NFC Overview: Week 5

With Week Four in the books, we’ve gained some more clarity on which teams will be playoff contenders come January.  As it stands now, the conference looks very competitive with a log jam of teams at 3-1.  Some teams impressed, and others didn’t show up. Here is the Week 5 overview in the NFC with the updated Power Rankings below.

NFC NORTH

1. Green Bay Packers (3-1)

The Packers had a tough game against the Eagles on Thursday night, and Carson Wentz and his squad delivered. Beating Rodgers and the Packers in Lambeau is tough to do especially in a short week. The offense looked a little better, but still has room to improve. The Packers would have loved the 4-0 start but are still sitting atop the NFC North heading into a big game against the Cowboys this week.

2. Chicago Bears (3-1)

The Bears won a huge divisional game against the Vikings on Sunday despite being without 3 defensive starters, a starting offensive lineman, and Mitchell Trubisky.  On the first drive Trubisky went down with a shoulder injury and backup Chase Daniel came into the game and played very well.  The Bears defense overpowered the Vikings in every aspect and showed why the Bears can be a Super Bowl contender despite the uncertainty on offense.  Next up is a trip to London to face the Raiders.  Trubisky will not play in Week 5.  The early indication is a dislocated shoulder, but he will not need surgery.

3. Detroit Lions (2-1-1)

Although the Lions were not able to pull off the upset against the Chiefs, they definitely proved that they are no pushover.  In recent years the Lions have been mediocre at best, usually at the bottom of the NFC North.  After the start through four games, folks in Detroit are very excited.  Yes, the loss does bump them in the standings, but in the large scope, the Lions took large steps this past week.  To get back in the win column, the Lions will have to wait until their trip to Lambeau field in two weeks on Monday Night Football after their bye. 

4. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

The worst performance on Sunday belonged to the Vikings.  I understand they played the Bears’ defense on the road, but that’s no excuse for the pitiful effort they put out.  The offense certainly has some soul searching to do after this one.  Even though their rushing game should bounce back against the Giants, we found out how bad the Vikings pass attack is.  Kirk Cousins is essentially stealing from the Vikings with his forgettable performances in primetime games.  Next week the Vikes head to New York, which is looking like a much tougher game than many originally thought after the emergence of Daniel Jones.

NFC WEST

1. San Francisco 49ers (3-0)

The 49ers took Week 4 off and benefitted from the Rams loss.  San Francisco sits atop the NFC West and is the lone unbeaten team in the conference. This Monday the 49ers host the Browns who impressed many with their win on Sunday in Baltimore.  A Monday night win at home to improve to 4-0 will surely boost their stock and put them into serious playoff talks.

2. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

The Rams were the biggest surprise of the weekend…in a bad way.  The offense looked out of sync, Todd Gurley only rushed for 16 yards, and Jared Goff turned the ball over four times.  Although the Buccaneers gave the Rams a few chances to get back into the game, a better opponent would almost certainly not allow for those opportunities.  A loss at home giving up 55 points is a real gut-check, and the Rams need to do some soul searching.  This comes at a horrible time, as the Seahawks await Thursday night in Seattle.

3. Seattle Seahawks (3-1)

The Seahawks beat up on the Cardinals this past week.  Russel Wilson is playing some of the best football of his career (must be the fat paycheck) and the Seahawks are right in the thick of things at 3-1.  The biggest concern with the Seahawks is their weak schedule to open the season.  The three wins have come against teams with a combined record of 1-10-1.  This Thursday they welcome the Rams for a pivotal division matchup that could loom large come December. 

4. Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1)

On Sunday the Cardinals got a real taste of how far away they form being competitive.  This organization is focused on piecing together a roster to compete for division titles in a few years.  For now,  developing Kyler Murray and seeing if Kliff Kingsbury is the right fit are the top priorities.  This week they travel to Cincinnati where they will play the winless Bengals. 

