8 teams that should sign Colin Kaepernick

If the 2019 NFL season taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of teams who have neglected the backup quarterback position. The teams that sufficiently addressed it (Kansas City, Tennessee) weathered the storm when their starter was ineffective or hurt. Meanwhile, teams that clearly had no real succession plan (Detroit, New York Jets) saw their seasons unravel with sudden, er, absences at the position. Does mononucleosis count as an injury?

 

colin-kaepernick
Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since 2016 after he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality in America. (Wikimedia Commons)

Finding a backup quarterback is important and there aren’t many players more qualified for the job than Colin Kaepernick. With the NFL admitting it mishandled the national anthem protests in 2016 and commissioner Roger Goodell even going as far as encouraging teams to sign Kaepernick, the door finally seems to be for the former 49ers quarterback to return to the league. Sure, he has been out of the league for a few years, but Kaepernick has the experience and talent to be a spot starter.

Don’t believe me? Let’s compare Kapernick to the league’s average backup quarterback. I compiled every backup quarterback’s stats into this Google Sheet.

On average, the NFL backup completes around 61.1 percent of his passes and averages roughly 6.95 yards per attempt. Additionally, they throw a touchdown on 3.8 percent of their throws while 2.7 percent of their attempts result in an interception. The average backup also has a career winning percentage of 46 percent in the regular season. These numbers look much worse if you remove some of the long-time former starters currently in backup roles like Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub. 

Kaepernick by comparison completed 59.8 percent of his passes for an average of 7.3 yards per attempt. He threw a touchdown on 4.3 percent of his passes and an interception on just 1.8 percent of them. His career regular season win percentage sits at 48 percent. Additionally, Kaepernick has playoff experience, including a Super Bowl appearance. Flacco and Nick Foles are the only current backup quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl.

The biggest knock anyone could possibly have on Kaepernick is his ability to hold onto the ball. He averaged almost eight fumbles per season over his five years as a mostly full-time starter.

If you want to put a label on what Kaepernick represents to the NFL right now in terms of position value, it is a high-end backup. Those averages, which he mostly matches or beats, don’t factor in his running ability either. His mobility is a plus for any team evaluating him. 

Without a doubt, Kap could still cut it in the NFL. Let me make this clear though. I don’t think Kaepernick has what it takes to be a starter in this league anymore. He is 32 and has some mechanical flaws he is not going to fix now. However, he is still good enough to win a game if his number is called. From his workout in 2019, he clearly still has the arm strength and the zip on his throws to make plays. Kaepernick should be no team’s first option, but there are much worse plan B’s. Here are the eight teams that should consider signing Kaepernick for the 2020 season.

Denver_BroncosDenver Broncos
With Drew Lock sufficiently entrenched as the starter for the Broncos, this could be an ideal situation for Kaepernick to work his way back into the league. Denver’s current quarterback room outside of Lock includes Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien and Neal Riley. Driskel is far from a reliable backup having struggled in stints filling in for Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford over the past two seasons. He is 1-7 as a starter and has completed under 60 percent of his passes in his career. It helps that Denver’s current running backs coach Curtis Modkins was the 49ers offensive coordinator during Kaepernick’s final season in San Francisco.

Titans logoTennessee Titans
Few teams had a better quarterback situation last year than the Titans. When Marcus Mariota proved to be ineffective as the starter, Ryan Tannehill came in and worked wonders all the way to the AFC Championship game. With Mariota now in Las Vegas, Tennessee is left with Logan Woodside and undrafted rookie Cole McDonald on the roster. Neither one of them has attempted an NFL pass. The front office made a wise move last year to find a stable backup plan. Kaepernick would give the Titans the same assurances that Tannehill provided for them last year.

Bengals LogoCincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is undoubtedly the future in Cincinnati, but with Andy Dalton now in Dallas, the solution to a Burrow injury is unclear. Ryan Finley tanked in two appearances last season. Jake Dolegala is a fellow second year player who did attempt a pass last season. If Burrow were to go down, there is no one reliable to step in for the Bengals at quarterback. My biggest hang up with Kaepernick joining Cincinnati is I think they need someone who can start this season to ease Burrow into the NFL. I’m not sure Kaepernick quite fits the bill after so much time off.

Patriots Logo

New England Patriots
The Patriots have clearly latched their wagon to the Jarrett Stidham train. I’m not sold on him as the long term answer after only four career passes, but the rest of the quarterback situation in New England is nothing to trust either. Brian Hoyer is back for another stint, but the Pats actually cut Hoyer last season after the preseason, and he struggled in relief of Jacoby Brissett after signing with the Colts. New England’s other two options at the position are Brian Lewerke and J’Mar Smith, two undrafted free agents from the 2020 class. Rumor has it the team is interested Cam Newton, but Kaepernick could also make a ton of sense.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

Arizona Cardinals
No one will be replacing Kyler Murray any time soon. However, when you have a mobile quarterback, particularly one with as slight of a build as Murray, there is always the risk of an injury arising. Arizona’s current backup plan is Brett Hundley. He has more interceptions than touchdowns in his career and a completion percentage south of 60. The only other options on the roster include Drew Anderson and Chris Streveler, both of whom have never attempted an NFL pass. Kaepernick has a similar play style to Murray, even if he cannot replicate the level of production. I could see him being a good fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s modified Air Raid system.

Los Angeles Rams logoLos Angeles Rams
Who is currently backing up Jared Goff? John Wolford, Bryce Perkins and Josh Love are all undrafted free agents L.A. signed over the past two years. None of them have taken an NFL snap. Goff might be one of the least sacked quarterbacks in the league, but the Rams certainly need a better replacement plan if he were to get hurt. Kaepernick might not be the most seamless fit in the Rams system given his struggles as a play-action passer, but I trust Sean McVay to find some creative uses for his arm and legs. Even four years removed from football, he would provide a much more reliable solution if Goff were to suffer an injury. 

Seahawks logo

Seattle Seahawks
Don’t even begin to argue with me that Kaepernick would not be an upgrade over Geno Smith as a backup quarterback. As a Jets fan, I watched him struggle wildly to perform on a consistent basis and regularly commit back-breaking errors in important moments. Luckily for Seattle, Russell Wilson is one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league. Still, finding a better replacement than Smith would be smart. Pete Carroll has been open in his support of Kaepernick, admitting he regrets not signing him previously. The team met with Kap prior to the 2017 season. His ability to extend plays with his legs is not on the same level as Wilson, but he could help Seattle avoid a massive fall off if Wilson were to go down injured. 

