2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

Another week down and another batch of quarterbacks are on the shelf. Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Sam Darnold join Nick Foles as Week 1 starters no longer in action. Brees and Darnold should be back in about a month or so. Roethlisberger is done for the year, turning things over to Mason Rudolph. It has been a season defined by injuries so far and that has definitely been reflected in these power rankings, with lots of movement.

Of course the results played a part as well. Pittsburgh dropped to 0-2, as did Carolina, Jacksonville and Denver, all teams who had some form of postseason hope entering the year. Cleveland bounced back, the Jets are on their third quarterback already and Miami continues to show that they are the worst team in the NFL. It is shaping up to be a two-team race in the AFC. Meanwhile, the NFC feels wide open as the Rams, Packers and Cowboys are all off to great starts. Alright enough chit chat, here are this week’s power rankings, starting with a familiar face at the top.

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1. New England Patriots: 2-0 (Last Week: 1)
Just another day at the office for the defending champs. New England blew the doors off Miami, just as everyone expected. What might not have been expected was the level of scoring from the defense. The Patriots had two interceptions returned for touchdowns and shutout the Dolphins. It might have been a slow start, leading just 7-0 after one quarter, but the Pats have the deepest, most talented team in the league. The AFC looks like it will be a two-team race.

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2. Kansas City Chiefs: 2-0 (Last Week: 2)
Patrick Mahomes is well on his way to winning another MVP. He torched the Raiders during the second quarter with 278 yards and four touchdowns, in one quarter! The Chiefs did trail 10-0 in this game before Mahomes worked his magic. There have been positive signs from this Kansas City defense early in the season, but it will really matter more in December and January. The Chiefs seems poised for another deep playoff run well ahead of the rest of the AFC West.

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3. Los Angeles Rams: 2-0 (Last Week: 4)
This is the same team that squeaked out a win against the Panthers a week. It was a dominant defensive performance from the Rams. People will point to Drew Brees being out, but Los Angeles intercepted Brees and bottled up the run while he was still in the game. The offense certainly took its time to get going, but at the end of the day, they turned a solid performance. Todd Gurley found the end zone for the first time this season and Jared Goff stayed mistake free. This is a formula the Rams can win with.

Packers logo4. Green Bay Packers: 2-0 (Last Week: 8)
Well the Packers certainly started a lot faster this time around. After managing 10 points in Chicago, Green Bay scored 21 in the first half alone. Things slowed down big time though in the second half, as the defense finally let Minnesota find the end zone and Aaron Rodgers seemed to become extremely frustrated with the offense. Aaron Jones showed up though with a monster day featuring 100-plus rushing yards and a touchdown. We have yet to see the Pack play a complete game, and yet they are 2-0.

Cowboys logo5. Dallas Cowboys: 2-0 (Last Week: 10)
Dallas looked a little sluggish out of the gate against Washington. Also, if you guess Devin Smith would score the first touchdown of the game for the Cowboys, you should probably go play the lottery. It was Smith’s first catch since 2016 and evened the score at seven at that point. From then on out, Dak Prescott and the offense cruised, scoring just before half to take a lead it wouldn’t surrender the rest of the way. It was a big divisional win that puts Dallas in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. The Cowboys have a bye, I mean, play the Dolphins in Week 3.

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6. Baltimore Ravens: 2-0 (Last Week: 11)
It was a lot tighter this time around, but Baltimore emerges unscathed. Lamar Jackson was unleashed on the Cardinals defense, throwing for 272 yards and rushing for 120 more. It was duel of dual-threat quarterbacks in what proved to be a very exciting contest. Mark Andrew is also looking like Jimmy Graham with the numbers he is putting up. With the rest of the AFC North struggling, the Ravens are in a great spot in the division. Things will go from zero to 60 real quick for Baltimore though as it has a trip to Arrowhead up next.

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7. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-1 (Last Week: 7)
I’m pinning a lot of this on injuries and an untimely drop from Nelson Agholor. If Agholor takes that to the house, Philly escapes Atlanta 2-0. On top of that, the Eagles were playing without Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert for the majority of the contest. Carson Wentz even missed some time after getting banged up. The secondary played better, even despite the incredible efforts of Julio Jones. Overall, it was a solid game from Philly. If they can get just a bit healthier, this team should be a dangerous one.

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8. Houston Texans: 1-1 (Last Week: 13)
That was too close for comfort if you are a Texans fan. Houston made a goal line stand on a Jacksonville two-point conversion attempt to preserve its slim lead. The defense won the day for the Texans, sacking Gardner Minshew four times and containing Leonard Fournette. It was a rough showing from the offense as Deshaun Watson had his 16-game streak of at least one passing touchdown snapped. The last time he failed to toss one was also against the Jaguars. A win is a win, but this wasn’t a convincing one. The Texans move up a lot though because of losses, injuries and bad offensive play elsewhere.

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9. Minnesota Vikings: 1-1 (Last Week: 6)
Minnesota blinked and found itself down 21-0. If you ignore the first 20 or so minutes, the Vikings would’ve won the game 16-0, outplaying the Packers the rest of the game. Dalvin Cook once again flashed his big-play ability. He set a new career high for rushing yards as well. The biggest problem was the slow start and the poor play of Kirk Cousins in crucial moments. He threw a late-game interception in the end zone costing Minnesota a chance at what would have been a massive road win in the division.

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10. Chicago Bears: 1-1 (Last Week 9)
Defense wins championships and kicking finally won a game for the Chicago Bears. As Mitchell Trubisky and the offense stumbled through another outing, Eddy Peneiro kicked three field goals, including a 53-yard game-winner as time expired. It was an important win for Chicago as both Detroit and Green Bay won. The Bears struggled to establish the run though once again as Cordarrelle Patterson proved to be the most effective rusher. Trubisky also disappointed for the second straight week, throwing for just 120 yards.

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11. New Orleans Saints: 1-1 (Last Week: 3)
Time to test that backup plan. Drew Brees is out for at least the next six weeks with a serious thumb injury. The Saints started slow again and could not find anyway back into the game with Brees on the sidelines. It didn’t help that the refs screwed them out a defensive touchdown either. Teddy Bridgewater struggled mightily in Brees’ place, posting a 10.8 QBR. Bridgewater got little help from the running game either, as Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray combined for just 50 yards on 18 carries. With Brees out, things could get pretty rough in NOLA.

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12. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-1 (Last Week: 5)
Perhaps the close shave versus Indianapolis was a sign of things to come. In what was the most shocking result of the week, Los Angeles looked completely inept in Detroit. The offense ground to a halt after an early touchdown from Austin Ekeler, managing just three points the rest of the way. Defensively, the Chargers looked great, intercepting Matt Stafford twice, but they lost starting safety Adrian Phillips to injury More has to be expected of Philip Rivers going forward as this team has title aspirations.

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13. Atlanta Falcons: 1-1 (Last Week: 15)
Julio Jones bailed out just about everyone in Atlanta with a clutch catch and run for the go-ahead touchdown late against Philadelphia. It wasn’t a great game for Matt Ryan, as he tossed three interceptions in the contest. He had just two all of last season. It was also another brutal game for Devonta Freeman, who averaged two yards per carry on 11 attempts. Credit the defense for pressuring Carson Wentz all game though. The Falcons knocked a lot of skill players out of this game and did just enough to hang on for a big early-season win.

Seahawks logo14. Seattle Seahawks: 2-0 (Last Week: 16)
Another week, another tight win facing the AFC North. Seattle looked a lot better offensively in Pittsburgh despite two fumbles. The Seahawks were able to move the ball up and down the field, controlling the pace of play. It did just enough to hold off a late surge from the Mason Rudolph-led Steelers. Some increased pass rush would certainly be appreciated. Expect this to be the theme for Seattle all year, but winning close still counts.

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15. Indianapolis Colts: 1-1 (Last Week: 18)
Indianapolis came very close to upending the Chargers a week ago in Los Angeles. It went on the road again to lock up a big win in the division. Jacoby Brissett was far from elite, but he did toss three touchdowns. This is a talented defense who has the potential to keep the offense in the game throughout. It is very interesting to examine this team because the expectations have dropped so much. The Colts seem to be determined to prove they are more than just Andrew Luck. They do need to figure out their kicking situation though, with Adam Vinatieri missing five kicks in two games.

