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    bingo415

    [2022] Start of the Season Power Rankings - Pt. 2

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    Seattle looks to improve on a terrible 2021 and get Jarius Jones moving

     

    To conclude this two-part Season Opening Power Rankings, we look at teams ranked #13-32. Catch Part One here.

     

    Today, we see where some playoff contenders and the rest of the League falls to open the season. Major questions abound for all of these teams, but there is some hope as well. 

     

    Remember, if you don't like where you are in these rankings...play better!

     

    13. New Orleans Saints

    To borrow the old show device from The Colbert Report, I have a tip of cap and wag of the finger for the Saints FO. First, tip of the cap for going out and getting an above-average player at the ONE position you knew you needed to solidify. It could be the key to moving from 13 to a ranking much closer to the top 5. In fact, I’d even say is somewhat likely the Saints end the season higher than 13. But, the wag of the finger is for the King’s Ransom paid to achieve that singular goal. So many picks, plus giving up a weapon for Devereaux might mean that this year is all of a sudden make-or-break.

     

    14. Kansas City Chiefs

    If I were to listen to Alien (but really, who does that?), I would have put the Chiefs much higher up the list. I sort of wanted to do so anyway, so the inevitable slide is that much more biting. But I like what KC did: they went out and got a guy in Josh Allen Ryan Harris that can make throws and balances their offense nicely. Terrence Rodgers was in for a ‘take the leap’ kind of season anyway, this may accelerate that even further. Super hot take: Luke Lyles will be a Pro Bowler this year. Damn, why is my division so good? Can’t you all just be terrible?

     

    15. Indianapolis Colts

    Indy is so difficult to get a real read on—they MIGHT be back to the unstoppable offense and bend-don’t-break defense that saw them flying high in 2019 and 2020. Or, they MIGHT never find the balance that takes the pressure off a still-developing Aaron Shea (who, by the way, feels a heck of a lot like the AFC’s version of Young Skaggs, doesn’t he?). The lack of a running game is a meme now, but ask yourself this: does Shea have what it takes to single-handedly win a game, like Nick Hall did on Thursday night? I don’t think so.

     

    16. Denver Broncos

    Nothing to see here, move along, hey look at that awesome shiny thing in Kansas City!! As discussed in the shoutbox this week, Denver is the perennial playoff contender, never a contender for the top prize. I get it. Part of that is by design (the playoff contender part, anyway), part of it might be our unsubstantiated belief in Jennings and Blacknall and solid play in the trenches. I get it. We’ll just see how this year plays out and move on from there. IF we end up in the playoffs, I’ll say I told you so.

     

    17. Chicago Bears

    Interestingly, my feelings about the Bears mirror those of the new team of the Bears’ former QB. Like PIT, Chicago is either going to flame out or flare up, with first-year starter Mo Foster joined in the backfield by über-vet Vaughan Abraham. Do I wish the Bears would have done a bit more to bolster the OLine? Yes. Do I think they will have a hard time stopping everyone else in their division? Yes. Am I super pumped to watch every Bears game? Yes.

     

    18. Washington Football Club

    This very well may be too low for the Football Club from our nation’s capital. I can easily see them challenging the Eagles in the East, maybe even jumping as high as the #5 playoff spot in the NFC, so strong is the battery of Bowman-to-SWH and the remarkably robust team around them. How Washington got here in basically two years after a near-death penalty from the League is really impressive. And the new FO of Stinsy and HAFF will only continue the ascent. If I had a true rooting interest in the NFC, it would be these guys.

     

    19. Houston Texans

    Alex Leshoure is ready to break through. He’s got some weapons, he’s got some protection, and he’s ‘mastered’ a couple playbooks already. He’s ready. Will his coach give him the best shot to finally live up to those expectations? I have no idea, but it won’t be for lack of trying. Rome has a tricky season: he’s got Auburn to look after and the Texans to mind and I can tell there is some tension there. I’ll put it this way: if the Texans are top 15 in scoring, and top 20 in scoring defense, they will be a playoff team. If either of those things is untrue, it may be time to blow it up.

     

    20. Dallas Cowboys

    I’ve already come out in favor of the new direction Dallas is preparing to take. I like Graham Burnett and I like Serwendel as a Coach and GM. I think he can make things work. At least Burnett is going to be upright while attempting 47 passes a game, unlike Nick Hall. Here’s guessing a regression to 9 wins sets the table nicely for 2023 when they finally get a gamebreaking Wideout. How’s that for franchise planning? ☺

     

    21. Baltimore Ravens

    Yep, I already know this is too low, but legitimately I can’t tell who the Ravens should leapfrog. The Defense: it’s gonna be good. Like, keep them in every game good. But I am so less sure about anything Baltimore is doing on Offense that it makes it impossible to predict where and when a win is going to come, other than over the Bengals twice. Besides, the stink of the AFC North is a difficult monkey to shuck. I will be rooting for Darrell Mack to do well…that’s about it.

