2019 NFL Power Rankings: Heading into the offseason
2019 NFL Power Rankings
The NFL season has officially come to an end, and all the dust has settled on the 2018-19 season.
With a champion now determined, let's see where the power in the NFL currently resides as we head into what is sure to be an exciting offseason. Where do the Rams finish after a disappointing Super Bowl? How far back are the Redskins?
32. Arizona Cardinals
Head coach Steve Wilks was fired just one year into his contract, which tells you everything you need to know about how this season went for Arizona.
All the blame can't be put on Josh Rosen, as he dealt with a bleak offensive line and a lack of weapons at times, but the young quarterback's first campaign was one to be forgotten.
New head coach Kliff Kingsbury will have his hands full during his inaugural season in the desert.
31. Oakland Raiders
Year two of the Gruden experiment should be better than what happened in 2018. Carr was efficient throughout the season and should be able to improve his chemistry and relationship with his frenemy head coach. New GM Mike Mayock should be able to help point in the franchise in an actual direction.
Even with this, a defense with numerous holes and an offense that lacks weapons will not be magically fixed by a few high draft picks (if Gruden doesn't trade them away). Improvements will come, but the Raiders still have a way to go.
30. Miami Dolphins
Following the "Miami Miracle," it looked as if the Dolphins were going to make a miraculous playoff run. They did just the opposite, losing the final three games of the season (one of them to the Jaguars).
Now, with a new head coach, Miami must navigate an important offseason that involves finding a new quarterback, as it looks like Ryan Tannehill is on his way out.
While Miami's record may better than some teams ahead of them in the rankings, their unclear future at arguably the most important position on the field puts them near the bottom of the totem pole.
29. New York Jets
New York may have found its quarterback in Sam Darnold, but that is not going to cut it.
Darnold will need more weapons around him to see a stride in year two, and the defense could use some upgrades as well. Considering the lack of success Adam Gase had in Miami, his progression with Darnold will be an interesting storyline to follow as well. Darnold looked good at times, but will still need guidance as he enters his sophomore season.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
Having to bench Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler is probably not how the Jaguars imagined 2018 going.
Considered a favorite to go to the Super Bowl, Jacksonville's season fell apart fast after an impressive win against the Patriots early in the season. While the defense still played well consistently, the offensive side of the ball is a mess.
With no clear option at quarterback and a running back who's performance and temper were both poor, Jacksonville is in a tough spot heading into the offseason. If the Jaguars find the right passer, things could turn around. But, that's a big "if".
27. Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen is a lot like Bills Mafia. He's wild, exciting and sometimes out of control.
Allen impressed with his arm and surprised with his legs in 2018, but is still raw in some areas. Now, the Bills need to put some pieces around the face of the franchise on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively, Buffalo ranked second in total yards allowed, even though Vontae Davis retired at halftime.
26. Washington Redskins
You couldn't script a worse second half than what the Redskins experienced in 2018. After going 6-3 with Alex Smith, Washington ended the season with Josh Johnson and Mark Sanchez.
The question mark at quarterback is just one of the problems Washington is currently dealing with. An injury-prone receiving corps and offensive line and a secondary that constantly got gashed in the second half helped lead to the team's undoing. Additionally, the Redskins have big decisions to make about Preston Smith, Zach Brown and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix among others.
With a young and talented defensive line that includes Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen and the return of Derrius Guice to what could be a talented backfield (if Peterson is re-signed), Washington does have some upside. But, they'll need everyone to remains healthy, and that is a lot to ask for considering the misfortunes of years past.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As long as Jameis Winston is on the roster, he'll be the biggest question mark for Tampa Bay.
Bringing in Bruce Arians could be just what the QB needs, but his play will dictate the fate of the season. The good No. 3 means the Buccaneers could be a surprise contender, the bad No. 3 means it'll be another year of mediocrity.
With how inconsistent Winston has been, it's too early to give him the benefit of the doubt.
24. Detroit Lions
For a team that has a consistent, and sometimes exceptional talent at quarterback, the Lions just never seem to be able to put it together.
Unless some changes are made on both side of the ball, such as finally get a three-down running back or building up the defense, Detriot could continue to hover at or below .500.
