clock menu more-arrow no yes
NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Traditional power rankings overreact to one HUGE WIN and one sad! loss. Rarely do they take in account the entire season. To give a more accurate representation of what’s going on, and where these teams currently stand, I will not equivocate or give into the yank of heartstrings the NFL season brings.

Instead of living week to week, here’s where all 32 teams rank after the real first quarter of the season.

THE WORST

32.) Miami Dolphins—Record: 0-4. Point Differential: -137 (32). DVOA: -90.9% (32). Future Schedule -9.5% (26th). Previously 32nd.

Even before the Miami Dolphins traded Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills for Juli’en Davenport (miss you), two first round picks, and a second round pick, and then traded Minkah Fitzpatrick for a first round pick, which may become a top ten pick (lol), the Dolphins were looking to rebuild this season. They didn’t invest in free agency. They found a new head coach. Stand still. Balance this apple on your head.

Then, after this slew of trades, the Dolphins became an aquarium you can fit a whale shark in. It’s hilarious how horrendous they are. Miami is 32nd in points for, points allowed, giveaways, passing touchdowns allowed, defensive net yards per attempt, and every rushing metric on offense and defense except yards per attempt allowed. They’re 23rd. Miami is actively trying to lose and even they’re surprised by how putrid they are.

The Dolphins made the announcement Josh Rosen will be the starter for rest of the season after the roster was such a garbage pit that even Ryan Fitzpatrick couldn’t sneak a win out of. In this setting, I don’t know how you can evaluate Rosen at all.

Really who cares. Just keep losing Miami. You are doing a tremendous job sweetie ;).

31.) Cincinnati Bengals—Record: 0-5. Point Differential: -56 (29). DVOA: -39.8% (31). Future Schedule -6.3% (24th). Previously 31st.

I commanded my starship to the next dimension and I have arrived with a BOLD take. Marvin Lewis wasn’t a bad head coach. For him to even make the playoffs was an accomplishment with this ownership group. 131-122-3, and an 0-7 playoff record is impeccable for the big cats. Don’t get greedy. They don’t deserve more than that. Cincy should have been a Superbowl Contender in 2015, then Andy Dalton broke his thumb, and everyone caught CTE in the Divisional Round against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals will miss him dearly in four years when they are stuck at 5-11, and Lewis is coaching Utah State with an enormous beard and learning to love the game again.

30.) Washington Redskins—Record: 0-5. Point Differential: -78 (31). DVOA: -32.3% (29). Future Schedule -0.6% (18th). Previously 23rd.

Jay Gruden sat in his car, scrolling through his phone, and searching for a podcast to enrich his commute. Suddenly a figured appeared in the rear view mirror. Hands stretched out. Looking for the horn. Awful music from this throat.

He was the first coach murdered in this slasher movie. Being mediocre year after year is ok. You just can’t bottom all the way out in Washington. After finishing at least 7-9 the last four seasons the team is finally falling apart.

29.) Arizona Cardinals—Record: 1-3-1. Point Differential: -38 (27). DVOA: -21.9% (28). Future Schedule 8.4% (3rd). Previously 27th.

Kyler Murray is the funniest quarterback to watch. He’s so tiny. He should be fighting the Gorgonites on a living room floor.

He never takes monstrous sacks. When defenders get close he digs a hole and crawls in like a prairie dog. He’s a baby that sucks his thumb until putting himself to sleep.

Murray makes it work though. Behind a lousy offensive line he’s completing 62.7% of his passes, is averaging 6.6 yards an attempt, and has thrown 4 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. He’s taken 21 cute sacks. Who cares? Put a flag around his waist. Caste him in concrete. Keep him safe.

This season isn’t about winning games. It’s about utilizing absurd wide receiver formations, learning how to play professional football, and kicking field goals from inside the ten yard line.

28.) New York Jets—Record: 0-4. Point Differential: -62 (30). DVOA: -37.9% (30). Future Schedule -14.8% (30th). Previously 26th.

The Jets haven’t been worth watching since week one when Sam Darnold was the starting quarterback. He played too much flip cup over the weekend and did too much kissing. Trevor Siemian. Luke Falk. They paid Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosely, traded for Kelechi Osemele, and Ryan Kalil came out of retirement for this?

