Nick Wright’s NFL Power Rankings

As heard on In The Loop with Nick and Lopez
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Nick ranks all 32 teams in the NFL.

32- Jaguars
  • They’re 0-4 in real life, they’re 0-4 against the spread…
  • They’ve scored 3 TDs all year, and all have come when they’re down by at least 3 scores…
  • In short, they’ve got a real chance at being the worst team ever…
  • Did I mention that Vegas says they will be an NFL record 28 point underdogs against Denver in a couple of weeks?
31- Steelers
  • There’s no team I was more wrong on before the season than the Steelers…
  • I didn’t think Pittsburgh could be mediocre two straight years, and I guess I was right, they went from mediocre to downright horrendous…
  • The injury to their center Pouncy killed them but they don’t have any difference makers on offense outside of Big Ben and Big Ben doesn’t look comfortable in Haley’s offense…
  • All that, plus the defense getting really old in a hurry, has them staring at a Top 5 pick…
30- Giants
  • Much like the Steelers, I didn’t anticipate the Giants would be bad in consecutive seasons, but at least with these guys you know what the issue is: Turnovers! The giants just can’t protect the football…
  • That, plus, giving up a simply indefensible 37 points a game is going to make you an awful team…
  • And, at this point, you’ve got to wonder if this is Tom Coughlin’s last stand.
29- Bucs
  • It really speaks to how bad the Jags, Steelers and Giants have been that dumpster fire that is the Bucs are only the FOURTH worst team in the league right now…
  • But no matter what you think of Josh Freeman, making the move to Mike Glennon is not going to make ANY team better unless that team is in the arena league, and even there I’m not sure…
  • With some better luck, the Bucs really could be 3-1, not 0-4, but now that they’re 0-4 and have benched their QB, you can pretty much write them—and the Greg Schiano era, off.
28- Rams
  • Yeah, 70 Million on Sam Bradford is one they would like back, but not much you can do about that now…
  • They’ve got a great defensive front, but Cortland Finnegan seems to be 50 million wasted and they have no running game to take the pressure off the eternally mediocre Bradford…
  • The bright side for the Rams? The RGIII trade will keep paying dividends, as St Louis has Washington’s first rounder from next year as well…
27- Eagles
  • Oh, how the days of Week 1 on Monday Night, when Chip Kelly was going to revolutionize the NFL…
  • Now, he’s just another coach with a miserable defense that simply is not going to give him the chance to compete on any level.
  • LeSean McCoy has been great, and Vick is playing well, but none of that matters with the defense being as dreadful as it has been… I mean, they’re allowing almost 500 yards a game and nearly 35 points a game, I don’t care how revolutionary your offense is…
26- Vikings
  • All the magic that the Vikings had last year, seems to have gone away this year…
  • Which is to say, that Adrian Peterson has regressed from Super Human Freak to simply, best running back in the league, and Christian Ponder has regressed from semi decent QB to, well, back to being Christian Ponder…
  • Their schedule hasn’t been forgiving—already playing @ Chicago and @ Detroit—but they simply aren’t a good team.
25- Washington
  • Amazingly, they’re still very alive in the wretched NFC East… But only in record, not in performance…
  • I mean, maybe if RGIII gets some of last year’s mojo, and by mojo, I mean knee ligaments, they could be dangerous, but not really…
  • Remember how bad I said the Eagles defense was? Well, Washington is allowing almost the same amount of yards and has managed to be outscored by approximately 400 points in the first half of games this year… You just can’t compete with a defense that bad.
24- Raiders
  • How about Oakland making it out of the bottom 8! I mean, this is a MAJOR accomplishment for a team that was universally regarded as a bottom two team heading into the season…
  • Terrell Pryor has been a pleasant surprise for this team, but the inevitable Darren McFadden injury hit the Raiders this week, this time in the form of a hamstring, and when you look at the rest of their schedule, wins are going to be hard to come by, but still, solid job, Oakland!
23- Cardinals
  • The Cards have a dominant pass defense, and is 2-2 despite playing 3 of their first 4 on the road, but they needed a near miracle to beat Mike Glennon and the Bucs, and it looks like Carson Palmer is destined to throw awful interceptions, so it might be generous having them this high…
  • Also, if you look at the rest of their schedule, there are only TWO games that they have any hope of being favored in the rest of the way, so, look for Arizona to get another top 6 or 7 draft pick this year, even if they’re not one of the 6 or 7 worst teams in football.
22- Buffalo
  • The Bills are a hard team to figure… They could be 4-0, but they also easily could be 0-4.
  • They just beat the Ravens, but they needed 5 Joe Flacco picks to do it, and still almost lost. I probably have them too high, but they did have the Pats on the ropes in Week 1.
