The Bye Week Served As A Stepping Stone For The Detroit Lions.
A quick rundown of the specifics –
- Rankings are based on what I have seen thus far. Last season or expectations for the rest of this season won’t be a factor. This is 2018.
- Overall record is not the final decider. Matchups do matter. Winning a tight game at home against a bad team may not be a big deal. Same goes for losing a close road game to a good team.
- Head to head matchups become impossible to use as a metric as the season wears on. X beat Y, but Y beat Z and Z beat X. Keep that in mind before yelling at me.
- Major injuries are being accounted for.
1. Rams 6-0
The Rams remain as the lone undefeated team in the NFL and it’s hard to debate that they don’t look like the best squad. Even in a game where Jared Goff struggled mightily, they were able to get out of the snow in Denver with another win. The Packers come to town in a couple weeks. Should be interesting.
2. Chiefs 5-1
A narrow defeat to Tom Brady is hardly going to change my opinion of this team. I’ve said all season that the defense is a problem. That finally played out, but the offense is so good that most teams still won’t be able to keep up. A rematch may be waiting down the line.
3. Saints 4-1
Week one is looking like a long time ago. The 1-2 running back punch of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram paired with some guys named Drew Brees and Michael Thomas must be giving defensive coordinators nightmares. I don’t see many teams slowing them down. However, their schedule is about to get very tough. Their next five opponents are the Ravens, Vikings, Rams, Bengals, and Eagles. We’re going to learn a lot about this team over the next stretch of the season.
4. Patriots 4-2
The offense is clicking on all cylinders ever since the Sunday night loss to the Detroit Lions. Seems like a pattern in New England. Start slow, get some kinks worked out, make a run at another title. Here we go.
5. Chargers 4-2
Maybe the quietest really good team in the league. Los Angeles keeps taking care of the teams they should be beating. Meanwhile, their two losses came to the Rams and Chiefs. Hard to fault them too much. It will be over a month before they play a team that currently has a winning record. We could see a run coming up.
6. Bengals 4-2
A close loss to Pittsburgh isn’t going to cost Cincy a lot in these rankings. Whether it comes back to cost them a division crown later is another story. They have the Chiefs coming up. A second consecutive loss would see the Bengals fall back to the middle of the pack. I’m not ready to call it a loss though. This offense will carry their weight against Kansas City.
7. Vikings 3-2-1
The game against the Cardinals was even more one-sided than the score would indicate. I’m still of the belief that the NFC North goes through Minnesota. If the Lions want a chance at winning the division, this is still the team to beat.
8. Ravens 4-2
Baltimore put to rest the question about whether the Titans were a good team or just fool’s gold. Early in the year, it’s easy to get things jumbled, but with 11 sacks on Sunday, the Ravens made it clear which team was a fraud. The issue they face is that both their losses have come in the division. That could complicate things for them later. For now, they seem like a legit playoff team.
9. Steelers 3-2-1
Pittsburgh is starting to roll. Two straight wins have them right back in the race in the AFC North. Now they get a bye week to prepare for a week one rematch with Cleveland. Who’s up for another tie?
10. Jaguars 3-3
I’m starting to lose faith in this team quickly. For now, they remain in the top 10 but another game or two like we saw Sunday would be enough for me to give up. The offense is putrid, and I’m not even sure Leonard Fournette will be able to make a difference when he returns. If the Jags defense isn’t holding teams to under 17 they don’t have a shot.
11. Dolphins 4-2
12. Panthers 3-2
13. Eagles 3-3
14. Redskins 3-2
15. Bears 3-2
16. Cowboys 3-3
17. Texans 3-3
18. Detroit Lions 2-3
The Lions got to relax on their bye week after beating Green Bay. Dare I say this should be enough time to see Ziggy Ansah healthy again for this week’s game in Miami? I know it sounds crazy, but it might just happen. The hope is running back Kerryon Johnson and guard T.J. Lang have had enough time to get back to 100% as well. It seems like the Lions have played up or down to their competition this year. The Dolphins are tricky because while they are 4-2, they’ve also looked wildly unimpressive. Which Lions team is going to show up?
The next two games are both winnable (MIA/SEA). Detroit will need those to end up as wins before back to back divisional road games in Chicago and Minnesota. If the mantra that the Lions are getting better each week is true then we should be in for a bit of a winning streak here.
19. Packers 3-2-1
20. Seahawks 3-3
21. Browns 2-3-1
22. Jets 3-3
23. Titans 3-3
24. Falcons 2-4
25. Bucs 2-4
26. Broncos 2-4
27. 49ers 1-5
28. Giants 1-5
29. Bills 2-4
30. Colts 1-5
31. Raiders 1-5
32. Cardinals 1-5
Like the rankings? Hate the rankings? Want to berate or congratulate me?