. At least not yet. They have a stellar offensive line that I would rank in the top five of all blocking units. They’ll be able to run the ball extremely well – despite what we saw in the opener – and they have some solid pieces on defense. DeShone Kizer’s inexperience is a problem, but Corey Coleman looked great in the preseason, so he should be able to help the rookie through his growing pains.

  10. New Orleans Saints (0-1) – Previously: 14.
    I called the Saints underrated last week. Whoops! Their defense is much worse than I thought it would be, while their offensive line can’t block. Zach Strief’s injury in the second quarter against the Vikings really hurt, and Ryan Ramczyk doesn’t look like he’s ready to be a starting NFL left tackle.

  11. Washington Redskins (0-1) – Previously: 24.
    I don’t know what happened to Washington’s offensive line, but the unit hasn’t been able to block well, dating back to the preseason. Brandon Scherff has been especially disappointing. Ah, if only the Redskins drafted Leonard Will… nah, never mind, I’ve done enough of that over the years.

    Let’s start another tracker for Terrelle Pryor, who, according to Charles Woodson, was going to accumulate 1,800 receiving yards last year. Perhaps that’ll happen in Washington!

    Terrelle Pryor’s Race for 1,800:

    Current Receiving Yards: 66
    Currently on Pace for: 1,056
    Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 115.6

    Sure, Pryor had just 66 yards in his Redskins debut, but an average of 115.6 doesn’t seem that impossible!

  12. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) – Previously: 13.
    The Cardinals suddenly have some offensive line problems, which happened to be a major reason why they struggled so much last year. Mike Iupati is clearly banged up, while D.J. Humphries is now injured. They need to find someone better than John Wetzel, who was woeful as a replacement for Humphries in the final three quarters against the Lions. The good news is that Arizona plays Indianapolis in Week 2, so the Cardinals will be 1-1 after that bye week. The bad news is that David Johnson could be out 3-4 months.

  13. Miami Dolphins (0-0) – Previously: 20.
    Good job by the NFL postponing the Buccaneers-Dolphins game until Week 11. There was no reason to play the game on a neutral site this week. Most of the Dolphin players would be worrying about their homes and families, so they’d be in no position to prepare for an NFL contest. I only hope that the NFL shows more compassion for the Dolphins by allowing them to stay in the U.S. rather than go to Lond… wait, never mind.

  14. New York Giants (0-1) – Previously: 15.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Giants have done nothing to improve their blocking. I have a tough time seeing them earning another playoff spot this year, especially now that Brandon Marshall is on the roster (clearly, subtraction by addition). They were actually extremely lucky last season, as they easily could’ve finished 7-9 or so. They trailed the Rams in London; they barely beat the pedestrian Bengals; they got to battle the Ravens when they were missing three blockers, and they still barely won that game. I can go on and on, but luck may not be on the Giants’ side this year. They had a poor debut, but people will attribute that to Odell Beckham’s absence, rather than the Giants’ ineptitude.

    Oh, and this guy is still the quarterback:

  15. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) – Previously: 22.
    Sean McVay developed Kirk Cousins. Greg Olson took Josh Freeman to the Pro Bowl. These two men have combined forces to get the most out of Jared Goff, who threw for 300 yards for the first time in his career against the Colts. That said, Indianapolis might have the worst defense in the NFL, so every single game moving forward will be more difficult for Goff. At the very least, however, Goff gained some confidence in his Week 1 victory.

  16. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) – Previously: 11.
    Out of all the Week 1 teams, the Chargers were the greatest disappointment. To get blown out in Denver (prior to the fluky near-comeback) was inexplicable. Matvei said it best:

    “Every time I bet on this team, I feel like some country realtor deciding that it’s finally safe to reopen Camp Crystal Lake.”

  17. Carolina Panthers (1-0) – Previously: 19.
    Overrated NFL Team: Everyone is going gaga for Christian McCaffrey, but can the Panthers even block for him? They still have their issues up front, and I’m not convinced Cam Newton is healthy; he was woefully inaccurate in the opener. Meanwhile, the defense still isn’t the same without Josh Norman. I’m also not convinced the Panthers can generate a consistent pass rush outside of Kawann Short. They hounded Brian Hoyer, but the 49ers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.

  18. Detroit Lions (1-0) – Previously: 18.
    I loved the Lions as a Super Bowl contender early in the offseason, but I changed my mind once Taylor Decker and Kerry Hyder went down with injuries. Can I jump back on the bandwagon? The Lions, aside from some careless mistakes in the first half, were very impressive in the opener. Greg Robinson held up fairly well, and Ziggy Ansah didn’t look too banged up. I suppose we’ll find out how legitimate Detroit is Monday night, but I like the team’s chances versus the overrated Giants.

  19. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) – Previously: 25.
    I don’t know what to make of the Vikings. They were 25th heading into the season, as I assumed their offensive line would suck again. That was not the case on opening night. Sam Bradford had all the time in the world, and he looked like an elite quarterback as a result. Was this the result of improved blocking, or was it just a byproduct of New Orleans’ horrific defense?

  20. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) – Previously: 17.
    Baltimore’s defense looked amazing in the season opener. I really liked the team’s front seven heading into the year, but it’s hard to say how dominant the stop unit is. The Bengals have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL – I repeatedly made note of this before that game – so it wasn’t surprising that Baltimore forced Andy Dalton into four picks. Meanwhile, can Joe Flacco throw the ball downfield? Seriously, everything was short, as his final yardage was inflated by Jeremy Maclin’s catch-and-run touchdown. If Flacco is indeed limited, Baltimore’s offense is really going to struggle as long as Danny Woodhead is out.