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16. Cleveland Browns: 1-1 (Last Week: 17)
It wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot better for Cleveland in a 23-3 road win. Granted, the Jets were about as battered as they possibly could be and there are still some concerns about that Browns offensive line. Nick Chubb managed just 3.4 yards per attempt and Baker Mayfield tossed another interception as well. However, Odell Beckham Jr. reminded everyone why he is one of the league’s elite playmakers and Myles Garrett looked unstoppable at times with three sacks. With a short week before hosting the Rams, the Browns will need to take that next step in their progression to keep things close against a dominant defense.

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17. San Francisco 49ers: 2-0 (Last Week: 19)
Where in the world did that come from? The 49ers demolished the Bengals after a solid win that looks even better with the Buccaneers beating the Panthers. There are some early signs of optimism as the San Francisco front seven finally is playing up to the potential that match all of the first round draft picks they have spent there. Matt Breida looked explosive as the Niners pounded the Cincy defense for 259 yards on the ground. On the flip side of that, they held the Bengals to just 25 yards on 19 carries. With the struggling Steelers up next, the 49ers have a real chance to start 3-0.

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18. Tennessee Titans: 1-1 (Last Week: 12)
Oh right. This is still the Titans we are talking about. One week after dismantling the Browns on the road, the Titans returned home only to drop a divisional game against the Colts. The defense got after Jacoby Brissett all game, but had no answer for the Indy ground attack. Marcus Mariota managed just 154 yards passing and wasted another solid effort from Derrick Henry. These are the types of game Tennessee has to win in a wide open division with a quarterback in a contract year. If these are the results, Mariota is going to be costing himself some money in the offseason.

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19. Pittsburgh Steelers: 0-2 (Last Week: 14)
It might be time to panic. Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season with an elbow injury. Mason Rudolph played admirably in his place, but the Steelers came up short once again. The defense could not make enough plays and gave up over 400 yards of offense. That probably played a large roll in the team’s decision to trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick. It was another poor performance as well for James Connor as the Steelers continue to search for consistency. Without Roethlisberger, this team might spiral.

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20. Buffalo Bills: 2-0 (Last Week: 24)
There is a 2-0 team in New York and Josh Allen won’t let you forget it. The Bills beat the Jets and Giants in successive weeks, a feat that is by no means considered difficult, but Buffalo is off to a fast start. The defense looks just as tough as it ever has and the infusion of talent at the skill positions seems to be making a big difference for Allen, who is playing well above the level we saw from him a season ago. The Bills face the reeling Bengals, fresh off a beatdown out west, with a chance to reach 3-0 for the first time since 2011.

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21. Jacksonville Jaguars: 0-2 (Last Week: 22)
The Gardner Minshew era got off to a bit of a rocky start. The Jaguars defense of old showed up though, holding Deshaun Watson to just 159 yards passing. Unfortunately, they got gashed by the combo of Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson Jr. In a weird twist, Leonard Fournette completely failed to show up in the run game, but did contribute as a receiver. Holding Houston to 13 points is impressive, but when you consider Jacksonville managed just 12 points, this was a disappointing showing. Oh and to top that all off, Jalen Ramsey wants off the team.

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22. Oakland Raiders: 1-1 (Last Week: 21)
This is about what we expected from the Raiders. Oakland started hot with a 10-0 lead, but never managed to score again. The Chiefs exploded for 28 points in that second quarter and Derek Carr completely fell apart with some terrible interceptions. The Raiders secondary got pulled apart at times downfield as the pass rush could not do enough to hide those deficiencies. Oakland is so much better than it was a year ago, but there is still a large gap between them and the true contenders in this division. 

Denver_Broncos23. Denver Broncos: 0-2 (Last Week: 23)
Denver looked terrible offensively while facing a very good Chicago defense, thought it won the game in wild fashion with a late touchdown and two-point conversation, then actually had their hearts broken by a last second kick. It was an emotional roller coaster for the Broncos. The offense still has a long way to go. There were signs of life from the defense though after a terrible showing in Oakland. If Joe Flacco cannot find a way to start scoring more frequently leading this offense, there will be calls for Drew Lock to start as soon as he is healthy.

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24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1-1 (Last Week: 28)
It was rather ugly the whole way, but Tampa stuffed Christian McCaffrey inside the five-yard line to preserve a hard-fought victory. Jameis Winston was up and down, but turned in a much better performance than a week ago. Peyton Barber got going in the run game a bit and Chris Godwin flashed the ability so many raved about during the offseason. Tampa got a bit lucky that Cam Newton missed so many open receivers, but the front seven played well enough to pick up a big divisional win. Shockingly, the Buccaneers lead the NFC South after two weeks thanks to the 1-0 divisional record. With the struggling Giants on tap, the Bucs might be able to build some momentum.

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25. Detroit Lions: 1-0-1 (Last Week: 29)
I still don’t know how the Lions won this game. This was the same secondary that got shredded last week by a rookie quarterback. Now, facing Philip Rivers and the high-powered Chargers offense, they held strong and surrendered just 10 points in a crucial win. Matt Stafford struggled yet again with a pair of interceptions, but made enough plays to lead two scoring drives. With a trip to Philly coming up, Detroit will probably need a bit more scoring to emerge with a technically undefeated record intact.

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26. Carolina Panthers: 0-2 (Last Week: 20)
Whatever momentum the Panthers built in the second half of their game against the Rams was nowhere to be found on Thursday night. Cam Newton missed receivers all over the field and really struggled with accuracy all game. Carolina could have dominated Tampa if Newton had been able to hit on a couple of significant throws. Instead, the Bucs keyed on Christian McCaffrey and essentially shut him down. The defense also made Jameis Winston look like a competent quarterback. This is a really bad look for the Panthers who find themselves in a tough hole in what is looking like a competitive division.

Washington made up logo27. Washington: 0-2 (Last Week: 25)
It was another strong start followed by a tough finish in the division for Washington. Despite the 0-2 record, there is a lot to like about how this team has performed so far. Terry McLaurin looked sharp for a second straight week and Case Keenum is playing like he did during his miracle run in Minnesota. The defense locked up Dallas in the first quarter, but could only keep Dak Prescott down for so long. If Washington can find a way to run the ball a bit more to take pressure off both Keenum and the defense, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some better results in the near future.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)28. Arizona Cardinals: 0-1-1 (Last Week: 30)
The final score was not what Kliff Kingsbury would have hoped for, as he and Kyler Murray continue to seek their first NFL win, but there was a lot to like about how they played. The Murray-led offense took a little while to get going. Actually, it didn’t manage a touchdown until the fourth quarter once again, but the defense played just well enough to keep them in it and gave the Cardinals a chance to win in the final minutes. This was against a Ravens team that blew the doors off Miami 59-10 last week, so a six-point loss is a positive result for a rebuilding team. There is a lot to like about an Arizona team that should just keep getting better as the year rolls on.

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29. New York Jets: 0-2 (Last Week: 26)
After another injury-ridden week, the Jets turned to Luke Falk at quarterback. It went about as well as you would have expected. Le’Veon Bell played extremely well considering the total lack of a passing threat. Falk actually steadied the ship by comparison Trevor Siemian, despite constantly being hounded by Myles Garrett. There are things to be positive about in New York. The defense intercepted Baker Mayfield and kept Nick Chubb in check. Unfortunately, the offense looked miserable again and the corners were woefully outmatched. With Falk looking like the prospective starter for the next few weeks, things might actually get worse.

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30. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-2 (Last Week: 27)
All that optimism surrounding the Bengals after Week 1 is gone. Cincinnati looked completely overwhelmed against San Francisco, consistently leaving receivers wide open, failing to bring down running backs and showing little ability to protect Andy Dalton. For as well as the 49ers played, the Bengals made it very easy on them and look just as lost any many expected them to be heading into the season. Things were always bound to be a little rocky with a rookie head coach, but this was an abysmal showing.

