By Connor Lambert, Staff Writer
This NFL season has been different than any other before, with COVID and many injuries around the league. One thing that has stayed consistent most of the season is the NFL power rankings.
For almost all this season, the Kansas City Chiefs have been ranked at the top, with the Pittsburgh Steelers coming in at two for a couple of weeks. The rest of the rankings have switched it up from time to time, as the Seattle Seahawks were once top 5 but fell to 13 in this week’s rankings after a bad loss to the Rams. Coming up on the half-way point of the NFL season teams are beginning to show who’s real and who’s not.
The New Orleans Saints come in at number three but just placed starting quarterback Drew Brees on injured reserve with broken ribs and a collapsed lung which makes their future uncertain. The Baltimore Ravens fall to number six after losing to the Patriots fighting for a playoff spot with a 6-3 record. At number 11 is the Miami Dolphins, who have hit a stride since inserting Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, and Brian Flores is squarely in the Coach of the Year conversation. The Tennessee Titans at 14, the Cleveland Browns at 15, and the Minnesota Vikings at 16 are all teams with big aspirations and big running games but haven’t lived up to it yet. Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers land at number 19, which might be high for this team.
The Chargers have a rookie of the year candidate in Herbert but are 3-16 in one-score games since last season. One of the biggest drop-offs this season has to be the San Francisco 49ers at 21. The Niners have had too many injuries to come back from as they crawl to the finish line. At the bottom of the rankings is no surprise, with the New York Jets at 32, Jacksonville Jaguars at 31, and underwhelming Dallas Cowboys at 30 fighting for the number one draft pick.
Though these power rankings change every week so how much will they change during the second half of the season? Eddie McQuade, a senior sports management major, thinks the power rankings could be quite different as the season goes along. “I’ve noticed the Vikings are starting to make a nice run, so I think it’s only a matter of time before they jump the Bears. I also think the Dolphins rebuild is surprisingly strong right now, but I’m not sure if they’re ready for that next step yet,” he said. “I also believe that New Orleans losing Brees and starting hill is going to cost them the second seed, while the Seahawks defense will be their downfall in the first round of the playoffs.”
McQuade thinks the NFC East has been even worse than he would’ve thought. “I think the winner of the NFC East is gonna be 6-10, and whoever wins the NFC East shouldn’t be allowed to host a playoff game and most likely will get embarrassed by four touchdowns,” he said.
Elise Person, a senior journalism major thinks, the only undefeated team left in the NFL is just getting started. “I think the Steelers are going to make a real strong push during the playoffs. They’re making a strong run right now and I don’t see their momentum slowing anytime soon,” she said. Elise also is disappointed in the NFC East with one team in particular. “The Eagles were a total let down this year. I had really high hopes for them especially once we had some break out players from the practice squad,” she said. The Eagles are spiraling right now and it’s a total disappointment of a season.” Regarding the playoffs, Elise is not confident the Eagles will go far.
“If the Eagles do make the playoffs, there is no way they win their first game. They can barely hold their own in the NFC East. There is no way they can compete outside of their division,” she said. If one thing is for sure, it’s that the second half of the NFL season still has a lot left to offer.