NFL Power Rankings 2019

Kansas City Chiefs

2018 Record: 12-4

With Tyreek Hill’s status up in the air, it forced Kansas City to draft Mecole Hardman with their first draft pick, which was in the second round. He is an identical athlete to Hill, which we would envision he’d take that role if Hill doesn’t come back. This sort of bit Kansas City because this easily should have been a pick to use on the defensive side. They did land Juan Thornhill just a few picks later, but there were also better options available. The Chiefs were busy in free agency, getting Carlos Hyde, Tyrann Mathieu, and Bashaud Breeland. They also traded for Frank Clark and Emmanuel Ogbah. Addressing needs on the defensive side was obvious, and that is why they have jumped to the top here. This is still a tremendous offense even without Kareem Hunt and possibly Tyreek Hill.

New England Patriots

2018 Record: 11-5

New England will need to rebuild the pass-catching core as Rob Grownkowski retired. An aging Julian Edelman and some misfit wide receivers filled out the roster. The Patriots signed Demaryius Thomas and Bruce Ellington, while resigning Phillip Dorsett. Most won’t have huge roles within the offense, even though Thomas has more name value. New England’s rushing attack should be strong again, and they are taking Austin Seferian-Jenkins to try and fill a desperate need at tight end. The Patriots looked to the draft to try and fill their need for a wideout, drafting N’Keal Harry with the 32nd pick. He will jump into a bigger role right off the bat. Joejuan Williams and Chase Winovich were added depth pieces on the defensive side. Overall New England is New England, and you are trying too hard if you don’t rank them inside the top three.

Los Angeles Rams

2018 Record: 13-3

The Rams got closer than the season prior, but still fell short. They signed Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle to two-year deals and also re-signed Dante Fowler. Los Angeles was another team to grab a backup QB just in case, signing Blake Bortles. The Rams focused on building defensively, they drafted Taylor Rapp out of Washington. He is an above average safety prospect, and went late in the second round. Darrell Henderson was their next draft pick, which had some people questioning Todd Gurley’s health. Overall this team is destined for another run, but the NFC is loaded with talent again. Seattle will be in the mix, but San Francisco and Arizona look much improved. The offense and defense both are well rounded, and when you have Aaron Donald, things are going to be good.

Los Angeles Chargers

2018 Record: 12-4

Los Angeles didn’t do much in the offseason, signing just Thomas Davis and Tyrod Taylor to minimal roles. They resigned a few players, but used their first round draft pick to add another piece to an already terrifying defensive line. Jerry Tillery was a beast out of Notre Dame, and was projected to go in the back of the first round. The Chargers followed this pick up with adding a safety. Nasir Adderley was highly praised, and the secondary has already been a plus especially with the Chargers grabbing Derwin James. Los Angeles will be battling it out with the Kansas City Chiefs this season, and they come in with a loaded team. I like their defense to carry the way, and while Philip Rivers has been very durable, Tyrod Taylor was a nice pick up just in case.

2018 Record: 13-3

The overall talent is there for New Orleans, and their last two playoff appearances have ended in controversial or just unlucky ways. They are still one of the top teams in the league, and this offense will be clicking again with Drew Brees under center. They have playmakers all over the field, and signed Jared Cook and Latavius Murray this offseason. These signings won’t blow the doors off, but Cook is a very intriguing down field weapon for Brees. Murray will slide into a RB2 role behind Alvin Kamara. The Saints didn’t have many draft picks, missing a first and third, but signed a much needed lineman out of Texas A&M. All the pieces are there for the Saints to make another run.

Indianpolis Colts

2018 Record: 10-6

The Colts traded back in the draft, giving them three second round picks to work with. This came after signing Justin Houston to a two-year deal, and then Devin Funchess on a prove it one-year deal. Despite having a ton of money in free agency, they didn’t overspend on anyone, but also didn’t that that stud. They are continuing to go with same strategy they did last season. Their second round picks were viewed as a success, especially Parris Campbell. He is a speedy threat that Frank Reich should work into the offensive immediately. Rock Ya-Sin is a physical corner who should work his way in early in the season. They also took two outside linebackers who would be in sub-packages defensively. With Andrew Luck healthy, and a front office and coaching staff with a direction, this team seems to be back on track.

