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: June 5

  1. Miami Dolphins (7-9) – Previously: 32.
    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.

    I haven’t looked yet, but I wonder if the odds even got worse in the wake of the Josh Rosen trade. If I were running a sportsbook, I would’ve shot that number up to 800:1 the second after Miami acquired Rosen!

  2. Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Previously: 28.
    The Raiders have added and lost many players this offseason, as they’ve had the most turnover in free agency. Counting just starters and top backups, the Raiders have acquired 12 players and let go of 10 – and that doesn’t even include the draft! They’ve obtained some dynamic talents like Antonio Brown, Trent Brown and Lamarcus Joyner. They overpaid for some mediocre players like Tyrell Williams. They found bargain-basement values like Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict. They also lost some important players, such as Jared Cook and Kelechi Osemele.

    As for the draft, they added two or three starters – we’ll see if Trayvon Mullen can lock down a starting gig as a rookie – and they found an upgrade in the backfield with Josh Jacobs. The Raiders are going to be much more competitive in 2019, but they’ll still be limited by Derek Carr’s mediocrity and the questions surrounding the offensive line.

    Update: There are going to be some quick updates in this addition of my NFL Power Rankings, and I’ll denote where they are. I was looking through the Raiders’ schedule, and it’s brutal. They don’t have a home game for about two months, spanning from the middle of September to the beginning of November, and they battle some tough teams in that span. I wonder if some losses will hurt the locker room, particularly concerning Antonio Brown, who has never been with a loser.

  3. New York Giants (5-11) – Previously: 31.
    You know that Jason Whitlock look-alike who won season tickets for Giants games for the next 100 years? I wonder if he offered to give them back after the Giants reached on Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. What a truly abysmal pick. Even if Jones didn’t last to No. 17 – it’s highly unlikely that someone would’ve taken him off the board – the Giants could’ve waited another year to obtain a better prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft! There’s no excuse for what the Giants did. They barely helped themselves in the 2019 NFL Draft, so it appears as though they could be in a position to draft Tua Tagovailoa next April. I wonder if they’ll pull an Arizona if that happens…

  4. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) – Previously: 30.
    I was expecting the worst from the Bengals in the 2019 NFL Draft. Can you blame me, though? They signed scrub players to eight-figure deals this offseason, as if they were potential Pro Bowlers. I was shocked that they didn’t give Bran Stark a 3-year, $18 million contract. On second thought, maybe he could warg into the opposing quarterback and throw some interceptions while controlling him, so maybe that wouldn’t be a bad signing.

    However, the Bengals, to their credit, put together a positive draft class. They managed to obtain some positive values throughout the weekend. I still think they have one of the worst rosters in the NFL, but they at least have some positive momentum. Now, imagine how good they’d be if their quarterback could warg!

  5. Detroit Lions (6-10) – Previously: 29.
    I 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 would’ve traded Stafford for some significant draft choices, then tanked for Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft.

    Of course, the Lions didn’t do that, opting to use a top-eight pick on a tight end. I don’t know anymore. I feel like this is going to be 6-10 all over again.

  6. Washington Redskins (7-9) – Previously: 18.
    The Redskins’ chances may look bleak with either Case Keenum or a rookie quarterback at first glance, but remember that they were 6-2 at one point last year. The Redskins have a quality offensive line and an improved defense with Montez Sweat rushing from the edge and Landon Collins patrolling the middle of the field, so Washington should be able to compete for a playoff spot.

    Update: Reuben Foster has been lost for the year with a major knee injury. That would explain why I’ve bumped the Redskins down considerably in the NFL Power Rankings.

  7. Baltimore Ravens (10-6) – Previously: 26.
    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 early success, but it’s clear that he’s far from a finished product.

    Jackson will need to have a big year because the defense lost so many talented players. Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith, C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle are all gone. Earl Thomas was signed to replace the latter, but Thomas is now in his 30s, and he’s coming off several injury-plagued seasons. Fortunately for Jackson, he received some reinforcements during the 2019 NFL Draft when Baltimore drafted Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill.

