Updated: Sept. 7
Washington Redskins (4-12) - Previously: 31.
Ugh. I was planning on betting the Dolphins before the Redskins benched Robert Griffin. Damn you, Jay Gruden, and your smart coaching decisions!
Speaking of Griffin being benched, I could not believe that people were defending him and lashing out at the Redskins. What are these idiots thinking? How can they support a prima donna quarterback who puts zero effort in terms of studying film and improving the mental part of his game? Griffin is a loser who is just mad that Daniel Snyder won't feed him grapes anymore, and the sooner everyone realizes that, the better off we'll be as a society.
New York Jets (4-12) - Previously: 25.
The Jets went 4-12 last year, but they would have been 2-14 or worse without Rex Ryan. He's not there anymore, so this quarterback-less team could finish with the worst record in the NFL. The offense still sucks, and the defense won't be as good. Yes, Darrelle Revis is there, but Revis is in his 30s now, and he seems more than content to mail it in after abandoning a Super Bowl contender for a big pay day.
Chicago Bears (5-11) - Previously: 27.
Reading back on the previous entry, I completely forgot that the Bears offered Jay Cutler to the Titans for Marcus Mariota. Lulz. It would be like walking into Best Buy and trying to buy a 50-inch TV with some feces. Not that Cutler is feces, or anything. He can like walk and breathe and stuff, so he's not literally a piece of poop, though figuaritvely... yeah...
San Francisco 49ers (8-8) - Previously: 29.
The WF Podcasts will be up soon. In the NFC West one, my pick co-host Matvei asked me if I like the 49ers under 6.5. To that, I replied, "I think I'd like them at under 4.5." This team is a train wreck. Unfortunately, everyone knows that now, and the Week 1 line has moved from Vikings +3.5 to Vikings -2.5. I can't hate the Internet because I make my living on this site, but it's frustrating that the public is smarter now because of it, making betting more difficult.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14) - Previously: 28.
Jameis Winston was terrific on Monday night prior to getting injured, but he was atrocious the following week, much like he was in the opener. Was the Monday night victory a mirage? It definitely might have been, because the Bengals sure as hell weren't trying. In fact, if I put the same amount of effort they did into these power rankings, every single entry would be blank.
Cleveland Browns (7-9) - Previously: 30.
Johnny Manziel apparently can't play anymore (not that he ever could) because his elbow hurts from the way he usually throws the ball. OK, then. Are we sure it's not from his technique of rolling $20s in the bathroom? I mean, he has been coached football, but maybe no one ever taught him proper form to roll $20s in bathrooms. If Manziel's work ethic didn't suck, I think he would have already hired a positional coach to improve his $20 rolling technique.
In all seriousness, the Browns are one of the worst teams in the league. Their defense won't be so bad, but their offense is dreadful and won't be able to do much.
Tennessee Titans (2-14) - Previously: 26.
Marcus Mariota has looked better than Jameis Winston this preseason, which is hardly a surprise. Mariota was shaky in the preseason opener, but played well after that. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much surrounding him, so it'll be difficult for Tennessee to win more than five games this year.
By the way, props to Charlie Campbell for being all over Tennessee picking Mariota months before anyone else. Charlie easily won the 2015 NFL Draft Rumors Results.
Oakland Raiders (3-13) - Previously: 32.
I want to leave up the conversation that Mark Davis and Leonard Williams had prior to the draft:
Mark Davis: So, Leonard, why should I draft you?
Leonard Williams: Because I'm a great player, and I've always wanted to be a Raider.
Mark Davis: Let's cut the crap and get to the important question. What do you think of my beautiful Captain Kangaroo haircut?
Leonard Williams: To be honest, I'm not digging it. It's hard to take you seriously with it.
Mark Davis: THAT'S IT! I'M NOT GOING TO DRAFT YOU EVEN IF YOU FALL TO THE SEVENTH ROUND! YOU SUCK BECAUSE YOU DO NOT APPRECIATE THE GREATNESS OF MY CAPTAIN KANGAROO HAIRCUT!
