Keegan Jackish’s NFL Quarter Season Power Rankings (1-16):
(16) Carolina Panthers:
Why They’re Here: I underrated Carolina a little bit headed into the season. The offense has not been as exciting as I expected but there is a pretty good chance that Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey starts to play better as the season goes along. The defense is still very talented and their front seven could be the strength of that team. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are a fringe playoff contender this season.
(15) Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Why They’re Here: Tampa Bay has had a pretty good start to season and them moving down from the preseason rankings isn’t about them but more on other teams being just better. Jameis Winston hasn’t been as good as I expected so far this season and they could use some more help in the backfield but they have one of the most talented receiving corps in the league and that should be enough to at least contend in the loaded NFC South.
(14) Philadelphia Eagles:
Why They’re Here: Carson Wentz is going to be a really good player in the NFL but they need more talent in the receiving corps and in the secondary. I wouldn’t be too concerned about Darren Sproles injury as Wendell Smallwood should be able to replace him. The Eagles have a top five offensive line and that could make up for the deficiency in the receiving corps as the receivers will have more time to get open.
(13) Minnesota Vikings:
Why They’re Here: The injury to Dalvin Cook sucks but Latavius Murray is a good running back and if they can win with Case Keenum at quarterback they can win with Latavius Murray at running back. The offensive line is much better this season and this team could get a little scary once Bradford or Bridgewater gets healthy. They have a top five defense and that will allow them to be in close games even if Bradford is out for a few more weeks.
(12) Dallas Cowboys:
Why They’re Here: Dak Prescott has been great this season but Ezekiel Elliott has had some struggles, don’t expect Zeke to continue to struggle though as they still do have a top five offensive line. The main concern I have with this team is the secondary, I expect Chidobe Awuzie to be a pretty good corner one day but right now they need a lot of help at that position. The pass rush needs to get better if they want to win in January.
(11) Detroit Lions:
Why They’re Here: Matthew Stafford has been great this season (may be a MVP candidate) and I could see him playing even better once Taylor Decker gets back. Ameer Abdullah has been pretty good this season as well and that offense is much more dynamic than I expected. This year’s defense looks better than last year’s and I wouldn’t be surprised if they present a major challenge to Green Bay in the NFC North.
(10) Houston Texans:
Why They’re Here: Deshaun Watson has been great this season and he is going to contend for offensive rookie of the year. I really like their backfield as they have a mixture of power with D’Onta Foreman and finesse with Lamar Miller. The defense is loaded and right now they are the best team in Texas.
(9) Atlanta Falcons:
Why They’re Here: The offense doesn’t look like it will be as good as it was last year and the loss of Kyle Shanahan is going to hurt the offense late in the season. The defense could be better as well and that could hurt them in January when they face someone like Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson. I still expect them to win the NFC South but I doubt they get back to the Super Bowl.
(8) Seattle Seahawks:
Why They’re Here: Seattle has struggled a bit early this season but it seems like they are always slow starters and their offense should get on a role later on. They have arguably the best secondaries in football and easily one of the best safety combos. This is a great team that will be rock solid on both sides of the ball despite one of the league’s worst offensive lines.
(7) Oakland Raiders:
Why They’re Here: The injury to Derek Carr concerns me and I am concerned about if they will be able to survive for even a few weeks without him, they were horrible last year without him and it doesn’t seem like they have a great backup quarterback situation. They do still have a monster with Khalil Mack and a great offensive line but there is significant reason to be concerned for Oakland in the next few weeks. I still have to put them near the top five though as they are going to be major contenders in the AFC
(6) Denver Broncos:
Why They’re Here: Trevor Siemian has been great this season and I have been very impressed with the entire offense. The defense was as good as people expected and that alone could take them far into the AFC playoffs. Vance Joseph is a legitimate coach of the year candidate and Denver fans should be very happy with his hiring, he is definitely having the time of his life.
(5) Los Angeles Rams:
Why They’re Here: If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that a few weeks in that I am ranking the Rams as the the second best team in the NFC I would have been shocked. They have had tremendous quarterback play so far from Jared Goff who is looking like a franchise quarterback, Todd Gurley has rebounded from his disastrous sophomore slump, the receiving corps looks young and exciting, and the offensive line is much better. The Rams have the perfect combination of a great offensive mind with Sean McVay and a great defensive mind with Wade Phillips. The Rams still have tons of talent on the defensive side of the ball and one of the best players in football with Aaron Donald as well. There is a lot to like with this team.
(4) New England Patriots:
Why They’re Here: I am still including the Patriots in the top four even though I have been concerned with their receiving corps and defense this season. Tom Brady is a frontrunner for the MVP award right now and I have been very impressed with their backfield but the defense has been atrocious which is why they are down this low. If anyone can fix the issues on the defensive side of the ball though it is Bill Belichick.
(3) Green Bay Packers:
Why They’re Here: Green Bay is one of the most banged up teams in football right now but despite that they are a team that has a loaded offense and the best quarterback in football. The defense has been very good this year when healthy and both Kevin King and Josh Jones have been immediate impacts on their secondary. The Packers pass rush has been improved from last year and has been able to pressure quarterbacks on a consistent basis. I could see this team going deep into the playoffs.
(2) Pittsburgh Steelers:
Why They’re Here: Pittsburgh has one of the most talented offenses in football and their defense has been very impressive so far this season. So far it looks like Pittsburgh has stolen T.J. Watt who should have gone much higher and the secondary should be much better later in the season. The Steelers are talented on almost every unit this season and they could easily be hosting their seventh Lombardi Trophy come February.
(1) Kansas City Chiefs:
Why They’re Here: Kansas City has been by far the best team in football through the first four weeks of the season. Alex Smith has played his best football ever so far this season and Kareem Hunt is the undisputed favorite to win offensive rookie of the year at this point. They have one of the most talented defenses in football despite losing Eric Berry, at this point in the season Kansas City is my pick to win Super Bowl LII.