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: Aug. 31

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10) – Previously: 32.
    I moved the Jaguars to the bottom of these power rankings in a previous update. Here’s Leonard Fournette’s tweet:

    The Jaguars are now attempting to trade Yannick Ngakoue, and they would have accepted the No. 12 pick from the Raiders, which the Raiders smartly didn’t want to surrender. The Jaguars, conversely, didn’t want No. 19, so they’ll hold out for a 2021 first-round selection. They may not get it, which would make them look insanely stupid.

    It’s a sad time for the Jacksonville pool-goers, but all good things must come to an end. And good things coming to an end sometimes lead to even greater things, and that would be Trevor Lawrence. I have the Jaguars selecting Lawrence in my 2021 NFL Mock Draft.

  2. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Previously: 30.
    The Panthers botched the Cam Newton situation, as they destroyed their own leverage in regard to potentially trading him. Things were off to a bad start in the Axe Tepper era, but fans can be more optimistic after a tremendous draft. The Panthers smartly upgraded the defensive line twice because it’ll have to generate lots of pressure on Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t get a chance to replace Luke Kuechly, so it’ll be difficult for them to defend the middle of the field. The Panthers already had one of the worst run defenses in the NFL last year, and that was with Kuechly!

  3. New York Jets (7-9) – Previously: 25.
    I can’t say I’m a fan of Adam Gase, but new Jets general manager Joe Douglas has done a good job. He improved his offensive line in free agency, bringing in Greg Van Roten and Connor McGovern. He then drafted some promising prospects, including Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims. Both have low floors, but their potential is through the roof. And that’s the problem with Gase – do we really trust him to get the most out of Becton and Mims?

    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. I could see the team quit on Gase if it gets off to a slow start.

  4. Miami Dolphins (5-11) – Previously: 31.
    The Dolphins added some talent this offseason, but they overpaid for some players, including Ereck Flowers and Shaq Lawson. Still, it’ll help Tua Tagovailoa develop, though not so much in 2020 because I don’t expect him to play until the midway point of the season at the very earliest. Tagovailoa’s own agent, Leigh Steinberg, opined that rookie quarterbacks should sit in their rookie years. Steinberg knows that very well, as his top client, Patrick Mahomes, also sat as a rookie.

  5. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Previously: 28.
    I wrote this in a previous update:

    I don’t understand what the Bears are doing. Why did they surrender a draft pick to take on Nick Foles’ salary? Why did they give Jimmy Graham a big contract when he can barely walk? Why did they sign Robert Quinn to a mega deal when he’s been a proven failure in the 3-4? Why let Nick Kwiatkoski walk instead of Danny Trevathan, when the former is better and younger? Do they really think Germain Ifedi will solve the woes they have on the offensive line?

    The Bears still have some stellar defensive players, but their roster as a whole continues to be downgraded.

    I have more questions now. Why did the Bears reach on a tight end when they paid Graham so much money? Why didn’t they address their offensive line in the draft? Does Ryan Pace know what team needs are?

    Now, the Bears are even in worse shape, as stud nose tackle Eddie Goldman has opted out of the 2020 season.

  6. Washington Redskins (3-13) – Previously: 29.
    The Redskins have a good roster, as Chase Young will be generating lots of pressure as Ronald Darby helps an improved secondary. The Redskins also have a stout defensive line that will clamp down on the run.

    There are problems with the offense, however. The Redskins possess some intriguing, young play-makers on that side of the ball, including Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, Steven Sims Jr. and Antonio Gandy-Golden, but the offensive line is a concern. The left side – Cornelius Lucas or Saahdiq Charles and Wes Schweitzer – appears to be a major liability. The blocking for Dwayne Haskins won’t be as good as it should be, which could cause him to struggle in his sophomore campaign.

  7. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) – Previously: 24.
    Joe Burrow will automatically improve the Bengals, but the team needed to make several upgrades on the offensive line. Jonah Williams will return from injury, but Cordy Glenn departed. It was disappointing to see that the offensive line was untouched in the 2020 NFL Draft.

    That said, the Bengals made some upgrades to the rest of their roster this offseason, which was a huge surprise, based on how stingy owner Mike Brown has been with his money in the past.

  8. Los Angeles Rams (9-7) – Previously: 27.
    The Rams needed several brand new offensive linemen to protect Jared Goff entering the offseason, but they weren’t able to address that area on their roster in free agency because of their financial difficulties. I thought they would fix the blocking in the draft, but that didn’t happen either.

    Furthermore, their defense got worse, as Cory Littleton and Dante Fowler signed with other teams. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Wade Phillips is no longer around to get the most out of lesser defensive players.

  9. Detroit Lions (3-12-1) – Previously: 26.
    The Lions began the 2019 season with a 2-0-1 record, and if it wasn’t for close losses to the Chiefs and Packers, they would’ve been 4-0-1 to start the year. Things fell apart for them because of injuries, however, as they lost all but one of their final 13 games.

