NFL Power Rankings

My current NFL Power Rankings.

I’m going to use these rankings as the order for my 2021 NFL Mock Draft during the 2020 season. Follow @walterfootball.

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

Updated: Sept. 19

  1. New York Jets (0-1) – Previously: 31.
    I thought the Jets had a chance to reach the playoffs, but then they traded Jamal Adams to the Seahawks and then saw C.J. Mosley opt out of the season. Giving up Adams effectively meant that the Jets were punting the 2020 season, and they certainly played that way in the opener.

    Speaking of the opener, Sam Darnold looked LOST. And I’m writing that in caps to both emphasize it and to point out that Darnold might as well be stranded on some magical island in the south Pacific because he has no chance of developing with Adam Gase.

  2. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) – Previously: 32.
    Goodbye, Trevor Lawrence! It was nice knowing you!

    The Jaguars put their chances of landing Lawrnece at risk in the wake of their irresponsible victory over the Colts, made after the front office traded away all of the pieces in an attempt to tank the 2020 season. It turns out the opposite effect happened, as all of the crappy players pulled a huge upset over Indianapolis. Now, another team will be in a better position to steal Lawrence.

    Then again, if Garnder Minshew continues to perform like he did versus the Colts, maybe the Jaguars will just make him their new franchise quarterback. If that happens, the front office will look dumb for trading away so many valuable pieces.

  3. Carolina Panthers (0-1) – Previously: 30.
    The Panthers were better than expected in their opener, despite the loss. There was much pessimism about them among NFL ranks, but Carolina hung around and nearly pulled the upset against the Raiders.

  4. Detroit Lions (0-1) – Previously: 24.
    The Lions should have won their opener. In fact, they would have, except talented linebacker Jamie Collins was ejected, and the top three cornerbacks were all missing late in the afternoon, thanks to injuries. Jeff Okudah was already out, so the losses of Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman were so colossal that they made Mitchell Trubisky look like a functional quarterback!

  5. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) – Previously: 26.
    Joe Burrow looked great Thursday night, especially in his two back-door fourth-quarter drives. He may just earn himself the nickname “Back Door Burrow,” which Jacob Camenker mentioned on Twitter. Unfortunately for the Bengals, they can’t tackle whatsoever, as evidenced by the apparent front-door touchdown they allowed.

  6. Miami Dolphins (0-1) – Previously: 28.
    I saw someone tweet: “Ryan Fitzpatrick was terrible in Week 1. Time for Tua Tagovailoa?” I’d be shocked if the coaching staff made that move. There’s no reason to rush Tagovailoa because of his hip injury. Miami must make sure he’s 100 percent before using him this year.

  7. Chicago Bears (1-0) – Previously: 29.
    The Bears had the most bogus win of Week 1, and I’m not even referring to the D’Andre Swift drop. They were down 23-6 entering the fourth quarter against the haless Lions. However, they were able to stage an epic comeback because the Lions lost their top three cornerbacks as well as their talented linebacker, Jamie Collins, to an ejection after he heatbutted one of the officials.

  8. Washington Redskins (1-0) – Previously: 27.
    The Redskins collected a whopping eight sacks against the Eagles. This won’t happen every week, as Washington was in a position to abuse Philadelphia’s injury-ravaged offensive line. I had the Redskins upetting the Eagles when Lane Johnson was announced as an inactive, but I’d be lying to you if I thought the Redskins still had a chance after trailing 17-0.

  9. Houston Texans (0-1) – Previously: 23.
    The Texans looked like they were missing something in the opener. Could it be that they need a No. 1 receiver? No! Can’t be! Bill O’Brien knows what he’s doing, after all, by trading elite players for injury-prone backs.

  10. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) – Previously: 18.
    Overrated NFL Team: See why the Cowboys are an overrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  11. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) – Previously: 25.
    The Rams beat the Cowboys on Sunday night, but that wasn’t an overly convincing win. The offensive line is still terrible, while the defense allowed a bit too much for my liking. It’s clear that the Rams are missing some of their defensive personnel from 2019 and beforehand, including Cory Littleton and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

  12. Cleveland Browns (1-1) – Previously: 21.
    Underrated NFL Team: See why the Browns are an underrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  13. Denver Broncos (0-1) – Previously: 16.
    It’s a shame for the Broncos lost Ambassador Von Miller for the year. The defense still played well Monday night, but it would’ve been on another level had Miller been healthy.

  14. San Angeles Chargers (1-0) – Previously: 22.
    The Chargers were very fortunate to beat the Bengals, which doesn’t bode very well for their chances against Patrick Mahomes in Week 2. Then again, the fake crowd noise pumped into their stadium will make it seem like they have fans in San Angeles for the first time since they’ve moved there.

  15. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) – Previously: 19.
    I had the Eagles listed as overrated, but they’re getting Lane Johnson, Miles Sanders and Javon Hargrave back from injury. Johnson’s return will especially be huge.

  16. New York Giants (0-1) – Previously: 17.
    Underrated NFL Team: See why the Giants are an underrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  17. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) – Previously: 13.
    The Falcons were one of my two sleeper long shots to win the Super Bowl, as I bet them at 80/1 odds in the summer. It turns out I would’ve been better lighting my money on fire based on what happened in the opener. Atlanta looked severely outclassed by an actual Super Bowl contender.