Ravens logo

Baltimore Ravens
This last one is less about the team’s need at the position and more about the offensive scheme. Baltimore has the league’s reigning MVP in Lamar Jackson. Though Jackson has proven to be durable and smart about avoiding unnecessary hits, they have a clear backup plan in Robert Griffin III. They even have two young, dual-threat college quarterbacks on the roster behind RGIII. Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley are definitely both project players, but this has the feel of a very sound quarterback room. However, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers while Kaepernick dazzled the football world with two deep playoff runs. I’m not saying Roman would be able rekindle that kind of magic, but given what Jackson has been able to do in this system, I think Kaepernick could find some level of success in a backup role. 

2020 NFL Draft takeaways: Who crushed it and who missed out?

Draft weekend has officially come to a close. It will go down as the most memorable in history for a laundry list of reasons, starting with Roger Goodell’s ever-changing wardrobe and incredibly comfy chair. 255 players heard their names called and 50 or more so players have signed on as undrafted free agents. I think it way too early to start handing out grades on draft classes. It takes about five years to be able to begin appropriately evaluating how teams did.

That being said, I think we can start handing out some winners and losers tags. Balancing filling team needs with taking the best player available. Some teams did that really well. Others, not so much. Here are the teams that crushed the draft and the teams that could have fared better.

Winners:

Cowboys logoDallas Cowboys
Biggest impact: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (17th overall)
Best value: Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah (179th overall)
I think it would be hard to qualify the Cowboys as anything other than the winners of this draft. They landed a top-10 talent in CeeDee Lamb at 17, then filled a major need at great value with Trevon Diggs in the second round. Dallas filled another need with Neville Gallimore, who slid into the third. Reggie Robinson is an interesting smaller school prospect to develop with decent size and speed. Tyler Biadasz has the potential to be a starter this season, which is great to find at the end of the fourth round. Travis Fredrick retired this offseason, so that was a huge hole to fill. I had a second-round grade on Bradlee Anae as well, who fell into the fifth. Taking a flier on a developmental quarterback in the seventh is never a bad idea either. Everyone other than Ben DiNucci has the potential to contribute this year. I think the Cowboys scored a really good core to develop.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)Arizona Cardinals
Biggest impact: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson (8th overall)
Best value: Josh Jones, OT, Houston (72nd overall)
Arizona didn’t overthink things with Isaiah Simmons on the board. It definitely wasn’t their biggest need, but he is an incredible defensive playmaker. The Cardinals had no second-round pick because of the DeAndre Hopkins trade. However, all 32 teams would take Hopkins in the second round in a heartbeat. Josh Jones was one of the biggest steals of the draft. His drop to the third round was stunning. Leki Fotu and Rashad Lawrence help beef up the interior of the defensive line. Evan Weaver will contribute on special teams right away and provides solid depth at linebacker. Nabbing local kid Eno Benjamin in the seventh round was another impressive move to work into the backfield rotation. In two years, this roster has been thoroughly turned over.

Bengals LogoCincinnati Bengals
Biggest impact: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (1st overall)
Best value: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (33rd overall)
Sure they had it easy picking up Joe Burrow, but the Bengals filled some big needs and found solid value down the line. Tee Higgins probably should have gone in the first round and gives Burrow a huge target to grow with. Logan Wilson is quick cover linebacker and no team in the league needed help at the position more than Cincinnati. Akeem Davis-Gaither is a similar player to Wilson, but that isn’t bad thing given how much talent the group lacked. Khalid Kareem should be a rotational player up front capable of eating up plenty of defensive snaps. Hakeem Adeniji is a developmental tackle to work with and Markus Bailey is worth a flier in the seventh. He has some major history, but when healthy, he could be a starting caliber NFL player. There will be a learning curve as the Bengals continue to rebuild, but they have some solid pieces in place now.

Vikings logoMinnesota Vikings
Biggest impact: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU (31st overall)
Best value: Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State (255 overall)
Minnesota let the board come to them, traded back well and reloaded at some key positions. Having Justin Jefferson fall to them was a bit of luck, but trading back and still taking Jeff Gladney was a very skillful move. Ezra Cleveland is a tackle prospect worth developing. He might not be totally pro ready, but he is a future starter. Cameron Dantzler, D.J. Wonnum, James Lynch and Troy Dye are all high-upside players who can provide depth right away. Harrison Hand is an intriguing option on the back end as well. I thought K.J. Osborn was a reach, especially given the other receivers on the board. Kenny Willekes and Josh Metellus were very productive starters in college and well worth kicking the tires on in the later rounds. It wasn’t a very sexy draft for the Vikings, but this sets them up well for this season and beyond.

Ravens logoBaltimore Ravens
Biggest impact: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU (28th overall)
Best value: James Proche, WR, SMU (201st overall)
Very few teams draft as consistently well as the Ravens. Patrick Queen is a perfect fit in a massive position of need and J.K. Dobbins adds another dynamic player to potentially the scariest backfield in football. Devin Duvernay and James Proche are instant impact players at receivers that should work well with Lamar Jackson. Justin Mandubuike is a solid prospect to work with on the defensive line and could eventually take over for the 31-year-old Brandon Williams. Malik Harrison plays downhill and could become an extremely disruptive player in a few years. Tyree Phillips and Ben Bredeson offer offensive line depth too. Geno Stone isn’t a flashy player, but he was really good value in the seventh round. Give Eric DeCosta a lot of credit. This has the makings of a very good class that sets them up really well for the future.

Buccaneers logoTampa Bay Buccaneers
Biggest impact: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa (13th overall)
Best value: Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota (161st overall)
When filling needs meets finding great value, you tend to have a solid draft. Tristan Wirfs is the perfect player to anchor the right side of the line for Tom Brady. Antoine Winfield Jr. is a ballhawking playmaker who should add some explosiveness to an underrated secondary. Ke’Shawn Vaughn provides another dimension to a Buccaneers backfield that has really struggled in recent years. Tyler Johnson provides great depth at receiver after a stellar career at Minnesota. This team got better at important positions and positioned themselves well to compete this year. I don’t need to explain how important that is with a 44-year-old quarterback.

Losers: 

Eagles LogoPhiladelphia Eagles
Biggest surprise: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma (53rd overall)
Biggest reach: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU (21st overall)
Now some of this is personal preference, bordering on being a premature grade, but I was not a huge fan of the decisions the Eagles made in this draft. Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson drew a lot of scrutiny and rightfully so. That was one of the biggest surprises of the first round. Philadelphia then had the biggest surprise of round two by taking Jalen Hurts. Carson Wentz has an injury history, but this team was desperate for receivers, corners and linebackers. Finding a sub-package quarterback given the other holes on this roster is questionable at best. Davion Taylor and K’Von Wallace are solid mid-round picks. The Eagles did eventually find receiver depth in John Hightower and Quez Watkins in addition to trading for Marquise Goodwin. They might have also found a steal in Prince Tega Wanogho. Not taking a corner was a big miss though and waiting until the late third round to take a defensive player could cost Philly in the short term.