NFC EAST

1.Dallas Cowboys (3-1)

The Cowboys played a tough game in New Orleans but fell short despite scoring the game’s only touchdown.  The offense looked a bit confused at times and had trouble establishing the run game.  Although there were questions surrounding the Cowboy’s ability to compete against playoff-caliber teams, they definitely proved that they should still be considered a top team in the conference. Putting up a close game in New Orleans is a tough feat with or without Drew Brees suited up. The road doesn’t get much easier though, as the Packers come to Dallas next Sunday looking for a bounce-back win.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)

The Eagles put on one of the more impressive performances of Week 4.  Even with some injuries, and a Thursday night game on the road, the Eagles came out and weathered the storm from the Packers.  In the second half, they made some big plays and despite some questionable play calls from the Packers late in the game, the Eagles rose up to the challenge and picked-off Aaron Rodgers to seal the road win.  This seemed to be a turning point for the Eagles who were sort of spiraling.  Now, they look like they will give the Cowboys a run for the division crown.  This week the Eagles host the Jets looking to build off of Thursday’s progress.

3. New York Giants (2-2)

Daniel Jones is 2-0! The Giants took down the Redskins rather easily on Sunday and are back at the .500 mark.  Daniel Jones didn’t look quite as sharp this week, but a win is a win.  The Vikings are coming in this week, and getting to 3-2 seems a bit more doable, especially after the Vikings performance in Chicago.  Despite the rough start, the Giants’ season is still alive and well.

4. Washington Redskins (0-4)

…Fire Gruden and move on.  An all-time horrible coaching move putting your rookie quarterback into the middle of a game on the road.  The Redskinds should move on from Gruden and find someone to develop Haskins.  This franchise is scrambling right now and the fan base is uneasy.  Oh, and the Patriots come to town on Sunday as 16 point favorites.  Prayers go out to Redkins faithful everywhere.

NFC SOUTH

1.New Orleans Saints (3-1)

No Drew Brees? No problem.  The Saints took care of the Cowboys Sunday night and look like they will be just fine until Brees returns.  Nobody expected the Saints to be 2-0 after losing Brees (especially with their schedule) but here they are at 3-1 with a home contest with the Bucs to get to 4-1.  When Brees does come back, it will be hard to say they aren’t the team to beat in the NFC.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)

The Bucs won a big game in L.A. on Sunday and looked pretty good while doing it. There were still some defensive issues and a pick-six thrown which opened the door up to the Rams, but they got the win.  There is definitely room to improve still, but with each week it seems less and less improbable to see the Bucs snag a wildcard spot. Remember, this team is a missed field goal away from being 3-1.  The Bucs now have a trip to New Orleans where a win would put them in first place.

3. Carolina Panthers (2-2)

The Panthers didn’t play particularly well this past week, but they got the win against the Texans despite 3 Kyle Allen fumbles.  At 2-2 and no Cam Newton timeline, it is unclear if the Panthers can still push for a playoff spot.  For now, beating the Jaguars at home would keep them on track to make a wildcard push in December.

4. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)

The Falcons 2019 season is already a disappointment.  Many people thought they could surprise and compete with the Saints. Instead, they have made no progress and sit at the bottom of the division.  This week, they travel to Houston to face a tough Texans team.  A 1-4 start for the Falcons may turn up the heat in Dan Quinn’s seat.

 

NFC POWER RANKINGS (Week 4 Ranking)

  1. New Orleans Saints (4)
  2. Los Angeles Rams (1)
  3. Green Bay Packers(2)
  4. Chicago Bears (9)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (3)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (7)
  7. Detroit Lions (6)
  8. San Francisco 49ers (8)
  9. Philadelphia Eagles (11)
  10. New York Giants (12)
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13)
  12. Minnesota Vikings (5)
  13. Carolina Panthers (14)
  14. Atlanta Falcons (10)
  15. Arizona Cardinals (15)
  16. Washington Redskins (16)
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NFC Overview: Week 4

After three weeks of football, I think it is finally appropriate to analyze each team’s progress and future path with three performances to critique.  The NFC is shaking out to be a very competitive conference with many teams sitting at 2-1 or better.  Read below to find out how I see each division playing out, as well as a preview for Week 4. Finally, in the end, I will provide a power ranking for each team in the conference.

