2017 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.

I started this project a year ago, ranking each school based on the how many athletes they send to the NFL and how high those athletes are drafted. I only look at the last five years of NFL drafts to keep the sample size manageable. This also reflects modern trends in college football, rather than historic ones. With this five-year rule, that means results from the 2012 NFL Draft are no longer considered. Oregon and Baylor take major hits in the rankings as a result. This is college football we are talking about, so here is the top 25.

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- 253 points
Previous: 1 (225 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Amari Cooper, 4th Overall, 2014
It is good to be king. Alabama just sent one of its most loaded draft classes yet to the NFL, with seven players going in the first two rounds. All that did was stretch the lead atop the rankings for ‘Bama. The Tide have had 10 first round selections since 2013.

Ohio State Logo2. Ohio State Buckeyes- 200 points
Previous: 3 (166 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Joey Bosa, 3rd Overall, 2016
Ohio State isn’t going anywhere. With eight first rounders in the past two drafts, Urban Meyer has turned Colombus into a football factory again. Having moved passed Florida State, the Buckeyes will take aim at Alabama next.

Florida State Logo3. Florida State Seminoles- 192 points
Previous: 2 (183 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Jameis Winston, 1st Overall, 2015
Jimbo Fisher has turned Florida State into a breeding ground for NFL talent. The Seminoles increased their point total with a strong draft class, but didn’t have a first rounder for the first time since 2009. As a result, they drop to three.

Florida logo.jpg4. Florida Gators- 181 points
Previous: 6 (145 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Dante Fowler Jr., 3rd Overall, 2015
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the Sunshine State is churning out pro prospects. The Gators close in on their in state foe while passing up SEC rival LSU. A deep group this season has Florida in the top five.

Louisiana State University logo5. LSU Tigers- 175 points
Previous: 4 (160 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Leonard Fournette, 4th Overall, 2017
LSU sent eight players to the NFL this year, including three first rounders. Yet, the Tigers slide back a spot to round out the top five. Three first round picks in one draft weren’t enough to make up for back-to-back years without a player going in the opening round.

Clemson Logo6. Clemson Tigers- 151 points
Previous: 8 (134 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sammy Watkins, 4th Overall, 2014
Five straight years Clemson has had a player selected in the first round. Only a year removed from a national title and with Dabo Sweeney still calling the shots, there is a good chance that Clemson unseats someone in the top five next year.

Notre Dame Logo7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- 123 points
Previous: 5 (151 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Ronnie Stanley, 6th Overall, 2016
A down year for the Irish on the field leads to a meager draft class and a drop in the rankings. Notre Dame had only two players selected this year, in the second and seventh rounds respectively. Brian Kelly’s group might fall a little more before he rights the ship.

Texas A&M logo8. Texas A&M Aggies- 115 points
Previous: 10 (108 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Myles Garrett, 1st Overall, 2017
Texas A&M makes a small leap in the rankings after seeing Myles Garrett go first overall, followed by four more of his former teammates before the draft was over. The Aggies should continue to rise playing in the ultra-competitive SEC.

UCLA logo.jpg8. UCLA Bruins- 115 points
Previous: 17 (90 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Anthony Barr, 9th Overall, 2014
A huge jump for UCLA sees it move up nine spots after sending six more prospects to the pros. Takkarist McKinley made it two straight years with a Bruin going in the first round. Josh Rosen will likely make it three in 2018.

Stanford Cardinal10. Stanford Cardinal- 113 points
Previous: 7 (137 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Solomon Thomas, 3rd Overall, 2017
Despite Stanford producing two first round picks this year, Stanford falls three spots. That’s because those were the only two players the Cardinal had drafted this year. With that 2012 class that featured Andrew Luck no longer counting, Stanford saw it’s point total dip significantly.

MichiganWolverines11. Michigan Wolverines- 107 points
Previous: Unranked
Highest Drafted Player- Taylor Lewan, 11th Overall, 2014
We all knew it was coming. Michigan roars into the top 25 after sending 11 players, including two first rounders, to the NFL this year. That was the most by any school this spring. With Jim Harbaugh continuing to produce quality players, it would not be a surprise to see the Wolverines nestled into the top 10 next year.

USC logo12. USC Trojans- 105 points
Previous: 11 (107 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Leonard Williams, 6th Overall, 2015
The Trojans had a player selected in the first round for just the third time since 2013. A solid class of five prospects should bolster USC for the near future. Entering the top 10 is unlikely until it starts producing first rounders regularly, but I have a feeling that Sam Darnold should help with that.

Miami logo13. Miami Hurricanes- 98 points
Previous: 14 (92 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Ereck Flowers, 9th Overall, 2015
Don’t look now but the U is returning to its former glory. Success on the field is growing and as a result, Miami climbs closer to the top 10. In the early 2000s, the Hurricanes would have dominated this list. Now, they are sending deep classes to the NFL, just not the star-studded ones of yesteryear.

Washington Huskies logo.jpg14. Washington Huskies- 97 points
Previous: 25 (71 points)
Highest Drafted Player– John Ross, 9th Overall, 2017
The biggest jump of any team from last year’s rankings belongs to Washington. John Ross made it five straight years that a Washington player went in the first round. The difference from previous classes is that there were several more Huskies that followed. As a result, Washington finds itself in the thick of the top 15.

