Photo by Martin Leitch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Ranking each team from 32-1 through the first half of the season.
Traditional power rankings overreact to one HUGE WIN and one sad(!) loss. Rarely do they take in account the entire season. To give a more accurate representation of what’s going on, and where these teams currently stand, I will not equivocate or give into the yank of heartstrings the NFL season brings week to week.
Instead of living with such a short memory, here’s where all 32 teams rank after the real first half of the 2019 season.
32.) Miami Dolphins—Record: 1-7. Point Differential: -153 (32). DVOA: -60.2% (32). Future Schedule -9.6% (28). Previously 32nd.
You were doing so great, sweetie. You were accomplishing your goals. #1 overall pick. Houston’s first and second round pick. Then you just had to keep playing Ryan Fitzpatrick. IDIOTS.
Fitzpatrick is a nomad. The beard keeps the sand out of his mouth and prevents him from breaking his teeth when he heats and eats on the top of sand dunes. He’s also like the 25th best quarterback. The 25th best quarterback is going to accidentally win games. The schedule is to easy to keep this up. Lose to Cincinnati. Don’t do this again. Don’t sell your roster, field a historically bad team, and still not end up with the number one overall pick. It’s like stripping a Mojave hilltop without picking out the borax.
31.) New York Jets—Record: 1-7. Point Differential: -115 (31). DVOA: -40.9% (31). Future Schedule -17.8% (31). Previously 28th.
JERTS JERTS JERTS
Adam Gase’s football team has played exactly two good games. A Sam Darnold v. Josh Allen duel for the ages. Hopefully the next decade is full of 20 more of these games. And the accidental downfield passing win over the Cowboys. Everything else has been grotesque.
Kelechi Osemele never pulled and paved the way for Le’Veon Bell, and Bell has been hilariously inefficient. His receiving DVOA is -38.9% and his rushing DVOA is -20.9%. Leonard Williams moved next door to get the apartment with the garage. Quinnen Williams’s brother Quincy has been more disruptive than the third overall pick. They jolted their rebuild to go 1-7. Make Gase one and done. The only thing he’s done well is scheme to get Ryan Griffin open.
At least this happened. This was pretty cool.
30.) Cincinnati Bengals—Record: 0-8. Point Differential: -86 (29). DVOA: -38.7% (30). Future Schedule -8.9% (27). Previously 31st.
Has Andy Dalton been good this year? Nah. But look, he’s been sacked 29 times, the offensive line is a house cat that ate a sweet potato and rolled around in the fireplace, the Bengals are 31st in rushing attempts, and Dalton has had to do everything on offense. Repeatedly Sean McVay’s tablet keeper has limited him to short quick passes that never work, only to watch him hit some nice downfield passes to their drag racing receivers. His air yards per completion are 5.7. He’s attempted only 46 passes classified as deep. Ryan Finley is so screwed. His name is way too close to Ryan Lindley. You gotta love it when a flailing coach makes a quartreback change to make a change just to make a change instead of looking within.
Dalton is going to look so stupid in Chicago next season.
29.) Washington Redskins—Record: 1-8. Point Differential: -111 (30). DVOA: -29.2% (29). Future Schedule -1.7% (18). Previously 30th.
It eventually had to fall apart. All those years of 7-9 and mutated scalps are finally seeing the light.
28.) New York Giants—Record: 2-7. Point Differential: -79 (27). DVOA: -19.6.% (27). Future Schedule -15.6% (30). Previously 27th.
They can’t cover. They can’t rush the passer. Daniel Jones: 62.6% completion percentage and 6.0 adjusted yards per attempt. Eli Manning: 62.9% completion percentage and 5.7 adjusted yards per attempt. Crinkled face part two just needs to limit the number of sacks he takes. Poor baby quarterback. Those two weeks were a lot of fun.
27.) Atlanta Falcons—Record: 1-7. Point Differential: -85 (28). DVOA: -21.9% (28). Future Schedule 10.9% (4th). Previously 26th.
Matt Ryan is having a great season, despite his defense. 77.6% completion percentage. 9.1 yards an attempt. 74.2 QBR. 29.9% DVOA. Oh, what’s that? That isn’t Matt Ryan, Natty Ice, get you puking highlighter yellow, but Matt Schaub, the boot leg wonder, the play action master, everything Kirk Cousins aspires to be?
26.) Cleveland Browns—Record: 2-6. Point Differential: -53 (25). DVOA: -12.1% (24). Future Schedule -19.6% (32). Previously 22nd.
