These rankings are based on how good the team is right now, so teams that were good but lost key players won’t get credit for those wins.
1: Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 20)
It’s hard to rank the Chiefs this week since we don’t know whether or not Mahomes will play against the Titans, but reading the tea leaves it seems more likely than not that he will play, so they get the top spot again.
That now begs the question. With Chad Henne returning from injury, who gets the backup spot? Moore played better than I expected. I thought he’d be a complete disaster, but he played at a normal backup level. We haven’t really seen much of Henne, so it’s hard to judge him, but presumably the coaching staff liked him better since they signed him over Moore last year.
Personally I’d go with Moore. We won’t be winning the Super Bowl either way if we’re without Mahomes for the playoffs, but Moore has shown he’s capable of getting a win over a good team, so why gamble with Henne?
On another note this tweet is a very good sign for the Chiefs.
Passing is the big driver of success in the NFL, so to be that much better than everybody else in the passing game on both sides of the ball is a great sign, especially considering all the injuries.
Also take note of the Patriots offense. Speaking of which…
2: New Orleans Saints (Last week: 3)
3: Green Bay Packers (Last week: 2)
4: New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
5: San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 4)
The restructuring of the other top teams doesn’t have much to do with the result of the games, but me rethinking things.
But the Patriots are interesting, especially after their loss to the Ravens. I noted a couple weeks ago that the Patriots weren’t quite as strong as they looked at first glance. While their defense was (and still is) very good, it was artificially boosted by playing a slew of the worst quarterbacks the NFL has to offer. But their defense also boosted their offense, which is mediocre despite going into last week as the top scoring unit.
This was shown against the Ravens, as the Patriots were only able to score 20 points despite being gifted two turnovers in the redzone (those ended up being 10 points). In the modern NFL so much of your team’s success is driven by offense that it’s simply unrealistic to expect your defense to be able to carry the day against good teams if your offense doesn’t show up.
That being said I wouldn’t write off their defense yet, especially as far as the Chiefs are concerned. The Ravens offense is so different from what the Chiefs run that how a defense does against them isn’t very indicative of how they’ll do against Mahomes and the pass-happy Chiefs.
6: Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 5)
7: Carolina Panthers (Last week: 6)
8: Houston Texans (Last week: 7)
9: Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 8)
10: Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 13)
11: Buffalo Bills (Last week: 9)
12: Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 10)
13: Chicago Bears (Last week: 12)
14: Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 14)
15: Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 15)
16: Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 16)
17: Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 17)
Last week I made a detailed case on why the Browns were serious contenders in the AFC North, showing how they had a much tougher schedule than the Ravens early in the season but that would flip, and the Ravens hadn’t really proven much other than beating mostly bad teams.
So how did that turn out?
The Ravens beat the Patriots, the Browns lost to the Broncos, and my theory went down the toilet after just one week. That being said I’m still not completely sold on the Ravens. I have three big problems with them.
Firstly, with Lamar Jackson they can consistently score over 20 points, but they struggle to score 30. In Jackson’s 16 career starts (including playoffs), he’s scored 30+ points without the assistance of a defensive touchdown twice. Once against the Dolphins (which really shouldn’t count) and this last weekend against the Patriots (they got a defensive touchdown, but they would have scored 30 without it). It will be difficult to beat good teams without scoring more points.
Secondly, Jackson still isn’t putting up the type of passing numbers you’d want from a good QB on a contending team. Excluding the game against the Dolphins his Y/A is under 7, which is backup territory. He makes up for it with his run game, but history has shown that over the long run you have to be effective at throwing if you want to consistently win.
Thirdly, he struggles to beat teams who have played him before. He’s 11-1 when facing teams the first time, but 1-3 against teams who he’s gone against before (with the win being against the Bengals this year). Just a fluke? Maybe, but considering that other running quarterbacks started hot then declined as teams figured them out, it’s at least something to keep and eye on.
18: Detroit Lions (Last week: 18)
19: Tennessee Titans (Last week: 19)
20: Cleveland Browns (Last week: 11)
I think I finally have to admit defeat on the Browns. I was one of the last on the Browns bandwagon, but apparently this Cleveland radio host was there with me and said what I should say, just in a much louder voice.
But there’s still the question of how they can be so bad. They have a lot of talent, and Mayfield is talented, so how could they struggle so much? The offensive line is part of it, but the bigger issue is Kitchens. He’s an upgrade over Hue Jackson, but that’s by default.
I hate firing a coach after just one season, but in this case I think it’s justified. They took a risk on a coach who was just an assistant the year before and it burned them. They need a coach who can come in and fix the culture and get everybody in the right mindset.
If I was John Dorsey that would mean Eric Bieniemy. Reid has a long history of producing good coaches, and Bieniemy would be coming from a team who showed how it was done when it comes to setting up a young quarterback for success.
21: Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 21)
22: Los Angeles Chargers (Last week: 22)
23: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 26)
24: Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 27)
25: Oakland Raiders (Last week: 28)
26: Denver Broncos (Last week: 29)
27: New York Giants (Last week: 23)
28: Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 25)
29: Washington Redskins (Last week: 31)
30: Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 30)
31: New York Jets (Last week: 24)
32: Miami Dolphins (Last week: 32)
Another week, another embarrassing loss for the Dolphins. At what point is the NFL going to step in and make them field a real NFL team?
Wait, they won? Is that legal?
That game was a disaster for the Jets, and they need to make some major decisions on how they want to move forward. That means head coach and quarterback.
Sam Darnold was supposed to be improved this year, but so far he’s been a complete disaster. However, from the medical training I got from the University of Google I know that getting mono as an adult can affect you for months. It’s very possible that his poor play is due to the lingering effects of mono, so it may be too early to panic.
Adam Gase is another matter. I liked the hire initially, thinking he got dealt a bad hand in Miami, but his crazy eyes at his initial press conference made me question that.
Like the Browns, the Jets should seriously consider moving on after one year.