Eight weeks down, nine to go in this NFL season. The playoff picture is starting to form, and it has ignited some fanbases’ Super Bowl aspirations. For other teams however, it left them with more questions than answers. But how do all 32 teams stack up? Let’s take a look.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-7)
Let’s not kid ourselves here. The Miami Dolphins are bad. Very bad. Their offense is bad, their defense (with the exception of Xavien Howard) is bad, everything about the Miami Dolphins this year is bad. First year head coach Brian Flores has been thrown straight into the fire of coaching the worst built roster in the NFL. Even if they do succeed in tanking for Tua, the Miami Dolphins front office has a lot of work to do in terms of roster building. Swindling the Steelers out of a first round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick is a good start.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-7)
Firing Marvin Lewis may have actually done more harm than good. He may have been terrible at controlling his players’ attitudes, but at least he knew how to win games. New head coach Zac Taylor may have had a hard start to the season, but it gets even worse going forward, as their next 2 games are matchups with the Rams and the Ravens. The Bengals best chance to win a game may not come for 3 weeks when they host the New York Jets. The Bengals should be sellers going into the trade deadline, starting with Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green.
30. Washington Redskins (1-6)
The Redskins made a good move in firing head coach Jay Gruden, and they are in the process of grooming Dwayne Haskins to be their franchise quarterback. They seem to have a nice start to a full rebuild. The only problem is their current front office refuses to embrace it. Maybe they see a winner in this team, but the NFL world does not. They sit at 1-6, with their only win coming against the Miami Dolphins, and they almost lost had Kenyan Drake not dropped the two point conversion. They have a Pro Bowl left tackle in Trent Williams who is sitting at home and refusing to play for them, but for some reason Washington refuses to shop him, despite many teams having an offensive line issue that needs solving. The Redskins should call John Dorsey in Cleveland or Bill Belichick in New England and gauge interest.
29. New York Jets (1-5)
Coming into this season, the New York Jets were a Wild Card team on paper. They added big name free agents like Le’veon Bell and C.J. Mosley. Jamal Adams had a Pro Bowl year last season. Sam Darnold looked ready to take the next step. The Jets performance against the Patriots on Monday night was simply abysmal. Sam Darnold had the worst showing of his career, throwing 4 interceptions and losing a fumble. The Jets look unmotivated, and that can be summed up by one play in particular. When Darnold was strip sacked and Kyle Van Noy recovered the fumble, nobody bothered to down Van Noy, and he ran into the endzone. The only reason this wasn’t a touchdown is because tight end Ryan Griffin touched ankles with Van Noy. The Jets should fire coach Adam Gase as soon as possible for failing the talent on this team.
28. Atlanta Falcons (1-5)
The Atlanta Falcons are another team with a lot of talent that is failing to win. Matt Ryan remains to play like a great quarterback, though he struggled against the Rams. Julio Jones is making a case to be the best wide receiver in the NFL. They have solid pieces on defense in Deion Jones, Desmond Trufant, and Grady Jarrett. Yet for some reason, they cannot win games. The Falcons may be sellers at the trade deadline, but they should keep the majority of their nucleus. Coach Dan Quinn needs to start winning or he may be on the hot seat.
27. New York Giants (2-5)
The New York Giants aren’t going to be winning the division, but they knew that coming in. This season should be about the development of Daniel Jones. They won two straight against Tampa Bay and Washington, but have dropped their last three against Minnesota, New England, and Arizona. Saquon Barkley getting hurt again is a bit concerning, but it does not appear that he will miss any time. Their defense is still a mess, however, and that will need to be their area of focus heading into the future.