Packers logoGreen Bay Packers
Biggest surprise: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State (26th overall)
Biggest reach: A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College (62nd overall)
No team’s draft confused me more than the Packers. Coming off an NFC championship appearance, it was clear Green Bay needed some more reliable receivers and an injection of talent at linebacker. Instead, the Packers traded up to take a project quarterback, despite having one of the best passers in the league. Then they drafted a running back in the second round despite having Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams already on the roster. Josiah Deguara and Kamal Martin finally hit on some needs and Green Bay built a lot of offensive line depth in the later rounds. The fact that the front office didn’t draft a single receiver is shocking. In what was the deepest receiver draft in at least a decade, not finding more options for Aaron Rodgers to work with borders on malpractice in football. This was a perplexing approaching by Brian Gutekunst.

Seahawks logoSeattle Seahawks
Biggest surprise: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech (27th overall)
Biggest reach: Damien Lewis, G, LSU (69th overall)
Seattle stayed true to form, reaching in the first round before taking some high-upside prospects to develop later in the draft. Jordyn Brooks is an enticing player, but I had an early third-round grade on him. I think Darrell Taylor could be a good get for the Seahawks, but they reached on Damien Lewis in the third in an attempt to find some more protection for Russell Wilson. I like Alton Robinson in the fifth round, but Freddie Swain came from off the radar with much better prospects on the board. At least Colby Parkinson and DeeJay Dallas should be solid roll players as rookies.

Bears logoChicago Bears
Biggest surprise: Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane (173rd overall)
Biggest reach: Mooney
It is amazing how different the league feels about the Khalil Mack trade two years later. Given the amount of cap space he takes up and draft capital it took to acquire him, Chicago probably would’ve been better off without the pass rusher. Given that the Bears were already down a first round draft pick, the team decided to take their 10th tight end. Their second pick of the round was much better in Jaylon Johnson at a big position of need. Darnell Mooney was another example of a team passing on better prospects at the position. Kindle Vildor is a really solid add in the fifth, but I can’t get behind waiting to find offensive line help until the seventh round. Chicago just does not seem like it had a great plan in place entering the draft.

Washington made up logoWashington
Biggest surprise: Antonio Gibson, RB, Memphis (66th overall)
Biggest reach: Gibson
It is hard to put Washington in this category after landing a star edge player in Chase Young. However, they didn’t have a great draft after that. With Adrian Peterson, Bryce Love, Derrius Guice and Peyton Barber on the roster, taking a third-down back is a questionable move alone. I didn’t think Antonio Gibson was worth going before the fifth round either. Josh Jones was on the board there, which would have been a great get after not getting a ton in return for Trent Williams. I don’t think Saadiq Charles will be able to fill that void in year one either. There took a couple of fliers on players from big-name programs that often got lost in the shuffle at their respective school. Ron Rivera is a great coach, but I don’t think this set him up super well for success in his first season.

Patriots LogoNew England Patriots
Biggest surprise: Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech (101st overall)
Biggest impact: Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall (159th overall)
Dare I put them in this category??? New England is often playing chess while the rest of the league is playing checkers. This year, it felt like the Patriots were trying too hard to out think the rest of the league. Kyle Dugger is raw, but if anyone can get the most of out his skills, it will be Bill Belichick. Josh Uche should also be a solid situational rusher as well. The Pats overdrafted two tight ends and then spent a fifth-round pick on a kicker that it seemed like no one else was even thinking about drafting. Failing to select a quarterback to develop as part of this class is a little surprising as well. I never thought Belichick would be aggressive in finding a passer, but ignoring the position all together seems like a mistake. You know that Dustin Woodard will be a Pro Bowler within two years though undrafted free agent will turn into Jarrett Stidham’s equivalent of Julian Edelman making me look like a fool for ever suggesting they had a bad draft.

NFL Draft Podcast – AFC Free Agency Primer and Draft Implications

After breaking down the NFC last week, it is time to discuss which AFC free agents will impact the 2020 NFL Draft. The Patriots await Tom Brady’s free agent decision while the rest of the division hopes to close the game and patch up their offensive lines. Tennessee’s incredible run came courtesy of a number of players that are not under contract for 2020. Houston, Indianapolis and Jacksonville all enter free agency with at least one major player it needs to bring back. The reigning Super Bowl champs have to figure out what they will do with Chris Jones. Meanwhile, Los Angeles might need to rebuild its whole offense. In the North, the Ravens have some difficult decisions to make regarding Matt Judon and Michael Pierce. The Browns, Bengals and Steelers all need reinforcements in the trenches. Catch up on all the major pending free agents ahead of the scouting combine! Listen to the latest episode now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
https://anchor.fm/theaftermath

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

The playoff picture is coming into full view now. Well at least the teams that will be in the postseason. The only spot that feels truly undecided is the sixth seed in the AFC. The order is still very much up in the air. There was a lot of movement in the projected seedings with San Francisco losing a stunner at home. We will see a pretty good slate of meaningful games in the final two weeks given that so many teams still have something to play for.

On the flip side, the draft order is going to be very interesting. With the Giants topping the Dolphins, there is now a huge collection of teams with three wins and five wins. The Bengals sit two games clear of everyone else in the running for the top pick. As teams wrap up their years, there is still a lot of potential movement that could occur here. For those not in the postseason, these final two weeks will be just as important with so much still left up in the air.

Ravens logo

1. Baltimore Ravens: 12-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 42-21 vs. New York
The Ravens continue to roll, this time taking care of an injury-riddled Jets team with ease. Lamar Jackson all but solidified his MVP campaign with five passing touchdowns. He also broke Michael Vick’s record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season. This team looks almost unstoppable. The AFC is going to run through Baltimore and that is a scary thing for the rest of the league.

Saints logo

2. New Orleans Saints: 11-3 (Last Week: 3)
Won 34-7 vs. Indianapolis
How do you follow up losing a heartbreaker? Dominating what comes at you next works well. Drew Brees rewrote a good chunk of the record book on Monday Night Football. He is now the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns. He also posted the best completion percentage in a single game in league history. The defense pitched a shutout for much of the night. This version of the Saints could absolutely win a Super Bowl.

