Somehow we’re already at the midway point in the 2017 NFL Season. Typically this is where the pretenders vanish and the real contenders prove their worth. This week, the best teams still looked great, but there was a lot of shakeup underneath them. Let’s see how they stack up.
1 – Eagles (8-1)
There is no doubt in any football fan’s mind that the Philadelphia Eagles are the cream of the NFL crop so far this season. Carson Wentz looks amazing, leading the NFL in touchdown passes (23) and looking like a serious MVP contender. The defense has been putting in work with great secondary and line play. The trade for Jay Ajayi last week is already paying them dividends. The Eagles look phenomenal. Don’t be surprised if they’re on your TVs in February.
2 – Patriots (6-2)
New England was on a bye this week, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t active. They traded backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco in exchange for just a 2nd round pick, followed by the signing of former 49er and Patriot quarterback Brian Hoyer. The Patriots are making some interesting moves, but still look like one of the best teams in football, as they always are. After a shaky start to the year, they are poised for another Super Bowl run.
3 – Steelers (6-2)
Pittsburgh had the week off, but was the beneficiary of each AFC North team that was in action this week losing (Cincinnati and Baltimore). This division is solely the Steelers’. All they have to do is play a solid second half of the year.
4 – Rams (6-2)
The Rams are arguably the most surprising team in the NFL this year. Jared Goff looks like a completely different player in his sophomore season, Todd Gurley has been revived to his rookie self, and their defense is outstanding. They completely dismantled an albeit terrible Giants team on Sunday and seem poised to win a tough NFC West. Let’s see how they play the back half of their season.
5 – Vikings (6-2)
The Vikings look like arguably the best overall team in the league in terms of roster and depth. They’re 6-2 and dominating the NFC North with Case Keenum at the helm. Their defense is amazing and the rest of their offense is firing on all cylinders. Oh, and Teddy Bridgewater is on his way back. Watch out for Minnesota come January.
6 – Saints (6-2)
Ever wondered what the Saints would look like with a legitimate all-around team? This is it. Drew Brees is playing another great year of football, their running game is legit thanks to veteran Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, and their young, stout defense is shutting down opponents left and right. First round rookie CB Marshon Lattimore is looking like one of the league’s best defensive backs in his first year. This team can hurt you in many different ways. They are going to be dangerous come playoff time.
7 – Cowboys (5-3)
The Boys are back. Dallas has stringed together 3 very impressive consecutive wins. They limited an explosive Kansas City offense to just 17 points on Sunday, and 7 of them came on the wackiest play any of us have ever seen. They finally have a legitimate pass rush led by David Irving, Taco Charlton, Demarcus Lawrence, and more. Dak Prescott is showing no signs of rust after last year. But, the future of this team’s season depends on Ezekiel Elliot and his suspension, or lack thereof. Without him, they’re a completely different team that can’t do a lot on offense. But with him, they’re a Super Bowl contender. The court needs to make a ruling that will last.
8 – Seahawks (5-3)
Russell Wilson had some more late game heroics against the Redskins on Sunday, but to no avail, as the Seahawks defense let Kirk Cousins do the same. Seattle’s offense was shut down for nearly the whole game vs Washington. Their offensive line is nonexistent and Russ is running for his life on seemingly every single play. Their defense is still good, but giving up a quick game-winning drive to a Redskins offense that did virtually nothing for 58 minutes on Sunday isn’t exactly ideal. This team needs to figure out their kinks if they want to be back in the Super Bowl.
9 – Panthers (6-3)
The Panthers struggled to defeat an average Atlanta team on Sunday, but managed to get the job done thanks to a massive drop by a WIDE OPEN Julio Jones in the endzone. I’ll be honest with you, the Panthers are only at this spot because of their win total. They haven’t done much to impress me at all this year. They got embarrassed by the Eagles. They haven’t scored a touchdown in a game twice this year. They’ve been feeding off of average to below average opponents. Perhaps they can prove me wrong with better performances this year, but right now, I wouldn’t consider them to be on the same level as division rival New Orleans.
10 – Chiefs (6-3)
The 2017 Kansas City Chiefs remind me of a “September Heisman”. Almost every season in college football, there’s a superstar for the first month of the year that disappears for the final 8 games. That’s the exact vibe that I’m getting from this team. They’ve lost 3 out of their last 4, albeit against good opponents like Pittsburgh and Dallas. However, it appears as though teams are starting to figure them out. Kareem Hunt, once a menace, has disappeared. They haven’t had a game with 100+ rushing yards in a month. Alex Smith isn’t playing at the level he was 6 weeks ago. The defense is unraveling by the week. This team simply just doesn’t impress me anymore.
11 – Redskins (4-4)
The Redskins had arguably the most impressive win in the NFL this past weekend. Going into Seattle and completely shutting down a Seahawks offense that just put up nearly 500 yards and 41 points just a week beforehand. The offense couldn’t do much until the final drive, highlighted by an incredible diving catch by Josh Doctson, who has really come into his own this year. Even while decimated with injuries, this team has shown resiliency. The next two opponents are just as tough as last week’s: Minnesota (home) and New Orleans (away). Let’s see if they can get the job done and keep up in the competitive NFC.
12 – Titans (5-3)
The Titans had a decent win over an incredibly mediocre Ravens team on Sunday. They still lead the AFC South, but are still tied with the Jaguars. This team isn’t very impressive, but can probably continue to play like this and still make the playoffs thanks to a very weak AFC.
13 – Jaguars (5-3)
The Titans and Jaguars are interchangeable at 12 and 13 for me. I only put Tennessee a notch above because they had a win against a better team on Sunday. The Jags pulled out a convincing win against the Bengals this weekend, even with the benching of Leonard Fournette. This team is showing lots of promise on both ends of the football, and looks poised to make their first playoff run in a long time.
14 – Bills (5-3)
Buffalo suffered a rough loss last Thursday at the hands of the Jets. But, they still show lots of promise. Tyrod Taylor is looking good and they recently acquired Kelvin Benjamin via a trade with Carolina. Did they look bad last week? Yes. But, I still think this team can make the playoffs if they continue to play the way they have been. This team has potential. Let’s see if they can realize it.
15 – Lions (4-4)
The Lions finally got back in the win column on Monday thanks to playing the ARod-less Packers. This team’s record doesn’t reflect how their season has gone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re as good as the teams above them in this list. If they really want to prove their worth, then they’ve gotta go out and play good football and win games more consistently. Right now, they’re not doing that.
16 – Jets (4-5)
Much like Detroit, the Jets snapped a 3 game losing streak on a weekday with a convincing win over the Bills. The team looked great all around, and even started a little meme in the process. Perhaps this team can string together wins over the next few weeks and fight for a playoff spot. I think that they’re certainly capable of it.
17 – Raiders (4-5)
The Raiders actually won a game on the east coast. Granted, it was the nightcap of Sunday’s action, but at least they got that monkey off their back. They played a decent game against the Dolphins in rough conditions and bounced back from a tough loss the prior week. I’m not gonna get my hopes up about this team, however. They started the year 2-0 and have looked very shaky ever since. They’re also still yet to play great teams like Dallas and New England. I’m not buying this team at all in 2017. Let’s see if they can prove me wrong.
18 – Falcons (4-4)
One hell of a hangover, huh? This Atlanta team is nothing like their 2016 version thanks to much poorer play from reigning MVP Matt Ryan and a stumbling offense and defense. The loss of OC Kyle Shanahan in the offseason is hurting this team more than any of us thought it would. The Falcons are going nowhere fast. If only 28-3 never happened…
19 – Ravens (4-5)
Baltimore is the most mediocre team in the NFL. They are just so… average. Joe Flacco is falling off hard, their defense isn’t living up to the hype, and they have virtually no weapons on offense. We can stick a fork in them for the year. They are the textbook definition of “meh”.
20 – Chargers (3-5)
The Chargers didn’t play on Sunday, saving the eyes of their fans from burning like they usually do. Yes, LA’s little experiment has won 3 of their last 4, but this team is still bad. I’ll give them this: they have a great defense with tons of young talent. Too bad they’ll never accomplish anything in the not too distant future. This team is still just bad.
21 – Broncos (3-5)
The QB carousel continued this week with another benching of Trevor Siemian, this time for… Brock Osweiler? Yup, the fabled Brock is back in Denver for the year to lead this mediocre team. The defense isn’t looking like itself, giving up huge amounts of points in recent weeks. Heck, they even lost to the Giants. Who loses to the Giants in 2017? But hey, what does Brock care, he’s still getting payed nearly a million dollars a week by the Browns. To not play for them. Oh, Broncos. At least you have 2015.
22 – Dolphins (4-5)
Much like the Ravens, the Dolphins ooze mediocrity. They gave up one of their best players for a bag of chips and still have Jay Cutler leading the offense. Smokin’ Jay did have a good game on Sunday night, but that still isn’t enough to convince me that he can do anything to lead a team to success nowadays. Poor Dolphins fans.
23 – Texans (3-5)
The Deshaun Watson injury might genuinely be the most devastating thing to happen in the NFL this season. Players, coaches, and fans of all teams mourned the tearing of his ACL in practice last week. This team isn’t even a fraction of what it is with him without him. Tom Savage cannot get the job done at all. It’s okay, Houston. At least the Astros won a championship.
24 – Cardinals (4-4)
Drew Stanton won a game as a starting quarterback on Sunday. Yeah, weird right? To be quite honest, it’s only because his opponent was the 49ers. Adrian Peterson rushed the ball a WHOPPING 37 times on Sunday to quite literally “carry” his team to victory. Enjoy the win, Arizona. You won’t see many more this season.
25 – Bengals (3-5)
The Bengals are a bad team. There’s really no way around that. They’re average at best on both sides of the football. They can barely score at all. Their only great player decided he wanted to be a UFC fighter and made the field an octagon with Jalen Ramsey. But hey, what did you expect from the Bengals?
26 – Packers (4-4)
The way this team has performed in the last month is proving to everyone that Aaron Rodgers is the single most valuable player in the NFL. This team cannot do ANYTHING without him. With Rodgers, they’re one of the best teams in football. Without him, they’re one of the worst. It’s actually ridiculous. Just pray that the season ends quickly, Green Bay.
27 – Colts (3-6)
The Colts shut down Andrew Luck for the season last week, leaving Jacoby Brissett at the helm for seemingly the rest of 2017. Thanks to the injury to Deshaun Watson, they were able to win one of their only games on Sunday down in Houston. Enjoy the W while you can, Colts fans. You won’t see many more.
28 – Bears (3-5)
The Bears had Sunday to themselves, so there isn’t really much to report on them. Mitchell Trubisky isn’t looking great, and the team is just overall not very good. The silver lining to this all? They have the Packers coming to town on Sunday.
29 – Buccaneers (2-6)
Tampa Bay deserved to get blown out on Sunday after what Jameis Winston did in the pregame huddle AND whatever he was doing to Marshon Lattimore from the sidelines. This team looked like it would take the league by storm this season. Instead, they look terrible in all facets of the game and have lost this season already. At least they’ll have a top 5 pick next April.
30 – Giants (1-8)
The Giants terrible season somehow got even worse on Sunday with the absolute domination of their team on their home turf at the hands of the Rams on Sunday. Everyone looks terrible or is hurt or simply just doesn’t care anymore. Oh, and Ben McAdoo is still the head coach. Remember when people said this team would win it all this year? Me neither.
31 – 49ers (0-9)
The 49ers stayed winless on paper, but had a good week thanks to the acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo via a trade with the Patriots. One can assume that they’ll finally win a game this year with him starting. Perhaps it’ll be Week 10, thanks to a matchup with the Giants. It’ll be interesting to see the Jimmy G experiment in San Fran. I hope it plays out well for both parties.
32 – Browns (0-8)
The Browns did the most Cleveland thing ever and lost to their bye week. They botched a trade that would’ve given them a good QB by prematurely celebrating as the trade deadline hit. Their only staple good player, OT Joe Thomas, is now out for the year with a torn muscle in his arm. But hey, at least Josh Gordon is coming back soon. Probably only to get suspended. Again.