    The Lions might be better in 2020 if they’re healthy, despite a downgrade to the offensive line. However, Matthew Stafford’s troublesome back may not heal by the start of this upcoming season. If so, Detroit will obviously have one of the worst records in the NFL.

    That said, if Stafford turns out to be 100 percent, and the Lions stay healthy for the most part, I think they could challenge for the division. I believe they have the widest range of outcomes of any team in the NFL.

  10. Houston Texans (11-7) – Previously: 23.
    “I hope everyone knows by now how much Bill O’Brien sucks. New owner Cal McNair doesn’t, opting to give O’Brien even more power this year. O’Brien is a bad coach and worse decision-maker, and yet he styles himself as Bill Belichick. If O’Brien wasn’t lucky enough to have Deshaun Watson carry him these past couple of years, he’d be out of a job by now.”

    I wrote this BEFORE the DeAndre Hopkins trade. Can anyone in Houston please get McNair’s attention and direct him to this Web site so that he finally comes to his senses and fires O’Brien?

  11. Tennessee Titans (11-8) – Previously: 22.
    Overrated NFL Team: See why the Titans are an overrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  12. San Angeles Chargers (5-11) – Previously: 20.
    The Chargers are beginning anew, as they’ve drafted Justin Herbert to supplant Philip Rivers. The coaching staff said that Tyrod Taylor will start all of 2020, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Herbert will have a much better supporting cast than Rivers possessed. The offensive line has improved via Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner. The Chargers also obtained Chris Harris and Linval Joseph to bolster the defense. I ranked them 29th in a previous update, but brilliant general manager Tom Telesco did a great job of improving the roster this offseason.

    When I was in Las Vegas, I spoke to someone whose high-stakes gambling syndicate, and he said that he and his fellow bettors were huge on the Chargers over win total. I actually bet the under, so I now assume that I’m going to lose that wager!

  13. New England Patriots (12-5) – Previously: 17.
    I became way more bullish on the Patriots when they signed Cam Newton, but all of their opt-outs could prevent them from winning the AFC East. The Marcus Cannon and Dont’a Hightower opt-outs were especially painful.

  14. Green Bay Packers (14-4) – Previously: 18.
    Overrated NFL Team: See why the Packers are an overrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  15. Minnesota Vikings (11-7) – Previously: 16.
    I was down on the Vikings after they lost so many talented players this offseason, as I dropped them to No. 24 in my previous update. However, they had an outstanding draft. They made upgrades at positions of need, and they didn’t reach for anyone. They also traded down and acquired plenty of assets. Thus, I believe the Vikings will contend for the divisional title once again, though they won’t go anywhere in the playoffs because of Kirk Cousins’ mediocrity. The opt-out of Michael Pierce will hurt, too.

  16. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) – Previously: 10.
    The Eagles had an incredibly disappointing draft. Not only did they waste a selection on a quarterback in the second round, they allowed the Cowboys to obtain CeeDee Lamb because they didn’t want to part with that pick in a potential deal with Atlanta. In my previous entry, I wrote that the Eagles had Super Bowl upside, but now I’m not so sure. I’m even more bearish now in the wake of two starting offensive linemen (Brandon Brooks, Andre Dillard) suffering season-ending injuries.

  17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – Previously: 13.
    The Cowboys suffered some major losses in free agency, as Byron Jones, Robert Quinn and Maliek Collins all signed with other teams, while Travis Frederick retired. Dallas, however, was able to put together one of the best draft classes, as CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs somehow plummeted to them with their first two picks. They also picked up yet another Wisconsin center, which might bode well for their chances of winning the division. Gerald McCoy, however, was lost for the year, further hurting an already-diminished defense.

  18. New York Giants (4-12) – Previously: 12.
    Underrated NFL Team: See why the Giants are an underrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  19. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – Previously: 21.
    Underrated NFL Team: See why the Falcons are an underrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  20. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9) – Previously: 19.
    The Raiders had a great free agency period under Mike Mayock. They added some nice talent, namely at linebacker. They’ve had one of the worst linebacking corps in the NFL, but that won’t be the case anymore.

    Unfortunately, the draft didn’t go as well. The Raiders took the worst of the top three receivers and then reached on a cornerback at No. 19 overall. Still, they have a terrific offensive line and an improved supporting cast, so a playoff appearance is possible.

  21. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1) – Previously: 15.
    The Cardinals won five games last year, but that number could’ve been much higher, as they lost six games by seven points or fewer. I imagine at least some of those close losses will transform into victories with Kyler Murray having more experience and DeAndre Hopkins serving as a new No. 1 receiver. Meanwhile, first-round rookie Isaiah Simmons will help improve the major weakness on defense, which was defending tight ends and pretty much everyone in the middle of the field.

