As crazy as it may sound, there are only four weeks left in the regular season and as we are heading into the final stretch of what has been a very exciting year, it is time to rank these teams one through 32 once again,. This order is based on what I see when I watch the games or put on the film afterwards, in terms of pure talent on the roster, schematic advantages, situational success and overall team chemistry. So obviously teams who have already faced a tough schedule will be given more credit, but these aren’t college football rankings, where we bring up strength of record or what not, yet instead I am trying to tell you who I think are the best teams in the league. A lot of these have already played each other and I consider that as well, but just because one team beat the other eight weeks ago, doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be ranked above – we are trying to assess the situation at this very moment.
Now officially past the midway point of the season and my awards handed point for the first half already, I wanted to look at some areas that aren’t talked about enough. Everybody likes to hand out their top five teams, individual players at a certain position or whatever. What I wanted to do is put out my five best on topics that aren’t heavily discussed, such as the best quarterback situations, offensive and defensive play-callers and most disappointing teams in the NFL right now. Not all of these can be described purely by numbers or what the eye-test tells you, but instead you have to check the background and analyze the tape, as well as considering who has been on the schedule for all these different squads.
Not surprisingly, the only undefeated team in the league in San Francisco is most frequently represented with a spot in five of the six positive team categories and three number one nominations. The Patriots are second with two of those top spots and another nomination, while the Saints reached the top three in three different categories.
As I like to do every year, I am putting out my first power rankings after four weeks, since I think this is a good time to reflect. To me this point always represents a moment at which it is possible to get somewhat of a clearer picture on the state of the league and where teams will go. Obviously there will still be teams falling down the ranks while others could establish themselves as contenders later on, but I feel like we know what most teams are.
I always think it’s ridiculous how everybody makes definite statements on any NFL teams after just a couple of weeks or refer to things as “all season long” when there have barely been any games played. So I like to wait until we have passed the first quarter of the season before I really try to put these teams in order. Unlike most power rankings out there, I don’t simply put all the teams in order of their record and at this point we have so many 2-2 squads, that you really have to go through the tape and rosters of all of them to be able to stack them up against each other.
Here is what I came out with:
I usually like to do my power rankings after the first four weeks, where I feel like I have a beat on who these teams are, and then with about four games left, because I can already look ahead to potential playoff implications and how I think these squads could perform down the stretch. At this point of the season the records of all these teams are pretty indicative of where they stack up against each other, but that makes it even more crucial to compare teams with the same records, because not all schedules are built the same and not all teams are as good or bad as they seem like on paper. For the purpose of this edition I wanted to focus on the teams in the actual playoff race, so the criteria for me to analyze them more exclusively was to have at least five wins on the record, because I think you have to be at least 9-7 in both conferences to earn a Wild Card spot. With that being said, here are my power rankings heading into a crucial week 14:
Like I do after four weeks of every NFL season, it’s time to look at all 32 teams and rank them based on what they have shown so far. While their record is the main indicator for this list, the opponents they have faced so far and other factors, like injuries or lineup changes, influence my decisions as well. Of course projections play a role to some degree to differentiate between actual contenders and those whose record can be misleading. Therefore I have multiple two-win teams in my top ten, while there’s a 3-1 squad that didn’t even crack my top ten. Find out how all these teams stack up against each other.
It was really hard to compile this list, because of all the moving pieces, players being injured and just what these defenses have become as units. So the base I judge them on is the way they are constructed right now. Therefore, I couldn’t quite put the Seahawks and definitely not the Texans on this list, since they have suffered immensely with injuries to top of their three best defensive players. Sometimes the major statistics, like total yards allowed, can be misleading, for example, until a week ago, the Denver Broncos were the number one defense in terms of yardage allowed. Even though they still have an excellent trio of cornerbacks combined with Von Miller to rush the passer and they could easily bounce back big-time next season, that’s absurd, considering since after a hot start to the season at 3-1, they gave up an average of just over 30 points per game during an eight-game losing streak. The numbers I do care about are points allowed, takeaways, third down and red zone percentage allowed. Most importantly though, I want to look at the scheme each unit runs, how well they execute, and what my eyes tell me.
With the NFL regular season moving into a phase, where all games seem to be of higher magnitude and teams are trying to make a playoff push, I wanted to take a look at the league’s landscape and where I’d rank all 32 squads heading into week 13. All those teams, which are currently part of the playoff picture or in the hunt, have crucial matchups coming up on their schedule and a lot of them still play each other to determine who will be there in the end. I’d like to point out at this point, that standings are secondary and that this list is about how well teams are playing as of right now.