Seahawks logo

3. Seattle Seahawks: 11-3 (Last Week: 4)
Won 30-24 at Carolina
It was another less-than-convincing performance from the Seahawks, but they still got the win. Now with the news that Josh Gordon is suspended indefinitely as well, the outlook in Seattle is not as positive as it was maybe two weeks ago. Still, with the San Francisco loss, Seattle now holds the top spot in the NFC. The Seahawks just need that defense to step it up a bit down the stretch. Anything could happen here, but Seattle controls its fate.

Chiefs Logo

4. Kansas City Chiefs: 10-4 (Last Week: 5)
Won 23-3 vs. Denver
Kansas City is humming along right now. The Chiefs have won four straight and remain hot on the Patriots’ heels for a first-round bye in the playoffs. It was far from your typical offensive showing from Patrick Mahomes and company, but the weather was not very cooperative so it feels justified. Travis Kelce played like a beast though and the defense took advantage of an overmatched rookie quarterback. The defense should get a boost too with the addition of veteran pass rusher Terrell Suggs.

49ers Logo

5. San Francisco 49ers: 11-3 (Last Week: 2)
Lost 29-22 vs. Atlanta
Last week, San Francisco outlasted a true NFC contender and took over the top spot in the conference. This week, Kyle Shanahan lost to his former club and the 49ers are back down in fifth. San Francisco still controls its own destiny, but this was the type of game that has me worried about this team’s ability to make Super Bowl run. The pass rush couldn’t get home and Jimmy Garoppolo did not play well enough to make up for it. It was just one game, but this was a major let down.

Patriots Logo

6. New England Patriots: 11-3 (Last Week: 6)
Won 34-13 at Cincinnati
The Patriots got back on track, but had a very rocky start in doing so. New England trailed at the end of the first quarter in Cincy and led just 13-10 at halftime. The defense bailed out another pedestrian effort from Tom Brady (128 passing yards) and the offense. New England’s run game got rolling in the second half, but it was really the defense’s five takeaways that made the difference. While the Pats have a tendency for pulling it together and playing their best ball in the postseason, the offensive concerns just grow by the week.

Packers logo

7. Green Bay Packers: 11-3 (Last Week: 7)
Won 21-13 vs. Chicago
Green Bay is winning ugly and doesn’t seem to care. The Packers had a bit of a scare late in the game from the Bears, but pulled out a third straight victory. This has been a very uncharacteristic season from Aaron Rodgers, who ranks 11th in passing yards and 15th in yards per attempt. He completed fewer than 50 percent of his throws on Sunday as well. Green Bay’s offense is going to need to break out of its funk soon. Week 16 will decide the NFC North as the Packers visit the Vikings on Monday Night Football.

Vikings logo

8. Minnesota Vikings: 10-4 (Last Week: 8)
Won 39-10 at Los Angeles
It looked like Minnesota had brought back the Purple People Eaters in Los Angeles. The Vikings forced seven (!!!) turnovers on Sunday. Now the Chargers might not be world class competition, but it is still a huge confidence booster for the defense. The concern offensively will be regarding the health of Dalvin Cook, who left the game with a shoulder injury. Even before he got hurt though, Cook had started to lose steam. He failed to crack 30 yards rushing in three of his four contests, averaging 3.1 yards per carry in the process. Cook needs to get back on track fast with the Packers coming to town this week.

Texans logo

9. Houston Texans: 9-5 (Last Week: 11)
Won 24-21 at Tennessee
Houston wiped away a lot of the damage it sustained in Week 14’s loss to Denver. Edging the Titans means the Texans are in sole possession of first place in the AFC South. The division is far from locked up though with a rematch with Tennessee slated for Week 17. It was another uneven outing from Deshaun Watson, but this time the defense and ground game stepped up. Consistency is the next step for this team as it looks to lock up a playoff spot.

Bills logo

10. Buffalo Bills: 10-4 (Last Week: 12)
Won 17-10 at Pittsburgh
Sean McDermott has the Bills playing some old school football and it travels well. This game was unlikely to produce fireworks, but Buffalo’s offense ended up being just a little less ugly than Pittsburgh’s. In truth, the Bills defense deserves credit for that, picking off Delvin Hodges four times. Holding the Steelers to 51 yards rushing and recording four sacks didn’t hurt either. If Josh Allen can find a way to play just a little bit more efficiently, this team could make a run at a division title.

Titans logo

11. Tennessee Titans: 8-6 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 24-21 vs. Houston
The second half resurgence hit a bump in the road with the loss to Houston, but Tennessee’s playoff hopes are very much still alive. What is likely more significant is the overall improved play of the offensive line in recent weeks. The Titans are beginning to look like a complete football team, even in the loss. A.J. Brown is starting to look like a steal of a draft pick as well. As long as Tennessee wins Week 17 and Pittsburgh loses in Baltimore, the Titans should reach the postseason regardless of what happens in Week 16.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo

12. Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-6 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 17-10 vs. Buffalo
The wheels fell off this make-shift Pittsburgh offense. I really don’t feel good about putting anyone in this 12 spot. Dallas picked up a big win, but that doesn’t wipe out the past five weeks. Tampa Bay is feeding on cupcakes and Jameis Winston won’t stop throwing interceptions. Los Angeles just got steamrolled by Dallas. Pittsburgh’s defense is the only thing that is keeping them alive right now, but as the offense gets a bit healthier, there is a chance this team could find a bit more balance.

Cowboys logo

13. Dallas Cowboys: 7-7 (Last Week: 18)
Won 44-21 vs. Los Angeles
Talk about getting back on track. The Cowboys blew out the Rams in spectacular fashion. I have been trying to figure out for weeks what is going on in Dallas. The team is mostly healthy with a good young quarterback, a talented offensive line and some great skill position players in Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott. This team leads the league in total offense and ranks top five in points. Defensively, the Cowboys are top 10 in yards allowed and 13th in points allowed. They are sixth in point differential. That should be a recipe for winning more than half your games, but somehow Dallas just can’t seem to get it done in close contests.

Buccaneers logo

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7-7 (Last Week: 15)
Won 38-17 at Detroit
Jameis Winston strikes again. Against a dreadful Lions secondary, the Bucs quarterback threw for 458 yards and four touchdowns. Of course he also tossed an interception, but Tampa Bay is playing a fun brand of football right now, and it’s working. The Buccaneers are winners of four straight, tied for the second longest active streak in the league. This run is a credit to what Bruce Arians is building. No one should want to face Tampa right now.

