And lo the NFL Week officially begins in the manner it always does, with the arbitrary ranking of all 32 teams based on criteria I have invented in my own head.


We have a new No. 1 and plenty of movement in the Top 10 as the entire hierarchy of the AFC has taken a serious shuffle over the last month. The bottom of the rankings are almost set in stone, with no reason to move anyone up or down from their basement dwelling positions.



Jalen Hurts is not only in the MVP conversation, he’s got to be leading it. Somebody who made a Hail Mary futures bet in the preseason is about to cash in. Hurts has 29 total touchdowns, more than 3,000 total yards and a quarterback rating of 108.3. I would have predicted that this team was going to hit a San Francisco sized brick wall in the playoffs, but recent events have made that far less likely. Philly looks like they should be the NFC’s Super Bowl representative, which means they’ll probably get upset by the Giants or Seahawks, a team that will get absolutely destroyed in Super Bowl LVII.

Last week: No. 2


  1. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-4)

The Niners are No. 2 right now, but I expect them to take a precipitous dive starting this week. The idea that Brock Purdy is going to step right in and play winning football over the next five weeks is funnier than any joke I could come up with. It’s possible that Jimmy Garoppolo could return in time for the NFC Divisional Round, but I don’t know what good that’ll do the Niners who will be watching it on their Barcaloungers. Purdy is the only “Mr. Irrelevant” in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in an NFL game, by the way. So go ahead make him a plaque for that, because he ain’t getting a ring of any kind. The real shame is, if they don’t make the playoffs, it’ll probably kill a legit Defensive Player of the Year run from Nick Bosa who is first or second in every DL stat category in the league.

Last week: No. 3



That third down pass to Tee Higgins, under intense pressure and with Higgins covered like a blanket, should end all Joe Burrow vs Justin Herbert arguments forever. The dude went No. 1 overall for a reason. And that’s not even a knock on Herbert. Burrow is just that guy. More good news this week for Cincy too heading into the stretch, Joe Mixon should be back.

Last week: No. 9



Sometimes the NFL all comes down to match ups and the Bengals obviously have a match up advantage over the Chiefs. Kansas City better hope another team knocks Cincy out of the playoffs or they might be watching the Super Bowl on TV again.

Last week: No. 1



The fact that Mike McCarthy led a team to absolutely gobsmack the Jeff Saturday Indianapolis Colts to the tune of 54 points should show exactly how badly Josh McDaniels coached the Las Vegas Raiders a month ago. With all the injuries for the Los Angeles Rams and now the 49ers, the worst possible thing could be happening in Dallas. This team could go to the Super Bowl. And lose by three touchdowns.

Last week: No. 5



The Vikings are cruising into the postseason and, thanks to Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury, might even get the chance to lose in the NFC Championship. On the bright side, Kirk Cousins can make his annual worthless trip to the Pro Bowl.

Last week: No. 6


  1. BUFFALO BILLS (9-3)

The Bills don’t look nearly as unbeatable as they did when the season began and now they’ve lost Von Miller for the rest of the year. Maybe we should stop crowning teams in August? If there is a bright side to the events of the week in Buffalo it’s that, if the playoffs started today, they’d be the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Last week: No. 7



Every contender is bound to soil the bed once a season, but it was a bad look for Mike McDaniel to get so thoroughly outcoached by Kyle Shanahan playing a Subway Sandwich artist at quarterback. They can make up for it by all but knocking out of the AFC playoff race Sunday and sending Emmanuel Acho into a Twitter frenzy.

Preseason: No. 4



Lamar Jackson is apparently week to week with a knee injury. That’s bad news for a team that can barely show up week to week as it is. Baltimore has five weeks to win two more games and make the playoffs. They can let Jackson heal up before tossing back into the shark’s mouth in Greg Roman’s offense.

Last week: No. 8


  1. NEW YORK GIANTS (7-4-1)

The Giants and Commanders tied Sunday, playing five quarters of hard hitting divisional football so you know what that means. Take the Eagles and the points this week.

Last week: No. 10



I have no inside information, but I feel it was probably a condition of Mike Vrabel’s upcoming new contract negotiations that Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson get tossed out the airlock. No GM is ever winning a power struggle with a winning head coach. They’re just too hard to find.

Last week: No. 11



The Seahawks picked up their fourth win over the Los Angeles Rams since 2017 and all it took is for every good player but Jalen Ramsey on LA’s roster to be in street clothes. Of all the teams that will benefit by Jimmy Garoppolo’s extended absence, none will get more from it than Seattle. They might have just been handed an NFC West title.

