8. NFL Power Rankings Pt. 1, The Packers Rant, and Offseason Entertainment Strategies
Ryan's back with another great episode! Today, Ryan counts down numbers 32-16 on his NFL power ranking! Plus, he recommends what to do over the NFL offseason! Make sure to get your Q&A questions in as soon as possible (deadline June 3rd). Enjoy the latest episode of the podcast!
Ryan's back with another great episode! Today, Ryan counts down numbers 32-16 on his NFL power ranking! Plus, he recommends what to do over the NFL offseason! Make sure to get your Q&A questions in as soon as possible (deadline June 3rd). Enjoy the latest episode of the podcast!
The host of the Play Action Podcast announces that they will be doing a power ranking of all 32 NFL teams. They also mention that they will be doing a Q&A episode in the future and that they will be taking a break from the podcast for two weeks. In terms of news, they highlight that Titan Foster Moreau has signed a three-year contract with the New Orleans Saints after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. They also mention that Shaq Mason has signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Houston Texans, and that outside linebacker Z'Darius Smith has been traded from the Minnesota Vikings to the Cleveland Browns. The host then goes on to provide their power rankings for the teams ranked 32 to 21, mentioning the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, and Green Bay Packers. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of the Play Action Podcast. Today, so I made a power ranking of all 32 NFL teams, this is a popular thing throughout the NFL community, and I decided to do one today. So today we'll be breaking down numbers 32 through 17, and then 16 through 1 will be on the next episode. All right, but something I want to cover at the top, that Q&A episode I mentioned last time, it will not be this week, not be next week, but the following week. So it'll be that, like, June 4th through 6th range is when that show will come out. So get your questions in now before then. Again, June 4th through 6th range, I'll do that Q&A episode because I'll actually be leaving the country, actually, for the next couple weeks after that, so I won't be able to upload. So that's why I'm doing that Q&A episode then, before I leave. So therefore, today we will get into power rankings, next week we'll get into the rest of power ranking, and then the week after that, we will have that Q&A episode and then no podcast for two weeks. So that's kind of our current schedule of how the next episodes are going to shape out, and we also have some news to cover at the top that I will get into in a second, but yeah, that's our current schedule, and now let's get into that news I was just talking about. So first, Titan Foster Moreau signed a three-year contract with the New Orleans Saints. Great story. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier this offseason, but fortunately, a doctor said that it was one of the least spreading cases they've ever seen, so he got very lucky it seems, and head coach Dennis Allen says that Moreau will be ready to start the season, and actually to start training camp, so it's just great news all around there. Guard Shaq Mason is signing a three-year, $36 million deal with the Houston Texans to play guard there, so not gonna lie to you, the Texans offensive line is looking pretty good now. You got Laramie Tunsil and Titus Howard at tackle on either side. You got Shaq Mason and Kenyon Green at guard on either side. All they really need now is a center, so Texans offensive line looking pretty good. Z'Darrius Smith, the outside linebacker slash edge pass rusher for the Minnesota Vikings was traded to the Cleveland Browns. We knew one of these cap-saving moves was coming, and we thought it might be Dalvin Cook, and it still could be Dalvin Cook, but as of right now, it's just Z'Darrius Smith that's been moved to save some cap, and then of course Adam Thielen earlier this offseason. Shaquille Griffin, the corner, formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks, has been signed by the Houston Texans to a contract, so free agent signing there. And then tackle Isaiah Wynn, formerly of the New England Patriots, signing a one-year deal with the Dolphins, probably to start to try to revive his career. I mean, rough past year or two in New England for him. It's not been great. He's been playing very poorly, trying to revive his career with Miami, obviously former first-round pick out of Georgia. That's all the news I've got to cover today, so I'm going to take a quick break, and then we will get straight into the Power Ranking. Alright, now let's get into the Power Ranking at number 32, or last place to say, is the Arizona Cardinals. Well, we still don't know who's going to be their quarterback week one, because Kyla Murray is still recovering from that torn ACL, and then their backup quarterback Colton McCoy is still recovering from a neck injury. So most likely, neither will actually play in week one, so that's where this gets a little difficult. Who's going to be the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals in week one? And that's why they kind of come in at 32 right now. I'm also projecting everyone's records, I said I'm statting out everybody for the fantasy side of it. For the actual NFL side of it, I'm currently predicting records based on going game by game. Who will win? I just finished up that. I did not have Arizona projected to get the number one pick, but I had them very close. So Arizona coming in at number 32 right now. At number 31, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And you might be wondering, why has Tampa gone from a projected playoff team to second to last on your list in just a year? And that's because Baker Mayfield happened. If you were ever a Browns or Panthers or Rams fan, you know the terror of Baker Mayfield and how bad Baker Mayfield is at playing the quarterback position at an NFL level. And he is now the starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, somehow he still has a starting job. So I mean, actually, I take that back. He had some good games with the Rams, actually, he played pretty well for them. And then with the Browns, he had a good season and his list. And Tampa, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they