  21. Denver Broncos (1-0) – Previously: 21.
    The Broncos lost Wade Phillips and several defensive starters, and they were starting a rookie left tackle with a new head coach – and yet they dominated the Chargers, but didn’t cover. Handicapping football is hard.

  22. Tennessee Titans (0-1) – Previously: 6.
    I can’t say I understand why the Titans have such issues against the Raiders. Sure, if every game was a shootout, and Tennessee’s offense simply couldn’t keep up, I could understand it. But the Titans have scored 21, 10 and 16 in their previous three defeats against Oakland. That makes no sense to me, given how bad the Raiders’ defense has been. I know that Khalil Mack utterly embarrassed Jack Conklin, but Marcus Mariota should’ve been able to take advantage of plus matchups elsewhere.

  23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) – Previously: 12.
    I expressed some concern about the Buccaneers being overhyped earlier in the offseason, but for some reason, I don’t feel that concerned anymore. Jameis Winston continues to make great strides, and it looks like his offensive line is much better. The defense has made some improvements as well. At this rate, I’ll be surprised if the Buccaneers don’t reach the playoffs.

  24. Dallas Cowboys (1-0) – Previously: 10.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Cowboys were definitely legitimate in 2016, but I think they’ll take a step backward this season. They lost two members of their fantastic offensive line, while three key players in their secondary have departed as well. Now, Orlando Scandrick is banged up. Things won’t go as smoothly for the Cowboys in 2017, especially if Ezekiel Elliott has to serve his six-game suspension.

  25. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) – Previously: 8.
    Seattle’s offensive line continues to suck. That was predictable. What happened to be surprising was Jimmy Graham’s performance. Graham dropped multiple passes, including a key third down in the fourth quarter that would’ve put the Seahawks near midfield, giving them an opportunity to perhaps tie the game. Also, I have no idea what the officials were thinking by nullifying Seattle’s return touchdown with a bogus block in the back and then tossing Jeremy Lane for a phantom punch. I have a feeling that if the NFL raided the official’s home, they’d find Packers paraphernalia everywhere.

  26. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) – Previously: 5.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Eagles won their season opener, yet they still aren’t recognized as one of the better teams in the NFL despite having no weaknesses outside of the secondary. The defensive backfield is an issue because Ronald Darby suffered an injury. He’ll be out 4-6 weeks, which actually has to be a relief because it looked much worse than that. I posted a Disaster Grade for Darby’s dislocated ankle. I may also do one for Jason Peters, who was on and off the field with a groin problem in the opener. His status is unknown at the moment.

    By the way, I posted that it was Stephon Gilmore who got hurt rather than Ronald Darby on Twitter/Facebook. I blame fatigue. That, or Derek Anderson emptied the contents of his magic flask into my orange juice.

  27. New England Patriots (0-1) – Previously: 2.
    Tom Brady won the Super Bowl at 39. At 40? He sucks, according to these people:

    Seriously, what the hell? Brady wasn’t great, but let’s focus on the defense, which allowed nearly 550 yards of offense to Alex Smith!

  28. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) – Previously: 9.
    Tedy Bruschi called the Chiefs’ offense “limitless.” OK, then. Kansas City is a very good team – definitely not a great team with Eric Berry done for the year – but to call an offense led by Alex Smith “limitless” is the very definition of blatant Week 1 overreaction.

    Or, is it…

  29. Green Bay Packers (1-0) – Previously: 7.
    Aaron Rodgers didn’t look like himself in the preseason, as his performances were reminiscent of his early-season struggles in 2016. Unfortunately, I was just being stupid. Rodgers was great against a very tough Seattle defense. His offensive line didn’t hold up well until the Seahawks were gassed in the second half, but Bryan Bulaga should be back soon, so the protection will at least improve when that happens.

  30. Oakland Raiders (1-0) – Previously: 4.
    I still have some major concerns about Oakland’s defense, but the team had some surprise performances in Week 1. Third-round rookie Eddie Vanderdoes, who looked good in the preseason, thrived right away against a very talented offensive line. Meanwhile, Sean Smith, who was torched routinely throughout August, was exceptional out of nowhere. I guess it’s a good thing the Raiders didn’t cut him, which they were rumored to do! However, Oakland still has major problems at linebacker. Delanie Walker basically did whatever he pleased, and that’s just a sign of things to come from opposing tight ends.

  31. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) – Previously: 3.
    The Steelers appeared to suffer a big loss when it was reported that Stephon Tuitt may have torn his biceps. As it turns out, it’s just a minor injury. Tuitt may miss a couple of weeks, but the Steelers will have one of their top defensive stars down the stretch. This is obviously great news, though Pittsburgh’s sluggish victory over the Browns was slightly disconcerting.

  32. Atlanta Falcons (1-0) – Previously: 1.
    I ranked the Falcons No. 1 prior to the season. I know they nearly lost to the Bears, but I’m not going to drop them just yet. I don’t think they expected Tarik Cohen to do what he did, and besides, Atlanta began slowly last year, losing to Tampa Bay at home in Week 1. I expect the Falcons to improve markedly over the next few weeks.

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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 |

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