  • To be perfectly honest, I’ve maybe watched less Bills football than any team this season, so I just don’t know what to make of them, but I already hate this ranking, I should’ve put them 5 spots lower. Let’s move on…
21- Jets
  • Everyone thought the Jets defense would be pretty good, but through four weeks it’s been outstanding, #3 in total defense despite Geno Smith errors keeping them on the field consistently…
  • Geno has shown some flashes, but has also made some truly horrific mistakes, and the Jets probably top out this year at 6 or 7 wins at the absolute most, but 6 might be enough to save Rex Ryan’s job…
  • By the way, in my eyes, if Ryan were to get fired, I’d want him to coach my team, this guy took Mark Sanchez to back to back AFC Title games for godsakes!
20- Browns
  • How about those lively Cleveland Browns! After seemingly giving up on the season by trading Lopez’ favorite player, Trent Richardson, they’ve won 2 in a row, and their defense appears to be legitimate…
  • The Browns have a real chance at moving to 3 and 2 on Thursday night against the Bills…
  • PLUS, Brian Hoyer already looks better than Brandon Weeden ever did. The crazy thing is, I’m not sure the Browns Brass even wants them winning these games, but I’m sure the players are delighted.
19- Panthers
  • I erred in the Panthers favor before the season, putting them at 11, so I’ll do the opposite here, and put them as far down as I can justify, but this is a dangerous team…
  • Their front 7 is very legit and they easily could’ve beaten Seattle in Week 1 if not for an awful Deangelo Williams fumble, and they had the Bills beat until they gave that game away on the final play, and this is all despite Cam not playing well yet…
  • BUT, their coach is Ron Rivera, so they’ll probably continue to lose games in devastating fashion…
18- Titans
  • I feel terribly for the Titans, I really do. They had something going with Jake Locker and that defense that allowed over 29 points a game last year, was playing great…
  • But I just don’t see how they can keep it going with Jake Locker out and now having to turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Plus, their next 3 opponents are a combined 10-2, so I see 3-1 turning into 3-4 really quickly and whatever momentum this team had going away pretty quickly…
17- Bengals
  • Before the season I had the decidedly mediocre Bengals at 17, and after 2 decidedly mediocre weeks they remain at 17. They’ve had one clear cut win all year, and that was over the woeful Steelers. Andy Dalton is, well Andy Dalton, which means there’s about 15 quarterbacks clearly better than him, and that devastating defense has been barely above average. All that, plus Marvin Lewis at head coach makes them, well the definition of an average team.
16- Cowboys
  • Dallas is clearly the best team in the NFC East, but that doesn’t mean much…
  • Dez Bryant might be the best wide receiver in the NFL, and that includes Calvin Johnson…
  • Tony Romo is having another truly monster season, and he’s not making many mistakes this year…
  • So why are they not higher? Well, because aside from Brandon Carr and Barry Church their secondary has been abysmal and they have one of the 3 or 4 worst coaches in the NFL. With a solid head coach, this is a 11+ win team…
15- Chargers
  • Philip Rivers is playing his best football in 3 years and the Chargers could easily be 4-0 if not for blowing a 21 point lead to the Texans and inexplicably allowing a 30 plus yard TD pass in the final seconds to Justin Hunter against the Titans…
  • The worry about San Diego is as good as the offense has been, the defense has been just as bad, if not worse, allowing an average of 430 yards a game this season. If they can shore up the defense, this could be the 6 seed in the surprisingly solid AFC.
14- Texans
  • The Texans have dominated the yardage battle in every game they’ve played…
  • They might have the best defense in the NFL and they have a top 8 rushing attack…
  • So why are they not higher?  Well, you know why. Because the NFL is a quarterback league, and right now the Texans QB is playing like a bottom 10 QB.
  • You know the numbers, but they bear repeating, Matt Schaub has thrown a devastating pick in 7 straight games and a pick 6 in 3 straight. If Matt Schaub gets right, they’ll be fine, if not, they’ll be 7-9.
13- Ravens
  • Not sure why everyone is so down on the Ravens. Yes, it’s true that Joe Flacco only has one real weapon—Torrey Smith—but despite that, they’ve played well enough to win every game this year except for week 1, when they went up against the juggernaut known as the Broncos. Hell, this past week Flacco threw FIVE interceptions, and they still were in it into the final minute… Huge matchup this week between them and the Dolphins, but I still think they’re the favorites in the North.
12- Falcons
  • Yes, I have a 1 and 3 team ranked ahead of all the 2-2 teams. This is a power rankings, not a standings, so I’m allowed to do that. The Falcons lost at New Orleans, something every team that goes there this year will do, lost at Miami in the final minute, and nearly executed a 17 point comeback in the final 5 minutes against the Patriots. Once Roddy White gets healthy no one will want to play this team.
  • They’ll be favorites in their next 3 games, and be 4-3 heading into a critical game at Carolina.
11- Packers
  • Another one win team ranked higher than most, but to be fair the Packers have only played 3 times, being one of only two teams who have already had their bye…
  • Green Bay lost week 1 when Kaepernick went off and then absolutely got unlucky and kind of gave a game away against the Bengals when they blew a 16 point lead…
  • To anyone saying I have the Packers too high, tell me who I’ve already listed who you would favor over the Packers on a neutral field. What does Vegas think of them? Well, they’re 7 point favorites over the 3-1 Lions this week.
