NFL Power Rankings

My current NFL Power Rankings.

I’m going to use these rankings as the order for my 2019 NFL Mock Draft during the 2018 draft season. Follow @walterfootball.

I’ve gone from WORST to FIRST, so if you don’t see reverse numbering (via Javascript), don’t worry; the 49ers and Cardinals aren’t my top teams.

Updated: Feb. 17

  1. Miami Dolphins (7-9) – Previously: 29.
    The Dolphins are 300:1 to win Super Bowl LIV! That’s unreal. I can’t recall seeing anything higher than 250:1. Yet, the 2019 Dolphins are so epically bad that they’re 300:1 to win the championship.

    But yes, the odds are correct. The Dolphins took a big hit on their coaching staff by firing Adam Gase and downgrading to Brian Flores. Gase miraculously got the Dolphins to the playoffs once and nearly made the postseason again with Ryan Tannehill. He was able to get the most out of the Dolphins, and I’m not confident that Flores, another Bill Belichick assistant, will be able to replicate Gase’s success.

  2. Arizona Cardinals (3-13) – Previously: 32.
    There’s been some speculation that the Cardinals will trade Josh Rosen away and select Kyler Murray first overall. I’m not sure I’d do this – I can’t say I’m a believer in a 5-foot-9 quarterback who will get half of his passes batted down at the line of scrimmage – but I wouldn’t completely rule it out because I hate Rosen so much. Rosen was my least-liked quarterback from the 2018 class because he doesn’t have a passion for football, plus his leadership skills suck.

  3. Washington Redskins (7-9) – Previously: 27.
    Let’s give a round of applause to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for not succumbing to dumb media pressure and giving Kirk Cousins tons of money. The bad opinion sports media criticized the Redskins for letting go of Cousins, but Allen and his staff knew what they were doing all along. They had a front-row seat to Cousins’ choking antics, so they were correct in letting him walk.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t translate into long-term success. The Redskins were 6-2 at one point, but Alex Smith’s season-ending injury derailed Washington’s chances. Smith won’t be ready to play in 2019, so the Redskins don’t have a viable quarterback option next year. They almost have to trade up for a quarterback, so Allen will have to work his mastery again to avoid surrendering too much in a deal.

  4. Detroit Lions (6-10) – Previously: 25.
    The Lions were atrocious in the second half of the year. I guess Golden Tate was kind of important to their offense, huh?

    I’m beginning to think the Lions should trade Matthew Stafford and start over from scratch. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the Lions won’t win anything with Stafford, so they might as well get some draft picks from him and move on to another quarterback. If I were the Lions, I’d trade Stafford for some significant draft choices, then tank for Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft.

  5. Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Previously: 31.
    The Raiders hired Mike Mayock to be their general manager. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen because I’ll miss seeing Mayock on TV, but he’ll be a great addition to the front office. Imagine having the inside scoop on who the heavy-legged waist-benders are!

    Oakland has a ton of work to do with its atrocious defense, but three first-round picks should do the trick. The bad opinion sports media loves to hate on Gruden, but he drafted well last year, and he should do an even better job in 2019 with Mayock aiding him.

  6. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) – Previously: 30.
    Speaking of the bad opinion sports media, they’ve been calling for Marvin Lewis’ firing for years. Now that Lewis is gone, people 30 and younger who don’t remember how atrocious the “Bungles” of the 90s and early 2000s were will discover this phenomenon. It may not happen in 2019, but the Bengals will eventually bottom out without Lewis and become the worst team in the league again.

  7. New York Giants (5-11) – Previously: 18.
    The Giants are difficult to rank at the moment because we don’t know what they’re going to do at quarterback. Also, there’s been speculation that they may trade Odell Beckham Jr., which would seem like a colossal error.

  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) – Previously: 22.
    I love the Bruce Arians hire. He is a sharp offensive mind. Or, rather, he HAS a sharp offensive mind – I hope you’re reading this, Troy Aikman – and he’s a no-nonsense guy who can both get the most out of Jameis Winston and make sure Winston doesn’t do stupid things like grope Uber drivers and pretend to eat his fingers before divisional games.

