Soaring To The Top
ITB's NFL Power Rankings: Eagles Claim Top Perch
In our weekly NFL team rankings, we’ll grade them by:
– Current Injury Issues
We don’t subscribe to the theory that a team with a lesser record can’t be ranked higher than a team with a better record. It’s about how they look as of now based on the criteria listed above:
1) Philadelphia Eagles (4-0, previous ranking: #2): As our top-ranked team, the Eagles also have perhaps the NFL’s best roster and their coaching staff has done a very good job so far of preparing the players for each game.
2) Buffalo Bills (3-1, previous ranking: #4): Gotta credit them for coming back from a 17-point deficit to beat the host Ravens last week. However, the injuries in their secondary are a bit concerning.
3) Kansas City Chiefs (3-1, previous ranking: #3): They are only down slightly in scoring through the first four weeks comparative to last season (1.25 points, down .5 TDs per game), which is encouraging considering the loss of star WR Tyreek Hill.
4) Dallas Cowboys (3-1, previous ranking: #8): Don’t sleep on the Cowboy defense, which might be the NFL’s best. Can they score enough points, however, once QB Dak Prescott returns?
5) Green Bay Packers (3-1, previous ranking: #7): They barely beat an undermanned Patriots team last week, but the Packers, as most of us knew, would be a top-10 team this season. Can they win in the playoffs? QB Aaron Rodgers will have to find a way to trust his mostly young WR corps.
6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2, previous ranking: #1): They are still very banged up at WR, which is why their scoring is way down this season (down 8.5 points per game, 1.25 TDs per game). Even so, their defense will keep them very competitive most weeks.
7) Miami Dolphins (3-1, previous ranking: #5): The status of QB Tua Tagovailoa is concerning, but the talent level overall on this team is good enough to be a playoff team.
8) Baltimore Ravens (2-2, previous ranking: #8): Tough loss last week, but this team is better than their record indicates.
9) Minnesota Vikings (3-1, previous ranking: #14): As one of the NFL’s most improved teams, the Vikings certainly will push for an NFC Wild Card spot this season.
10) Cincinnati Bengals (2-2, previous ranking: #12): This team is starting to play much better after a slow start. They’ll be in the thick of the AFC North divisional race the entire way.
b Cleveland Browns (2-2, previous ranking: #10): They have the NFL’s best running game, but veteran QB Jacoby Brissett’s limitations started to show up last week.
12) San Francisco 49ers (2-2, previous ranking: #16): A great win over the division-rival Rams, but the 49ers still are a bit offensively challenged (down over 8 points per game over the first four).
13) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2, previous ranking: #11): You can throw out last week’s game based on the weather. This is clearly one of the NFL’s most improved teams and they have a very good young roster.
14) New York Giants (3-1, previous ranking: #33): I felt this team would overachieve this season due to their superior coaching staff. It’s hard to imagine they’ll be a playoff team, but you have to appreciate the mental toughness of the players. The front office will need to add a talent infusion next year if they want to make the playoffs year after year.
15) Los Angeles Rams (2-2, previous ranking: #6): They are way down in scoring over last year through four games (nearly 14 points per game). They have big injury concerns on their OL and are not dominating on defense like we normally see.
16) Los Angeles Chargers (2-2, previous ranking: #17): Their offense really rebounded last week despite some tough injuries they continue to deal with. However, over a period of weeks, it’s going to be hard to overcome those player losses.
17) Tennessee Titans (2-2, previous ranking: #26): They are finding a way to score despite having very little speed on offense. And the defense is actually improving despite various injury issues.
18) Denver Broncos (2-2, previous ranking: #15): Tough blow with the loss of second-year RB Javonte Williams, but at least QB Russell Wilson played better last week.
19) New England Patriots (1-3, previous ranking: #25): Give them credit for almost pulling off a huge upset down 2 QBs last week.
20) Arizona Cardinals (2-2, previous ranking: #19): They look pretty much like what most expected they would look like; up and down and nothing more than an average team.
21) New York Jets (2-2, previous ranking: #31): They had a heck of a win last week against the host Steelers, but losing 4 OLs this season is going to be challenging to overcome. If they can protect second-year QB Zach Wilson, the Jet offense actually might wind up being one of the most improved in the NFL.
22) Atlanta Falcons (2-2, previous ranking: #28): HC Arthur Smith always has his players prepared well and competitive each game, but they are still very undermanned on both sides of the ball.
23) Seattle Seahawks (2-2, previous ranking: #29): Journeyman QB Geno Smith has stunned a lot of NFL observers, which is why this team has been so competitive so far. Can it continue?
24) Las Vegas Raiders (1-3, previous ranking: #32): Their defense has major issues on the back end, but their offense will keep them in a lot of games.
25) Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1, previous ranking: #23): This team is underachieving, but HC Frank Reich has shown resiliency in the past.
26) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3, previous ranking: #27): Making the switch at QB hopefully will jump-start their passing game, which has looked well below the standard that HC Mike Tomlin is looking for.
27) Chicago Bears (2-2, previous ranking: #21): Their defense is keeping them in games, but until second-year QB Justin Fields starts to play much better, they’ll be a well-below-average team.
28) New Orleans Saints (1-3, previous ranking: #13): This team has surprisingly regressed on both sides of the ball. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but the absence of former HC Sean Payton obviously is an issue.
29) Carolina Panthers (1-3, previous ranking: #18): Until QB Baker Mayfield starts to play at a significantly higher level, the Panthers won’t even approaching being close to an average team.
30) Washington Commanders (1-3, previous ranking: #24): They have one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines and it continues to show each week.
31) Detroit Lions (1-3, previous ranking: #24): Incredibly, they are the #1 scoring team in the NFL, but are also giving up the most points per game.
32) Houston Texans (0-3-1, previous ranking: #30): As the clear worst team in the NFL, they’ve earned this ranking.
– Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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