Even then, that game wasn’t fun. Adam Gase is a miserable offensive man. He loves to throw the ball short and quick. 2014 forever. Peyton Manning will always be his quarterback. Bubba Watson is winning the Masters. Ebola is in Texas. Modern Family seasons one through five are on his DVR. Damn? They’re on season eleven now.

Football will be better when he goes away forever. In Darnold’s one start he averaged 4.8 yards an attempt, and Jamison Crowder caught 14 passes for 99 yards. His average air yards before the catch was 2.3. Bell is their best reciever. KILL ME.

Darnold is back this week. The potential is there, but unless they’re actually throwing the football, instead of masquerading as a basketball game, there’s no point. I mean, what are we even doing here?

27.) New York Giants—Record: 2-3. Point Differential: -28 (25). DVOA: -13.3.% (25). Future Schedule -3.5% (22nd). Previously 30th.

The Giants are an actual rebuilding team. They have have the rookie quarterback who’s better than he was expected to be so far, a competent offensive line, I don’t know how Will Hernandez got so wide, Saquon Barkley is the second best running back in the league, and Evan Engram has the chance to become the best pass catching tight end around.

Just don’t watch their defense. DeAndre Baker has played like rookie corners tend to play, atrociously, Janoris Jenkins is enjoying one last season before he’s released, and they can’t rush the passer. Defenses can be bought anyways.

Their other former first round pick Dexter Lawrence is beautiful to watch. He’s a great run defender. And I’ve never seen a sack take this long before.

26.) Atlanta Falcons—Record: 1-4. Point Differential: -50 (28). DVOA: -16.3% (27). Future Schedule 7.1% (4th). Previously 17th.

These next two teams are my least favorite teams in football. Since Keanu Neal went down the Falcons’ defense has fallen apart. Their secondary doesn’t know who to cover, and when they know who to cover, they can’t complete the task. Their defensive tackle is their best pass rusher and he has trouble tackling mobile quarterbacks. The run defense is great, but who cares when the pass defense is in shambles. Julio Jones is the 50th most productive receiver in football. Devonta Freeman can only run in a straight line. They dropped a dumpster truck for their terrible interior. Matt Ryan is 34. He’s having to do it all again.

That being said, they shouldn’t be this grotesque, things shouldn’t be this bad.

25.) Denver BroncosRecord: 1-4. Point Differential: -16 (23). DVOA: -7.1% (22). Future Schedule 3.1% (13th). Previously 24th.

Since 2014, the worst the Broncos have finished in DVOA is tenth in 2017. The last five years they finished 4th, 1st, 1st, 1st, 10th, and 4th. That season they had a DVOA of -5.3%. Defensive mastermind Vic Fangio hasn’t refurbished the defense, he’s picked it clean to try and turn it into something completely different. The Broncos are 16th in defensive DVOA at -0.1%.. It took four games for Von Miller to register a quarterback hit. Bradley Chubb and Miller dropped into coverage constantly and were focused stopping the run.

That changed against Jacksonville. Finally they focused on their pass rush, you know, the thing they’re the best at doing. It’s already too late though. Chubb is out for the year. They traded for Joe Flacco. Burn this team to the ground. I can’t wait to watch Andy Dalton start here next year.

THE MEDIOCRE

24.) Pittsburgh Steelers—Record: 1-4. Point Differential: -15 (22). DVOA: -2.8% (20). Future Schedule -19.9% (32nd). Previously 16th.

This is a season from the darkest depths, and the hottest swaths of hell. They’re on quarterback #3. They’re 0-3 in one score games. The offense is bad, including the run game. The defense has been great except for the same deep pass stopping problems. 1-4 is the worst case scenario, and it’s the one Pittsburgh is living in.

23.) Oakland Raiders—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: -20 (24). DVOA: -0.4% (18). Future Schedule -4.5% (23rd). Previously 29th.

There’s something to be said about having competent players. The Raiders stripped down to their heart shaped boxers last season, and have started to rebuild, fixing their offensive line, allowing Derek Carr time to hold onto the ball and throw downfield, and there’s actual talent on defense again instead of a hodgepodge of 30 something ancient grains. They’ll probably finish around .500. Then head into Las Vegas in a cloud of vape smoke spelling out RADERS. The I is impossible to puff out.

