The Absolute Power Rankings
by Cole Blenner
Breaking down the upcoming NFL season and ranking the teams as we see fit regardless of main stream opinion, your opinion, or your moms opinion. Ok.....maybe your moms opinion matters, but yours surely doesn't. With all the hooplah and chaos going on in the world, let us set the stage for what is surely to be an interesting, and historic, 17 game season for the NFL.
Note: Rankings for averages are taken from the following publications:
Pro Football Focus
Pro Football Network
Rankings done based on power, potential, and gypsy magic. These are works of research, hard work, and extreme emotional bias for and against certain teams. This will balance the threshold of insanity and genius....ok maybe not that far. It's an every man's Power rankings. But I did work super hard and my mom said I did a good job so fuggit, Here we gooooooo!
32. Houston Texans
Average Position Ranking:31.75
How did we get here? Really though. You had Deshaun Watson, Deandre Hopkins and JJ Watt less than 18 months ago. Now, what do you have to show for any of it It? Maybe it is convenient to blame Bill O'Brien but the constant mishandling of situations in house has been a travesty. They have fumbled every part of the Deshaun Watson controversary from his trade demand to his sexual-indecency allegations, all the way down to how they fucking use him in practice. It is honestly embarrassing that this miscarriage of a franchise exists. Sure, they have NFL Caliber talent in house, that's what happens when you are an NFL team. So I think they squeeze something out but this team is looking abysmal heading into 2021.
Average Position Ranking:31.25
Kudos to Detroit for signaling a rebuild and letting one of their stars find out what success feels like, because it sure wasn't happening here. Knee-cap tearing Dan Campbell has a task in front of him. Jared Goff isn't a bad QB, and I feel that this is where we will be finding his true talent now that he isn't under Sean McVay. Still this is a rebuilding team who shouldn't expect too much this year.
30.New York Jets
Average Position Ranking:28.25
There is optimism going forward. Adam "Butthole"Gase has been fired and Robert Saleh looks to be opposite the man his predecessor was, which is what the Jets will need. They are thin all around and have a young rookie QB who is going to immediately be jettisoned into the cruel New York City spotlight....and he has a hot mom too. Never the less the Jets have a load of intrigue and potential but that will bode well for the future, not 2021.
Average Position Ranking:27.75
The Jaguars are neck deep in a rebuild that started last year and is moving along decently well. Snagging Trevor Lawerence will go a long way to helping Urban Meyer establish himself as an NFL coach. His previous experience and success in paying college players to play for him should bode well considering what were usually major flaws of his "style" seem not to be as impactful. Still, the fact that 33 year old Tight End convert Tim Tebow is making an impact shows that Jacksonville, while fun to think of the prospects, is still a bottom feeding team who will struggle this year.
Average Position Ranking:28.5
We won't assume anything on potential Deshaun Watson talks in Philly, but lets focus on who is there. Jalen Hurts finally has a decent WR in Devonta Smith (Who is out for a portion of the preseason but should be ready for the opener after an MCL injury). The Defense resembles more of a dry Kleenex rather than a wet paper towel. You know, progress ladies and gentlemen. Nick Sarriani will have people equipped with microscopes to judge his every move. Still, this team showed fight at opportune times and in the NFC Least, you never know what the actual Fuck is going to happen.
Average Position Ranking:25.25
Joe Burrows is going to shake some rust off coming off a mid season ACL injury, but the injury is far from the kiss of death that it once was way back yonder. The Bengals did what they could this offseason by getting him protection and even drafting old running buddy JaMarr Chase in the first round. The best duo in college football history hopes to follow up with a sophomore album that goes diamond...and they should. This offense has the potential to keep the team around just long enough for their under equipped and low talent defense to blow the game and leave Bengals fans frustrated. I mean, aren't they always though?
Average Position Ranking:26
The Matt Rhule Project (no, not an early 2000's nu wave band), has some intrigue in Carolina. A hot spot for big QB move rumors, it was a semi-shocker for them to give up a small treasure chest in order to give Sam Darnold a fresh start away from Adam Gase. Matt Rhule is going to be a breath of fresh air and I have high prosepcts for the fit in Carolina. Immediately, Darnold has better weapons at receiver and a dynamic running back in Christian McCaffrey to take some of the load off. As is a common theme in bad teams, the defense is still an issue, and I don't see Darnold being the Wonderkid that carries Carolina out of the cellar of the NFC South this year. Don't look away though! Carolina has shocked us in the past before.
