I thought my first shot at Power Rankings would be my last, but there have been… more incorrect Power Rankings posted to NZI.
Since I do it for the people, here are my Power Rankings headed into Week 4 of the NFL season.
Don’t like where I ranked your favorite team? Maybe try not having dumb opinions, as these are the 100% accurate and indisputable rankings.
I heard your feedback last time, that I didn’t do a good job explaining my ranking process, so I will include a brief synopsis of why they’re ranked where they are.
THE TOP 10:
1. NEW YORK JETS: You are probably reading these rankings after the TNF matchup with the Broncos, but I am writing them before. I think, regardless of outcome, the Jets are the #1 team in the NFL. Some of you may ask, “why?” Well, the answer is simple: what really separates the Jets from the popular media picks like the Chiefs? A QB, RB, OL, WR corps, DL, LB and Secondary is really it. There is such a small gap, I find the drastic difference in rankings is based on last year, and not present-day football being played.
2. NEW YORK GIANTS: The Giants may be the second-best team to call MetLife home, but the good news is, they’re still the second-best team in the NFL. Joe Judge looks like the next Bill Belichick, Daniel Jones looks like the next Tom Brady, and the Giants are clearly set up, not only for current dominance, but future success.
3. CINCINATTI BENGALS: Zac Taylor is great. Joe Burrow looks like the best first-overall pick in recent memory. The only thing separating the Bengals from a perfect 3-0 is two losses and a tie. The reason I put them behind the Giants and Jets is because of the division they play in. The AFC North is a cake-walk compared to the all-time great AFC East and NFC East.
4. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Once the Jags got rid of all the dead weight this offseason, they not only cleared the salary cap to make some big additions for the future, but they cleared some spots on the depth chart for some NFL-ready, elite talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags have at least five representatives on the AP First-Team All-Pro list this year.
5. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: The Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017 and have continued their dominance since. Carson Wentz has to be a front-runner for MVP this year. Really, the only things separating him from the generally-accepted front-runners, Russell Wilson and Josh Allen, is touchdown passes, yards, and a few less interceptions. The Eagles have looked great so far, too; a dominant first-half showing against the Washington Football Team, and a comeback for the ages to force a tie with the powerhouse Bengals, puts them squarely in the top-five.
6. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM: The only thing missing at FedEx Field this year is a team name. Other than that, Ron Rivera is a miracle worker, taking a team with such low expectations to new heights. Dwayne Haskins just needs to start completing about 15% more of his passes and he’ll go from average to MVP candidate in no time. Chase Young might be hurt right now, but who cares? They have so many other great players on that defense that they definitely won’t be missing a premier young pass rusher while he recovers. Probably in the best interest of the team to put him on IR and let him rest so he can be 100% for the deep playoff run they’re bound to make this year.
7. DENVER BRONCOS: Sure, Drew Lock is out for another five or so weeks, but who cares when you have the amazing QB depth they have in Denver. Remember Mark Rypien? Well, the Broncos have his nephew starting right now, who will serve as a great stop-gap until Blake Bortles learns the offense and is able to take over. Von Miller is hurt? Who cares! All he’s done since the Super Bowl was catch COVID and get arrested for catching sharks. This team is going places.
8. ATLANTA FALCONS: If you remove the second half of Week 2 and Week 3, respectively, the public narrative on the Falcons would be completely shifted and people would be yelling at me for not having them in the top-five. What people seem to forget is that this team has 10-of-11 starters on the offensive side of the ball that are former first round picks. Defense doesn’t even matter in the NFL, so I’m not sure why any attention is paid to Atlanta’s.
9. MIAMI DOLPHINS: The Dolphins are a great team, but the reason why I don’t have them ranked higher is, I think the win against Jacksonville was a bit of fluke. Ryan Fitzpatrick will breeze into Canton when he retires, but he’s getting a bit old and the hits he takes are starting to add up. When Miami makes the switch to the durable Tua Tagoviloa, I can see them shooting up the rankings. They’re a great team now, and they’ll be a juggernaut once they make the switch to the football equivalent of Cal Ripken, Jr. at QB.
