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. 19

  1. New York Jets (0-2) – Previously: 32.
    I often say stupid things, but the Jets are making me look extremely smart. On the podcast, I told Kenny that I wouldn’t bet the Jets unless I were getting 24 or 25 points. Lo and behold, the Jets lost exactly by 25! The 0-16 dream continues, and it better come true because I saw some 49ers beat writer on Twitter wonder about how his team could steal Sam Darnold away from New York.

  2. Indianapolis Colts (0-2) – Previously: 31.
    Sadly, I don’t think the dual 0-16 dream is alive. As I pointed out last week, the Jets and Colts don’t play each other, so until Andrew Luck returns, Indianapolis won’t win very many (or any) games. However, the Colts nearly upset the Cardinals, so they’re not nearly as bad with Jacoby Brissett, who, unlike Scott Tolzien, is actually a real NFL quarterback. Plus, the Colts will be getting Ryan Kelly and Vontae Davis at some point.

  3. San Francisco 49ers (0-2) – Previously: 30.
    But what about the dual 0-16 dream with the Jets and 49ers? They don’t play each other either. However, San Francisco and Indianapolis will at some point, so that’s a game the 49ers could win. After all, San Francisco nearly beat the Seahawks in Seattle this past Sunday, so they’re not truly horrible either. They’ll also have Reuben Foster back soon, and he’ll look great behind DeForest Buckner, who has been a stud thus far.

  4. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) – Previously: 29.
    What the hell happened to Andy Dalton? I never liked him very much, and I know that he’s being blocked by one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, but he’s missing open throws. It seems like he’s lost his confidence, and if he struggles against the Packers, Marvin Lewis should really think about benching him.

  5. Cleveland Browns (0-2) – Previously: 24.
    I initially had the Browns penciled in as an underrated NFL team. Then, I re-watched the game and was appalled that I bet five units on this trash. Neither Kenny Britt nor Sammie Coates tried hard at all, especially on the last offensive play of the game. If you have Game Pass, check out that play. The lack of effort both players showed was alarming.

    How could they both be that lazy? Surely, something else had to have been involved. Perhaps an outside influence. I think you know what it’s time for…

    The Adventures of Derek Anderson’s Magic Flask!

    DeShone Kizer: Hey guys, my head hurts. Quick, someone tell Alfred to get the Batmobile. For I am Batman.

    Kenny Britt: Hey Sammie, I think our quarterback is concussed.

    Sammie Coates: So? Does that mean we have to try hard now?

    Kenny Britt: Haha of course not. What are you, crazy?

    Sammie Coates: I don’t know what I was thinking. Sorry. Why would I ever think that we’d have to try in a football game?

    Kenny Britt: Yes, that would be silly. Our quarterback has been concussed, so he won’t even notice.

    Derek Anderson: Heeyeye Kekennnnyny andnndnd Sammamiieiee hoowow abababoout a didiririnnkkk???

    Sammie Coates: A drink? What do you think, Kenny?

    Kenny Britt: Let’s pass on this one. If we get drunk, we might try by accident.

    Sammie Coates: Great point.

    Derek Anderson: Commememe ooonnn guguyyyss I allrlreadydy gavvvee thisisisi totoo yooururu hheheaadd cocooaocchh.

    Hue Jackson (yelling at an assistant coach): I dudnnnnnn ccnaarree iififf Deeshsoonne Kiizizzzmamnn hahssss coocnncussssioonn. Heee’s’ss gogogngnnn tototo pplalalayy hic!

  6. Chicago Bears (0-2) – Previously: 27.
    Would it surprise you if I said that the Buccaneers and Bears were even, yardage-wise, throughout the game? What if I pointed out that the Bears averaged more yards per play? Box score observers might look at the Tampa Bay-Chicago game and determine that it was completely lopsided because of the 29-7 score, but it definitely wasn’t. The Bears did a good job moving the chains for most of the afternoon, but Mike Glennon buried them with some killer turnovers. If it weren’t for those, Chicago would have kept it close. I know that’s like saying, “If that girl didn’t have those hideous boils on her face, she’d be attractive,” but still.