Last week: No. 15



There’s a universe out there in the multiverse where we get a playoff bracket without the New England Patriots or Tom Brady in it. The NFC South is too bad in this particular reality for that to happen and we are all poorer for it.

Last week: No. 16



There’s bad losses, then there’s losing to the Las Vegas Raiders at home losses. This is no way for a “potential” playoff team to behave. If they don’t show up against Miami Sunday, they’re probably watching the postseason at home. Again.

Last week: No. 12



While the Giants have to suit up and play the Eagles after their tie with the Commanders, Washington gets to watch it all unfold at home with a ridiculously late bye.

Last week: No. 13


  1. NEW YORK JETS (7-5)

Mike White didn’t play great against the Vikings, but there have been plenty of games the Jets could have won if they’d hit just 22 points. There’s no reason to not stick with the kid for the rest of the year and, maybe, the playoffs.

Last week: No. 14



The Pats are so unwatchable this year that not only did the NFL flex them out of Week 15’s Sunday Night Football game, they’ve put them on at 4:05 p.m. Only people in New England and Vegas will suffer through that one.

Last week: No. 17


  1. DETROIT LIONS (5-7)

This season, Jared Goff has more passing yards than Aaron Rodgers, more passing touchdowns than Tom Brady, fewer interceptions than Patrick Mahomes, a better touchdown to interception ratio than Josh Allen and a higher pass rating than Justin Herbert. It’s December and the Lions are in the playoff hunt. What is happening??

Last week: No. 19



Josh Jacobs is on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s NFL season rushing record and, fun fact, the Raiders didn’t pick up his fifth year option so he’s a free agent at the end of the season. Josh McDaniels is the gift that keeps on giving.

Last week: No. 22



In the preseason I predicted that Mike Tomlin would suffer his first losing season as a head coach. Each passing week, I get more convinced that I was wrong. This obviously isn’t  a playoff team, but a 9-8 finish would not surprise me.

Last week: 23



The Falcons had every opportunity to run away with the NFC South and instead decided to just faceplant through the entire second half of the season.

Last week: No. 18



Deshaun Watson got his “revenge” against the Texans, I guess. The Bengals game Sunday will probably go a little different.

Last week: No. 25



So the secret is out. All Aaron Rodgers needs is to play a Mike McCarthy coached team or the Chicago Bears every week and he’d go undefeated.

Last week: No. 26



For the Cardinals’ sake, let’s hope that Kyler Murray got in all the Call of Duty he can handle during the bye week. With Jimmy G hurt, Arizona can sneak into the playoffs if they win out.

Last week: No. 20



This team is a quarterback away from being something. Unfortunately, that QB may not be available in the upcoming draft or free agency, so Andy Dalton might want to get comfortable in NOLA.

Last week: No. 21



The Jags have made a habit of losing close games this season, but after a four score loss to Detroit, they can at least put that factoid behind them.

Last week: No. 24



As bad as it’s gone for the Rams this season, at least Baker Mayfield isn’t their quarterback… checks news. Dammit. In all seriousness, it makes sense for him and LA both. It’s a shame it came to this. They’ll just have to find a way to console themselves with their giant Super Bowl rings and Championship banner. And here’s the good news about the 2022 Rams disaster, teams that won the Super Bowl and then posted a losing record the following season (the 80s 49ers, Giants and Commanders), all won another Super Bowl within the next three seasons.

Last week: No. 27



Every passing week just makes Jeff Saturday’s win over Josh McDaniels in his first head coaching game look worse.

Last week: No. 28



Of all the teams that could have used a late bye, the Panthers got it. And the only thing they did with it was cut Baker Mayfield.

Last week: No. 29


  1. CHICAGO BEARS (3-10)

You have to toss the records out, because Chicago isn’t playing for this year. But when you look at Justin Fields, who is, at worst, the second best QB taken in the 2021 NFL Draft and realize that I was the only national writer that ranked him there, you need to understand something. In the NFL, QB scouting is all about ignoring everything you see on the game film and instead focusing on how well the guy exercises in shorts and a tank top at the Combine.

Last week: No. 30



You lost 10-9 to the Ravens who were without their starting quarterback, Broncos. At this point, Nathaniel Hackett should just change his name and move to Costa Rica.

Last week: No. 31


  1. HOUSTON TEXANS (1-10-1)

Now that everything else has failed, the Texans can go back to Davis Mills at quarterback and fail in a way that they’re used to after the last two seasons.

Last week: No. 32


Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.


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