Average Position Ranking:21.25
I don't believe in the Bears. They have had mild success in the past few years, despite themselves. They have had great defenses, offenses that I feel were manageable and yet here we are. Trubisky was a problem, yes, but now he is gone you bring in Andy Dalton? Am I missing something here? Sure, Justin Fields is the heir but if you are going to trade up to get him, give the kid a shot to start instead of acting like a guy whose hair is the same color as your alternate uniform is going to be the saving grace of a franchise who wouldn't know a legendary quarterback if it fell in their lap. For reference, Trubisky is 5th in yards and TDs while only 17th in INTs for the Bears. Now, this ALLLLL changes if Justin Fields can see the Field(s), but alas my faith in the Bears to do some bold, franchise helping shit is low. There is some hope though.
24.New York Giants
Average Position Ranking:23.5
The Giants are at a pivot point in every sense of the word. Danny Dimes has progressed, and some people think he could take his "Josh Allen"-type leap this year. Saquon has proven that when he is on the field, he is a hell of a threat but injury concerns are starting to go from whisper to chatter. They have decent playmakers, and Kadarius Toney looks to be a fun as hell of a fun piece to play with, plus the defense is decent. So why don't I feel like the Giants are going to do anything more this year? Call is skepticism but I don't look at 2021 Daniel Jones like I looked at 2020 Josh Allen. Allen had clear holes he was filling at a rapid pace and we have known him to be the fast, and hard throwing physical talent that he is bringing together. Jones however is athletic enough, but not the marvel of Allen so while I see a better peformance, Jones is starting to give me Chad Pennington/Ryan Fitzpatrick energy as far as his long term ceiling. That isn't a bad thing, It just isn't good for a former top 10 pick.
Average Position Ranking:22.75
I had a lot more faith in Atlanta before Julio left. Ridley and Pitts will make a monster combo, but the closer I look into Matt Ryan, the more I realize he is on a decline and putting hope into this ship will not bode the results that you're hoping for. Still. Arthur Smith is a good coordinator who needed his shot at the top. I think Matty Ice has enough juice to win a few more games this year that the Falcons definitely should of last year. A questionable defense still keeps them under .500, but man if they would kept Julio this offense would of been some show to watch.
Average Position Ranking:22.5
If I only had a brain is a fun song from the Wizard of Oz that describes all the things that the scarecrow could accomplish if he only had a brain. It relays the feeling that this cognizant straw man, is only one crucial, vital, driving piece away from reaching full potential out of his life. Let me introduce you to the real life scarecrow. Denver just needs a brain. And by brain, I mean Quarterback. The Defense is good. They have a young offensive core that is ready to burst....but then they have Drew Lock vs Teddy Bridgewater at the QB position. That doesn't exactly tighten my pants with excitement. Deshaun Watson probably would be here had he not been a perv, but alas we are at where we are at with Denver.
21.Los Angeles Chargers
Average Ranking Position:18
Okay, maybe there is a slight bias putting the Chargers back this far. As a resident Raiders fan(you'll see my bias to come), I am perpetually used to the Chargers under performing. It just is what it is. They have a good roster. Justin Herbert is exciting, Keenan Allen is back with Mike Williams, and Austin Eikler. They have a tenacious defense who can be a top 10 unit any sunday. So why does it feel like LA might just have another San Diego year. One or two injuries will befall that 3rd favorite LA football team, they will lose a handful of games late that they should of won, and they will enter the 2022 off season with hope and all the analysts riding high. I'll stick my foot in my mouth on this one. Fuck the Chargers.
20.New England Patriots
Average Position Ranking:15
This is the New England effect now that Tom Brady isn't there. We doubted for years whether it was the team building genius of Bill Belichick or the skill of Tom Brady who made the dynasty. Not so much which one by itself, but what factor was bigger. One year out, we have our answer. The Pats went scrambling and spent ALL of the money on big name free agents. Billy B is bringing back his greatest hits. See select singles like:
Two Tight Ends(damn you Aaron)
Reclamation project(Kendrick Bourne)
Baby Come Back(ft. Trent Brown and Kyle Van Noy)
1 year wonders (ft. Nelson Agholar and Hunter Henry)
Still, several defensive starters are back after sitting out a year and the Pats will go as far as the broken body of once great superman Cam Newton will take them.
19.New Orleans Saints
Average Position Ranking:15
Let us REALLY talk about the Saints here ladies and Gentlemen. They have a Great RB in Alvin Kamara. But, Drew Brees is gone. Even in his old age, he was a net positive for this offense the majority of the time. Star receiver Michael Thomas is currently in a war with the organization and even pulled a Scottie Pippen, electing to have surgery on an injury during training camp instead of earlier in the offseason. Thomas has been shaking his way out of New Orleans for a second, but that is not the only crack in the pavement. Notable defensive regression last year along with several losses in the free agent market leaves New Orleans less of a team. They have Super-backup Taysom Hill and Finger Lickin' Good Jabo Wins competing for the QB job, all while everyone still acts like these guys are a credible threat to dethrone the Bucs this year. I'm not saying this is a bad team, but they are not cracked up to what everyone thinks they are and this is going to be a long year for Saints fans. Don't worry though New Orleans, rumblings are that Aaron Rodgers loves Sean Payton and plans to jet on over after this season.