  8. Arizona Cardinals (3-13) – Previously: 25.
    Kyler Murray is officially a Cardinal, which is a great development for Arizona. Unlike Josh Rosen, Murray is a winner who loves football. He has a much better chance of succeeding than Rosen. The offense will certainly be better with him, as well as Marcus Gilbert starting at right tackle. Meanwhile, the defense added some solid veterans like Terrell Suggs and Jordan Hicks, as well as top rookie cornerback Byron Murphy, so I expect Arizona to be much more competitive in 2019.

  9. Denver Broncos (6-10) – Previously: 24.
    It seems like everyone bashed 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 Drew Lock develop as well.

    The problem, however, is that Flacco is injury-prone, so Lock may have to play sooner rather than later. The offensive line took a hit in the wake of Matt Paradis’ departure, but the Broncos did a good job of adding blockers, acquiring JaWuan James and Dalton Risner. The defensive backfield also improved, thanks to the Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan signings, but it sounds like Chris Harris could be dealt, which would be a huge blow to Denver’s playoff chances.

  10. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Previously: 21.
    It’s become clear that Tennessee cannot count on Mariota being available for important games, so the team had to overpay for a premium backup. It acquired Ryan Tannehill, who definitely qualifies as such. Remember that Tannehill helped lead the Dolphins to the playoffs a few years ago. He’s a huge upgrade over Blame Gabbert.

    Elsewhere, the Titans should have better blocking, thanks to the Rodger Saffold signing and the Nate Davis selection. A.J. Brown and Adam Humphries, meanwhile, will offer quality upgrades in the receiving corps. Tennessee’s roster looks pretty solid at the moment, so a trip to the playoffs could certainly be possible, provided Mariota doesn’t miss too much time.

    Update: The Titans won four games by four points or fewer last year, so they could have been 5-11 instead of 9-7. They may not be as fortunate in 2019, hence why I’ve bumped them down in my NFL Power Rankings.

  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) – Previously: 27.
    The Buccaneers had several important tasks to accomplish this offseason. Here are a few of the main ones:

    – Upgrade left tackle Donovan Smith
    – Find several better defensive backs
    – Obtain a viable running back

    Tampa did none of this entering the draft. In fact, the Buccaneers even extended Smith! That was an inexplicable move. Smith, in addition to being a terrible player, is lazy and unmotivated. Think about it this way: How would you feel if your boss gave a raise to the guy who always comes in late, takes 2-hour lunch breaks and gets nothing done? I imagine the Buccaneer players who want extensions have to be feeling similarly in the wake of Smith’s new contract. It’s a horrible message to send to the team; that lethargy can be rewarded. What an absolutely dumb decision.

    Luckily for Buccaneer fans, their team put together an excellent draft. They found a leader for their defense, as well as some new defensive backs. Tampa will be better in 2019, but still seems as though it’ll be the worst team in the division.

    Update: I found that the Buccaneers lost a number of close games last year, so their record could have been better. With Bruce Arians being a big upgrade at head coach, Tampa will win more of those close affairs. Ndamukong Suh’s presence will help, too.

  12. Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1) – Previously: 23.
    Minnesota’s roster as a whole worsened a bit this offseason. They lost Sheldon Richardson as well as some secondary depth, and they only gained a sub-par starting guard, Josh Kline, prior to the draft. However, the Vikings did a good job in the 2019 NFL Draft, obtaining some decent upgrades to their offensive line, which is key. It’ll allow Kirk Cousins to have time in the pocket while he chokes away a Week 17 game.

  13. Dallas Cowboys (10-6) – Previously: 22.
    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. On the bright side, Dallas has made some nice upgrades this offseason, particularly to its defensive line. Robert Quinn, Christian Covington and rookie Trysten Hill were strong additions. The same can be said of safety George Iloka.

  14. Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Previously: 20.
    The Bills are certainly an up-and-coming team, as they’ll be very competitive next year, thanks to the improvements they’ve made this offseason. They added a couple of professional receivers in John Brown and Cole Beasley, and they obtained some nice blockers like Mitch Morse and Ty Nsekhe. Going into the draft, I wrote that they “need some blockers, and they have to replace Kyle Williams.” They did just that, obtaining steals like Ed Oliver and Cody Ford. If Josh Allen takes the next step, the Bills will have a good chance to reach the playoffs in 2019.