Cleveland is the dumbest football team I’ve ever seen. Perfect example. Against Seattle they had the ball around the goal line on 4th down. They ran a play, but challenged the previous play right before they ran it. This is very important. Integral to the story. Freddie Kitchens’s challenge wasn’t overturned. Surprising. The Browns went for it, and they ran the EXACT same play they ran before the challenge. It ended in a tackle for a loss.
Big Dog brand Big Dumb football.
25.) Denver Broncos—Record: 3-6. Point Differential: -21 (22). DVOA: -5.3% (22). Future Schedule 7.5% (6). Previously 25th.
It took Vic Fangio sometime, but he’s finally figured out his defense. After a slow start, with a nonexistent pass rush, the Broncos are third in DVOA.
Denver’s preseason expectations were hilarious. It doesn’t matter how great their rushing attack was last season, or their expected defensive performance, or how the offensive line additions would help them. Joe Flacco was their quarterback. Have you ever watched Flacco play quarterback? They lost this game by the way.
He’s 29th in DVOA and 27th in DYAR. He’s 34 years old. He’s ahead of Josh Allen, Daniel Jones, and Sam Darnold. That’s it. The offensive coordinator didn’t attack before the end of half because he’s conservative. It’s because Flaccos is the petulant quarterback.
24.) Arizona Cardinals—Record: 3-5-1. Point Differential: -56 (26). DVOA: -16.2% (26). Future Schedule 6.8% (7). Previously 29th.
The Cardinals are the best bad team. They tied Detroit. Mediocre. Lost to Baltimore, Carolina, Seattle, New Orleans, and San Francisco by an average margin of 16.2-29.4. They went on a tear scorching Cincinnati, Atlanta, and New York (G) by an average margin of 29-25.6. Unfortunately, the rest of their schedule is brutal. I can’t wait to watch them beat the Browns in week 14. Hey Baker! Thanks for reading.
23.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Record: 2-6. Point Differential: -22 (23). DVOA: -0.8% (18). Future Schedule -2.2% (19). Previously 19th.
It’s November. How does Bruce Arians keep getting more sunburn?
The Bucs are cursed. They’re horrified of Jameis Winston throwing interceptions. I don’t know why. I’m a Calvinist and Winston is my preacher. They’re predetermined. It’s going to happen anyways. He’s thrown 12 this season, tied for 1st with Baker Mayfield. But he’s thrown 16 touchdowns and his average completion travels 8.7 yards down the field. He can throw under pressure and make some beautiful downfield throws. Ooooo there doggy.
Damn does this team love to run the ball. They’re 6th in passing attempts and 14th in rushing attempts, and too many times, they come out trying to control the ball, limit the opportunities Winston has to make mistakes, only to fall behind, and then cower as he swashubuckles with a knife in his mouth once again. Lean all the way into the Winston experience. You’re 2-6. Have a run pass ratio of 65:0. Run play action out of I-formations against Dime packages. Don’t ever run the ball.
The Buccaneers have played a brutal schedule that’s about to flip. They’ve won 1.6 less games than expected, which is an absurd mark at the halfway point. They’re 1-5 in one score games, and have just lost four of them in a row. An overtime lost to Seattle. A loss to Tennessee because they ran the ball on 4th and 1 on their game winning drive attempt. Mike Evans had 372 receiving yards this game.
No more rhetoric. Football is very important. Very serious. Next year is the year the Bucs finally make the playoffs.
22.) Chicago Bears—Record: 3-5. Point Differential: -2 (19). DVOA: -3.3% (20). Future Schedule 10.5% (5). Previously 9th.
The Bears are pretty simple to explain. They no longer have an all-time great defense, which is something that’s expected. Defensive performance has a higher variance than offensive performance. Their offensive efficiency is about the same, but they’re averaging nine less points a game. They forced 36 turnovers in 2018 and 11 in 2019. There it is. Mitchell Trubisky needed to improve to fill the gaps. He didn’t. The schedule has been tough. The run defense has struggled without Akiem Hicks.
Don’t watch them until they reach the redzone. It’s must see. It’s the series finale of a television show you never watched. They turned four redzone trips into nine points against the Chargers. Matt Nagy settled for a 43 yard field goal despite having a timeout in the bank. Eddy Pineiro missed.
21.) Tennessee Titans—Record: 4-5. Point Differential: +3 (T-18). DVOA: -8.6% (23). Future Schedule 12% (3). Previously 20th.
