Second Quarter Power Rankings

Every four weeks, we here at Kevbo Industries will be bringing you an updated set of power rankings. Unlike my preseason divisional power rankings, these editions will be of all 32 teams, top to bottom.

Note that Kevbo Industries consists of me, myself and I, so if you disagree with any of these team’s rankings, you can direct all hate mail to me. Thanks!

NFL Power Rankings – Second Quarter

1 – Denver Broncos
I saw little reason to change this from the first quarter. After four more weeks, Peyton Manning and the stampeding Broncos have been somewhat slowed by a couple of teams, namely the Colts, who pulled off a very narrow upset at home. Still, they’re playing better defense, and as we saw last week against the Redskins, they can win a game when their backs are against the wall.

2 – Seattle Seahawks
Again, no reason to alter this pick. They’ve won some ugly games since week 4, but they’ve won, and the return of Percy Harvin should be a major boon to the one part of the team that could be pointed to as a weakness, particular since Sidney Rice was just declared out for the year with a torn ACL. No team in the NFL has played better defense so far, but one has come awfully close…

3 – Kansas City Chiefs
On pace to break the single-season sack record as a team, the Chiefs are winning football games with an attacking defense and a patient, Alex Smith-led offense that doesn’t make costly mistakes. They’ve yet to lose, and while that may be attributed to their soft schedule to date, there is no such thing as a “free” win in the NFL. The Chiefs have paid the cost for 8 of them so far, which is more than any other team can say.

4 – San Fransisco 49ers
After hitting a rough patch early, the defending NFC champions have been rolling over the last several weeks. With offensive firepower to match a tough defense, the recipe for a Superbowl contender is still intact. But can they get past the Seahawks this year?

5 – New Orleans Saints
This year’s Saints looks an awful lot like the 2009 version that won the Superbowl, don’t they? The same high-octane offense with a variety of excellent weapons for Drew Brees to work with, and an opportunistic, attack-style defense that is playing above and beyond expectations.

6 – Cincinnati Bengals
Jumping up four spots from my first quarter rankings, the Bengals have won four straight, and with their 49-9 dismantling of the Jets last week, proved how good they can be when clicking on all cylinders. It is going to be a tall task for anyone in the AFC North (Baltimore) to get past them…but can they stay consistent?

7 – Green Bay Packers
Somehow, they’re playing better defense without their best pass rusher. Somehow, Aaron Rodgers is playing just as good without three of his top four targets. Somehow, they’re running the ball. The Packers have stiff competition in the NFC North, but at this point, they’ve proven to be above and beyond.

8 – Indianapolis Colts
Another team jumping up the rankings, the Colts played their best game of the post-Peyton Manning era when they beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The conversation on Andrew Luck is that this kid is the real deal, and that’s pretty much been the consensus from the day he was drafted. Sure is something watching him prove it on a weekly basis, though.

9 – New England Patriots
The feeling here at Kevbo Industries is that, due to a wide variety of injuries and lackluster play from their well known signal caller, many people are looking past the Patriots. Something tells me that the Patriots want you to look past them. Of course, the NFL isn’t looking past them, but they continue to win most of their games despite odds that would cripple most teams.

10 – Detroit Lions
They still have to prove a little bit of consistency, but a big win against the Cowboys, and a near-miss against the Bengals, has me a little higher on the Lions than some might be. I see the potential for a fight to win the NFC North here, but that potential has to maintain itself over the long haul.

11 – Carolina Panthers

While not all of October has been good for the Panthers, the past two weeks have shown me a team that has very suddenly and unexpectedly “clicked”. Cam Newton is playing like he’s been in the league for a few more years than he has, the running game is proving to be a threat, and the defense is stepping up and making plays. The NFC wildcard race is going to be crowded, but if the Panthers continue this trend, they’ll be thick in the mix.

12 – San Diego Chargers
Over their last four games, the Chargers have beaten the Cowboys and Colts, beat up on the Jaguars and lost a close one to the Raiders. The road ahead is bleak with the Broncos and Chiefs essentially lapping them in the division race, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Chargers are playing very good football right now, and have been for the better part of the season.