Rams logo

15. Los Angeles Rams: 8-6 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 44-21 at Dallas
After back-to-back wins, the Rams were firmly in the playoff chase. With the whole team forgetting to show up on Sunday, Los Angeles is now the longest of longshots to reach the postseason. The defense was horrible. It allowed 256 rushing yards and never managed to get after Dak Prescott. The lopsided scoreline lead to Jared Goff throwing the ball 51 times while Todd Gurley got only 14 touches. Sean McVay ran the ball 14 times, three of them with Goff. That formula has been killing the Rams all year long. This team has a lot of soul searching to do in the offseason because LA is built like a contender, but it isn’t playing like one.

Bears logo

16. Chicago Bears: 7-7 (Last Week 14)
Lost 21-13 at Green Bay
Futility set in once again in Chicago as it missed a chance to grab a massive win. Three straight wins had given the Bears hope, but an ineffective offense cost them a fourth. Mitch Trubisky threw the ball 53 times, which is highly questionable. However, Chicago ran the ball 27 times, so it wasn’t like it completely abandoned the run game. This offense needs an infusion of talent along the offense line and some more reliable contributors at the skill positions. Trubisky has certainly struggled this season, but his supporting cast has also been subpar.

Eagles Logo

17. Philadelphia Eagles: 7-7 (Last Week: 16)
Won 37-27 at Washington
Philly keeps finding new ways to win and somehow make me feel worse about its long-term success. Against a paltry Washington side, the defense made Dwayne Haskins look like a Pro Bowler. Offensively, the Eagles played pretty well. Carson Wentz had a really good game despite having no receivers to speak of. Winning with Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is impressive. Wentz does need to solve this fumbling issue that has cropped up in recent weeks. As more starters return, the offense should improve. There might be no hope for this defense though. The showdown to decide the NFC East looms for Philadelphia.

Falcons logo

18. Atlanta Falcons: 5-9 (Last Week: 22)
Won 29-22 at San Francisco
After a dismal first half of the season, Atlanta has really turned things around. It threw the mother of all wrenches into the NFC playoff picture after shocking San Francisco. There have still been some hiccups along the way with lopsided losses to Tampa Bay and New Orleans. However, the Falcons have wins over the Saints, Panthers and 49ers. They are 4-2 in their last six games. Finishing the season with two more wins could save Dan Quinn’s job. With Jacksonville and Tampa Bay on the slate, it is certainly possible.

Browns logo

19. Cleveland Browns: 6-8 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 38-24 at Arizona
This was likely the dagger in the Browns playoff hopes. It was another unpleasant result for Freddie Kitchens and company. Measuring the Browns based on their expectations entering the year will lead anyone to conclude this has been a shockingly disappointing year. If you look at Cleveland’s past though, not regressing is a big step in the right direction. A better offensive line is crucial for this team to finally reach those highs next year. With $51 million in projected cap space and not a ton of free agents, this team is still in position to make the jump.

Colts logo

20. Indianapolis Colts: 6-8 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 34-7 at New Orleans
That was an absolute drubbing. It has become abundantly clear that this Colts offense is nowhere near ready to compete with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. He is not Andrew Luck and he has a much worse supporting cast than Luck likely ever did. T.Y. Hilton has been banged up all year. Marlon Mack has dealt with his own injuries. Eric Ebron, Chester Rogers, Paris Campbell and more are on injured reserve. It is hard to win games when no one is available to play. That being said, this was a blow to morale. The defense looked powerless and the offense had nowhere to turn. Indy is heading into the offseason with a ton of question marks.

Denver_Broncos

21. Denver Broncos: 5-9 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 23-3 at Kansas City
If this was a test, Drew Lock failed miserably. It was a rough outing for the rookie making just his third start, this one in the snow back in the same state he played college football in. He should never have been asked to throw the ball 40 times in this game, but he also looked horrible in the process. He threw one interception, and was lucky that it was only one. This serves as a tough reminder there are going to be growing pains with a young quarterback and that Denver is still a ways from competing in the AFC West.

Chargers logo

22. Los Angeles Chargers: 5-9 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 39-10 vs. Minnesota
For the second week in a row, the Chargers were involved in a blow out. This one didn’t happen to go their way though. The Vikings defense tormented Philip Rivers and company. Rivers threw three interceptions and Los Angeles lost four fumbles. That is a recipe for disaster. The Chargers defense didn’t have its best game either, but it was far from being the problem in this one. Expect a major shakeup to that offense during the offseason.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

23. Arizona Cardinals: 4-9-1 (Last Week: 25)
Won 38-24 vs. Cleveland
Snap. That is the sound of Arizona finally snapping its losing streak. After six in a row, the Cardinals got back in the win column, mostly thanks to Kenyan Drake. He ran all over the Browns to the tune of 137 yards and four touchdowns. It was an important win for the overall rebuilding process of this team. It was a good reminder that Arizona is headed in the right direction. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but this felt good for Kliff Kingsbury.

Panthers logo

24. Carolina Panthers: 5-9 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 30-24 vs. Seattle
Christian McCaffrey is a one-man wrecking crew. Kyle Allen spoiled another incredible effort from Run CMC with three interceptions, but the Panthers only lost by one possession. Allen’s constant inability to take care of the ball along with a struggling run defense are major concerns, but their are some bright spots. DJ Moore had another great game and the defense hit Russell Wilson seven times. This team is already in flux with Ron Rivera’s firing so expectations should be kept fairly low for these final two games. We might even get a chance to see rookie quarterback Will Grier.

Jaguars logo

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: 5-9 (Last Week: 28)
Won 20-16 at Oakland
Gardner Minshew worked his magic and engineered a comeback for the Jags. He almost waited too long, as Jacksonville’s offense essentially did nothing for the first three quarters. Lucky for them, Oakland’s offense went into hibernation after halftime and the defense could not hold up. The win really does not mean a whole lot, but it does point towards Minshew being the starter to open the 2020 season.

Raiders logo

26. Oakland Raiders: 6-8 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 20-16 vs. Jacksonville
I hate to say this was a fitting end to the Raiders time at the Coliseum, but that was about as textbook a choke job as you could get. Oakland held a 13-point halftime lead and posted two zeros on the scoreboard in the second half. As this team prepares to move to Las Vegas, it must hope it can unearth a new defense and some wide receivers in the process. Jon Gruden is not happy and Mike Mayock can’t be either.

Jets logo

27. New York Jets: 5-9 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 42-21 at Baltimore
That was about how you would have expected this game to go for the banged up Jets. The Ravens dominated the first three quarters and once they called off the dogs, Sam Darnold led a pair of scoring drives to provide some false hope to a beaten down team. New York had no answer for Lamar Jackson and continues to add to the list of needs it will have to address in the offseason. Just remember, there were 28 players selected after Darnold and before Jackson.