Chicago Bears

2018 Record: 12-4

The Bears didn’t have a pick until round three, where they took a running back out of Iowa State. It looks like he is what Matt Bagy wanted Jordan Howard to be, but that wasn’t the case. Chicago brings in defensive minded Chuck Pagano to run the defense. Pagano was in Baltimore during all of those elite defensive seasons, but struggled in Indy. Overall he is a nice addition to a lot of defensive talent. The next pick went to Riley Ridley who is a speedster out of Georgia. Chicago added some depth with Mike Davis, Buster Skrine, and Cordarrelle Patterson as offseason acquisitions. With one of the better defenses, Chicago is already in a pretty good spot. If they can improve on the offensive side, they will be in the thick of it again. There have been a lot of smart moves put together over the last few seasons, and with the rest of the NFC North struggling last season, they took advantage of it. I don’t think that will be the case again this year.

Philadelphia Eagles

2018 Record: 9-7

After winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles took a step backwards. Carson Wentz’s durability showed some weaknes, and if it happens again, Nick Foles isn’t there to back him up. The Eagles brought back DeSean Jackson, who showed some life in Tampa when he was healthy. They also drafted JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who flashed potential before the draft. Overall this team has a lot of upside to get back to where they were two years ago. They focused on the offensive side of the ball, and sured up the middle of the defense with Malik Johnson. It is going to be a tight race in the NFC East, but Philly is the team built for it.

Minnesota Vikings

2018 Record: 8-7-1

Minnesota almost lost Anthony Barr, but were able to retain him for five years. Other than that it was a quiet offseason for Minnesota. There wasn’t a big need on the defensive side, but the offensive line was in need of major work. Injuries hurt them last season, but getting a first round center is going to be a big help. They also drafted Irv Smith Jr, who could replace Kyle Rudolph. There were some trade rumors that would send Rudolph elsewhere. Year one of Kirk Cousins wasn’t a good one, but a steady offensive line would send Minnesota back into the top tier of the NFC. I am buying in despite a quiet offseason, as they have been building one heck of a team the last few years.

Cleveland Browns

2018 Record: 7-8-1

The Browns put together an eventful offseason landing Odell Beckham Jr and Olivier Vernon. They did give up Jabrill Peppers, Kevin Zeitler and two draft picks. A pretty good haul for both sides, but we need to see how things play out. The Browns also brought in Sheldon Richardson on a three year deal, and drafted Greedy Williams in the middle of the second round. We are also looking at a completely new staff. Freddie Kitchens earned the head coaching job, while Todd Monken and Steve Wilks join as coordinators. The weapons are there on offensive side, and they have some monster pass rushers ready to go defensively. The Browns have finally put together a successful roster, but now we just need to see it play out fully. I am in full belief they can do that this season, and they will be a fun team to watch.

Seattle Seahawks

2018 Record: 10-6

Seattle resigned Russell Wilson, which was a major priority given there were talks of him wanting out. Now it is time to utilize him better. Seattle seemingly holds themselves back at time. They have a strong defense still, even though they have left a few pieces go the last few seasons. They drafted an upside pass rusher out of TCU in round one. They followed with Marquise Blair and DK Metcalf later on. As long as Wilson is healthy under center, Seattle can win against anyone. Having the Rams in the division is now a bad thing, and both San Francisco and Arizona are improving. Seattle is still a top half team, but can’t crack the top ten just yet.

Baltimore Ravens

2018 Record: 10-6

Baltimore had a really strong offseason, bringing in Earl Thomas for a four-year deal. They also brought in Mark Ingram on a three-year deal. These both will solidify positions that have been struggling the last few seasons. Baltimore wanted to improve the wide receiver position, which struggled last season. They took Marquise Brown out of Oklahoma in the first round, and Miles Boykin out of Notre Dame in the third. The passing game is still going to be a question mark with Lamar Jackson, especially as teams saw him more towards the end of the season. Overall the Ravens made some promising moves, and the defense remains strong. Will it be enough to overtake some of the AFC giants? Probably not, and it will be a dogfight in the AFC North once again.

Atlanta Falcons

2018 Record: 7-9

The Falcons had two first round picks, and both of them went to the offensive line. Not the sexiest draft for Atlanta, especially since their next pick wasn’t until the fourth round. The Falcons needed to address the line, and they bring back the same offense, outside of Tevin Coleman. Dirk Koetter was the Tampa head coach last season, and now will be the offensive coordinator in Atlanta. This is going to be an interesting situation to watch, as he struggled to get much going in Tampa. Adrian Clayborn will be on the outside for Atlanta, signing a one year deal. Overall this team didn’t make too many notable moves in the offseason, and there wasn’t a tremendous need to. The defense struggled to stay healthy, and I pin a lot of last season’s mediocre play on that. A healthy Atlanta team will be able to contend even in a tough division.