     

    22. New England Patriots

    You know, this team could really surprise a few folks. It’s entirely possible that the very solid draft and free agent moves this team made might position them well in the larger AFC playoff picture—but I also can’t feel good about them playing the Dolphins and Jets four times and the Pats coming away with more than 1 win. We all root for Reggie, but he’s gonna need some help. Maybe this is the year Jamel Beckham decides to make like a poor man’s JC Weldon and put the team on his back.

     

    23. Cleveland Browns

    I’m sitting here trying to think of one thing that the Browns did this offseason. Without looking, can you name one thing they did? I can’t. That doesn’t mean the Browns lack talent, but I can’t tell what their identity is as a football team in any way. Nor can I deduce what they’re trying to do. So, I think the Browns, lacking any major moves at all, will take a step back because other teams in their division got better. Cleveland, meet 5-11.

     

    24. Seattle Seahawks

    I so badly wanted to put Seattle higher on this list, because it’s really easy to root for Jieret and his FO. I think Seattle will be MUCH more entertaining than last season, and I think that they will jump into the #2 spot in their division, which is no small feat after their puke-tastic play of 2021. They have serious top-end talent at three or four major positions, and if Marcus Williams can put it together as he did in the preseason, look out. I’ll say 8-8 and be happy about that, Hawks.

     

    25. Atlanta Falcons

    Aside from the very obvious QB controversy that will linger over the entire season, Atlanta is also lacking major talent at some very important spots. They SHOULD be able to rush the passer, which will be good because they can’t cover anyone. Nor do they have a thumper in the middle of the second level to destroy running games. Akili Wallace is gonna murder someone on the offense or coaching staff when this team starts out 1-5, and he would probably be acquitted. Long year coming in the Dirty Dirty.

     

    26. Minnesota Vikings

    Hey, everyone! Remember that Minnesota has a professional football team!! The Vikes are about as under-the-radar as you can get in a division with a recent champ, a perennial favorite, and the flavor of the month. Verdell is done, I’m almost positive. But he’ll grit out another season, heck, might even surprise some folks. But really, the Luke Cobb scenario is perfectly typical of the Vikings: one step forward, two steps back, pretty much every season since 2014. This current FO has some plans, and that is very nice to see, but they won’t come to fruition for at least two more seasons, right?

     

    27. Buffalo Bills

    Very tempted to move the Bills up. They drafted the best QB since Shea (yes, I think Matt Jones will be better than Bowman), and they got the mojo back on their DLine. But they still have a rookie signal caller, which means Matt Jones will look like a total rookie at least 4 games and those will all be losses. Plus, AFC East. Yuck. The Williams are trending up for sure, but still appear to be a 6 or 7 win ceiling squad this season.

     

    28. San Francisco 49ers

    Duncan is a very smart guy, and a very talented coach. If you need any proof at all, note that Mississippi State…yes, Miss State!...will be a top 15 team this year in college ball. However, the disarray of shuffling the front office combined with losing your star quarterback and not really finding any sort of immediate help on the DLine is going to prove too much for even the gifted Duncan to overcome. Things will get better in the Bay Area, but right now, with the Seahawks looking better, I see the Niners with 5 wins.

     

    29. Cincinnati Bengals

    The Bengals would be ecstatic with 5 wins this season. Ecstatic. Or, at least should be. Free Agency continues to be a massive mirage for this franchise, and they can’t seem to make draft picks work either. There are some pieces here (read: Jank), but there is no cohesive whole and there certainly is no abundance of talent. The Battle of Ohio series this year could be ugly. Like, really ugly.

     

    30. Los Angeles Chargers

    I can’t knock a single move this FO made in the offseason, other than the sheer amount of $$ they spent on Greg Cobb. But hey, he’s a better WR than anyone we have, so who am I to criticize. There is still much to be done to get this team sniffing .500, but I think they are on their way. In fact, if Matty Swift can play even a little, I’ll be legit worried that the Bolts are gonna sneak up and beat the Broncos more than once. We’ll see, but a tepid Kudos to Pumph for getting out of the hole and onto level ground.