23. Denver Broncos
Vic Fangio has to be licking his chops to work on a defense that holds the like of Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.
As a whole, the defense should improve. Even before Chicago acquired Khalil Mack, Fangio had the defense consistently in the top-15.
On the offensive side of the ball, it looks like Joe Flacco will be at the helm next season. Has John Elway once again found a way to use a veteran QB to his advantage? Only time will tell.
22. San Francisco 49ers
The 4-12 record is a little misleading because the absence of Jimmy Garoppolo most likely played a large part in that.
Defensively, improvements will need to be made, but we've seen how big of a difference a quarterback can make. Especially when Kyle Shanahan is the one calling plays.
Take the 49ers hype from 2018 and just bring it to 2019.
21. New York Giants
A team that has Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley always has the potential to be explosive on offense.
Even if Eli Manning remains the starter in 2019, not all hope is lost. For as bad as he looked at times, he threw for 21 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. He'll also get Beckham back for what New York hopes is a full season.
20. Cincinnati Bengals
I know what you're thinking, "how could this team even be this high?"
Just think about this: An offense with a healthy Andy Dalton, no Marvin Lewis, a quarterback-centered coach, A.J. Green, Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd and John Ross. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
The defense may need to fill some holes, but the Bengals could be in store for a bounce-back year in 2019.
19. Tennessee Titans
If Marcus Mariota doesn't get hurt in Week 16, the Titans might have been a playoff team. Yet, this is actually why the Titans are stuck in the middle of the pack.
Mike Vrabel's work on defense and Derrick Henry in the backfield gives the Titans potential, but they can only go as far as Mariota can take them. If he can't stay on the field, the Titans can't sustain success.
18. Atlanta Falcons
Just two years removed from the Super Bowl, Atlanta struggled in 2018.
The secondary was injured, giving them a chance to rebound this year. However, it looks like a lot of those pieces will not be returning, meaning the holes still exist.
But, with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley among others on offense, you can't count them out just yet.
17. Green Bay Packers
It's hard to look down on a team that has Aaron Rodgers, but the superstar quarterback is going to need some help if Green Bay wants to return to the playoffs.
While a new head coach may reinvigorate Rodgers after a season filled with questioning and blaming, the Packers will also need the pass catchers to hold onto the football, and the defense to consistently get stops.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers offseason could end up being one of the more important ones around the league, and after a collapse to end the season paired with internal drama, things are not looking great.
If Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell aren't back next year, the team will have a very different look and feel. James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster are the best replacements you could ask for, but losing two playmakers for good can only hurt Pittsburgh.
15. Cleveland Browns
It's hard not to buy in on the Browns. After a tremendous finish to the season that saw them in the hunt up until Week 16, Cleveland looks to be on the rise.
Baker Mayfield looks to be worth the first overall pick, and Denzel Ward wasn't a bad choice at four. With all the weapons on offense and budding chemistry with Freddie Kitchens, there is definitely something cooking in Cleveland (see what I did there).
14. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings failing to make the playoffs may be the biggest head-scratcher of the season.
With loads of talent on both sides of the ball, all the pieces are there for success. Now, Kirk Cousins will just have to prove that he can show up in the big games.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz looks to be the starter for 2019, and that's fine. If healthy, the sky is the limit for him and the offense.
The bigger concern for the Eagles should be the inconsistent secondary. After struggling in the regular season, there was a marginal improvement in the playoffs (besides the second half of the Saints game). That defensive group will be the X-factor for Philadelphia next season.
12. Baltimore Ravens
Entering the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league, the Ravens exited the postseason with some big questions to answer.
It's not time to overreact to Lamar Jackson just yet, but his performance against the Chargers does raise some concern. He'll have more time to prepare now, but so will opposing defenses. As athletic as he is, the Ravens need him to become a threat passing the ball to make the offense really work.
11. Houston Texans
Maybe the Texans just ran into a hot Colts team at the wrong time, but 2018 seemed like it would be the year Houston finally broke through.
With Watson and Hopkins on one side and Watt on the other, the talent still makes the Texans a contender. But their place at the top of the AFC South may have ended quicker than they thought.
