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 week to week.
Instead of living with such a short memory, and being so myopic, here’s where all 32 teams rank after the real first half of the 2019 season.
32.) Cincinnati Bengals—Record: 1-11. Point Differential: -119 (31). DVOA: -28.2% (31). Future Schedule -1.7% (18). Previously 30th.
Nobody should ever have to endure a winless season. I did once. I played YMCA basketball with a squad of terrible children. It was so bad that I had to move from center to play point guard as an enormous rosy cheeked child. I would bring the ball up and post my defender up all the way to the three point line. From there the offense would take off.
The last game of the season I tried to do everything I could. I wheezed, heaved, and squeezed all of it out of myself. I fouled out after blocking a shot—CLEANLY. The metal bench mocked me. I ran to the sideline and kicked it up in the air. The ref threw me out before I could sit down. I walked to the car and cried. My Dad told me that it was a bad call, but you can’t act like that. This pizza party was never attended. I’m furious just thinking about this.
The Bengals deserved to go winless after benching Ryan Finley for Andy Dalton. It was a move to see what they had, and most importantly, to lose games. Dalton ate them a W. Carlos Dunlap had three sacks. Good for him. Good for them. This offseason’s quarterback market is going to be wet and wild.
31.) Miami Dolphins—Record: 3-9. Point Differential: -177 (32). DVOA: -43.7% (32). Future Schedule -8% (27). Previously 32nd.
Julie’n Davenport. Nik Needham. Mike Gesicki. The swirled font endzones. The Dolphin wearing a helmet. I’ve enjoyed watching Miami way too much lately. They have more fun players than an atrocious team should have.
30.) Washington Redskins—Record: 3-9. Point Differential: -117 (30). DVOA: -28.1% (30). Future Schedule 1.1% (15). Previously 29th.
Things fall apart. Washington’s football team finally did. I’m really looking forward to writing about Montez Sweat this April. Love and cherish Derrius Guice before Washington botches his next major surgery.
29.) New York Giants—Record: 2-10. Point Differential: -109 (29). DVOA: -22.9.% (29). Future Schedule -15.6% (30). Previously 28th.
They can’t cover. They can’t rush the passer. They may have a franchise quarterback. The Browns may lose a few more. They’ll have plenty of cap space. If Daniel Jones is good they could make a leap in a season. But, for this season, the only good part about this team was the way snow looks settled down on their blue endzone.
28.) New York Jets—Record: 4-8. Point Differential: -76 (26). DVOA: -17.7% (28). Future Schedule 0.8% (16). Previously 31st.
For some it’s the year of the pig, for others it’s the year of the bug, for most it’s the year 2019, but for me, it will always be the year of Ryan Griffin. Got arrested in Nashville. Signed with the Jets. Is averaging 9.5 yards a catch, leads the team with 5 touchdown catches, on the 31st ranked passing offense by DVOA. Adam Gase can’t do anything well, but he sure as hell can scheme Griffin open. He signed a 3-year $10.8 million extension. This isn’t an outbreak. This is a contagion. Who says the good guys never win?
27.) Atlanta Falcons—Record: 3-9. Point Differential: -63 (24). DVOA: -15.5% (26). Future Schedule 0.4% (17). Previously 27th.
Atlanta has had a college football season. Imagine them as Oklahoma State, or Auburn, or Oregon State, where they turn three wins into four by taking down Oklahoma, Alabama, or Oregon. It was a miserable season, but at least they beat New Orleans and proved to the world Teddy Bridgewater should be starting.
26.) Jacksonville Jaguars—Record: 4-8. Point Differential: -72 (25). DVOA: -14.3% (25). Future Schedule -8.8% (29). Previously 20th.
Awwww poor kitty kitty. The Jaguars suffered another hellacious season. Their offensive line has been atrocious, what happened to Andrew Norwell’s Pro Football Focus score (?), Cam Robinson was hurt, Brandon Linder can’t stop holding, and they still keep trying to run the outside zone. Jalen Ramsey wiggles his way out. Their pass defense fell to mediocre. Myles Jack can’t play middle linebacker, their run fits suck, and they can’t stop the run. And none of this even includes Nick Foles. Now, their big-tall-expensive-normie quarterback has shown he can’t lead a team, but be a competent piece on a talented one. This isn’t that. The Jags are bad. Don’t you even dare compare him to [NAME REDACTED].