     

    31. Arizona Cardinals

    I know folks are down on the Cardinals. I get it, it’s tough to come into a franchise that had a real plan, and shift course midstream. It’s tough. This FO may eventually figure it out, and at the very least they have a fantastic running back to shoulder the load. But I fear that my Beloved Trevon Yeldon will be hovering around 3-7 wins for half of his career, and that makes me a bit sad. Here’s hoping it’s not true. Just run the damn ball, Cardinals. A lot.

     

    32. New York Giants

    Wow, was I disappointed with Khairi Bryant in the preseason. Not sure I should have been, but we heard barely a peep. Gifted with the easiest selection in modern history, the GMen must be looking forward to next couple of seasons of Bryant wrecking the quarterbacks of the NFCE. Which he will need to do for this team to have any sort of success long-term. Because right now, they are squarely in line for the #1 pick. This offense will again be historically bad, so they better hope Bryant can do some Waterboy shit and score some touchdowns. If that was the plan all along—take Bryant now, and Marcus Black next draft—I’m very impressed.

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    Did the formatting of the article mess up for everyone else? It’s 1 long paragraph for me...

     

    But good stuff! I’m getting hyped to see the Redskins in action tomorrow. Lots of exciting storylines to follow this year. I’m particularly interested to see what the Bears do with Foster at QB, and then of course I have a vested interest seeing the Cowboys offensive transition and how Bryant does for the Giants. 

     

    Like the real NFL, the gap between #12 and #20 seems very small. 

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    I appreciate the trust, but I can't imagine a top 15 offense and top 20 defense is good enough to make the playoffs in the AFC. The Wildcard is going to be looking at the losers of OAK/DEN, NYJ/MIA, and JAX/TEN I feel like. I 100% have to finish in the 2nd spot on the AFCS to make the playoffs, IMO. I expect Week 3 Leshoure and not Week 1 Leshoure (I do think CHI's going to be pretty good this year, the way they just absolutely demolished my run game played a lot into his bad Leshoure was) for most of the season. How do we make the playoffs? Get Leshoure to the Pro Bowl and manage a 4.0 YPC over the course of the year.

     

    Coaching Auburn and Houston will not cause any issues for me.

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    6 minutes ago, HAFFnHAFF said:

    Did the formatting of the article mess up for everyone else? It’s 1 long paragraph for me...

     

    But good stuff! I’m getting hyped to see the Redskins in action tomorrow. Lots of exciting storylines to follow this year. I’m particularly interested to see what the Bears do with Foster at QB, and then of course I have a vested interest seeing the Cowboys offensive transition and how Bryant does for the Giants. 

     

    Like the real NFL, the gap between #12 and #20 seems very small. 

    Is it fixed now? 

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    The draft picks definitely hurt to give up in the trade, but Cotton Lewis wasnt much of a weapon.  He was on track to be maybe the 5th or 6th target in the passing game at best.  Given that and his 100% guaranteed starter-level contract, we figured we wouldnt be losing much and we could use that money to help re-sign Austin Olson and Wesley Dawkins this offseason

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    2 minutes ago, Jamzz said:

     

    Wait wut

     

    1 minute ago, paperllamasunited said:

    I'm also confused by this, Vardy looked pretty good last year when he wasnt out with his early season injury, and this year hopefully his WR1 + WR2 dont die in the opening month. 

    I suppose I was a bit harsh, but I'll be quite surprised if Vardell is a Top 15 QB this year. Maybe I'm unnecessarily down on him, but for a guy that was Top 5 for so long, it feels like he's winding down. 

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    1 hour ago, bingo415 said:

    Trevon Yeldon will be hovering around 3-7 wins for half of his career,

    At this point, 3-7 wins per year would be an improvement for this franchise - won 8 games in the inaugural Cardinals season (2017), and hasn't won more than 4 since. 

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    2 hours ago, bingo415 said:

    But, the wag of the finger is for the King’s Ransom paid to achieve that singular goal. So many picks, plus giving up a weapon for Devereaux might mean that this year is all of a sudden make-or-break.

    I mean, in my opinion this was more of a make-or-break season for us before this deal than now, really. Before the trade we had a hard time coming up with a scenario where we would be able to resign our key expiring players and keep all pieces we like about this team.

     

    We're in way less of a cap bind now for after 2022 than we were before the trade, we had one of our defensive stars being unhappy with our roster (deservedly, but we realllly tried getting a DE worth his money for several drafts now, never had a chance) and we have a way better chance to not land in the winning-record-not-in-the-playoffs limbo this season again. We got a still cheap - in terms of contract - really good DE for the next 2 seasons and we gave away a WR that's decent but drops balls like crazy.

     

    Sure, we paid a lot but we also had to convince a team that really didn't want to make this move to give in. I will let the next seasons judge this move. I'm loving it.

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