22.) Cleveland Browns—Record: 2-3. Point Differential: -30 (26). DVOA: -14.2% (26). Future Schedule -11.4% (29th). Previously 15th.

Oh, look, expectations in Cleveland, what did you think was going to happen? The Browns are the dumbest team in football, wasting away all that talent. 28th in third down conversions. 48 penalties and 423 yards lost. 10 offensive turnovers. Baker has a touchdown to interception ratio of 4:8, and has made the offensive line look worse than it is. They aren’t even unlucky either. Their expected win-loss record is 1.7-3.3.

21.) Jacksonville Jaguars—Record: 2-3. Point Differential: -7 (21). DVOA: 5.3% (13). Future Schedule -9.8% (27th). Previously 12th.

Seasons can change so quick. Nick Foles broke his collarbone. Then a hyena cackle from Gardner Vinshew. Run schemes can change. The defense is bad? Jalen Ramsey is back to practice. The schedule is easy.

20.) Tennessee Titans—Record: 2-3. Point Differential: +22 (T-9th). DVOA: -9.3% (24). Future Schedule 3.1% (12th). Previously 19th.

The Titans are always the most mediocre team in football. Let’s check in on this season. 14th in defensive DVOA, 14th against the pass, 13th against the run, and 6th in points allowed. 24th in offensive DVOA, 20th in pass offense DVOA, 22nd in run offense DVOA, and 23rd in points scored. The defense has been better than it should be considering their pass rush. The run offense has been embarassing and hopefully pairing Taylor Lewand next to Rodger Saffold and running more zone plays will help things. Ultimately, the Titans are mediocre and maddening. From the uniforms to the quarterback, they’re just a worse version of the Bills.

19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Record: 2-3. Point Differential: -1 (T-18). DVOA: 2.4% (16). Future Schedule -2.6% (21st). Previously 22nd.

The Bucs are so close. They just need to go all in on their style. The run game is used a little too often. They could blitz a little more often. Games against New Orleans with zero deep passing can’t happen.

At least they’ve completely changed for the better: deep pass heaving, pre snap disguising, interior offensive line mauling, volley ball team receiving, heavy blitzing, and Bruce Arians, sunburned and fuming.

18.) Los Angeles Chargers—Record: 2-3. Point Differential: +9 (16). DVOA: -5.9% (21). Future Schedule 5.5% (8th). Previously 6th.

The Chargers are back! Missed field goals. Stupid close game losses. Injuries: Russell Okung, Dontrelle Inman, Hunter Henry, Adrian Phillips, Michael Badgley, Derwin James, Mike Pouncey, Mike Williams, and Melvin Gordon’s holdout. So many injuries.

They had their chance last year. Fastfood spagetti. They deserve every terrible thing that happens to them after last season’s playoff showing in New England.

PLAYOFFS?

17.) Detroit Lions—Record: 2-1-1. Point Differential: +2 (17). DVOA: 7.5% (11). Future Schedule 2.1% (14th). Previously 28th.

I don’t know what to think. I’m just happy Darrell Bevell of all people has Matthew Stafford throwing the ball downfield again.

16.) Minnesota Vikings—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: +39 (4). DVOA: 13.7% (7). Future Schedule 5.9% (7th). Previously 20th.

The Vikings are great except for their quarterback. Kirk Cousins is playing as well as he did last year, which is as well as he played the year before, and doing the things he always does. We all know how this is going to end. Week 17 devastation.

15.) Indianapolis Colts—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: -2 (20). DVOA: -7.4% (23). Future Schedule -6.5% (25th). Previously 10th.

The Colts are still good. They conquered the Chiefs by playing the type of football they should have played last postseason. The offseason was horrendous, then Andrew Luck retired (BOOOOOOOOOOO), and it worked out for them anyways. They don’t make mistakes. The tackle well. They play the ball. Their offensive line is one of the rare ones that can win games on their own. Jacoby Brissett doesn’t throw it deep, but is the perfect game manager. If I was opening a Blockbuster he’d be my first choice to run it.