  18. New England Patriots (1-0) – Previously: 15.
    The Patriots were very physical in their win over the Dolphins, as the players took their cue from Cam Newton, who is healthy for the first time in years. There’s no telling when Newton will get injured, but let’s enjoy the healthy version of him in the meantime.

  19. Tennessee Titans (1-0) – Previously: 20.
    Overrated NFL Team: See why the Titans are an overrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  20. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) – Previously: 12.
    Though the Raiders won their opener, I was a bit disappointed in their defense. Maxx Crosby was out, but the Raiders should have been better in coverage, given that they spent a first-round pick on a corner and signed two highly priced linebackers.

  21. Minnesota Vikings (0-1) – Previously: 10.
    I was wondering if Mike Zimmer would help improve Minnesota’s ailing secondary, but that was not the case. Zimmer had an entire offseason to fix things, but the Vikings are still just as bad against the pass as they were last year. Of course, the Vikings couldn’t do anything to fix it this offseason because of Kirk Cousins’ albatross of a contract. Signing Dalvin Cook to a huge deal will just make things worse.

  22. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – Previously: 4.
    Underrated NFL Team: See why the Colts are an underrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  23. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) – Previously: 8.
    Jimmy Garoppolo had to improve in order for the 49ers to counter what they had lost during the offseason. San Francisco said goodbye to DeForest Buckner, Emmanuel Sanders and Joe Staley, mainly, so Garoppolo had to upgrade his play accordingly. That did not happen in the season opener, as Garoppolo continued to hold the ball way too long in the pocket. It’s almost like he’s waiting for a Facebook event invite to throw the ball sometimes. I would have just said “waiting for an invitation,” but that Facebook thing made me sound hip.

  24. Arizona Cardinals (0-0) – Previously: 11.
    The Cardinals lost six games by seven points or fewer last year, but it seems like their luck might be changing. Then again, it may not be so much “luck” as it is having DeAndre Hopkins on the roster. And to think, all the Cardinals had to do in order to obtain Hopkins was trade a second-round pick and an injury-prone running back. It’s a shame every NFL team can’t make that deal!

  25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) – Previously: 2.
    Excluding Donovan Smith, Tom Brady may have been the worst player on the Buccaneers in the loss to the Saints. He floated some ugly passes, and I don’t know where he was throwing to on his pick-six. Maybe Brady will eat some fungus that will increase his passing ability, but if he continues to perform like he did in the opener, Tampa Bay won’t make the playoffs this year.

  26. Buffalo Bills (1-0) – Previously: 9.
    The Bills beat the Jets, 27-17, but that game easily could have been 41-10 had Josh Allen been more careful with the football. Allen is the total wild card. If he can dominate the Jets like he did without making crucial blunders, the Bills will be able to advance deep into the playoffs, thanks to their terrific defense and talented offensive supporting cast.

  27. Green Bay Packers (1-0) – Previously: 14.
    I had the Packers listed as overrated last week, but I suppose I can’t do that anymore, right? I can’t believe Green Bay demolished Minnesota after failing to address the receiving corps and run defense this offseason. If the Packers can win in spite of this, the front office will look like geniuses, even though, you know, they spent their first two draft choices on a worse version of Jameis Winston and a plodding running back with massive legs.

  28. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) – Previously: 7.
    I don’t think we can say that Ben Roethlisberger is back to his former self just yet, but what we can say is that he’s far better than the decrepit quarterback we saw last year. Roethlisberger, at this level, is good enough to lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl. If Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges nearly got this Pittsburgh squad to the playoffs, Roethlisberger will be able to win several games in January.

  29. New Orleans Saints (1-0) – Previously: 3.
    The Saints didn’t look completely functional offensively throughout the Tampa Bay victory, but the Buccaneers’ defense is sneaky good. Also, consider that Sean Payton was 1-13 against the spread in Weeks 1-2 entering the game. It’s almost a miracle that New Orleans won in spite of that.

  30. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) – Previously: 5.
    I like the Falcons this year, but they looked completely helpless trying to stop the Seahawks. Russell Wilson didn’t throw an incompletion in the first 26 minutes of the game, while the defense looked greatly improved with Jamal Adams flying all over the field. If the defensive line can continue to generate pressure like it did versus Atlanta, this team would have to be one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LV.

  31. Baltimore Ravens (0-0) – Previously: 6.
    There’s a chance Jackson could make another big leap in 2020. He works extremely hard, so I wouldn’t doubt him for much longer moving forward. Jackson is apparently being coached up to release the ball quicker, and I have confidence he’ll accomplish his goal in doing so.

    I wrote that last time I updated these power rankings, and it certainly looks like Jackson’s hard work is paying off. The Browns had zero answer for him, as Jackson didn’t even rely on his legs all that much, scrambling “only” seven times.

  32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) – Previously: 1.
    Wow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked great! He’s the element the Chiefs didn’t even have last year when they won the Super Bowl. It’s scary to think that they could be even better than they were in 2019. I suppose their one downfall could be this:

    Andy Reid needs to get his act together; otherwise, everyone will be stealing his plays.

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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 |

2020 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | Playoffs |