13 – Dallas Cowboys
After taking the Broncos to the absolute brink at the beginning of October, the Cowboys proceeded to knock off two divisional opponents before being brought to the brink, and ending up on the wrong side of it, last week against the Lions. Somewhere in the muddled mix of injuries, heated tempers, Jerry Jones quotes and Tony Romo gaffs is a team that has no reason not to win their division. Which isn’t saying a lot, but it isn’t exactly saying a little, either.

14 – Chicago Bears

The Bears have dropped in my estimation over the month of October, and the main reason for this is that two of their best players are sidelined. Can they continue without Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs for four or more weeks? It’s going to be tough, especially in a division that has serious competition coming from Green Bay and Detroit.

15 – Baltimore Ravens

If they keep losing, the Bengals are going to take this division by the end of November. It would be a long fall for the defending Superbowl champs, but not a totally unexpected one considering their miserable offseason and inability to stay healthy at key positions. If seven games haven’t yet proven it to anyone, Joe Flacco is not worth the money he’s being paid. Not by a long shot. He’s essentially Phil Simms with a bigger arm. If you think that’s a compliment, go and look at what Phil Simms did throughout his career.

16 – Philadelphia Eagles
The past two weeks have been a bitter pill for Chip Kelly and the Eagles faithful to swallow, but when your best QB is either out completely or hurt immediately, you can’t expect miracles. That the defense is playing 180 degrees better over the first 5 or 6 games is a sign of good things; now all they need is for Kelly to adjust to the talent he has on offense, and allow the NFL’s rushing leader to do what he does best in order to win some games down the stretch, regardless of who’s behind center.

17 – New York Jets
October has been a mixed bag for Gang Green, with a big win over their nemesis Patriots sandwiched between a tough fought loss to the Steelers and last week’s embarrassment against the Bengals. Which Jets team will we get going forward? The hard-nosed, never-say-die competitors? Or the team that reflects the roster and the numbers produced so far? I’m guessing the latter, but they’ll upset a few more teams before it’s all said and done.

18 – Arizona Cardinals
As lousy as they’ve looked all year on offense, they’ve managed to win half of their eight games so far due to a stout defense. Their offensive production has been akin to squeezing the last bit of juice from an orange…every single week. I doubt they’ll be any higher than this going forward, but as of right now, they are what they are: middle of the road.

19 – Oakland Raiders
Much like the Jets, the Raiders are proving a difficult opponent for every team they face. They’re firmly at the bottom of their division, sure, but at 3-4 have proven to be heading in the right direction. Terrelle Pryor has the makings of a Russell Wilson, and they’re not as far off as they were a year ago from being a legitimate postseason possibility. It just won’t be happening in 2013.

20 – Tennessee Titans
Three straight losses, three straight weeks with very little to show for what was a promising start for the football Titans. Injuries have played their part, but there is something else going on here that doesn’t quickly meet the eye, but is obvious if you’re watching the games; the lack of talent is being compounded by the lack of effective playcalling. This is a team that, as they are right now, might be able to contend for a playoff spot in a year, but I have serious reservations about them doing so with the current playcallers on the sidelines.

21 – Buffalo Bills
Right around here is when the rankings become 21A through 21C, as each of these teams have essentially proven the same things: potential without results. While the Bills are a talented team on paper, that talent seems to dissipate when it’s needed most. C.J. Spiller has been a huge disappointment this year, the defense is still weak under pressure, and their QB situation isn’t moving forward so long as E.J. Manuel is sidelined.

22 – Miami Dolphins
After wining three in a row, the Dolphins have nosedived into a four game losing streak. Lack of QB protection, some questionable decisions on that QB’s part, and a general lack of offense through the air or on the ground have allowed teams to either narrowly pull away with wins or simply trample their good-but-not-great defense. Joe Philbin and the rest of the Dolphins staff still have some major holes to fill before this team competes for a playoff spot.