10. DETROIT LIONS: It’s really easy to see why the Patriots were so good for so long. Not only was Bill Belichick able to have a great assistant like the ninth team on this list’s head coach in Brian Flores, but he also had Matt Patricia. Matt Patricia has done nothing but exceed expectations, and coming off a blowout victory against the Cardinals, I can’t imagine the momentum stops. Look for the Lions to be much higher next week, as they are a complete team on the rise, being carried by Hall-of-Fame QB Matthew Stafford and a young up-and-coming RB in Adrian Peterson.
THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK:
11. CAROLINA PANTHERS: No Christian McCaffery? No problem. Addition by subtraction, to be honest, because his injury will force the Panthers to be reliant on the great arm of the always-dependable and never-injured Teddy Bridgewater. D.J. Moore has proven that he is everything we expected and more. If they weren’t in the same division as the Falcons, I’d say they were going to have a shot at a home playoff game.
12. HOUSTON TEXANS: Houston is off to an 0-3 start after some unexpected upsets by the Chiefs, Ravens, and Steelers. Sometimes, it’s better to get the losses out early, because in reality, they’ve just gotten unlucky. Easily could be 3-0 right now if they scored more points and gave up less on defense, but that’s just semantics. The real reason they aren’t top-five right now is just consistent bad bounces, allowing their subpar opponents to regularly put up points and keep the juggernaut offense out of the end zone. I will say, a lot of my faith in this team is because of the best GM/HC in the league, Bill O’Brien, at the helm. He knows what it takes to win, and is willing to make the unorthodox moves that put his team in position to win games week-in and week-out.
13. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Some of you may get mad that I have a Kirk Cousins-led team in the middle of the pack, but he has done nothing but prove that he is an upper-echelon QB worthy of a fully-guaranteed contract and all the praise in the world. Sure, his entire life, he has been labeled as average, but that is just fake news. Quite honestly, if you don’t have faith in Kirk Cousins and don’t see him as a top-of-the-line QB, you just don’t watch football.
14. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: Top-to-bottom, a great organization that is on the cusp of really realizing their potential and taking that next step. If this were a Power Ranking of medical and training staff, the Chargers would be a clear-cut #1, but unfortunately, we have to look at the product on the field. Coach Anthony Lynn has had nothing but great things to say about rookie QB Justin Herbert, who he didn’t trust to get one yard in overtime, and Keenan Allen is always healthy and always ready to prove that he’s a dependable elite WR. It’s unfortunate they’re not allowing fans at games, as the move to L.A. has proven great for attendance, and the Chargers are seen as one of the hardest places to play since the stadium is always packed with fans supporting the new hometown team.
15. CHICAGO BEARS: You might be asking yourself, how are the 3-0 Bears not even in the top-10? Well, it’s because of some questionable coaching by Matt Nagy. Sure, Nick Foles was able to lead a comeback against the Falcons, but even given his Super Bowl-winning track record, is he really better than Mitch Trubisky? If you answer that question “yes,” then please stop reading and re-evaluate watching football ever again. The Bears will continue to drop in my rankings if they do not make the move back to the best QB of the 2017 draft.
16. CLEVELAND BROWNS: How can a super-talented team with Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Jr., Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Myles Garrett, and Denzel Ward be ranked so low? Well, it’s really just because of that stunning Week 1 upset by the Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately, a bad showing like that is just hard to overcome, rankings-wise, but rest assured, Browns fans: they will have another chance to assert their dominance against the Bengals in the coming weeks, and they’ll really be able to put that bad Week 1 performance behind them and shoot up the rankings. The Browns have an illustrious history of winning, and I don’t see that trend stopping any time soon; just have to overcome that rare Week 1 stumble before I give them the ranking respect they’ll ultimately get.
17. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Colts fans, please don’t get mad at me for this; I’m sure you guys were expecting to shoot up the Power Rankings after a convincing win against the best team in the NFL, but pump the brakes for a second. This team has played some great competition in the first three weeks, but in reality, they just got lucky in all of their wins. Philip Rivers is eventually going to come back to Earth, and the Colts are going to be a middle-of-the pack team because of the loaded AFC South they play in. I just can’t see them ever overtaking the Jaguars and Texans, no matter who they beat, and I want to fairly rank them, to taper down expectations for a great fan base that did things like boo that quitter Andrew Luck for retiring during a preseason game.
18. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: Derek Carr wears eye liner, Darren Waller is a recovering drug addict, and the new stadium in Vegas is significantly worse than the Oakland Coliseum. The only meaningful win Jon Gruden has ever had in his entire career was against a team running the playbook he installed. Until the Raiders put in Marcus Mariota, they will never be viewed as a serious contender, no matter what the scoreboard shows.
19. DALLAS COWBOYS: Normally, I would buy into the Cowboys hype, but well-respected journalist and often-right FS1 analyst Skip Bayless, really made me sour on the Cowboys when he said Dak Prescott wasn’t a leader. I question if anyone on the Cowboys even wants to win games anymore. When you couple that with the fact that they play in the hardest division in football, it’s really tough for me to put them anywhere above 19th. I wish it was different for Jerry Jones and America’s Team, but your road to the playoffs is going to be stopped short because there is simply too much talent in the NFC East.
20. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: The Saints are such a waste of talent. They hitch their wagons to a dome-reliant, noodle-armed midget like Drew Brees, while benching incredibly talented QBs like Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston. Sean Payton should really be ashamed of himself for his poor coaching decisions.
THE BOTTOM THIRD
21. ARIZONA CARDINALS: Speaking of midgets, Kyler Murray would still qualify for Pop Warner football at his size. I thought DeAndre Hopkins would help Murray look like a serviceable QB, but even he is unable to help. Isaiah Simmons, Budda Baker, and Chandler Jones are all going to waste on the defensive side of the football because widely known defensive genius, head coach Kliff Kingsbury, has been unable to get any kind of production on the offensive side of the ball. Truly sad that KIngsbury and his stellar defense have so far been unable to overcome the shortcomings of Murray.
22. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers: Despite having a head coach who is known for maintaining late-game leads, what Kyle Shanahan isn’t able to do is overcome devastating injuries. The 49ers will be okay once everyone gets healthy, but I think it’s just going to be too late and Shanahan won’t be able to will his team to dominance.
23. LOS ANGELES RAMS: It’s sad to think we’re going to see some great teams shut out of the playoffs because all four teams of the NFC West fall in the bottom-third here. Sean McVay is washed, Jared Goff is overpaid, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are two wastes of salary cap, and the Rams have no shot to win anything this year.
24. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: The long-standing sports debate of whether or not Tom Brady is a system QB has finally been answered. He is clearly a system QB, as he is not able to carry subpar talent like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette to any kind of respectable showing. The only thing that separates Tom Brady from the guy who takes my coffee order at Dunkin’ Donuts in the morning is a few MVP trophies, a few Super Bowls and 20+ years of mediocrity at his career of choice.
25. TENNESSEE TITANS: The Titans can’t even prevent COVID, let alone opposing teams from winning. They’re a complete trainwreck of a team that will not be getting better anytime soon. Derrick Henry got paid in the offseason, and we’ve found out that he is truly nothing without his lead blocker, Earl Thomas, who inexplicably has remained a free-agent despite nothing but great reports about how good he is in the locker room. If the Titans want to salvage this season, they’ll give Thomas a call and run a train on the league.
26. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Ben Roethlisberger inexplicably won a QB competition between himself, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. Since then, the team has only given their fans false hope. Sure, they’re 3-0, but if you take away the three wins, what do they really have? The correct answer is, nothing. The three wins weren’t all that convincing; we’re talking about a few different calls and spots and the Steelers are sitting at 0-3. I think, as the season progresses, they’ll get exposed more-and-more as the frauds they truly are.
27. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Bill Belichick has lost his fastball. He let his dog draft for him this year, hoping he could prove to be able to win with no talent at all, and even though he’s gotten two wins so far in three games, that kind of success won’t hold up. Owner Robert Kraft is more worried about getting a massage than winning football games, and the once-feared dynasty is falling apart. If the Pats win more than the two games they’ve already won this year, it’ll be a miracle, because honestly, the only difference between them and the Browns of recent history has been a couple fluke playoff runs and favorable calls from the refs.
28. BUFFALO BILLS: Bills fans haven’t been this disappointed since “Wide Right.” They came into this season with high hopes for Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, and they just haven’t delivered. We’re talking about a team that almost blew a 28-3 lead last weekend. If they were facing a top-10 team, we’re talking about a loss and more panic. Sure, the Bills are 3-0, but who have they really played? The one good thing the Bills have going for them is they’re pretty used to playing in front of an empty stadium, as nobody really cares about the Bills and they’re widely known as having one of the least-interested fan bases in the league. They’ll be able to continue being bad without much local pressure.
29. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Sure, Russell Wilson’s step son may be named Future (after his highly successful hip-hop artist father), but does Wilson actually have a future in the NFL? I mean, he’s been in the league since 2012 and was gifted an all-time great defense with the Legion of Boom and a Hall-of-Fame RB in Marshawn Lynch, and all he was able to do was beat a severely-declining Peyton Manning for his lone Super Bowl ring. I will give Russ some credit; he is incredibly athletic, but I feel like a position change to RB/WR is the only way he stays in the league moving forward.
30: BALTIMORE RAVENS: As a Ravens fan, it pains me to put the Ravens this low, but I am a fair and unbiased football journalist, and I need to let the facts speak for themselves here. Monday night was rough, but it’s a good reminder of what is wrong with the Ravens. Lamar Jackson is great, but nobody can catch the ball. The defense seemed to frequently forget that getting stops on third down is crucial to success. Their highest-paid player, Matthew Judon, appears to have taken some kind of unpublished sabbatical, because I have yet to see him do anything that stands out during the first three games. I can only hope that the Ravens are just biding their time, acquiring draft picks, and looking to stock up for the future in this lost season.
31. GREEN BAY PACKERS: Aaron Rodgers’ own family disowned him years ago — looks like they were smarter than the Green Bay Packers organization, who has inexplicably not only stuck with him, but paid him a ton of money in the process. It’s going to be a tough season for Packers fans, and I’m sure they’ll be looking at a complete roster overhaul in the offseason. Personally, I hope they keep Jordan Love on the bench this year, so they can finish with some high draft picks and get him the help he’s going to need.
32. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: When recently-engaged Patrick Mahomes was asked what the most important ring of his was in the past year, he, without hesitation, answered the ring he gave to his now-fiancée, which is really all that needs to be said about the reigning Super Bowl Champions. It seems like keeping their half-billion-dollar QB focused on the field is going to be a struggle going forward. He got a championship and a huge pay day, and it’s obvious he no longer cares about football. A lot is said about his father being a former MLB player, and I do wonder if, some day soon, Patrick, Jr. is going to step away and follow in his dad’s footsteps, as he clearly is no longer interested in football. The Chiefs also employ some real scumbags, with the tandem of pregnant-woman-beaters Frank Clark and Tyreek Hill getting massive pay days recently. Andy Reid seems to care more about keeping the fog off his welding shield and less about the caliber of person he allows in his locker room, so look for this whole situation to implode and the Chiefs being able to successfully tank for Trevor Lawrence so they can move on from their disinterested QB.
Have an issue with these rankings? Feel free to discuss on Twitter. I am highly professional and definitely will not insult you for having a different opinion.