NFC NORTH

I think it is only fitting, to begin with the NFC North because of its combined record of 9-2-1.  Every team looks like it could make a run for the playoffs.  Although some teams may have executed and performed better in some games, I think we can get a true sense of each team’s identity heading into Week 4.

1. Green Bay Packers (3-0)

Heading into the season, Green Bay was holding its breath as new coach Matt LaFleur was beginning his tenure as the leader of one of the NFL’s most coveted franchises.  Of course, there has been some drama regarding Aaron Rodgers in the past few seasons on his coachability, but thus far that doesn’t seem to be an issue. After three games, the Packers are undefeated and their defense is leading the way.  The offense has had some forgettable moments (The ugly win in Week 1 at Chicago) but it seems to be trending in the right direction.  Being 2-0 in the division is certainly an added bonus to this unbeaten start, and they will look to improve to 4-0 on Thursday Night Football as the Packers will host the Eagles who have gotten off to a rocky start themselves.  I predict the Packers to win against a beat-up Eagles squad who is having difficulty on the defensive side of the ball.  Look for the Packers to get an early lead and coast.

2. Detroit Lions (2-0-1)

WOW! What a start for the Lions.  Coming into the year I don’t think many people expected much from this team, but they have proven everyone wrong. At times, they have looked sloppy (4th Quarter against the Cardinals Week 1, and Most of the game against the Chargers) but at the end of the day, they have beaten two playoff teams from a year ago, and have been able to withstand late-game pressures. Matthew Stafford looks solid again this year, and the team is playing well in the early parts of the game, which was often a problem in recent seasons.  This week the Lions host the Chiefs.  Although it seems like a daunting task, I think the Lions are a pesky team that could hang around for a little in this game.  In the end, I expect the Chiefs to remain undefeated and the Lions to fall to 2-1-1, which is by no means a failure considering their early-season opponents.

3. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)

The Vikings look like a playoff team. They have dominated the Falcons and Raiders at home, but in between, they fell to the Packers at Lambeau.  Although they need to improve their ability to play on the road, the Vikings defense is once again looking dangerous, and Dalvin Cook has returned to his rookie form.  Kirk Cousins, however, still leaves questions about his ability to be a reliable quarterback each week in the NFL. Upcoming, the Vikings travel to Chicago where a very important road divisional game awaits.  As good as the Vikings may seem, if they fail to win road games, especially in the division, they could be a team that misses out on a playoff spot with a seemingly worthy record.  All that said, I don’t think the Vikings will be able to pull out a victory against the Bears this week.  The game being at 3:25 pm will only add more pressure to Kirk Cousins who can simply look overwhelmed when he faces pressure, and I expect the Bears to be very hungry to win at home after their Week 1 letdown.

4. Chicago Bears (2-1)

The Bears came into this season with Super Bowl aspirations. After adding pieces to an already stellar defense (HaHa Clinton-Dix) the Bears seemed like they might be on their way to just that.  Although being 2-1 isn’t bad, the Bears have certainly left room for improvement on the offensive side of the ball.  Third-year quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky showed some signs of development and growth last season but hasn’t been able to put together a complete performance.  His play on Monday Night Football against the Redskins was the best it has been, but he still threw a poor interception in the endzone and missed some rather simple throws.  I like the Bears to win this week against the Vikings, but the only way for them to accomplish that is with a good performance from Trubisky. 

NFC WEST

The NFC West is another strong division with a combined record of 8-3-1.  The Rams look like they are definitely capable of returning to the Super bowl. The Seahawks and 49ers have good records but haven’t beaten any team with a winning record yet. Although the Cardinals have a poor record, they have shown positive signs with a rookie quarterback.

