I don’t like traditional power rankings. They overreact to one HUGE win and one SAD(!) loss. Rarely do they take in account the entire season or even the last few weeks. To give a more accurate representation of what’s going on and where these teams stand, I will not equivocate or give into the quick tug of heartstrings the NFL season brings by default. Here’s where these teams stand after the conclusion of the 2017 regular season.
32.) Cleveland Browns—Record: 0-16. Point Differential: -176 (32). DVOA: -27.2.% (32). Previous (32).
I still can’t believe they went 0-16. It really is unbelievable. But what comes after unbelievable? Because that’s where Hue Jackson lies. The fact that this man can go 1-31 and survive while a management that was promised a three year opportunity to run their team doesn’t after doing things exactly how you are supposed to when rebuilding a team is amazing. I can’t wait until the Browns fire Jackson next year, compete in two seasons, and watch the John Dorsey claim the success.
31.) New York Giants- Record: 3-13. Point Differential: -142 (31). DVOA: -22.4% (31). Previous (30).
Dave Gettelman is great at dragging a team out of a financial hole. The Giants aren’t in one. They have $69 million in cap space next season even before possibly cutting Eli Manning, which will save them another $17 million. Cutting Manning is such a Gettelman thing to do.
Whatever happens, they will probably draft a quarterback at with the second pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. It will be interesting to see which Browns leftover the get. The Giants are still talented. They went 1-5 in one score games. Something, something, Plexiglass Principle. With the draft capital, ability to get better at quarterback, and money they have, the Giants should be one of those teams that flips it quick.
30.) Houston Texans- Record: 4-12. Point Differential: -98 (28). DVOA: -20.3% (28). Previous (23).
It’s going to be FUN to see this team healthy again next year. I still don’t fully understand the Rick Smith thing.
29.) Indianapolis Colts—Record: 4-12. Point Differential: -141 (30). DVOA: -26.6% (28). Previous (29).
Please get healthy, Andrew. I missed you this year. If he’s BACK next year, the Colts will make the playoffs. They are like the Giants, except they have even more money and nearly as much draft capital. Additionally, they’ll probably be able to select the best non-quarterback in April, which is always my favorite selection in the draft.
28.) Denver Broncos- Record: 5-11. Point Differential: -93 (27). DVOA: -20.9% (29). Previous (31).
27.) Chicago Bears—Record: 5-11. Point Differential: -56 (20). DVOA: -15.9% (25). Previous (26).
I’m going to be a Bears fan next year. I love Tarik Cohen, and I’m excited for them to bring in an offensive minded coach to work with Mitchell Trubisky. Their defense finished 14th in DVOA and was underrated. People forget that.
26.) Miami Dolphins—Record: 6-10. Point Differential: -112 (29). DVOA: -19.8% (27). Previous (27).
I haven’t watched the Dolphins at all this year. We knew they were going to regress to the mean. We knew Jay Cutler was going to be listless and not care while making more money in six weeks then any of us could make over the course of thousands of reincarnations, and we knew their jerseys would be putrid.
Just bring back the old ones already. I know everyone wants to update the vintage to bring in more merchandise sales, but something this pretty just needs a slight update. Bring it back and make it slightly shinier. Do what the Vikings did. Until then, the Dolphins are just a bad and ugly team.
25.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Record: 5-11. Point Differential: -47 (18). DVOA: -11.9% (23). Previous (25).
Like Hue, I don’t know how Dirk Koetter escaped this season. Jameis Winston’s progress stagnated. They didn’t get much out of their talent. Blast this team and their pink and brown uniforms out of that gaudy cannon. That’s some swashbuckling seppuku.
24.) New York Jets—Record: 5-11. Point Differential: -84 (26). DVOA: -17.3% (26). Previous (21).
The Jets have no idea who their quarterback is. Other than that, things are great! They have some young skill players who are good. This defense is going to be monstrous again here pretty quickly. Plus, you gotta be proud of a team everyone is expecting to tank to come out and have a respectable season like this.
23.) San Francisco 49ers—Record: 6-10. Point Differential: -52 (19). DVOA: -8.3% (20). Previous (28).
I’m so glad Jimmy G(!) is free from New England. He finally got his shot. This season, he had a DVOA of 39.2%, accumulated 599 DYAR, had a QBR of 80.6, and threw 7 touchdowns against 5 interceptions. Get this man a big tall wide receiver for the red zone, upgrade the offensive line and secondary, and things can be interesting. I’m not all in yet, though. It’s never this easy.
