The Armchair Quarterback Power Rankings
This week instead of an NFL “Take of the Week” I’m going to give you my own personal Power Rankings now that we’re about one third of the way through the regular season. If you feel like my order is wrong or I’ve disrespected your team, I’d love to hear your justification in the comments below.
1. Denver Broncos (6-0)
In a game where the goal is to score more points than the other team, the Broncos are averaging 14 more points per game than any other team. The gap between them and #2 is greater than the gap between #2 and #30. Think about that for a second. Denver is the clear #1 as long as Manning is playing at this level and it isn’t really debatable.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (6-0)
I’ll admit, I have some serious doubts about the offense, but until someone proves they can score on their defense this spot is deserved. For all the fanfare about Denver’s offense (which is deserved), people are missing out on just how great KC’s defense has been. The NFL record for team sacks is 72 and KC is currently on pace for 83. They are also leading the NFL in points allowed and forced turnovers. The matchup between their defense and Denver’s offense can’t get here soon enough.
3. Seattle Seahawks (5-1)
Seattle is the most well rounded team in the NFL. They have an amazing defense, a great run game, and Russell Wilson can make plays in the passing game. That having been said, aside from their pounding of the 49ers, they haven’t pushed their opponents around as much as you would expect a Super Bowl contender to. Still, wins are wins.
4. New Orleans Saints (5-1)
Patriots fans will HATE that I put the Saints over New England despite losing head to head last week. It was a great last second win for the Pats at home, but I think the Saints would win six out of ten games on a neutral field. The Saints just have more offensive weapons. If Jimmy Graham’s injury is serious then they will probably slide down a few spots.
5. New England Patriots (5-1)
The fact that the Patriots are this high despite all the offensive weapons that they have lost to free agency and injuries is a testament to how good Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are. If Gronk ever comes back healthy and Brady continues to gel with his young receivers, watch out.
6. Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
The Colts are a very talented team that is capable of beating any team in the league (as evident in their wins over Seattle and San Francisco), but they are also young and inconsistent (as evident in their loses to Miami and San Diego). It will be interesting to see if they can find consistency as the year goes along.
7. San Francisco 49ers (4-2)
After a couple of early beatings at the hands of the Seahawks and Colts the Niners have rebounded to win three straight. The defense is still good, but misses Aldon Smith. Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been bad, but hasn’t been as good as he was on their run to the Super Bowl last season.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)
The Bengals have had some ugly games, but they do have wins against Green Bay and New England. This is another team that could beat anybody, but will also lose some games that they shouldn’t.
9. Green Bay Packers (3-2)
It will be interesting to see how the Packers respond without Randall Cobb and James Jones in the coming weeks. Tom Brady has been able to guide the Patriots to wins with second string offensive weapons and now Aaron Rodgers must do the same. The fact that Clay Matthews is also out for a while could make the next few weeks a challenge.
10. Detroit Lions (4-2)
The Lions barely edge out the Bears here since they won the head to head match up in Detroit, but I think they’re pretty much even. The key for the Lions is keeping Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson both healthy. The combination of those two make their offense very hard to stop.
11. Chicago Bears (4-2)
The Bears have four wins, but three of them come against the Vikings, Steelers, and Giants that are a combined 2-14 on the season. They’ll have to play better going forward to keep pace with the Packers and Lions.
12. Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
The Cowboys offense is capable of putting up huge numbers. They are averaging the 2nd most points per game in the league. If they can get more consistent play from the defense they should emerge as the best team in the not so impressive NFC East.
13. Baltimore Ravens (3-3)
The Ravens aren’t the same team right now that won the Super Bowl last season (obviously), but there is still talent on this roster. They have a ton of new starters and there is still time for them to come together as the year goes on. They get the edge over the Dolphins since they beat them in Miami.
14. Miami Dolphins (3-2)
The Dolphins bye week came at a good time as the Dolphins had dropped two in a row after their 3-0 start. The Dolphins have a must win game this week against Buffalo before they head to Foxboro. A loss to Buffalo would make it difficult for Miami to challenge the Pats for the division.
15. Tennessee Titans (3-3)
The Titans would be higher if they hadn’t lost Jake Locker to injury. Their defense is doing a great job of keeping them in games. Last week Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions and Chris Johnson only rushed for 33 yards and yet they only lost by one TD to the Seahawks in Seattle. This team is tougher than people give them credit for.