10- 49ers
  • Before the season I had the 49ers at number 9 and many of you said that was way too low, now I have them number 10 and I worry that might be too high, I honestly don’t know.
  • Here’s what we know about San Francisco: They’re great running the ball and against the run, and spotty at best passing and against the pass.
  • I still think Harbaugh’s coaching style could grate on a team if the year goes south, but with the NFC looking weaker than expected, it’s tough to see this year going too bad for San Fran.
9- Bears
  • You knew Jay Cutler was going to give a game away, and he did it this week against the Lions, playing just an awful game.
  • Most people have the Bears higher than this, but I’m not sure I’m a believer…the teams they’ve beaten are a combined 3-9 and I’m not sure there’s anything they do great.
  • They have some very winnable games down the stretch, but my guess is they turn a 3 and 0 start into a 9 win season and miss out on the playoffs, again, but for now, they deserve to be in the Top 10, but barely.
8- Colts
  • Listen, I don’t want to believe in the Colts, but I’ve got to give them credit, they’ve looked great the last two weeks. Andrew Luck might be the luckiest—no pun intended—QB in the league: I’ve never seen a guy have so many would be interceptions dropped by defensive players, but he also seems to make every play on 3rd down and the biggest knock on the Colts last year was having a negative point differential despite being 11-5, well, so far this year, they’re plus 54, which is 4th best in football. Thru 4 weeks, this team seems very legit.
7- Dolphins
  • Before the year I said the Dolphins would be a playoff team, and they look even better than I thought they would. Don’t get too worked up over the loss to the Saints last night—like I said earlier, nobody is beating New Orleans in the Super Dome this year…
  • Tannehill is a legit player and once Cam Wake gets healthy they’ll have a pass rush again… Miami has 6 games left against the Jets, Bills, Bucs and Steelers. I can’t pick them to win the AFC East, but they have playoffs written all over them.
6- Lions
  • The Lions have all the makings of a really good team… Great D Line. Quarterback who can make all the throws. Devastating playmaker at WR and a running back in Reggie Bush that no one wants to tackle in open space…
  • My problem with the Lions is the same problem I’ve always had with the Lions: Their coach is a clown. Could the Lions make a run?
  • If they win this weekend @ Green Bay they’ll all but eliminate the Packers in the NFC North, but I don’t think they’ll do that. But, these rankings are based at least in part on what you’ve done, and based on that they deserve to be right here.
5- Chiefs
  • That’s a beastly defense in Kansas City and a quarterback who just doesn’t make very many mistakes.
  • Add to that one of the best running backs in football, and all of a sudden a great homefield advantage that had been dormant the past few seasons, and it looks like everyone’s sleeper before the season is coming thru even more than expected during the season.
  • The only teams with a better point differential than KC?The Seahawks and the Broncos. Also, The Chiefs will be the favorite in each of their next 5 games before they go to Denver in Week 11.
4- Patriots
  • Tom freaking Brady. There is no other justification for this ranking.
  • Until Gronkowski gets back, the Pats have no difference makers on offense, and now that Wilfork is done for the year, the only elite player they have on defense is Aqib Talib.
  • But, they have Brady, so none of that seems to matter.
  • I said before the year that if Brady went down this would be a bottom 8 team, and it would, but he hasn’t gone down, and so having them anywhere outside the Top 5 would just be insane….
  • But now, to the real cream of the crop, the clear cut 3 best teams in football…
3- Saints
  • The only knock on the Saints is they clearly are not the same team away from the Dome, but that’s really the only negative thing you can say.
  • Drew Brees is perennially underrated because he’s playing in the Golden Era of quarterbacking and the Saints defense—which was historically awful last year—is somehow a Top 5 defense thus far this season.
  • If the Saints can get homefield, they will go to the Super Bowl. Two huge road games for the Saints the next two weeks, as tough of a stretch as anyone will play all season, going to Chicago and then two New England.
2- Broncos
  • I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t have the Broncos number 1, and I’m OK with that.
  • Obviously, Peyton Manning is simply unbelievable, and they’re going to be the biggest favorites in the history of the NFL when they host Jacksonville in a couple weeks, and, oh yeah, they’ve done all of this without one of the very best defensive players in the NFL, Von Miller.
  • But they’ve yet to play a really good team, and I just don’t think their body of work is quite as impressive as my number 1 team…
  • I’ve had Seattle at number 1 since before the season started, and I see no reason to change it. Their least impressive game was week 1, when they squeaked by the Panthers in Carolina, since then all they’ve done is obliterate the 49ers, embarrass the Jags and maybe ruin Houston’s season with a 14 point 4th quarter comeback.
  • Russell Wilson is the hardest QB in the league to defend and that defense travels everywhere. They should get homefield thru-out the NFC playoffs, and if they do, you can go ahead and buy their tickets to new York for the Super Bowl, because no one is winning in Seattle, that’s a guarantee.
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