  15. Houston Texans (11-5) – Previously: 17.
    I called the Texans overrated all last year. I just didn’t buy into them. Their offensive line couldn’t block, and it didn’t help that Bill O’Brien is a doofus of a head coach. Houston has yet to fix its blocking this offseason, and I’m factoring in the 2019 NFL Draft when Houston panicked and reached for a third-round prospect at No. 23 overall. Had O’Brien not fired all of the talented front-office people, perhaps the Texans would’ve had a viable Plan B.

  16. San Francisco 49ers (4-12) – Previously: 19.
    With Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Dante Pettis, Jerick McKinnon, a stellar offensive line, and now Tevin Coleman and Deebo Samuel, San Francisco’s scoring attack figures to be potent in 2019. The defense is the question mark, but Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander (if healthy) will definitely help, as will Nick Bosa. In fact, at this rate, it would be a disappointment if San Francisco were to miss the playoffs.

  17. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) – Previously: 16.
    The Seahawks entered free agency with the eighth-most cap space in the NFL, yet they weren’t able to address their anemic offensive line, aside from signing the oft-injured Mike Iupati. I bet the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl at 37.5/1 odds prior to free agency, so you could say that I’m disappointed that they didn’t make any upgrades. I’m even more pessimistic now in the wake of their poor draft. I don’t understand why they reached for third-day prospects in the first and second rounds.

  18. New York Jets (4-12) – Previously: 15.
    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, and Le’Veon Bell’s presence in the backfield won’t hurt. The Jets also upgraded their offensive line by trading for Kelechi Osemele, so their offense will be much better this year. Their defense, meanwhile, will be much better with Quinnen Williams and Jachai Polite. I’ve already bet them to win the Super Bowl at 125/1 odds, and I’d take them at 80/1, which is what the number currently is.

  19. Los Angeles Rams (13-3) – Previously: 14.
    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.

    Things will be more difficult for Goff in 2019. The Rams lost two starting offensive linemen – Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan – while left tackle Andrew Whitworth could decline a bit at 37. The defense, meanwhile, lost Ndamukong Suh and Lamarcus Joyner. I liked the Rams’ draft haul, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to save them from regression this upcoming season.

  20. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) – Previously: 13.
    Kudos to the Jaguars for sticking to their draft board and not reaching for need when Josh Allen fell to them at No. 7 overall. They easily could’ve went with Jonah Williams, but they selected the best player available. It’s likely that Allen will get the Jacksonville defense back to its 2017 glory days. If so, Nick Foles will actually be able to take the team the distance, unlike Blake Bortles.

  21. San Angeles Chargers (12-4) – Previously: 7.
    The Chargers endured a poor offseason entering the 2019 NFL Draft. They lost a few talented players – namely Darius Philon, Corey Liuget and Tyrell Williams – yet didn’t really gain anything prior to the draft outside of a backup quarterback and an aging linebeacker. Imagine how upset their fans would be right now if they had fans!

    The good news is that the Chargers had a solid draft. They bolstered both sides of the line of scrimmage and found some safety help to start next to Derwin James. Given the Chiefs’ woes, the Chargers have a good chance to win the division this year.

    Update: The Chargers had so many close wins last year, so there’s a chance they could regress to the mean. I still like their talent, but Philip Rivers is old enough to suffer some sort of a decline.

  22. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – Previously: 11.
    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 bet Atlanta at 33:1 to win Super Bowl LIV prior to free agency. I don’t love the moves they’ve made in both free agency and the draft, but their offensive line could be better as a result, which would obviously strengthen their chances

  23. New Orleans Saints (13-3) – Previously: 5.
    The good news is that the NFL has made it so pass interference calls/non-calls can be challenged. The bad news is that it’s two months too late.

    Perhaps this will benefit the Saints during a potential playoff run next January. New Orleans’ offensive line took a hit in the wake of Max Unger’s unceremonious retirement, but the team did a good job replacing him, obtaining Erik McCoy as a steal in the second round.

    Update: I’ve found that the Saints won five games by four points or fewer, so they could have been 8-8 instead of 13-3. With their center and top interio defensive linemen gone, and Drew Brees now 40, the Saints could easily regress this year.