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31. New York Giants: 0-2 (Last Week: 31)
Oh boy. If not for the Dolphins, the Giants would have a firm grasp on the last spot in these rankings. New York did a better job of getting Saquon Barkley the ball in Week 2, but Eli Manning showed why the team drafted Daniel Jones sixth overall. It is hard to put all the blame on Eli considering he has a rag-tag collection of receivers with Sterling Shepard unavailable, but he needs to play better if he is going to keep his job. This is going to be a long season in New York.

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32. Miami Dolphins: 0-2 (Last Week: 32)
In two games, the Dolphins have allowed 102 points and scored 10. Now Minkah Fitzpatrick is headed to Pittsburgh as well in exchange for a collection of draft picks. Both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen looked horrific against New England. The Patriots brought two interceptions back for touchdowns and sacked them a combined seven times. On the bright side, Miami held opposing running backs to just 3.6 yards per carry. Otherwise, this was absolutely pathetic. The Fins look like they would fit right in well in either the SEC East or ACC Coastal division, because they haven’t looked like a team worthy of being in the AFC East.

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Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast

Brand new episode of the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast is here as Chris breaks down this week’s Studs and Sleepers. Check out which players have their draft stock rising and which players are seeing their stock slide. Also make sure you stay tuned for the game to watch this week. Subscribe now on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

The first weekend of NFL action is officially in the books. The defending champs looked unstoppable, Patrick Mahomes was cruising once again, a lot of former No. 1 picks struggled and we got an early game of the year candidate on Monday Night Football. It was a wild first week. The Dolphins look like they will be hard to beat … in the race for the first overall pick. Lots of rookies made debuts. Overall, it was just really nice to have meaningful NFL football back.

With this being just the second week of rankings there is a ton of movement right now, as NFL teams look to establish the new hierarchy for the 2019 season. As a result, we have a completely reshuffled top 10, including a new top team. When I last published power rankings, Antonio Brown was still in Oakland, otherwise the Pats would have been the number one team. Check out where every team stands after one week of NFL games.

Patriots Logo

1. New England Patriots: 1-0 (Last Week: 2)
Talk about dominance. The Patriots looked to be on another level with an incredible showing against the Steelers. Tom Brady was in midseason form. The defense kept Ben Roethlisberger on the run all night and stonewalled the Pittsburgh ground game. In the past, we’ve seen New England take a few weeks to get into gear, but with this performance and the addition of Antonio Brown on the horizon, there is legitimate talk of this team challenging the 2007 Patriots.

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2. Kansas City Chiefs: 1-0 (Last Week: 4)
Turns out Patrick Mahomes was ready to pick back up right where he left off. He tore apart the Jaguars defense on Sunday, while missing his most explosive receiver in Tyreek Hill for majority of the game. Sammy Watkins might like to debate that most explosive tag as well after he put up a ridiculous nine-catch, 198-yard, three-touchdown statline. Kansas City did allow Gardner Mishnew to do a lot of damage after replacing an injured Nick Foles, so there is room for improvement. Also, that LeSean McCoy signing is looking pretty good for them right now after his 81 yards on 10 carries. This offense is flush with playmakers even in Hill’s absence.

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3. New Orleans Saints: 1-0 (Last Week: 3)
That. Was. Stunning! New Orleans rebounded in the best way possible from the awful endings to the past two seasons with an emotional comeback. Drew Brees looked in fine form, despite the uncharacteristic interception early on. The Saints definitely started slow, but played their best when it mattered. There is a lot to like about the pass rush as well with six sacks. Allowing the almost game-winning touchdown on just two plays signals the defense has a ways to go, but escaping with a win is important.

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4. Los Angeles Rams: 1-0 (Last Week: 1)
It was a season-opening win for the Rams, but far from a convincing one. The timeshare at running back actually worked quite well, but Jared Goff did not have his best game. Los Angeles did just enough to hold off a surging Carolina team it had held without a touchdown for the first thirty minutes. This team has a ton of talent and it managed to avoid a complete Super Bowl hangover, but the Rams didn’t look sharp in the process. With a visit from the still probably pretty upset Saints after last year’s game coming up, Sean McVay has a lot of work to do.

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5. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-0 (Last Week: 7)
It was far from a comfortable win for this Chargers team, but it still counts. Los Angeles looked explosive on offense both through the air and on the ground. There are questions to be asked of the defense though that allowed a number of big plays of its own. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson made everyone forget about Melvin Gordon and Philip Rivers played almost flawless, save an incredible interception by Malik Hooker. It was a solid start, but the Chargers will need to play even better to compete with the Chiefs.

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6. Minnesota Vikings: 1-0 (Last Week: 10)
Meet Kirk Cousins, the game manager. Cousins threw the ball 10 times. That’s it. He played the whole game and attempted 10 passes. Minnesota ran the ball 38 times for 172 yards and three touchdowns, including one by Cousins himself. Dalvin Cook flashed the potential he has when healthy and Alexander Mattison impressed in his debut. You might be a bit bummed if you have Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs on your fantasy team, but this ball control offense looks like it might just work. It kept Atlanta out of rhythm and took a ton of pressure off the defense.

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7. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-0 (Last Week: 6)
Slow starts seem to be pretty typical for the Eagles under Doug Pederson. Sunday was no exception as Washington jumped all over the opportunity to build an early lead. Philly stayed the course though and chipped away. If not for a late, meaningless (well it was meaningful in Vegas) touchdown, the Eagles would have capped off a double-digit victory. Carson Wentz played great and Philadelphia ran the ball well. There is still a lot to be desired from that secondary though after allowing Case Keenum and a bunch of unproven receivers to rack up 380 yards.

Packers logo8. Green Bay Packers: 1-0 (Last Week: 12)
If you had told me the Packers were only going to managed 10 points in Chicago, I would’ve expected the Bears to win comfortably. Instead, the Green Bay defense showed up in a big way, holding the Mitchell Trubisky and company out of the end zone. Considering the fact the Pack only managed 213 yards of total offense, that was crucial. It was a slog of a game, but Green Bay’s defense played better than it did at any point last year. The offense will probably pick it up a bit, as pretty much any matchup other than the Bears will be a bit easier.

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9. Chicago Bears: 0-1 (Last Week 5)
Welcome back down to Earth Bears fans. Mitchell Trubisky played like the inconsistent passer we saw during his rookie season with a pick and just 5.1 yards per attempt. Chicago still played lights out on defense, getting to Aaron Rodgers early and often and bottling up the run game. Turns out it was not enough, as the Bears drop to 0-1, shockingly placing them last in the NFC North after one week. They won’t stay there, but the offense needs to find its groove with a trip to Denver coming up.

Cowboys logo10. Dallas Cowboys: 1-0 (Last Week: 15)
Zeke is back and honestly, it might not have mattered with how well the Cowboys played. Dak Prescott tossed four touchdown and threw for over 400 yards. The wide receiving core looked great and Jason Witten even scored a touchdown. The defense was solid, but did get burned a handful of times by Saquon Barkley. The excitement around Tony Pollard definitely dropped off after a tough start to the year. With two forced fumbles defensively, there are a ton of positives for Dallas to take away from this game.

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11. Baltimore Ravens: 1-0 (Last Week: 16)
Wow. That’s probably the best way to summarize Baltimore scoring a franchise record 59 points on Miami. Lamar Jackson looked like Joe Montana picking apart a decent Dolphins secondary. Most of the damage was done in big chunks as well, rather than just grinding down the Dolphins defense. There is not much to criticize from this performance from the Ravens. With Arizona up next, it might be a few weeks before this squad is truly tested.

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12. Tennessee Titans: 1-0 (Last Week: 18)
Where in the world did that come from? Tennessee dominated the Browns in Cleveland for a 43-13 victory. Derrick Henry looked sharp, and Marcus Mariota was solid if unspectacular. The defense was cooking, sacking Baker Mayfield five times and intercepting him twice. It also came up with a safety and a defensive touchdown courtesy of Malcolm Butler. This is the formula the Titans could very well ride to a division title, as Mike Vrabel has the defense playing at a really high level. Back-to-back divisional games will help us figure out if Tennessee is for real.