  7. New Orleans Saints (0-2) – Previously: 23.
    When I called the Saints’ defense underrated two weeks ago, I must have been drinking whatever Derek Anderson had in his magical flask. Still, I was able to at least take solace in that linebacker Alex Anzalone performed well against the Vikings after I said he would. Welp, Bill Belichick must not read the site – or, he does, and he thinks I’m a moron – because he schemed to beat Anzalone this past Sunday and was successful. On the bright side for the Saints, Sheldon Rankins looked like a solid pro for once.

  8. Houston Texans (1-1) – Previously: 28.
    Bill O’Brien needs to continue to trust Deshaun Watson. O’Brien tried way too many runs in short-yardage situations Thursday night even though the Bengals were selling out against the run, and they failed every time. At the end of the game, O’Brien seemed to show more faith in Watson, and it paid off, as Watson went 4-of-6 for 31 yards on the penultimate drive of the game. Watson is still dealing with a horrible offensive line, but Duane Brown has to be back at some point.

    Even though this week’s game against the Patriots is a sure loss, I don’t think the Texans’ 2017 campaign is a lost cause. They need Brown back, so if he returns for Week 4 onward, Houston can rack up some wins if Watson continues to progress.

  9. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) – Previously: 26.
    I had the Jaguars as overrated following the bogus Week 1 victory. They were promptly crushed by the Titans in Week 2, as Blake Bortles once again proved to be a huge liability. While the Tennessee game was still in doubt, Blake Bortles was just 11-of-23 for 89 yards and two interceptions. The Jaguars will have to find a real quarterback next offseason. You know, someone who actually watches game film.

    On a positive note, we got to see the return of this:

    The only downside is that Allen Robinson isn’t around to benefit from this.

  10. Buffalo Bills (1-1) – Previously: 25.
    The Bills were a Tyrod Taylor-to-Zay Jones connection away from upsetting the Panthers, as crazy as that sounds. So, Buffalo can at least know that it can be competitive against overrated teams on the road. The team will need Cordy Glenn to get healthy to actually close out some games, however. Glenn is a shell of his former self because of injury, and the Bills should consider resting him until he heals up.

  11. Los Angeles Rams (1-1) – Previously: 18.
    Jared Goff reminds me of a bad version of Drew Bledsoe. Like Bledsoe, Goff has some very good talent. And also like Bledsoe, Goff holds the ball for an eternity in the pocket because he processes information too slowly. This was a big problem against the Redskins, and I imagine that any team that can muster a pass rush will take advantage of it.

    Then again, if Goff gets strip-sacked, and no one is around to see it, does he turn the ball over?

  12. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) – Previously: 17.
    Speaking of teams with no home-field advantage, I think I might begin referring to the Chargers as the “San Diego Chargers” who are playing neutral-site games in Los Angeles.

    It’s crazy that Philip Rivers, as talented as he is, happens to be 9-25 as a starter in his previous 34 games. I know his supporting cast sucks, but I can’t remember an elite, or even a second-tier quarterback, going through a stretch like this.

    By the way, minutes after Younghoe Koo missed the game-winning field goal, I received this random e-mail with just one sentence:

  13. New York Giants (0-2) – Previously: 19.
    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.

    By the way, what was up with some of the Giants fans from the Detroit game? One looked vaguely familiar:

    What’s with that guy to the left? Why is he taking a picture with a camera from the 80s? And how about his baseball cap? The New York Giands? Looks like a counterfeit baseball cap! And the camera might be stolen, too!

  14. Arizona Cardinals (1-1) – Previously: 21.
    Underrated NFL Team: Calling the Cardinals underrated when they nearly lost to the Colts may sound strange, but hear me out. We’ve seen Arizona at its worst so far. The team has always sucked in early East Coast games, and those are the only sorts of contests the Cardinals have played thus far. They haven’t been at home yet, and they’ll be better offensively when Mike Iupati, D.J. Humphries and Jermaine Gresham return from injury, which could be in Week 3. They still have some outstanding play-makers on defense as well.