Despite these shenanigans, it appears as though the Raiders made the right choice. Amari Cooper, who is apparently a fan of Captain Kangaroo haircuts, looks like a stud. The defense will be much better as well. The only issue is Derek Carr, who will regress because of the major downgrade at offensive coordinator. Still, I expect the Raiders to be pretty competitive for the most part.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) - Previously: 24.
No surprise that Blake Bortles has looked great this preseason. His mechanics have improved, thanks to offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Unfortunately, Jacksonville still has a sketchy situation on the offensive line, with Luke Joeckel struggling against backup defensive ends. I'm not sure about the defense either. That said, the Jaguars don't look like one of the worst teams in the NFL to me anymore. I think they could go 6-10 or so this year and then perhaps compete for a playoff spot in 2016.
St. Louis Rams (6-10) - Previously: 20.
The secondary lost its top corner, and the offensive line doesn't look good enough to protect Nick Foles. On the other hand, Todd Gurley will be great when he plays, and the pass rush will be devastating, as always. So, in summary, some good and some bad for the Rams. Sounds like another .500 season for Jeff "Commander 500" Fisher.
Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) - Previously: 19.
Carolina's season was flushed down the crapper when Kelvin Benjamin was lost for the year. Now, Cam Newton has no one to throw to beyond Greg Olsen, unless you want to count the unproven Devin Funchess, or maybe Philly Brown, who should never, ever become a father because there's no way in hell he can be trusted with holding a baby.
New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Previously: 23.
The Saints look like the clear winner of the Jimmy Graham deal - more on that later - but they're dealing with some serious injuries to their secondary. Keenan Lewis, their No. 1 corner, is out for a while, and then there's third-round rookie P.J. Williams, who is done for the year. Don't forget Brandon Browner, who will give Sean Payton migraines with all of his dumb penalties. I think this might be the tie-breaker in the NFC South.
New York Giants (6-10) - Previously: 21.
Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. had trouble connecting in the first two preseason games, but they finally got on track in the dress rehearsal. I guess that's good, though Manning hasn't looked quite right. I said the same thing about him last summer, and yet he got off to a very slow start. Then again, he didn't have Beckham at his disposal.
Houston Texans (9-7) - Previously: 14.
How dare the Texans demote Ryan Mallett for sleeping in late? Mallett is a good guy, so he was most likely studying for his online exam, or perhaps tutoring a fellow classmate in Calculus III. He was burning the midnight oil, O'Brien, and you're going to penalize him for that? Ridiculous!!!
Kansas City Chiefs (9-7) - Previously: 16.
The Chiefs have injury issues, but that's not the least of their problems. Their schedule is damn near impossible. They are probably going to be underdogs in nine of their first 10 games, with a home contest against the Bears being the only exception. I could see this team beginning 3-7 and then just tanking down the stretch because it failed to meet expectations.
Atlanta Falcons (6-10) - Previously: 22.
This is the first time in years that the Falcons aren't going into the season with tons of injuries. Thus, I like their chances of perhaps taking the division. It also helps that Mike Smith is no longer on the team. Not because of his poor coaching, but because his players were definitely distracted by his crazy eyebrows. Not having Smith's eyebrows around has to be worth two wins at the very least.
Detroit Lions (11-5) - Previously: 17.
The defense obviously won't be as good this year without Ndamukong Suh, so that means the offense will have to do more to carry the team. I don't think this is good news, as Matthew Stafford's work ethic and focus hasn't always been on a high level. In fact, I said this on the podcast - which will be posted soon - but it seems like Stafford could go one of two directions: He could either improve his technique and become a great quarterback, or he could transform into a soulless individual like Jay Cutler and eat himself out of the NFL.
Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) - Previously: 15.
Bengal fans used to really get on me for criticizing Andy Dalton, but now they seem to be going the other way. I've had quite a few ask me if A.J. McCarron could be the answer. I would've said no a year ago, as I didn't like him coming out of Alabama, but McCarron looked impressive enough in the preseason dress rehearsal that I have to say that I'm at least intrigued.
San Diego Chargers (9-7) - Previously: 10.
I don't like how Melvin Gordon has looked at all, but the Chargers figure to be better this year regardless. Stevie Johnson is an upgrade over Eddie Royal, while the offensive line has improved. Philip Rivers is healthy again as well. If the Broncos, despite Peyton Manning's severe decline, weren't good for other reasons - more on that later - I'd have the Chargers winning the AFC West.