Green Bay Packers

2018 Record: 6-9-1

It took a while, but Mike McCarthy is out of town. They bring in Matt LaFleiru and Nathanial Hackett on the offensive side and head coach. Green Bay added on the defensive side with Adrian Amos, Preston Smith, and Za’Darius Smith. This didn’t stop them from adding Rashan Gary out of Michigan at the DE spot. They also added Darnell Savage Jr out of Maryland. This secondary really has potential to make a major jump this year. The Packers looked to fill some holes on the offensive line signing Billy Turner and drafting Elgton Jenkins. With a stubborn coaching staff out of the way, the Packers should be able to turn a corner here. Aaron Rodgers is still an elite quarterback, but time is ticking for Green Bay to win now with him. Davante Adams has turned into one of the better wideouts in the league, but they need some other wideouts to pick it up.

Pittsburgh Steelers

2018 Record: 9-6-1

Pittsburgh has lost a star running back and now a star wide receiver. We have seen James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster thrive in lead roles, and they will likely continue to do so. Is it enough to push on top of other teams ahead of them? Probably not. Steve Nelson was signed at cornerback, which was their more notable free agent signing. They drafted Devin Bush out of Michigan, and the third round pick was a bit odd taking Diontae Johnson, a wide receiver out of Toledo. I like the Justin Layne pick in the mid-third, but this roster still has question marks. Who can step up as a secondary playmaker for this offense? Will this defense be top ten? Pittsburgh has slipped the last few years despite some winning seasons.

Dallas Cowboys

2018 Record: 10-6

This is a weird team right now, in terms of an offensive core, there is a lot to like. Amari Cooper instantly clicked in Dallas and the Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot combination is definitely above average. Signing Randall Cobb to replace Cole Beasley is a potential hit if he can stay healthy. Cobb was worth the one year flyer. Dallas retaining DeMarcus Lawrence was a must for the defense, and they traded for Robert Quinn. He hasn’t shown too much life lately, but a change of scenery might help that. The Cowboys failed to make an impact in the draft, although they didn’t have a first round pick giving it up for Amari Cooper. Sticking with Jason Garrett another year could be another reason why this team doesn’t get further than it should. Dallas will need more consistency out of the defense this season if they want to make a deeper run.

Houston Texans

2018 Record: 11-5

Needing to add in the secondary, Houston signed Bradley Roby to a win year deal. They also signed Briean Boddy-Calhoun. The draft was underwhelming for Houston, drafting Tytus Howard out of Alabama State, right after Philadelphia came in and stole Andre Dillard. They proceeded to draft Lonnie Johnson out of Kentucky, who has potential as a bigger corner. The secondary and the line were two of the biggest needs, but we need to see if this is going to be enough. A lot of guys will jump into bigger roles, yet haven’t shown the consistency or experience. DeAndre Hopkins and DeShaun Watson have clicked as a strong duo, and when Will Fuller is healthy this offense really goes. However, Fuller is rarely healthy, and they continue to struggle with finding a secondary option. The backfield has been league average over the last few seasons.

Carolina Panthers

2018 Record: 7-9

Carolina has only made a few offseason moves, and adding Chris Hogan was one of the more notable names. The Panthers struggled getting pressure on the quarterback, and it makes sense that drafted an outside linebacker who has potential of getting to the quarterback. The offensive line has also been in shambles at times, and the ability to get Greg Little in the second was a nice move for the Panthers. Cam Newton’s shoulder is going to be a concern all season, and they waited till the third round to get Will Grier out of West Virginia. I like this move, and could see him starting a few games this season with Newton’s injury history. The Panthers will return the same coaching staff, but you have to think they are on thin ice if things go south again. Hard to think Carolina got vastly better over the offseason, but they still have growing pieces that could make noise in the NFC.

Jacksonville Jaguars

2018 Record: 5-11

The defense took a step backwards, but it felt it was more the mental state of the team. They continued the trend of adding on defense, landing Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick. He could have easily went a few picks earlier, so this was a pick that fell into the hands of Jacksonville. The big news in Jacksonville was signing Nick Foles to a four-year deal. This is a big improvement over Blake Bortles, and it should have an instant effect on the offense. The AFC South has bounced back, and Jacksonville could do the same in 2019. A consistent and healthy Leonard Fournette would also be helpful. They don’t have an elite wideout, but they have a group of average to slightly above average options. Not much else to report from over the offseason, so it will be about getting this defense back on track, and opening up the offense with Foles.

