Through making several deals since Chris Grier became Miami’s GM, the Dolphins have found a way to build their team through the draft, while maintaining the capital to make big moves. For example, Grier was able to trade for wide receiver Tyreek Hill without giving up any major picks in 2023.
Furthermore, Miami is able to make a run with the current roster, while creating the best-case scenario if this year doesn’t work out. More specifically, they have created three distinct possibilities that cover just about every reasonable outcome. All three of which hinge on Tua Tagovailoa, and will play out differently depending on his performance.
Solidifying a Contender
If the Dolphins, and more importantly Tua Tagovailoa, perform well this year, Miami is left with myriad options with their draft picks. Much like they did with Tyreek Hill, they have the potential to go out and continue their “win now” approach. Every year, a new veteran becomes available, and it may come down to who is willing to bid the most. Miami is in a position, through these trades, to outbid just about every team.
These picks, however, could also be used in the draft. While Miami’s roster is the best it’s been in years, there are still some holes and depth issues. Miami could opt for quantity over one quality player, stacking the spots on the team that need work.
This approach would signal a further confidence in Tagovailoa, who would have to perform for this to work. However, if his production warrants it, Miami could stack the deck for years to come.
Pursuing a Rookie Quarterback
The other two options would admit failure for Tagovailoa, who has been inconsistent over his first two seasons. However, Miami has an insurance policy for him, and it may be put to use if he fails this season. Miami, having five premium picks next year, is in good shape in a draft filled with premium quarterback talent.
Going into this season, the 2023 quarterback class appears to be the strongest in some time. Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, and University of Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke highlight a deep and talented class. If Miami believes that one of these signal-callers could succeed in their scheme, they have the ammo to move up for one of them.
While it seems intriguing, this option has its risks. Miami would be banking on yet another young, unproven quarterback to succeed in ways they haven’t seen since Dan Marino. With a roster that’s ready to compete, this could set the timeline back even longer, and may be unlikely as owner Stephen Ross continues to age towards retirement.
Blockbuster Quarterback Trades
The last, and potentially most exciting option for the 2023 Miami Dolphins comes — yet again — in pursuing a quarterback. However, it makes much more sense for Miami to go after a veteran if Tua doesn’t work out.
Miami has several veterans who are in their prime, such as Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead. Thus, it’s crucial to maximize their championship window, which may be closed by the time a rookie is ready. Thus, Miami may look to acquire a quarterback from another team, much like the Broncos and Browns did this off-season.
While this is all speculation, there are a few star quarterbacks who could become available next year. Lamar Jackson, who intrigued Stephen Ross in 2018, has yet to sign an extension and would be a free agent if he doesn’t do so.
Kyler Murray is also a possibility, as his discontent with the Cardinals organization began to show this off-season. If they have yet another lackluster season with Murray and Kingsbury, there is potential for the young quarterback to request a trade.
There is also the option of a wild-card whose team doesn’t perform to expectations. With so much talent in the AFC, some teams are bound to not make the playoffs, which could leave fringe teams with unhappy quarterbacks who would rather play with one of the league’s most opportunistic defenses and best young cores.
The Bottom Line on the Miami Dolphins and the 2023 Off-season
While these potential moves are just conjecture, it’s clear the team has made moves to position themselves nicely. Continuing to feed off the blockbuster Laremy Tunsil trade, the Miami Dolphins find themselves in a positive situation for 2023, and beyond.
New head coach Mike McDaniel looks promising, and the roster as undergone major improvement since his arrival. Dolphins fans have much to be happy about currently, and the possibilities continue to grow in the coming years.
Welcome to the Baltimore Ravens’ Future Outlook for 2022. Come take a look on everything & let us know what you think.
Well, it’s been a little over a week since the last Baltimore Ravens ball game. We’re into the heat of the playoffs, and I don’t know about you all, but I wish our Ravens were playing in them. Unfortunately, wishes are not always granted, but we can look towards the future. The Ravens’ future is very bright.
In the last post-game press conference, Chuck Clark said, “Just watch how we bounce back.” There is nothing more reassuring than hearing that because he’s right. So far, the 2022 season is exciting to look forward to because of so much.
The Baltimore Ravens’ future outlook is one to be excited about
Outside of the obvious, we are finally getting Ravens football back in the spring/summer of 2022 via mini-camps, OTA’s, training camp, etc. There will be the return of the following players from injury:
QB Lamar Jackson
RB JK Dobbins
RB Gus Edwards
LT Ronnie Stanley
S DeShon Elliott
LB LJ Fort
CB Marlon Humphrey
CB Marcus Peters
FB/DL Pat Ricard
And the list goes on and on as far as injured players returning. That’s exciting in itself. Now some of these players are on the free agency market. That’s another topic we can discuss later on — outside of the need to re-sign my guy, center Bradley Bozeman! Extending Bozeman will be an essential key for this offensive line and the offense in general. We cannot break up the bromance of Kevin Zeitler & Bozeman!
Anyways, the Baltimore Ravens’ future, as far as existing personnel goes, is genuinely remarkable nonetheless.
Speaking of personnel, we have to discuss that it’s also draft season! We’ve dove into the draft content a little bit on the newest episode of Around The Flock already but let’s look at the set-in-stone stuff.
The Baltimore Ravens Future Draft Picks include the following.
