NFL Power Rankings: Where 49ers, Raiders stand in early look at 2019
How do 49ers, Raiders look headed into 2019?
The 2018 NFL season has officially passed, capped by a low-scoring Super Bowl that lost the casual fan, and reaffirmed the New England Patriots' status as the league's greatest franchise. But, the Patriots were challenged by several upstarts who invigorated the regular season, young coaches and quarterbacks who will vie for New England’s throne in time.
Bay Area teams are nowhere close to contention, representing fan bases that should become impatient and intolerant of bad football. Kyle Shanahan and Jon Gruden have to step up, and be much higher on next year’s power rankings.
Let’s take one last look at how 2018 shook out.
(Image courtesy: USATSI)
29. 49ers (4-12)
Previous rank: 29
The 49ers' futility has gotten a pass recently, given all of their injuries. That won’t last much longer.
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch better start winning soon. Honeymoon’s almost over.
(Image courtesy: AP)
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
Previous rank: 28
If new head coach Bruce Arians can get Jameis Winston right, the Bucs better start selling Kangol hats.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)
Previous rank: 27
Draft Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones or Kyler Murray. Trade for Derek Carr or Eli Manning or somebody else, quick.
The Jaguars have to get a functional quarterback before their window slams shut.
26. New York Giants (5-11)
Previous rank: 26
So many are saying the Giants should’ve drafted a quarterback over rookie of the year Saquon Barkley. Let’s cool off of that hot take.
The Giants were going to stink either way. They can go get one now.
25. Washington (7-9)
Previous rank: 25
Washington’s 2018 season deteriorated without quarterback Alex Smith. They need to go get a new QB, and then another one and still cross their fingers that Smith comes back soon.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)
Previous rank: 24
The Bengals hired the a friend of an acquaintance of a guy who shared an Uber Pool with Sean McVay as their head coach. Sure. That’ll get … oh, right.
The Bengals don’t have a young quarterback with a promising future. Maybe he can get Andy Dalton from a C-plus to a B.
23. Detroit Lions (6-10)
Previous rank: 23
Hopefully coach Matt Patricia gets some media training this offseason. Or wins a ton next year. Being gruff is only endearing if you’re good.
22. Miami Dolphins
Previous rank: 22
We love the Brian Flores hire, but hate that he inherits such a terrible roster. Hopefully Miami’s patient. That’s gonna be a long rebuild.
21. Denver Broncos (6-10)
Honest question: How much longer with John Elway get a pass? He’d better find a quarterback soon, or the Broncos will have to find some way to fire an icon before long.
20. Buffalo Bills (5-11)
Previous rank: 20
The Bills better get QB Josh Allen some weapons. And an offensive line. And maybe a durable rusher.
19. Carolina Panthers (7-9)
Previous rank: 19
Cam Newton gets hit so hard and so often. Hopefully, injuries don't become common for the quarterback moving forward.
He and running back Christian McCaffrey could be dynamic for years -- if Newton stays healthy.
18. Green Bay Packers (6-9-1)
Previous rank: 18
The Packers hired a buddy of a dude who mowed Sean McVay’s lawn back in the early 2000s. He’d better do right by Aaron Rodgers. Or else. The world’s most talented quarterback doesn’t seem to have much patience.
17. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
Previous rank: 17
Dan Quinn survived a disappointing season. Most of his coaching staff did not. Get it wrong again, and he’ll be the one walking the plank.
16. Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1)
Previous rank: 16
The Vikings can count on QB Kirk Cousins to produce tons of yards and points, but wins are all that matter.
15. Cleveland Browns (7-8-1)
Previous rank: 15
Young QB Baker Mayfield is so fun to watch. Browns fans can finally take bags off their heads.
13. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Previous rank: 13
Should the Titans be 100 percent committed to Marcus Mariota as their franchise quarterback? Call us skeptical.
12. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
Previous rank: 8
We all had a blast watching rookie QB Lamar Jackson work a tailor-made offense last season. The Ravens had better expand it quickly, before the NFL catches up. Defensive coordinators are looming large in the rearview mirror.
11. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
Previous rank: 9
The Seahawks were one of our favorite teams to watch, proof positive that tanking isn’t mandatory to retool. Yet Pete Carroll found a way to keep winning. Masterful job by an ol’ ball coach.
10. Houston Texans (11-5)
Previous rank: 7
Deshaun Watson’s the real deal. DeAndre Hopkins is elite. The Texans should be good for a long time.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
Previous rank: 12
Letting quarterback Nick Foles go will be tough, but it’s the right thing to do. Carson Wentz is young, talented and a better long-term solution.
7. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
Previous rank: 10
Andrew Luck is amazing, and even better now that the Colts finally got him some help.
6. Chicago Bears (12-4)
Previous rank: 4
Don’t let the early playoff exit fool you. The Bears can play. Great coaching, great defense and solid rushers will win a lot of games.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)
Previous rank: 5
The Bolts got embarassed in New England, but they're loaded and will be contenders with excellence at most premium positions.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
Previous rank: 4
The Chiefs have the MVP in Patrick Mahomes, and he’ll outscore teams if necessary.
What if the Chiefs made some significant defensive upgrades so he didn’t have to do that every week? K.C. would be unstoppable in that case.
3. New Orleans Saints (13-3)
Previous rank: 1
All the complaints over a bad call and a bad beat won’t take the NFC Championship loss away. The Saints shouldn’t worry about the future as much as the recent past. They’re loaded on offense and defense, and should be primed for another title run.
2. Los Angeles Rams (13-3)
Previous rank: 2
Sean McVay got outcoached in the Super Bowl. Something, tells us he’ll be even better for the experience.