Washington made up logo

28. Washington: 3-11 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 37-27 vs. Philadelphia
For a while there, it looked like Washington was about to deal a critical blow to Philadelphia’s playoff chances. Even though the defense couldn’t see the game through, the front office has to feel good about the level at which Dwayne Haskins played. He threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns while also showing some running ability. It is hard to peg where this team will go next with an interim head coach and a general manager on the hot seat. However, those issues would seem less significant if Washington knew it was set at quarterback.

Giants Logo

29. New York Giants: 3-11 (Last Week: 31)
Won 36-20 vs. Miami
For the first time in months, Saquon Barkley looked like an All-Pro running back. He finally broke out of his sophomore slump with 112 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns. It was actually a very productive day for Giants skill position players that figure to feature heavily in the future. Sterling Shepard caught nine balls for 111 yards and Darius Slayton hauled in his eighth touchdown of the year. New York might have hurt its draft stock, but snapping a long losing streak has to feel good.

Dolphins logo

30. Miami Dolphins: 3-11 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 36-20 at New York
DeVante Parker made the Dolphins front office look very good on Sunday. Just a few days after signing a big extension, Parker scored two touchdowns. Unfortunately, they were Miami’s only two touchdowns of the game. The ‘Fins have a long way to go, but this team is also identifying pieces it can build around in the future. Given how talent-deprived this roster is, that fact that Miami is even competitive speaks volumes about the job Brian Flores has done this season.

Lions Logo

31. Detroit Lions: 3-10-1 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 38-17 vs. Tampa Bay
Detroit lost its sixth straight game and continue to show how valuable Matthew Stafford is to this club. This team is just crawling towards the finish line at this point. Wes Hill led the team in rushing with 21 yards and David Blough threw two interceptions, including a pick-six. I can’t imagine the Lions expected either of those players to see the field this year, much less be the offensive leaders in a given week. Matt Patricia’s seat has to be feeling awfully warm right about now.

Bengals Logo

32. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-13 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 34-13 vs. New England
For one half, the Bengals looked like they were really going to press the Patriots. Then the second half came and Cincinnati imploded. Andy Dalton threw four interceptions, coach Zac Taylor criticized his receivers and then wide receiver Tyler Boyd questioned the playcalling. Altogether, not a good look. Cincy pretty much has a vice grip on the first pick with New York winning on Sunday. Bengals fans are already dreaming of Heisman winner Joe Burrow.

Follow the Aftermath via email to get every article delivered right to your mailbox. Enter your email in the text box to subscribe. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

Just when we started to feel like we knew what was going on in the NFL, the league threw us a massive curveball in Week 14. We thought the Texans had joined the contenders list in the AFC after beating the Patriots, only to turn up lifeless at home against the Broncos. The Chargers had played close games all year, so naturally they blew out the Jaguars by 35. With the 49ers beating the Saints, the door was open for the Seahawks to seize control of the NFC playoff picture. Seattle ended up being soundly beaten by the rival Rams.

Even Eli Manning added to the fun with a return as the starting quarterback for the Giants. We are also seeing trends we are not used to seeing in the NFL. The Patriots have lost back to back games. Aaron Rodgers had another off week as Green Bay narrowly escaped a scrappy Washington team. The Steelers continue to win despite missing just about every meaningful skill position player. Football is an unpredictable sport, and there are sure to be a few more wrinkles before the playoffs get underway.

Ravens logo

1. Baltimore Ravens: 11-2 (Last Week: 1)
Won 24-17 at Buffalo
Baltimore is now going toe-to-toe with the best the NFL has to offer. During this nine-game win streak, the Ravens have beaten the Steelers, Seahawks, Patriots, Texans, Rams, 49ers and now Bills. Lamar Jackson did not have his best game, but still threw three touchdown passes. Baltimore’s defense is playing at an elite level, holding Josh Allen to 3.7 yards per attempt. That was in addition to racking up six sacks. Until someone can stop these runaway Ravens, they will be glued to the top spot of these rankings.

49ers Logo

2. San Francisco 49ers: 11-2 (Last Week: 4)
Won 48-46 at New Orleans
I will admit that I was skeptical of this 49ers team despite all the wins. I knew the defense was really good, but could they find a way to win if they had to rely on the offense? Clearly, the answer is yes. This was a respectable Saints defense that Jimmy Garoppolo had a lot of success against. He spread the ball around and showed he has developed a connection with Emmanuel Sanders. San Francisco is going to be tough to stop given their ability to adjust from week to week. However, the defense mysteriously disappeared. Drew Brees had five touchdown passes and the 49ers had no sacks in the contest.

Saints logo

3. New Orleans Saints: 10-3 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 48-46 vs. San Francisco
This a bitter pill to swallow for the Saints. Heading into the game, the focus was on how well New Orleans’ offense would fare against a dominant San Francisco defense. Clearly, the Saints forget to prep their own defense for the challenge. Any time you give up 48 points, a lot of things went wrong. New Orleans gave up huge chunk plays and had no way to slow down the running game, as the 49ers gained 6.8 yards per carry. All of this boils down to the Saints giving up the top seed in the NFC.

Seahawks logo

4. Seattle Seahawks: 10-3 (Last Week: 2)
Lost 28-12 at Los Angeles
Maybe I am making too much out of one game, but this was a troubling loss for the Seahawks. The Rams have their number. Los Angeles was just a missed field goal away from knocking off Seattle earlier this year. This time around, the Rams rolled to a convincing win. The Seahawks could not get into the end zone on offense, with their lone trip coming on a pick-six. Again, it was just one game, but this is a bad sign for Seattle come the postseason, where one bad game will end your year.

Chiefs Logo

5. Kansas City Chiefs: 9-4 (Last Week: 6)
Won 23-16 at New England
Kansas City finally won in Foxborough. It wasn’t always pretty, but there is a lot to like about this performance. Patrick Mahomes did not play his best. However, he made enough plays in the first half for the defense to close things out. It was a rough night running the ball as well, making this defensive showing even more impressive. The Chiefs appear to be back on track after some midseason struggles. Assuming Mahomes can get back to full strength, this team will be poised for a deep playoff run.