1st Round – No. 14
2nd Round – No. 45
3rd Round – No. 76
3rd Round – Comp pick (David Culley)
4th Round – From New York Giants for Ben Bredeson
4th Round – Normal pick
4th Round – Comp pick (Matthew Judon)
4th Round – Comp pick (Yannick Nqakoue)
4th Round – From Arizona Cardinals in 2021 Draft
6th Round – From Miami Dolphins for Greg Mancz
With a whopping total of 10 draft picks, they’ll be looking to bolster the depth chart with many young quality guys. I’m hoping they do a nice mix of positional needs, but we know the team places the best player available guys first. We’ve been taking mock drafts for the Ravens seriously around here. The Ravens’ future is looking so good here. I can’t wait to dig deeper into this draft class. I know our head contributor TD Hunter has already been diving into it but give me time to research prospects!
The Baltimore Ravens’ Future Opponents has finally been set!
We’ve received the last place schedule for the most part, but come next season, that won’t mean a damn thing. I mean, it will, but at the same time, it won’t. The NFL is a week-to-week league, with anything happening at any time. So looking at the possibilities of going to any games would be slim to none unless I decide to go to the Jungle, Paul Brown Stadium, again when the Ravens come to town. Another option I’m trying to convince my wife of is taking a trip to Jacksonville, FL, whenever the Jags and Ravens play.
That would be an incredible time. Another quick note on the Baltimore Ravens’ Future travel plans is that they get to play at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey twice in one season against the New York Jets and New York Giants.
Overall, I’m happy with this opponent’s layout & the possibilities with the actual schedule. I’m also super excited for this draft season & all the injury returns. 2022 will be an incredible year, and I hope everyone is looking forward to it like I am. As we’ve said many times, the Baltimore Ravens’ future is very bright.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article & remember to follow ATB Ravens everywhere you go!
In the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings, I had to make a few leaps. They might seem a bit over-the-top at first. But, trust me, it just reflects another truly crazy week in the NFL. This is what we love about the NFL. Any team can beat any team any week. Just when you thought you had it figured out, it’s time to throw all that knowledge out the window. Here’s what things are looking like after Week 10.
32. Detroit Lions (0-8-1)
Last Week: 32
Last week I asked if it was possible the Lions could go 0-17. Not anymore! That said, somehow, a winless season is still on the table. As hard as the Lions have fought this year, sloppiness and poor execution is still preventing this team from getting in the win column. 0-17 might not be possible. But, could 0-16-1? This week really felt like their best opportunity with a brutal schedule over their next eight weeks.
31. Houston Texans (1-8)
Last Week: 31
The Texans were on bye this week. Frankly, their season has gone so poorly that nothing that happens in the NFL really affects them. That is, other than what happens with the draft positioning. The Texans are currently in control of the Dolphins’ first round pick as well as their own this year. Unfortunately, the Dolphins won and probably knocked their spot down a few pegs.
30. New York Jets (2-7)
Last Week: 29
So much for Mike White SZN. After his hall of fame worthy performance against the Bengals, he got hurt against the Colts and threw four interceptions against the Bills. Things got so bad at one point Joe Flacco went in and immediately put up the Jets’ only passing touchdown of the game.
The only winner here is Zach Wilson, who likely won’t have to worry about a quarterback controversy anymore when he comes back.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7)
Last week: 27
A two-spot drop is probably a bit harsh for a Jaguars team that almost pulled off a comeback over the rebounding Colts. Unfortunately, I can’t get that performance from Trevor Lawrence out of my head. He barely helped generate any offense all day and didn’t get the ball in the endzone once. Also, he fumbled the comeback away at the end. Painful way to lose for the Jaguars.
28. Miami Dolphins (3-7)
Last Week: 30
One underrated benefit of not having a first round draft pick in a wasted year is Dolphins fans get to root for crazy, weird wins. It’s not like the Dolphins can tank for better draft positioning. So, maybe it’s nice to see your former No. 5 overall quarterback come in and save the day when it looked like Jacoby Brisket couldn’t take the gift the Ravens were trying to give him.
That said, why wasn’t he starting in the first place if he was healthy enough to play? Even in a win the Dolphins look like a mess. Tua should probably request a trade in the offseason.
27. Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
Last Week: 22
I really need to stop buying into the Falcons. This is what they do, right? They get your hopes up by playing well enough just to get you to step on the rug one more time. Then, they yank it out from under your feet. You’d think I’d learn right? I hope Falcons fans have learned. Back to the basement you go.
26. New York Giants (3-6)
Last Week: 26
Rough bye week for a Giants team that saw each of its NFC East opponents come away with a win this week. They do hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over Washington. So, technically, they should be ranked ahead of them. Right? Let’s see what they do after the bye week.
25. Chicago Bears (3-6)
Last Week: 25
After the Vikings win, the Bears are now alone for third place in the NFC North. Luckily, the Lions can’t seem to get out of their own way so they won’t have to go anywhere near the basement this year. But, at 3-6, it’s hard to imagine anything positive is going to come of this year.
24. Washington Football Team (3-6)
Last Week: 28
Washington put together a complete game. Taylor Heinicke looked like the guy people were thinking he might be able to be when these two teams met in the playoffs. This time around, it was Heinicke with a 110.4 passer rating who outdueled Tom Brady, who threw two early interceptions.
However, you have to give credit to them for saving their best play for the second half. That’s why they see a large bump in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings.
23. Seattle Seahawks (3-6)
Last Week: 21
Russ is back! Aaaaannndd… it didn’t matter. The Seahawks’ offense was a complete non-factor as Russell Wilson wasn’t able to cook up much more than turnovers. They managed to keep the game close at 3-0 until the Packers broke the game open in the fourth quarter.
But, it wasn’t enough, and things are starting to look rough for a Seahawks team that couldn’t buy a win with Geno Smith and looks like they’ll need a miracle to get back in the playoff race.