14.) Houston Texans—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: +21 (11). DVOA: 8.3% (10). Future Schedule 5.3% (10th). Previously 14th.

I was wrong. Houston is better than I thought they would be. The talent is undeniable. Things are working out better than I expected, and the long-term concerns don’t matter until March springs life back into us all. If you told me in August they’d be 3-2 through five weeks, I’d have been ecstatic. Of course I am. I love the Texans!

The schedule is about to flip: @ Kansas City, @ Indianapolis, Oakland, @ Jacksonville, BYE, @ Baltimore, Indianapolis, and New England. Then it shifts back to crappy teams, run-heavy teams, or both. If Houston can come out of this upcoming stretch .500 or better, they’ll make the NFL Playoffs. Then, with a MVP caliber quarterback, who knows what can happen?

13.) Carolina PanthersRecord: 3-2. Point Differential: +22 (T-9th). DVOA: 3.4% (15). Future Schedule 1.4% (15th). Previously 18th.

I love Cam Newton. He’s a unicorn. There hasn’t been a defensive end playing quarterback before. His foot was busted. He lied about. His shoulder is crunchy. He missed tons of open throws. Kyle Allen makes those throws. Christian McCaffrey is the most non-valuable quarterback in football. Ron Rivera has been a defensive genius. Luke Kuechly knows where the ball is going before every snap.

12.) Buffalo Bills—Record: 4-1. Point Differential: +20 (12). DVOA: -2.2% (19). Future Schedule -14.9% (31st). Previously 25th.

Entering this season I was in the best shape of my life. Bronze. Tom Cruise Eyes Wide Shut smooth. Fresh socks under my eyes. That version of me said either the Jets or Bills will at least be a fringe playoff contender. I went with the Bills. They’re better than that. They have a top two defense, and one of the most eclectic offenses in the league. I won’t listen to any Josh Allen slander. He’s accurate this season, and combining absurd play, with consistent competent throws.

11.) Dallas Cowboys—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: +41 (3). DVOA: 20.7% (5). Future Schedule 3.6% (11th). Previously 13th.

Who you play is more important than how you play sometimes. Heeehaaaheehooooo. That’s life. In three weeks they had a +53 point differential after beating New York (G), Washington, and Miami. Superbowl. Then they lost to the Saints and Packers. We suck.

The Cowboys lost to New Orleans because they didn’t throw the ball downfield. They lost to Green Bay after going down early, there was an unlucky interception that bounced off of Amari Cooper, weird holding penalties that ruined drives, and all of the sudden they were down three scores, and couldn’t mash the Packers into dust.

It will be ok. Ezekiel Elliot looks like himself again. The run blocking is delicious. They’ll play the Jets this weekend. It will be week two all over again. But then they’ll really step on the scale before their wedding against the Eagles.

10.) San Francisco 49ers—Record: 4-0. Point Differential: +70 (2). DVOA: 58.1.% (1). Future Schedule -2.4% (20th). Previously 21st.

I still don’t know what to think about this team. They beat Tampa Bay after Jameis Winston threw two pick sixes. They beat up on the Bengals crappy linebackers. They beat the Steelers after recovering a late redzone fumble. The Browns are dumb and also have bad linebackers. All I know is Kyle Shanahan’s offense devours defenses with crappy linebackers, the pass rush is finally good, hello Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa, and they’re well coached, which is something that can’t be said for more than half of the league. Things will make more sense after they play Los Angeles and get a taste of the NFC West.

9.) Chicago Bears—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: +18 (13). DVOA: 4.9% (14). Previously 2nd. Future Schedule 8.5% (2nd).

I’m making assumptions here. The defense is still spectacular. London games are nonsense. Chase Daniel is having to finally earn his paycheck, but it’s such an easy offense to run. If you can throw a spiral you can run the Bears’ offense. The schedule is tough, but again, the defense is so brutal.

WE SHOULD BE CONTENDERS

8.) Los Angeles Rams—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: +12 (15). DVOA: 1.3% (17). Future Schedule 6% (5th). Previously 3rd.