It’s so hard being a Titans’ fan. We just spent five years talking ourselves into Marcus Mariota being the future. Oh, wow, look at the quick read, the reset of the feet, the precision, the quick release, on this throw. Ignore those other fifteen. Look at this one. This is all that matters. We wasted Jurrell Casey’s prime and finally found Jeffrey Simmons to replace him, not to pair with him. We put all of our pass rushing hopes into a 37 year old player. We’re finally great at something—stopping the run—which is the least important aspect of football to be great at. We had to watch Taylor Lewan blubber in his van for his podcast.
The Titans combined passing offense DVOA with Mariota was -36.2% this season. Listen to this stat line in his final game. 7/18 (38.8%), 63 yards, 3.5 yards an attempt, 0 touchdowns to 2 interceptions, 3 sacks, -1.5 net yards an attempt. He took a sack against a two man rush.
Yo. Check this out. You have to admire his moxie.
Out with Mariota, in with Ryan Tannehill. The former Miami quarterback, free from Adam Gases’s galaxy brain offense, has posted passing DVOAs of 44.5%, 26.8%, and 76.9%. He’s averaging a full yard more per attempt than Mariota. These are absolute babes.
Sure, he has his problems. He takes too many sacks and bashing hits that leave him reeling with a Nashville bachelorette party hangover. We’re probably going to see Mariota again. There are some dumb mistakes. He misses high. But just because he isn’t stuck throwing short, and is slinging it deep some, it’s opened up the run game game and has dramatically improved this offense. They score 23 points instead of 7.
They’re still dumb. They played Carolina, a team that can’t stop the run, and gave Derrick Henry two carries in the first half. TITAN UP. Play intelligent and disciplined football. Preach it all summer only to do things like this. They ran the dumbest fake field goal you’ll ever see against Tampa. Mike Vrabel caught a cold running around in the rain during pregame warmups. This means so much.
20.) Jacksonville Jaguars—Record: 4-5. Point Differential: -13 (T-20). DVOA: 3.7% (14). Future Schedule -2.6% (20). Previously 21st.
Musty, musty. Stinky, stinky. Minshew, Minshew. The mania has ended. Nick Foles is back. The schedule is pretty easy. I really don’t want to do this again. Don’t you dare tug on Superman’s cape.
19.) Los Angeles Chargers—Record: 4-5. Point Differential: +15 (13). DVOA: -1.0% (19). Future Schedule 12.3% (2). Previously 18th.
I was driving back from College Station with a heart full of lust that could only be quelled by rational, intelligent, basketball analysis. I listened to Zach Lowe talk hoops with Jayson Williams. In it, and I’m paraphrasing here, when discussing the Warriors, Williams asked,” If you lived your life where you had six really great years, but you knew one year would be just awful, terrible, brutal, would you take that?”
SIGN ME UP.
The Chargers are the inverse of this. They had one great year swallowed up by six other miserable years. I’m glad they’re back. Last season gave me a panic attack.
An offensive holding penalty ruined their comeback campaign against Houston. Joe Flacco handed the ball off until they went up by two scores late. They lost to Pittsburgh after Philip Rivers iced down a game winning drive attempt with an interception. They lost to Tennessee because Melvin Gordon was stripped at the goal line.
18.) Pittsburgh Steelers—Record: 4-4. Point Differential: +7 (15). DVOA: -5.1% (21). Future Schedule -12.9% (29). Previously 24th.
Every season there’s a team or two that crawls out of their fetid midseason slumber to make the playoffs. The Steelers could be that team. There’s nothing I hate more than adverbs, but the defense is legitimately great. Mason Rudolph is…fine…and their skill players and offensive line can prop him up. The schedule is easy. Cincinnati, two games against Cleveland, Arizona, New York (J), and a game against Buffalo that could decide a playoff spot. I’ll cry if this team kicks Josh Allen out of the postseason. Life is so unfair. Why does it have to be this way?
17.) Detroit Lions—Record: 3-4-1. Point Differential: -13 (T-20). DVOA: 1.5% (17). Future Schedule 2.4% (14). Previously 17th.
Darrell Bevell is really the coach that’s turned Matthew Stafford back to a deep passing terminator. That hasn’t even been the best part of their team. The defense is whatever, but man, they love punching the football. It’s so satisfying. It’s like when the logo for the DVD player fits perfectly into the corner of the television screen.
16.) Buffalo Bills—Record: 6-2. Point Differential: +27 (10). DVOA: -12.6% (25). Future Schedule -5.2% (22). Previously 12th.
Football isn’t about analytics and numbers. It’s about what’s inside. What the heart is made out of. Grit and determination. That’s what’s pumping into my blood. What would you give up for a third down conversion? What would you risk? I’d give up everything. Whatever it takes to help my team win.