  15. Baltimore Ravens (2-0) – Previously: 13.
    Overrated NFL Team: The general public doesn’t understand how important offensive line play is, hence why the Falcons didn’t cross -3 when it was announced Packers tackle David Bakhtiari was out. Marshal Yanda is one of the top guards in the NFL, and now he’s out. Baltimore’s offense will take a major step backward without Yanda, who is irreplaceable. His backup, Tony Bergstrom, really struggled in relief versus the Browns.

  16. Washington Redskins (1-1) – Previously: 22.
    The Redskins’ safeties couldn’t be completely exposed by Jared Goff, but they’ll certainly be tested Sunday night versus the Raiders. Since Su’a Cravens won’t be returning anytime soon, it would be nice if some of the disappointing players like Terrelle Pryor and Brandon Scherff would step up for a change. Speaking of Pryor…

    Terrelle Pryor’s Race for 1,800:

    Current Receiving Yards: 97
    Currently on Pace for: 776
    Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 121.6

    Pryor and Kirk Cousins still don’t appear to be on the same page, but the big performances are coming. Pryor could still make Charles Woodson proud!

  17. Carolina Panthers (2-0) – Previously: 16.
    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 and not much better the following week. Meanwhile, the defense still isn’t the same without Josh Norman. Thus far, the Panthers have battled Brian Hoyer and Tyrod Taylor, but the 49ers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, while the Bills couldn’t block either because Cordy Glenn was hurt.

  18. Miami Dolphins (1-0) – Previously: 20.
    Both Florida teams came through despite dealing with Hurricane Irma, so kudos to them, for sure. The Dolphins had a nice win in front of countless empty seats in Los Angeles, so it must have felt like they were at home.

    Despite some poor offensive line play, the Dolphins pulled through, though they needed the help of a missed field goal. Jay Cutler played well overall, though he has gotten criticism for his horrible Hail Mary attempt that landed near some cheerleaders way out of bounds. I actually think Cutler was precise on the throw. What better way to get the cheerleaders’ attention than nearly hitting them with some pigskin?

  19. Detroit Lions (2-0) – Previously: 15.
    I can’t wait to see if the Lions can be competitive with the Falcons. That’s one of the big matchups of Week 3, and Detroit is 2-0 for the first time since 2011. Imagine how good the Lions will be once they get back their stud left tackle Taylor Decker.

  20. Minnesota Vikings (1-1) – Previously: 14.
    Where did Sam Bradford’s injury come from? Seriously? There were reports that he was banged up throughout the week, but he was perfectly fine last Monday night when he was thrashing the Saints. So, how and when did he get hurt, and should the Vikings expect this to continue? As great as Bradford looked versus the Saints, it’s hard to imagine Minnesota having much success with this guy as its quarterback:

  21. Tennessee Titans (1-1) – Previously: 11.
    I was ready to call Marcus Mariota the most disappointing player in the NFL this season when the Titans were either trailing or losing to the Jaguars in the first two-and-a-half quarters. Mariota managed to rebound, but faces an extremely difficult test against the Seahawks in Week 3. Once again, the Titans are favored, which is unfortunate. If I’m Mike Mularkey, I’d contact the sportsbooks and ask them to make my team an underdog because the pressure of being expected to win against these Super Bowl contenders is too overwhelming, it seems. The Titans laid an egg in Week 1, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the same thing happens this upcoming Sunday.

  22. Seattle Seahawks (1-1) – Previously: 8.
    “Seattle’s offensive line continues to suck.” That’s what I wrote last week, but I never believed that they’d have a problem blocking a San Francisco pass rush that couldn’t get to Cam Newton. I was wrong. The Seahawks need to figure something out quickly, or their fans could be in trouble:

  23. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) – Previously: 9.
    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.