22. Denver Broncos (5-5)
Last Week: 19
Somebody please explain this team to me. They completely dominated the Cowboys last week. This week? They completely fell apart. It was looking like they were going to get ready to make a comeback in the fourth quarter.
But, Melvin Gordon’s fumble-six killed any semblance of momentum they have. By the time the offense got its act back together, it was already nearing the end of the fourth quarter. One step forward, one step back.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1)
Last Week: 18
The Steelers are still desperately clinging onto a wild card seed they probably don’t deserve. Somehow they failed to generate any offense against the Browns, played losing football against the Bears, and let the Lions march down the field in overtime twice. Yet, they didn’t lose any of those games. The Steelers’ five game win streak after starting 1-3 feels a lot like that fake 11-0 start from last year.
20. Carolina Panthers (5-5)
Last Week: 23
You couldn’t make up a story better than Cam Newton triumphantly returning to Carolina to put the season back on track. It kind of reminds me of when the Cincinnati Bengals brought Boomer Esiason back in 1997 to rescue a 1-7 Bengals team.
That team finished 7-9 behind the former MVP. Just two games behind the No. 6 seeded Miami Dolphins. Could Cam play well enough to provide the same kind of false hope in Carolina?
19. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)
Last Week: 22
Don’t look now, but the Eagles are actually back to being a .500 team over the last six weeks. They also almost played well enough to complete comebacks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers. I’m still not sure who the Broncos are just yet, but a dominating win is all that matters. Believe it or not, this team is actually only one game behind in the race for a playoff spot.
18. San Francisco 49ers (4-5)
Last Week: 20
The 49ers defense made life hell on Matthew Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo followed up with an efficient night. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle proved earned their keep this week, combining for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
The 49ers get a modest boost in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings because they’re not the only basement team to upset a contender this week. But, the Rams are still a solid conquest for Kyle Shannahan’s trophy case.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (5-4)
Last Week: 14
I think losing Jon Gruden, Henry Ruggs, and Damon Arnette in back-to-back-to-back weeks may have been a bit much to overcome. The Raiders famously overcame the Gruden drama to decisively beat the Denver Broncos.
But, losing Henry Ruggs clearly crippled their offense against the Giants. This week, they looked totally lost in Kansas City. It’s a shame, because this team had so much potential. But, I think it’s time to start thinking about regrouping in 2022.
16. New Orleans Saints (5-4)
Last Week: 15
Trevor Siemian continues to play well for the New Orleans Saints. Who would have guessed! The Saints actually took one of the hottest teams in the NFL to the wire this week. But, a couple costly mistakes here and there killed them. For example, the fumbled kickoff at the beginning of the second half that set the Titans up at the Saints’ 19. Five plays later, they were down 20-6.
They managed to come back and almost win. But, it was too little too late at that point. This Saints team can be good, but I don’t think they’re quite where they want to be.
15. Cleveland Browns (5-5)
Last Week: 12
Cleveland’s offense looked so much better without OBJ last week. What happened? The Browns got punched in the mouth after their emotional conquering of the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. No such luck in Foxborough, as the Browns fell 31-7 before a knee injury forced Baker Mayfield to sit the rest of the game out. Case Keenum was somewhat more efficient, but less explosive, which is what the Browns really needed at that point.
Luckily, it sounds like Baker will be ok going forward. But, the Browns are going to need to get something figured out if that is how they look without Nick Chubb.
14. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Last Week: 16
Staving off a Jaguars comeback might not be the most impressive way to win of all time. But, the Colts are turning their season around. They’ve won four out of their last five, and the one loss was a close overtime loss to the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings best team in football. Don’t sleep on this Colts team’s potential to be alive in January.
13. Minnesota Vikings (4-5)
Last Week: 17
When the Vikings play in sync, special things happen. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook both played smart, heads up football in what will likely be looked as an upset win over a floundering Chargers team. Also, it helps that Justin Jefferson went off for 143 yards on nine catches. I don’t consider this one a huge upset, however. If the Vikings can play a complete football game, they’re as dangerous as anyone in the NFL.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)
Last Week: 9
Justin Herbert’s inconsistency that had a lot of people worried about him during the Draft scouting process is starting to rear its ugly head. That’s not to say that he’s terrible or anything like that. But, he has been much less efficient than he was last year. His up-and-down day against the Vikings is a big reason why they lost this game. That’s why they find themselves out of the top 10 in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
Last Week: 13
It’s not too often an NFL football team sees as complete of a victory on their bye week as this. After a rough two weeks against the Jets and Browns, the Bengals almost got vaulted back into control of a playoff spot this week. The Ravens equaled the Bengals’ Jets loss with a loss to the Dolphins. The Browns equaled the Bengals’ blowout loss with an even worse blowout loss to the Patriots (albeit on the road).
The Steelers tied with the winless Lions. Had the Lions’ kicker even made his missed extra point attempt, the Steelers would have lost and the Bengals would be in control of the No. 7 seed. That said, they have the opportunity to go earn it themselves this week against a Raiders team that looks dead in the water.
10. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
Last Week: 7
Did the Cincinnati Bengals expose a major flaw in the Baltimore Ravens’ offense? Allegedly, Brian Flores took some cues from Lou Anarumo’s playbook to pick the Ravens apart defensively this week. Greg Roman is going to need to cook something up fast to avoid proving how easy his system is to figure out. Their remaining schedule is brutal, so hopefully they can make that happen.
9. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
Last Week: 8
For the second week in a row, Matthew Stafford looked more like the erratic Detroit version of himself. That’s not what the Los Angeles Rams need right now as they try to get back on track. They’re now losers of two straight after looking like one of the hottest teams in the NFL through the first eight weeks. Hence, why they’re now creeping near the edge of the top 10 of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
Last Week: 6
I would probably have knocked the Bucs down harder in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings, if not for all the other major upsets. The Bucs’ offense made the Washington defense look like the elite unit they were expected to be this year. Tom Brady threw two early interceptions the Bucs were just never really able to recover from. By the time he regained his focus, Washington was already up 13-0. They put together a pretty decent comeback near the end but it was all for naught.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
Last Week: 11
I’ve been assuming the Chiefs are going to bounce back in a big way all year, and they did that this week. Considering the narrative surround them this season, it seems weird to have them in the top 10 of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings, right? Well, this team is 6-4 and top of the AFC West right now, despite their struggles.
Perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into one blowout win over a division opponent that has had the kitchen sink thrown at them over the past month. But, I’d be shocked if the Chiefs missed the playoffs at this point.
6. Arizona Cardinals (8-2)
Last Week: 1
I know the Cardinals still don’t have Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. But, to be fair, part of the reason I had them at No. 1 in the first place was their ability to win despite those setbacks. They’re out of the top 5 of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings because the Panthers were supposed to be cooked.
Colt McCoy was inefficient and the Cardinals could barely get anything going on the ground. Perhaps this team will be more dangerous when healthy. But, right now, they don’t look so hot.
5. New England Patriots (6-4)
Last Week: 8
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Bill Belichick is back in a big way, leading the Patriots into the top 5 of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings. Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer both put on an absolute clinic against a Cleveland Browns team that was riding high on emotion after a crazy Week 9.
Oh, not to mention 184 yards on the ground. The Patriots employed their standard running back committee this week between Rhamondre Stevenson, Brandon Bolden, and JJ Taylor and they STILL had one of those guys hit 100 yards (exactly) this week.
4. Buffalo Bills (6-3)
Last Week: 5
The Buffalo Bills finally conquered Hall of Famer Mike White this week, forcing four interceptions. So, yeah. Maybe the Jets aren’t ready to take off like everyone thought they were. But, great teams blow bad teams out of the water. That, plus the demise of the Cardinals, is why the Bills see a climb in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings.
3. Dallas Cowboys (7-2)
Last Week: 4
The Cowboys bounced back in a big way this week by doing to the Falcons what they should have done to the Broncos. Some might not value a win like this over the lowly Falcons, but I do. The Cowboys see a jump in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings because this is not the way teams typically beat the Falcons.
Dak Prescott resumed his Comeback Player of the Year campaign this week with a stunning performance over a Falcons team that has done its fair share of losing this year. But, they typically avoid getting nuked like that.
2. Green Bay Packers (8-2)
Last Week: 3
Aaron Rodgers didn’t look like himself coming off his COVID adventure. But, the rest of the Packers picked up the slack around him much like they did for Jordan Love last week. The Packers’ defense tormented Russell Wilson all night and pitched a shutout at Lambeau.
AJ Dillon found the endzone twice and the Packers escaped with a 17-0 win. This is starting to turn into Rodgers’ worst nightmare. The Packers might not need him anymore and can probably plug anyone in at quarterback if he doesn’t want to play nicely.
1. Tennessee Titans (8-2)
Last Week: 2
The Titans’ rushing attack clearly isn’t the same without Derrick Henry. Adrian Peterson is an easy first ballot Hall of Famer. But, at 36 years old, he’s clearly nothing more than a rotational piece at this point. No matter. Ryan Tannehill is putting this team on his back and willing them to victories. The only question is… is this new formula sustainable?
It might very well be. That is why they’re at the top of the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings, and likely will be most of the rest of the year with their schedule. They’ll probably be the AFC’s No. 1 seed at the end of the season. But, are they going to be able to continue that efficiency when every game gets hard in the playoffs?
The Week 8 NFL Power Rankings are a fickle mistress. Just when you think you have things figured out, the Ravens get blown out by the Bengals in Baltimore and the Falcons finally hold onto a lead. Everything you know is wrong, so let’s dive into some more things that are going to be wrong next week! Right now, this is how the Week 8 NFL Power Rankings landscape looks heading into Week 8.
32. Detroit Lions (0-7)
Last Week: 32
Looks like we’re going to go back to the “yeah, but they played them really hard!!!” narrative in Detroit this week. Look, I respect Dan Campbell for what he’s trying to do with the Lions. It was an awful situation no one wanted, which is part of the reason Campbell was the best option for their vacant head coach position. But, still, I’m done giving the Lions the benefit of the doubt for losing close games. The fact of the matter is the season is almost half over and they still haven’t won a game. I’ll think about letting them out of time-out when they actually get a win.
31. Houston Texans (1-6)
Last Week: 30
Remember after Week 2 and we all thought the Texans were way better than we all thought they would be? They handily beat the Jacksonville Jaguars then traveled to Cleveland and gave the Browns a run for their money? Yeah. All that optimism is gone. Four of the Texans’ last five games haven’t been competitive, and this 31-5 loss to Arizona was a special kind of non-competitive. The kind of non-competitive that has literally never been accomplished before in NFL history.
30. Miami Dolphins (1-6)
Last Week: 29
How much lower can things get for Miami in the Week 8 NFL Power Rankings? The disappointment for a team many thought was headed in the right direction is immense. The story all week has been rumors of the potential blockbuster trade for disgruntled Texans’ quarterback Desean Watson. But would that actually help? Tua Tagovailoa threw for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 80 percent of his passes. Yeah he threw two ugly picks in Falcons territory. But, he also brought the Dolphins back down the field and gave them a lead with 2:33 left in the game. Watson won’t save this team, and losing all those draft picks will probably set them back for years. Actually, if I was Watson, I’d refuse to play there too.
29. New York Jets (1-6)
Last Week: 27
Under most circumstances, getting blown out 54-13 by a team with a losing record would be worthy of a steeper drop than this. Luckily for the Jets, the bottom three teams look even worse than they do after this week. Although, Zach Wilson heard a pop in his knee in the second quarter. Now, every Jets fan in the country is in purgatory. If Wilson misses significant time, it might be time to embrace the tank in Jersey B.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)
Last week: 31
After their 20-game losing streak, the Jacksonville Jaguars have now gone two whole weeks without a loss! I’m kidding. The Jags barely beat the lowly Dolphins last week and didn’t play at all this week. But, there has been plenty of turmoil going on among the NFL’s worst teams this week. So, the Jaguars come out looking slightly less awful in the Week 8 NFL Power Rankings than they did a few weeks ago. Now that the national attention is off their dysfunction, can they refocus and stay out of the basement?
27. New York Giants (2-5)
Last Week: 28
Daniel Jones had an ‘ok’ day as a passer this week (23/33, 203 yards, one TD). He didn’t make any major mistakes, which is progress. He also made one of the coolest catches you’ll see all season.
I’m not here to tell you beating the crap out of a Panthers team that has completely collapsed over the last month is praiseworthy. It’s a nice feel-good win for the Giants. But, it was one of the least impressive blowout wins I’ve ever seen. Keep grinding, Giants. There’s potential there, though I’m not sure you’ll find it many more times this season.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (2-5)
Last Week: 24
Poor Jalen Hurts. He’s trying so hard to give Philadelphia something to root for. He started to do just that after the Eagles’ first drive finding Kenneth Gainwell for a 13-yard touchdown pass. Unfortunately, the Eagles couldn’t get anything going again until they were already down 30-7 in the fourth quarter. Like last week, Hurts engineered a pair of touchdown drives late in the game but couldn’t make it happen on their last possession. Even if he had, it might have been too late. But, it certainly would have been a fascinating ending.
25. Washington Football Team (2-5)
Last Week: 25
For most of the first half, it looked like Washington had a chance to pull off a miracle. They had a 42-yard field goal that would have given them the lead, blocked in the second quarter. Then, they blocked one of their own, but couldn’t capitalize. A Taylor Heinicke sack-fumble after the first drive of the second half began a series of unfortunate events. Eventually, it resulted in a 24-7 deficit well into the fourth quarter. I don’t see this loss as confirming anything we didn’t already know about Washington, so at No. 25 they stay this week.
24. Denver Broncos (3-4)
Last Week: 22
After such a promising start, the Broncos are now losers of four in a row. This week, it came against Case Keenum, D’Ernest Johnson, and Johnny Stanton. Who is Johnny Stanton you ask? He’s the Browns backup fullback of course! I can’t believe you didn’t know that. In seriousness, when the backup fullback is making plays against you, you know it’s time to hit the reset button. Something is critically wrong in Denver. It might not be long before they find themselves in the company of those bottom-feeder teams they feasted on in the first three weeks.
23. Atlanta Falcons (3-3)
Last Week: 26
Way to go, Falcons! You finally didn’t Falcon up a huge lead! They lead 20-7 with 20 minutes left in the game. But, in typical Atlanta fashion, they let the opposing team back into the game. In fact, they actually lost the lead near the end of the fourth quarter. Luckily, the Dolphins are awful. Matt Ryan drove the Falcons back down the field to set up an easy 36-yard game winner for Younghoe Koo. Suddenly, the Falcons are 3-3 and knocking on the door of the playoff race.
22. Seattle Seahawks (2-5)
Last Week: 17
This Seattle Seahawks team is just hopeless without Russell Wilson. It seems like every week Geno Smith has an opportunity to go win the game at the end due to the relative incompetence of their opponent. He’s turned the ball over every single time, whether it’s an INT, a fumble, or a super inaccurate throw to DK Metcalf after taking back-to-back crippling sacks. This team still has a few more weeks before Russ comes back. At this point, I’m not sure even he can save their season.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)
Last Week: 21
The Pittsburgh Steelers did not play a game this week. They’re back to being alone in the AFC North basement after the Browns got back to their winning ways this week. But, they get those same injury-riddled Browns in Cleveland this coming week. Win, and your season is back on track. Lose, and you’re still stuck in no-man’s land.
20. Chicago Bears (3-4)
Last Week: 19
I have no idea what to make of this Bears team. One week they look legit, beating a very good Cincinnati Bengals team, then they let Justin Fields be sacked nine times against the Browns. Then, they put together two solid wins against the Lions and Raiders. They even did decently against the Packers last week, even though Aaron Rodgers confirmed he still owns them. This week was just a complete rejection of all the progress they’ve made. Justin Fields looks broken and I’m not sure Matt Nagy can put him back together.
19. Indianapolis Colts (3-4)
Last Week: 23
I expected a little more out of a Colts team that took the Ravens so close last week. Yeah, they won, but it was about as ugly a win as you could have. The Colts benefited from four extremely well timed turnovers. They gave it away a few times themselves and seemed only capable of actually scoring any points following a big turnover. This game probably would have looked more like a high scoring baseball game at the end if it hadn’t been for the turnovers.
You’re telling me this was the best you could do for SNF, NFL??? No, it’s ok guys. We don’t need to flex the Bengals-Ravens battle for first place in the division and conference. Everyone is going to love the snooze fest between the two most boring teams in the NFL! Still, they won and there was a ton of movement in the Week 8 NFL Power Rankings, so they benefit.
18. Carolina Panthers (3-4)
Last Week: 14
Sam Darnold… just… holy crap man. I don’t think anyone disputes the Jets made him worse. But did they break him beyond repair? He was awful today. Darnold didn’t throw a single pass longer than 10 yards until the second half. He gave up a safety at the beginning of the second quarter with an unnecessary intentional grounding. He took his third sack of the day on the final play of the third quarter and the Panthers benched him for PJ Walker. Walker didn’t fare much better, but at least we learned the Sam Darnold renaissance was fool’s gold.
17. San Francisco 49ers (2-4)
Last Week: 16
Welp. Last week I talked about this team flipping their 2-3 start to 4-3 taking advantage of an easy couple of games. You can’t do that when you turn the ball over four times, which is what the 49ers did against the Colts this week. Jimmy Garoppolo alone accounted for three of those turnovers. All three of them came in the second half. Deebo Samuel’s came in the first, but it helped spark a Colts team that looked offensively inept through most of the contest. Without those turnovers, San Francisco probably grinds away a low scoring 18-7 victory and we basically learn nothing about either team. But, the 49ers refused to win this one the Colts repeatedly tried to hand them.
16. New England Patriots (3-4)
Last Week: 20
Tom Brady might be moved on to his new home in Tampa Bay. But, the Patriots’ absolute dominance over the Jets from that era still lives on. New England still hasn’t lost to Jersey B since a surprise overtime loss in 2015, and they haven’t lost to them in regulation since Mark Sanchez won that inexplicable playoff game in January of 2011. Mac Jones was clinical and Damien Harris rushed for over 100 yards. The Patriots are not dead yet.
15. New Orleans Saints (4-2)
Last Week: 15
Two wins in a row for the New Orleans Saints plus a useful bye week has a generally positive feeling sweeping through Nawlins. Though, they really lucked out that Geno Smith was the opposing quarterback. Winston was sloppy. His fumbled snap turned touchdown pass to Alvin Kamara that gave the Saints their first lead was a microcosm of their entire season. Yeah, it looked like a pretty janky way to score. But they still scored, dammit. I still have no idea if this Saints team is good or not. So, just outside of the playoff teams they remain in the Week 8 NFL Power Rankings.
14. Las Vegas Raiders (5-2)
Last Week: 18
I thought the Raiders were dead in the water after the Jon Gruden debacle. This was a sloppy team that I felt deserved ‘pretender’ status as much as the Broncos and Panthers. Then, they lost their head coach. How could they possibly survive that? Well, after two ‘get right’ games against the Broncos and Eagles, the Raiders are suddenly 5-2 and right back in the playoff discussion. Was Jon Gruden that bad of a head coach? Has their soft schedule the last couple of weeks inflated their rebound? It could be a while before we find out as they’re on bye next week and play the Giants the week after their upcoming bye.
13. Minnesota Vikings (3-3)
Last Week: 13
In the coming weeks, the true nature of the Minnesota Vikings is going to be revealed. They play the Cowboys, Ravens, Chargers, and Packers each of the next four weeks. The way this team has played, you could just as easily see them pulling off a respectable numbers of wins as getting totally blown out in every game. If I had to bet, they’ll probably split those games 2-2. Because of course they will. For now, they’re still a playoff team in the Week 8 NFL Power Rankings based on what we’ve seen so far.
12. Kansas City Chiefs (3-4)
Last Week: 9
Is having the 3-4 Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the 5-2 Las Vegas Raiders disrespectful? Probably. That’s what happens when reigning back-to-back AFC Champions flash big-game potential at points in the season, even though they’re putting up their fair share of stinkers too. This was Kansas City’s worst game of the season, and I’m starting to think it might not get better in a timely manner. Hence, nearly falling out of the playoff contenders in the Week 8 NFL Power Rankings. They’ll probably beat up on the lowly Giants this coming week and lose to the Packers. Then they go to Las Vegas. We’ll find out a lot about where the Chiefs are at that point.
11. Cleveland Browns (4-3)
Last Week: 11
Ouch. That’s the battle cry of the Cleveland Browns right now. Luckily, Baker Mayfield is expected to come back at some point this season. D’Ernest Johnson looks good enough to hold the fort down until Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt can come back. This was an ugly win against the Broncos, but this was also an ugly version of the Browns. Kevin Stefanski proved he is a hell of a coach. Watch out for this Browns team once they’re healthy.
10. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Last Week: 6
Lamar giveth, Lamar taketh away. The Ravens are far too unpredictable this year to really get behind. They should be 4-3 right now because of an uncalled delay of game against the Lions. They fooled me last week when they put a hurting on an overmatched Chargers team. They’re still a top-10 team based on what they’ve done this season. But, getting dominated like that at home makes me think this Ravens team doesn’t have the consistency to overcome their big game problems.
9. Tennessee Titans (5-2)
Last Week: 12
Derrick Henry, man. Not only is he a force in the ground game, but apparently he can throw for touchdowns too! He was held relatively in check as a rusher this week (3.0 YPC, 0 TDs). But, when he puts together cool highlights like that in a 27-3 beatdown against the reigning AFC champs, you have to take notice. The Titans are as hot as anyone in the NFL right now so watch out.
8. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)
Last Week: 8
The Chargers are coming off their bye this week to prepare for a New England Patriots team coming off a massive blowout win. They can right the ship after the debacle against the Ravens last week with a win. But, a loss will raise a LOT of questions about whether this team is a true Super Bowl contender right now.
