Ladies and gentlemen. The time has finally come for my weekly take on the NFL Power Rankings. Each week I will be documenting what I believe are the best and the worst for teams in the NFL. I did this last year and it was how I got my start from Thoughts From The Bench so yeah you better believe I was bringing it back again. Here are my Power Rankings for Week One of the 2019 NFL season.
This was no secret. The Dolphins were in bad shape before they traded away receiver Kenny Stills and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and now it isn’t looking so great for Miami this year. It also doesn’t help that most of their roster is made up young new talent with only twenty two of their players being on the team from last year. Yikes. Let the tanking begin. I just hope Josh Rosen can make something of himself there.
The Redskins have a lot of work to do with this team. Getting running back Derrius Guice back is a start as a compliment to Adrian Peterson. However, the receiving portion of this team is very slim to none with Paul Richardson taking the WR1 spot. I guess look for Case Keenum to dump the ball off a lot because they are in for a rude welcome when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in a rivalry match.
Look call me a hater here, but you know how I feel about the Bengals. Their first match is a road game against Seattle. That isn’t exactly the best place to start the season off and not having A.J. Green is going to hurt them quite a bit. Also, Andy Dalton better think of a way to avoid Clowney because that man is going to put the hurt on him. Maybe look for Mixon and Boyd to do most of the damage for week one.
New York Giants
The Giants are in a tough spot here as they roll into my ranking at the number twenty nine spot. They have a divisional game against their rival the Dallas Cowboys. If Ezekiel Elliot didn’t get paid they might be a little higher up on the list, but he did get paid which means trouble for their defense. Barkley should still do great, but it is the receiving core and Eli Manning I am worrying about here. Daniel Jones showed great things in the pre season so the question beckons how long until Jones replaces him.
The Cardinals have an interesting match up at home this weekend against the Detroit Lions. I personally think they might have a shot at pulling off a victory if they can keep their offense in sync and stop Kerryon Johnson, but my mind says that might not be the case. The problem is going to be if the Cardinals get step up to the defensive front with Patrick Peterson being suspended for a number of games. Right now they need to have faith in their number one draft pick; Kyler Murray. All the pressure will be on this kid to make an impact so we will see what happens.
Speaking of Detroit they fall right in front of the Arizona Cardinals at the number twenty seven spot. I don’t really believe the Lions will be that good this year, but a matchup against the worst rated team last year does help their odds at the start. Look for Stafford to throw deep to Jones and Golladay and for Kerryon Johnson to pound the ball on the ground hard. Their defense will decide this game though as they are against a rookie quarterback in his NFL debut. The nerves will be there and the defense will capitalize.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have a lot to prove this season. They have a new head coach in Bruce Arians, a frustrating quarterback problem to work with in Jameis Winston, a running game that needs some work done and a receiver looking to make his name in Chris Godwin. Mike Evans should be a must start though as well as O.J. Howard. I would still start Godwin as well against the 49ers, but I still see them taking the loss here which puts them just outside the top twenty five.
I just do not buy the hype on this Raiders team. Who knows they might be good, but without seeing a game it is going off of my gut feeling. They do play the Broncos in a home matchup which helps, but the real test will come down to a few things. One, can Carr and Brown get on the same page and do well? Two, how will Josh Jacobs do in his debut as the starter against a nice Denver defense? Three, can the offensive line protect Carr with the addition of Trent Brown? Finally, how good will this defense really be? These will hope to be answered in Monday night’s contest.
The Broncos finish just one spot ahead of their opponent on Monday night. To be honest, I really thought the addition of Drew Lock was smart until he destroyed his thumb. Now with him on IR, Joe Flacco will have to take this team to new heights. I am not very confident on his ability being that I believed Case Keenum was a better quarterback last year. The rushing attack should be interesting with reports that Lindsay will be losing some carries to Freeman so they will have a nice duo attack on the ground. For receivers they will have to depend on Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton and new tight end addition Noah Fant. They might pull one away from Oakland if the defense can stop the rush, double Antonio Brown and get to Derek Carr.
Nick Foles got his wish. He is now the starting quarterback for an NFL team. The Jaguars however are in rough territory though as they go up against an explosive offensive unit in the Kansas City Chiefs. It is a home game here so they have field advantage, but the defense is what needs to step up after a very bad performance last season. It will be very hard to make a first impression with the challenge they have to face against the MVP from last year Patrick Mahomes. They are hope higher than they should be though as Foles has a chance to maybe pick apart this average KC defense.
The Titans do not have much going for them in my mind. Marcus Mariota is danger of maybe losing his starting role to Ryan Tannehill who in my mind had a much better pre season. They did add receivers Adam Humphries and A.J. Brown to the mix which helps, but their first match is an away game at Cleveland who has a lot of hype and momentum behind them. Derrick Henry might still do well, but it is not looking good for Tennessee’s first week.