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13. Houston Texans: 0-1 (Last Week: 13)
The Texans were so close to pulling off a huge opening week win in New Orleans. It was a really tough way to lose, but there is a lot to like about how the Texans played. Deshaun Watson played extremely well and the running game looked really good. However, there is plenty to not like about this performance as well. Watson got battered, taking six sacks, and the run defense was gashed by the combination of Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. Houston also gave up 370 passing yards to Drew Brees. There is still a lot to work out for this newly assembled team.

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14. Pittsburgh Steelers: 0-1 (Last Week: 8)
Losing Antonio Brown definitely hurts the offense, but the defense flat out fell apart in New England. They did nothing to get after Tom Brady and struggled to find any way to slow down the passing game. It is concerning when Phillip Dorsett torches the secondary for a pair of touchdowns. Ben Roethlisberger failed to find the end zone. James Connor never got going with 21 yards on 10 rushes. It was a failure to launch in the worst way for Pittsburgh who can just be thankful the Browns and Bengals lost as well.

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15. Atlanta Falcons: 0-1 (Last Week: 9)
That was far from an ideal way for the Falcons to start the season. Atlanta committed three turnovers and gave up four sacks to Minnesota. Matt Ryan finally turned things around a little bit with some late success, but it was a lackluster performance for the whole team. The Falcons cannot avoid the injury bug either as first round pick Chris Lindstrom hit the IR on Monday. He could return later this season, but that is a blow to an offensive line that struggled a lot last season. A Sunday night game against Philadelphia awaits them and Atlanta would love to avoid a 0-2 hole to dig out of.

Seahawks logo16. Seattle Seahawks: 1-0 (Last Week: 14)
That was a surprisingly close call for the Seahawks. It was mostly due to a questionable showing from the Seattle offense. Russell Wilson took four sacks and the top rushing offense from a year ago managed 2.9 yards per carry. The secondary also got burned twice by John Ross. On the plus side, the defense forced two Andy Dalton fumbles and kept Joe Mixon to pedestrian numbers. Seattle was lucky to win this game, but a win is a win. A trip to face the reeling Steelers is on deck, which represents another tough test.

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17. Cleveland Browns: 0-1 (Last Week: 11)
So maybe the Browns aren’t quite who we thought they were, even if Delaine Walker knew otherwise. Cleveland got steamrolled by the Titans at home in a woeful outing. Baker Mayfield will need to take better care of the football, but the offensive line will need to take better care of Mayfield. After trading Kevin Zeitler for Olivier Vernon during the offseason, the Browns never really replaced him in the starting lineup. Even if there are a ton of targets to throw to, Baker will need more time to get the ball to them. A game against the Jets should make things easier for a team who just got punched in the mouth.

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18. Indianapolis Colts: 0-1 (Last Week: 22)
It’s hard not to play the what if game here with the Colts. It will be hard not to all season. Indy came up just short of taking down the Chargers in overtime. Marlon Mack was great, the defense had a few big plays and Jacoby Brissett was … actually he was pretty good. He didn’t throw for a ton of yards, but he took care of the football and tossed a pair of touchdown passes to T.Y. Hilton. Had Indianapolis won the toss to start overtime, it might have been a different story. The Colts are still a solid team, but definitely do not feel as complete without Andrew Luck.

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19. San Francisco 49ers: 1-0 (Last Week: 21)
Last season, the 49ers had two interceptions as a team. On Sunday, they picked off Jameis Winston three times. Already, this team is surpassing levels from last year. It wasn’t a dominant performance from Jimmy Garoppolo, but he was solid in his regular season return. Tevin Coleman is going to miss some time with an injury though, leaving Matt Breida as the starter. With three straight games against the AFC North coming up, all the teams that lost in Week 1, San Francisco could be a sneaky team to pick for a hot start.

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20. Carolina Panthers: 0-1 (Last Week: 20)
It was a tale of two halves for Carolina. The Panthers managed just three points in the first half, but exploded for 24 in the second. It just wasn’t enough to beat the Rams. Christian McCaffrey was otherworldly again, but Cam Newton had a forgettable day. He had no touchdown passes, an interception and negative rushing yards. Los Angeles forced him to beat them as a passer, which he almost found a way to do in the second half, but it was too little, too late.

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21. Oakland Raiders: 1-0 (Last Week: 26)
What a week for the Raiders. Antonio Brown was suspended, then back in the starting lineup, all for him to end up in New England. That all happened before they even took the field. The play on the field made a lot of people forget about how tumultuous a week it had been off it. Oakland dominated Denver, even if they only won by eight points. Derek Carr proved he has truly figured out Jon Gruden’s system and the offensive line won the night. It did not allow that Broncos’ pass rush to bring down Carr once and opened up some nice running lane for the impressive Josh Jacobs. However, the competition gets much tougher as the Chiefs roll into town for an AFC West showdown.

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22. Jacksonville Jaguars: 0-1 (Last Week: 19)
Hopes of a rebound season under Nick Foles deflated quickly after the newly signed quarterback broke his collarbone. Jacksonville traded for Josh Dobbs on Monday from Pittsburgh as a result. All might not be lost, as Gardner Mishnew played extremely well in relief. He went 22-25 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw one interception, but it was a positive performance for the rookie quarterback. Unfortunately, the Jags defense gave up 40 points to Patrick Mahomes and company, even without Tyreek Hill for most of the game. The season is far from over after one week, but the defense needs to play better.

Denver_Broncos23. Denver Broncos: 0-1 (Last Week: 17)
It was an inauspicious start to the season for Denver. The supposedly vaunted defense was nowhere to be found as Von Miller and Bradley Chubb were held in check by the Oakland offensive line. It was really a debut to forget for Vic Fangio on defense as Derek Carr carved up the secondary. Now the Broncos were down a couple key contributors on that side of the ball, but the Raiders had control of this game from the very beginning. Joe Flacco will need to settle in quickly as this offense looks to find its footing. This won’t get any easier with the Bears coming to town.

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24. Buffalo Bills: 1-0 (Last Week: 25)
It wasn’t always pretty, but a win over a division rival on the road is huge for Buffalo to start the season. Down 16 to the Jets, Josh Allen engineered a big comeback. That retooled receiving core looked pretty solid as John Brown made an immediate impact. There were a lot of early miscues as the Bills committed four turnovers, but bouncing back from that and finding a way to win showed a lot of maturity from an overall young group.

Washington made up logo25. Washington: 0-1 (Last Week: 30)
Nothing like inducing a little panic in a division rival early in the year. Case Keenum balled out in his debut for Washington, with 380 yards through the air. There is some bad news, as Derrius Guice seems to be headed for the bench for a few weeks. There is a decent amount of depth in the backfield though with Chris Thompson, Adrian Peterson and Wendall Smallwood on the roster. They will need a bit more success running the ball after managing just 28 yards on 13 attempts against the Eagles. Still, this was a very promising start for the team despite the final result.

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26. New York Jets: 0-1 (Last Week: 24)
Oh boy. Where to even start here? The defense played lights out for three quarters and even scored eight points. Meanwhile, the Jets offense sputtered and only managed to find the end zone once, despite receiving great field position from a number of forced turnovers. Jamison Crowder and Le’Veon Bell integrated themselves well, but overall this was a major disappointment for the debut of Adam Gase’s offense in New York. Toss in continued kicking woes and the Jets are in midseason form for unresolved issues.

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27. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-1 (Last Week: 31)
Well that was not what most expected of the Bengals to open the season. Cincinnati held the Seahawks relatively in check and showed some explosiveness on offense. John Ross showed up after two years of absolutely nothing with two massive touchdowns. If not for a ridiculous Andy Dalton screw up, the Bengals could have emerged from new head coach Zac Taylor’s debut with a shocking victory. It is a step in the right direction though, as Cincy appears to be much more competitive this season.

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28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 0-1 (Last Week: 23)
We probably just witnessed the beginning of the end for the Jameis Winston era in Tampa Bay. With three interceptions, including a pick-six, and an 8.6 QBR, Winston fell flat versus San Francisco. He actually got some help from his running game, as the Bucs running backs averaged 5.1 yards per carry. The defense wasn’t great, but the pick-six from Vernon Hargreaves was a nice touch. It was a rough start for a Tampa team that had higher hopes for the 2019 season. We will need to see some major improvement across the board.