7. Green Bay Packers (6-1)
Last Week: 7
It was a bit of a slow start for the Packers this week. Were it not for TJ Slaton’s blocked kick, the Packers would have been trailing the Football Team at one point in the first half. But, the Packers hit the gas in the second half and wound up with a fairly convincing 24-10 victory. I won’t award any brownie points for that one, but 6-1 is 6-1.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
Last Week: 10
You could make the argument that the Bengals could be 6-1 right now if Evan McPherson had made either of his missed field goals against the Packers. Hell, you could make the argument they could be 7-0 with a bit better luck at the end with the Bears. ‘What ifs’ won’t get you anywhere in the NFL, but beating the snot out of a division opponent on the road absolutely will. After winning only six games the past two years combined, the Cincinnati Bengals are looking like fringe Super Bowl contenders in 2021.
5. Los Angeles Rams (6-1)
Last Week: 5
Matthew Stafford put together a very good performance against his old team. Even though it cost two first round picks and a third, it’s looking like that Stafford-Goff trade in the offseason was a great idea. I haven’t forgotten the Rams struggled to put the Lions away all game. But, they did take the lead in the fourth quarter and sealed it with two interceptions on their former No. 1 overall pick. Like I said with the Packers, 6-1 is 6-1.
4. Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
Last Week: 4
The Cowboys were on bye this week and still managed to separate even further from the rest of the NFC East. There’s still 11 games left to play, but it already feels like this division is wrapped up. The Cowboys might be tested a little next week in Minnesota, but after that it could be a while before they have a realistic chance to slip up.
3. Buffalo Bills (4-2)
Last Week: 3
The Bills get a week of rest to process their loss to the Titans, who look even better after this week. Their next three games? Dolphins, Jags, Jets. I’d be shocked if they aren’t 7-2 when they get ready to host the up-and-down Colts in Week 11.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1)
Last Week: 2
Chris Godwin had a dominant day against Chicago with 111 yards on 8 catches and a touchdown. Brady’s other three touchdown passes went to Mike Evans, although Evans wasn’t as electric with the ball in his hands this week. The Bucs forced six turnovers on a Bears team that looked totally lost. Could #8 be in the future for Tom Brady?
1. Arizona Cardinals (6-0)
Last Week: 1
The Arizona Cardinals achieved Scorigami this week against the Houston Texans. For those who don’t know, it means their 31-5 final score had never been done before in NFL history. How did they get there? Well, they allowed the Texans to go up 5-0 with a field goal and a safety in the first quarter. But, it was all Arizona after that after Kyler Murray led the Cardinals to four touchdowns and a field goal the rest of the game.
The Cincinnati Bengals have arrived. In Week 7, they took the Baltimore Ravens to task with a 41-17 blowout win in Baltimore, a week after a similar result in Detroit. We’re starting to run out of reasons to doubt this team that easily could be 6-0 right now with a bit more luck.
This one was a complete team win for the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite another slow start on offense, they rattled off 28 unanswered points in the second half. Lamar Jackson put up 345 yards of total offense and it still wasn’t anywhere close to enough to overcome an absolutely dominating effort by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati Bengals Position Grades: Offense
Quarterback grade: A
It wasn’t a perfect game for #9. But, Burrow flashed his impeccable pocket presence all day against the Ravens. He didn’t let his mistakes turn into patterns and still managed to put up 416 yards and three touchdowns through the air. His chemistry and trust in his receivers was on full display as he carved up the Ravens’ secondary.
Unfortunately, that trust in Ja’Marr Chase bit him early in the fourth quarter. He slightly overthrew Chase on a touchdown attempt, likely expecting Chase to either come down with it or knock the ball away. Instead, Marlon Humphrey came up with a pick in the end zone that looked like it might give the Ravens a chance to build some late momentum.
It was a script the Ravens have executed many times this season. It’s also one the Cincinnati Bengals have been on the wrong side of many times in Zac Taylor’s career. The interception would be Burrow’s final pass attempt of the night. But, his performance to that point proved to be enough to allow the Bengals to coast the rest of the game after a big defensive stop.
Running Back grade: B+
Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine didn’t have a ton of opportunities to touch the ball this week. But, they were generally pretty efficient when they did. Early in the game, there were some pretty head-scratching inefficiencies running the ball on third and short. But, ultimately both running backs finished with over 4.7 yards per run. You’ll take numbers like that all day long.
At the end of the day, all that efficiency only translated to just over 50 rushing yards for either back. But, there’s something major to be said about both players putting up touchdowns on back to back drives in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The scores iced the game for a Cincinnati Bengals team that was already playing with extreme confidence. But, the second Mixon broke that 21-yard run into the end zone, you knew the game was basically over.
Then, Perine hit one for 46 yards on the next drive. There’s no coming back from that.
Wide Receiver grade: B+
How can I criticize this unit too much when Ja’Marr Chase goes absolutely off for 201 yards and a touchdown? One of which was an absolutely mesmerizing 82-yard catch-and-run where he broke three tackles before sprinting down the length of the field.
That play broke the game wide open at 27-17 and might go down as one of the greatest highlights in Bengals history.
It was a struggle for the rest of the unit. Tee Higgins overcame an up and down first half performance to make an impact in the second half. In fact, at one point, he caught an 11-yard pass and absolutely trucked the defender for a key 3rd down conversion.
That came despite a defensive pass interference and the Bengals ended up with the ball at the 9 after looking like they might get stopped at midfield. Unfortunately, the end of that drive saw Burrow’s interception so the good plays from the drive will likely be forgotten about.
Tyler Boyd also struggled to make much of an impact for the Cincinnati Bengals. He did have a nice 25-yard catch at the beginning of that interception drive. But, the rest of his night was pretty quiet.
Tight End grade: B+
Drew Sample continues to be a complete non-factor in this offense. Zac Taylor’s tenure is starting to be known for very good performances in the draft. But, Sample is starting to look like a complete whiff. The Bengals selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but he’s only caught two of his five targets this year. He no longer appears to be part of this team’s offensive thought process.