New England Patriots (12-4) - Previously: 9.
Surprised to see the Patriots so low? Well, then, you haven't watched Tom Brady play in the preseason, where he has looked like a rotting corpse. I described it in my NFL Disaster Grades. In addition to Brady's arm being shot, he has also been in court all summer, and his wife has threatened him with divorce, which isn't good.
And let me just say... IT'S HORRIBLE THAT TOM BRADY AND GISELE MIGHT BE GETTING A DIVORCE!!! THEY HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON!!! IF THOSE TWO LOVE BIRDS CAN'T MAKE IT, HOW CAN ANY OF US HAVE ANY HOPE!?!?!?
Arizona Cardinals (11-5) - Previously: 8.
It amazes me that despite spending two first-round picks and signing a high-priced free agent in an attempt to upgrade the offensive line, the Cardinals still can't block well. How does that work, exactly? It's so bad that Arizona hospitals are on standby and have a room reserved for Carson Palmer already.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) - Previously: 5.
Dick LeBeau was blamed for Pittsburgh's defensive decline, but the Steelers' stop unit looked so terrible this preseason that it made me wonder: What if LeBeau was the only person keeping the defense at a sub-par level instead of a historically putrid level? As good as Pittsburgh's offense is - and it won't be as effective until Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant - the defense is much worse.
Buffalo Bills (9-7) - Previously: 12.
The Rex Ryan era started well... but then the general manager began doing shady things like cutting players without consulting his coach. That can't be good. Imagine at your job if you had an assistant, and your boss fired him/her without even talking to you about it. Wouldn't you be pissed? Angry enough for you to get a tattoo of your wife wearing that assistant's attire, maybe?
Minnesota Vikings (7-9) - Previously: 13.
I like the Vikings to challenge for a playoff spot this year. They finished the season on a 5-4 streak, and their losses - two of which came against Green Bay and Detroit - were by an average of 3.8 points. Teddy Bridgewater made great strides in the second half of the season, and I don't see why he would suddenly decline. Plus, Adrian Peterson is back, and Matt Kalil hasn't been an abomination in the preseason, so I think Minnesota has a strong chance to win 10 or so games.
Miami Dolphins (8-8) - Previously: 18.
With the Patriots forced to start Tom Brady's rotting corpse during the first four games, the Dolphins suddenly have a better chance to win the AFC East. I think I'd like them even better if Joe Philbin didn't look like a farmer whose crops had just burned down. Still, this Miami team is strong all around and should be able to claim the division.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) - Previously: 11.
Congratulations to Chip Kelly for winning the preseason. You did it, Chip. While other coaches were focused on checking out their third-string players and just getting their starters into shape, you devised brilliant game plans to expose weak spots of opposing defenses that weren't prepared at all of your offense. Brilliant, Chip, brilliant.
Each year, there is a vastly overrated and extremely underrated team that comes out of the preseason because the media is dumb and doesn't understand that the exhibition doesn't mean anything in terms of team success. The Eagles qualify for the former, as they've done absolutely nothing impressive in August. Yes, they thrashed the Colts, but Andrew Luck was on the field for a drive-and-a-half. Sure, they demolished the Ravens, but Joe Flacco looked drunk and forced throws without any pressure in his face. And let's not forget the obliteration of the Packers, who were so unfocused for that matchup that they didn't even bother playing Aaron Rodgers.
What the Eagles have done this preseason reminds me of the Steve Spurrier Redskins back in 2002. They crushed every team in August, yet had nothing to show for it. These Eagles are better than those Redskins, obviously, but they are not nearly as good as their exhibition results indicate.
Dallas Cowboys (12-4) - Previously: 6.
From last time:
Dez Bryant, Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory walk into a bar...
I'll work on a punchline before the season starts, and I'll take all suggestions.
Well, I finally have it...
Dez Bryant, Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory walk into a bar. The bartender looks at them and says, "Boys, you can't be in this bar because you're bad people."
Dez looks at his friends and says, "Darn it, this sucks! If this bar were the NFL, we'd definitely be able to hang out here!"