San Francisco 49ers
Well the moment is finally here. Jimmy G is healthy again and looking to make an immediate impact in his first official game of the season. I see a lot of upside here with the 49ers. They have a decent running back duo in Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. They have a nice receiving core with wide outs Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel and Marquise Goodwin not to mention tight end George Kittle. Their defense also grew tremendously in the offseason with additions like Bosa, Alexander and Ford. Look for this team to be a dark horse candidate this year.
The Bills make the top twenty as they get ready for week one with an away game against the New York Jets. This Bills team improved a lot with additions like running back Devin Singletary, receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley as well as a star defender in Ed Oliver. I have faith that Josh Allen will be a fine quarterback this year, but it will be tough to stop this new and improved Jets defense and find a way to stop Le’Veon Bell on the run.
New York Jets
The Jets look to claim a head start with a victory at home against the Buffalo Bills. Sam Darnold should develop into a much better quarterback this year now that he has a decent rushing attack with Ex-Steeler Le’Veon Bell. They also acquired Jamison Crowder who will look to solidify his role in the slot. Robby Anderson should also get better if Darnold can connect with him on deep passes. The defense also improved and will look to stop Buffalo in its tracks.
Had Andrew Luck not retired this would be a top ten team, but sadly this is what it has come to. Jacoby Brissett will take over the reigns as the starting quarterback. He should do alright given the talent around him, but a week one road match up against the Chargers does not bold well for him in his first start of the season. Marlon Mack still should be played in your PPR leagues as he will look to pass the ball out of the backfield as quickly as he can. T.Y. Hilton is a mystery at this point, but I wish the Colts all the “luck” in the world this week.
The Panthers need to impress me after last season. Cam Newton claims to be 100% healthy which is a nice start and Christian McCaffrey is well…Christian McCaffrey. However, their first matchup is against the Super Bowl runner ups; The Los Angeles Rams. It is a home game for them which helps, but their defense needs to step up against this heavy offensive juggernaut. Protecting Cam Newton also couldn’t hurt.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have a chance to right the wrongs of their haters from last year. However, a starting matchup against the league’s best defense isn’t exactly the best way to begin their new campaign. I have no doubt that Aaron Rodgers will play so long as he is protected properly. The key is finding the WR2 for Green Bay. Will it be Marquez Valdes-Scatling? Will it be Geronimo Allison? He needs to establish this early to take pressure off of Davante Adams. Let’s just hope that Aaron Rodgers and new head coach Matt LaFleur can get on the same page early and don’t blow up like he and McCarthy did. The heated rivalry between the Packers and Bears will be the first game of the NFL season tomorrow night and I cannot wait to watch.
The Falcons are in pretty good shape coming into the season with their defense back to full health. They boosted their offensive line quite a bit and I see good things in the offense as well this season. Look for Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to do their usual business and for Calvin Ridley to be a shining star again this season. I am not quite sold on Devonta Freeman, but time will only tell if he can stay healthy. They have a road matchup with the Minnesota Vikings this week so let us see what happens.
Speaking of the Vikings they land at the number fourteen spot on my ranking. This game could go either way in my mind, but I am hopeful the dual threat of Adam Thielen and Steffon Diggs along with a strong rushing attack by Dalvin Cook can give Kirk Cousins some confidence while he is on the field. The defense has a huge task of stopping both wide out threats in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Let’s see if they are up to the task.
The reason the Ravens are not ranked higher is they basically have a cake walk match up against the Miami Dolphins in a road game. The defense got an added boost with the addition of Earl Thomas, a nice new running back with Ex-Saints rusher Mark Ingram and a two new options in the passing game with Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin. Lamar will be the dominant factor here as he rushes through that awful defense. This should be no problem for the Ravens so I’ll wait till their next game result to make any better judgements.
The hype train is here baby. The Browns are in the top fifteen teams as they sit at the number twelve spot. They have a solid match up this week against the Tennessee Titans in their home opener. Now it is time to see how this team will act. The addition of Odell Beckham Jr. is a huge payoff for sophomore season quarterback Baker Mayfield. Coupled with Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and an impressive defense this team should seal the deal here with a win against the Titans.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers unfortunately stay out of the top ten to start. I didn’t want to do it because I actually really like this team despite the Melvin Gordon garbage. The main reason they weren’t in the top ten is because their star rookie safety Derwin James went down with an injury and will miss half the season. He got a lot of their tackles last year and that concerns me quite a bit. The offense should be fine however. Running back Austin Ekeler will look to gain the backfield since Gordon is holding out and with receiving threats such as Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and a returning Hunter Henry, Philip Rivers should see no problems with the offense this year. Their first match up is against a Colts team with no Andrew Luck at quarterback. The defense needs to step up to get the win here.