1. Los Angeles Rams (3-0)

The Rams are coming off a solid win in Cleveland on Sunday night.  The most promising part of the Ram’s performances up to this point is the fact that Todd Gurley hasn’t gotten going.  He still has much more to offer in this fire-powered offense, which is benefitting immensely from the return of Cooper Kupp.  The defense looks solid yet again, and I expect them to handle the Buccaneers rather easily this Sunday before a tough Thursday Night Football matchup with the Seahawks in Seattle. A return to the Super Bowl certainly seems possible if things continue this way.

2. San Francisco 49ers (3-0)

The 49ers look like the team everyone expected last season before Jimmy Garoppolo got injured. The offense is producing very well even with injuries and uncertainty in who the top receiver is. The biggest concern at this point is the quality of the opponents they have faced. Combined, the Buccaneers, Bengals, and Steelers are 1-8. This Monday the 49ers host the Browns who are still trying to find themselves as well. Nonetheless, a Monday night win at home to improve to 4-0 will surely boost their stock and put them into serious playoff talks.

3. Seattle Seahawks (2-1)

The Seahawks hosted the New Orleans Saints last Sunday who were without Drew Brees. Even so, the Saints dominated that game. Although the final score was 33-27, the game was over halfway through the third quarter. With their two wins coming against winless opponents, (By slim margins) I still cannot tell if the seahawks will be true playoff contenders. They have a divisional game at Arizona this Sunday which they most likely will win, but I think the Seahawks’ true colors will show next Thursday against the Rams.

4. Arizona Cardinals (0-2-1)

The Cardinals will not make the playoffs this year. The focus is all on developing Kyler Murray and preparing him for important games in November and December for seasons to come. Coach Kliff Kingsbury was criticized for not exploring enough with Murray in the first few weeks. In week three Murray looked overwhelmed at times in the second half against the Panthers, and turnovers killed any chance of pulling out the victory at home. As disappointing as it may be for a Cardinals fan, every young quarterback needs games where they perform poorly because it motivates them for weeks to come. I am excited for this team’s future with Murray at the helm.

NFC EAST

1.Dallas Cowboys (3-0)

The Cowboys look unbeatable right now. Dak Prescott has shown up this season. The move for Amari Cooper gets better with each game he plays, and Zeke is…being Zeke. The defense is strong, and the Cowboys have cruised to every win easily. The strong start is nice, but this Sunday night they will travel to play the Saints in New Orleans. This is the most intriguing matchup this week, but I am leaning slightly towards the Saints at home. Even still, the Cowboys look to be on their way to winning the NFC East again.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)

The Eagles are in a tough spot. after three games they are 1-2 and have a difficult road game in Green Bay on Thursday. Starting out 1-3 was not on the agenda for anyone in Philadelphia, but maybe this game could turn everything around. They haven’t looked particularly sharp in any game. The offense is banged up and the defense can’t keep teams out of the endzone. If a 1-3 start is the case, the panic meter will be tapped out.

3. New York Giants (1-2)

The Giants have entered the Daniel Jones era. Week 3 marked Jones’s first start in a Giants uniform and boy did he show up. Although a missed field goal from the Bucs ultimately decided the game, it would be hard to imagine the Giants in that position with Eli Manning under center. No disrespect to Eli, I believe he will be in the hall of fame someday. For now, he should either find a team who needs another quarterback or just retire. This week I think they will easily handle the redskins and be 2-2. As for the Giants season, I don’t expect them to make the playoffs but they should be much more fun to watch and be competitive each week.

4. Washington Redskins (0-3)

Jay Gruden should be sweating after Monday night. The Redksins did not show up at all, Case Keenum turned the ball over 5 times, and the “boos” were out early and often. Dwayne Haskins should be ready at any moment because at this point they have nothing to lose. The lone bright spot has been rookie receiver Terry McLaurin. He has made an instant impact and scored a touchdown in each game. Things only get worse as the ‘Skins travel to New York to face Daniel Jones in his first home game.