26. Denver Broncos (2-5)
The Denver Broncos are another team that should be sellers going into the trade deadline. They could receive a nice haul for names such as Von Miller, Chris Harris, and Emmanuel Sanders. Phillip Lindsay is their running back of the future, and they have their second round draft pick Drew Lock on injured reserve currently. Joe Flacco struggled against a Kansas City defense that isn’t exactly the Steel Curtain. The sooner Flacco is gone, the better for Denver.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
There is one major storyline coming out of Tampa Bay so far this season. Jameis Winston continues to be the model of inconsistency. One game he’s leading the Buccaneers’ offense to a 55 point explosion, and another he’s a turnover machine. The former number one overall pick has to figure out what kind of quarterback he is going to be soon, or Bruce Arians may look to the draft for his replacement. He has all the weapons in the world to throw to with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate, so there are no excuses left for Winston.
24. Los Angeles Chargers (2-5)
What is happening in Los Angeles? This start to the season is an absolute shock to the system for the Chargers. They were a favorite in the AFC as a wild card team last year, and came back with nearly the exact same team with a few differences. Injuries to the offensive line have hurt this team and Pro Bowl safety Derwin James is on injured reserve, but they still have the talent to be winning games consistently. Melvin Gordon’s holdout is the biggest takeaway. He has likely cost himself a few million dollars, and now the Chargers have figured out that they have something in Austin Ekeler. LA needs to figure it out fast if they want to prevent their playoff window from closing.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)
The expectations for Pittsburgh were out the window as soon as Ben Roethlisberger was announced as out for the season. Mason Rudolph took a big step against the Ravens before he was knocked out by Earl Thomas, and they managed to win against the Chargers with their third string quarterback, and on the back of their defense. With Rudolph coming back, and a matchup with Miami on the horizon, better days could be coming for the Yinzers in Pittsburgh.
22. Cleveland Browns (2-4)
Speaking of failing expectations, the Cleveland Browns have been the league’s biggest disappointment. When they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt this offseason, the Browns were supposed to take the league by storm, and Baker Mayfield’s career was supposed to skyrocket. Instead, Baker leads the league in interceptions, the Browns have a massive offensive line problem, and Cleveland sits at 2-4 as a result. A matchup with New England looms, and the Browns could be looking at 2-5. What may save them, however, is an easy second half of the schedule. They will face the Bengals and Steelers twice, and get nice matchups vs Miami and Denver. But Cleveland isn’t going anywhere without an offensive line and a quarterback. Both need to figure it out.
21. Detroit Lions (2-3-1)
The Detroit Lions are an interesting case. The record may not show it, but the Lions are not that bad. they have been able to hang with contending teams like the Packers and the Chiefs, but have dropped their last three after a 2-0-1 start. Matt Stafford has some weapons to choose from in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Kerryon Johnson and T.J. Hockenson, and the defense has quality talent in Damon Harrison, Darius Slay and Trey Flowers. Don’t be surprised if Detroit catches fire at some point.
20. Tennessee Titans (3-4)
Tennessee may have found their quarterback in… Ryan Tannehill? The former Dolphin looked solid in his first start as a Titan, throwing for 312 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. But the Titans should remain a running team. Let Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis carry the load, and don’t make Tannehill throw more than he has to. The key for Tannehill will be consistency. Inconsistency is what eventually doomed Marcus Mariota. Though it must be hard to stay consistent when your offensive coordinator changes almost every year.
19. Oakland Raiders (3-3)
Jon Gruden and his group of Gruden grinders are very inconsistent. They were able to knock off Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears elite defense, but got their doors blown off by the Green Bay Packers. The injury to Patrick Mahomes provides Oakland with a big opportunity to make up some ground in the division, but it won’t come easy. Their next three games are against Houston, Detroit, and the Chargers. This stretch will tell if the Raiders can be taken seriously or not.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
The Eagles got smacked by their division rivals on primetime television. That’s not great considering your head coach guaranteed a win on radio. However, the Eagles chances of contending are not dead yet. The primary concern for Philly should be getting healthy. Desean Jackson, Jason Peters, Avonte Maddox, Tim Jernigan, and Nigel Bradham were among the names missing for the Eagles in that game. The Eagles must keep pace with Dallas while getting healthy if they want any chance at winning the NFC east.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)
A few years ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars looked like they were getting ready to challenge for the AFC crown for years to come behind a vaunted defense. And then it all fell apart. Linebacker Telvin Smith left the team for this season, and who knows if he is even coming back. And then the biggest piece of them all fell. Jalen Ramsey finally had enough, and forced his way out of Jacksonville to the LA Rams. Although, Jacksonville may have accidentally found their future quarterback in Gardner Minshew. One has to wonder though, if Nick Foles gets healthy, what will Jacksonville do? For right now, in a division with the Texans and Colts in it, the Jaguars aren’t contenders.
