I already know what you are thinking. Oh boy, another site with power ratings! I get it, every football website under the sun seems to have them but I promise that these will be different. First of all, I DO NOT CARE what your record is. If you want to see teams in order of record, google “NFL standings” and have a ball. Also, this isn’t a list of how well teams have played so far. I am not reviewing game tape and telling you that a team’s offensive line is better than it is getting credit for. No, this power rating is what we expect of each team going forward. This is a list from 1 to 32 of how well a team would do against a neutral schedule. So again, this isn’t based off current record, and I’m not projecting end of season record. Now, let’s get started.
1. New England Patriots
Yawn. Another year where the Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC. Belichick just keeps on doing it, and now Brady has even more motivation than ever. It sucks to write this but the Patriots are really damn good again.
2. Minnesota Vikings
This is not falling in love with a team early. Before Teddy Bridgewater got hurt, their win total was around 9.5 or 10 wins, so they were always expected to be a competitive team. The turnover rate is unlikely to stay this good forever, but the defense is legit and Bradford hasn’t got hurt yet. For now the Vikings are the best in the NFC.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Even after being blown out by the Eagles, their year long score differential is +46 in just five games. Considering that they didn’t have Le’Veon Bell for the first three games, that’s very impressive and their offensive figures to be one of the best (if not the best) in the league this season.
4. Seattle Seahawks
This is probably one team that people will disagree with because they haven’t played anyone good and they haven’t looked particularly good themselves. Again, myself and the simulator really don’t care. By the end of the year, the Seahawks will still be right at the top of the playoff picture.
5. Denver Broncos
Their loss to Atlanta wasn’t too concerning considering it was the first career start for Paxton Lynch. They still have a championship defense that carried them to a Super Bowl last year and expect them to ride that defense to a long playoff run again this year.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
Rookie quarterbacks are admittedly hard to assess and adjust for when projecting teams, but Wentz isn’t actually the story here. While the rookie QB is getting most of the headlines, the defense has given up less than 13 points per game which helps keep any offense in any game.
7. Dallas Cowboys
Dak looks great. Ezekiel looks great. But let’s give a shout out to the fat guys for once. The Cowboys have the best offensive line in the league which makes you wonder how the hell Romo gets hurt all the damn time. But the big guys have made it easy on the rookie duo to keep them in the hunt for a division title and possibly more.
8. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers has looked somewhat average at times this season, but an average Aaron Rodgers is better than 90% of the league anyway. Now that Minnesota has gotten off to a hot start, perhaps they will thrive in an uncommon role for them: the underdog.
9. Arizona Cardinals
Wait, what? I know Arizona has looked like pure ass on a few occasions this season but it’s still too early to write them off. Of course, this ranking assumes that Carson Palmer is returning and that is still a big question mark.
10. Buffalo Bills
Man, do my rankings love the Buffalo Bills. They were one of our best bets to make the playoffs last week and we’re sticking on the Rex bandwagon for now.
11. Atlanta Falcons
“Finally” is what every Falcons fan just said. I get it, you are 4-1 and what all those warm and fuzzy feelings of being in the top ten of an obscure website. Well, this week is your chance. On the road at Seattle is a great test for this Falcons team that got off to a 5-0 start last season only to miss the playoffs. We’ll see if history repeats itself.
12. Oakland Raiders
“Finally” is what every Raiders fan just said. While a 4-1 record is shiny and nice, three of those four wins came by a combined FIVE points. Some like to call that luck, I like to call it….well luck I guess. Movie quote aside, Jack Del Rio is doing the smart thing and giving his team a chance to win and it has worked so far but one-possession games can flip on you in a hurry.
13. Carolina Panthers
Hold on, don’t close the tab yet. Let me explain. First off, last night’s game against the Bucs was terrible but it was also without Cam Newton. Secondly, they lost to the Broncos in Denver because of a field goal miss at the end of regulation. The outcome of that kick shouldn’t determine whether or not a team is still good or not. The other two losses to the Vikings and Falcons don’t look all that bad now, do they? So they are unlikely to make the playoffs now (11%) but are still project to be in the top half of the league the rest of the way.
14. Baltimore Ravens
14th is slightly better than average in a league of 32 teams. The Ravens are slightly better than average. That sounds about right. Definitely not elite.
15. Indianapolis Colts
They have a pretty good quarterback but their offensive line is young and atrocious. Fortunately for them, the division they are in is also atrocious and puts them in a good position for a playoff spot despite being pretty average.
16. Kansas City Chiefs
Statistically the most average team in the league going forward, which makes it fun for their fans knowing they can win or lose just about any game going forward. I think that’s called fun, right?
17. San Diego Chargers
You may think this is too high, but I could argue they should be even higher. The same way the Raiders have had some close wins go their way, the Chargers have absolutely pooped the bed in four of their five games. Realistically they should have at least four wins, and possibly five. Don’t let the record fool you, the Chargers are not a terrible team.
18. Cincinnati Bengals
They have lost to the Steelers, Broncos, and Cowboys so you could argue they don’t have a bad loss and I’d agree. I should bring up: there isn’t a lot of variation between teams ranked 11 through 19. There’s a whole lot of average in the NFL, especially this early in the season.
19. Washington Redskins
Very similar to the Bengals above. They lost to the Cowboys and Steelers which you would expect and have won their other three games. They have given up more points then they have scored which is worrisome, but a lot of that is the 22-point blowout at the hands of Pittsburgh.
20. Detroit Lions
We are now in the range of bad teams that can still win games which described Detroit perfectly.
21. Houston Texans
I think Houston has the most deceiving record in the league. At 3-2 they lead the AFC South, but the three wins have come against the Bears, Titans, and Chiefs. And all three wins were at home. When they went on the road against New England (without Brady!) and Minnesota, they were blown out. I think the Texans are a sneaky bad team.
22. New York Giants
I’d be punching nets too, Odell. The Giants seem to have all of these weapons at Eli’s disposal and yet they have averaged less than 18 points per game. While their rating isn’t very good, the Giants’ upcoming schedule could help as they don’t play a true road game until November 27th at Cleveland.
23. New Orleans Saints
The Saints are bad. I know Drew Brees likes Sean Payton, but at one point do you leave that dumpster fire of a defense and try to win a Super Bowl somewhere else?
24. Tennessee Titans
This is plenty high for the Titans’ expectations. I think they are just happy to have a competent quarterback and this is a growth year for the franchise. Although in that division, they might sneak in a little earlier than anyone expected.
25. Los Angeles Rams
I’m not buying the Rams, the simulation isn’t buying the Rams, is anybody actually buying the Rams? The most likely result for the Rams is still a 7-9 season, which makes sense because Jeff Fisher is still the coach.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars
Remember when this was the year that Jacksonville took the leap forward? Good times.
27. New York Jets
And the simulation doesn’t even account for terrible coaching decisions! For example, Todd Bowles elected to punt to the Steelers down two possessions with 7.5 minutes left Sunday. Combine those decisions with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s decisions and you are in for a terrible season in the Big Apple.
28. Miami Dolphins
Congrats on beating the Browns?
29. San Francisco 49ers
Chip Kelly has made the quarterback change back to Kaepernick. We’ll see if that gives this franchise a boost that it has desperately needed since Jim Harbaugh left for Michigan.
30. Chicago Bears
At least you don’t have to watch Jay Cutler right now!
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I thought the simulation was being a little too hard on the Bucs, but then I remembered they gave up 37 points to the St. Louis Rams. This ranking seems adequate.
32. Cleveland Browns
Always and forever. Enjoy the Indians games!