The past few weeks, it’s seemed like all the top teams had bullseyes on them as they tried and often failed to fend off scrappy trap games. Now it seems the traps have all been snapped, save for a feisty flu bug in KC, and the top 10 witnessed minimal movement.
Holy alliteration! I wasn’t even trying that time. Usually that means I’ve been writing too much and I’m employing poetic device for extra spice. Okay, the assonance was on purpose. It always is.
Now that the trade deadline has passed and our first head coach went down, let’s get to the rankings! Because I can barely keep up with the news this week.
As always, may all your teams win or your coaches be poached by rabid roaches. Shut up, it doesn’t always have to make sense.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
It’s not that they played the greatest game, but they’re kinda the default top of the league now, right? The only remaining 1-loss team, and even when challenged, they always seem to pull out wins and lock things down at the end.
After another fleecing to get Kevin Byard from the Titans, Philly’s secondary should start to solidify in the coming weeks. They got torched by the Commanders, even with Byard there, but it takes time for a secondary to work everything out.
Meanwhile, A.J. Brown is right on Tyreek Hill’s heels as they both hover around the thousand-yard mark in just 8 games. Remember when that number was so treasured they had an entire Topps trading card series to honor the 1,000 Yard Club, but then you’d look at the back of the cards and realize half the players only had like 800 yards in the offensive desert of the 80s but they had to fill out the series so they claimed it was total scrimmage yards? Or is that just me?
2. Baltimore Ravens
Probably shouldn’t be surprising that I have them higher than most other rankings out there. But I’m starting to see consistency in Baltimore, and that should terrify the rest of the AFC.
What should give those AFC teams some reprieve are reports about how close Baltimore was to landing Derrick Henry. I can’t wait to hear more about this as other trade deadline stories fade.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Instead it was like they didn’t want his germs. Which, hey, no judgment. But unless Isiah Pacheco explicitly stated that concern, there’s no reason to only give him 8 carries in this game. He should’ve had 8 carries on the first drive. And it’s worth noting he had zero of their 5 turnovers.
Sidenote: Anyone else have issues typing the word “carries” on your phone and having it autocorrect to “Carrie’s” even though it makes no sense in context and you haven’t known anyone named Carrie since high school? It’s reached the point where I just laugh maniacally every time it happens. There’s no way Skynet takes over in my lifetime if they can’t figure this out after literal years of me constantly having to change it back.
In other news, edge rusher George Karlaftis is really starting to come on as a pass rusher, which they badly need to complement Chris Jones up front. if they can get rookie 1st rounder Felix Anudike-Uzomah going later this year, they could have the pass rush they lacked last season every time Jones was triple-teamed and Frank Clark disappeared.
4. Miami Dolphins
All I’m asking is that Tyreek hit 2k receiving yards in 16 games so I don’t have to listen to a week of arguments about asterisks. He’s on pace, so let’s make sure Tua Tagovailoa stays healthy and dealing downfield.
And man, is Tua ever dealing. Another 300 yard, 3 TD game, and he hit 10 different receivers in this one, including Chase Claypool’s first catch in over a month and first catch as a Dolphin. Because of course Mike McDaniel will find a way to make him relevant again.
5. San Francisco 49ers
I originally had the Niners a spot lower as things have looked extremely shaky lately. Then they flipped a 3rd round pick to the Commanders for Chase Young. If everyone can stay healthy, putting Young on that line with Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave, backed up in the box by Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner… that’s just not fair.
It’s currently unknown if the Niners will try to give Young an extension. The kind of money he’ll want will be tough to justify considering what they already have invested in the d-line. However, these are the things you can do when you have the cheapest starting QB in the league.
And if Young plays well the rest of the year and moves on, SF will likely get a 2025 3rd round comp pick. Trading a 2024 3rd for a 2025 3rd comp plus half a season of potential d-line domination is some brilliant personnel management.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s hard not to be excited for the Jags. It’s also hard not to start talking about Travis Etienne without some long adjectives.
Most important was seeing Trevor Lawrence reconnect with Calvin Ridley. They had a few confusing games, but appear to be back on the same page. That said, when Ridley struggled to find room, Christian Kirk went off. There are a lot of weapons on this offense.
Josh Allen Sack Watch: 9
7. Detroit Lions
Great bounceback performance by the Lions on Monday night. I know it’s probably not polite to say and no coach or player will ever say it, but there’s something satisfying about being the last team to beat another team before they fire their head coach and GM.
It’s clear the Jahmyr Gibbs is special, and we all knew Amon-Ra St. Brown was. Now they really need Jameson Williams to step it up and give Jared Goff another option before teams clamp down on the other.
8. Dallas Cowboys
I guess no one called Jerry and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Word on the street is that the Cowboys were in the running for Derrick Henry, and I really doubt Ron Carthon called Jerry first.
I’m not at all surprised that a team coached by Mike McCarthy came out of their bye week on fire. Now they get the real test on Sunday afternoon in Philly.
9. Buffalo Bills
The Bills were relatively quiet at the trade deadline, but their one move to get Rasul Douglas from the Packers could pay off big. He’ll get beat sometimes, but it’s because he takes risks. And the eventual payoff will be a huge play when you need it most.
I really thought Buffalo might try to get some off-ball linebacker help to ease the loss of Matt Milano, but replacing the QB of the defense midseason is tough.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Remember when the Bengals were 1-3 and everyone thought the sky was falling?
Guys, this is now consecutive years that they’ve done this. Next year when they lose a few early games, let’s try to remember what’s about to happen. Congrats to any team that sees them in the first 4-5 week, and good luck to anyone getting them after that.
Trey Hendrickson Sack Watch: 8
11. Seattle Seahawks
Part of me wants to talk about how the ‘Hawks are 5-2 and ahead of the Niners by half a game in the NFC West and how they traded for Leonard Williams in a big move that was ahead of the trade deadline enough that it faded by the Halloween deadline.
But I’m also not done talking about Super Bowl XLIX, because while looking for a clip I swear I saw of a couple refs in the game talking about how they couldn’t believe Seattle passed it, I was reminded if one of my favorite Super Bowl postgame moments ever. Richard Sherman standing over Tom Brady waiting to shake his hand.
There was just such a purity to it. Two of the best at their craft with the ultimate respect for each other. And for Sherm to do that after losing in such incredible fashion speaks volumes about his character.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for the man, the player. And I just go out there and try to do my best to make his life as miserable as I can and help my team win. It wasn’t like we got cheated. It wasn’t like — you know, something crazy did happen, but it was like, they won it fair and square. So you shake the man’s hand and you walk away. And that’s what I did.”Richard Sherman
This is an attitude about love for the game that extends so far beyond team allegiance.
12. New York Jets
If Zach Wilson keeps winning with a 50% completion percentage, no decision will be more scrutinized than whether the Jets pick up his 5th year. That decision will have to be made by the end of Star Wars Day in 2024. Keeping him for that 5th year currently looks like it’ll cost about $20 million in 2025, but could go up to $23 million if he crosses the 50% play time threshold through his first 3 years.
So, because salary situations are fascinating to me, I find it incredible that if Aaron Rodgers comes back this season, he won’t come close to reaching the 65% of plays to flip the draft pick they traded for him from a 2 to a 1, plus he might cut into Zach’s playing time just enough to save the Jets $3 million.
Also, holy crap is the Jets defense good. Seriously, forget these QBs. Give all the money to the defense.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
Of course they looked cooked and then go out and dismantle the Bears. I still think they can beat any team, any week, especially now mostly healthy. And I still think they won’t do that with Brandon Staley at the helm. Still shocked he isn’t the first coach gone this year.
Khalil Mack Sack Watch: 7
14. New Orleans Saints
Why is Derek Carr like this? Just fold, man!
Good for him responding the way he has. I kinda hoped NO would make a deadline move and go all-in, but it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe they don’t think their defense and offense and literally everything else is too old to be planning for the future. Note to self: check back on this post in 3 years.
15. Cleveland Browns
Who knows who starts at QB this week. Is it weird that I think P.J. Walker gives them a better chance than DeShaun Watson? I’m not sure why, but there’s a simple leadership aspect that I think some players have. Watson is lacking.
Myles Garrett Sack Watch: 8.5
16. Tennessee Titans
I sort of feel like Will Levis went into this game and then at halftime he looked at Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis and was like, “guys, all you have to do is throw it. Just wherever. DHop will get it.”
Deandre Hopkins is a ridiculous human being. If Levis can keep playing at least half this level when he faces tougher defenses, they the AFC will be on notice. If the playoffs were next week, there would be 2 playoff spots up between 7 teams with a 4-3 or 3-4 record, and the Titans are in that mix.
There’s a reason the Titans owner supposedly nixed a trade to send Derrick Henry to the Ravens. After last week’s game, it seems she thought they’re close enough to keep Henry on board and make a run at it. Considering how good he still looks despite his career workload, that decision could pay off for a few more years.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I need Baker Mayfield to get it together. You know those clips you see in every movie of someone spiraling and someone else grabs their face and they’re like “get it together man!” I’m the someone else.
Enough handing it to Rachaad White. If it’s not a screen or dumpoff, move along. Free Baker! Seriously. Let this man cook.
18. Houston Texans
It was a given that C.J. Stroud would face some rookie year adversity. It’s more concerning that it seems like he’s being limited somewhat.
My point is, I need Nico Collins to get back on track.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pass. Come back to me.
T.J. Watt Sack Watch: 8.5
20. Minnesota Vikings
With Kirk Cousins out for the season as the team completed their rally back to .500, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to make a trade deadline deal and get an upgrade over 5th round rookie Jaren Hall or potentially ready to cone off IR Nick Mullens.
I personally suggested Jacoby Brissett, who would’ve been a perfect fit for this offense and potentially a 4-5 year starter if Kirk decides to hang up his cleats. Instead, Vikings went for value over quality, putting together a late round pick swap to get Joshua Dobbs from the Cardinals.
I don’t hate the move. Dobbs has enough talent to get it to his new corral of stud receivers. And as a literal rocket scientist, I’m hoping he’ll recognize how worthless it is to dump it off 7 times a game to T.J. Hockenson in the fiat.
The more interesting thing to me about the Vikings at the trade deadline was that they were any amount of buyers. A few weeks ago, they were expected to be sellers. I’d be surprised if the 2-4 Vikings didn’t already have half a dozen offers for Danielle Hunter.
But the 4-4 Vikings need Hunter to keep up this pace as he chases what should be an absurd contract this offseason.
Danielle Hunter Sack Watch: 10
21. Atlanta Falcons
Double pass. Sheesh. Literally, double pass from backup TE to 3rd strong TE. Next.
22. Los Angeles Rams
Alright, it’s been a long week. Rams fans forgive me. If your team isn’t as good as the Rams, forgive me. Your rankings are below.
23. Indianapolis Colts
24. Washington Commanders
Apparently 3-5 means season is over. Ron Rivera should be looking for a new job.
25. Green Bay Packers
I’ll come back to this in a year.
26. Vegas Raiders
Jimmy Garappolo benched, McDaniels and others fired, QB coach is calling plays. Good luck. Seriously. I’m invested in the happiness of Davante Adams, cause the greatest players shouldn’t go down like this.
27. New England Patriots
2024 will be head coach Jerod Mayo and OC Josh McDaniels. Book it.
28. Denver Broncos
Don’t act like you won something.
29. Chicago Bears
You really didn’t win anything. Sit down, Tyson Bagent stans.
30. Arizona Cardinals
31. Carolina Panthers
32. New York Giants
Darren Waller out, Daniel Jones out, Saquon Barkley has missed games… who could’ve seen this coming? Besides me. And, I’m not gonna pretend I’m super smart for calling it, but literally everyone knew it was a strong possibility. Don’t put all your money in injury risks and then shrug your shoulders when it happens.
Kayvon Thibodeaux: 8.5