    If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Charlie Campbell’s plan for the Buccaneers this offseason. It’s a great read.

  9. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) – Previously: 28.
    It’s been rumored that the Jaguars are the favorites to land Nick Foles this offseason. Foles would be a great fit in Jacksonville, provided the Jaguars make an upgrade at receiver. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, it’ll have to cut some of its players – including, potentially, Calais Campbell – to make it work. The good news is that the Jaguars will be able to replenish the talent on their defensive line via the 2019 NFL Draft, which is very strong in that area. I have the Jaguars taking Ed Oliver in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft.

  10. Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Previously: 19.
    The Bills are certainly an up-and-coming team, as they’ll be very competitive next year if they find better receivers and offensive linemen. They’ll have to replace Kyle Williams as well. Ultimately, though, it’ll depend on Josh Allen’s development. Allen was a dynamic runner as a rookie, but his passing was very inconsistent.

  11. Carolina Panthers (7-9) – Previously: 26.
    The Panthers are the most difficult team to rank at the moment because we don’t know what Cam Newton’s status is going to be. There’s some long-term concerns with Newton’s shoulder, so there’s a chance he may not be 100 percent in 2019. If Newton is healthy, and Carolina upgrades its offensive line and secondary, the team could win the Super Bowl next year. Conversely, the Panthers will be locked into a losing record again if Newton is banged up.

  12. Denver Broncos (6-10) – Previously: 24.
    It seems like everyone is bashing the Joe Flacco trade, which seems like a dumb sentiment to me. Flacco is a very clear upgrade over Case Keenum, yet only cost a fourth-round pick. Having Flacco around should help the rookie quarterback (Drew Lock?) develop as well. For more on why the Broncos deserved a B+ in the Flacco deal, check out my NFL Trade Grades page.

  13. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Previously: 14.
    If the Titans don’t find a better backup quarterback for Marcus Mariota than Blaine Gabbert this spring, it’ll be an utter failure of an offseason. It’s become clear that Tennessee cannot count on Mariota being available for important games, so the team has to overpay for a premium backup. Perhaps they’ll be the ones to acquire Case Keenum.

  14. Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1) – Previously: 16.
    I compared the Kirk Cousins signing last year to the Ravens adding Elvis Grbac after they won the Super Bowl during the 2000 season. The Ravens invested more at quarterback, so they had to get rid of some defensive players to compensate. The Vikings repeated the same mistake with Cousins. They spent way too much money on Cousins, so because of his colossal contract, they’re going to have to cut some key defensive players soon and transition more into an offensive team. That’s a problem, given that Cousins is just a mediocre starting quarterback.

  15. Dallas Cowboys (10-6) – Previously: 10.
    It’s been a couple of months, and yet I still can’t get over how stupid Jason Garrett was at the end of the year. He played all of his starters, save for Ezekiel Elliott, in a meaningless Week 17 game. Had he given his players some rest, the Cowboys could’ve potentially beaten the Rams in the second round of the playoffs. Instead, they looked exhausted, and the injury Cole Beasley suffered while making the game-winning catch in the finale didn’t help. Adding insult to injury, the Cowboys’ irrelevant victory gave the rival Giants a better draft pick!

    The Cowboys have good talent for sure, but Garrett is a bozo who should have been fired years ago. He’ll undoubtedly do something stupid in 2019 that will cost Dallas once again.

  16. Green Bay Packers (6-9-1) – Previously: 17.
    I feel like I say this every summer, but the Packers’ upcoming season depends so much on Aaron Rodgers’ ability to stay healthy. Though he played almost the entire season in 2018, he got hurt right away in the opener and was never really the same after that. Rodgers at 100 percent could definitely win Super Bowl LIV, but it’s almost a sure thing that he won’t be 100 percent this upcoming year.

