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: Nov. 7

  1. Cleveland Browns (0-8) – Previously: 32.
    Draft Carson Wentz? Nah, trade for draft picks.

    Draft Deshaun Watson? Nah, trade for draft picks.

    Trade for A.J. McCarron? ZOMG YES TRADE ALL TEH DRAFT PICK!!!

    Ah, the Factory of Sadness.

  2. San Francisco 49ers (0-9) – Previously: 29.
    I understand not playing Jimmy Garoppolo until after the bye, but not putting him on the field at all this season? Come on!

    E-mailer David H., from Wales, found this picture that may have inspired John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan:

  3. Houston Texans (3-5) – Previously: 11.
    The Texans have fallen from No. 11 to 30 because of the Deshaun Watson injury, and rightfully so. Charlie Campbell was right when referring to Watson as an MVP candidate already because Watson covered up so many warts on this team. Watson negated the poor offensive line because of his mobility, and he masked the defense’s injuries by being able to maintain drives and generate lots of points. I wrote in the NFL Game Recaps that the difference between Watson and Tom Savage might be 19 points in this specific situation, and that might not even be enough.

  4. Green Bay Packers (4-4) – Previously: 27.
    I have a couple of quotes for you concerning the Packers, and Brett Hundley in particular.

    “Brett Hundley had great success at UCLA, so he’s been here before.” – Lisa Salters

    I have no words for this. None. I mean, comparing going up against Pac-12 defenses to battling NFL athletes is just, well, yeah.

    “Brett Hundley is not the problem.” – Mike McCarthy

    Eh, I guess that’s correct. The problem isn’t Hundley, really, but it’s that Aaron Rodgers is not in the lineup. This is why Rodgers has to be the MVP every year if the Packers win the division until the front office adds some talent to the roster.

    As for this team, the Packers may not win another game. They are absolutely horrible without Rodgers. They had two weeks to prepare for the Lions, yet still got blown out at home. I feel like they couldn’t have beaten Detroit with 10 years to prepare for them!

  5. Indianapolis Colts (3-6) – Previously: 31.
    The Colts were 13-point underdogs in the Supercontest, so I don’t know why everyone didn’t select them. I even thought +6 was too high! Save for the blowout loss to Jacksonville, Indianapolis has been competitive in every game with Jacoby Brissett at the helm, so it’s curious that the team is a double-digit home underdog against the Steelers this week.

  6. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) – Previously: 24.
    As I noted last week, Cincinnati’s victory over Buffalo in Week 4 will go down as one of the most mystifying results of the year. The Bengals were pathetic against the Jaguars, failing to generate any pressure against a bad offensive line, struggling to get off the field on third down in the process. Meanwhile, the offensive line continued to block poorly, so the Bengals couldn’t even control the ball for 20 minutes.

  7. New York Giants (1-7) – Previously: 28.
    Underrated NFL Team: It may seem stupid to designate the Giants as an underrated team, as they just got blown out by the Rams, but they were missing several players who should return to action soon, including Janoris Jenkins, Justin Pugh, Olivier Vernon and B.J. Goodson. The Giants have played three games since Odell Beckham Jr. went down, and all three have been difficult. They’ve hosted the Rams and Seahawks, two top-10 teams, and their easiest contest was at Denver, which is a tough place to play. The Giants are a bad team, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think they’re as terrible as they appeared to be in Week 9.

  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) – Previously: 19.
    You could argue that I was intoxicated when I labeled the Buccaneers as an underrated team last week. So much for that! Tampa is terrible, and Dirk Koetter should be fired. Also, it would be nice to know why Jameis Winston pointed to and touched Marshon Lattimore’s neck so weirdly. I think you know what it’s time for…

    The Adventures of Derek Anderson’s Magic Flask!

    Jameis Winston: I want to play, Coach Koetter! My shoulder is fine. Let me play!

    Dirk Koetter: Play what? There seems to be a lot of commotion in this arena, and people in pads are running around, but I’m not sure what’s going on. Is this some sort of game?

    Jameis Winston: Ugh, never mind. No wonder our team sucks.

    Derek Anderson: Heyeye Jaammisiss Wisnsnnton yoouu knoowow whahatt suucuckks, thteee mmmolelee oonnn ththaatt guguy’s’s neecckkc.

    Jameis Winston: Mole? What mole?

    Derek Anderson: Onnn Mmamrrshsmemellow Llattiimmorree’s nneecckk hic! Iitt viiiolllatress thththe ABBCDss sosos hehe sshoulldld seee hiisis derrrmoottolggiisstt rriright awwyaay. Heerre, dririrnk thiisisi yoouu’ll seee.

    *** Ten minutes later… ***

    Jameis Winston: Eexcucuusse ememme siiirir excciisuusee mmemmee siirir tthheehress a mmooellle oonnn yoyourur neneckck looookk!

    Marshon Lattimore: What? Get away from me, drunken creep!

    Jameis Winston: Noooo loookkk attt itiittt ititi voolllatress AAABBCCsDss ppleleasee seee yooururu dermmottoolligigshhtt hic!

    Marshon Lattimore: That’s a small tattoo, you idiot, now go away!

    Mike Evans: Heeyeyy wwhhoo yoyouu calliiinngng ididiidoott, raaawwrrrr!

  9. Arizona Cardinals (4-4) – Previously: 30.
    I wrote last week that if Drew Stanton were playing basketball on a Fisher Price hoop with his toddler, he wouldn’t even be favored in those circumstances, so how could he be favored against the 49ers? Well, as it turns out, the 49ers are an infant playing basketball on a Fisher Price hoop. They can barely stand!

    And no, I’m not a believer in the Cardinals despite the fact that they’re somehow in playoff contention at 4-4. If it weren’t for a weird fumble, they would’ve beaten the 49ers just 13-10, which is obviously not impressive after Dallas and Philadelphia dismantled San Francisco.

  10. Miami Dolphins (4-4) – Previously: 26.
    The Dolphins made watching the Sunday night game very difficult, as they were guilty of a barrage of penalties. The game was so bad that even the President of the United States remarked about it on Twitter:

    Seriously, would it kill the Dolphins not to hold on every other drive?

  11. Denver Broncos (3-5) – Previously: 21.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Broncos looked awful against the Eagles, but that couldn’t have been a surprise. They were playing their third-consecutive road game on a short week after making a trip to the East Coast. Denver’s defense, despite the performance at Philadelphia, is still great. Plus, it’s important to note that the Broncos have had just one home game since Week 4!

    Meanwhile, Denver fans were a bit upset following the blowout loss:

  12. New York Jets (4-5) – Previously: 25.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Jets played their Super Bowl Thursday night, while the Bills didn’t show up. The result was a lopsided affair, and the result of that is people talking about how the Jets are a couple of plays from being 6-3 right now. The Jets play hard each week, so Todd Bowles deserves credit for that, but New York still has less talent than any other team in the NFL, with the exception of the 49ers.

  13. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) – Previously: 23.
    Baltimore’s run defense has been better with Brandon Williams back in the lineup, but the offense is still so anemic. Things would be so much different for the Ravens if they still had Marshal Yanda. Alas, that is not the case, so Baltimore’s season has been lost.

  14. Chicago Bears (3-5) – Previously: 22.
    So, uhh, I may have cursed the Texans…

    Anyone else think that if the Bears could redo the 2017 NFL Draft, they’d take Deshaun Watson over Mitchell Trubisky? Just a hunch.

    I wrote that last week, and now Watson is hurt. Because of that injury, maybe some crazy Chicago fans would actually argue Trubisky over Watson.

  15. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3) – Previously: 20.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Jaguars had a nice win over a lethargic Cincinnati team that couldn’t pressure the quarterback or get off the field on third down. Plus, the result would’ve likely been 16-7 if it weren’t for a punt return, which is obviously less impressive than 23-7. Blake Bortles still sucks, his receivers are pedestrian, and his offensive line is not good.

  16. Tennessee Titans (5-3) – Previously: 18.
    The Titans have a chance to rack up some wins. Check out their next five opponents not named the Steelers: Bengals (home), Colts (road), Texans (home), Cardinals (road), 49ers (road). The Titans should be 9-5 or 10-4 heading into their Week 16 matchup versus the Rams, which, by the way, was priced Titans -7 prior to the season! You can bet advance lines at Westgate, so imagine if you put money on the Rams +7.