Patriots Logo

6. New England Patriots: 10-3 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 23-16 vs. Kansas City
Simply stated, New England was outplayed. There is no question the Patriots ended up on the wrong side of a couple of bad calls on Sunday. However, that does make up for what was another poor outing for the offense. Jakobi Meyers dropped passes, Tom Brady missed throws and Sony Michel managed eight yards on five carries. New England has now lost against the other three teams currently leading their divisions in the AFC. Between injuries and declining play, this team is at risk of missing out on a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Packers logo

7. Green Bay Packers: 10-3 (Last Week: 7)
Won 20-15 vs. Washington
It was another questionable outing by the Packers, failing to put away a team it should have battered. Green Bay got off to a hot start, but that quickly fizzled into a slugfest. The passing game continues to underwhelm, as Aaron Rodgers finished under 200 yards passing again. Aaron Jones made up for a lot of that with 134 yards and a touchdown. At some point though, it would be good to see the Packers get back to beating up on teams lower down in the standings, especially starting rookie quarterbacks. Green Bay finishes with three straight divisional games, so the margin for error is going to disappear quickly.

Vikings logo

8. Minnesota Vikings: 9-4 (Last Week: 9)
Won 20-7 vs. Detroit
Minnesota rode its defense to a comfortable victory over Detroit. It wasn’t flashy, but there was never a point where this game felt in doubt. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook did enough to lead the offense, but it would be good to see them pick up the pace a bit. This Lions defense had been one of the worst in the league entering the weekend, so 20 points is far from impressive. With the Vikings still trailing the Packers by a game in the NFC, Mike Zimmer needs to get this group to click in the final few weeks of the season.

Rams logo

9. Los Angeles Rams: 8-5 (Last Week: 12)
Won 28-12 vs. Seattle
For the first time since the Super Bowl, the Rams looked a lot like the team who won the NFC last year. Los Angeles ran the ball 35 times and set up Jared Goff to be comfortable. The heavy run focus allowed Goff to utilize play action against a Seahawks defense that already struggles to rush the passer. Give the defense a lot of credit as well for shutting down Russell Wilson. Seattle failed to reach the end zone on offense, which is a testament to how well Los Angeles played on Sunday night. Suddenly, the Rams are back in playoff contention.

Titans logo

10. Tennessee Titans: 8-5 (Last Week: 11)
Won 42-21 at Oakland
Ryan Tannehill has to win some kind of award for his performance this season. He has led an explosive offense in the second half of the year, highlighted by throwing for 391 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders. With the Texans losing to the Broncos, the possibility for a division title is more real than ever. However, the Titans will get tested in these final three games. Two games with Houston sandwich a visit from New Orleans. Time to see if Tannehill can continue to shine with the pressure on.

Texans logo

11. Houston Texans: 8-5 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 38-24 vs. Denver
In terms of shocking results, this one takes the cake for Week 14. Hosting a Broncos team that has struggled all year featuring a rookie quarterback making his second career start, this should have been a comfortable victory. The Texans beat the Patriots a week ago after all. Instead, the defense made Drew Lock look like a Hall of Famer. Deshaun Watson accounted for three total scores, but he also threw a pair of interceptions. This game was 38-3 before Denver just hit cruise control the rest of the way. This was a colossal failure by Houston, as it lost ground in the AFC and the division.

Bills logo

12. Buffalo Bills: 9-4 (Last Week: 10)
Lost 24-17 vs. Baltimore
A rough day from the Buffalo offense cost it a chance to knock off the kings of the NFL. Josh Allen was ineffective against a talented Ravens defense. On the flip side, the Bills actually did a pretty good job of containing Lamar Jackson. With three games left, Buffalo only trails New England by one game in the division and heads to Foxborough in Week 16 for an AFC East showdown.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo

13. Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-5 (Last Week: 13)
Won 23-17 at Arizona
Pittsburgh held on for another road win with a limited offensive lineup. That is most because defensively the Steelers are playing about as well as anyone else in the league. With five sacks, three interceptions and a punt return touchdown, Pittsburgh made up for a banged up offense. Joe Haden came up with a game-sealing interception for the second week in a row. The race for the final playoff spot is going to be tight between the Steelers and Titans.

Bears logo

14. Chicago Bears: 7-6 (Last Week 15)
Won 31-24 vs. Dallas
Has Mitchel Trubisky finally broken out of his funk? I think its too early to tell, but his play of late has kept the Bears’ playoff hopes alive. He tore apart a woeful Dallas defense. Chicago’s run defense did just enough to limit Ezekiel Elliott, despite giving up two touchdowns on the ground. There is still a long way to go if the Bears are truly going to reach the postseason, but they are not mathematically eliminated yet.

Buccaneers logo

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-7 (Last Week: 18)
Won 38-35 vs. Indianapolis
Jameis Winston has become the league’s ultimate gunslinger. He racked up 456 yards passing and four touchdowns against the Colts. Winston also tossed three interceptions, including a pick-six. Still, he lead Tampa Bay to 17 unanswered points to close the game. One of the most interesting questions to be answered this offseason will be what the Buccaneers decide to at quarterback, because the former Florida State star is quite the conundrum.

Eagles Logo

16. Philadelphia Eagles: 6-7 (Last Week: 16)
Won 23-17 (OT) vs. New York
That was ugly in every sense of the word. The Eagles slept walked through the first three quarters of this game. Philly is about as banged up as any team in football. Greg Ward was the team’s most productive wideout. If it wasn’t for Zach Ertz and Boston Scott, the Eagles would never have been able to make this comeback. This concerning win brings Philadelphia level with Dallas in the division though, meaning the season is far from over. While the Eagles have looked really rough this year, if they can get healthy in time, they might just surprise some people.

Browns logo

17. Cleveland Browns: 6-7 (Last Week: 19)
Won 27-19 vs. Cincinnati
Cleveland avoided the embarrassment of losing to Cincinnati and kept its slim playoff chances afloat. Baker Mayfield had a terrible outing, completing under 50 percent of his passes. He added two interceptions to the mix as well. Thankfully the running game and defense bailed him out. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt both punched in a score, while Denzel Ward took one of Andy Dalton’s passes to the house. The Browns are not playing great football, but this was a solid win.

Cowboys logo

18. Dallas Cowboys: 6-7 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 31-24 at Chicago
The sky is falling in Dallas as the Cowboys fall below .500. America’s team has been a mess in recent weeks, especially defensively. Mitchell Trubisky looked like one of the league’s best passers facing that Dallas secondary. On the flip side, Dak Prescott is moving the ball down the field, but too many drives have come up empty. A late surge made the scoreline look respectable, but this was another beatdown for a team lacking an identity. Despite all the well-documented problems, the Cowboys are still in control of the NFC East.

Colts logo

19. Indianapolis Colts: 6-7 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 38-35 at Tampa Bay
I still don’t know the Colts lost this game. Jameis Winston threw three interceptions, including one that was returned by Darius Leonard for a touchdown. Tampa Bay had no real success running the ball either, yet Indianapolis continued to get burned by Winston through the air, squandering a 14-point second half lead. The path to the playoffs is a lot tougher now as Indy trails Houston and Tennessee by two games. This defense needs to step it up down the stretch if the Colts are going to catch either of them.

Denver_Broncos

20. Denver Broncos: 5-8 (Last Week: 21)
Won 38-24 at Houston
The Drew Lock era picked up a monumental win over the Texans. The Broncos had easily their best offensive game of the year in a thrashing. Lock looked great, as did fellow rookie Noah Fant. Defensively, Denver took its foot off the gas after building a 35-point lead, but this was a real showcase of how good the unit can be. This final stretch could go a long way in building a bright future for the Broncos.

Chargers logo

21. Los Angeles Chargers: 5-8 (Last Week: 23)
Won 45-10 at Jacksonville
Finally, the Chargers featured in a lopsided game. Los Angeles blew the doors off an overmatched Jacksonville squad. Austin Ekeler accounted for over 100 yards rushing and over 100 yards receiving. The contest got so out of hand that Tyrod Taylor made an appearance and threw a touchdown pass. This is the type of showing the Chargers have been waiting for all year long. It is likely too little too late, but it certainly gives them something to build on.

Falcons logo

22. Atlanta Falcons: 4-9 (Last Week: 24)
Won 40-20 vs. Carolina
Once again, Atlanta dominated Carolina. Matt Ryan carved up the Panthers secondary, while Devonta Freeman and Brian Hill turned in solid performances on the ground. With four forced turnovers, this was a complete showing. The struggles for the Falcons this year have been around keeping everyone healthy, evidenced by the latest news that Calvin Ridley is done for the rest of the season. There is talent on this roster, Atlanta just can’t seem to get everyone on the field together.

Raiders logo

23. Oakland Raiders: 6-7 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 42-21 vs. Tennessee
Things have gone sideways in Oakland. After a 6-4 start, the Raiders have lost three straight in incredible fashion. The latest one secured the AFC West for Kansas City. The offense played reasonably well in Josh Jacob’s absence, but the defense has fallen off a cliff. Ryan Tannehill shredded the secondary and Derrick Henry ran all over the front seven. Tennessee is certainly headed in the right direction, but Oakland offered little resistance.

Panthers logo

24. Carolina Panthers: 5-8 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 40-20 at Atlanta
It was another uninspiring day for the Panthers defense. Turns out that firing Ron Rivera did nothing to solve the problems currently facing this team. It is clear Carolina needs Cam Newton back and desperately needs to find some more talent to add to the secondary. Getting blown out by a combined total of 46 points by Atlanta is just a sign of how far this team needs to go in order to get back on track.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

25. Arizona Cardinals: 3-9-1 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 23-17 vs. Pittsburgh
It was a bit of a bounce back for the Cardinals despite the final result. However, the same issues cropped up once again. Kyler Murray took five sacks and tossed three interceptions. Defensively, Arizona played one of its better games of the year, but it was against a decimated Pittsburgh offense. In the end, the errors and inexperience proved to be too much as the Cardinals dropped their sixth straight contest.

Washington made up logo

26. Washington: 3-10 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 20-15 at Green Bay
It was ultimately a loss, but honestly this was closer than Washington ever should have been with Green Bay. There are some brutal stats in this game for Dwayne Haskins and company. Aaron Jones outrushed the entire Washington team and the offense as a whole barely managed over 250 yards. Defensively, Bill Callahan has this team playing the best it has all season. Four sacks coupled with holding Aaron Rodgers under 200 yards passing, Washington has plenty to hang its hat on. Now if only Haskins would start to show signs that he is taking the next step.

Jets logo

27. New York Jets: 5-8 (Last Week: 30)
Won 22-21 vs. Miami
This team is unbelievably banged up. With Le’Veon Bell, Jamal Adams, most of the offensive line and a good chunk of the defense unavailable, this was a gutty performance. On one hand, New York held Miami out of the end zone, giving up seven field goals. On the other, Sam Darnold had an uneven performance, but it ultimately ended in a win. The Jets still have plenty of holes on the roster, but they are starting to identify a decent base to rely on going forward.

Jaguars logo

28. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-9 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 45-10 vs. Los Angeles
Turning the offense back over to Gardner Minshew did not provide much of a spark. The Jaguars got steamrolled at home in an embarrassing meeting with the Chargers. Jacksonville has to do a better job establishing the run and figure out what happened to its once-dominant defense. With five straight losses and a mess of problems, it would not be a surprise to see the team move on from coach Doug Marrone at the end of the year.

Dolphins logo

29. Miami Dolphins: 3-10 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 22-21 at New York
At least Miami knows it has a good kicker. Otherwise, this was a disappointing follow up to knocking off the Eagles the week prior. Ryan Fitzpatrick did his best to power a lackluster offense, leading the team in rushing. It was also a bit ridiculous to not see more of DeVante Parker against a banged up Jets secondary. No one expected the Dolphins to be competitive this season, but now that they have shown the capability, it is tough to stay positive when they drop games like this.

Lions Logo

30. Detroit Lions: 3-9-1 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 20-7 at Minnesota
If there is any team wishing for the season to end right now, it is the Lions. With Matt Stafford and Jeff Driskel hurt, David Blough has been thrust into action. He proved to be outmatched by a good Vikings front seven on Sunday, taking five sacks, including three at the hands of Danielle Hunter. It is hard to judge this team right now given the lack of talent it has to work with, but that doesn’t make the slow crawl to the end of the year any less painful.

Giants Logo

31. New York Giants: 2-11 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 23-17 (OT) at Philadelphia
For one half, it looked like Eli Manning was going to channel some of that mind-boggling magic as he has done so often throughout his career. Instead, the offense flopped in the second half and the defense could not hold on to see the game out. There were some positive signs as Darius Slayton continues to look like a diamond in the rough, but the secondary is still a joke and Saquon Barkley still has not been able to get back into the same groove he was in a year ago. Given how far this young team feels from competing right now, the result is probably a good thing. Chase Young is well within reach.

Bengals Logo

32. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-12 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 27-19 at Cleveland
Cincinnati could not find a way to string together wins, but played tough in the loss. Andy Dalton is clearly not the future at quarterback, but his play relative to Ryan Finley indicates Finley isn’t the future either. This team seems like a lock for a top-two pick, meaning they should have their preference of the current college quarterbacks. There is a very good chance we will see Joe Burrow suiting up for the Bengals in the not-too-distant future.

Follow the Aftermath via email to get every article delivered right to your mailbox. Enter your email in the text box to subscribe. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.