  22. Cleveland Browns (6-10) – Previously: 14.
    The Browns were hyped so much last offseason that they were the third-highest favorites to win the Super Bowl. It’s still hard to believe, but people loved them that much. I did not, as Cleveland entered the season with Greg Robinson and Chris Hubbard as its tackles, which was a crucial blunder.

    It seems as though the new front office has understood the mistakes of the previous regime because it signed Jack Conklin to take over at right tackle and then used the No. 10 pick on a new blind-side protector, Jedrick Wills. Because of these changes, they’ll have a legitimate chance to meet their 2019 expectations.

  23. Denver Broncos (7-9) – Previously: 11.
    Underrated NFL Team: See why the Broncos are an underrated NFL team in our Overrated-Underrated page.

  24. Buffalo Bills (10-7) – Previously: 7.
    I listed the Bills as overrated after they defeated the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. I didn’t think Josh Allen was quite there yet, but he could be in 2020, especially now that he has Stefon Diggs at his disposal. The Bills also made some moves to strengthen their defensive line, so they should be considered one of the best teams in the AFC.

  25. San Francisco 49ers (15-4) – Previously: 4.
    The 49ers’ upside is capped with Jimmy Garoppolo, at least at the moment. He could evolve, but that would require him to stop holding the ball too long in the pocket. Garoppolo will need to do more in 2020, given that the team lost DeForest Buckner in a trade. I liked the move John Lynch made, but the 49ers might take a bit of a step backward this year, especially if Trent Williams’ effectiveness takes a dip after he was out of the league last year. It’s also unclear when Deebo Samuel will be 100 percent.

  26. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – Previously: 9.
    The Steelers will definitely be in play for the Super Bowl if Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy. I understand that’s a huge “if,” but a healthy Roethlisberger will be able to carry the Steelers pretty far, considering that Pittsburgh just nearly made the playoffs with Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges as its quarterbacks.

  27. Baltimore Ravens (14-3) – Previously: 5.
    I was skeptical of Lamar Jackson for most of the year. He made great strides in his passing ability, but I didn’t think he was quite there yet. That was proven correct in the shocking playoff loss to the Titans.

    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.

    That said, the departure of Marshal Yanda will be very painful. Yanda was one of the top guards in the NFL, and a major reason for Jackson’s great 2020 campaign was his elite blocking. The Ravens made some terrific moves this offseason to help counter the retirement, at least.

  28. Seattle Seahawks (12-6) – Previously: 8.
    It’s somewhat difficult to rank the Seahawks at the moment because we don’t know what will happen with their edge-rushing situation. They could re-sign Jadeveon Clowney or trade for Yannick Ngakoue. Or, they could fail to do both. Having Clowney or Ngakoue on the roster will make them pretty formidable in 2020, especially with Jamal Adams and Quinton Dunbar in the secondary.

  29. Indianapolis Colts (7-9) – Previously: 6.
    The Colts were lucky enough to land Philip Rivers this offseason, which makes them a Super Bowl contender. They have one of the top rosters in the NFL, but they lacked a quarterback in 2019. That’s no longer the case, as Rivers should have a rebound 2020 campaign now that he’ll be well protected well for the first time since the Nick Hardwick days in San Diego.

  30. New Orleans Saints (13-4) – Previously: 3.
    Can the NFL just save us some time next year and just announce that they’re going to screw over the Saints with a horrible call to end the playoff game? This could just allow us to take three hours off from football and enjoy the holidays.

    That said, I expect the Saints to be one of the top teams in the NFL once again. Drew Brees, who has announced his return, could always have a severe decline, but I could see him performing on a very high level for the next couple of years, given his style of quarterbacking. The addition of Emmanuel Sanders certainly doesn’t hurt, as the Saints finally have a competent No. 2 receiver for the first time in a while. Brees will also likely have better protection, thanks to the Cesar Ruiz selection in the first round.

  31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – Previously: 2.
    I had the Buccaneers 14th in my initial offseason update. Fourteenth… and this was before the Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski acquisitions! The Buccaneers are clearly one of the top favorites to reach the Super Bowl from the NFC in the wake of obtaining Brady. Gronkowski and Tristan Wirfs only help matters.

    Congrats to anyone who got the Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl at 60/1 prior to the Brady signing. Jacob Camenker from our YouTube channel mentioned

  32. Kansas City Chiefs (15-4) – Previously: 1.
    I don’t always rank the Super Bowl champion No. 1 in the following year’s initial NFL Power Rankings. However, the Chiefs are a special case. They’re extremely well coached, and they have loads of talent. They also have most of their starters returning, which seems important because teams haven’t been able to practice because of the pandemic.

    Most importantly, there’s Patrick Mahomes. As long as Mahomes is healthy, he can win any football game. I think it’s likely that Mahomes can lead Kansas City to be the first repeat Super Bowl champion since the Patriots in 2003-04.

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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 |