16. San Diego Chargers (3-3)
Their defense has been an issue at times, but played better against the Colts on Monday night. Phillip Rivers is playing like his old Pro Bowl self and that makes this team dangerous. If the defense plays like they did against Indy, this team will make some noise.
17. St. Louis Rams (3-3)
I’m still not sold on their offense, but their defensive front is for real. The Rams have played better of late in wins against Houston and Jacksonville. They must continue to run the ball in order to keep the heat off of Sam Bradford. If they do, they’ll make a push for a playoff spot in the NFC.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
The Eagles are racking up a lot of yards and a lot of points, but are giving up a lot of both too. It will be interesting to see if Nick Foles keeps the QB job that he stepped into when Michael Vick got dinged up. They have a huge game at home against Dallas this week. If they lose it will put them behind the eight ball in their division.
19. New York Jets (3-3)
The Jets are still a good defensive team, but the offense is horribly inconsistent. Now they have three consecutive games against the Patriots, Bengals, and Saints. If they want to battle for a wild card spot they are going to have to pull off some upsets.
20. Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
The Cardinals (specifically Carson Palmer) have to stop turning the ball over if they want to stay competitive. With the 25th rated scoring offense and the 26th rated offense in total yardage, they are still a work in progress.
21. Carolina Panthers (2-3)
The Panthers are all over the place. They beat the Giants 38-0, then lost 22-6 to the Cardinals, and then beat the Vikings 35-10. Who knows which team will show up this week? I will say that their ceiling is higher than that of several of the teams ahead of them in these rankings.
22. Cleveland Browns (3-3)
The Browns have a good young defense, but their upcoming schedule and injury to Brian Hoyer make it a tough road ahead. Brandon Weeden has a couple of good weapons at his disposal, but if he’s going to make plays like that horrible “flip” for an interception it’s going to be hard for the Browns to win games.
23. Houston Texans (2-4)
The most talented team in the bottom half of the rankings is a total mess right now. The QB situation is at the top of the list of problems. I still think this roster is one of the five most talented in the AFC and their defense is still #1 in yards allowed. If they can just get average QB play, they could still make a run.
24. Oakland Raiders (2-4)
The Raiders may not be high up on these power rankings but Oakland fans should feel good about the direction of their team. Many had them pegged as the least talented team in the NFL and that clearly isn’t the case. Terrell Pryor may have some growing pains, but it looks like he may just be their QB going forward.
25. Buffalo Bills (2-4)
The Bills don’t have a lot of wins to show for it, but they’ve played hard every week. They need EJ Manuel back in order for the offense to work, but this team has a lot of fight in them and will likely knock off a surprise team or two before the season ends.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)
Ben Roethlisberger is going to have to carry this team on his back if they want to win more than 6 games this season. The defense is solid, but not the force it once was and the offensive line is still an issue.
27. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
The Falcons have problems, big problems. Their defense has been bad, the offensive line has been worse, and the injuries to their playmakers have really caught up with them. Matt Ryan is still a very good QB, but he can’t win games by himself out there.
28. Washington Redskins (1-4)
The Redskins can rack up yards, but not enough to overcome their struggling defense. While all the attention is on RG3, he’s not the problem. Their defense needs rebuilt and the run game isn’t near what it was last season.
29. Minnesota Vikings (1-4)
Who will play QB this week? I’m not sure it matters because their defense is giving up 418 yards and 31.6 points per game. None of their options at QB are good enough to overcome that poor of defensive play.
30. New York Giants (0-6)
The Giants have played the worst football of everyone on this list. Still, they have a Super Bowl winning coach and quarterback, so I still believe that at some point they’ll get it going (at least enough to not be the worst team in football by seasons end).
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5)
This team has the talent to fight its way out of the basement, but management is going to have to wise up and send Greg Schiano packing. It’s clear at this point that NFL players aren’t going to play for the guy.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)
The Jaguars are playing harder than the Bucs and Giants, but they just don’t have the roster talent to win. If they keep playing like they did against Denver they’ll win a couple games, but they’re still the favorite to wind up with the #1 pick.
Now it’s on to this week’s game predictions…….