Wade Phillips’s defenses have a habit of growing stale. They’re 13th in points allowed, 17th in defense DVOA, and are giving up enormous plays. The run game is no longer an all-time great one, and they’re having to rely on Jared Goff more than they ever have before. It hasn’t been great. He’s thrown 7 interceptions, and he’s had trouble with defenses changing things up after the snap. Sean McVay has been regression proof, but they’ve lost close games, and the metrics have them marked as mediocre. Things may finally change. We may finally see the Rams destiny match their record.

7.) Baltimore Ravens—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: +38 (5). DVOA: 14.6% (6). Future Schedule -0.1% (17th). Previously 9th.

They cooled down. Nick Chubb ran all over them. Scoring points against the Steelers is tough. Days like this happen. You can’t play the Dolphins and Cardinals every week. That being said, the Greg Roman offense is even better than anyone imagined, and I saw it in my carpet this summer. The pass rush has to get going again.

6.) Seattle Seahawks—Record: 4-1. Point Differential: +15 (14). DVOA: 12.6% (9). Future Schedule 11% (1st). Previously 11th.

Jadeveon Clowney is tied third in hurries with 20, and has to put up with a tremendous amount of nonsense when getting to the quarterback. Quinton Jefferson has found the next level as an interior rusher. Ezekiel Ansash hasn’t got going yet, and Jarran Reed is going to be back within a week. Oh, and Russell Wilson is the second best quarterback in the league.

5.) New Orleans Saints—Record: 4-1. Point Differential: -1 (T-18). DVOA: 5.6% (12). Future Schedule 0.6% (16th). Previously 4th.

Teddy Bridgewater. Franchise quarterback.

4.) Philadelphia Eagles—Record: 3-2. Point Differential: +30 (7). DVOA: 21.6% (4). Future Schedule -2.2% (19th). Previously 8th.

The Eagles are the deepest team in the NFC. They’re still strange though. Carson Wentz is bothered when Zach Ertz is bounded up. The secondary, especially Ronald Darby, has been dreadful. It looks like they finally cracked their running game with Jordan Howard back there. The talent and coaching is here. Keep going for it on fourth down. The rest will follow.

3.) Green Bay Packers—Record: 4-1. Point Differential: +26 (8). DVOA: 12.8% (8). Future Schedule 5.9% (6th). Previously 7th.

The best decision Matt LaFleur made was keeping Mike Pettine as their defensive coordinator. The Packers are 5th in pass defense DVOA, 4th in pressure rate, and 8th adjusted sack rate with 15 sacks. The Smiths have combined for 10.5 sacks, 21 quarterback hits, and 34 pressures. The run defense is crappy, but who cares. Also, and most importantly, Aaron Rodgers still hasn’t quite figured it out with Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Geronimo Allison, and in a strange way, the Davante Adams injury is short term pain for a better future. The passing offense should only get better.

2.) Kansas City Chiefs—Record: 4-1. Point Differential: +35 (6). DVOA: 22.1% (3). Future Schedule 5.4% (9th). Previously 5th.

The Chiefs switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 to help them stop the run. They improved from 9.8% (32nd) to 8.4% (30th) in DVOA and are allowing 5.3 yards an attempt (31st) compared to 5.0 (31st) last season. The Colts beat them by playing the type of game they should have played in the Divisional Round last season. They’re still best at the thing that’s most important to winning games—throwing the ball. Last time we saw Patrick Mahomes he was limping. Even limping he’s probably the best quarterback in the game.

1.) New England Patriots—Record: 5-0. Point Differential: +121 (1st). DVOA: 55.1% (2). Future Schedule -10.1% (28th). Previously 1st.

This season is playing out just how it was expected to. The Patriots would trounce through the easiest schedule in football. Sleep walk to the #1 seed. Then wake up in the AFC Championship game. Here we are.

MVP: Patrick Mahomes

Offensive Player Of The Year: Christian McCaffrey

Defensive Player Of The Year: Shaq Barrett

Offensive Rookie Of The Year: Gardner Minshew

Defensive Rookie Of The Year: Nick Bosa

Comeback Player Of The Year: Travis Frederick

Coach Of The Year: Kyle Shanahan

Executive Of The Year: Brandon Beane

Superbowl: Philadelphia Eagles over New England Patriots