15.) Oakland Raiders—Record: 4-4. Point Differential: -34 (24). DVOA: 3.2% (15). Future Schedule -7.8% (25). Previously 23rd.
The Raiders have been the feel good hit of the 2019 season. I’m a fun guy. I do fun things. And yet, the most fun I’ve had, aside from watching D.J. Reader’s run stops, J.J. Watt being the entirety of the Texans’ pass rush, and Deshaun Watson routinely doing things no one has ever done before, has been watching the Raiders’ run game. Kolton Miller bludeoning defensive backs in the alley, Richie Incognito reaching defensive tackles he’s never been able to reach before, the Gabe Jackson-Rodney Hudson combination coming back, Trent Brown, a man the size of Jupiter, and Josh Jacobs’s skeleton liquefying cutbacks, have been awful for my health.
I started vaping. I only go out at night. I only listen to Death Grips. Every Friday night is Halloween. I’ve become the wolfman.
14.) Carolina Panthers—Record: 5-3. Point Differential: +5 (T-16). DVOA: 2% (16). Future Schedule 0.1% (16). Previously 13th.
Carolina. Great pass defense. Terrible run defense. Games like San Fransisco are going to happen against incredible rushing offenses. Kyle Allen’s downfield passing is the wildcard. He’s completed only 13 of his 40 deep pass attempts. He’s averaging 10 yards an attempt on passes that travel 15+ yards through the air. This has to improve for Carolina to keep from getting swept by New Orleans again, splattering their postseason dreams.
13.) Indianapolis Colts—Record: 5-3. Point Differential: +5 (T-16). DVOA: 5.5% (12). Future Schedule -3.5% (21). Previously 15th.
Well coached. Well managed. Intelligent. Very smart. Even Brian Hoyer can waltz on in and complete 65% of his passes and throw 3 touchdowns to 1 interception. The pass defense should continue to improve. Darius Leonard is automatic pencil sharpener sharp again. Malik Hooker and Kenny Moore are back. They’re never going away.
12.) Los Angeles Rams—Record: 5-3. Point Differential: +40 (7). DVOA: 9.4% (11). Future Schedule 6.5% (8). Previously 8th.
Jared Goff needed a slump buster after he failed to convert one third or fourth down against San Francisco. He caught two. Atlanta and Cincinnati. In those games he combined for 39/68 for 640 yards and 4 touchdowns. The division is brutal. I still don’t think they make the playoffs.
11.) Philadelphia Eagles—Record: 5-4. Point Differential: +11 (14). DVOA: 5.2% (13). Future Schedule -8.1% (26). Previously 4th.
The Eagles have a fatal flaw. They can’t stop the deep passing game. Their outside cornerbacks are too slow to run with top speed wide receivers, and Jim Schwartz has sold out to stop the run. If you throw deep you can beat Philadelphia. The offense is fine, getting vertical and feeding Jordan Howard has been valuable, but it hasn’t been great enough to climb out of the ten point holes they fall into.
10.) Dallas Cowboys—Record: 5-3. Point Differential: +85 (3). DVOA: 26% (4). Future Schedule 3.6% (12). Previously 11th.
When the Cowboys throw deep their offense is good. When they don’t it’s bad. Sometimes football is easy.
10.) Minnesota Vikings—Record: 6-3. Point Differential: +76 (4). DVOA: 21.5% (6). Future Schedule 5.9% (9). Previously 16th.
LOVE to pay my franchise quarterback $31 million a year, and scheme an entire offense around his limitations to make him competent, instead of enjoying what you should, talent and performance uplifting the rest of the team to mask their weaknesses. The Vikings have a great outside zone offense, and run play action 35% of the time, the highest rate in the league. They have a top ten defense once again. Don’t swallow the cap.
They end their season with Green Bay and Chicago with nothing to play for. Don’t buy in on the Kirk Cousins MVP, he turned the corner talk. He hasn’t. Minnesota is swelling, so ripe, bursting and busting, to get knocked out by meaningless Chicago once again.
WE SHOULD BE CONTENDERS
8.) Houston Texans—Record: 6-3. Point Differential: +47 (6). DVOA: 9.9% (10). Future Schedule 5.4% (11). Previously 14th.
Watson is a slam dunk MVP candidate. The pass defense is going to struggle without Watt, he was their entire pass rush, and they’ll rely on being competent and dependable. All that matters is how the offense reacts. If they can keep playing keep away, or, and what’s more likely to be necessary, throw the ball downfield and score in quick bursts, they should be able to make up for it. As long as Watson is healthy nothing else matters.