10. Indianapolis Colts
The surprise team of 2018, the Colts have to be happy with the current situation. Andrew Luck has returned to form, the offensive line is dominant, and the defense outperformed expectations behind a sensational rookie year from Darius Leonard.
Now, the Colts will get a chance to add to the defense and potentially get luck another weapon, both major pluses.
9. Seattle Seahawks
Entering the season, some expected Seattle to drop off. After shaking off a slow start, they once again proved that they can continue to contend while adapting to a new roster.
Russell Wilson once again asserted himself as an elite passer and showed that as long as he's playing, Seattle has a chance. However, it would benefit the Seahwaks to put the ball in his hands a little more during important situations.
8. Carolina Panthers
A lot of people may write off the Panthers, and it's a fair take. After starting 6-2, Carolina declined sharply down the stretch.
If it's true that a lot of those losses came as Cam Newton played injured, then there's a reason for optimism. Working with the likes of Christian McCaffery and DJ Moore, Newton was playing well in the first eight games of the season.
As long as health is not an issue next year, then the Panthers may be able to continue the trends from the first half.
7. Dallas Cowboys
In the second half of the season, Dallas showed its full potential. The team returns a young and solid core on defense along with playmakers Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper (who is making Jerry Jones look like a genius) on offense.
Dak Prescott may not always be perfect, but he continues to show that he can get it done in the moments that matter. Dallas has the looks of a team that should make some noise in the NFC next year,
6. Los Angeles Chargers
The trio of Joey Bosa, Derwin James and Melvin Ingram lead a stingy defense.
Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry headline an offense that should continue to provide Philip Rivers with plenty of options. As long as father time doesn't catch up to the Chargers' quarterback, 2019 should be another solid year.
5. Chicago Bears
If Cody Parkey's kick goes in, the Bears could be even higher on the list. Even with the heartbreak, things are looking up in the Windy City.
There's no denying the talent and youth along the defense. Even with the departure of Vic Fangio, it looks as if the Monsters of the Midway have returned to the north. Mitch Trubisky was hit or miss at times, but his continued progression with Matt Nagy bodes well for year three.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is everything the Chiefs could have asked for and more. The MVP of the league will be a shining star for years to come, and it's exciting to wonder what he can do next.
The problem is, this year showed he can't do it alone, though he almost did. The Chiefs defense was, for a lack of a better word, bad. Upgrades for the front seven and secondary are needed in order to take some pressure off Mahomes and the offense.
Another receiving option to take some attention away from Tyreek Hill wouldn't hurt either.
3. Los Angeles Rams
Yes, the Rams were in the Super Bowl, but that doesn't mean they automatically qualify as the current second-best team.
The team deserves credit for battling against New Orleans after getting down early and making the plays that were needed at the end of regulation and overtime. The missed call isn't the only reason the game ended the way it did, but it is a reason as to why Los Angeles got to the Super Bowl. Following that up with a bad performance on the biggest stage was not a good look.
The Rams are still a very talented team and will be back to compete for another chance at a title next year. The defense played better than expected in the Super Bowl, and a healthy Cooper Kupp and Todd Gurley will make the offense as dangerous as it was early in the season.
2. New Orleans Saints
The Saints can remain bitter, and we can always wonder about what happens if the call goes the other way. But, that won't change anything.
New Orleans still has loads of talent, and you can bet the Drew Brees retirement rumors will go back into hiding for another year. The defense is solid in the front and the back, and Kamara and Thomas offer versatility that many other teams don't have. As long as Brees is still under center, 2019 should be more of the same for the Saints.
1. New England Patriots
Who else could it be?
Are the Patriots the most talented team in the NFL? No. But, they are the BEST team in the NFL.
Does that make sense? Maybe not, but you get the point.
No matter the personnel or opponent, the Patriots are at an advantage because they have Bill Belichick. As long as he is there on the sideline, it is hard to go against New England. It also helps that they have a quarterback that can always make the play when it's needed, even when he's off his game.
They have some questions to answer this offseason (Gronk), but now is not the time to doubt the Patriots.