25.) Arizona Cardinals—Record: 3-8-1. Point Differential: -96 (28). DVOA: -11.9% (24). Future Schedule 6.2% (6). Previously 24th.
The rat king, leader of all rodents, hoarder of cheese and buttons and straw. The Cardinals are the best bad team with wins over Cincinnati, Atlanta, and New York (G). They’ll play Cleveland tough. It’s a good start to what’s going to be a good time.
24.) Detroit Lions—Record: 3-8-1. Point Differential: -13 (T-20). DVOA: -8.0% (21). Future Schedule 2.1% (13). Previously 17th.
Matthew Stafford broke bones in his back and there went that. That’s fine and understandable. But what isn’t, is they have a bottom five defense despite having a rocket scientist defensive head coach, and investing heavily into their defense this offseason. I’m proud of them for wearing their sweat pants jerseys on Thanksgiving Day. But really are you eating though? All of America needed that.
23.) Denver Broncos—Record: 4-8. Point Differential: -39 (22). DVOA: -11.7% (23). Future Schedule 1.9% (14). Previously 25th.
One of the best parts of 2019 were all the WR1s that have broken above the surface. D.J. Chark, DeVante Parker, Courtland Sutton are receivers who can carry a passing offense. Sideline receiving. Isolation route running. Go up and get it. I love it.
22.) Cleveland Browns—Record: 5-7. Point Differential: -53 (25). DVOA: 0% (14). Future Schedule -6.4% (26). Previously 26th.
Toss some hot dogs into the microwave. It’s time to celebrate. The Browns lost to Pittsburgh. The loose tooth was twisted and turned. Finally, after all the offseason profiles, the constant penalties and stupid plays, the big dog brand big dumb football, every seven yard catch on third and eleven becoming an event, the Browns are finally dead. No one talk about this team for the rest of the year. Those are the rules.
21.) Carolina Panthers—Record: 5-7. Point Differential: -40 (23). DVOA: -17.2% (27). Future Schedule 7% (5). Previously 14th.
Carolina’s season has been over since the snow game tackle. That was fun. They sell out to stop the pass and can’t stop the run. Kyle Allen is a good quarterback as long as you ignore the dumb sacks, lost fumbles, and inability to throw the ball downfield. This is a talented team that needs to rebrand, not rebuild.
20.) Oakland Raiders—Record: 6-6. Point Differential: -87 (27). DVOA: -11.3% (22). Future Schedule -8.5% (28). Previously 15th.
The loss to the Jets was rough, and the last two weeks for Derek Carr have been worse than rough, let’s say, broken. He’s completed 43.8% of his passes, is averaging 6.1 yards an attempt, and has thrown 1 touchdown to 3 interceptions. Look, he doesn’t have any receivers, the team is led by their offensive line, and they can’t focus on their run game down by two plus scores. I get it. That being said, he should be in jail for his performance against the Jets.
Maxx Crosby is the best part of this team. He’s a Call of Duty NPC. The boy is going to be wilding in Vegas next season.
19.) Los Angeles Chargers—Record: 4-8. Point Differential: +3 (19). DVOA: -7.7% (20). Future Schedule 4.5% (7). Previously 19th.
I got it! I scream out into a forest of Ocotillo from up on my desert rock. I got it!!!! I cry. Fat globes of salt run down my cheeks. I let them flow. I refuse to run them off. My tongue stretches out to have a taste. Remember this. Feel the feeling. I know how to watch the Los Angeles Chargers!!!
The trick is this. Put them on in the last four minutes of every game. It’s always going to be fantastic. Philip Rivers looking into the river of Styx. Slinging mash potato passes. Incredible penalties. Insane decisions.
They are 2-8 in one score games. They are 4-8 this season. Don’t touch it. I love to watch it sleep.
18.) Chicago Bears—Record: 6-6. Point Differential: +4 (T-18). DVOA: -2.8% (19). Future Schedule 16.4% (1). Previously 22nd.
There is absolutely nothing to see here so there is absolutely nothing to say here.