changed Kyle Trask midseason or even sooner, because Baker's just probably not going to get it done. Will Trask get it done? No. He won't get it done either. But I wouldn't be surprised if they try to see what they've got with the second round pick out of Florida, or former second round pick out of Florida in Kyle Trask. At number 30, the Indianapolis Colts. So this has a lot to do with Anthony Richardson growing pains. I think he will actually, like, I think he'll be good enough long term. Again, I was very down on Anthony Richardson in my draft prospect rankings. If you want to see that, that's way back in episode, I believe, five, I believe I did a QB prospect rankings. Robbie was also on the show for that one. I believe that was episode five, so go check that out if you haven't already. But the Indianapolis Colts, I had Anthony Richardson ranked as my QB five. I was very low on him. I had him below Will Leavis, which a lot of people did not. I had him below Hendon Hooker, which a lot of people did not. So I was very low on him as a prospect, and I think there'll be a lot of growing pains here with Indy. I think they'll stick with him through the whole season. Actually, maybe they'll switch to Minshew. I mean, it's too early to tell. Maybe they'll even start with Minshew. I don't know. But I don't project a very good season for the Colts this year, at least. At number 29, the Tennessee Titans, and oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Titans, just a few years ago, made it to the conference championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs, just also just a few years ago. Actually, even more recent, they were the number one seed in the entire NFL. And then last year they were 7-10, and this year I think they'll even be worse than that. I'm talking somewhere between 4-13 and 6-11. I believe I had them projected for 6-11 right now in my game-by-game projection. So Tennessee Titans, just falling from grace. Derrick Henry's the last great player on this team. I mean, Kevin Byard's good. I don't know if he's on the Titans to start the season, honestly. I think he might get traded. Henry might get traded. Tannehill might get traded, but I think that's not as likely, because they want somebody to be there while they try to work Levis in. And then A.J. Brown's gone, obviously. Like, this Titans team that was so great, it's just not, they're not on the Titans anymore. So that is why they're so low in my prospect rank, not my prospect rankings, my power rankings. And they have young players, Tre'Lon Burks, Will Levis, as I mentioned. They drafted Peter Skronski in the first round. They have young players they can work with to improve and rebuild this team, but it is going to be a rebuilding process, and I don't think it'll be that good this year. At number 28, we have the New England Patriots. Yet another! Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The New England Patriots are now sitting at number 28 out of 32 on my power rankings. That's the fifth worst in the league. And you might be asking, what happened with the New England Patriots? Well, they lost everything, actually. They lost a lot, pretty much because everybody grew old. That's what happened with the Patriots. They lost Tom Brady, obviously, but they also lost a lot of offensive weapons and defensive cornerstones. So, it really just comes down to, this is a new Patriots team, led by Mac Jones, and insert name here, as a receiver, so it's looking rough for the Patriots right now. Not a good sight out there in New England, and I don't think this will be a good team this year. This will definitely not be a fun-to-watch team this year. I expect some low-scoring games, because their defense is still good enough to make some plays, make some things happen, but their offense is just not going to keep up this year. LeMondre Stevenson is pretty good. Maybe Mac Jones can show more rookie season, rather than his year two this year, but if he doesn't, the Patriots are in trouble, and we could see some Bailey Zappi action this year. At number 27, we have the New Orleans Saints. What is it with, at the bottom here, we have all these teams that used to be so good, like, five years ago. We have the Saints, who had Drew Brees, the Patriots, who had Brady, the Colts, who had Andrew Luck, and before that, Peyton Manning. These are all teams that used to be really good, and now, they are not. Saints at 27, new quarterback in town, Derek Carr, the veteran coming over from Vegas in free agency after he was cut by the Raiders. I don't think that solves the Saints' problems. I don't know why they stopped rolling with Jameis last year, but I don't see Carr coming in here and magically fixing something. I think it will stay around the same in New Orleans, and not much will get better for these Saints, so that's why I have them here at 27. Again, in my early game-by-game projections, I do not have them playing that good, so the Saints come in at number 27 mainly just because the Saints represent mediocrity right now, which is also kind of what the Patriots represent, and the Titans represent, and our next team represents. They're all just mediocre, and mediocre is not going to get you very far in the NFL, and again, the next team is also very mediocre. At 26, we have the Denver Broncos. A new coach is not going to just win you a bunch of games. I guess some people say Sean Payton gives you like three extra wins when you get him over other coaches. He's just that good, and I do think he is a good coach. He's just not a great coach to overcome major roster holes. This offensive line is not good. They have some major offensive line problems. Russell Wilson was sacked so much last year. They also have Russell Wilson problems, and with Javante Williams hurt, they don't have many reliable people in the backfield to help him, so Russell Wilson could be an issue this year. They lost some big defensive pieces, such as Bradley Chubb, this offseason, and at the trade deadline last year, so the defense will probably be worse. Sure, they still have Pastor Tan. Sure, they still have Justin Simmons. They have some big playmakers on that defense. They have some big playmakers on offense. You look at Jerry Judy. You look at Courtland Sutton. You look at Javante Williams when he's healthy, but it's just