OK, that was VEEEEEEERRRRRRRYYYYYYY corny and stupid, and I'm going to hang myself now.
Baltimore Ravens (10-6) - Previously: 2.
ESPN wrote that Joe Flacco was a "winner" as a result of the draft because his front office gave him Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams in the first two rounds. Well, Perriman has been injured, while Williams has been a disappointment thus far. Flacco could still have a great year because of Marc Trestman, but his performance at Philadelphia in the preseason wasn't very promising. He overshot his receivers by so much it looked like he was aiming at the moon. Hey, Joe, the moon wasn't wearing purple, you jerk. Why did you have to cost me $440 with your crappy passes?
Denver Broncos (12-4) - Previously: 7.
There's no question that Peyton Manning is overrated right now. However, the Broncos are underrated. How can this be? Well, Denver isn't great anymore because of Manning, who is just a shell of his former self right now. The team is great because of its terrific running game and dominant defense. Those two things will help the Broncos reach the playoffs - and ultimately lose there because Manning will have another choke-job meltdown.
Green Bay Packers (12-4) - Previously: 4.
In the wake of the Seahawks' struggles, I'd pick the Packers to make the Super Bowl... except I'm concerned about all of the injuries they've sustained. Jordy Nelson is whatever, since Aaron Rodgers is great enough to turn another receiver into a star, but the offensive line in shambles, which is definitely not good news, considering that Rodgers has been so frequently banged up over the years.
Seattle Seahawks (12-4) - Previously: 1.
The more I think about it, the less and less I like the Jimmy Graham trade. Seattle's offensive line sucks, so what does having Graham matter if Russell Wilson has zero protection? Also, I absolutely hate Graham's body language. After Wilson missed him on a pass in the third preseason game, Graham shot his quarterback an evil look that made it seem like he was thinking, "Dude, you suck. Brees was so much better. Why am I here?"
This is not good news for the Seahawks. I mean, think about it, the Saints were more than happy to unload Graham. He reportedly was part of the locker room disturbance that plagued New Orleans last year, so it's definitely not good that Seattle inherited this mess.
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) - Previously: 3.
What's up with Chuck Pagano being on the hot seat? Oh, so going to the AFC Championship with a three-man team (Luck, Hilton, Davis) isn't good enough, all of a sudden? What's Pagano supposed to do, crap gold coins out of his buttocks so that general manager Ryan Grigson can trade more first-round picks for terrible running backs? Pagano's not the greatest coach in the world, but he's far from the problem... wait... is there a problem in Indianapolis? This team is on the cusp of winning the Super Bowl. What's the issue here? I don't get it.
Anyway, it just dawned on me. My theory still stands. I accused Matt Millen of kidnapping Grigson and taking over his post, which would explain the first-round receiver pick. And Millen/Fake Grigson is pissed off at Pagano because Pagano doesn't want to insert kielbasas into his backside in Millen/Fake Grigson's hotel room. It all makes sense now...
@jsemmens I've been to the Big Board in the past, but it's still an inefficient way of going about a mock. Not to mention, reports and the people writing them change, no? I come to Walt's site because I used to like his insight on every player. Now, it's simply team needs and a very limited amount of actual analysis. You definitely need SOME amount of explanation behind a pick with regards to team need, but you need much more of the player evaluation angle. Any dummy can write why a particular team "needs" a specific position; it takes a pretty good eye to understand what player needs to fill it. Again, just my 2 cents.
@dawg66 I see where you're coming from. I really do. But I'm sure as a Browns fan you can understand, they have needs EVERYWHERE. You aren't gonna win a super bowl unless you have a QB. Case in point pretty much every super bowl winning quarterback ever. Second, yes you have Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman. Terrelle Pryor is a slot receiver which is gonna get you nowhere unless you play for New England. Corey Coleman has yet to prove a damn thing. Mike Williams, however, just took down Alabama pretty much BY HIMSELF. It's the right range for him and I'm positive Huge Jackson wouldn't pass over him at this point, meaning pre-combine and interviews.
Here's my mock based on team need, prospect value and prevailing opinion as well as some ideas of my own. Please let me know about the team(s) that you follow more closely, and any picks that you agree or disagree with. Please comment, and feel free to rate.