Tier 1 – October Super Bowl
The way Jalen Hurts processes is incredible. He must spend every waking moment outside of actually playing football, watching football. And you can’t underestimate how good he is at breaking the pocket to run, then knowing when to slide (unlike his counterpart last week). He gets big yards and protects himself. I’m also excited to see this defense continue to develop.
2. Buffalo Bills
152-61 scoring ratio after 5 games is just bonkers. They’re more like 1B on this list, falling behind Philly only because of that one loss. Honestly, I think the case could easily be made to put them back at number 1. After holding off the Ravens, they went and flat out embarrassed the Steelers… while Philly survived last week only by the grace of Kyler’s ineptness. These two teams on neutral ground in a Super Bowl would be fantastic.
Tier II – Mostly Winning Records
3. Baltimore Ravens
I’m not budging. They beat a tough Cincy team and they lead the AFC North. Oh, and have I mentioned Lamar is the most complete player in the league. Spare me any Josh Allen comparisons until Allen gets to a Super Bowl and wins an MVP. Allen also has mega weapons. Lamar can take over games by himself. Give me Lamar and Justin Tucker on any team in the league and it’s 10 wins minimum.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
I don’t even know how they keep squeaking these wins through. Highest scoring offense in the league, but gaping holes in their defense. And that defense is about to go up against Josh Allen and the Bills. I’ll be disappointed if that game has less than 80 combined points.
5. Dallas Cowboys
Speaking of defenses with gaping holes, the Cowboys have none. Not a single hole on that defense. And if one dares to open, Micah Parsons will be there to close it faster than any human being of his size should be able to move. Undefeated Cooper Rush had a rough game, but didn’t make mistakes, which is all he needs to do. Their running game and defense will keep them in any game. I know I keep bringing it up every week, but if Rush goes to 5-0 on the season while beating the only undefeated team in the league this week, can we finally say there’s a QB controversy?
6. Los Angeles Chargers
I liked the 4th and 2 call. Go for it, win the game on the road, get out like you stole something. I’m actually quite annoyed everyone turned this into a “young coach mistake” thing when it’s basically the same thing Belichick once did. I liked it when Belichick did it, and I liked it when Staley did it. They still have as much talent as anyone, and Keenan Allen still hasn’t come back. Though there might be some tension after Allen very publicly questioned Staley’s decision while it was happening. They HAVE to beat Denver this week. It’s hard to know if they’ll face a reeling Denver team or a “no one believes in us” Denver team. Always be prepared for anything from a team backed into a corner.
7. Minnesota Vikings
I can’t pull myself to think Kirk Cousins could lead a deep playoff run, but I also can’t deny how good the team is around him. It also looks like Cousins and O’Connell realized how important it is to get the ball in Jefferson’s hands as much as possible. If they can sustain that model, they could linger in the top 10 for a while.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Losing record and still in the top 10? You betcha. There are plenty of good 2-3 teams right now, and they’re the best of them. Those 3 losses are by a combined 8 points, and 2 of those losses came from teams in my top 5. This is still a really good team with a surprisingly good defense and an offense that needs to find its groove. Once it does, look out.
Tier III – Error Insufficient Data
9. San Francisco 49ers
Much like Vikings, they’re playing really well despite their QB. Jimmy G has been solid and limiting mistakes, which is all they need from him. Their defense is for real, maybe the best in the league. That said, I’m not really ready to crown them for beating up Carolina. Things could get tricky if they run into situations where QB play needs to win them the game. Those may not come up a lot in the regular season, but it only has to come up once in the playoffs.
10. New York Giants
I honestly hesitate to put them this high. I know they’re 4-1 and just beat the Packers, but that’s their most impressive win. 2 other wins came from my 30th and 31st ranked teams, and both those wins were within a score. Even at 4-1, their point differential is only +10. They still have Philly twice this year, and a tough Ravens game this week. I think they’ll make the playoffs by winning the games they should win, but I don’t see them surviving the first round.
11. Green Bay Packers
I don’t get it. You draft A.J. Dillon, you pay Aaron Jones, you trade away your best receiver, you head to London and dominate the ground game in the first half and build a lead. And then, you just abandon the run? I don’t know if it’s LaFleur calling the plays or Rodgers changing them, but this offense needs to get it together. The defense has been good all season, so if I had to choose between the defense being bad and the defense being gassed because the offense couldn’t get a 1st down in the second half, I’ll take the latter. Run the ball.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Still not convinced Brady wants to be there.
13. Miami Dolphins
It shouldn’t surprise me that a Mike McDaniel-led team has an elusive identity. Perhaps that’s by design. In any case, it’s hard to move them too far up or down with their 3rd string QB running things. With Bridgewater, they might still be top 10, with Tua maybe top 5. It’s hard to judge a defense when, like the Packers, the offense is struggling.
14. New York Jets
I still wanna see Zach Wilson have that transcendent game worthy of the #2 pick in the draft, but man are they still really good. All over the field. And that includes a lot of really young players already flashing their potential. There will be inconsistency down the line, as there usually is with such a young team, but they could match up and beat anyone any week. Also worth noting that their only 2 losses have been to Baltimore and Cincy, and the teams they beat haven’t been slouches. I’m putting my money on saying the J-E-T-S are for real, and with this core, they could be for a long time.
Tier IV – Not Sure Where To Put Them Yet
15. Tennessee Titans
I was ready to give up on them, but they just won’t go away and their division is just so bad which makes their schedule look so easy. But it’s about to get harder, and we’re about to see if Titans show up against a downright terrifying non-division slate the rest of the season. At KC, At Green Bay, home for Cincy, at Philly, at LAC, home for Cowboys. Good luck coming out of those 6 games with 2 wins.
