Around the NFL – Case’s 2018 League Power Rankings

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25 – Broncos

The Broncos are still mired in the doldrums resulting from the wake of their masterful employment of the rarely successful free agency blitz that brought them to the top of the league back in 2012-2015. It was truly impressive, and worth it I’m sure, but when you make a deal with the cap devil, he always comes for payment. Their pair of star receivers are now on the wrong side of 30 and the defense is a shadow of its former self. Still, Case Keenum provides them the most stability they’ve had at the QB spot in a few years and could help turn them from terrible to just mediocre.

26 – Cardinals

The Cardinals record of 8-8 last year is an illusion. They finished the year with -66 net points (2nd lowest in the NFC) and if you take a closer look, most of their wins came in close games against bad teams. Of course, David Johnson returning could provide a boost, but unless rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk can find a way to thrive on the outside, it’s a very weak receiving corps. The once-feared defense has continued to lose talent over the last few years and is likely average at best at this point. I like Josh Rosen, but it’s going to take time to get this bird back in the sky.

27 – Bengals

If I have ever been right about anything NFL related, it’s been that you could see the Bengals collapse coming from a mile away. They lost too much talent through the offseason in both 2016 and 2017 to survive. The bleeding has finally stopped, but it hasn’t exactly been reversed either. Their sophomore offensive players, Joe Mixon and John Ross, will both need to step it up in a big way if there is any hope for a rebound this year.

28 – Dolphins

Miami, in my humble opinion, has the worst front office in the league right now. They consistently overpay incoming free agents which leads to a revolving door of highly talented players, but no consistency whatsoever. This offseason they lost Ndamukong Suh to the Rams, and that leaves a gaping hole. They clocked in with the 5th worst offense and defense last year in terms of points scored/allowed. If Ryan Tannehill was a more inspiring figure at QB, returning after his knee injury that kept him out in 2017, then perhaps it would be a different story. But with a receiving corps, sans Jarvis Landry, that never lived up to its hype to begin with, the ceiling looks pretty low.
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29 – Bills

What a drop. From a playoff berth to a top-five pick might seem like an overreaction, but there just isn’t much to like here. They picked up two extremely inaccurate QBs, in Josh Allen and AJ McCarron, to replace Tyrod Taylor, who was far from perfect but at least took care of the ball. They now have questions on the OL to boot, after they traded Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito retired/unretired in bizarre fashion. Their receiving corps is a mishmash of players who weren’t wanted elsewhere and their premier running back, LeSean McCoy, is about to turn 30 and become one of the five oldest RBs in the league.

30 – Jets

There’s a pretty significant push to view the Jets as the worst team in the league right now. That wouldn’t blow my mind. But while the roster is primarily filled with players you’ve never heard of, I don’t personally think it’s as devoid of talent as some do. They finished in the bottom 10 and top 10 in points allowed and points scored respectively in 2017, but only just. What I find interesting is that despite the weakness of the roster last year, Josh McCown was able to produce the best season of his career. It may not be as horrible a situation for rookie Sam Darnold to step into as some believe.

31 – Browns

Tyrod Taylor might bring the Browns the best starting QB situation they’ve had in a very, very long time. But… when you take a quarterback with the #1 pick in the draft, there is an expectation that they will see the field at some point in their rookie year. It’s under this already tenuous situation that we find one of the worst head coaches in the league in Hue Jackson. The talent level of this team could probably take them to 8-8 or better, but the chaos, uncertainty, and poor leadership will almost certainly limit their ceiling. In a perfect world, for the Browns, they will get another high pick in 2019 and have a different head coach that can drag them out of the gutter next year.

32 – Colts

I’m making an attempt to read between the lines here. The Colts rank last in the NFL with the assumption that Andrew Luck either won’t play this year or will be severely limited if he does. Throw this ranking out the window if that’s untrue. That said, it’s not just about Luck. This team finished bottom three in points scored and top three in points allowed in 2017. And despite a relatively strong looking draft, they lost more talent in FA than they gained and will have a hard time improving on those rankings, especially on defense, regardless of the QB situation.
Thanks for reading this year’s power rankings. Follow @sosuhme_rNFL and tell him why he’s wrong, and check out the NFL and Detroit Lions communities on Reddit while you’re at it!