CJ Uzomah, on the other hand, is having a career year so far. He’s already at 256 yards receiving and five touchdowns on the year. Two of those touchdowns came on Sunday in the form of 55 and 32 yarders that helped the Bengals keep pace with the Ravens offense, before the game broke wide open late in the third quarter.
Another reception late in the second quarter gave him a final tally of 91 receiving yards on the day. One more catch and he could have broken the 100-yard mark.
Offensive line grade: B+
Joe Burrow was sacked HOW MANY TIMES against the Ravens? That’s right, once. This is a Ravens team that came into this game tied with the Bengals for the 10th most sacks in the NFL. Jackson Carman, in particular, had a really nice game.
That’s huge, because the Cincinnati Bengals really need him to develop into a franchise right guard after making the controversial decision to trade down in the draft for him. Over the last couple of weeks, he seems to be showing that was a good call.
Jonah Williams, on the other hand, had a rough game. In his defense, he had a really tough matchup this week against Justin Houston. But, you still have to come ready to play and he was visibly worked throughout much of the game.
Cincinnati Bengals Position Grades: Defense
Defensive line grade: A+
If there was a criticism you could make for this unit, it’s allowing 88 yards rushing to the opposing quarterback. However, considering that opposing quarterback is Lamar Jackson, I’ll let it slide. Particularly because this unit regularly got in Jackson’s face for five sacks.
It’s the second time in Zac Taylor’s tenure the Bengals have compiled that many sacks. The last time was a meaningless Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns. Both teams’ seasons were over at that point, so you could argue Sunday’s sack total was more impressive.
On top of that, the Bengals only allowed 2.25 yards per run to Ravens players not named Lamar Jackson. A lot of that had to do with incredible performances from the boys up front. The only member of the starting four defensive linemen who didn’t have a flashy play was DJ Reader. Even then, both of his tackles allowed less than two yards.
Linebacker grade: B
It was a quieter night from the Bengals’ linebacker corps. Tight ends Mark Andrews and Josh Oliver looked like they were ready to break out in the second quarter. But, the Bengals got back on top of them in the second half and ultimately didn’t allow either to find the endzone.
Logan Wilson once again led the team in total tackles (7). He did a lot of cleaning up Lamar Jackson breakaway runs. But, he also absolutely stoned Le’Veon Bell for a five yard loss on the Ravens’ first drive of the game.
That play set the tone for the Bengals’ defense the rest of the game. Just another day at the office for Wilson, who is starting to look like a star.
Cornerback grade: A-
The Cincinnati Bengals saw snaps from almost their entire cornerback roster this week from Chidobe Awuzie, to Eli Apple, to the newly acquired Tre Flowers. Outside of the one time Chidobe Awuzie got beat for a 39-yard touchdown by Marquise Brown, I don’t think any of them had a particularly bad play.
One of my favorite plays of the game came with 4:26 left in the third quarter. The Bengals’ defense was trying to hold on to a 10-point lead and Lamar Jackson found Marquise Brown for a quick play. Awuzie and Mike Hilton were right there at the perfect spot to stop the play short of a first down.
Hilton got faked out of his cleats. But, Awuzie stood firm and allowed only 3 yards, forcing a punt on the following play. It nearly led to a game-icing score on the following drive, except Burrow threw an interception in the end zone.
Safety grade: A
Jessie Bates’ claim as the best safety in the NFL is much quieter this year, but still very much alive. The splash plays are just not happening. But, to be fair, the defense as a whole isn’t really generating them. In fact, they don’t really need them to dominate opponents.
So, Bates gets to focus on being an elite cleanup crew in the passing game and a FORCE in the running game. Vonn Bell too. When opponents are making it to the third level, these two are simply not letting them get much else accomplished.
Special teams grades: A-
This may have been the most complete game Darrin Simmons’ unit has played all year. Evan McPherson easily converted both of his field goal attempts. One of them was a 52-yard attempt. Most NFL kickers are tested at that range, but McPherson didn’t blink and worked his way back to being known as ‘Money’.
Kevin Huber had a rough first attempt when the Cincinnati Bengals were forced to punt from the Ravens’ 39. It sounds like a really bad coaching decision, but the Bengals were unable to get anything accomplished each of the last three plays so it seemed unlikely they would magically pick up 10 yards on 4th and 10.
Unfortunately, Huber put a bit too much power into his kick and the ball fell harmlessly for an easy touchback.
With such a short field to work with, you’d hope he would have pinned the Ravens inside their own 5. Coverage on the following punt wasn’t great, giving the Ravens possession at their own 29 instead of their own eight. However, the Bengals didn’t punt again until their second-to-last drive of the game. This time, Huber knocked it out of bounds at the Ravens’ 16.
Darius Phillips had a good day as a returner. On his first punt return of the day, he set the Bengals up near midfield with a 13-yard punt return that looked close to going to the house.
Coaching grade: A
I think the biggest complaint against Zac Taylor this week was the lack of creativity on 3rd and short. Fairly regularly, the Bengals simply tried to run up the middle and got stuffed. It contributed to a first half performance that really felt like the Bengals missed a bunch of opportunities to not already be in full control of the contest.
Then, the second half started. Lamar Jackson shredded the Bengals on the first drive of the third quarter. But, those were the last points the Ravens would score the rest of the game. Offensively, it was another second half explosion. Zac Taylor is becoming known for his ability to make great adjustments at halftime, and that was on full display this week.
The vision is starting to materialize in Taylor’s third season. Everyone who was ready to fire him last year is starting to look real suspect.