17.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Record: 5-7. Point Differential: -6 (20). DVOA: -1.9% (18). Future Schedule -6.1% (25). Previously 23rd.
Put on your finest Tommy Bahama and come crawling out of your house boat. Dammit you’re drunk already! We got things to do. Unbelievable.
Jameis Winston has 22 passing touchdowns (T-6th), 20 interception (1st), and has taken 40 sacks (2nd). This is the real triple crown. Every redzone hand off is a slight to the football gods. Every dropped interception makes me sick. Every sack he wiggles out of like an absurdist Russell Wilson leaves me cackling in disdain. With four games left against Indianapolis, Detroit, Houston, and Atlanta, he could do this. We got this.
16.) Indianapolis Colts—Record: 6-6. Point Differential: +4 (T-18). DVOA: -0.9% (17). Future Schedule -2.5% (19). Previously 13th.
The Colts season has turned into a nice warm helping of I told you so. The receivers are bad and thin. The pass rush is crappy and their only offseason improvement was Justin Houston, who needed a few weeks to learn hand down pass rushing. They looooooove to ESTABLISH THE RUN. Frank Reich secretly kind of sucks. They over inflate their prospects. And on top of all of that, Colts fans thought the difference from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett would be from 12-4 to 10-6. Get out of here.
15.) Philadelphia Eagles—Record: 5-7. Point Differential: -10 (21). DVOA: 4.8% (10). Future Schedule -14.4% (31). Previously 11th.
I guess this just isn’t going to happen. They struggle covering the deep ball. Carson Wentz over relies on Zach Ertz. Downfield pass catching doesn’t exist. It should come down to their next game against Dallas, but they lost to Miami. That’s not good.
14.) Dallas Cowboys—Record: 6-6. Point Differential: +74 (6). DVOA: 16.5% (7). Future Schedule -5.6% (23). Previously 10th.
Hey, you know what Dallas, beat someone over .500 and then we can talk. Until then the point differential and DVOA are lies.
13.) Los Angeles Rams—Record: 7-5. Point Differential: +33 (14). DVOA: 3.6% (12). Future Schedule 15.2% (3). Previously 12th.
They’ve replaced the replacements on the interior of their line of scrimmage, lost their two best receivers, run the exact same crossing route offense, the defense is mediocre, and have a quarterback who can’t win downfield. This isn’t going away. Sometimes you only get one chance at something.
12.) Pittsburgh Steelers—Record: 7-5. Point Differential: +11 (16). DVOA: 0.2% (13). Future Schedule 4.3% (8). Previously 18th.
The Steelers are infinitely more enjoyable with Duck Hodges instead of Mason Rudolph. Mason is whiny, can’t throw downfield, can’t throw short with accuracy, and can’t take a sack like a real warrior. This team is all about its defense, and it has taken advantage of its easy schedule. The AFC is destined for its 6th seed to be crappy every year. If Pittsburgh does it, this will happen once again.
11.) Tennessee Titans—Record: 7-5. Point Differential: +42 (11). DVOA: -0.4% (16). Future Schedule 3% (11). Previously 21st.
Hopefully it doesn’t. Hopefully we get to TITAN UP this postseason. Ryan Tannehill is absurd off of play action, is throwing touch passes downfield he hasn’t thrown before, and his ability to push it downfield has opened up the running game for Derrick Henry. The defense is fun too. Rashaan Evans is a bullet. They can’t rush the passer, but they can cover. I’m dying for a week 17 AFC South Championship game. It’s all I’ve wanted since like 2014.
10.) Minnesota Vikings—Record: 8-4. Point Differential: +77 (5). DVOA: 16.3% (8). Future Schedule -3.2% (20). Previously 9th.
Kirk Cousins is a $31 million dollar version of Matt Schaub. He can play well in a system, but he doesn’t make those around him better. He’s slow in the pocket. He lives off play action, and screen passes to Dalvin Cook. The biggest difference is Schaub would at least push it past the sticks on third down. Cousins checks down the check down. You pay a quarterback that much to play at a MVP level. Cousins doesn’t do this. This postseason is going to be devastating.
9.) Buffalo Bills—Record: 9-3. Point Differential: +69 (7). DVOA: 4.2% (11). Future Schedule 15.5% (2). Previously 16th.