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29. Detroit Lions: 0-0-1 (Last Week: 27)
Up 15 in the fourth quarter against a rookie quarterback and the team who earned the first overall pick last year. Should be a slam dunk right? Not for Detroit. The Lions underwent a massive collapse, mostly by their own doing. A questionable timeout call and a disappearing act by the defense led to a bitter tie. No one expected the Detroit to be pushing for a playoff spot, but if this is how the team is going to play this season, Matt Stafford and Matt Patricia could be on their way out of town.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)30. Arizona Cardinals: 0-0-1 (Last Week: 29)
It was about as ugly a start as possible to the Kyler Murray era. Then, the former Heisman winner channeled the magic he often found at Oklahoma and led an incredible fourth quarter comeback. Sure it resulted in a tie rather than a win, but there were signs of optimism for that offense. Unfortunately, the defense looks extremely weak. Getting a full strength secondary will make a huge difference, but this is still a talent-deprived roster with a rookie quarterback. Expect growing pains.

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31. New York Giants: 0-1 (Last Week: 28)
So it turns out that trading away your best pass rusher makes it really difficult to stop Dak Prescott. The Giants secondary looked pathetic trying to track down Dallas receivers all game long as Prescott shredded New York for more than 400 yards passing. Some questions certainly arise about Saquon Barkley’s usage as well, mostly that he didn’t get the ball enough. He had 120 yards rushing, on just 11 carries. Just run the ball with him more. Seems like a logical solution. I think the Daniel Jones hype might cool a bit after that debut fumble. The Giants are destined for a top-five pick.

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32. Miami Dolphins: 0-1 (Last Week: 32)
I am tempted to put a few college teams above the Dolphins after that showing. It clear this team is angling for the number one pick and possibly a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Ravens dropped 59 points on the Fins and dominated in every facet of the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen both struggled. No one on defense had an answer for Lamar Jackson, who tore up Miami through the air. With the Patriots on tap next week, things are definitely going to get worse before they get better.

NFL 2019 Week 1 Power Rankings

Welcome back to another NFL season football fans! After the 8-month long drought of meaningful football, we are now just two days away from the season kicking off. This is shaping up to be a very interesting season in the league. It feels like there are very few teams who seem to have no shot at the postseason this year. There will undoubtedly be surprises that very few saw coming. That’s what makes the league so much fun to watch every year.

This year, it feels like there is a pretty deep group of contenders. Picking the top team out of that group is difficult. Ranking the list of contenders is probably even harder. Every team has flaws. There is not a team that feels head and shoulders above the rest. Even the reigning champs have a couple of question marks after the retirement of Rob Gronkowski and departure of high-priced free agents. Yet, I will give it my best shot and fill you in on much of what happened during the offseason for each team. It’s time for the season’s first power rankings to begin.

Rams logo

1. Los Angeles Rams: Lost in Super Bowl
Los Angeles will try to buck the trend of teams who lose the Super Bowl struggling the follow season. New England certainly did, follow up its Super Bowl loss to Philly by taking home the Lombardi. The Rams return the majority of their roster. There was some turnover along the offensive line as both John Sullivan and Roger Saffold departed. However, the front office bolster the defense by keeping Dante Fowler Jr. and signing Eric Weddle from the Ravens. Oh and they also get Cooper Kupp back from injury. LA is far from a lock to win the Super Bowl, but they feel the best positioned to right now.

Patriots Logo

2. New England Patriots: Won Super Bowl
The champs are here. Winning the title and dropping one spot in the power rankings is not too bad when you consider how much roster turnover the Patriots had this offseason. I already mentioned Gronk moving on, but Trent Brown and Trey Flowers also left for greener (lots of green actually) pastures. New England added some savvy veterans like Ben Watson (suspended 4 games), Demaryius Thomas and Michael Bennett. The receiving core has also been bolstered by the conditional return of Josh Gordon. There are certainly holes on this Pats roster and Father Time will catch up with a number of key contributors eventually, by doubting Bill Belichick is a very questionable approach.

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3. New Orleans Saints: Lost in NFC Championship
New Orleans should have been in the Super Bowl and actually caused a rule change this offseason. The Saints return all of its key offensive and defensive contributors. Mark Ingram does depart though after eight seasons in NOLA. This team was explosive to start the season, but really fizzled down the stretch. The lack of proven receiver depth behind Michael Thomas is a major concern, but the addition of Jared Cook at tight end should help alleviate some of the pressure. Latavius Murray also signed on to fill Ingram’s vacated role. If rookie center Erik McCoy transitions well to the pros and the defense takes the next step, the Saints could be hosting an extended Mardi Gras party in February.

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4. Kansas City Chiefs: Lost in AFC Championship
Will Patrick Mahomes replicate his 50 touchdown season? Can he lead the Chiefs to the Super Bowl? Is he the greatest thing since sliced bread? These are just some of the questions floating around Chiefs’ camp coming off their deepest playoff run in 25 years. Kansas City tried to address its woeful secondary by signing Tyrann Mathieu and drafting Juan Thornhill in the second round. KC also allowed Justin Houston to walk and shipped Dee Ford to San Francisco. Bringing in Frank Clark from Seattle should ease those losses, but the defense once again feels like a question mark potentially holding the Chiefs back from a chance at a title.

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5. Chicago Bears: Lost in NFC Wild Card
It is hard to know what to make of the Bears. Chicago shocked everyone by dominating the NFC North last season. It was a great run cut short by a a kick hitting the upright against the Eagles. Mitch Trubisky enters year three without a clear top receiving threat. The collection of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton did just enough to power the passing game. Chicago is very excited about David Montgomery and still returns the best defense in the league, but it is down a few key pieces. Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan both departed in free agency, leaving some holes in the secondary. Da Bears took fliers on Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Buster Skrine to help patch it up. The front seven is still fearsome and should be good enough to mask any weaknesses in that back four.

Eagles Logo

6. Philadelphia Eagles: Lost in NFC Divisional
You know who would really like to make Philadelphia forget about Nick Foles? Carson Wentz. The former North Dakota State star has missed the conclusion of each of the previous two seasons due to injury. Foles stepped in and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win and divisional round appearance respectively. Philly was likely an inexplicable Alshon Jeffrey drop away from a trip to the NFC Championship game as well. Now its Wentz’s turn to show he has what it takes to lead the Eagles deep into the postseason. The backfield is restocked with rookie Miles Sanders and import Jordan Howard. DeSean Jackson is back for another run. The secondary is finally healthy. If Wentz can stay on the field this year, Philly is going to be one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL.

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7. Los Angeles Chargers: Lost in AFC Divisional
It feels like now or never for the Chargers. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekler, Hunter Henry and Mike Pouncey are all in contract years. We’ve already seen that Gordon is not happy about entering the season without a new deal. However, Los Angeles needs to make significant progress from the team that was shelled by New England in the playoffs last year. Some improved offensive line play should definitely help solve that. Thomas Davis also adds a veteran presence to the defense, already boasting a stud pass rusher in Melvin Ingram. The AFC West will be tough, but the Chargers are in a good position to finish on top of the division.

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8. Pittsburgh Steelers: Finished 2nd in AFC North
Even with Antonio Brown in Oakland and Le’Veon Bell in New York, the Steelers actually feel like a more complete team in 2019. Adding Devin Bush, Justin Layne and Isaiah Buggs through the draft gives Pittsburgh some young building blocks. Mark Barron is also an intriguing free agent signing. James Conner and Jaylen Samuel form a solid backfield tandem and the offensive line is among the best in the league. The front seven is among the better groups as well. If the Steelers can finally find some answers in the secondary, expect them back in the postseason this year.

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9. Atlanta Falcons: Finished 2nd in NFC South
No team was more ravaged by injuries last year than the Falcons. With a healthier defense, a retooled offensive line and the return of Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator, I am optimistic about the Falcons this season. They have depth at the skill positions and some intriguing talent on defense. If Vic Beasley can regain some of his 2016 form and Deion Jones and Ricardo Allen pick up where they left off before their injuries, the Atlanta should be a lot closer to what we saw in the back-to-back playoff appearances. Matt Ryan is an MVP-caliber quarterback with one the best receiver cores in the league. Keep an eye on these birds.