Georgia Logo15. Georgia Bulldogs- 96 points
Previous: 9 (125 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Todd Gurley, 10th overall, 2015
Georgia has been very hit or miss with recent draft classes. After producing five prospects last year, including first rounder Jarvis Jones, the Bulldogs had just one player drafted this year. Fifth rounder Isaiah McKenzie was the lone Georgia player in the 2017 draft. Georgia’s fall in the rankings is reflective of that.

Oregon logo16. Oregon Ducks- 88 points
Previous: 13 (101 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Marcus Mariota, 2nd Overall, 2015
It is unbelievable that Oregon is envious of Georgia’s draft class, but when not a single Duck gets drafted, that’s what happens. I guess when Chip Kelly left, all of the blue chip prospects disappeared with him. The likelihood is that Oregon will continue to fall.

Oklahoma Logo17. Oklahoma Sooners- 87 points
Previous: 12 (106 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Lane Johnson, 4th Overall, 2013
The Sooners fell pretty hard in these rankings and seemed poised to continue to do so. Oklahoma has not produced a first round pick since Lane Johnson in 2013. Good for them they have produced a ton of players drafted in rounds four through six or they would already be off the list.

Missouri logo18. Missouri Tigers- 86 points
Previous: 21 (81 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sheldon Richardson, 13th Overall, 2013
Missouri hasn’t exactly been competitive in the SEC of late, but it continues to send highly valued prospects to the NFL. Charles Harris represented the only player from Missou selected this year, which likely means that the Tigers are due for a drop come next year.

Louisville logo19. Louisville Cardinals- 85 points
Previous: 18 (88 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sheldon Rankins, 12th Overall, 2016
Only producing two players this year in the sixth and seventh rounds certainly hurt the Cardinals, but with Louisville looking like a team on the rise, there could be more prospects on the way to bolster its ranking. Still, the Cardinals could be in for a sharp drop in a couple of years with its 2014 class accounting for more than a third of its points.

Wisconsin logo19. Wisconsin Badgers- 85 points
Previous: 15 (92 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Melvin Gordon, 15th Overall, 2015
A really solid 2012 draft class accounted for much of Wisconsin’s success a year ago and with how tight the points are in the middle of the table, it shows. Wisco drops four spots, but now has a good base to build from with two first round picks in 2017.

UNC logo.jpg21. UNC Tar Heels- 84 points
Previous: 22 (74 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Mitchell Trubisky
You would think that having the second overall pick in the draft would correlate with a big jump up the rankings. Instead, North Carolina moves up just one spot, but seems set to climb higher. A deep class this year consisting of six players should keep the Tar Heels in the top 25 for the foreseeable future.

West Virginia logo22. West Virginia Mountaineers- 83 points
Previous: 16 (90 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Kevin White, 7th Overall, 2015
This is my pick for the school most likely to leave the rankings next year. With West Virginia’s 2013 class consisting of five players taken in the first three rounds and just one player drafted this year in round five, the Mountaineers would need a stellar draft next year to keep them in the conversation.

Michigan State logo23. Michigan State Spartans- 75 points
Previous: 20 (87 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Jack Conklin, 8th Overall, 2016
The Spartans slid a little with just two players selected in 2017. A rough season for Michigan State in 2016 could seal its fate for the future of these rankings. Still, East Lansing has produced more than its fair share of Day 2 selections, which could keep them alive.

Utah_Utes_logo23. Utah Utes- 75 points
Previous: Unranked
Highest Drafted Player- Star Loutelilie, 14th Overall, 2013
Utah is quietly becoming a football school. The PAC-12 is improving each year and NFL teams are noticing. Washington has climbed the rankings. Utah has it’s niche now. Colorado is a candidate to join a in the future. The Utes have produced several mid-round selections headlined by the occasional first rounder; a solid recipe for success.

Auburn_Tigers_logo25. Auburn Tigers- 74 points
Previous: Others Receiving Votes (66 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Greg Robinson, 2nd Overall, 2014
After just missing the rankings a season ago, Auburn snags the final spot. A solid if unspectacular 2017 group pushed the Tigers over the hump. Tennessee is knocking on the door though and could push Auburn out if its draft success does not improve.

Others Receiving Votes: Tennessee- 66 points, Penn State- 65 points, Ole Miss– 62 points, Arkansas- 59 points

Note: All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

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2016 NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

Cowboys logo1. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 1)
How bout them Cowboys? Dallas became the first team to clinch a playoff berth for 2016 edging out the Vikings on Thursday night. Minnesota has clearly been slumping but it was a very solid performance from the defense.

Patriots Logo2. New England Patriots (Last week: 2)
The Pats got another solid win at home, but with the news that Rob Gronkowski is out the rest of the season, New England has considerably less hype surrounding then they did a week ago. Trust Belichick and Brady to keep this group moving along, but it is certainly a blow to their Super Bowl chances.

Raiders logo3. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 3)
Oakland is the surprise story of the AFC this season. (I would say NFL, but the Cowboys.) Derek Carr is in the MVP conversation and this defense is finding it’s groove. Jack Del Rio is definitely headlining Coach of the Year discussions.

Chiefs Logo4. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 4)
Someone tell Eric Berry to stop being so mean to Matt Ryan. The Chiefs’ safety bailed Kansas City out with a pick-6 and a pick-2 to seal a win. Next up is a visit from Oakland on Thursday to decide control of the AFC West and maybe the AFC.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 7)
No one cares if it’s unorthodox if it results in a win. Pittsburgh has won three straight and has a chance to control their own destiny with three divisional games still on the slate. The Ravens lead the division right now, but the Steelers possess more firepower to get it done.

Falcons logo6. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 5)
Brutally tough loss for Atlanta sees them only move down one spot. The Falcons moved the ball very consistently against one of the best defensive units in the league. If they clean up the mistakes, they should close out the NFC South.

Seahawks logo7. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 8)
Will the real Seahawks offense please stand up? Seattle came off a total dud against Tampa to blow out Carolina 40-7 on Sunday Night Football. Thomas Rawls looks healthy, but Earl Thomas is likely done for the year. Seattle remains a bit of unknown as the playoffs approach.

Ravens logo8. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 10)
Where did that come from? After failing to score 20 points in their last two games, Baltimore drubbed Miami 38-6. The division race is tight, but the Ravens are still in the driver seat.

Lions Logo

9. Detroit Lions (Last week: 12)
Matt Stafford torched the Saints’ defense to earn the Lions a fourth straight win. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am not a fan of Stafford, but I have to acknowledge when he does well. Detroit has a tough final four games standing between them an a division title.

Denver_Broncos10. Denver Broncos (Last week: 6)
This might seem strange to see the Broncos drop four spots after a win. Denver outlasted Jacksonville in a defensive struggle, but Paxton Lynch continued to struggle. If Trevor Siemian is unable to play at points down the stretch, the Broncos will be in trouble against a legitimate contender.

Buccaneers logo11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 15)
Luppino is ready to talk playoffs. The Bucs are the possessors of the final wildcard spot in the NFC after this weekend. An interesting final four games against Carolina, Dallas and New Orleans twice allow Tampa to control their own destiny with wins.

Packers logo12. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 13)
Don’t look now, but the Packers have won back-to-back games in commanding fashion. Even if it was the Eagles and Texans, these were two games that the Pack needed to win to keep playoff hopes alive. They are only a game back of the Buccaneers for the final wildcard spot, and a tough final stretch for Detroit means that the division is not out of reach.

Giants Logo13. New York Giants (Last week: 11)
The Giants were thoroughly outplayed Sunday against the Steelers. The defense held its own for the most part, but the offense struggled and continued to give New York headaches. The running game is non-existent and Eli Manning is struggling to win games for this team. Don’t be surprised if the Giants collapse to miss the postseason.

Washington made up logo14. Washington (Last week: 14)
That was a tough loss for Washington. They got dealt a bad hand, playing on the road in Arizona against a team desperate for a victory. Playoff hopes are still alive, but dwindling.

Dolphins logo15. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 9)
Well back to reality. The Dolphins’ six-game win streak came to an end in Baltimore in disappointing fashion. Miami allowed 38 points and now that win streak looks rather flimsy when you consider the only win against a team with a winning-record was Pittsburgh without Ben Roethlisberger.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)16. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 21)
Don’t get your hopes up quite yet. Arizona got a big win against Washington, but a playoff run is highly unlikely here. Four straight wins would push Arizona to 9-6-1. The Cardinals would need to knock off New Orleans, Seattle and Los Angeles, plus get some help from elsewhere.

Vikings logo17. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 16)
The roller coaster ride that is the 2016 Minnesota Vikings continued in Dallas with a tough two-point loss to the NFC leaders. Mike Zimmer should be back after having eye surgery, but playoff hopes are quickly slipping through Minnesota’s fingers.

Bills logo18. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 17)
Buffalo gave Oakland a run for its money in the first half. Unfortunately, the offense stagnated and the defense fell apart. The Bills still have an outside shot at the playoffs coupled with an easy final four games. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Miami and the Jets all represent winnable games for Rex Ryan’s crew.

Saints logo19. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 18)
Not what New Orleans expected for sure. Drew Brees failed to throw a touchdown pass. The running back committee failed to do much. The defense is a joke. The Saints have a lot of offseason concerns to address.

Chargers logo20. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 19)
2016 will be remembered as a season of what ifs for San Diego. They will look to turn the page in their franchise history with a move to LA next summer. If this team is healthy next year, the AFC West might be the best division ever.

Colts logo21. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 24)
Say what you want about how week the AFC South is, but the Colts are right in this thing. Indy blew out the Jets, which isn’t much, but it was a good confidence booster going into a slate of divisional games down the stretch. Oh and Dwayne Allen seems to be back.

Texans logo22. Houston Texans (Last week: 2o)
Another deflating loss for Houston. This team has needed a quality win all season, and continually fail to get it. They still hold a lead in the AFC South, but Tennessee and Indy are right on their heels.

Titans logo23. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 23)
The week off sees Houston lose, giving the Titans’ playoff hopes a little boost. Tennessee has a chance to knock off an AFC elite team in the next two weeks in either Denver or Kansas City to show they mean business this year.

Eagles Logo24. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 22)
Remember when the Eagles were 3-0 and the hottest team in football. Carson Wentz doesn’t. The rookie quarterback only threw one interception in his first five games. In his last seven, he has tossed ten passes to the other team. This is a Philly team in transition, but the second half of this season has still been a disappointment so far.

Bengals Logo25. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 26)
The Bengals showed a flash of their 2015 form, where they made the playoffs and won the AFC North. A dominant performance against Philly doesn’t really mean very much right now after the season they’ve had. Mark my words, this team will be back in 2017 ready to compete for a playoff spot.

Panthers logo26. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 25)
Carolina is apparently still hungover after losing the Super Bowl. Cam Newton looks pedestrian compared to the MVP version we saw last year. The defense is banged up and it is time for the Panthers to start thinking about next season.

Bears logo27. Chicago Bears (Last week: 27)
There is some promise brewing in Chicago. Jordan Howard looks like the real deal. Cameron Meredith is turning into a solid receiver. The defense is coming together. Yes it was a win over the 49ers, but any step in the right direction is a good one.

Rams logo28. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 28)
Somehow, Jeff Fisher received a contract extension. Expect the Rams to be bad for the next two years and for Jared Goff to continue to struggle in an offense that lacks talent. Also if someone finds 2015 Todd Gurley, please let me know. My fantasy team could use him.

Jets logo29. New York Jets (Last week: 29)
Well, at least they took the field? The Jets got absolutely demolished on Monday night football. The bright side? Bryce Petty will start the last four games so the organization can see if they have their future quarterback on the roster. That’s as close to a bright side the Jets can get.

Jaguars logo30. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 30)
They hung in their with Denver, but it was another disappointing loss for Jacksonville. Gus Bradley should probably start packing his desk. Blake Bortles continues to look lost and has yet to cut down on the turnovers. This is a young team, but the results have been disappointing.

49ers Logo31. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 31)
If I’m a betting man, I’d say that San Francisco makes a move to draft a quarterback in the first round in April. Colin Kaepernick was beyond pathetic. Blaine Gabbert wasn’t much better. This team has no one to turn to right now. Chip Kelly should probably just head back to Oregon.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
The Browns didn’t lose for the first time this season. They also didn’t play, but you have to take what you can get. Reports point toward Robert Griffin III playing in Week 14 against Cincinatti. This might be Cleveland’s best chance to win in 2016 at home against their division rival. If not, it looks like 0-16 for the Browns.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
Another week, another dominant victory. Tom Brady is a legitimate MVP candidate despite missing the first four games of the season. Jamie Collins might be gone, but this defense should keep humming along. Revenge against Rex Ryan is always nice too for Bill Belichick.

Cowboys logo2. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 2)
The Cowboys have played half of their schedule and have a 2.5 game lead over the rest of the NFC East. Overtime was required for Dallas to oust Philly, but the 4th quarter Dallas put together cannot be overlooked. The biggest question now is who deserves Rookie of the Year, Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliot.

Denver_Broncos3. Denver Broncos (Last week: 6)
Three weeks ago, Denver had lost two straight and seemed to be slipping. Fast forward to now where they sit at 6-2 with solid wins over Houston and San Diego. The Patriots have the early lead, but the Broncos are hanging around in the AFC.

Raiders logo4. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 9)
The Raiders actually lead the AFC West right now, but a matchup with Denver on Sunday will decide who gets that designation. Oakland won this weekend despite setting a record for the most penalties in a game. That’s impressive, but also concerning.

Falcons logo5. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 10)
Talk about a fourth quarter comeback. Atlanta slowed down the Packer offense in the second half and moved themselves to 5-3. Atlanta has shown that they are going to be competitive this year against anyone.

Chiefs Logo6. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 7)
Somehow, the Chiefs are in third place in the AFC West with a 5-2 record. That’s a testament to just how good this division is this year. Even if Alex Smith and the backfield are banged up, Kansas City has always won with defense and will continue to going forward.

Seahawks logo7. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 3)
Seattle has only one win against a team with a winning record so far this season. A tough road loss to the Saints means that the Seahawks return home for a Monday night matchup with the Bills at 4-3-1. AKA not where anyone thought they would be right now.

Vikings logo8. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 4)
The loss to the Eagles seemed like an anomaly, until Minnesota laid an egg on Monday Night Football. It might have been a divisional game, but a loss to the Bears really hurts. The Vikings suddenly look like a team with a lot of question marks on the offensive side of the ball.

Packers logo9. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)
Green Bay came within about a minute of beating the Falcons for what would have been an impressive road victory. Considering that Ty Montgomery, James Starks and Randall Cobb were out with injury, the Packers had a strong offensive showing. Minnesota’s loss leaves the Packers just a game out of first in the NFC North, but they need to be much more consistent down the stretch.

Eagles Logo10. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 8)
It was a solid week, but still a loss to a division rival. Dallas now has a commanding lead in the NFC East halfway through the season. Carson Wentz is still playing well, but the ground attack could use a bit of a boost.

Washington made up logo11. Washington (Last week: 13)
A tie over in London wouldn’t suggest for Washington to move up, but after losses by both Arizona and Detroit, this seems fitting. Washington is still right in the mix for a wildcard spot in the NFC, with this offense leading the way averaging the third most yards per game.