NFC SOUTH

1.New Orleans Saints (2-1)

The Saints got robbed last year in the NFC Championship. With most of the team returning, reaching the Super Bowl is almost the expectation in New Orleans. Everything was on course until Drew Brees broke his thumb and needed surgery which sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. The game against the Rams wasn’t pretty and losing Brees just added insult to injury. The bounceback against the Seahawks was impressive, but another tough test against the Cowboys awaits this Sunday. Although Brees is crucial to the Saints’ success, I think they will stay afloat and then capture the division after his return.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)

The Bucs do look improved under Bruce Aryans. Jameis Winston looks more like himself and although they had a tough loss to the Giants Sunday, I wouldn’t be surprised if they won 7 or 8 games this season. The winning, however, might have to wait a few weeks as road games against the Rams and Saints are up next.

3. Atlanta Falcons (1-2)

The Falcons are a tough team to figure out. After a poor performance week 1 against the Vikings, they responded with a hard-fought, dramatic victory against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Week 3 however, they could not secure a road victory against the Colts on the road and are now at 1-2. This week they travel to Houston to play a tough Texans’ defense and Deshaun Watson and Deandre Hopkins. I truly think the Falcons are better than their record, but that doesn’t mean much in this league. Each week is a crapshoot and you have to execute to earn victories.

4. Carolina Panthers (1-2)

I have lost all faith in Cam Newton. Even before his injury in week 2 he looked awful. Kyle Allen, on the other hand, seized his opportunity, and after an impressive win in Arizona, some people are saying there could be a quarterback competition in Carolina. I know it seems impossible that a former MVP could have his job at stake, but this is an unforgiving league and winning is the most important. If that isn’t being done, then changes will be made. Carolina hosts the Jaguars this Sunday and has a good chance to get back to .500.

NFC POWER RANKINGS

  1. Los Angeles Rams
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. New Orleans Saints
  5. Minnesota Vikings
  6. Detroit Lions
  7. Seattle Seahawks
  8. San Francisco 49ers
  9. Chicago Bears
  10. Atlanta Falcons
  11. Philadelphia Eagles
  12. New York Giants
  13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  14. Carolina Panthers
  15. Arizona Cardinals
  16. Washington Redskins

 

Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’m a new addition to the team here at Pro Sports Fandom and I’m bringing my NFL Power Rankings with me. I’ll be doing them every week until the end of the season. I have each team listed, along with where they ranked last week, followed by the change in ranking. Comment down below if you have any questions or concerns!

There’s only one more chance for each NFL team to change its record, hopefully for the better. Last week was a mixed bag of action that changed the playoff picture in both the AFC and NFC. Some teams are hanging on for dear life in the playoff race and are going to need some help next week in order to get in while others have clinched spots in the big dance. Let’s find out where your favorite team ranks in the Week 17 Power Rankings!

32: Cleveland Browns (LW: 32) 0

Well, I have to admit I was incorrect on multiple occasions when I picked the Browns to win this season, and last week was one of them. It’s become a reality that this team is going to finish the season winless. DeShone Kizer has done nothing this season to give the front office/coaching staff any confidence in him heading into the offseason. The Browns have found themselves in the 32 spot for quite a while, and this week is no different.

31: New York Giants (LW: 30) -1

The Giants are moving down a spot after getting shut out by the Cardinals on Sunday. Any time you fail to score a single point in a game, you’re going to fall in the rankings. Fortunately for New York, it’s hard to fall too far when you’re already 30th out of 32 teams. Eli Manning put forth another disappointing effort and now looks like a league-average QB at best. Maybe he’ll benefit from a change of scenery this offseason? That’s a question the Giants’ brass needs to begin thinking about.

30: Indianapolis Colts (LW: 31) +1

The Colts played a somewhat-close game against the Ravens and the Giants got thoroughly dismantled, so Indy moves up a spot. The team is beginning to look at other options at head coach, indicating that Chuck Pagano may be on his way out at the conclusion of the season. There have been contradicting reports about Bruce Arians’ future in Arizona – maybe he can reunite with his old QB in Andrew Luck and turn the Colts back into a contender?

29: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 28) -1

Jameis Winston’s sideline tantrum itself is enough to keep the Bucs here, let alone the loss. Tampa Bay did play the Panthers close but at the end of the day, you’re not going to be a successful franchise is your QB is only good for a small fraction of it, injured for another part and then throwing fits for the rest. There needs to be some serious soul-searching done by the Bucs – a team many expected to contend for the NFC South title – this offseason.

28: Houston Texans (LW: 27) -1

Houston looked completely done with the season on Monday night against Pittsburgh. If it weren’t for one of the best catches of the season by DeAndre Hopkins, Houston wouldn’t have scored in the entire game. This team desperately misses DeShaun Watson and can only play the waiting game until next season, when he’ll be healthy and ready to go.

27: Denver Broncos (LW: 26) -1

Brock Osweiler followed up his great game in typical Brock Osweiler fashion with one of the lesser performances I’ve seen this season. Until Denver gets the QB position figured out, there’s no way this team is going to be competitive. Paxton Lynch is getting the start this Sunday against the Chiefs, giving the team one more look at what it has in the young signal caller before the offseason.

26: Chicago Bears (LW: 28) +2 

It’s not hard to beat the Browns, and that’s exactly what the Bears did on Sunday. Defeating a winless team shouldn’t warrant moving up two spots in the rankings, yet here the Bears are. 5-10 seems like a fitting record for this team, with 5-11 or 6-10 both seeming appropriate after next week’s action as well. This defense has some pieces to build around and although he hasn’t been good, Mitchell Trubisky has done enough for the front office to not want to draft a QB in next year’s draft.

25: New York Jets (LW: 25) 0

Bryce Petty. Enough said. The Jets are one of the worst teams in the NFL but out of sheer respect for how well the team has overachieved this season, I’m going to try my best to keep them out of the bottom 6 or 7 spots in these rankings. Sunday’s game against San Diego LOS ANGELES (it’s still hard to picture) was an inspiring performance on the defensive end and a brutal one to watch on the other side of the ball. It looks more and more likely that the Jets are going to take a long, hard look at a QB in the draft next April.

24: Miami Dolphins (LW: 24) 0

Those poor ‘Fins. With Ryan Tannehill at QB, this squad might be in the middle of the playoff picture. Jay Cutler has been, well, Jay Cutler this season – resulting in the Dolphins sitting at 6-9 heading into week 17. There are a lot of question marks for this team heading into the offseason, with not too many answers readily available.

23: Green Bay Packers (LW: 19) -4

Aaron Rodgers = Green Bay Packers. Easier math problem than 2+2. Instead of doing his best impression of a starting QB on Saturday, Brett Hundley did his best local-grocery-store-bagboy-attempting-to-play-QB impression. There is going to need to be a serious overhaul of the Packers’ defense if the team has any hopes of being a serious Super Bowl contender next season, barring Aaron Rodgers playing MVP-level football for 16 games, which is a possibility.

22: Oakland Raiders (LW: 20) -2

Oakland continued its trend of being the most disappointing team in the NFL on Monday night, losing to the Carson Wentz-less Eagles by a final score of 19-10. Derek Carr continued to look like he took a step back and the morale of the team continued to look dismal at best. Jack Del Rio’s seat may not be steaming hot, but it’s got to be warming up a bit.

21: Arizona Cardinals (LW: 23) +2

The Cardinals continue to find ways to win games behind stellar defense and somehow-not-horrible offense. With David Johnson and Carson Palmer, this team may be competing for a playoff spot. This late-season consistency leaves hope for Cardinals fans that there will be a decent squad on the field at the beginning of next season. The only downside to this winning is… draft position.

20: Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 22) +2

Cincinnati eliminated the Lions from playoff contention on Sunday and looked like a decent football team. With Marvin Lewis departing at the end of the season, perhaps this is the wake-up call the team needed: there needs to be change. Cincy is the typical “there’s always next year” team but now, there really might be next year. New year, new faces, new Bengals. Grabbing another win doesn’t hurt.