22.) Cincinnati Bengals—Record: 7-9. Point Differential: -66 (22). DVOA: -12.5% (24). Previous (22).
My favorite meme of the year is Marvin Lewis coaching the Bengals in a nuclear winter and still searching for his first playoff win. What a thing.
21.) Oakland Raiders—Record: 6-10. Point Differential: -72 (25). DVOA: -6.6% (19). Previous (19).
Pretty much the same team as the Miami Dolphins. They were bad and boring. The only FUN thing about them was Marshawn Lynch continuing to bring joy to this world.
20.) Green Bay Packers- Record: 7-9. Point Differential: -64 (23). DVOA: -3.3% (17). Previous (14).
I missed Aaron Rodgers this year. How could you not? However, I’m still excited for all these new playoff teams in the NFC and for Packers fans to finally understand what it’s like to suffer through a bad quarterback season. They are like the kid from a wealthy family whose only life tragedy is the dead family dog that lived to be like 27 years old.
19.) Arizona Cardinals—Record: 8-8. Point Differential: -91 (24). DVOA: -11.2% (22). Previous (24).
Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians are out. The team opted to not take a quarterback in a deep class last year and instead loaded up on defensive players that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible for them to take.
It’s going to happen. The Cardinals are going to become an actual NFL nursing home. The defense is good enough for them to win with a quarterback who does just enough. They just need someone with liver spots to come in, hand the ball to David Johnson, make three throws a game, and play guitar with Chandler Jones. DAMN, do I want Eli Manning to end up here. I want to see him sunburned and splotchy.
18.) Washington Redskins- Record: 7-9. Point Differential: -46 (17). DVOA: -0.5% (16). Previous (18).
Please franchise-tag Kirk Cousins again. I’m dying for it.
17.) Buffalo Bills- Record: 9-7. Point Differential: -57 (21). DVOA: -9.8% (21). Previous (20).
In the last version of this thing you are reading, I talked about how the Bills need to win their non-New England games to make the playoffs. They did it! Now they are in the playoffs after falling into the postseason. They still are a strange and below average team, and this Tyrod Taylor thing is the dumbest quarterback situation in football. He’s good. Just keep him around and keep playing him.
16.) Dallas Cowboys—Record: 9-7. Point Differential: +22 (15). DVOA: 5.4% (13). Previous (17).
I hate the Cowboys as soon as they are off the field. After they beat the Eagles 6-0 in Week 17 came conversations on how Dallas should maybe thinking about replacing Dak Prescott. GTFO. The offensive line wasn’t as good, he had zero receiving talent, and he didn’t have Ezekiel Elliott for six games this year. Just because you think you are going to win the Lombardi every summer doesn’t mean you are.
15.) Detroit Lions- Record: 9-7. Point Differential: +34 (T-14). DVOA: 5.6% (12). Previous (15).
I’m seething. I was dying for the most mediocre team in football to go 8-8. They didn’t. What is life but not a never ending series of disappointments until it comes to an end?
14.) Tennessee Titans- Record: 9-7. Point Differential: -22 (16). DVOA: -5.6% (18). Previous (16).
I’m so glad Tennessee beat Jacksonville 15-10 in one of the worst games I’ve ever seen to make the playoffs. They should have fired Mike Mularkey on Black Monday regardless. His offense isn’t exotic methmouth; it’s bashing your own head in with that little purple hammer from Don’t Break The Ice.
13.) Seattle Seahawks- Record: 9-7. Point Differential: +34 (T-14). DVOA: 3.2% (11). Previous (7).
Seattle is the most interesting team in the NFL this offseason. Their secondary may be over. Kam Chancellor may retire, Richard Sherman is coming back from an Achilles injury, and Earl Thomas doesn’t know where he wants to live. They are going to have to make a switch in their roster construction. The Seahawks will have to actually field an offensive line, build around Russell Wilson, and protect him as he gets into his 30s.
12.) Los Angeles Chargers—Record: 9-7. Point Differential: +83 (9) DVOA: 7.9% (11). Previous (12).
They started 0-4. They missed the playoffs. They continue to waste their talent. I just really want to see Philip Rivers in the playoffs one more time.