Giants Logo12. New York Giants (Last week: 14)
New York took the week off and as a result moved into second place in the NFC East. However, the Giants have some offensive issues to solve. They rank last in rushing yards per game and are scoring fewer points per game than the Browns. Ben McAdoo has some work to do.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)13. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 11)
Arizona fell on the road against Carolina, showing that they really are just an average team. The Cardinals rank 18th in points per game but sixth in points per game. Time for what can be a high powered offense to catch up to its defense.

Lions Logo

14. Detroit Lions (Last week: 12)
Detroit had a chance to take down a slumping Texans team but instead find themselves at .500 at the midway point of the season. A matchup with the reeling Vikings will show us if this was just a bump in the road after a three-game win streak for the Lions, or a sign of things to come.

Chargers logo15. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 15)
All of the statistics in the world point to the Chargers being a good team, except for their record. San Diego’s upcoming schedule of Tennessee, Miami, Houston and Tampa Bay does give them a good chance to turn that around though.

Saints logo16. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 21)
Finally, the Saints got a win against a quality opponent. It has been a rough start to the season for Sean Payton’s group, but the NFC South is still wide open, as is the NFC as a whole. The defense looked better this week, allowing fewer than 27 point for the first time since week 2.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo17. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 18)
There are rumors that Ben Roethlisberger might be closer to returning than we initially thought. Big Ben coming back to the Steelers offense makes them a force again in the AFC. And with the rest of the division slumping, Pittsburgh has to feel pretty confident.

Bengals Logo18. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 17)
Washington moved up but Cincinnati is moving down. The Bengals had a chance to force a tie atop the AFC North with Pittsburgh, but could not find a way to get the win in London. Cincy has a bye week to attempt to regain its 2015 form.

Texans logo19. Houston Texans (Last week: 23)
Someone please explain the Houston Texans to me. After looking completely helpless in Denver, Bill O’Brien turned his team around to take down a red-hot Lions team. Houston isn’t good, but they are probably good enough to win the AFC South.

Ravens logo20. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 19)
A week off gave the Ravens time to recover from the four game slide they are currently on. The division is still wide open, but Joe Flacco need to find a way to jumpstart the 26th ranked scoring offense in football.

Bills logo21. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 16)
And they are back to normal. Just two weeks after claiming a spot in the top 10, Buffalo is now back in the bottom half of the league. Back-to-back divisional losses where your defense looks helpless will do that to you.

Titans logo22. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 27)
Tennessee is very quietly sitting at .500 through the halfway point of the season. It has already surpassed its win total for 2015 and sits just a game out of first place in the AFC South. How the Titans do in this next four game stretch, with three of them on the road, will decide the outcome of their season.

Dolphins logo23. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 22)
The Fins got a week off, which have been the last thing they wanted. They had won two in a row and Jay Ajayi was on fire. Next week brings a matchup with the Jets to avoid the AFC East cellar.

Buccaneers logo24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 20)
How Tampa failed to win on Sunday is almost mind-boggling. Oakland committed 23 penalties and still beat the Buccaneers. Overall, not a good look. Winston has nine interceptions in seven games. That number needs to come down if the Bucs want to compete.

Panthers logo25. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 26)
Finally a win for the Panthers gets them back on track. Sitting at 2-5, Carolina still has a long way to go before they can really say they have righted the ship, but this was step one.

Colts logo26. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 24)
Andrew Luck needs to start getting some help. He has played well in the first half of the season for the Colts, but the lack of a run game and a pathetic defense continue to plague the Colts. Allowing 28.8 points per game means that Chuck Pagano might not have his job for much longer.

Jets logo27. New York Jets (Last week: 28)
Two straight wins for the Jets over AFC North teams puts them at 3-5. Being down 20-7 at halftime with Ryan Fitzpatrick completing 3 of his 12 passes for 30 yards will not work most weeks, so Todd Bowles has a lot of work to do to prep this team for Miami.

Rams logo28. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 25)
The Rams have shown flashes of being a competent team this season, with wins over the Seahawks and Buccaneers. But inconsistent play along with poor coaching has this team in flux as it tries to find an identity.

Bears logo29. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
Chicago just got a statement win for John Fox against Minnesota. It won’t really do much for them this season, as they sit at 2-6 right now, but it is a huge boost for the future. Jay Cutler played the best football we’ve seen him play in some time and Jordan Howard tore apart a very good Vikings defense. This gives the Bears something to build on.

Jaguars logo30. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 29)
Another rough week for Jacksonville. The Jags were blown out through three quarters until they scored late to make the game seem competitive. Gus Bradley is on the hot seat and he knows it. I think these next two weeks against Kansas City and Houston will decide his future.

49ers Logo31. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 30)
Now the only one win team in football, San Francisco needs to find some offensive weapons not named Carlos Hyde. This season seems pretty far gone and Chip Kelly has to be thinking about next year at this point, most notably about which quarterback he would like to draft in April.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
There was hope for Browns fans for a good chunk of Sunday. But then that completely disappeared and the Cubs beat the Indians. Now, Browns fans are facing a Game 7 with a possibility of blowing a 3-1 lead in the World Series. We all know how quickly the sports world tends to forget about that.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
New England took advantage of the Steelers missing Ben Roethlisberger. LeVeon Bell was contained. As was Antonio Brown. Tom Brady continues to look sharp. This division looks like it still belongs to the Patriots.

Cowboys logo2. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 4)
Dallas moves up due to the ineptitude of the Seahawks and Vikings, even though they were on a bye. The Cowboys return to action Sunday night against Philly for a chance to control the NFC East.

Seahawks logo3. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 3)
It is hard to find too many positives from a 6-6 tie. At the same time, Seattle’s defense looked outstanding throughout the entire game. Limiting David Johnson’s big plays and making Larry Fitzgerald a non-factor. That defense will get tested again this week with a trip to the Super Dome to play the Saints.

Vikings logo4. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
The last of them falls. Minnesota is no longer undefeated and Sam Bradford looked mediocre this weekend. That does not wipe out what he has done to this point, but reminds us all that he is prone to this type of outing from time to time.

Packers logo5. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 6)
He didn’t need to say it this time around, but the Packers relaxed and turned in a phenomenal second half to soundly beat the Bears. Green Bay hasn’t solved everything, but they are suddenly just a game out of the NFC North lead though and look like they are heading in the right direction.

Denver_Broncos6. Denver Broncos (Last week: 8)
Denver got back on track Monday night with a quality win over Houston. The defense did not allow a touchdown. C.J. Anderson ran well and Trevor Siemian did just enough to propel the Broncos to a win. The AFC West looks deadly right now.

Chiefs Logo7. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 10)
Kansas City hung on for a solid home win over New Orleans on Sunday. Between Spenser Ware, Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West, the Chiefs have an embarrassment of riches. Alex Smith is still driving this bus and its working for Andy Reid’s team.

Eagles Logo8. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 11)
Speaking of Andy Reid, his former offensive coordinator Doug Peterson just knocked off the last undefeated team in the league. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but that Eagles defense is looking better every week.

Raiders logo9. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 12)
It’s hard to place Oakland. They have a mediocre point differential, but lead the AFC West with five wins. If the season ended today, they would have a bye to the divisional round of the playoffs. With four divisional games left this year, the West if far from won.

Falcons logo10. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 5)
I gave Atlanta something of a pass last week following a two-point loss. This week’s loss was only three points, but it was at home having been outscored 16-3 in the second half and overtime. The Falcons aren’t in free fall, but they need to start closing out games.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)11. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 13)
Well not losing is better than losing. But winning is better than not winning. Arizona had a number of chances to win at home against Seattle. That would’ve been a huge win for divisional purposes. Instead, Arizona is .500 through seven weeks.

Lions Logo

12. Detroit Lions (Last week: 18)
That’s three straight for the Lions, who suddenly have a winning record. A trip to see a struggling Houston outfit gives Detroit a chance to stretch this win streak to four. Running back is still a revolving door, but the Lions have a shot right now.

Washington made up logo13. Washington (Last week: 7)
Like I said, Washington probably isn’t the number seven team in the league. They proved that this week with a fourth quarter collapse against Detroit. Matt Jones continues to be streaky and that Jordan Reed injury needs definitely limits this offense’s potential to be successful.

Giants Logo14. New York Giants (Last week: 14)
Now above .500, the Giants are still in the basement of the NFC East. Coming back from London with a gritty win is huge, especially heading into a bye. If anyone needs to get healthy it’s New York.

Chargers logo15. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 20)
Another week, another sign that the beginning of this season was just a fluke. Even without Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen, San Diego is finding ways to win. This is easily the best team under .500 in the league right now.

Bills logo16. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 9)
Nothing like a road loss to a division rival to bring you crashing down to Earth. Buffalo has solid wins over New England and Arizona, but losses to the Jets and Dolphins now. The other two wins came against the 49ers and Rams. Not a great resume for the Bills.

Bengals Logo17. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 21)
It was Cleveland, but a win nonetheless. Cincy finally bounced back and got a big win. The Bengals are now just a game back of the AFC North lead with the Ravens reeling and the Steelers missing their quarterback. Cincy ranks fifth in total yards per game, but 23rd in points per game. The offense needs to start converting.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo18. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 16)
Landry Jones played about as well as Pittsburgh fans could have hoped once he settled down after his first quarter interception. The Steelers looked competitive for most of the game with a very good opponent. They still lead this division, but they are going to need to win some games before Big Ben returns.

Ravens logo19. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 17)
Six yards. That’s how many rushing yards the Ravens could muster this week in New York. Joe Flacco also tossed two picks against a weak Jets secondary. Baltimore has lost four in a row and has a lot of questions to answer going forward.

Buccaneers logo20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 22)
Tampa Bay overcame a slow start to blowout San Francisco. The running game continues to thrive no matter who is taking the handoffs. The Bucs are just a half game back of the Falcons for the lead in the NFC South. Let that sink in.

Saints logo21. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 19)
The Saints are third in the league in scoring offense, and last in scoring defense. New Orleans has been trying for years to fix this defensive unit. They are wasting away the last years of Drew Brees’ career as they continue to lose in shootouts.

Dolphins logo22. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 25)
Jay Ajayi is still running now as you read this. In the last two weeks, Ajayi has ripped off 414 yards and three touchdowns. Miami heads into a bye week only a game under .500 and with their backfield likely figured out.