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10. Minnesota Vikings: Finished 2nd in NFC North
There is no question 2018 was disappointing for the Vikings. Coming off an appearance in the NFC Championship game (a beatdown though it was), expectations were high for Minnesota. Instead, the Kirk Cousins-led offense sputtered and the defense could not do enough to carry them to the postseason. The Vikings invested a lot of draft capital into the offense and Dalvin Cook should be back in action as well. With possibly the best receiving pair in the league now with Adam Theilen and Stefon Diggs, Minnesota should be knocking on the door of the playoffs once again.

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11. Cleveland Browns: Finished 3rd in AFC North
This is easily the highest I have ever had the Browns in the power rankings to start the season. Cleveland went out and acquired Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon from the Giants this offseason. It also added Sheldon Richardson and Greedy Williams. While many are picking the Browns to win the AFC North, that offensive line has me a little worried, particularly after shipping Kevin Zeitler to New York. And while Baker Mayfield was amazing last year, this will be his first full season as the starter and Freddy Kitchens first full year as the coach. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, but an ample amount of them to be cautious as well.

Packers logo12. Green Bay Packers: Finished 3rd in NFC North
Talk about turnover. The Packers fired Mike McCarthy last year, replacing him with Matt LeFleur. Rumor has it Green Bay will run the ball a bit more this season, a wise choice with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams available to carry the rock. Aaron Rodgers is still trying to find a second weapon to rely on in the passing game behind Davante Adams. If Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Jake Kumerow can finally step up, this offense should get back to where we expect it to be. Defensively, the secondary is deep, but pass rushers are hard to find. The Pack took fliers on ZaDarius Smith and Preston Smith. Rodgers is talented enough to overcome a lot of this, but he could desperately use some help after being stranded for the past several seasons.

Texans logo

13. Houston Texans: Lost in AFC Wildcard
Seem low for the Texans after reaching the playoffs last year? Maybe it is. They had an extremely busy offseason, adding Laremy Tunsil to bolster the offensive line, a move it desperately needed to make. However, it lost Jadeveon Clowney, a blow no matter how you look at it. Elsewhere, Deshaun Watson also needs some help from someone not named DeAndre Hopkins, a task made harder with Lamar Miller suffering a major knee injury. The defense is still one of the better ones in the league, led by J.J. Watt. The secondary took a few hits, but adding Bradley Roby should help mitigate any losses. In a tougher AFC South, the Texans need to play at a high level to make it back to the playoffs.

Seahawks logo14. Seattle Seahawks: Lost in NFC Wildcard
If you are a fan of old-school, smash mouth football, the Seahawks are your team in 2019. With an improving offensive line, the dynamic duo of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny and of course Russell Wilson, Seattle is going retro. It was the only team to run the ball more than it threw it last season. With Doug Baldwin, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor all gone, it is truly the beginning of a new era though. Adding Jadeveon Clowney should help, but it is possible these key veteran departures could be too much for this team to overcome. Even with Bobby Wagner leading the defense, Seattle has some work to do to replace that leadership.

Cowboys logo15. Dallas Cowboys: Lost in NFC Divisional
On one hand, I get it. Paying a running back a ton of money seems like a questionable way to spend cap space. However, this is probably the most complete running back in the NFL we are talking about. Ezekiel Elliott powers that Dallas offense and I would be very wary of them making the playoffs, much less winning the NFC East if his holdout carries deep into the season. Sure there is other talent in Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, but the Cowboys are a bit short on proven skill position players. They are counting on Michael Gallup to take the next step and Jason Witten to pick up right where he left off after a year in the broadcasting booth. Thankfully, the defense does not seem to have too many holes, which should keep Dallas in the mix if the offense sputters.

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16. Baltimore Ravens: Lost in AFC Wildcard
Baltimore had a tough offseason. Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, ZaDarius Smith and Eric Weddle walked away, signing with new teams. The Ravens did fill the void by bringing in Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram, but it wasn’t enough to make it feel like the team had taken the next step. Surrounding Lamar Jackson with talent is the key, but there is no one right now that inspires confidence right now. Marquis Brown is explosive, but Willie Snead and Chris Moore are far from elite receivers. There are a lot of question marks on this offense and more on the defense than we are used to.

Denver_Broncos17. Denver Broncos: Finished 3rd in AFC West
Another year, another quarterback for Denver. This one though has the best resume of anyone since Peyton Manning hung up his cleats. Joe Flacco is no Manning, but he is a former Super Bowl MVP. With Emmanuel Sanders looking healthy, some solid tight ends and two young receivers coming up, this passing game should improve in 2019. Pair that with a lethal defense and this has the makings of a sleeper playoff team. Denver just needs to find a way to survive the juggernauts in the West.

Titans logo

18. Tennessee Titans: Finished 3rd in AFC South
Defense wins championships and Mike Vrabel has built a defense worthy of championship contention. He bolstered the group with veteran pass rusher Cameron Wake. Now if only the offense could find a way to support it. Marcus Mariota is in his finally year of his rookie deal and is out of excuses. He has a better receiving core after Adam Humphries joined this offseason. Derrick Henry is playing better and Tennessee still has Dion Lewis as well. Not having Taylor Lewan the first four games due to suspension is going to be hard, but this is the Titans year to either break through or look at a rebuild.

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19. Jacksonville Jaguars: Finished 4th in AFC South
I’m buying the Jaguars turning things around this year. I know Nick Foles is not going to suddenly become Tom Brady, but he will be an upgrade from Blake Bortles. He has tons of big game experience. Leonard Fournette obviously needs to improve after a rocky season. It also remains to be seen just how good this receiving core is, led by Dede Westbrook. Defensively, Jacksonville is still stacked. Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Yannick Ngakoue, Marcel Dareus, Calais Campbell, Myles Jack and now Josh Allen. This is an explosive group with tons of talent. The Jags feel like the team that could grind their way to a playoff appearance.

Panthers logo

20. Carolina Panthers: Finished 3rd in NFC South
Which Panthers team are we going to see this year? The one that started 6-2 or the one that finished the season 1-7 after that? Much of that will depend on Cam Newton’s health. He has been banged up throughout his career. Carolina can rely heavily on Christian McCaffrey once again, but the difference between the Panthers being a postseason contender or a middling team will be Newton’s health. Luke Keuchley will have even more responsibilities with Thomas Davis gone. Edge rusher Brian Burns is making some early noise, but the corners remain a bit of an unknown. The Panthers are a quality team, but we’ve already seen how inconsistent they can be as a group.

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21. San Francisco 49ers: Finished 4th in NFC West
The 49ers will almost undoubtedly be better in 2019 simply due to staying healthier and being a bit luckier. No one had fewer interceptions than San Francisco did last season and that was after losing Jimmy Garoppolo. With him back, Tevin Coleman and Deebo Samuel making plays and more talent on defense, the Niners are creeping into .500 territory. Make no mistake, this team is still a few pieces away from truly competing. We’ve already seen the struggles for Jimmy G coming back from his torn ACL in the preseason. If Nick Bosa can finally get on the field, this should be a fun team to watch on both sides of the ball.

 

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22. Indianapolis Colts: Lost in Divisional Round
When I started working on this, the Colts were top 10 team. Then Andrew Luck retired. It’s easy to forget this team started last year 1-5. Indianapolis clearly showed what it was capable after that, finishing the regular season 9-1 and beating the Texans in the Wild Card. After boasting the best rookie class in the league last year, the Colts still have things to be excited about, but hopes of a Super Bowl walked out the door with Luck. The addition of Justin Houston gives Indy a proven pass rusher, so maybe the defense can find a way to carry it to another postseason appearance, but I’m not ready to put that much faith in Jacoby Brissett.