  17. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1) – Previously: 12.
    I’m not sure I agree with the strategy of trading away all the best players. The Steelers won’t be the same without Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, though it would be foolish to completely write them off. Ben Roethlisberger is still the quarterback, while JuJu Smith-Schuster has the potential to be a better player than the aging Brown in 2019.

  18. Baltimore Ravens (10-6) – Previously: 8.
    Back in 2007, Vince Young had a great season. Then, he reached the playoffs and battled the Chargers. He lost 17-6 and looked awful. He was never the same since. Sound familiar?

    For Lamar Jackson to avoid the same fate, he’ll need to watch countless hours of film and work extensively with a quarterbacks coach this offseason. He had some nice, early success, but it’s clear that he’s far from a finished product.

    If you somehow missed it, Jackson was awful. Facebook friend Nathan T. posted the following:

    I like John Harbaugh, but switching to Joe Flacco was a no-brainer.

  19. Houston Texans (11-5) – Previously: 13.
    I called the Texans overrated all last year. I just didn’t buy into them. Their offensive line couldn’t block, while Bill O’Brien is a doofus of a head coach. Houston can fix its blocking this offseason, but it’ll have to continue to endure O’Brien’s incompetence for another year.

  20. San Francisco 49ers (4-12) – Previously: 23.
    Antonio Brown wants to be traded to San Francisco. Imagine an offense featuring Brown, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Dante Pettis, Jerick McKinnon and a stellar offensive line. If Garoppolo is as good as we think he can be, that seems absolutely explosive. The 49ers still have some major issues in their secondary, but they can work to fix those in the draft.

  21. New York Jets (4-12) – Previously: 20.
    The Eagles were my sleeper team for 2017. The Bears were my sleeper team last year. It’ll be official when I post my season previews in the summer, but I get the sense that the Jets might be my sleeper team for 2019. Sam Darnold is going to be much better with experience, so if the Jets give him upgrades at the skill positions and the offensive line, he’ll be stellar in his sophomore campaign. The Jets have a very good defense as well, and I love the Adam Gase hire. Don’t be surprised if the Jets go 10-6 at the very least next year. In fact, I’ve already bet them to win the Super Bowl at 125/1 odds.

  22. Cleveland Browns (7-8-1) – Previously: 15.
    Remember that if the Browns had fired Hue Jackson prior to this season, they would’ve likely beaten the Steelers (season opener), Saints and Raiders, giving them a 10-6 record. That would be good enough to win the division over the Ravens because of tie-breakers.

    This is all significant because the Browns figure to be even better in 2019. Baker Mayfield will have more experience, while Kareem Hunt will make the offense so much more explosive, assuming he’s even allowed to play.

  23. Los Angeles Rams (13-3) – Previously: 5.
    No one should be surprised that the Rams struggled in the Super Bowl. They were overrated all year, barely scraping by bad teams and getting manhandled during the regular season by the Eagles, Bears and Saints. Jared Goff, while being a hard worker, doesn’t strike me as the most intelligent guy, so it made sense that Bill Belichick was able to outsmart him and force him into countless errors in the Super Bowl.

  24. Chicago Bears (12-4) – Previously: 4.
    So much for my 100/1 ticket on the Bears to win the Super Bowl. Stupid kicker, you could at least take the blindfold off!

    What’s most frustrating is that the Bears could’ve set it up to play the Vikings in the opening round. They could’ve pulled their starters in the second half of Week 17 once they saw the Rams were way ahead of the 49ers and made sure they had an easier opening-round game. Instead, they allowed Nick Foles to make it into the playoffs and paid the price.

    Had the Bears beaten the Vikings – they certainly would have – they would have crushed the Rams in the second round. I don’t know what would’ve happened in New Orleans, but I think the Bears would’ve had a better shot against the Patriots than the Rams did.

    Chicago should continue to be one of the best teams in the NFL. Mitchell Trubisky’s rookie contract will make it possible for the front office to retain all of the important players.