Texans logo23. Houston Texans (Last week: 15)
That comeback win against Indy feels like a long time ago for Brock Osweiler. He has completed just 58 percent of his passes and owns a yards per attempt average of 5.7. Osweiler has also committed 13 turnovers in seven games. Houston, we definitely have a problem.

Colts logo24. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 24)
Indy has been far from perfect this year. They’ve frequently been far from good for that matter, but the Colts are just a game out of first place. If Chuck Pagano’s group makes the playoffs, it will be because they won the very weak AFC South. And based on how the offensive line and defense are playing, they won’t get very far.

Rams logo25. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 23)
It was a promising start in the new city. Now suddenly the Rams are back below .500. A week off after an unsuccessful trip to London gives Los Angeles time to recover, but it does not solve their quarterback issues. Case Keenum had four interceptions Sunday, including a pick six.

Panthers logo26. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 26)
This is the best one-win team in football. It’s true because it means that Carolina is better than Chicago. Jonathan Stewart will be back but the real problems are on the defense. The Panthers are 26th in passing defense and 29th in scoring defense.

Titans logo27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 27)
Well being .500 was fun while it lasted. Tennessee continues to struggle to take that next step. This is a very young team with a lot of building pieces. DeMarco Murray gives this chance to control games, but when you lose the turnover battle as the Titans have, it is really tough to win.

Jets logo28. New York Jets (Last week: 29)
It was a bounce back game of sorts for the Jets. The defense came up with some big takeaways and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith played mistake-free football. Fitz seemed pissed about being benched. That kind of fire could be good for New York going forward.

Jaguars logo29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
Will Blake Bortles of 2015 please show up? Through the first six games he has played, Bortles has nine touchdowns and interceptions. Through his first six games last year, Bortles had thrown 13 touchdowns to only seven picks. Jacksonville sinks and swims with their third year passer.

49ers Logo30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 30)
A good start marred by a pathetic collapse. San Francisco has a lot of problems on defense. They are third to last in yards allowed and second to last in points allowed. The most staggering stat though might be that the 49ers are allowing 185 yards rushing per game. That is 45 more yards per game than Cleveland, who has the second worst mark. If Chip Kelly wants to find a place to improve, that would be a good one to start.

Bears logo31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
The Bears were competitive in the first half with Green Bay, until Aaron Rodgers regained his form and tore the defense apart. Everyone knew that it was going to take a little time for John Fox to turn this team around, but there haven’t been many bright spots to point to a promising future.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
If you are still reading this, all you need to know is that the Browns lost again and that because the Cavaliers are back that Cleveland fans have stopped caring about football.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

Patriots Logo1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
The AFC East (other than the Jets) had a good weekend, and the Pats certainly led the way. There were some questionable miscues from the defense and special teams, but nothing to really be concerned about.

Vikings logo2. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
A week off lets the Vikings bask in the glory of being undefeated. Leslie Frazier has this defense operating at a very high level and the offense is playing turnover free. That’s a winning formula.

Seahawks logo3. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 4)
It was a win but Seattle almost blew a major first half lead against Atlanta. Arizona is on tap and a win there would put Seattle in the driver’s seat for the rest of the season in the NFC West.

Cowboys logo4. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 9)
Five in a row heading into the bye week is perfect for these red hot Cowboys. Dak Prescott finally threw an interception, but Dallas got a very solid road win at Lambeau. Oh and Zeke Elliot leads the league in rushing. Good draft class for Jerry Jones.

Falcons logo5. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 6)
Even with a loss, Atlanta actually moves up in the power rankings. The Falcons got the short end of the stick on a no-call at the end of the game in Seattle. You can’t blame it all on that, but Atlanta held their own in Seattle.

Packers logo6. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)
Another week another question mark for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers looks pedestrian at best. The running game has disappeared and that defense finally broke in an embarrassing home loss for Green Bay.

Washington made up logo7. Washington (Last week: 12)
Is Washington really the number 7 team in the league? Probably not but they’ve won four in a row, including two divisional games. With so many of the top teams losing, its hard to justify them anywhere else.

Denver_Broncos8. Denver Broncos (Last week: 7)
The Chargers are better than their record indicates, but the Denver offense had a poor showing this week. Denver would drop more if it wasn’t for the parity in the league right now.

Bills logo9. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 13)
Make that four in a row for Rex Ryan’s crew. An absolute thrashing of the 49ers this weekend moves the Bills to 4-2 with chances to climb higher.

Chiefs Logo10. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 14)
It wasn’t always pretty, but that’s just how the Chiefs play football. Kansas City silenced the division rival Raiders and even though Oakland has a better record, the Chiefs look headed in the right direction.

Eagles Logo11. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 8)
Talk about coming back down to Earth. After a 3-0 start, Philly has dropped two straight. Both were by one score or less so no need to panic, but the expectations for Philly have been curbed.

Raiders logo12. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 10)
I mentioned last week that Oakland’s defense was lackluster. Well this week so was the offense. A 16-point loss to the division rival Chiefs at home definitely stings. Oakland, despite it 4-2 record, has a point differential of -11. Not good.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)13. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 16)
Even if it was just the Jets, Arizona got back to .500 with a beatdown on Monday night. David Johnson scored three touchdowns and is third in the league in rushing. That defense had two picks and limited the Jets to three points. Now the real test comes with a visit from Seattle.