7.) Seattle Seahawks—Record: 7-2. Point Differential: +18 (12). DVOA: 10.1% (9). Future Schedule 13.7% (1). Previously 6th.
This is the best throw I’ve seen this season.
No, wait, this is the best throw I’ve seen this season.
6.) New England Patriots—Record: 8-1. Point Differential: +172 (1). DVOA: 36% (2). Future Schedule -5.8% (23). Previously 1st.
8.7 points allowed a game. 16-0. Yeah, right. The best team they played was Buffalo, and in that game, Allen had them right where he wanted them. He was knocked out. Matt Barkley threw a game ending interception. Life is cruel. Play someone, anyone. They did. Squashed. Fat orange gourd. They now play Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City, before playing Buffalo and Miami. First round bye here we come.
5.) New Orleans Saints—Record: 7-1. Point Differential: +39 (8). DVOA: 22.2% (5). Future Schedule -0.9% (17). Previously 5th.
5-0 FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK
SIT DREW DOWN
4.) Baltimore Ravens—Record: 6-2. Point Differential: +75 (4). DVOA: 19.9% (7). Future Schedule -6.6% (24). Previously 7th.
This isn’t typical Baltimore. They can’t rush the passer. Matthew Judon is their best pass rusher. But, they have the best rushing attack, an interesting pass attack that goes towards the center of the field, and is based around their tight end trio, not their wide receivers. How do you feel about Willie Snead?This is a 4th & 2 playcall.
This is a draw that takes three seconds to develop.
This has been my favorite play call this season. It’s the wildest delayed draw I’ve ever seen.
And no, I don’t want to hear any nonsense that this is a pass play turned into a scramble. pic.twitter.com/RH5oUVmhbN
— Matt Weston (@Mbw987) November 6, 2019
Greg Roman is out of his mind. I’m dying for the clock to hit 3:30 this Friday so I can pick up some groceries, drive out to West Texas, watch Baltimore game film, and have a metaphysical experience outside the constraints of my skull.
3.) Green Bay Packers—Record: 7-2. Point Differential: +37 (9). DVOA: 13.7% (8). Future Schedule 1.4% (15). Previously 3rd.
So balanced. Love how they use their running backs in the passing game. Love when preseason predictions come true—see Green Bay’s pass rush. Can Davante Adams yank this passing attack up?
2.) Kansas City Chiefs—Record: 6-3. Point Differential: +48 (5). DVOA: 29.7% (3). Future Schedule 2.8% (13). Previously 2nd.
54 points in two games with Matt Moore. Andy Reid is an offensive genius. Their screen designs are outrageous. Great to see it for Moore. The Texans could have won a Super Bowl in 2016 if he was Houston’s quarterback.
Here’s a great icebreaker. Who has the worst linebacker group in the league? Oakland, Cincinnati, Cleveland, or Kansas City? I love to make friends. Patrick Mahomes is a surrealist who bends reality to fit the circumstances he requires. He can make up for this defense consistently, Moore can’t.
Kansas City being 6-3 is the best thing to happen for football fans. Every season New England wears a robe until the AFC title game. This season they will have to play Kansas City, Baltimore, or hopefully Houston in the Divisional Round. Earn it. Tennessee can’t save you now.
1.) San Francisco 49ers—Record: 8-0. Point Differential: +133 (2). DVOA: 36.8% (1). Future Schedule 5.9% (10). Previously 10th.
Last Thursday a very important thing happened. The Cardinals loaded the box and stopped the 49ers rushing attack.
Sure, they hit on two big toss plays, but overall, Arizona strangled their run game. Matt Breida had 15 carries for 78 yards, but 40 of these yards came on 2 carries. Tevin Coleman had 12 carries for 23 yards. Bodies swarmed the line of scrimmage.
Typically, Jimmy Garoppolo makes one or two throws a game, and this doesn’t happen until the third quarter. His throws are easy. The run game is slashing, filled with crisp cuts, and against the grain breakouts. The Cardinals have a crappy pass defense, but still, 28/37 for 317 yards, 15 first downs, an average depth of target of 7.1 yards, and 4 touchdowns isn’t something Garoppolo has done yet. This an oMg throw. The 49ers are real and they’re fantastic.
MVP: Russell Wilson
Offensive Player Of The Year: Christian McCaffrey
Defensive Player Of The Year: Myles Garrett
Offensive Rookie Of The Year: Josh Jacobs
Defensive Rookie Of The Year: Nick Bosa
Comeback Player Of The Year: Travis Frederick
Coach Of The Year: Kyle Shanahan
Executive Of The Year: Brandon Beane
Superbowl: Philadelphia Eagles over New England Patriots