It’s a quarter way through the NFL season. Too early to jump to conclusions, but enough games to get a sense of whose going to be good and who isn’t.
Throughout the year I will release my power rankings after every four games. Here are my rankings after a quarter way through the 2017-2018 NFL season.
Put A Fork In Them
32. Cleveland Browns (0-4): What is there to say? It’s the same old Browns.
31. Indianapolis Colts (1-3): There only win has come against the aforementioned Cleveland Browns. Jacoby Brissett has done a nice job for filling in for Andrew Luck, but he can only do so much. The Colts just aren’t that good. They rank near the bottom of the league in both total offense and defense.
30. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4): New city, same old Chargers. This team just keeps finding ways to lose games.
29. Miami Dolphins (1-2): The Dolphins have been a mess since their win against the aforementioned L.A. Chargers. In a week three loss to the N.Y. Jets they managed only one garbage time touchdown. In week four they were shutout by one the worse defensive teams the last couple of years the New Orleans Saints.
28. San Francisco 49ers (0-4): The 49ers have at least been a competitive 0-4.
27. N.Y. Giants (0-4): Only one team has made the playoffs since starting 0-4 (1992 San Diego Chargers). If any of the currently 0-4 teams were to bounce back to make the playoffs this season I would pick the Giants. With that said, I think the Giants have already dug themselves to deep a whole, especially in a competitive NFC East.
26. Chicago Bears (1-3): The Bears have been competitive at home, beating the Steelers and nearly beating the defending NFC Champion Falcons. It’s a different story on the road. Overall, the Bears are who we thought they were. Mike Glennon is who we thought he was. Why fuck around anymore John Fox? Time to start Mitchell Trubisky.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3): The Bengals offense has looked better since hiring Bill Lazor. Their defense ranks among the league’s best. They’re the best 1-3 team out there, if that means anything.
24. Arizona Cardinals (2-2): The Cardinals are lucky to have two wins. They barely escaped games against two of the worse teams in football(Colts, 49ers). The loss of David Johnson is evident. Sure, they could still win a shaky NFC West, but it seems more likely they will end up hover around .500 or worse.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2): I can’t get a read on this team. They look like World beaters one week. The next week they look like the same old Jags.
22. N.Y. Jets (2-2): . At the quarter mark they’re 2-2 tied with New England Patriots in the AFC East. Up next a very winnable game against the 0-4 Cleveland Browns. So much for tanking this season. It’s so typical of the Jets. Not only are they bad at being good, they’re bad at being bad.
21. New Orleans Saints (2-2): After starting off the season 0-2 the Saints have won the last two games in dominant fashion. The most encouraging sign is how well their defense has played.
Flawed But Don’t Count Them Out
20. Minnesota Vikings (2-2): If they’re going to have any chance of making the playoffs they need Sam Bradford back (I never thought I would type that sentence). The injury to Dalvin Cook doesn’t help their chances either.
19. Baltimore Ravens (2-2): They started off the season 2-0, and everyone began praising them like it was back to the Ray Lewis days. Then the Ravens traveled to London to face the Jaguars and got absolutely annihilated. In week four they were dominated by their division rivals, the Steelers. Their defense is good, but until they fix their offense it will be another mediocre year.
18. Tennessee Titans (2-2): I picked them to win the AFC South this year. I still think they can. Of course, Mariota will have to stay healthy. The combination of Matt Cassel & Brandon Weeden won’t keep them competitive.
17. Oakland Raiders (2-2): I predicted the Raiders would drop off this year. So far my prediction looks like it’s coming true. The Raiders just don’t look like the juggernaut they were last season. Losing Derek Carr to a back injury for 2-6 weeks doesn’t help, especially in a uber competitive AFC West.
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2): The Cowboys have came back down to earth after an incredible run last year. Their most dominant weapon last year, the offensive line, has regressed. The defense, other than DeMarcus Lawrence, has looked average. It’s going to be a lot tougher road this year if the Cowboys want to make it back to the playoffs.
15. Seattle Seahawks (2-2): I predicted the Seahawks would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. So far this looks like an awful prediction. The two games they have won this season were against two of worst teams in the league (Colts, 49ers). I still think they will win the NFC West, but they won’t get far until they fix this offensive line. It’s been their achilles heel for the last couple of season, and this year it looks worse than ever.
Better Than Their Record
14. Washington Redskins (2-2): I’ve been impressed by the Redskins so far this season even though they’ve only won two games. Their schedule has been tough so far. Their opponents record is a combined (12-4). Nothing about the Redskins jumps out at you, but there solid in all areas. Their defense is better than expected. They have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and Kirk Cousins is a top 10 QB.
