32. Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-12 ( - )
Vegas thought firing the coach was going to help immediately, but getting mollywhopped by the very next team on this list might solidify this spot.
31. Houston Texans, 3-11 (-1)
In terms of pure efficiency, quarterback Davis Mills is having one of the better rookie years in history.
30. Detroit Lions, 2-11-1 (+1)
Beating the Cardinals is going to have a bigger impact on this franchise than dropping one or two draft picks. The Lions haven’t beaten a quality team like that in years.
29. New York Jets, 3-11 ( - )
Is Zach Wilson starting to actually look like an NFL quarterback? It seems so…
28. New York Giants, 4-10 ( - )
Meanwhile, in the locker room next door, quarterback Daniel Jones is done for the Giants and may be finding a lot of competition the next time he’s able to suit up.
27. Carolina Panthers, 5-9 ( - )
When this season started, watching the Panthers defense was a unique treat. Now, getting through an entire Panthers game is a heckuva chore.
26. Chicago Bears, 4-10 ( - )
I get why people really like Justin Fields’ promise, but it isn’t like he’s currently living up to that promise. I’m just saying, there’s a chance he ends up on the Mitchell Trubisky track.
25. Atlanta Falcons, 6-8 ( - )
On the one hand, Falcons fans can watch the 49ers team that just beat them and see a lot of similarities in personnel, scheme and overall direction. On the other hand, they had Kyle Shanahan in the building and it probably stings to do so.
24. Las Vegas Raiders, 7-7 (-1)
It’s awkward to be a team in as much a need for a complete rebuild as the Raiders and still have a quarterback in Derek Carr who is playing just well enough to want to keep him around.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-6-1 (+1)
The Steelers have as much work to do this offseason as a lot of teams on this list, but they’re also in the AFC North race, so that’s both crazy and fortuitous.
22. Seattle Seahawks, 5-8 (-3)
The door is about to get slammed on the Seahawks playoff chances and there’s a good chance the coach and QB have their last games in Seattle this season.
21. Philadelphia Eagles, 6-7 ( - )
This team can look like a worldbeater one minute and then struggle against the COVID-riddled Washington Football Team the next.
20. Washington Football Team, 6-7 (-1)
The pluck of this team is amazing. The talent…not so much.
19. New Orleans Saints, 7-7 (+1)
Say goodbye to Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen. It feels like he’ll be getting another shot very quickly.
18. Denver Broncos, 7-7 ( - )
The latest rumor is that Peyton Manning is thinking about buying the team. Unless he’s gonna play quarterback, it might not make much of a difference.
17. Minnesota Vikings, 7-7 ( - )
This team is thunderously mediocre, and I feel bad for young stars like wide receiver Justin Jefferson who are going to feel stuck eventually.
16. Cleveland Browns, 7-7 ( - )
I’m not sinking the Browns for losing with Nick Mullens under center. Frankly, things should’ve never even been that close.
15. Miami Dolphins, 7-7 (-1)
The Dolphins have won six straight, but things are about to get more difficult with games against Saints, Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots coming up.
14. Tennessee Titans, 9-5 (-1)
The good news is that the rushing attack seems to be clicking. The better news is that Tennessee doesn’t have any more cold weather games on the schedule.
13. Cincinnati Bengals, 8-6 (+2)
The uniqueness of the Bengals is that they can complete the long ball at the drop of a hat, so they can essentially create chances against anyone.
12. Baltimore Ravens, 8-6 (-1)
The Ravens have lost to the Bengals once and now have them the day after Christmas. That game could all but settle a really rough AFC North.
11. Buffalo Bills, 8-6 (-1)
Is any team quite as talented and yet not as scary as the Bills? If they can beat the Patriots, that could change in a hurry.
10. San Francisco 49ers, 8-6 (+2)
The other end of that spectrum is the 49ers. No one thinks this team is among the NFL’s most talented, but they are absolutely a beast to match up against.
9. Los Angeles Chargers, 8-6 (-1)
In a lot of ways, the Chargers are a slightly better team with all the same strengths and flaws as the Bengals a few slots below. I don’t love them to go deep in the playoffs, but I could also imagine them beating every single team.
8. Indianapolis Colts, 8-6 ( - )
Take what I said about the Chargers and replace “better version of the Bengals” with “better version of the 49ers. The Colts are deeply flawed and I don’t trust Carson Wentz at QB, but I absolutely would not be surprised if they’re in the Super Bowl.
7. Dallas Cowboys, 10-4 ( - )
The top offense and a top ten defense is a lot to bring to the party, but Dak Prescott needs to be very good for this team to go the distance.
6. New England Patriots, 9-5 (-2)
We’re seeing one of the best coaching jobs of Bill Belichick’s career, but I don’t think this team has quite the same magic of the early-Brady era Pats.
5. Arizona Cardinals, 10-4 (-2)
Is the bottom falling out? Losing to the Lions is a terrible look, but Cardinals fans have to hope it’s a gigantic wake up call.
4. Los Angeles Rams, 9-4 (+2)
I’m always waiting for Matthew Stafford to make some back-breaking mistake. Most of the season, he’s avoided that, but he can absolutely swing from the engine driving this train to the logjam across the tracks in a hurry.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10-4 (-1)
Things have to be perfect to repeat, and all of a sudden, things look a LOT less than perfect with injuries and poor play in Tampa Bay.
2. Kansas City Chiefs, 10-4 (+3)
The defense took a step back this week and finally looked mortal against the Chargers. Still, this team is firing on all the cylinders that Tampa Bay is not.
1. Green Bay Packers, 11-3 ( - )
It’s tough to respond when you’re on top and have every reason to drop a game. This team is experienced and has enough savvy to navigate this time of year.