My Way Too Early NFL Power Rankings: April

Since the NFL Draft and a bunch of late free agency signings have yet to happen, my power rankings are sure to change over the next handful of months. My list below ranks all 32 teams based on how good I think they are right now, with a corresponding number based on how many points better or worse they are than an average team. For purposes of this list I have four teams in the middle — the Dolphins, WFT, Steelers and Seahawks — with a value of zero. Every other team is either positive or negative.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (+6)
  2. Tampa Bay Bucs (+5.5)
  3. Buffalo Bills (+4.5)
  4. Green Bay Packers (+4)
  5. Cleveland Browns (+3.5)
  6. San Francisco 49ers (+3)
  7. Baltimore Ravens (+3)
  8. Los Angeles Rams (+1.5)
  9. Indianapolis Colts (+1.5)
  10. Los Angeles Chargers (+1)
  11. New England Patriots (+0.5)
  12. New Orleans Saints (+0.5)
  13. Tennessee Titans (+0.5)
  14. Miami Dolphins (0)
  15. Washington Football Team (0)
  16. Pittsburgh Steelers (0)
  17. Seattle Seahawks (0)
  18. Dallas Cowboys (-0.5)
  19. Minnesota Vikings (-0.5)
  20. New York Giants (-1)
  21. Arizona Cardinals (-1)
  22. Atlanta Falcons (-1.5)
  23. Denver Broncos (-1.5)
  24. Chicago Bears (-2)
  25. Las Vegas Raiders (-2)
  26. Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)
  27. Carolina Panthers (-3)
  28. New York Jets (-3.5)
  29. Philadelphia Eagles (-4)
  30. Cincinatti Bengals (-4.5)
  31. Detroit Lions (-5.5)
  32. Houston Texans (-6.5)

The NFL is all about parity. According to my list the best team in the NFL (Chiefs) and worst team (Texans) are separated by a mere 12.5 points, meaning if Houston played at Kansas City I would have the Chiefs as a 15.5-point favorite (counting home field advantage). As of right now, that would be the highest point spread of any potential matchup in the league.

There are still a lot of unknowns, which is why this list should be taken with a giant grain of salt, but what I’ve tried to accomplish here is a general blueprint of the teams I am high on in 2021. Aside from the four teams that played on Championship Sunday a couple months ago — Chiefs, Bucs, Bills, Packers — it really comes down to who I believe to be next in line.

I know it’s easy to scoff at a team like the Browns being as high as 5th, but I think there is real potential that they will be the team to challenge the Chiefs for AFC supremacy in 2021. The offense will be fine and figures to add Odell Beckham Jr. (who missed most of last year with an ACL injury), and if their defense can creep up closer to average they may just have a juggernaut in waiting.

The NFC isn’t nearly as deep, but I really like the 49ers to rebound after a forgetful 2020 campaign, and I like the Rams to potentially win the whole damn thing if Matthew Stafford plays as well as many of us think he can. While I could picture a half dozen teams representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, I see the NFC as a four-horse race.

This could all change based on whether or not San Francisco trades Jimmy G and rolls with a rookie QB, and if the Rams’ defense takes a significant step back it’s possible they are closer to a .500 team than a legit challenger in the NFC. My instincts, right now anyway, tell me that the NFC West champion will be whoever finishes atop the state of California.

I’ll update this every month as we go along because, shit, I have to write about something. If I had to bet at this exact instant, however, I’m just going to assume Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes run it back and meet in another Super Bowl.