So with the NFL heading towards its home stretch, I’m faced with a serious dilemma and want your feedback. This is my first ever season long Power Rankings series, so I want to do right by you, dear reader.
The Broncos’ playoff hopes are long dead, and the Bungles are clear favorites for the top pick in the draft. Would it interest you if I started a reverse ranking for the tankapalooza? I consider the teams outside of the legit playoff chase and rank them according to how they’re set up for the April Draft with commentary on how things look for them to find success in 2020.
If that sounds appealing, let me know in the comments, via Twitter, or by hitting me up some other way. Anyways, on to your regularly scheduled post.
Quick Disclaimer: As always, the Power Rankings are based upon how I see each team’s chances at winning the 2019 Lombardi. That means some teams will be lower than their record indicates and some teams will be lower than previous opponents they beat.
Race to the Bottom
The current tank leaders, even if they aren’t “officially” trying to suck. These are the teams I look to when the Broncos’ current season really bums me out. Some days it takes a little squinting, but I almost always come away thinking, “well, at least they aren’t _____.”
30. New York Giants
29. Miami Dolphins
28. Atlanta Falcons
27. New York Jets
Updated list of NFL teams who absolutely NEED a QB:— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) November 18, 2019
- Panthers (if they’re done with Cam)
Could use a QB:
Might be looking at a QB:
Life in the middle. These teams are a clear step ahead of the bottom dwellers, but they have no real shot at contention this year and clearly need help in one or more areas if they want to make real noise in 2020.
Most of these fan bases are frustrated because the solution isn’t as simple as drafting Joe Burrow. Some want heads to roll, others want to burn it all to the ground and start over NBA style.
26. Detroit Lions
Something I picked up in film study for my Deep Dive: P.J. Williams clearly got away with lining up offsides on the controversial 4th-and-1 play where Bucs WR Mike Evans was called for OPI. Williams is a good foot past the line of scrimmage & right in front of the side judge. pic.twitter.com/kTrQXRhiSM— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) November 18, 2019
23. Chicago Bears
22. Denver Broncos
Lost amid the hysteria over the Broncos’ “collapse” is the fact they played a Super Bowl contender tight. Hard to knock them there, and I’d pick Denver over any of the teams listed higher on the rankings based on how they’ve been playing since Flacco hit I.R. Maybe that changes when Drew Lock takes over, but they’re tough for a 3-7 outfit.
Tim Patrick on the 1st-and-4 at the 4: "Did you watch it? Yeah, you saw what happened (laughs). I don’t want to speak on it. I’m not trying to get fined, honestly. But what happened— my whole helmet was on the side of my face. I couldn’t see the ball.” pic.twitter.com/Pmzxnk0rUq— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 17, 2019
Wiggling on the ground
These teams aren’t really a whole lot better off in 2019 than the teams below them. They’ll almost certainly wind up on the outside looking in come playoff time, barring something really nutty over the next month. The difference is, they’ll get treated like contenders because the NFL feeds off belief and hope (which is why you’ll see them on the contender lists even though every one has a 15% or worse chance at the dance per Football Outsiders Playoff Odds report.)
21. London Chargers
The defending are their own tier. They’re clearly the third banana in the NFC West and need some help to have a real shot at the playoffs. They face four playoff teams and the Cardinals twice over the next six weeks. Sean McVay, Aaron Donald, and the gang are probably doomed, but maybe the offense creeps towards competency just in time to make a run.
18. Los Angeles Rams
Mitch Trubisky and Jared Goff when they realize someone has to win the game pic.twitter.com/u1SBcVfYqZ— Hat Boy Kof (@Kofie) November 18, 2019
The AFC Bubble
It’s ridiculous Mason Rudolph wasn’t suspended.
It’s also ridiculous where the Titans could be if Ryan Tannehill had started the opener.
17. Cleveland Browns
15. Tennessee Titans
From Weeks 7-10, one quarterback ranks fourth in yards per attempt at 8.5, he's tied for third with eight touchdown passes with just three interceptions, he's eighth in passing yards with 1,017, and he's fifth in passer rating at 107.5.— Doug Farrar (@NFL_DougFarrar) November 18, 2019
Who is this mysterious marauder?
If the four best teams regardless of conference made the playoffs, the Eagles would be 12. Alas, Buffalo and Oakland are playing out Charmin soft schedules in a weak AFC. Beyond that, a little health luck (good or bad) could move a play team into legitimate contention.
Kansas City will need Patrick Mahomes to return to his early from, but if I was looking to bet on an outside contender, the Chiefs are it. Both AFC South teams are a wrung below and Gruden beat the hapless Bungles by 7. We’ll learn a good bit about Josh Allen and the Bills this week, but the way Fangio called the Vikings game, I think it’s a low scoring affair.
The four NFC teams are fighting for two spots. I have Dallas where they are only because they look like a good match up on the Iggles in what will be a de facto playoff game in week 16.
13. Buffalo Bills
12. Oakland Raiders
10. Houston Texans
Updated QB stat page after yesterday.— new-age analytical (@benbbaldwin) November 18, 2019
All of a sudden it's...Derek Carr? pic.twitter.com/65ZcqKPhHV
I still consider the Patriots the favorite because Bill Belichick has that defense at a level we haven’t seen since Wade Phillips’ No Fly Zone carried Gary Kubiak and the corpse of Peyton Manning to a Lombardi trophy.
Behind them, New Orleans bounces back from a bad day and rolls the floundering Bucs. Lamar Jackson continues to make his claim for MVP consideration. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers get a late bye while the banged up 49ers get a Vance Joseph miracle to beat the Cardinals.
This was called DPI (59 white) lmao. pic.twitter.com/BEzVBPjDjz— Billy M (@BillyM_91) November 17, 2019
Since the Marcus Peters trade, the Ravens defense has the highest pressure percentage in the NFL and forced the 2nd lowest passer rating.— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 18, 2019
In that time, they've played: Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, and Deshaun Watson.
Tom Brady on @TheGregHillShow:— Darren Hartwell (@darren_hartwell) November 18, 2019
"The strength of our team is our defense and our special teams. So on offense, we’ve just got to take advantage of our opportunities and understand where our strengths lie and try to play to them."
Still Grazin’? MVP Rankings
Because Denver played at 1 PM on Sunday, I did not get a chance to catch the Cowboys or Ravens games. If I had, maybe I’d be drinking the Lamar Jackson Kool Aid, but alas I still have him at number two in my race with Russel Wilson leading the way.
There’s been a lot of push in some corners for Dak Prescott to jump both because he’s having a pretty incredible year. At this point, I can’t move him any higher than third. This isn’t a QBWinz issue so much as you look at the supporting casts and it’s had to say Wilson and Jackson aren’t doing so as much or more with less. Throw a league average backup into any of the three offenses and the Cowboys have the best chance at surviving.
If you want to argue any running back is the MVP, set your Delorian for 1982, 85, or even 2012. We’re better than that in these parts.
1. Russell Wilson
2. Lamar Jackson
3. Dak Prescott
5. Patrick Mahomes