NFL Power Rankings: Rams, Chiefs the class of the NFL
We’re a little past the quarter mark of the season and now a better feel for where all 32 teams in the league are at. Regardless, this was fairly tricky to pin down. Offenses are producing at record paces and less than a handful of teams have separated themselves from the pack. Teams are changing every week and there’s still plenty of football left to play.
1) Los Angeles Rams (5-0)
Nobody can really argue this one. They have all the talent for a run at the Super Bowl. However, their defense hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype. They’ve given up 31 points in each of the last two weeks. If you want to beat them, you’re going to have to outscore them. However, the offense has been downright unstoppable so good luck with that.
2) Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
Not far behind are the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs. It looks like an NFL version of a college style offense and nobody can seem to stop it - not even the Jaguars. KC is coming off of their most impressive team win of the season while the Rams dodged a bullet against the makeshift Seattle Seahawks. The Rams lost some weapons to concussions this week so we could be looking at a new top dog very soon.
3) New Orleans Saints (4-1)
I was worried about them for a little bit. Their defense wasn’t looking anything like it did last year and barely escaped with wins against the Falcons and Browns. My worries have recently faded as they looked like the Super Bowl contenders I knew they could be on Monday Night Football.
4) Cincinnati Bengals (4-1)
It looks like they’ve finally gotten their groove back. AJ Green is off to a rocket start after he felt he didn’t play up to his standards last season. This looks like a completely different team from last year. They finally realized Tyler Boyd is their true #2 receiver so the offense is moving well enough to be ranked 4th in points per game. Cincinnati also ranks in the top half of the league in time of possession, sacks, and interceptions. Star RB Joe Mixon now gets to rejoin the party after being injured the last several weeks.
5) Chicago Bears (3-1)
The last time we saw them was before their bye week when they ran Fitzmagic out of town. Although they lost to the Packers in Week 1, the Chicago Bears have bounced back in a serious way and look like the most complete team in the NFC North. Their defense ranks in the top 3 in sacks, picks, and points allowed. If Mitchell Trubisky can continue to look like the guy that dropped six touchdowns on Tampa Bay, the Bears will be a handful.
6) Carolina Panthers (3-1)
The Panthers continue to churn out the most consistent defenses and running attacks in the league every season. As long as Cam Newton keeps the efficiency up and the turnovers down, they’ll remain a constant threat to New Orleans.
7) New England Patriots (3-2)
The Patriots could easily be #4 on this list but their losses against the Jags and Lions really stand out. I didn’t even have them in my top ten at this time last week but their Thursday night game against the Colts changed everything. Julian Edelman is back, Sony Michel looks like a first round talent, and James White is finally getting the touches he deserves. Josh Gordon made the most of his minimal playing time and has every reason to push Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett for snaps. When that happens, defenses wont be able to double-team Rob Gronkowski anymore. The Patriots face the Bears in Week 7 in a game that will determine the future of this list.
8) Cleveland Browns (2-2-1)
I know I’m going to regret this one. They weren’t going to be on here but I thought about it. Then I thought some more. Just look at their games. In Week 1 they tied with the Steelers when they should have won. In Week 2 they lost to the Saints in overtime. That’s another game they would have won with a more accurate kicker. Week 4 they lost to the Raiders in the worst officiated game I can remember. The Browns have done everything in their power to be a 5-0 team.
9) Los Angeles Chargers (3-2)
Their three wins have come against lowly teams but their only two losses were dealt by the top two teams on this list. They still have a lot to prove to me. The defense has been shaky at best but the offense can compete with anyone. Their upcoming schedule is far from intimidating. All they need to do is stay afloat before Joey Bosa gets back and a playoff spot will be theirs.
10) Minnesota Vikings (2-2-1)
Similar to the Chargers, one of their losses came against the Rams and the tie came against the Packers. They should have lost the Packers game but what they did in the fourth quarter and overtime of that game was still incredible. Unfortunately, that game against the Bills is still weighing heavily on me. The Vikings are currently third in the league in passing yards per game but the defense hasn’t looked nearly as intimidating as years past. The absences of Everson Griffen and Dalvin Cook certainly don’t help. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt for now but they’re on a short leash.
Tough to Rank
Green Bay Packers (2-2-1), Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2-1), Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2), Tennessee Titans (3-2), Baltimore Ravens (3-2), Miami Dolphins (3-2), Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
The Packers and Steelers could easily take the place of the Chargers and Vikings but their losses left a bigger impression on me than their victories. The same goes for the Jaguars. They have the ability to beat anyone but they can also be defeated by anyone.
When I was planning this list a week ago, the Titans were #5. They were winning close games and the defense was suffocating everyone. But when you lose to the Bills and Josh Allen’s 82 passing yards, you plummet down every list. The Dolphins and Ravens were also in my top 10 last week but each took losses in the worst way last weekend.
I absolutely hate that the Falcons are 1-4. They’re in a similar situation as the Browns but luck swung even worse for them. Three of their four losses were one possession games and came against quality teams. The Falcons have still managed to have one of the best offenses in the league even without Devonta Freeman or a Julio Jones touchdown. The defense has been one of the worst in the NFL but that;s what happens when you lose Deion Jones and Keanu Neal on opening night.
MVP: Todd Gurley
Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Mahomes
Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Denzel Ward