16. Chicago Bears (3-3)
The Bears draft selection of Mitch Trubisky is looking worse by the week. Patrick Mahomes continues to build his stock as the face of the NFL for years to come. Deshaun Watson continues to play phenomenally. And Mitch Trubisky continues to underperform. The defense is too stacked with talent for the Bears to be mediocre. This offensive unit needs to turn it around fast before the Bears get left in the dust by Green Bay and Minnesota. And should he become available, the Bears should be first in line in asking about Cam Newton’s availability.
15. Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1)
Don’t look now, but the Cardinals are getting hot. They’ve piled up three straight wins to get back to .500. Kyler Murray looks like he is the franchise quarterback Arizona needs, and Arizona may have a second quality running back in Chase Edmonds to lighten the load on David Johnson. Larry Fitzgerald continues to defy father time and be Arizona’s number one wide receiver, and their defense has Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs rushing the passer. Not to mention, they just got Patrick Peterson back from suspension. The only problem is that they play in the best division in football. No team in the NFC west is currently below .500.
14. Los Angeles Rams (4-3)
Just a week ago, people were unsure the Rams would even make the playoffs. Jared Goff threw for below 100 yards, Todd Gurley looked like a shell of himself, and the defense was not as sharp as fans are used to seeing. But with one move, the Rams got themselves back in contention. Acquiring Jalen Ramsey makes the Rams look like a juggernaut on paper. Plus, the chains may be off of Todd Gurley, as he has recieved 15 and 18 carries in the last two games. The Rams should be feared as long as Jared Goff takes care of the football.
13. Houston Texans (4-3)
Houston took a step back last week. After knocking off Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, the Texans lost to the division rival Indianapolis Colts, and with that, lost their lead in the AFC south. For the last two years, the Colts have been the achilles heel for Houston. They are going to have to beat them if they want to even think about challenging for the AFC crown. But as long as Deshaun Watson stays healthy, Houston should have no problems continuing to win games.
12. Carolina Panthers (4-2)
The Panthers have created quite the quarterback controversy down in Carolina. While Cam Newton continues to rehab his foot injury, Kyle Allen has taken over the starting job and has yet to lose a game. The defense has been lights out is making the argument as one of the top units in the NFL. Christian McCaffrey is running like a man possessed. The argument can be made that a 100% Cam is a much better QB than Kyle Allen is, but if 2001 taught us anything, sometimes you have to go to the hot hand. If Kyle Allen is chosen over Cam, the Panthers should look to receive a big haul in return for Newton.
11. Seattle Seahawks (5-2)
Seattle has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the entire NFL this season. Russell Wilson looks to be the MVP after the injury to Patrick Mahomes, and the Jadeveon Clowney and Bobby Wagner lead defense looks the best it has since the legion of boom. Their path has only been made harder by the addition of Jalen Ramsey to the division, and the surprise emergence of the 49ers. But despite all that, Russell Wilson’s extraordinary level of play has cemented Seattle as a potential contender as long as he keeps it up. Losing to the Ravens hurts, but expect Seattle to bounce back this week.
10. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
How ’bout them Cowboys?! Dallas is riding a massive wave of momentum after pummeling the only competition that stood in their way of repeating as division champions. Dak has taken a step forward, Ezekiel Elliott is still one of the top running backs in the league, and the defense may have woken up. Barring injury, Dallas looks to be the only ones capable of stopping themselves from making a trip back to the playoffs.
9. Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
When your roster is loaded with young talent on both sides of the ball, who needs Luck? The Colts scored a massive win over Houston to take control of the AFC south. Jacoby Brissett looks to be the real deal. A previous short term solution may turn out to be the long term answer to the Colts quarterback problem. The Colts have the talent across the board to contend, but they have to keep winning.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
Kirk Cousins has been balling out over these last couple of weeks. Stefon Diggs requesting a trade may have been exactly what Kirk needed to wake up. He has looked like exactly what Minnesota paid for over the last couple weeks, and as Kirk Cousins goes, The Minnesota Vikings go. Dalvin Cook has been a top running back in the league thus far, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs remain one of the deadliest wide receiver duos in the NFL. The defense may be taking a step back, but they are good enough of a unit to win games. But Kirk Cousins holds all the cards for the Vikings.
7. Buffalo Bills (5-1)
You can only play who’s on your schedule, and the Buffalo Bills have certainly reaped the rewards of an easy schedule. Buffalo’s defense has looked like a top unit, and Josh Allen has been able to play well enough to win these close games. This isn’t to say Josh Allen has looked like a top quarterback however. His accuracy has been abismal, and the Bills were actually losing to the Dolphins at halftime. Expect the Bills to coast into a wild card spot behind a stingy defense and an easy schedule.
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Lamar Jackson has to be inserted into the MVP conversation. He looked great against a Seattle defense that was playing well throughout the season to this point. We have never seen a quarterback that was this effective of a runner and a thrower since Michael Vick. Adding Marcus Peters was a nice boost to a secondary that already boasted Earl Thomas, Marlon Humphrey, and Jimmy Smith. Peters will not solve all of the Ravens’ problems on defense, which has taken a steep decline after being a top unit in 2018. But with Lamar taking as big of a step forward as he has, the Ravens may have the AFC north locked down.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
Kansas City is in a world of trouble. Patrick Mahomes getting injured is a nightmare for the Chiefs, and will cause a significant decline in offensive production. With Matt Moore now stepping under center, expect Kansas City to lose a few games while Mahomes is rehabbing his dislocated knee. The only positive you can take away is that the Chiefs defense played well, and even then it was against Joe Flacco and a Broncos offense that is going nowhere fast.
4. Green Bay Packers (6-1)
Aaron Rodgers took us back to the early 2010s last week, becoming the first Packer to ever have a perfect passer rating. Green Bay has more of a defense than they have in the last few years. Even without his top target Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers is still putting up good stats every game. Rodgers is another quarterback who deserves to be in the MVP conversation. The Packers are for real and are a top team in the NFC for the first time in a while.
3. San Fransisco 49ers (6-0)
It’s time to admit that the 49ers are legit. Jimmy Garoppolo has shaken off the significant amount of rust he showed in the summer. They have multiple running backs that can do damage. And they have arguably the top tight end in the league in George Kittle. And we haven’t even gotten to the defense. Nick Bosa is a serious rookie of the year candidate, and Richard Sherman is returning to form as a top cornerback in the league. The San Fransisco 49ers have looked like a force to be reckoned with in the NFC, and their excellent play may reward them with at least a first round by in the playoffs.
2. New Orleans Saints (6-1)
Any conversation about the top team in the NFC has to start with the New Orleans Saints. When Drew Brees went out, people were spelling doom for the Saints. Teddy Bridgewater was supposed to be a game manager who was supposed to get them 2 or 3 wins in Brees’ absence. Since Brees’ injury, the Saints have gone 5-0, the defense has played well against some solid offenses, and Teddy Bridgewater looks like the Saints quarterback of the future. And to top it all off, Drew Brees may be coming back this week.
1. New England Patriots
The Super Bowl champs have to be number one on this list. The defense has established itself as the best unit in the league across the board with Bill Belichick calling the plays. Stephon Gilmore looks like the best corner in football. Devin McCourty has become a ball hawk, and the linebackers, who call themselves the boogeymen, look as scary as ever. And on offense they still have Tom Brady. The good news can only keep coming for the Patriots as Sony Michel looks to be coming back into form, and the wide receiever position is about to get a major boost with the returns of Josh Gordon and N’Keal Harry, as well as the recently acquired Mohamed Sanu.