23 – Cleveland Browns
While Brian Hoyer was giving Cleveland fans high hopes, the last month has consisted of Brandon Weeden keeping the factory of sadness spinning. I don’t think trading Trent Richardson was a mistake, but it was an obvious commentary by the front office on where this team is in 2013; not quite there.

24 – Washington Redskins
Each week, I’m baffled that the Redskins haven’t found the ability to put all of their pieces together. They do it in spurts, but even these are so short lived that you cannot make the claim that “they’re back”. RGIII is probably as close to 100% as he’s going to get, so you can’t look at him as the problem. The swiss-cheese secondary and surprisingly lackluster pass rush are the real culprits here, and with the team handcuffed by salary cap penalties this year, it’s not a surprise that their weakest parts from last year are now even worse off.

25 – St. Louis Rams
One week, the Rams look like they’re bottom feeders. The next, they’re taking one of the best teams in the NFL to the edge of defeat. Who exactly are these St. Louis Rams? Well, despite a somewhat respectable 3-5 record, the answer to that question is fairly simple. They’re nobody special, and need to build around the handful of excellent pieces (amongst which currently IR’ed QB Sam Bradford may or may not be) if they’re going to get over that hump.

26 – Houston Texans
Despite all of their hardships, injuries and completely lackluster play defensively, I cannot fully grasp the idea that the Texans aren’t a good football team. This is almost exactly the same team that has been in the postseason mix for many years now, and why they’re floundering the way they are is extremely difficult to place a finger on. Things won’t get much easier for them going forward, but their record should be closer to 8-8 than not by the end of the year.

27 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Climbing a bit out of the swampy abyss of nothingness with two much-needed victories, the Steelers were able to show a partial glimpse of the team they could be. Still, this is an aging roster with holes aplenty, and if it weren’t for Cleveland’s downward spiral, I’d still bet on Pittsburgh bringing up the bottom of their division at the end of the year.

28 – Atlanta Falcons
By far, without a shadow of a doubt, no team has fallen quite as far as the Falcons have in 2013. A chic postseason pick and a team that was one play from the Superbowl in 2012, this year’s Falcons have been the victim of major injuries, major inconsistencies and a near-total lack of urgency through seven games. With Steven Jackson and Roddy White back on the field soon, they might at least be able to salvage a 6-10 or 7-9 disappointment out of what has otherwise been an utter meltdown.

29 – New York Giants
Kudos for avoiding 0-16 by beating two teams asking to be beat. It showed that the Giants are still capable of winning games they look capable of winning, but beyond that, this is a team with far too many problems to expect much more from. 2014 is going to be a very intriguing year for the Giants. Will Tom Coughlin return? How many new faces will the defense have? Where will Hakeem Nicks be playing? Who’s going to be running the ball?

30 – Minnesota Vikings
It’s evident now, if it wasn’t last year, that the Vikings have to overachieve with their current roster if they’re going to succeed. So far this year, they haven’t done that, and that’s why they have a ‘1’ in their win column. The most glaring error the team made? Bringing Christian Ponder back without so much as looking forward at the position. Signing Matt Cassel is not looking forward. And where the heck has Adrian Peterson been? I take that back, actually. He’s been dealing with a tragedy I wouldn’t wish on anybody. The rest of this team, however, are in the process of making a tragedy of their own.

31 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
So, what keeps them from being the worst team in football? A decent defense that isn’t being utilized properly. That’s it. Greg Schiano is a sitting duck who is doing almost all of the wrong things, the team jettisoned their (apparently) franchise QB and lost their powerhouse RB for the season. Everything that could possibly go wrong in Tampa Bay, whether by fate or by incompetence, has.

32 – Jacksonville Jaguars
All that being said, the Bucs are still a notch above the league’s worst team. Why? Because they had to make mistakes to not win a game. The Jaguars haven’t won a game by simply taking the field, lining up, and proceeding to play up to the level of talent they possess. If this team isn’t in Los Angeles in the next few years, I’ll be positively shocked.

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