This Thanksgiving we sat around dinner tables and said what we are thankful for. Our spouses, our dogs, the union, our children, every day we get to take a breath of fresh air, the geese in the pond. This Thanksgiving I was thankful to watch Josh Allen play football. He’s all that’s beautiful in this world. Him beating the Cowboys on Thanksgiving made the leftovers taste even better.
WE SHOULD BE CONTENDERS
8.) Houston Texans—Record: 8-4. Point Differential: +22 (15). DVOA: 0.0% (15). Future Schedule -3.6% (22). Previously 8th.
Honestly, I don’t care what happens the rest of the season. They finally beat the Patriots. That’s the only thing that matters. Maybe next season I’ll care about postseason expectations and blah blah blah. I’m just loving the afterglow.
7.) Green Bay Packers—Record: 9-3. Point Differential: +34 (11). DVOA: 5.8% (9). Future Schedule -5.7% (24). Previously 3rd.
Here’s the problem. Green Bay can’t stop the run. They’re 28th in run defense DVOA. The other playoff teams teams in the NFC: Dallas, Seattle, Minnesota, New Orleans, and San Francisco rank third, fifth, twelfth, fourth, and fifteenth in rush offense DVOA, but Minnesota and San Francisco are mainly because of usage, not ability. If Green Bay can’t get a lead, control a game with their offense, force the team to throw against their pass rush they’ll be unstoppable. But their head coach loves to be balanced and score 24 points a game.
6.) New Orleans Saints—Record: 10-2. Point Differential: +50 (8). DVOA: 22.2% (5). Future Schedule -0.9% (17). Previously 5th.
10-2. That’s cool. It would be 12-0 if they played Teddy Bridgewater instead.
5.) Kansas City Chiefs—Record: 8-4. Point Differential: +83 (4). DVOA: 26.8% (4). Future Schedule 3.7% (10). Previously 2nd.
The passing offense is incredible. The linebackers are putrid. If teams can get a lead on them, control the clock, attack their linebackers, and pretty much do what New England did last season, and Houston did this season, they’re beatable. But both these scenarios involve a lot of hopes and prayers. At least New England won’t get a walk in AFC title game this season.
4.) New England Patriots—Record: 10-2. Point Differential: +177 (2). DVOA: 36.9% (2). Future Schedule -10.2% (30). Previously 6th.
Their defense is fantastic, but their offense is sick. Tom Brady has dropped off, but it’s mainly because of their receivers. They depend on Jakobi Myers. The power run game isn’t the same without James Develin. But they’re still 10-2. They’ll probably go 13-3. I’m so sick of this. I want new screams and new things.
3.) Seattle Seahawks—Record: 10-2. Point Differential: +36 (12). DVOA: 21.1% (6). Future Schedule 2.4% (12). Previously 7th.
I love the offense Seattle has created. An actual efficient rushing attack that gets to run against two deep safeties. Then when the creepies start crawling down Russell Wilson unleashes downfield vertical throws to his Need For Speed, Fast and Furious wide receivers. They’re first in pass offense DVOA and fifth in run offense DVOA.
2.) San Francisco 49ers—Record: 10-2. Point Differential: +166 (3). DVOA: 35.0% (3). Future Schedule 8.1% (4). Previously 1st.
Their only two losses have come against the other two best teams in football. Such a shame. They need their quarterback to be better against top teams and he hasn’t. This doesn’t mean he can’t. He led them to wins against Arizona. It just means he hasn’t.
1.) Baltimore Ravens—Record: 10-2. Point Differential: +187 (1). DVOA: 42.5% (1). Future Schedule -3.3% (21). Previously 4th.
The Ravens have the best offensive ecosystem I’ve ever seen created. Three tight ends who can do different things, are utilized in motion, can line up wide, or in the backfield. A lightning quarterback who can win by quick passing and on the ground. And a rushing attack with four great rushing options, that bends reality with how far it can stretch and skew the numbers. I love Greg Roman. He is a true and just king.
MVP: Russell Wilson
Offensive Player Of The Year: Dalvin Cook
Defensive Player Of The Year: Stephon Gilmore
Offensive Rookie Of The Year: Josh Jacobs
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
Super Bowl: Baltimore Ravens over Seattle Seahawks