San Francisco 49ers

2018 Record: 4-12

The 49ers really made some strong moves in the offseason, and I was tempted to put them up higher. They added Tevin Coleman, Kwon Alexander, Jason Verrett, and traded for Dee Ford. San Francisco also drafted the top defensive player in the draft, Nick Bosa. They drafted back-to-back wide receivers, but Deebo Samuel is the exciting one. With Jimmy G back, they have a lot of potential to be that surprise team. The first few weeks might take some gelling, but I would be surprised to see San Francisco pushing .500 or higher comes the seasons end.

Denver Broncos

2018 Record: 6-10

Denver had quite a few picks in the early rounds, and you have to say they had a pretty underrated draft. Noah Fant could finally give them solid producer at tight end, which really hasn’t been a viable position in quite some time. They added a quality lineman in Dalton Riser, then followed up to grab Drew Lock. Now that left Joe Flacco unpleasant, who has struggled over the last few seasons. Denver still has one of the best pass rushers and one that is following in his path. The secondary isn’t as strong as prior years, but still very good. The lack of playmakers on the offensive side is what concerns me. Emmanuel Sanders off an Achillies tear at his age is not something I am banking on. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman will continue to see work, and it will be interesting to see if Lindsay can keep up this form.

Detroit Lions

2018 Record: 6-10

T.J. Hockenson has everything you could ask for in a tight end, and looks like the real deal. Detroit scooped him up with the eighth overall pick, and he will likely be starting off the bat. He provides a weapon for Matthew Stafford. Kenny Golladay should continue to be a strong producer in Detroit. We talk about this passing offense, and we might ask why wouldn’t they use more of it? Well, Detroit remains committed to a heavy running attack, which really isn’t optimal for them. There is a chance this defense takes a step back, which would put more pressure on the offense to keep up. They added C.J. Anderson who had a great showing at the end of the year for the Rams. Detroit did bolster their secondary with Justin Coleman, and did add Trey Flowers. If this team finds an optimal identity, they could be a surprise thing, but it is hard to see that happening.

Buffalo Bills

2018 Record: 6-10

Ed Oliver was one of the better values in the first round, as he slid to Buffalo at number nine. With a need to address both offensive and defensive lines, they did just that getting Cody Ford in the second round. The Bills re-signed E.J. Gaines, and also added John Brown to a three-year deal. Cole Beasley was another wide receiver, as they continue to try go the plug and play route. Buffalo made some weird moves signing Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, and drafting Devin Singletary, which will all go behind LeSean McCoy. Buffalo has some bright spots on both sides of the ball, but it is still a young group that will be battling for second place behind New England. Overall Buffalo has made strides, but not enough to move them out of the bottom ten in the league.

Oakland Raiders

2018 Record: 4-12

The Raiders added Antonio Brown through trade, and then signed him to a three year deal. Oakland also added LaMarcus Joyner and Trent Brown. Tyrell Williams also got a nice deal with Oakland for four years. This is the most Derek Carr has had since arriving in Oakland. They also added Josh Jacobs who will get into a full time role out of Alabama. They drafted Clelin Ferrell and Jonathan Abraham. The Raiders have shuffled around their roster quite a bit, and they will stay low on the rankings until they prove otherwise. The defense was one of the worst in the league last season, and some new faces might help, or it could be a longer work in progress.

Tennessee Titans

2018 Record: 9-7

Tennessee had a really good draft, getting what would have been a top 15 pick if he didn’t hurt his knee, Jeffery Simmons. A.J. Brown fell to round two, and that gives the Titans a chance for another playmaker in this offense which is desperately needed. Nate Davis and Amani Hooker were solid later round picks. They signed Adam Humphries to a four year deal, hoping he can be a safety blanket for Marcus Mariota. Adding Cameron Wake will help the defense, and getting Kenny Vaccaro back was a big win for the defense. The AFC South is very balanced, and you could rank them anyway 1-4 without much argument. Tennessee’s ability to run an offense is what kills this team.

New York Jets

2018 Record: 4-12

The Jets had the most free agent spending money out there, and they also brought in a whole new staff. Adam Gase, who was with Miami, is now the head coach in New York. Dowell Loggains and Gregg Williams will command the coordinator position. Either way this isn’t a promising aspect of the offseason. They were favored to land Le’Veon Bell, who signed for a $52.5 million dollar deal. They also signed Ty Montgomery. There were already rumors of Bell being traded. The other big signing was C.J. Mosley for five years. The Jets drafted a big defensive tackle out of Alabama, and this defense could sneaky good. It will be year two for Sam Darnold, and we will see what he can do with an improved backfield and defense.