  24. Cleveland Browns (7-8-1) – Previously: 9.
    Odell Beckham. Sheldon Richardson. Olivier Vernon. Kareem Hunt. And now Greedy Williams. The Browns have added so much talent to an already-rising roster, so they could be in Super Bowl contention this season.

    Teams that win the offseason often don’t have the best success, but the Browns might just be the exception. I tend to worry about teams with no history of success having high expectations, but a Cleveland fan recently made me feel better about it. Because the Browns have been a dumpster fire for so long, many Browns supporters are cautiously optimistic right now; they know their team is good, but they’re still skeptical that Cleveland can succeed. This trepidation might just be what gets the Browns over the hump in 2019.

  25. Chicago Bears (12-4) – Previously: 10.
    Mitchell Trubisky will have to play better in 2019 for the Bears to repeat as NFC North winners. They had the best defense in the NFL last year, but lost two valuable members of their secondary, as Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos left via free agency. Chicago signed Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to replace Amos, and that’s only a slight downgrade. However, going from Callahan to Buster Skrine is a severe hit to the secondary.

  26. Carolina Panthers (7-9) – Previously: 12.
    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, the team could win the Super Bowl next year, thanks to the upgrade the front office made at center. Conversely, the Panthers will be locked into a losing record again if Newton is banged up.

    Update: I’ve heard that Cam Newton is healthy, so I was already willing to bump up the Panthers. Then, they signed Gerald McCoy. Carolina deserves to be a top-10 team, and it certainly is worth the 60/1 Super Bowl odds.

  27. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) – Previously: 8.
    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. The defense took some hits in the wake of the Dee Ford and Justin Houston departures, but found some reinforcements in Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark.

    The offense, however, took a hit in the wake of Tyreek Hill’s leaked audio tape. The Chiefs could easily cut him after that was made public. If that happens, Kansas City’s offense will be far more limited in 2019.

  28. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1) – Previously: 6.
    The Steelers typically tend to be overrated because of all the fan support they have, but they might just be underrated right now. It would be foolish to completely write them off, as the bad opinion sports media tends to be doing in the wake of the Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell departures. Ben Roethlisberger is still the quarterback, while JuJu Smith-Schuster has the potential to be a better player than the aging Brown in 2019. I still like Pittsburgh’s offensive line and defensive front. Meanwhile, the linebacking corps will be much better with Devin Bush on the roster. I think there’s a good chance the Steelers will make the playoffs and perhaps even win the division in 2019.

  29. Green Bay Packers (6-9-1) – Previously: 4.
    I feel like I say this every offseason, 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.

    On the bright side, the defense will be much better with Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos joining the team. I wish I could add Rashan Gary to that list, but Gary slacked off and did nothing in Michigan, so I don’t have much optimism for his pro prospects.

  30. 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.) Trent Brown’s departure will be huge as well; aside from Brady and Bill Belichick, he was atop the list of reasons why the Patriots were able to prevail in Atlanta.

    However, it should be noted that New England put together an excellent draft class, obtaining quality players like N’Keal Harry and Chase Winovich. There’s also speculation that the Patriots could go after someone like Kyle Rudolph in the wake of Minnesota’s selection of Irv Smith Jr. Rudolph would be a nice replacement for the retired Rob Gronkowski.

  31. Indianapolis Colts (10-6) – Previously: 2.
    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 receiving corps was upgraded with the Parris Campbell selection. The defense, while better in 2018 than in previous seasons, needs work, but should be better in the wake of the Justin Houston signing and the Rock Ya-Sin and Ben Banogu picks. I wish the Colts would’ve done a bit more in free agency, but they must be considered one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LIV.

  32. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Previously: 1.
    The Eagles spent lots of energy bolstering their defensive line this offseason, signing Malik Jackson and Vinny Curry. They also added some talented offensive players in Jordan Howard and DeSean Jackson. Second-round rookie running back Miles Sanders will add some much-needed explosion to the backfield.

    Philly fans have plenty to be excited about, as 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.

    Update: Carson Wentz looks like he’s in MVP form again. This is not a surprise, given his terrific work ethic.

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