Average Position Ranking:18
This one hurts a little bit. I want to believe in Minnesota. No team that has Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in their lineup should be out of the playoffs. That's the issue though. Cook is good for 8-11 games a year, and Kirk Cousins is just not the guy to bring them above the hill. Pastor Kirk might need to spend his whole season in a plexiglass case if he continues the up and down performance trend since he has gotten into in Minnesota. Don't make a mistake though. The defense should come back better this year and this team CAN win, but will they is always the big question.
Average Position Ranking:17.5
Making my original rankings, I thought I would be more alone in not thinking the Steelers are a top 50% team. They have an aging Big Ben and they got lucky quite a bit last year in their road to 12-4, which was really a 2-4 finish after a crapshoot 10-0 start. Najee Harris is an upgrade over James Connor in my opinion, but this team was bailed out routinely by their defense and that formula just doesn't add up long term, just ask Chicago. They are in an extremely competitive AFC North, and with drawing the AFC West as contemporaries, it will be interesting to see how the Steel City Saviors maneuver around several obstacles.
Average Position Ranking:18
The Tua debate has been a hot one this offseason. Is he the guy going forward, or where his concerns in 2020 indicative of bigger issues. Personally, I think not having competition and walking into the year as the starter is going to go a long way for the second year QB. Having someone like Fitzmagic behind you has to be hard on a talent level and locker room basis as well. Giving Tua control will determine how this season goes. Expect quite a few bumps in the road and maybe not as good fortune as befell them last year, but still a talented squad should still hang in the thick of it.
Average Position Ranking:13.25
Carson Wentz is a downgrade. Healthy or not, this is not the team that was lead by Phillip Rivers last year and I expect them to take a small step back. Marcus Mariota I think would of been a better trade candidate in my opinion, but the appeal of Frank Reich turning around his once promising QB from Philly has valid reason for belief. However with Wentz slated to now miss considerable time, the Colts find themselves where the Eagles have been. You have to wonder if the same turnover happy Wentz will emerge from the injury tent afterwards as well. Another team slated in the "If only I had an elite QB" category.
14.Las Vegas Raiders
Average Position Ranking:23
Yes, I am biased. But I also monitor this team more than any other. The main stream beliefs are now(after like 4 years of this being an issue) that Derek Carr actually is a good NFL QB and that he has been plagued by historic defensive production....duh. That is all I have to say. Derek has had the 30th best defense since he entered the league. 3rd worst, and we wonder why he hasn't gotten to a playoff game yet. Second off is the destruction of the offensive line that everyone thinks is the end of Vegas. The Raiders getting rid of Rodney Hudson is not a good on-field move, I get that. But Andre James has shined in relief roles, is younger, and will cost a lot less than Hudson. Getting rid of Gabe Jackson is an even split in my mind as the Raiders return Richie Incognito and shift his replacement from last year, Denzelle Good, over to Right Guard. Where Good actually did about the same as Jackson as far as grading goes. You add to that a mature rookie in Alex Leatherwood and franchise left tackle Kolten Miller I would dare say the Raiders line is a shade better than the year prior. Also don't forget the defense adding Yannick Ngakwue and Casey Hayward. Even Gerald McCoy brings some intrigue coming off of injury. Vegas is a gambling team in a gambling town, but I am going all in that this franchise is about to surprise some folks.
Average Position Ranking:14.5
Dallas will be better. They have to be. With Dak back, Zeke remotivated and a defense that on paper looks better, the Cowboys have all that Cowboy mojo riding into the season. So it feels only proper to predict around a .500 finish and a season filled with the most publicized team to not matter. Seriously you can get enough coverage on tv about these assholes, moving on.
12.Washington Football Team
Average Position Ranking:17
Fitzmagic and Washington feel like a match made in heaven. The gritty vet joins a hardnosed young team that needs that veteran leadership and gutsy acumen in order to get it over the hump. Last year Washington went toe-to-toe with Tampa Bay and they only got better. This is a well rounded team that if the dominoes fall right, could be an amazing story we can all ride to a super bowl title and the hopeful resignation of Dan Snyder.
P.S. Pick a damn name already.
11.San Francisco 49ers
Average Position Ranking:9.5
The Injury bug hit San Fran the hardest last year and this team is leagues better than it's 6-10 finish indicated. Still, in a tough NFC West, these guys had an interesting offseason. They made a win later move in selecting Trey Lance after trading up, and still seem like lesser than the team who made it to a Super Bowl a short 18 months ago. The QB conundrum will be a storyline to watch along with all of the returning players.
