Eagles Perched Atop Again, Seahawks Movin' Up
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 (11-1, previous ranking: #2): While the Chiefs clearly have the better special teams units and are way better in that area overall, the Eagles can match them or best them in many other areas, which is why we have them back at No. 1. Can you imagine if the Eagles and Chiefs meet in the Super Bowl? Wow, and it very well could happen.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3, previous ranking: #1): They had won five games in a row before last week’s loss to the host Bengals. And we continue to see how the trade of star WR Tyreek Hill shows up in their passing game, as they don’t have anyone who is a game-changer of who can tilt coverage at that position.
3. Dallas Cowboys (9-3, previous ranking: #3): That’s three wins in a row and victories in five of their last six. However, injuries at cornerback are starting to get concerning.
4. Minnesota Vikings (10-2, previous ranking: #4): They’ve now won 9 of their last 10 games, but none of those wins were by more than 8 points, which is why some people around the NFL still wonder just how good this team is.
5. Buffalo Bills (9-3, previous ranking: #5): While they have won three games in a row, the Bills still don’t look as good as last season. But there’s time to make some improvement to get back to that elite level of play.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4, previous ranking: #8): After an 0-2 start, the Bengals have clearly turned around their season and have survived some injuries to key players from both sides of the ball. And last week’s win over the visiting Chiefs continues to show that the Bengals are getting closer to playing at last year’s elite level.
7. San Francisco 49ers (8-4, previous ranking: #7): While they’ve won five straight games, the loss of starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo (broken right foot) for the season will be devastating for their chances at making a deep playoff run. 7th-round pick Brock Purdy is very limited in several areas of his game, which is why it’s hard to imagine them making a big run in January through the NFC.
8. Miami Dolphins (8-4, previous ranking: #6): They got physically beaten by the 49ers last week, which was a concern coming into the game. Still, the Dolphins should be a playoff team in the AFC and are certainly fun to watch each week.
9. Baltimore Ravens (8-4, previous ranking: #9): The team escaped last week’s game banged up, but at least QB Lamar Jackson’s and ILB Patrick Queen’s injuries aren’t long-term.
10. Seattle Seahawks (7-5, previous ranking: #13): Veteran QB Geno Smith continues to show why he’s the NFL’s most improved offensive player this season. And heck, he should be an offensive MVP candidate.
11. Washington Commanders (7-5-1, previous ranking: #11): They can’t be happy with last week’s tie and the Commanders are now the NFC’s 8th seed. They also face a daunting schedule the rest of the way with games against the 49ers, Giants, Browns and Cowboys to end their season.
12. New York Jets (7-5, Previous ranking: #12): It wasn’t a great performance during last week’s tough loss to the host Vikings and he missed a lot of throws that he need to be more accurate with, but QB Mike White still gives the team enough in the passing game that they should still be able to hang in for an AFC Wild Card spot to the end.
13. New York Giants (7-4-1, previous ranking: #17): This is a well-coached team, which is why they’re still very much in the playoff hunt despite not having enough talent at a few positions.
14. Tennessee Titans (7-5, previous ranking: #10): This team is well-coached, but they are deficient in too many areas to be a solid playoff contender.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6, previous ranking: #15): Their offense is actually tough to watch and has not shown any signs of playing at a consistently high level, which is why they could see a quick exit in the playoffs.
16. New England Patriots (6-6, previous ranking: #14): While their offense showed signs of life a few weeks ago against the host Vikings, it regressed again last week against the visiting Bills. Team can’t make significant scheme changes in-season, but something will have to change in 2023.
17. Detroit Lions (5-7, previous ranking: #20): Don’t look now, but the Lions are just two games back of the final NFC Wild Card spot. However, while they’ve won four out of their last five games, they still have a daunting schedule coming up (vs MIN, at NYJ).
18. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6, previous ranking: #16): Once again, this team continues to underachieve. Sure, their injury situation is problematic, but the Chargers have not come close to expectations that many around the NFL saw for this team.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7, previous ranking: #24): While they haven’t beaten a good team of late, they have won three out of their last four games and the rest of their schedule is favorable enough that it’s not out of the question that they make a push for the final AFC Wild Card position.
20. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7, previous ranking: #22): That’s three wins in a row, but the reality is that it will still be hard for them to make the playoffs based on their daunting schedule that still features games against the improving Steelers, Patriots, 49ers, and Chiefs.
21. Cleveland Browns (5-7, previous ranking: #18): It’s hard to believe they didn’t score an offensive TD but still scored 27 points during last week’s win over the lowly Texans.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8, previous ranking: #19): This team is more talented than it has showed.
23. Atlanta Falcons (5-8, previous ranking: #21): This was a three-year turn around program for GM Terry Fontenot when he took over last year and that not only remains the case, it actually might take four seasons based on the current roster, which lacks enough blue-chip players.
24. Green Bay Packers (5-8, previous ranking: #27): They’re still a longshot to make the playoffs despite last week’s win over the bad news Bears.
25. Carolina Panthers (4-8, previous ranking: #23): Like so many teams on our bottom 10, they lack a future at the quarterback position. Once they figure that out, the Panthers could actually return to the playoff picture, as the roster is actually well above average at many positions.
26. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1, previous ranking: #25): Next season has to be all about developing the quarterback position if they want to have any chance at being a playoff team in the future.
27. Arizona Cardinals (4-8, previous ranking: #26): They’re actually stacked on offense, but can the defense get it together for the stretch run?
28. New Orleans Saints (4-9, previous ranking: #28): The defense has actually improved of late, but the offense continue to decline.
29. Denver Broncos (3-9, previous ranking: #29): The shame of this situation is the story for this team continues to be how the defense keeps them in games but the offense continues to drag them down. It’s almost hard to believe how badly veteran QB Russell Wilson has regressed.
30. Los Angeles Rams (3-9, previous ranking: #30): We haven’t seen such a drop-off from a defending Super Bowl Champion in a long time, but it’s all injury-related. The crazy thing is the Rams over the past three years were the NFL’s healthiest team.
31. Chicago Bears (3-10, previous ranking: #31): What’s surprising is how disappointing head coach Matt Eberflus’s defense is so far. Next year, the front office will have to address the defense in free agency and especially the draft in a significant way.
32. Houston Texans (1-10-1, previous ranking: #32): How in the world that this team won a game this season is actually surprising.
– Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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