Tier I – Guaranteed To Lose
1. Philadelphia Eagles
I’m so sorry, Eagles fans. This is what you get when you’re the only undefeated team left. You get put up as my top team and face the curse that has afflicted every team I’ve placed on this perch. It’s also possible that my curse only works on AFC teams, so maybe Philly will break through. Wouldn’t be surprised… they should be able to put up at least 30+ on Arizona. But it’s in Arizona, and the Cards have started to pull themselves together. Ugh, again, my apologies.
Tier II – Try Not To Win Too Big
2. Buffalo Bills
A win is a win, but not all wins are equal. They had a rough day against a struggling Ravens defense. Maybe it’s because of how hot they started, but Buffalo’s offense is starting to look confused at times. This could be connected to losing Brian Daboll’s offensive mind. Or maybe Josh Allen lowered too many shoulders those first few weeks and decided to take a break. Whatever the case, I doubt it will take long to get it back together, but the clear dominance weeks may not be as easy to come by.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Kick. The Damn. Ball. And if you won’t take the points on 4th down, it better be an RPO that utilizes the unique skill set of the best player in the entire NFL. Everything about that 4th down call was wrong. Bad idea, bad play, bad execution. Lamar said he couldn’t see his receiver wide open in the back of the endzone… well yeah, cause the way the play was designed, it was like a 40 yard throw. I also didn’t understand Harbaugh’s reasoning for going for it. He said he went for it cause they trust their defense to get a stop if they don’t get it? If you trust them in that case, why not kick a field goal and trust them to hold the lead? It makes zero sense. I’ve always liked Harbaugh’s aggressiveness with late game calls, but this one was all-around baffling.
4. Green Bay Packers
Would’ve been nice to keep the Pats run game in check a bit. I can’t imagine why you don’t stack the box and make Bailey Zappe beat one of the best secondaries in the league. But they got the rough W and the offense looked a lot better than it did against Tampa. Defense just needs a reminder sometimes that they’re kinda good. Tough game across the pond next week against the surprising Giants.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Depending on the week, they could be all over this list. Week 1 and Week 4 Chiefs are possibly the best team in the league. The more Mahomes spreads it around, the better they look, but I think they also need a clear number 1 receiver. Juju seems to be drawing the most attention, and he’s the best chance they have to open things up for Kelce.
Tier III – You Don’t Even Know Me
6. Miami Dolphins
Alright look, here’s my real question: if it was a back injury that made Tua wobble like that two weeks ago, how the hell do you still put him back in the game? The hyperfocus on concussions made us all just gloss over that the guy had a lower back injury that apparently made it hard to stand up. Even if I believed it wasn’t a concussion, even though my couch doctor diagnosis is definitely concussion, I can’t imagine the conversation that goes “oh, he just has a lower back injury that makes it hard to walk, he should be fine” and then onto the field he runs. I’m convinced Stephen Ross is somehow behind all this.
Whatever. Teddy Bridgewater looked good in limited time. His only blemish was a pick that was 100% miscommunication, which can be expected with a backup QB.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
I just can’t quit them. Too many injuries have made this a tough start to the year. They’re just about to get Keenan Allen back, now Joey Bosa is out 8-10 weeks. I still like their defense, but it was the combination of Bosa and Mack that made them terrifying. Herbert and Ekeler were back to form last week, but against the worst team in the league. If they can hang in the race and get some key guys healthy for a late season run, this is still a team with the talent to win it all.
8. Minnesota Vikings
They really need to focus on getting it to Jefferson. I don’t care if he’s triple teamed, get him the ball. Much like the Chiefs, this is a week 1 and week 4 team, and the key difference in those two games was Jefferson get beaucorp targets. I know last week was just the Saints, but they’re a better team than they’re given credit. This was a tough win on the road, and far more impressive than just sneaking by Detroit. Now they get the Bears at home and a good chance of starting 4-1.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Two impressive wins in a row. The offensive line is gelling, Burrow is getting time to throw, and he’s finding a groove. That 0-2 start is so far in the rearview it doesn’t even pay to look anymore. As if the undefeated Dolphins weren’t hard enough, next week is at Baltimore for what will be an ever bigger test. They should be able to light up the Ravens D, so it will come down to containing Lamar. That’s it. Just keep control of the most dangerous player in the NFL. No biggie. I’m predicting 75+ combined points in this one.
10. Dallas Cowboys
I KNEW IT. This is the best. I said this last week: let’s say Cooper’s Cowboys are 3-1 when Dak comes back for road games against the Rams and Eagles. I’m not saying there’s a controversy… but if we hit week 7 with Cooper 3-0 and Dak 0-3, I don’t know how it can just be ignored.
Welp, here we are! And I’m so happy. Cooper Rush is 3-0 as the starter and now Dak has to go on the road against the defending champs coming off an embarrassing loss, then on the road again against the only undefeated team in the league in probably the most hostile environment. Dak needs to win at least one of those or risk the fanbase turning on him.
Tier IV – NFC West and South, Part 1
11. San Francisco 49ers
Possibly the best defense in the league, aided by some bad Rams playcalling and poor decisions from Stafford. Jimmy G still looks just good enough to not be the reason his team loses. If he can manage games and limit mistakes like last week, this is still the same team that was a game away from the Super Bowl. I just don’t trust him to do that consistently. Getting Aiyuk more involved would help.