Washington Redskins

2018 Record: 7-9

In terms of finding upside in the draft, Washington nailed it. Dwayne Haskins still has some questions to answer, but overall there is a lot of upside in his game. They also took Montez Sweat late in the first round, who had some health issues leading to the draft. Now if Bryce Love can bounce back from the ACL tear, he will be a fine back in Washington. Washington was really impressive last season, and had a chance with Alex Smith under center. The defense is solid, but the offense will need to get going. They signed Landon Collins to a big deal, who is another added piece to this defense. Washington still doesn’t have reliable pass-catchers, which is where they could be hurt again.

Cincinnati Bengals

2018 Record: 6-10

Cincinnati got off to a strong start last season, and then injuries derailed things quite a bit. The core of this team is getting older, and have always been second or third best in the division. There has to be a tide turning at some point, and the Bengals don’t have that plan in place yet. This team could give any team trouble on a weekly basis, but tough to see them putting together a full season of consistent play. Joe Mixon, when healthy, has shown the ability to be a workhorse, but passing game options outside of A.J. Green have really fallen short. It was a smart move getting one of the top offensive lineman in the draft, with Jonah Williams in the first round. Outside of that, Cincinnati didn’t make many exciting picks. They re-signed some key players, but overall didn’t bring anyone new in outside of John Miller and B.W. Webb. This division has all improved, but it leaves Cincinnati still on the bottom. This says more about the division than it does the Bengals.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2018 Record: 5-11

Tampa Bay used their first five draft picks on the defensive side, which is where they should have been going. Devin White was one of the better linebackers in the draft, and they were able to land him. They went back-to-back corners, and Sean Bunting should jump into the secondary right away. There is a lot of hype now with the coaching changes. Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich will run the offense, as they partnered in Arizona. We have seen Arians run some solid offenses the last few years, and TB already has the tools to make it go. Todd Bowles is still an excellent defensive mind, and this TB defense needs work. The signings in the offseason weren’t notable, but getting Donovan Smith back was big. Tampa might be early movers up if that offense clicks off the bat.

New York Giants

2018 Record: 5-11

One of the more eventful off-seasons to watch was the New York Giants. They traded him to the Browns and Olivier Vernon, and the Giants also received a few draft picks. Outside of the draft, they signed Antoine Bethea, Markus Golden, and Golden Tate. They did receive Jabrill Peppers and Kevin Zeitler in the trade as well. A lot of moving pieces for New York, and they added three names in the first round. Taking Daniel Jones at number six was the second quarterback off the board. New York also still seems bent on using Eli Manning, but either way the quarterback play isn’t going to be there this year. They added two stronger defensive prospects with Dexter Lawrence and Deandre Baker. I like these draft picks, and then getting Julian Love in the fourth was a steal. The Giants have some nice pieces, but the gel to put it all together is going to need some work.

Miami Dolphins

2018 Record: 7-9

Miami almost had a perfect offseason, but made a few moves that didn’t make sense. Paying Xavien Howard an extreme amount was questionable, even though he has been a solid corner. They didn’t make too much noise signing free agents, but they added Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dwayne Allen, and Eric Rowe. The big news was that they traded for Josh Rosen, and didn’t give up much. Arizona wasn’t going to develop Rosen, and Miami got him on the cheap to try and see if he can be a franchise quarterback. Christian Wilkins was an excellent first round pick, as they needed to fill a hole in the middle of the defensive line. His potential is endless, and he adds a great guy to build around. Miami is still going to be very bad, but at least the wheels are moving in the right direction.

Arizona Cardinals

2018 Record: 3-13

Arizona had a really strong offseason, as many of the teams in the bottom of the rankings did. It isn’t enough to move them out of the basement yet, but there is a lot to like with what Arizona did. Terrell Suggs might be on his retirement tour soon, but he signed a two-year deal to play in Arizona. Not a bad guy to have on your side, especially with his leadership. The defense did take a major hit with Patrick Peterson getting suspended the first six games. The draft was a strong one for Arizona, taking the upside chance on Kyler Murray. But, it was what they did after that gave them a really strong draft. Byron Murphy was borderline first round corner who can now jump into this defense. They landed Hakeem Butler and Andy Isabella to compliment Murray. Zach Allen and Deionte Thompson both have huge upside on the defensive side. Kliff Kingsbury is now the head coach, who is more offensive minded. Vance Joseph will be on the defensive side, and Tom Clements is the offensive coordinator. Kingsbury is going to call plays, and it will be interesting to see how this works out.

  
Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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