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23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Finished 4th in NFC South
Time for the Bruce Arians era. For what feels like the 5th year in a row, there is a flickering of optimism surrounding this team. It still remains to be seen if that optimism will ever result in the Bucs taking a step forward. There is no question Jameis Winston will need to show some consistency this year if he hopes to still be on the roster next season. After an up and down year, Tampa does not feel like a true playoff contender, but should be more competitive in the NFC South.

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24. New York Jets: Finished 4th in AFC East
Years of mediocrity could finally be coming to an end in New York. However, for the Jets are on their third coach in six years, meaning the direction of the franchise has changed once again. They also held onto Mike McCagnan through the NFL draft and then fired him in the middle of the offseason. A fresh start was probably needed, and there is some hope still in the form of Sam Darnold. The other major storyline playing out on Broadway this year will be the return to action for Le’Veon Bell. If he can regain his level of dominance he had in Pittsburgh, perhaps the nine-year playoff drought will finally be snapped.

 

Bills logo

25. Buffalo Bills: Finished 3rd in AFC East
The Bills are not ready to challenge the Patriots quite yet, but there is no question they closed the gap. That has more to do with what happened in Buffalo this offseason and less to do with any developments in New England. Adding John Brown and Cole Beasley should help Josh Allen’s progression. Even after cutting LeSean McCoy, the Bills look much stronger and deeper across the whole offense. Considering this is traditionally a talented defense, perhaps Buffalo can make some noise this year.

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26. Oakland Raiders: Finished 4th in AFC West
It’s hard to know what to make of Oakland. There is no question this team got better during the offseason after addressing a bunch of needs with its three first round picks. There are still some major holes though, as Oakland lacks a proven receiver and still needs help throughout the defense. The Raiders will be more competitive this season without question, but they are playing in a tough division with a roster full of young players. There will be some growing pains.

Lions Logo

27. Detroit Lions: Finished 4th in NFC North
I have been yelling it from the rooftops for years now. The Lions will never be a good team as long as Matt Stafford is the quarterback. Detroit enters another season with a ton of question marks across the roster. It let Ezekiel Ansah walk and replaced him with Trey Flowers, a smart move, but years of poor drafting has left the defense in shambles. Kenny Golladay, Kerryon Johnson and TJ Hockenson should form a solid trio of skill players, but with an average line and not much depth, it looks like another disappointing season is coming in the Motor City.

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28. New York Giants: Finished 4th in NFC East
No team shed more top-tier talent than the Giants this summer, sending Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon to Cleveland and letting Landon Collins walk to Washington. With a porous offensive line and a battered defensive front, it looks like a long year for the Giants. Eli Manning is still the starter, even with Daniel Jones waiting in the wings. This is a massive transitional year for New York that could ultimately decide Pat Shurmur’s fate as the team’s coach.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)29. Arizona Cardinals: Finished 4th in NFC West
If nothing else, Arizona will be a lot more fun to watch this season. Between Kyler Murray taking over at quarterback and Kliff Kingsbury coming in as the new coach, the offense should definitely receive a jolt. The line still isn’t great, but the franchise has turned the corner in it’s rebuild. Don’t expect much immediate success, but success for this team should really be judged by how well it progresses with Murray at the helm. Look for Byron Murphy to play a major role early on as well with Patrick Peterson suspended the first six games of the year.

Washington made up logo30. Washington: Finished 3rd in NFC East
This ranking is not indicative of Washington’s offseason. Landing Dwayne Haskins and Landon Collins give them building blocks to push this team forward. Expectations are low though for any team that plans to start a rookie quarterback at some point. However, there is a lot of potential for this team to outperform those expectations. Derrius Guice is back after he missed his rookie year with a torn ACL. The defensive line also boasts a pair of former first round picks in Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne. Considering how good this team was last year before Alex Smith got hurt, there is still potential for Washington to make a playoff push.

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31. Cincinnati Bengals: Finished 4th in AFC North
If there is anyone stuck in the middle of an awkward transition, it is the Bengals. They are still holding onto the veterans from the previous era who will not be on the team the next time Cincinnati reaches the playoffs. Topping the list of holdovers is Andy Dalton, who is on his last leg with the franchise. Dalton has never won a playoff game and hasn’t made it back to the postseason since crashing out in 2014. That isn’t for a lack of skill position talent with AJ Green, Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd and Giovani Bernard surrounding him, but the Bengals might have the worst offensive line in football other than potentially the Dolphins.

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32. Miami Dolphins: Finished 2nd in AFC East
Speaking of the Dolphins, welcome to the bottom of the pile Miami. That’s what happens when you trade your stud left tackle, starting middle linebacker and most reliable receiver less than a week before the season. Who am I kidding, the Fins would’ve been here anyway. This is a team banking on Ryan Fitzpatrick delivering some of his magic once again, who also brought in Josh Rosen to see what he could do. Miami is the clear frontrunner for the first pick heading into the year and there is a good chance that won’t change much.

2019 NFL Pro Potential Power Rankings

For many college football players, the goal is to have success at school to earn a spot in the NFL. Most players who turn pro after college enter the league via the NFL Draft.

Somehow, this is already the fourth year of these NFL Pro Potential Power Rankings. The player pool being considered still dates back five years, meaning the 2014 class is no longer relevant to these rankings. There was a ton of movement this season, including two new teams in the top five and three new teams to the rankings overall.

The goal of these rankings is to quantify the results of the past few NFL drafts and track which schools succeed year over year at sending players to the next level. This is not meant to determine how well those players perform at the next level, as it is much harder to quantify what constitutes being a successful NFL player. This is still one of the most fun projects I have taken on since starting this site.

Previous rankings: 2018, 2017, 2016

The scoring system is as follows:
1st round-10 points
2nd round-7 points
3rd round-5 points
4th round-4 points
5th round- 3 points
6th round- 2 points
7th round- 1 points

Alabama Logo1. Alabama Crimson Tide- 281 points
Previous: 1 (263 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Amari Cooper, 4th Overall, 2015
Somehow, Alabama is actually stretching its lead at the top of these rankings. After sending another 11 prospects to the league, the most of any school, the Crimson Tide comfortable sits at the top of these rankings. It is ridiculous how far ahead of the pack Nick Saban is every year.

Ohio State Logo2. Ohio State Buckeyes- 229 points
Previous: 2 (232 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Nick Bosa, 2nd Overall, 2019
It was another solid draft class for Ohio State with Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins both going in the first round. The Buckeyes continued its trend of sending massive draft classes with 10 total prospects selected in 2019. Even with Ryan Day taking over for Urban Meyer, there is no chance Ohio State leaves the top two any time soon.

Florida logo.jpg3. Florida Gators- 166 points
Previous: 3 (163 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Dante Fowler Jr., 3rd Overall, 2015
Florida bounced back after an off year in 2018. The Gators 2019 class did not feature any first round picks, but saw a player selected in rounds two through five. Florida is going to need to land some first rounders in the future though if it wants to stay in the top 5.

Clemson Logo4. Clemson Tigers- 158 points
Previous: 6 (139 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Clelin Ferrell, 4th Overall, 2019
This is the type of draft we all knew Clemson was capable of having. With three first round draft picks, the Tigers roared into the top 5 and gave themselves a very good base to build on. Expect Dabo Swinney to continue sending top tier talent to the next level.

Washington Huskies logo.jpg5. Washington Huskies- 140 points
Previous: 11 (112 points)
Highest Drafted Player- John Ross, 9th Overall, 2017
It is time to start recognizing Washington as a top-tier producer of NFL draft picks. The Huskies have had at least one player drafted in the first round in four of the last five drafts. Kaleb McGary becomes the latest to join the group. What pushes Washington into this spot is its success in the second round, with three more second rounders coming in 2019.

Florida State Logo6. Florida State Seminoles- 132 points
Previous: 4 (160 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Jameis Winston, 1st Overall, 2015
It should come as no surprise that Florida State is slipping in these rankings after another tough season in the ACC. The departure of Jimbo Fisher is not going to help matters at all. The Seminoles ranking is heavily tied to its 2015 draft class, which will drop out of consideration in next year’s rankings.