12. Los Angeles Rams
WHO ARE YOU?! I’ll tell you who they are… they are the perfect example of how a bad offensive line can erase gobs at skill position talent. Cam Akers can’t buy a hole to run through, Stafford can’t buy a second in the pocket, and Allen Robinson might as well just take a seat. And it’s entirely possible Robinson’s lack of production is related to Stafford’s lack of any pocket. If I was him and only had time for one look, it’s going to Kupp. On the bright side, if they can stay healthy, the line should eventually come together. But in an up-for-grabs division where the 49ers already have a jump on them, they best not wait too long.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Again, let’s look back at what I said last week: Does Tom Brady look bored? Maybe bored isn’t the word. Apathetic, maybe?
Yup. I followed that up by saying it seems clear this is his last year, but now that him and Giselle are lining up divorce lawyers, who knows? Single Brady might play til he’s 50. The Bucs defense, which is supposed to be their strength, got absolutely torched. But that can be forgiven somewhat with Mahomes in rare form.
Tom, we’ve seen enough Cole Beasley for literally the rest of time. Call Gronk.
14. Atlanta Falcons
I still like them, though I’m not sure how much latitude Mariota gets. He’s doing just enough to keep his job, but Ridder looked NFL ready in preseason. This has to be the most 2-2 team in the league. 4 games, all won or lost by 4 points or less. Running game looks strong, and defense looks surprisingly competent. But they gotta get Kyle Pitts moving. On the road in Tampa will be a big test next week.
Tier V – Underrated or Overperforming
15. Jacksonville Jaguars
Not the prettiest game last week, but they kept it within a score on the road against an undefeated team. Hard to drop them too far after that. Now they get the Texans at home and a chance to get back to a winning record.
16. New York Giants
I’m still not buying. 3 wins against bad teams. Will revisit if they can beat the Packers in London.
17. Cleveland Browns
Browns are so weird. They steamroll Pittsburgh, then get beat by an Atlanta team that I can’t believe produced enough offense to score a point. Amari Cooper was nowhere, and that can’t happen. Still the best ground game in the league, but then you better put up more than 20 points.
18. New York Jets
Talk about a fired up young team! Draw through 4 games, so the next 4 will be big. Dolphins, Packers, Broncos, Pats… come out of that 4-4, and they could make a late playoff run.
Tier VI – Can’t Quit You Yet
19. Las Vegas Raiders
Who saw this one coming? I did. You can’t back a talented team in a corner like that. Broncos never had a chance. Now the one win Raiders have a chance to gain significant ground with a Monday night game against KC. This time next week, they could be one game out of first.
20. Tennessee Titans
I feel like AFC South teams all feel like they can just chill until one of them decides to establish themselves, then maybe everyone will start turning it on. Whatever the case, Indy and Tennessee need to figure things out between them before the Jags run away.
21. Indianapolis Colts
See above. And get Jonathan Taylor out on a screen or something.
Tier VII – NFC West and South, Part 2
22. New Orleans Saints
It has to be so aggravating to be a Saints fan right now. The talent is all there, but can’t stay healthy. With Kamara out, they brought up Latavius Murray from the practice squad. After a solid game with over 5 yards a carry and a touchdown, Murray was sent right back to the practice squad… where he was grabbed by Denver. What a week for Murray.
23. Seattle Seahawks
I don’t even know what to take away from a Seahawks-Lions shootout. Like I didn’t know those words could be said in that order. And the DK Metcalf poop cart because he wouldn’t have made it with a clinch walk is pretty much the definition of how this blog got its name. I know that has nothing to do with power rankings and I don’t care.
24. Arizona Cardinals
They’ve beaten two struggling teams and lost to two good teams. Need to get in shape and watch the tape, Kyler.
Tier XXV – Washington Commanders
25. Washington Commanders
This should be announced with confetti and streamers in their weird colors. They once again played very 25th-in-the-league-y. If I had money to burn, this would come with some production value.
Tier IX – Slipping Away
26. Denver Broncos
As if the season wasn’t going poorly enough, now Javonte Williams is out for the year and Randy Gregory will miss several weeks at least. I’d like to forgive losing to the Raiders since, as I’ve mentioned, they never really stood a chance. But still, that’s an 0-3 division rival. Have some self-respect. At least they put up some points this time.
27. Detroit Lions
The loser of the Seahawks-Lions shootout. Imma try and rank for that phrase on Google.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
I can’t imagine what a turnaround would look like with no idea who the QB will be each week. Doesn’t help when your star receiver calls it “obviously a rebuilding year” after 4 games. I can’t even imagine facing Tomlin after that story hit.
29. New England Patriots
I just love in-season QB controversies. It’s the best. I also love saying the name Bailey Zappe, so let’s give the kid a shot. He almost got them a win over Green Bay… that’s at least worth letting Mac Jones “rest” a bit longer.
Tier X – The Toilet
30. Carolina Panthers
The Toilet gains a new resident. I give Matt Rhule until week 10, max. But the sooner the better. You want the minimum amount of influence to linger. Get someone Baker knows and trusts and build something around him.
31. Chicago Bears
I know they’re 2-2, but it’s a really weak 2-2. It’s the kind of 2-2 that could be 2-8 if you blink. Justin Fields just needs time. Let him take lumps and keep Eberflus to give Fields some consistency.
32. Houston Texans
It’s gonna be a long year. I actually feel bad for Davis Mills cause I think he has talent, but next year’s draft is loaded with QBs. So every Texans loss brings him closer to losing his job. I have to wonder if this is just a fill-in season for Lovie.