ITB Power Rankings: Can Jags Late-Season Surge Carry Into Postseason?
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. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3, previous ranking: #1): While they might not have the NFL’s best roster, they sure have the best QB and best offensive play-caller and designer. Oh, they certainly have the fewest number of issues as we enter the playoffs.
2. San Francisco 49ers (13-4, previous ranking: #2): They’re right there with the Chiefs in terms of talent, but the QB position will be the separator.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4, previous ranking: #4): They’ve won eight straight and are on run like they were late last season. However, can the defense hold up for the long haul?
4. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3, previous ranking: #3): They have the NFL’s best roster, but the injury issues at RT and slot CB are a concern.
5. Buffalo Bills (13-3, previous ranking: #5): The offense hasn’t been quite as potent as last season, but they still have plenty of talent on that side of the ball in order to make another run.
6. Dallas Cowboys (12-5, previous ranking: #6): This team is really talented, but veteran QB Dak Prescott’s inconsistency since he came back from his injury is a big concern.
7. Minnesota Vikings (13-4, previous ranking: #8): They do have a mostly solid roster, but issues on the back end of the defense will be the reason why they don’t make a big run in the playoffs.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8, previous ranking: #9): What a turnaround they’ve made and they have plenty of improvement still to make with the roster next year.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (10-7, previous ranking: #7): They’re on the right track, but are clearly not a sure-fire Super Bowl contender just yet.
10. Detroit Lions (9-8, previous ranking: #11): They absolutely deserved to make playoffs, which they will do next year based on the current roster and salary cap space and draft picks.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9, previous ranking: #14): I’ll say this: their offense started putting it together late, but the defense isn’t playing to a championship level, which is why it’s hard to see them making a big run in the playoffs.
12. Baltimore Ravens (10-7, previous ranking: #10): It’s hard to see them doing much in the playoffs with QB Lamar Jackson (knee) not 100% over his injury.
13. New York Giants (9-7-1, previous ranking: #12): Give their coaching staff credit for the overachieving and somehow making the playoffs, but the real success will come once they make roster upgrades at several key positions on both sides of the ball.
14. Miami Dolphins (9-8 previous ranking: #16): Until QB Tua Tagovailoa can stay consistently healthy, the Dolphins aren’t going very far in the playoffs. He has shown that he’s a great fit for their offense, but they’ve been unable to keep him on the field for a consistent period of time when it really mattered.
15. Seattle Seahawks (9-8, previous ranking: #21): They got very lucky there were a bunch of bad calls during last week’s win that went their way. That being said, they have a talented young roster that is capable of playing at a high level.
16. Green Bay Packers (8-9, previous ranking: #13): This roster, quite frankly, underachieved, which is why they’re not a playoff team.
17. Washington Commanders (8-8-1, previous ranking: #19): It’s hard to understand what their plan is at QB—everything they’ve tried has failed in terms of finding a future starter at the position.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8, previous ranking: #15): With a less-than-stellar roster, HC Mike Tomlin did it again—he finished with a winning record. They need to take a deep look at their offensive scheme in addition to making personnel upgrades on defense in order to get back to the playoffs.
19. Carolina Panthers (7-10, previous ranking: #20): They’re a good QB away from being a serious playoff contender-rinse, repeat on the bottom half of our rankings.
20. Cleveland Browns (7-10, previous ranking: #18): Not having the QB suspended for most of the season will certainly help, but their roster needs help on defense.
21. New York Jets (7-10, Previous ranking: #24): GM Joe Douglas had an outstanding draft, no question, but the QB position remains a real issue.
22. New Orleans Saints (7-10, previous ranking: #17): This is yet another team in our bottom half that has not figured it out at the QB position. Until they do, they’ll be no better than average.
23. New England Patriots (8-9, previous ranking: #22): Something has to change with the way that QB Mac Jones is coached—it clearly didn’t work in 2022. And the offensive scheme adjustments didn’t work, either.
24. Tennessee Titans (7-10, previous ranking: #23): The new GM will need to do a makeover on most of the roster. It’s an aging roster that needs help at several positions.
25. Las Vegas Raiders (6-11, previous ranking: #25): This is what NFL people call a “turnaround” program. Bad roster that is in dire need of blue-chip players. Oh, they also need a new QB.
26. Los Angeles Rams (5-12, previous ranking: #26): They may need a new head coach soon, but they also need to get healthy.
27. Atlanta Falcons (7-10, previous ranking: #27): This is a well-below-average roster that badly needs upgrades at several positions and the GM needs to solve the QB issue.
28. Denver Broncos (5-12, previous ranking: #28): At least veteran QB Russell Wilson showed some signs late this season that he has something left, but can anyone get him to play consistently good football again?
29. Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1, previous ranking: #29): It seems like a broken record with teams in our bottom half; they can’t compete for playoff spot until they get the QB issue solved.
30. Houston Texans (3-13-1, previous ranking: #30): A bad team that’s devoid of blue-chip players. GM Nick Caserio needs to show he can build a winner over time, but at least he has a good number of draft picks and salary cap space to do so.
31. Arizona Cardinals (4-13, previous ranking: #31): A well-below-average roster, a QB coming back from a serious knee injury, head coach was fired, a GM opening – yeah, this team is bad.
32. Chicago Bears (3-14, previous ranking: #32): I’m not there yet on Justin Fields like some others are who want the team to trade him. You can see the obvious talent and GM Ryan Poles needs to take a page out of the Eagles’ handbook with Jalen Hurts—get Fields plenty of help before you decide he’s not the guy.
– Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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