Louisiana State University logo6. LSU Tigers- 132 points
Previous: 5 (155 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Leonard Fournette, 4th Overall, 2017
LSU did produce a top-five pick in Devin White this season. However, White was one of just three Tigers drafted in 2019. While LSU will certainly stay in the rankings producing first round picks, it needs to fill in the gaps in later rounds.

MichiganWolverines8. Michigan Wolverines- 127 points
Previous: 14 (110 points)
Highest Drafted Player-
Michigan put together a solid class to build on the ridiculous class it produced in 2017. Devin Bush and Rashan Gary going in the first round headlined a five-man class. Considering the rate Jim Harbaugh attracts talent to Ann Arbor, the Wolverines should stay in the top 10.

Oklahoma Logo9. Oklahoma Sooners- 125 points
Previous: 18 (90 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Baker Mayfield / Kyler Murray, 1st Overall, 2018 / 2019
Meet the new college football powerhouse in these rankings. Oklahoma became the first school to ever produce two first overall picks at the same position in back-to-back years. Kyler Murray and Marquis “Hollywood” Brown lead a stacked class. The Sooners will continue to rise in the rankings with most of their points being tied to it’s two most recent draft classes.

Georgia Logo10. Georgia Bulldogs- 122 points
Previous: 16 (99 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Roquon Smith, 8th Overall, 2018
Considering Georgia’s success in recent college football seasons, it should come as no surprise Kirby Smart and company crack the top 10. Outside of a very quiet 2017 draft, the Bulldogs regularly send a half dozen players or more to the next level. This season was no exception.

Miami logo11. Miami Hurricanes- 117 points
Previous: 13 (111 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Ereck Flowers, 9th Overall, 2015
This was a quietly solid draft class for Miami. While the Canes did not produce any draft picks before Day 3 of the draft, five players were drafted on Saturday. Miami will certainly hope to land a couple players higher in the draft going forward, but these types of drafts will keep the Hurricanes from dropping out of the top 20.

Stanford Cardinal12. Stanford Cardinal- 116 points
Previous: 9 (115 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Solomon Thomas, 3rd Overall, 2017
Another solid if unspectacular draft class from Palo Alto sees the Cardinal drop from the top 10. Stanford is still very much in the mix, having a player drafted rounds two through six. As long as David Shaw sticks around, so, too, will Stanford in these rankings.

USC logo13. USC Trojans- 114 points
Previous: 10 (114 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Sam Darnold, 3rd Overall, 2018
USC definitely put up a much flashier draft class in 2018, featuring a top-five pick. With a pair of third rounders and a pair of fifth rounders, the Trojans might continue to find themselves outside the top 10. The struggles USC has had on the field reflect the lack of NFL ready talent coming out of Southern California right now.

Notre Dame Logo14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- 110 points
Previous: 8 (116 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Ronnie Stanley, 6th Overall, 2016
In the past, the this part of the rankings has had very small margins. This year is no different. While this looks like a massive drop for Notre Dame, producing an additional second round pick would have held the Irish at 11th instead of 14th. This class has good depth, with six players drafted overall. Considering the Irish regularly feature in the College Football Playoff, they should bounce back.

UCLA logo.jpg15. UCLA Bruins- 100 points
Previous: 7 (126 points)
Highest Drafted Player-
This was a really rough draft class for UCLA, who produced just one player. It was Mr. Irrelevant Caleb Wilson. One seventh round pick does not inspire confidence. A small 2015 draft class might prevent the Bruins from dropping too much next year, but their spot in these rankings will definitely be in question going forward.

Ole_Miss_Rebels_logo15. Ole Miss Rebels- 100 points
Previous: 21 (77 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Laremy Tunsil, 13th Overall, 2016
Ole Miss had a very underrated 2019 draft class. Three second round picks propel the Rebels to the top 15. Even with program turnover, being an SEC team in a good state to recruit should keep the NFL-level talent flowing.

Texas A&M logo16. Texas A&M Aggies- 95 points
Previous: 15 (102 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Myles Garrett, 1st Overall, 2017
The arrival of Jimbo Fisher should stabilize Texas A&M over the next few seasons. He built a juggernaut at Florida State and can likely take credit for a lot of their ensuing draft success. My assumption here is the Aggies will climb in the rankings while the Seminoles slowly slip.

Penn_State_text_logo17. Penn State Nittany Lions- 93 points
Previous: 19 (85 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Saquon Barkley, 2nd Overall, 2018
Another year, another season without a first round pick for Penn State. Saquon Barkley is the Nittany Lions’ only first round selection since 2010. This year, the impact was minimized as Penn State still had six players drafted, one in each round following the first.

1000px-mississippi_state_bulldogs_logo.svg_18. Mississippi State Bulldogs- 86 points
Previous: Unranked (52 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Jeffery Simmons, 19th Overall, 2019
Welcome to the rankings Mississippi State. A massive draft class featuring three first round selections vaults the Bulldogs into the top 20. It was only a matter of time considering the level of success players have had at the NFL level in recent years (Chris Jones, Dak Prescott, Preston Smith). Now teams are heading back to the well earlier and more often. Mississippi State is here to stay.

Auburn_Tigers_logo19. Auburn Tigers- 82 points
Previous: 17 (92 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Braden Smith, 37th Overall, 2018
Without a player drafted in the first two rounds, Auburn filled up the later rounds. Six total Tiger players heard there name called during draft weekend. Auburn remains one of the only teams in the rankings to not produce a first round pick in the past five years. The uncertainty surrounding Gus Malzahn’s future doesn’t help.

iowa_wordmark20. Iowa Hawkeyes – 81 points
Previous: 23 (67 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Branden Scherff, 5th Overall, 2015
Iowa became the first school to have two tight ends drafted in the first round ever. The Hawkeyes quietly produce a lot of NFL talent without usually being in the regular top-25 conversation. Outside of 2016, Iowa has produced multiple NFL draft picks every season.

Utah_Utes_logo20. Utah Utes- 81 points
Previous: 25 (66 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Garrett Bolles, 20th Overall, 2017
Once again, the Utes produced five mid and late round draft picks. Utah is becoming a traditional NFL factory after appearing in these rankings for three straight years. It is unlikely they climb much higher without starting to produce more top-end picks, but the Utes do more than enough to hang onto their spot.

1000px-north_carolina_state_university_athletic_logo.svg_22. North Carolina State Wolfpack- 79 points
Previous: Others Receiving Votes (62 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Bradley Chubb, 5th Overall, 2018
Name the school with the most quarterbacks currently on NFL rosters. If you guessed NC State, well done. Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson (transferred to Wisconsin), Mike Glennon, Jacoby Brissett and now Ryan Finley all have NFL homes. If you are a young quarterback prospect, this might be a good school for you to consider. Let’s not steal the thunder though of Garrett Bradberry, who became the Wolfpack’s second straight first round pick.

Louisville logo23. Louisville Cardinals- 77 points
Previous: 11 (112 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Sheldon Rankins, 12th Overall, 2016
So it turns out Louisville meteoric rise might have been a fluke. The Cardinals dip back down 12 spots, dropping 45 points, after not having a single player drafted this year. The bottom clearly fell out and Bobby Petrino’s firing does not help matters. Louisville could very well be on their way out of the rankings.

West Virginia logo24. West Virginia Mountaineers- 75 points
Previous: Others receiving votes (65 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Kevin White, 7th Overall, 2015
West Virginia continues to live on the fringes of the top 25. A strong regular season led to a reasonable draft class with two third and two fourth round picks. The Mountaineers had a much better draft class than a year ago, but will they be able to build on it with Dana Holgorsen bolting for Houston?

Wisconsin logo25. Wisconsin Badgers- 74 points
Previous: 20 (78 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Melvin Gordon, 15th Overall, 2015
Wisconsin continues to produce a smattering of NFL-caliber players every year. There is no doubt the Badgers have developed a few very successful players in recent years (Melvin Gordon, T.J. Watt, Ryan Ramczyk). However, even with this top tier of talent, Wisconsin continues to lag behind the elite powers in college football. Deeper draft classes in recent years have certainly helped and it is pretty safe to bet on the Badgers staying in the top 25.

Others Receiving Votes: Missouri (66 points), Michigan State (66 points), Oregon (61 points)

Note: All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons