Not only has this been a crazy year in general, but the NFL witnessed its fair share of unpredictability between injuries and surprising success. The midseason rankings are going to be based on a point system and three categories. The points system is from 1-5, with one being the worst and five being the best. The three categories are as follows:
- Performance (the overall performance of the team up to this point)
- Expectations (how is the team preforming relative to their preseason expectations)
- Potential (how much Super Bowl potential does the team have)
The points will be added up and teams will be ranked accordingly. If there are any ties, then the tiebreaker will go to record and then head-to-head.
32. New York Jets (0-8) – 3 Points
It’s no shocker that the New York Jets are bottom of these rankings. They can expect to be at the bottom of most rankings. Injuries have not been kind to the Jets, but at this point in the season it might be advantageous for them to aim for the #1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
31. New York Giants (1-7) – 4 Points
Losing Saquon Barkley was a huge blow early for the Giants, and they haven’t been able to recover since then. Daniel Jones hasn’t shined like some expected, but it’s hard when you get sacked 23 times; the third-most in the league. They have a lot more problems to address first other than quarterback.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) – 4 Points
The Jaguars had a decent start to the season for their standards. They beat the Indianapolis Colts and played the Tennessee Titans close, but never seemed to capture that same competitiveness since, losing each game and being outscored 167-97 over that span. They have shown offensive potential, but that defense needs work.
29. Houston Texans (1-6) – 4 Points
The Texans have been one of the most surprising teams this season, as they’ve performed below expectations. Deshaun Watson can’t do everything by himself, and the one game they allowed less than 28 points (Week 5 vs Jacksonville) they won.
28. Dallas Cowboys (2-6) – 4 Points
It goes to show how important Dak Prescott was to this team and what a blow his injury was. Without him at the helm, they have been poor offensively, only reaching double digits once since the injury. The defense has been abysmal all season, allowing at least 20 points per game.
27. Washington Football Team (2-5) – 5 Points
The Washington Football Team has had its fair share of troubles; namely the quarterback position. They have struggled on offense, only generating 16 total touchdowns; the fifth-worst in the league. Luckily, the NFC East has been poor, which gives them a chance to win it.
26. Atlants Falcons (2-6) – 6 Points
The top problem with the Falcons involves Ryan leading the league in passing yards, but has only thrown 12 touchdowns. The Falcons move the ball around, but it doesn’t mean much if they don’t get it in the end zone.
25. Los Angeles Chargers (2-5) – 6 Points
Although the results haven’t come as the Chargers may have liked, they must be encouraged by the play of rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. He has stepped in and played well. They have some more favorable matchups down the stretch and I’d expect them to take advantage.
24. Minnesota Vikings (2-5) – 6 Points
It’s a shame the Vikings haven’t been able to string together more wins due to the emergence of rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson. With a big win against Green Bay last week, the Vikings are trending upward.
23. New England Patriots (2-5) – 7 Points
Who would’ve thought the Patriots would’ve fallen so far? By the Patriots standards, they’ve performed terribly. They are third in the AFC East. This team needs some kind of pick-me-up in the second half of the season.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1) – 7 Points
Joe Burrow has come in and has performed well. Yes, he has made rookie mistakes, but he has also made the Bengals competitive. Wideout AJ Green has fallen off a cliff in terms of production. At first glance, you’d think it would have an effect on Burrow, but he is currently third in the league in passing.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1) – 7 Points
The Eagles are lucky others in the NFC East have been worse off than them, because they shouldn’t be at top of the division. With that said, they have been playing most teams competitively and show the most potential out of the division.
20. Carolina Panthers (3-5) – 8 Points
One would assume that when Christian McCaffery first went down, the Panthers might crumble. They were 0-2 at the time and went on to win three consecutive games. Since then, they have not found permanent success. With a return on the horizon for McCaffery, the Panthers might become a dangerous team.
19. San Francisco 49ers (4-5) – 8 Points
A disappointing start for a team that’s a year removed from the Super Bowl. George Kittle going down will severely hurt the offense, as he has proven to be the heartbeat of it all. They have lost nearly every real test when facing the Cardinals (20-24), Seahawks (27-37), and Packers (17-34). Sitting last in the division doesn’t bode well for their playoff aspirations.
18. Detroit Lions (3-4) – 8 Points
As a fan of Matthew Stafford, it’s fair to admit he has been underwhelming to date. He has arguably more weapons than he’s ever had before going into this season (more, not better). Starting off 0-2 in their division is going to be tough and a Wild Card in the NFC is an even longer shot.
17. Denver Broncos (3-4) – 9 Points
The Broncos have had one of the toughest schedules to date. All of their losses come against teams with two or fewer defeats. They beat all the teams they’re supposed to, but to get to that next level, they’ll need to beat a premier team.
16. Las Vegas Raiders (4-3) – 9 Points
The Raiders are the epitome of hot-n-cold, as shown by their huge upset over Kansas City and their ugly loss to Tampa Bay. It’s not certain which Raiders team will come to play for the second half of the season, but they’ll be a fun one to watch.
15. Las Angeles Rams (5-3) – 9 Points
Doesn’t it feel so long ago when the Rams were running up scoreboards with Gurley and Goff? With Aaron Donald on defense it always gives the offense a chance, but they definitely miss that explosiveness. They have a tough division in the NFC West, so their road to the playoffs becomes murky.
14. Miami Dolphins (4-3) – 10 Points
The only loss Miami might want to take back is Week 1 versus the Patriots, but other than that they’ve ticked all the boxes for their expectations. An unexpected change at quarterback last week shocked some people, namely Ryan Fitzpatrick.
13. Chicago Bears (5-3) – 10 Points
The Bears are one of two teams over .500 to have made a quarterback change not related to injury. There is no denying the talent on the defensive side of the ball, but outside of Allen Robinson the offense could use a weapon or two.
12. Cleveland Browns (5-3) – 10 Points
The Browns are finally starting to establish themselves as real contenders. Over the past 10 years that hasn’t been the case, but the last couple of seasons have shown growth. To take the next step, they’re going to need Baker Mayfield to step up. The OBJ injury also won’t help them.
11. New Orleans Saints (5-2) – 11 Points
The absence of Michael Thomas has been a huge blow to Drew Brees and the offense. With Thomas they’re used to moving it with relative ease through the air, but rely more on Alvin Kamara to get them going. When Thomas does come back, expect this team to have an immediate upgrade.
10. Arizona Cardinals (5-2) – 12 Points
Another HUGE surprise this season is the over-performance of the Arizona Cardinals. That Deandre Hopkins trade is proving to be one of the best moves this offseason. Kyler Murray is playing like the #1 pick they thought he was. They really proved themselves with a big win over Seattle last week.
9. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) – 12 Points
The Colts have been winning the games they should be (aside from the week 1 lose to Jacksonville), but have yet to have a real true test. Their week 9 matchup versus the Baltimore Ravens should be telling where this team is out. That defense is playing as good as any defense in the league.
8. Tennessee Titans (5-2) – 12 Points
The Titans had an opportunity to bounce back against the Bengals and failed to take advantage. They had a great start to the season and if they build off of that play rather than their last two weeks, then they should get back on track. They are only a year removed from the AFC Championship.
7. Green Bay Packers (6-2) – 12 Points
Aside from the shocking blowout against Tampa Bay, the Packers have been a force to be reckoned with. Aaron Rodgers is at his peak form once again with a TD:INT ratio of 24:2. They have a favorable division and should look to win it.
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – 13 Points
Although they’re not first in their division, the Baltimore Ravens are still playing well. The defense has been playing great, holding teams to less than 20 points four times. There’s also no shame in their only two losses coming against the Chiefs and the Steelers.
5. Buffalo Bills (6-2) – 13 Points
One of the most surprising turn of events is the high level of football Buffalo has brought this season. There were question marks about whether or not they could remain consistent, but Sean McDermott has answered those questions and they’re in strong contention to win his division.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) – 14 Points
The question is being answered right now between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Brady has proven his worth and then some, making the Buccaneers true contenders in the NFC.
3. Seattle Seahawks (6-1) – 15 Points
This team doesn’t run without Russell Wilson. The run game has proven to be inconsistent with injuries, but Wilson’s play has been stellar, leading the league in passing touchdowns. They’ve managed to win close games this season which is a testament of a gritty team, built for the playoffs.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) – 15 Points
With Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback, you’ll always have a chance. The defending Super Bowl champs are aiming a return to the big stage and have been off to a great start. It’s a little ironic that Mahomes lone interception came in the Chiefs only loss this season.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0) – 15 Points
It was easy giving the Steelers 15 points. They’ve checked all the boxes this season and have played some strong teams in the Browns, Titans, and Ravens. They’re the last undefeated team in large part due to the resurgence of franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.