16. Los Angeles Rams
I’ve noticed when I’m looking at my rankings each week that I tend to float teams I’m just not sure about in this 15-17 area. That’s my way of foreshadowing that the Rams could be here a while. They need to get the run game going. No better time than a home game against a bad Carolina team coming up. They need to use this game to find a groove to take into a home game against SF in two weeks. 4-3 with a split in head-to-head with SF would be a huge boost going into the second half of the season.
17. Atlanta Falcons
I have a hard time docking a team that may or may not have won but weren’t given the chance because of a ridiculous call. I’ll give Atlanta a mulligan this week. They’re still only a game out with some winnable games coming up.
Tier V – What’s The Consistency, Kenneth?
18. Indianapolis Colts
What was that absolute pile of smoldering triceratops loaf they put on that field last week. If we weren’t a few hours away from a Commanders-Bears TNF game, I would say that was hands down the worst game of the season and nothing would come close. Both teams should’ve been given losses for making us sit through that. Somehow this team is still at .500, and I don’t get it.
19. Cleveland Browns
Jacoby Brissett is still doing the job and they almost knocked off a good Chargers team. Part of me wants them to be over .500 when Watson comes back and then fall flat on their face. Then spend the offseason trying to pretend they’re not concerned about still having to pay out $180 million guaranteed.
20. New England Patriots
Just when you think they’re lost, Bill throws out his 3rd string QB and they pitch a shutout to a not terrible Detroit team. Good thing their defense is for real, and Judon is a beast. He’s had a sack in every game this year, with 2 against the Lions.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars
I really wanna believe in them, but you can’t drop one at home to the worst team in the league. Granted, facing a team without a win is always a trap game, but this is where a legit playoff team needs to take care of business. Their division is so winnable, and their defense causes a lot of problems for teams. Beating the confused Colts and getting back to .500 would be a huge step, not only for their chances at the division, but also their response to the way they played last week.
Tier VI – Maybe If We Rotate The QBs Around
22. New Orleans Saints
They’re just so close. They’re a QB away from being really, really good. But even healthy, Jameis just isn’t Kirk Cousins-y enough to not make mistakes. Maybe Dalton could be. Kamara looks as good as ever, Taysom Hill is being used perfectly, and I just love Chris Olave. He’s a future superstar.
23. Arizona Cardinals
At some point, talent is superseded by bone-headedness. When it’s 3rd down, don’t slide before the 1st down. And if you do, don’t then spike it with 23 seconds left. And if you do all of that, don’t then blame it on what your coach is telling you in your earpiece.
Kyler, THIS IS WHY YOU WATCH FILM. It’s not just about seeing what the other team might do and how you can counter it. It’s also about watching football, a lot of it, and seeing every situation that might come up and what you should do when it does. Knowing where to slide to make sure you get the 1st down is something that comes up a lot, and a QB should know it. Even the slow ones. Being able to process that it was just 3rd down, you didn’t get the 1st down, so you should either plow forward for the 1st down or wait til the time ticks down to spike it… this is babytown frollicks, man. If this was the first time I’d seen obvious lack of preparation from him, it could be considered a blip, but there’s a definite pattern here.
24. Seattle Seahawks
What have you done with Geno? This guy is dropping deep ball dimes and looking like he’s got everything under control out there. Too bad his defense doesn’t. If you’re wondering how excited I am to see Kenneth Walker III get his shot, I drafted him for fantasy in a 12 team league. This kid is faster than fast and could be really special.
Tier XXV – Washington Commanders
25. Washington Commanders
I kinda want them to beat the Bears tonight so I don’t feel like I should drop them. Come on, Carson, just win it by a field goal and hang onto this 25 spot. Forget about your coach blatantly throwing you under the bus. You got this, bud.
Tier XIII – WAKE UP
26. Las Vegas Raiders
I’ll stop moving them up if they find a win. Gonna be harder next week without Davante.
27. Denver Broncos
Russ can’t cook.
Tier IX – Half The NFC North
28. Detroit Lions
I was getting excited about them til they put up a nuffin sandwich against the Pats. I would not wanna face Dan Campbell in that post-game locker room. Jamaal Williams remains my favorite person in the NFL.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
George Pickens is too much fun. I drafted him in my 12 team league as well, and it’s paying off already. That’s about all this Pittsburgh team has going for it. I really wish they just stayed with Mitch and let Pickett learn from the bench. Najee Harris has been completely ineffective; get ready to see much more Jaylen Warren. Not that Warren is necessarily better, but perhaps his play will create more space for Harris.
30. Chicago Bears
Even if the Bears come out of tonight at 3-3, I don’t think I’m willing to move them up much. Not until I see Fields really turn it on. Last week was a big step for him, even in a loss. He needs to find a rhythm of games like that as they get into the tougher part of their schedule.
Tier X – The Toilet
31. Carolina Panthers
Matt Rhule actually lasted slightly longer than I thought he would. I think they could be a decent team for the rest of the year without that cloud hanging over them. But until they show it, they wait in the toilet.
32. Houston Texans
Does there come a point where you just let Davis Mills unload? Dameon Pearce and Nico Collins could be special players, but they won’t find that out until the team really tries to see what they have in Mills. Normally this should be the time when the game should start slowing down for him, but like Fields, a coaching change can make it seem like a rookie year all over again. Bigger question: is Lovie there to win now, or to be a scapegoat so they can get someone else to pair up with C.J. Stroud?