  17. Oakland Raiders (4-5) – Previously: 17.
    I’d say the Raiders would have a chance to win the division, as they already beat the Chiefs, so an eventual sweep would put them just one game behind. However, in addition to Kansas City, the Raiders have to play the Patriots, Cowboys, Eagles and Chargers following the bye. Unless they can magically find an answer for their terrible defense during their week off, I don’t think they’ll have much of a chance to make an unexpected run at the divisional crown.

    (In truth, I’m hoping this is a reverse jinx because I need the Raiders to go 6-1 or 7-0 following the bye to win my Over 9.5 wins bet.)

  18. Washington Redskins (4-4) – Previously: 14.
    I’ll tell you this: I was super pissed that Brandon Scherff didn’t start despite being active. I increased my wager on the Redskins when it was announced that Scherff would play, so I felt pretty dumb when someone else started at right guard instead. Fortunately, Kirk Cousins came through in the clutch, thanks to Josh Doctson’s inexplicable great catch, and no thanks to Terrelle Pryor, who once again did nothing.

    Oh, and speaking of Pryor…

    Terrelle Pryor’s Race for 1,800:

    Current Receiving Yards: 240
    Currently on Pace for: 480
    Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 195.0

    Pryor has been spending most of his time on the bench, so perhaps he’ll accumulate some yardage there.

  19. Buffalo Bills (5-3) – Previously: 15.
    Underrated NFL Team: The Bills suffered a blowout defeat against the Jets, transitioning them from overrated to underrated territory. They simply didn’t show up last Thursday night, so I expect them to improve this upcoming week. They still have a great defense and a solid offensive line – despite the seven sacks allowed – and Kelvin Benjamin will help bolster the passing game.

  20. Detroit Lions (4-4) – Previously: 16.
    I have some recommendations for the Lions to solve their red-zone woes:

    1. Stop throwing stupid fades. Fades never work. Stop f***ing throwing them.

    2. Sign one of the top players in the NFL Free Agent Rankings, or just give the ball to Zach Zenner.

    3. Use hypnosis on Eric Ebron to ensure he doesn’t drop passes and throw the ball to him.

    There. It’s easy. If the Lions used my tips, they’d be 6-2 right now.

  21. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) – Previously: 13.
    The Chargers moved up despite losing last week because they could have easily beaten the Patriots in Foxboro. They had two touchdowns called back by penalty – one of which was a horrible call – and they gave the Patriots five free points on Travis Benjamin’s dumb safety on the punt return (plus a field goal on a short field). I’m not saying the Chargers should have won, but they definitely could have. Instead, they just found another way to lose, which is what the franchise excels at, I suppose.

    By the way, if Benjamin is reading this and is wondering why he’s had the runs this week, it’s because Kenny, from our podcast, wished this upon him for his stupid performance against New England.

  22. Atlanta Falcons (4-4) – Previously: 12.
    Overrated NFL Team: I’m done defending the Falcons. They are not the same team as last year. They were lucky to beat the Jets, and they weren’t competitive against the Patriots. Their play-calling is extremely predictable, and Steve Sarkisian is not getting the ball enough to Julio Jones. Meanwhile, their defense has been a big disappointment, as they’ve had no answers for Josh McCown or Jay Cutler recently.

  23. Minnesota Vikings (6-2) – Previously: 10.
    The Vikings desperately need Teddy Bridgewater back. They can beat the Browns and banged-up Ravens all they want, but I think the London game demonstrated Case Keenum’s restrictions. The Vikings needed the Browns to melt down so they could pull away from Cleveland. If Keenum has to start a playoff game against a good defense, Minnesota won’t score any points.

    I wrote this last week, only to hear some bozo on NFL Network be asked, “Should the Vikings stick with Case Keenum when Teddy Bridgewater comes back?” His response? “Uhh… yeah, he’s winning games!”

    Ugh. Just ugh.

  24. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) – Previously: 2.
    This is quite the drop, and I’m cautious to make overreactions like this, but the Chiefs just haven’t been very impressive lately. If it wasn’t for the Hail Mary checkdown, they would’ve lost 28-10 to the Cowboys. The week before, the Broncos gifted them a win with a fumble returned for a touchdown and several interceptions. Before that, they couldn’t keep an injured Derek Carr from torching their defense.