Giants Logo14. New York Giants (Last week: 18)
While still in the basement, the Giants got a big win at home this week. More importantly, Odell Beckham Jr. finally showed up. He had a career-high in yards and two 60-plus yard touchdowns, including the game winner. This was the type of win New York needed to banish some of their old demons.

Texans logo15. Houston Texans (Last week: 19)
Houston pulled off the comeback of the week with a home win over the Colts in overtime. Finding yourself down 17-3 at halftime isn’t reassuring, but a win is a win no less. It keeps the Texans atop the AFC South and knocks down their biggest challenger for that title.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo16. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 3)
It might be time for panic mode in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger will miss an estimate 4-6 weeks with a torn meniscus. And the Steelers got thoroughly beaten by Miami, whose only other win was against Cleveland. Not a great look, especially when you allow a 200-yard rusher either. Oh and the Patriots are visiting this weekend. Good luck Landry Jones.

Ravens logo17. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 11)
This time the offense showed up, and the defense dropped the ball. That’s two straight losses for Baltimore. Things would be worse if it wasn’t for the unexpected turn Pittsburgh just took. This could be the Ravens division now.

Lions Logo

18. Detroit Lions (Last week: 20)
After looking down and out two weeks ago, the Lions are suddenly at .500. Both wins were solid, but Detroit has yet to show any signs of stability. If we see that, then this might be a playoff contender.

Saints logo19. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 24)
The Saints defense still looks terrible, so it’s a good thing that Drew Brees hasn’t lost a step. The New Orleans signal caller threw for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns. Unfortunately, the defense also allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter. Sean Payton can’t win every shootout.

Chargers logo20. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 26)
San Diego got a much need win against division rival Denver, breathing some life into their playoff aspirations. That might sound crazy because they are 2-4, but Philip Rivers could carry this team into the wildcard conversation.

Bengals Logo21. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 17)
Another week another deflating loss for Cincy. The Bengals came out strong against New England, only to fade in the second half. Cincinnati has scored 109 points so far this year, tied for the third worse mark in the conference.

Buccaneers logo22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 22)
A week theoretically let the Buccaneers get healthy, until word came out that Doug Martin suffered a setback. Jameis Winston needs to step up now and show that he has taken that step from his rookie to sophomore year.

Rams logo23. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 15)
Never doubt Jeff Fisher’s ability to coach his team to a .500 record. Two straight losses look bad, but Case Keenum had a good day and found Kenny Britt all day long. If Todd Gurley ever got rolling like he did last season, Los Angeles could hang around in this wildcard picture.

Colts logo24. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 21)
The Colts had Houston right where they wanted them, and then blew it. A win would’ve put Indy in a three-way tie atop the division with the Texans and Titans. Instead, the Colts’ coaching staff still has to figure out how to close games and protect Andrew Luck, two things they have struggled with in the least three seasons.

Dolphins logo25. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 30)
After proclaiming that Miami hit rock bottom a week ago, the Dolphins came back and shocked the Steelers. Yes it was without Ben Roethlisberger, but Jay Ajai ran for over 200 yards and the ‘Fins can say they aren’t the worst team in the AFC East.

Panthers logo26. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 23)
Carolina cannot seem to string together two consistent weeks of football. Cam Newton returned to jump-start the offense, but the defense allowed Drew Brees to have a field day. At 1-5, the Panthers look like they did two years ago where all Newton did was pout and walk out of pressers.

Titans logo27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 29)
Don’t look now, but the Titans just hit the same number of wins through six weeks as they did all of last season. And they are only a game out of first place in the AFC South (man that division sucks). I’m not sold yet, because this was a two-point win over the winless Browns, but things are looking up for Tennessee.

Jaguars logo28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
They barely squeaked out a win in Chicago, but Jacksonville does move to 2-4. This team has struggled to find an identity so far, as it can’t seem to effective run the ball and continues to turn it over. Gus Bradley still has a lot of work to do with this group.

Jets logo29. New York Jets (Last week: 25)
If you didn’t think it could any worse, it did. The Jets mustered on a field goal and both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith threw interceptions against Arizona. Smith is set to start this week at Baltimore, but it probably won’t make a difference for this floundering Jets team.

49ers Logo30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 27)
Back to the basement is where San Francisco finds itself now. A blowout on the road in Buffalo certainly was not the way Colin Kaepernick wanted to debut this season, but he was probably an improvement over Blaine Gabbert. Chip Kelly is searching for answers, but it is clear that this team is in full scale rebuild mode.

Bears logo31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
Chicago blew another one against an AFC South opponent. Brian Hoyer continues to play mistake free, but the offense is still ineffective. At least they seem to have a couple of nice pieces in Jordan Howard and Cameron Meredith.

Browns logo32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
It can only go up from here. Cleveland lost again, this time in a comeback attempt that just came up short. In other news, LeBron looks great in the preseason and the Indians are on the brink of a World Series appearance. And it’s not all bad for the Browns, they have Terrelle Pryor. Once healthy, this Cleveland team should be more competitive. Until then, it’s going to keep being ugly I think.