    That’s what I wrote last week, so I was not surprised to see Dallas lose to Denver. Ezekiel Elliott was, however, as he was visibly upset:

  24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) – Previously: 10.
    The Buccaneers had a nice first victory over the Bears, especially in the wake of Hurricane Irma. It’s important, however, that Tampa Bay doesn’t get full of itself with this win. Chicago moved the chains well throughout the afternoon, but gifted the Buccaneers a victory with countless turnovers. Perhaps that happened because Dirk Koetter knew Mike Glennon extremely well. Nevertheless, the Vikings will provide a much more difficult challenge this upcoming weekend, assuming, of course, Sam Bradford isn’t in a wheelchair.

  25. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) – Previously: 7.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Eagles won their season opener and battled the Chiefs extremely tough, 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 and Rodney McLeod have both suffered injuries. However, the Eagles could have beaten the Chiefs had a series of unfortunate events not have happened; Torrey Smith dropped touchdown, Darren Sproles fumbled punt return, Jake Elliott missed 30-yard field goal, Carson Wentz late interception off a deflection, Vinny Curry’s missed sack of Alex Smith to force a punt in a tie game in the middle of the fourth quarter. I think if the Eagles and Chiefs battled each other 10 times, each team would win on five occasions.

  26. Green Bay Packers (1-1) – Previously: 4.
    I won’t read too much into Green Bay’s loss, as the team was missing both of its starting tackles and No. 1 receiver. It’s a shame, as it ruined what could’ve been an incredibly competitive game against the Falcons.

  27. Denver Broncos (2-0) – Previously: 12.
    As tremendous as Denver’s defense was against the Cowboys, the unit wasn’t even at full strength, which is scary. Shane Ray will return in the second half of the year, and Derek Wolfe is bound to get healthy sooner or later. Brandon Marshall is struggling as well, so he’s likely to improve, too. There was concern about Garett Bolles, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be out for very long, which is a huge relief.

  28. New England Patriots (1-1) – Previously: 6.
    Remember when these people wanted Tom Brady benched last week?

    This is why no one should ever listen to idiots who whine and complain 140 characters at a time. Tom Brady was terrific in a rebound performance, but it’s not like he was the problem in the first place. The lacking pass rush and extremely thin linebacking corps should’ve gotten the blame from these Twitter morons.

  29. Oakland Raiders (2-0) – Previously: 3.
    I still have some major concerns about Oakland’s defense, especially with Josh McCown putting up 20 against them this past week. The Jets are so bad that I thought it would be more likely that they’d score negative points than 20, yet that was the total they posted. The Raiders really need to do something about their linebacking corps. Every player in that group is awful.

  30. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) – Previously: 5.
    The Chiefs look great right now, which is a change of pace for them because they’ve usually gotten off to some slow starts under Andy Reid, only to finish the year on an extremely strong note. Perhaps this is their season. Alex Smith has not had much success in the playoffs, but this is the best offensive supporting cast he’s ever had to work with. Plus, we just saw an utterly awful quarterback in the 2015 Peyton Manning triumph in the Super Bowl. If that version of Manning could win the championship, Smith absolutely can.

  31. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) – Previously: 2.
    The Steelers have been a bit sluggish to start the year, allowing both the Browns and Case Keenum-led Vikings to hang around. They better watch out, because they have to play on the road against Mike Glennon!

    Seriously, though, Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t seem like himself. He hasn’t been terrible, but he looks like he’s regressed. Perhaps those are just early-season jitters, but Roethlisberger thought about retiring this offseason, so it’s fair to wonder if his head is completely in the game right now.

  32. Atlanta Falcons (2-0) – Previously: 1.
    I’m glad I didn’t drop the Falcons last week because they nearly lost to the Bears. Last year, they lost to the Buccaneers on opening Sunday, and then they went into Oakland and upset the Raiders. They once again followed up a sluggish start with a dominant performance. If Atlanta fans have to endure some poor Week 1 games in exchange for much better outputs in Weeks 2-17, I think they’ll take it.

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