  25. New England Patriots (11-5) – Previously: 3.
    The Patriots lost to the Jaguars, Lions, Titans and Dolphins on the road in 2018, yet it didn’t matter because they ultimately won the Super Bowl.

    Things won’t be so easy in 2019. In addition to the fact that Tom Brady will turn 42 in August, the Patriots will have a tougher time in the division, as I expect both the Bills and Jets to be substantially better (especially the latter.)

  26. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – Previously: 21.
    I like the Falcons to bounce back next year. They suffered so many injuries this past season. They almost have to experience better luck in 2019. Plus, they fired Steve Sarkisian and found a better offensive coordinator, so that’ll help Matt Ryan. I’ve already bet Atlanta at 33:1 to win Super Bowl LIV.

  27. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) – Previously: 11.
    I imagine that it would suck to be a Seahawks fan, as their team has gotten jobbed in some big games over the years. Their loss to Dallas was no different, as all four key calls down the stretch went against them. This was not a surprise, given that the officials were given these special uniforms to take home prior to the game:

    That said, things are looking up for the Seahawks in 2019. They currently have the eighth-most cap space in the NFL, so they can finally address their anemic offensive line. If they do that, they’ll have a great chance of making another run to the Super Bowl. In fact, I’ve already bet them to do so at 37.5/1.

  28. San Angeles Chargers (12-4) – Previously: 6.
    What the hell were the Chargers doing against the Patriots? They couldn’t get to Tom Brady, they couldn’t stop the run, and they didn’t cover anyone. The Patriots basically did whatever they wanted to. It was embarrassing.

    The Chargers figure to once again be in contention to make a long playoff run in 2019, but at this rate, I have to wonder about Philip Rivers’ ability to play well in big games. I don’t trust him or his team at all.

  29. New Orleans Saints (13-3) – Previously: 2.
    If Roger Goodell weren’t so spineless, he would’ve called for a rematch between the Saints and Rams the week prior to the Super Bowl. The NFL bylaws said he could do something like that if the league were to screw up, and that’s exactly what happened. The NFL admitted to wrongdoing twice. Saints-Rams NFC Championship Part 2 would’ve drawn more ratings than any non-Super Bowl game ever. The NFL would’ve made so much money, and they also would’ve gotten the correct team on the field in Atlanta. Patriots-Saints would’ve been a far better Super Bowl.

    Alas, that did not happen, and I’m not sure the window is still open for the Saints. Drew Brees turned 40 this offseason, while the Saints as a whole don’t have much cap space. They’ll also have to worry about the resurgence of the Falcons and Panthers, provided Cam Newton is healthy.

  30. Indianapolis Colts (10-6) – Previously: 7.
    The Colts are going to be a force next year. Andrew Luck will continue his great play from the second half of the 2018 season, while the offensive line should continue to be on the league’s best. The defense, while better in 2018 than in previous seasons, needs work, but Indianapolis has the most cap space in the NFL ($107 million) to make the appropriate adjustments. The Colts must be considered one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LIV.

  31. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Previously: 9.
    The Eagles looked like they were going to upset the Saints, but then Alshon Jeffery happened. It’s just as well though, as the Eagles with Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters and Brandon Brooks would’ve had a difficult time against the Rams.

    That said, I believe a healthy Eagles team would’ve beaten the Rams. They manhandled Los Angeles earlier in the year. The rematch would’ve been closer, but I think the Eagles would’ve prevailed.

    All of this bodes well for 2019. Carson Wentz will be fully healthy, so the Eagles should be considered one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LIV. In fact, I’ve already bet them to do so at 21/1 odds.

  32. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) – Previously: 1.
    The Chiefs were an inch on an offsides penalty and a lost coin toss away from reaching the Super Bowl. They nearly did this despite owning one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They have a decent amount of cap space ($26 million), so they’ll be able to make an upgrade or two to help their porous stop unit. If their defense is even mediocre, Kansas City will be the favorite to win Super Bowl LIV.

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