Originally when Lamar Miller went down with a torn ACL I was scared for this team. They would not have a rushing attack which would put Deshaun Watson under pressure to throw more with an awful offensive line. Luckily the addition of running back Duke Johnson and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil solved that problem in my mind. The addition of wide receiver Kenny Stills from Miami also helps to take pressure off of DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Even if pressure isn’t taken off Stills has a chance to shine here in Houston. The defense should be alright even with the loss of Clowney with JJ Watt picking up where he left off. They do have a challenge on their hands though as they play a strong New Orleans Saints team Monday night which might give them their first loss and the Saints first win of the season.
The Seahawks fly into the top ten, but originally they were at the eleventh spot. The addition of Clowney on the defense prompted me to boost them up as that is a huge boost to their defense. Russell Wilson has a new number one wideout in Tyler Lockett with Doug Baldwin gone and a new weapon in rookie DK Metcalf. Time will tell how he does, but the rushing attack should be solid in this one in a home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Chris Carson will thrive in this game with Penny and even Wilson getting in some carries as well. Look for a win here against a struggling Bengals team at home.
The Eagles have a lot to be excited about. They get a nice home match up against a disgruntled Washington Redskins team that will surely give them a win this week. They get their starting quarterback Carson Wentz back in full health with new running backs Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders as well as a new wideout that isn’t really new to Philly in DeSean Jackson. The secondary on the defense bothers me a bit, but the solid forming this team did on the front seven makes their defense scary up front. Hopefully, Wentz can stay healthy, but if he falls to injury having a veteran in Josh McCown isn’t the worst at the back up spot.
The Steelers would have probably been a spot higher on this list, but they have a daunting task in a week one road match up against the defending Super Bowl champions; The New England Patriots. With Bell and Brown gone so is the drama and I am looking forward to a season of high hopes with my boys of black and gold. Ben isn’t the greatest against New England, but I have confidence here as he has JuJu, Moncrief and Washington to work with as well as a healthy James Conner and tight end Vance McDonald. The defense should hopefully be better as well with the additions of rookie Devin Bush and cornerback Steven Nelson. I am hoping for win here to start the season off right.
The Cowboys were going to take a huge drop back in this ranking if Zeke didn’t get his money. However, they made the deal and Zeke will look to start against their division rivals; the New York Giants. With the running situation good and Amari Cooper being cleared from a plantar foot issue, Dak Prescott should do quite well this week with the Giants defense not looking quite the best. The challenge will be to stop Saquon Barkley and that itself is a very challenging task indeed.
Da Bears start off the NFL season tomorrow in a home game against their ultimate rival; the Green Bay Packers. Overall, I see this to be a very promising team this year. The defense is amazing and they will look to put the pressure on Aaron Rodgers quite early in this contest. The offense saw an improvement as well in what I believe could be a rookie breakout candidate in running back David Montgomery. The Packers did improve their defense, but I believe with Mitch Trubisky in charge under the knowledge of head coach Matt Nagy this team is in for some good football once agin this year.
New England Patriots
The Super Bowl champions have a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night and well you already know who I am rooting for. Tom Brady will be tested here with an improved Steelers defense. His receiving core should still do well with Edelman, Gordon and Thomas on the roster. Sony Michel will enter his sophomore season with New England and try to break the Steel Curtain. They have the home field advantage, but my money will be on Pittsburgh in this one. Regardless, this will be one to watch. I guarantee it.
New Orleans Saints
This one was a tough call to make as the number three and number two teams were hard to place in this order. However, Brees is now forty years old. That might not seem like much compared to like Tom Brady, but I believe Brees will suffer a minor setback this year. He still however has running back Alvin Kamara, star receiver Michael Thomas and a new tight end veteran in Jared Cook. They will have to try to overcome a Houston Texans team in their home opener who just added some key pieces that might make a difference in the outcome of this game.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs take the runner up position in my power rankings and rightfully so. Their offense was almost unstoppable last year and with Mahomes back under center it should be a good year to watch the Chiefs again. They have a little bit of a challenge this week though against the Jacksonville Jaguars who are looking to erase the memory of last season’s defensive struggles. The real hole lies in the Chief’s defense however. They lost quite a few play makers and if they have Nick Foles make them look foolish it won’t be easy against better teams down the stretch.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams in my mind are probably the most complete football team right now. On paper you really can’t tell if they went down because they added some key play makers back on the defense for the ones they lost. The real story will be Todd Gurley’s production. His knee issue causes some concern in the offense, but with the star receiving core of Woods, Cupp and Cooks I am not too concerned. They have the Carolina Panthers in week one in a road game to start the season. If they want to make an immediate impact and begin their return to the Super Bowl they have to pressure Cam Newton as much as possible and Jared Goff needs to do damage on the offense.