13. Houston Texans (2-2): The only reason I didn’t pick the Texans to win the AFC South this year was because of the QB situation. Well, it looks like the Texans have finally found their answer at QB. It’s only been three games but DeShaun Watson looks like an absolute stud. If the Texans defense can get to where they were last season, and Watson keeps playing like he has than this team will be tough to be beat.
Not Ready To Crown Them Quite Yet
12. L.A. Rams (3-1): The Rams have been one of the most fun teams to watch this season. Jared Goff has totally turned it around after looking like he was destined to become the next Ryan Leaf last year. Todd Gurley is once again a superstar. If the defense can live up to it’s potential than this team may have a shot at winning the NFC West. With that said, I’m still a little hesitant to jump on the Rams band wagon.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): Its seems like the Bucs have been everyone sexy pick for the last two years. Their young and talented on both sides of the ball. Jameis Winston looks like he will one day be an elite QB in the NFL, but I still can’t get behind them until I see how he performs when it matters most. If they can win against the Patriots this Thursday night than maybe it’s time to start taking the Bucs a little more seriously.
10. Carolina Panthers (3-1): Even after a win in Foxboro last week I still don’t think the Panthers are an elite team. Cam Newton hasn’t looked right until he got to play New England’s horrid 32nd ranked defense. His other performances this year were subpar at best. The Panthers defense is one of the best in the league, but until the offense shows some consistency I’m not going to put too much stock into this team.
9. Buffalo Bills (3-1): Who would have thought the Buffalo Bills would be atop the AFC East a quarter way into the season? Not me. The underrated Tyrod Taylor has been making plays, and the defense looks revived under Sean McDermott. Could the Bills finally end their playoff drought?
8. Detroit Lions (3-1): I have a different feeling about the Lions this year. I think they may actually be good. I still need to see a few more games before I jump on the bandwagon though.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1): Out of all the teams in the “Not Ready To Crown Them Quite Yet” category I believe the Eagles are most likely to make the playoffs. The regression of Cowboys and Giants will help their chances of winning the NFC East. The only thing that makes me hesitant to call the Eagles a playoff team is Doug Pedersen and Carson Wentz knack for throwing costly interceptions.
Wake Me Up In December
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1): For all the talk this off season about the Steelers offense it’s been the defense that is quietly winning games. Antonio Brown looks like Antonio Brown, but Big Ben and Le’Veon Bell have yet to hit their stride. When they finally do, this team has as good a shot as anyone to win the Super Bowl, but then again, we say this every year. This seems to be the Steelers calling card. For all the talent they have, they can never seem to put it all together and they regularly play down to their competition. Will this year be any different?
5. Green Bay Packers (3-1): The Packers are 3-1 somehow even after all the injuries. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers struggle in the ensuing weeks, the Green Bay fans panic, and then Rodgers turns it on down the stretch to help the them narrowly win the NFC North. This seems to Packers calling card.
4. New England Patriots (2-2): I know the Patriots are 2-2 and probably should be 1-3 if not for a superhuman performance by Brady. I know their tied with N.Y. Jets in the AFC East, and I know that their defense ranks dead last. But it’s still the Patriots. Do you really think they won’t be in the mix come December? As long as Brady & Belicheck are there this team will always be contending for a Super Bowl.
3. Atlanta Falcons (3-1): The Falcons are 3-1, but it’s not a very impressive 3-1. They could easily be 1-3 right now if I wasn’t for two drop passes in the end zone and a reversed touchdown call, but then again football is a game of inches, and good teams make their own luck. I don’t believe the Falcons have come anywhere close to playing their best football yet. When they do, watch out.
2. Denver Broncos (3-1): Denver has the best home field advantage in the entire NFL. They also have the best defense in the entire NFL. Trevor Siemian isn’t spectacular, but he doesn’t have to be. Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning weren’t anywhere close to spectacular in 2015 when they won the Super Bowl. As long as Siemian remains a good game manager it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Broncos back in the Super Bowl this year.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0): The only undefeated team left at 4-0, and it’s a legit 4-0 too. The Chiefs have beat the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots in Foxboro, and beat two very good NFC teams (Eagles, Redskins) in Arrowhead. Alex Smith is playing his best football after a lot of talk in the offseason about him being benched for rookie Patrick Mahomes? Kareem Hunt has came out of nowhere to take the league by storm. Still, no one will take the Chiefs seriously until they win a playoff game.