19: Tennessee Titans (LW: 18) -1

Tennessee is starting to scare me. I wasn’t a believer in this team at the beginning of the year and after dropping three straight, I’m definitely not changing my mind. The Jaguars have already locked up the AFC South, so it’ll be interesting to see if they field all starters on Sunday in an attempt to knock Tennessee out of the playoff picture. Marcus Mariota is going to need to snap out of his season-long slump this week and keep it going into the playoffs if this squad has any hopes of winning a playoff game – let alone a Super Bowl.

18: San Francisco 49ers (LW: 21) +3

Jimmy Garoppolo is 4-0 as a starter for the San Francisco 49ers. If you were to predict that before the season, I’d bet you $1000 it wouldn’t happen. During Sunday’s upset over Jacksonville, Garoppolo passed Kurt Warner for first all-time in passing yards in a player’s first four games with a team. Is Jimmy G the next Kurt Warner? Maybe not. Is he going to be good in this league? It sure looks like it. San Francisco got away with highway robbery when it acquired Garoppolo from New England earlier in the season.

17: Washington Redskins (LW: 17) 0

Everyone knows what they’re going to get this offseason with Kirk Cousins – a solid-to-good QB who isn’t going to be great, but can get you into the playoffs. What he can do outside of that is questionable. Denver may have got a firsthand audition out of Cousins on Sunday. Washington is going to try its best to keep Captain Kirk but if all else fails, it’ll be back to the drawing board for this bunch.

16: Buffalo Bills (LW: 15) -1

For those of you who were/are mad about Kelvin Benjamin’s catch/no catch: the Bills were going to lose anyway. There’s no way that catch impacts anything more than the spread in this one. Tom Brady is Tom Brady. Glad we got that out of the way. On the bright side, Buffalo can still get into the postseason by winning Sunday, along with losses by the Titans and Chargers OR by picking up the win Sunday and Baltimore losing. It’s possible.

15: Detroit Lions (LW: 12) -3

Detroit is no longer a playoff team and as someone who supported the team throughout the season and wanted to see Matthew Stafford get another chance to win a playoff game, I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. The running game in Detroit is nonexistent and the defense is not where it should be among the NFL’s ranks. Stafford is not Aaron Rodgers, meaning he is going to need a bit more help in order to qualify for and win playoff games. Until the Lions recognize that, they’ll be stuck in the 7-9 win range year in and year out.

14: Dallas Cowboys (LW: 11) -4

What a rollercoaster this year for Dallas. From Dak Prescott’s struggles, to Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension and now to Jason Garrett’s job security being questioned by the media, it’s been a wild ride. A team many wrote of weeks ago wasn’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs until Sunday against the Seahawks. Don’t expect this team to go away next year. Ezekiel Elliot will be back for the entire season and Dak Prescott will have a full offseason to work out the kinks in his game, so this squad will be fine.

13: Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 16) +3

It wasn’t pretty, but the Chargers beat the Jets Sunday and remained alive in the playoff race. LA needs to win, Baltimore to win and Tennessee to lose in order to get into the playoffs. If this team can get into the playoffs, it’ll be dangerous. Philip Rivers has enjoyed a good season and his defense is no joke. All LA can do is win this week and hope everything else falls into place.

12: Seattle Seahawks (LW: 13) +1

Seattle eliminated Dallas from playoff contention on Sunday when it defeated the Cowboys 21-12. The Seahawks can make the playoffs if they win vs Arizona Sunday and the Falcons lose to the Panthers. The fun thing about Sunday is that those two games happen at the same time, so it’ll be interesting to see if there is any scoreboard watching taking place

11: Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 9) -2

This team can be as good or bad as Blake Bortles makes it. When Bortles is playing efficient football, this squad can compete with the best in the NFL. When he’s throwing interceptions left and right (see Sunday’s game vs. San Francisco), the Jags are going to have a difficult time winning ball games. In the playoffs, Doug Marrone is going to need his QB to play at his absolute best.

10: Atlanta Falcons (LW: 8) -2

Atlanta is in the playoffs unless it loses and Seattle wins on Sunday. Both of those outcomes are possible, so the Falcons need to take care of business against Carolina in order to ensure they secure the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC. Matt Ryan has been playing some so-so football the past few weeks and needs to elevate his game in order to get this team past the wild card round, especially against such a stacked NFC.