    Speaking of Kansas City’s defense, it sucks now, while Alex Smith and the running game have predictably regressed. That’s why I’ve moved the Chiefs down seven spots.

  25. Dallas Cowboys (5-3) – Previously: 9.
    Overrated NFL Team: The Cowboys just had a victory over the Chiefs, but let’s not forget that they would’ve trailed the hobbled Redskins 16-7 at halftime if it weren’t for a blocked field goal the week before. Dallas has two liabilities on its offensive line, while its secondary is littered with mediocre players. The Chiefs are not who we thought they were, so a win over them wasn’t as impressive as people are making it out to be.

  26. Carolina Panthers (6-3) – Previously: 8.
    The good news for the Panthers is that they had a nice win over the Falcons, which featured a strong showing by Christian McCaffrey, whose workload finally increased after Jonathan Stewart’s second fumble. The bad news is that Cam Newton is certainly not going to be a movie critic following his NFL career. Newton compared his team to the Titanic, remarking, “The Titanic has to keep going.”

    Ah, yes. The Titanic, always going. It never hit an iceberg, or anything. It just kept going.

    Inspired by Newton’s words, Hollywood is already planning a sequel to the Titanic:

  27. New Orleans Saints (6-2) – Previously: 7.
    I feel like a broken record, but I don’t think we can truly say the Saints have a great defense until they beat a good quarterback. Five of their six victories have been against an injured Jameis Winston, Mitchell Trubisky, Brett Hundley, a banged-up Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler in London. The lone exception was a win over Cam Newton, who wasn’t 100 percent either.

  28. Seattle Seahawks (5-3) – Previously: 5.
    Why did the Seahawks sign Blair Walsh this past offseason? Didn’t they remember that Walsh was the reason why they won in the playoffs a few years ago? It’s crazy how much of a head case is. Walsh needs to be replaced immediately before he costs Seattle more victories.

    On the bright side, Seahawk fans now have a cool, new song they can sing along to:

  29. Los Angeles Rams (6-2) – Previously: 6.
    Strong offensive line play is so important in the new CBA era when teams can barely practice, and the Rams have one of the top blocking units in the NFL. If you’re wondering why this team is so dominant, it’s the blocking group, primarily. No one will talk about that, as everyone is focused on Todd Gurley, a dominant defense and an improved Jared Goff. Don’t get me wrong; all of those things are huge factors, but the improved offensive line is the primary reason why the Rams are 6-2 this year.

  30. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) – Previously: 4.
    I called the Steelers lucky to beat the Lions following Detroit’s red-zone screw-ups. I got several e-mails/Facebook messages from people saying stuff like, “YOUR AND IDIOT BEN ROTHLISBERGLAR MIST SO MANY PASSES DOWN FIELD!!!” My response: “Uhh… he’s done that all year.”

    Indeed, he has. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t looked right all season. Fortunately for the Steelers, there’s still plenty of time for that to change.

  31. New England Patriots (6-2) – Previously: 3.
    I think the Week 11 game versus the Raiders is going to be very telling. Bill Belichick is the master of making adjustments with extra time to prepare, so it’ll be interesting to see what he can come up with following the bye. Has he figured out how to improve the defense? Can he bolster Tom Brady’s pass protection? Will he be able to use mind control over another player like he did with Travis Benjamin?

  32. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) – Previously: 1.
    The sharps were on the Redskins, yet the Eagles won and covered. The sharps were on the 49ers, yet the Eagles won and covered. The sharps were on the Broncos, yet the Eagles won and covered. When will people realize that Philadelphia is the best team in the NFL, by far, and will only get better with Ronald Darby and Zach Ertz returning following the bye?

    The MVP race:

    1. Carson Wentz
    2. Tom Brady
    3. Drew Brees
    4. Russell Wilson
    5. Cam Newton

    I think Newton moves into the top five, as his team is 6-3 despite missing Greg Olsen and now Kelvin Benjamin. He single-handedly willed the Panthers to victory over the Falcons. Meanwhile, I’m comfortable with slotting Carson Wentz ahead of Tom Brady, though the two are neck and neck right now.

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