11.) Baltimore Ravens—Record: 9-7. Point Differential: +92 (8). DVOA: 18.5% (7). Previous (11).
Joe Flacco finished dead last in yards per attempt. He was the worst quarterback in the NFL not named DeShone Kizer. Yet people are upset at the defense for giving up that insane Andy Dalton touchdown. That’s what finally knocked the Ravens out, but the Ravens missed the playoffs because Flacco is the least valuable player in football.
10.) Kansas City Chiefs- Record: 10-6. Point Differential: +76 (10). DVOA: 10.5% (10). Previous (13).
IT’S ALIVE. So they forced a bunch of turnovers to hold on against the Chargers and sealed up the AFC West. ARF, ARF. They will never get past the divisional round as long as Alex Smith is there.
9.) Atlanta Falcons- Record: 10-6. Point Differential: +36 (11). DVOA: 1.5% (15). Previous (10).
I was wrong. They made the playoffs.
8.) Carolina Panthers- Record: 11-5. Point Differential: +31 (12). DVOA: 13.0% (9). Previous (9).
Happy Cam, happy Panthers. They’ll probably go one and done in the postseason. They have zero healthy receiving options.
7.) Jacksonville Jaguars—Record: 10-6. Point Differential: +149 (T-3). DVOA: 13.1% (8). Previous (8).
I love the AFC South. I love Jaguars fans. One day I’ll be in that heated swimming pool and jaggin’ off. But before that, I’ll be on the couch, hoping they can give the Steelers and Patriots hell this postseason thanks to their sublime pass defense.
The Texans should have franchise-tagged A.J. Bouye.
6.) Philadelphia Eagles- Record: 13-3. Point Differential: +162 (T-1). DVOA: 23.5% (5). Previous (11).
Without Carson Wentz, they are really just the Baltimore Ravens. Run the ball, play defense, hope Nick Foles hits something deep, and make sure he understands punts aren’t bad things. It just probably isn’t a feasible way to thrive in the NFC this postseason.
5.) Minnesota Vikings- Record: 13-3. Point Differential: +140 (5). DVOA: 25.1% (4). Previous (6).
4.) Los Angeles Rams- Record: 11-5. Point Differential: +149 (T-3). DVOA: 27.7% (2). Previous (5).
Gurley is my MVP pick. He’s been the best back in football, finishing second in rushing yards only because he sat out Week 17, and he led all skill players in touchdowns. He turned so many screens into scorchers and made Jared Goff’s life a hammock. Additionally, there isn’t a quarterback that really stands out this year. Shout out to Sean McVay for being the best coach in football and creating easy yards for his offense while letting Wade Phillips work his magic.
3.) New England Patriots- Record: 13-3. Point Differential: +162 (T-1). DVOA: 20.2% (7). Previous (4).
Round 2, they get either Kansas City, Buffalo, or Tennessee. In the AFC Championship Game, they’ll get either Pittsburgh or Jacksonville. They have the easiest path. But over the 2017 season, the Steelers and Saints have been better than the Patriots.
2.) Pittsburgh Steelers- Record: 13-3. Point Differential: +98 (7) DVOA: 27.1% (3). Previous (3).
They have the pass rush to give Brady scabies. They have the horses to torch New England on the outside. They have the offensive line and running game to control the ball on the ground if they get a lead. I really just don’t want to see another New England Super Bowl. Biased much? Yes, yes, yes.
1.) New Orleans Saints—Record: 11-5. Point Differential: +122 (6). DVOA: 30.7% (1). Previous (2).
I really do love this Saints team. I love running backs that can run and catch—such a novel concept—old quarterbacks trying to make one last run as long as it isn’t Peyton Manning, a defense that makes a quick turnaround, and defenses that have a lockdown corner and a top pass rusher. The Saints are still my pick to win it all, a decision I have stuck to since Week 8.
MVP: Todd Gurley—Running back, Los Angeles Rams.
Offensive Player of the Year: Antonio Brown—Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jalen Ramsey—Cornerback, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Alvin Kamara—Running back, New Orleans Saints.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marshon Lattimore—Cornerback, New Orleans Saints.
Comeback Player of the Year: Keenan Allen—Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Chargers.
Coach of the Year: Sean McVay—Head Coach, Los Angeles Rams.
Super Bowl: New Orleans Saints Over Pittsburgh Steelers.