9: Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 14) +5 *BIG RISER*

Kansas City seems to have found its swag and winning formula after losing it for a month. Alex Smith is back to playing great football, Kareem Hunt is back to his rookie of the year ways, Travis Kelce is getting involved and Tyreek Hill has emerged as one of the best young wideouts in the league. Not to mention, the defense has been playing a lot better as of late. Is this a product of the teams KC is facing? We’ll find out in the postseason.

8: Baltimore Ravens (LW: 10) +2

Joe Flacco in the playoffs is a scary thought. We’ve seen it before, and we might just see it again. The Ravens can get into the playoffs by winning or the Titans/Bills losing. If the season ended today, Baltimore would be facing the Chiefs in the wild card round of the playoffs. That’s a good matchup; here’s to hoping the Ravens can make it happen.

7: Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 7) 0

Last week, a certain someone (me), said the Eagles are going to be just fine with Nick Foles at QB. A certain someone (me) might have been wrong. Foles looked uncomfortable all night against the Raiders and the team mustered just 13 points on offense. If it weren’t for so many Oakland turnovers, Philly’s offense may have struggled even more. At the end of the day this team is still talented, but it’s getting harder to picture it beating the Vikings or Rams in a playoff scenario.

6: Carolina Panthers (LW: 4) -2

Bad Cam Newton showed up last week, and the team still won. That’s a testament to the talent and coaching of this squad. Perhaps the most frustrating thing in the NFL this season has been Cam Newton’s inconsistency. When he’s good, Carolina is great. When he’s average, Carolina is good and when he’s bad, the team is average. Average isn’t going to win playoff games, so Cam has to at least play somewhat well.

5: New Orleans Saints (LW: 6) +1

Everyone talking about Drew Brees’ falling off needs to relax for a minute. No, he’s not the 5000-yard force he once was, but he’s still one of the best QB’s in the NFL and one of the best to ever do it. Brees doesn’t have to pass for 5000 yards anymore because he now has one of the best running games in the NFL and a defense that has exceeded expectations. What began as another season down the drain has turned into one with legitimate Super Bowl hopes for the Saints, something not many of us expected.

4: Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 5) +1 

Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh. No one expected anything short of dominance against the Texans on Monday night. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of the best QB, RB, WR trios in the NFL – and that’s forgetting the injured Antonio Brown (arguably the best WR in the league). The only thing to worry about for this team is James Harrison’s signing with the New England Patriots but other than that, expect the Steelers to be in a good position to compete in the playoffs.

3: Los Angeles Rams (LW: 3) 0

Another week, another win for the Rams. Todd Gurley has a legitimate shot at winning MVP and Jared Goff’s TD:INT ratio is now 4:1 on the season. If these two are playing great football, it doesn’t matter how the defense plays. When the entire team plays well at once, forget about it: this is one of the best teams in the NFL. Look out playoffs – Los Angeles is coming.

2: Minnesota Vikings (LW: 2) 0

It came against Brett Hundley and the Rodgers-less Packers, but a shutout is a shutout. Minnesota’s defense is one of the best in the league and it certainly showed up to play Saturday night. Case Keenum didn’t have to do much at all and the team ended up winning 16-0. As long as the defense remains intact, this team should be among the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

1: New England Patriots (LW: 1) 0

New England is going to be New England. Tom Brady hasn’t been single-handedly dominating games lately, but his squad is still one of the best in the NFL. Signing James Harrison is the icing on the cake for the Pats. Having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is going to be huge for this team, so there is still something to play for next week.

Thanks for reading this week’s power rankings. Here’s to your favorite team rising a spot or two in next week’s rankings!

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1N2W’s NFL Preseason Power Rankings

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 Only 18 days until the NFL season kicks off. With all the preseason injuries, suspensions, and expected starters, now is a great time to see where your teams lines up. Will the Patriots add to their dynasty? Will the Bears be as bad as everyone expects? Let’s go and see.