Average Position Rankings:12.75
The dream team is going to be deadly. Sure, a Kyler Murray injury again could stop Arizona in its tracks and provide a caveat of issues, but what if that doesn't happen. The prospects of JJ Watt and AJ Green coming to town are scary, even in a limited impact role. This team was already slated for a jump going into the offseason, but adding marquee talent never hurts that as they add experience to youth in a dog fight of the NFC West right now.
Average Position Ranking:9
Seattle entered the offseason in about the same position. They didn't do anything to hurt themselves, but didn't do enough to help switch it all around. The defense presents some questions still and the line, while upgraded, will need to prove itself. The offense is electric though, returning Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Chris Carson to aide Russell Wilson in adding another trophy.
8.Los Angeles Rams
Average Position Ranking:6
Remember those teams we talked about that were "just a QB away" well, the Rams went out and did it. Never shy about trading 1st rounders for talent, the Rams weren't even a QB needy team by most accounts. But they got tired of the "good enough" from Jared Goff and decided it was time to get a bonafide gunslinger. Getting Matthew Stafford is a huge acquisition. You give a guy who has either been under tooled, or underappreciated due to Calvin Johnson, an adequate offense with a genius play-caller, expect fireworks. The Rams defense is legit and posses two of the top players at any position in Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald. The Rams have embraced the LA "Go big or Go home" mantra of the Dodgers and Lakers. Hopefully it will turn into likewise success. If they can control the NFC West, only two other teams seem to be a matching threat.
Average Position Ranking:5.5
The Ravens just have a way of pulling it together. Lamar Jackson helps as a steady threat at the most important position, but still. Losing top edge rushers year after year takes its toll. The Ravens reloaded with adding Justin Houston and Jayson Oweh. Hopefully the formers veteran savvy and repertoire can rub off on the uber-talented but raw prospect. As well, one of my personal favorite draft moves is the addition of Rashod Batemen. He proved a deadly route runner and contested catcher in college, and will step in right away opposite Hollywood Brown as a viable receiving option. While it wasn't the superstar most people wanted there, Batemen might just be that guy one day. Sooner rather than later I would bet.
Average Position Ranking:6
The Browns are a powerful threat heading into this year. The main glaring weakness was their secondary, and they revitalized it through free agency. Jadeveon Clowney is a great pickup as he has proven he can work gangbusters next to an elite talent like Myles Garrett. The Browns are scary. If Baker takes another step forward, they might be Kansas City level hard to contend with.
5.Green Bay Packers
Average Position Ranking:4.75
This looks to be Aaron Rodgers Swan Song as a Green Bay Packer, as it seems he will be out after this year due to years of a rift growth between him and the organization. That can spell catastrophe, we just don't know if that's to the league or within the Packers. They return most of the same team and even brought back Randall Cobb to make you (and Aaron) feel warm and fuzzy inside. It is kind of sad that the Packers and Rodgers have gotten here. This feels like maybe the best set of Packers teams we've seen and it may be taken away in a few short months.
4.Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Average Position Ranking:1.5
The Bucs are the reigning champions and a damn good football team, but I still don't believe they are the top team in the NFL. They were kryptonite for the Chiefs and had a solid run through the playoffs, which returns all the same team when you break it down. However, I did not think that last years Bucs team was the BEST, but they still ended up with that title. Tom Brady is Tom Brady so it would be silly to count them out of anything, I just don't think Tampa is that top 2 team that everyone else seems to have them ranked this offseason.
Average Position Ranking:9.75
I know I know, I'm a little high on the Titans. Here is why. They return the best rusher, behind a monster line, still have an efficient passer in Ryan Tannehill, have AJ Brown and just added a man you may have heard of in Julio Jones. Then added monster CB Caleb Farley and signed Bud Dupree for an ailing pass defense and pass rush. The Titans still have question marks, I agree. But the potential this team can have after already being an extremely solid team, warrants them their jump for me.
Average Position Ranking:3
The Bills picked up much needed edge rushing help and kept their roster intact for another run at the Chiefs and the Super Bowl. If Josh Allen improves any more, they just might do it. The Bills are a solid overall team and while most people would of liked to see a big name running back come to town, Buffalo is more than potent enough offensively to dual with anyone in the NFL..
1.Kansas City Chiefs
Average Position Ranking:1.5
The defending AFC Champions had their achilles heel exposed in the Super Bowl. They then went out and did everything in their physical power to turn their greatest weakness to a strength. Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney were All-Pro Acquisitions that should pay immediate dividends. Sammy Watkins departure should make way for more of an impact from Mecole Hardman. There are still questions with the defense to be answered, but KC starts this year as my odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl and number one team in the league.