mediocre. For the most part. Everywhere. Most of the defense is mediocre. The offensive line is mediocre. The quarterback is mediocre. It's not the best situation for Sean Payton to get into, and this will not be the year that the Denver Broncos compete unless Sean Payton somehow just fixes Russell Wilson. At number 25, we have the Carolina Panthers. New quarterback, obviously, it's a very fun time to be a Panthers fan. Bryce Young in town with the number one overall pick. You had Frank Reich now, the new flashy head coach in town, but this is not going to be a team that most likely competes year one with Bryce Young. This will be the year where he gets adjusted to the NFL. He might have some growing pains, even though I loved him as a prospect. It's not going to be easy at first, most likely for any rookie quarterback, outside of maybe Justin Herbert, in the history of the NFL, and even Herbert had some growing pains, and he holds a lot of rookie records, so there's going to be some growing pains here for Bryce Young, and I don't think Frank Reich is going to magically make him a superstar year one. I think he will show flashes of stardom, and he will be a superstar long term, but not in year one. And there's just not enough pieces around Bryce Young to morph this team into a contender right now. The receiving core is not there, the offensive line is getting there, but still has a little ways to go. The defense is pretty good, but not elite or anything, and they can't just carry a team. So Panthers probably won't compete this year, it probably will not be a playoff team this year, but this will be a growth and development year for Bryce Young to get another high pick next year. They draft maybe Marvin Harrison Jr. as a big time receiver for Bryce Young, or maybe they go grab a good offensive lineman prospect. I haven't looked much at the 24 class, but they could grab some offensive piece to really help Bryce Young next year, and maybe they compete next year. That's what I'm thinking right now with Carolina. At 24, another mediocre-ish team, the Cleveland Browns. Now, I know a couple people that are Browns fans, and they're very optimistic that Deshaun Watson will turn it around and will be great. Now, whatever you think of him off the field, Deshaun Watson was a fantastic player before he sat out a year for contract reasons and then got in legal trouble and all that happened. Before that, with the Texans, he was a great player. He didn't show that last year. Even in that one really good game he had against the Commanders, he kind of got lucky and his receivers made some good plays, that wasn't really him. So Watson just did not show that last year out in Cleveland, and the Browns better hope that he shows it this year, and that was just getting back to football, he has a full off-season with the team now. If he is really good this year, then yeah, the Browns will be a playoff contender and maybe could even make a playoff run. If he's not, there's really no chance that the Browns being a playoff team. I currently think the latter, so I put the Browns at 24, they still have Miles Garrett who's obviously one of the best pass rushers in the National Football League, they still have Nick Chubb running the ball, they still have a good offensive line. So a lot of the pieces are there for Cleveland, it all comes down to will Watson be good or will he be not as good as he was pre-sitting out, and again, I think he won't be as good this year. We'll see more of what we saw of last year's Deshaun Watson. Therefore, the Browns come in at 24. At number 23, another team with a young superstar in the making, quarterback, the Houston Texans come in at number 23 for me. And here's why I have the Texans at 23 compared to the Panthers at 25. There are better pieces around C.J. Stroud right now than there are around Bryce Young. And that is just a fact. The weapons out in Houston, say whatever you want about them, they are probably better than they are in Carolina. John Mechie, a heck of a player, unfortunately got diagnosed with cancer last year, had to sit out his rookie season, heck of a player. So Nico Collins, great player, Brevin Jordan, love them coming out of Miami. Now these may not sound like big names, but they could be big time players. Obviously C.J. Stroud literally recruited the Texans to take Tank Bell in the second round. They drafted Xavier Hutchinson as well. These are players that could have big roles in their offense. So the Texans have better weapons. Will Anderson Jr., obviously, they traded back up the number three to take him, sacrifice next year's first round pick to get him. So they obviously think he's a superstar in the making. I also do. I love Will Anderson as a prospect. And the Texans just have more foundational young pieces there. Now you could argue the Panthers have Brian Burns. You could argue Will Anderson Jr., if he hits his peak, will be as good as Brian Burns. That is an argument. But Brian Burns is also older than Will Anderson. He's not old. I think he's 25. I will look that up as we speak. But Brian Burns is just a little older than the normal defensive end cornerstone. Here let me look up his age. He is 25 years old. So he is not your average young player. He probably has three years left at his prime, compared to Will Anderson Jr., probably has five or six more years. So the Texans just have some more cornerstone pieces that are a little younger than what Bryce Young is having to work with. A lot younger in terms of the receiving core, where the Panthers' number one receiver is Adam Thielen, who is 33 years old. So that is why the Texans come in a couple spots higher than the Panthers. Part number 22. You have the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers is gone. That's the reality out there in Green Bay, like it or not, if you're a Packers fan. Rodgers is not a Packer anymore. So now you have to prepare as a Packers fan for life without Rodgers. And Brian Gutekreft, the general manager for the Packers, started preparing for that years ago with drafting Jordan Love. And then Rodgers went back-to-back MVPs, and the rest is history. But he maybe started preparing for that a little too early, say what you want about Jordan Love as a prospect. We haven't really seen him in NFL action yet. I think he's had two games in release from Rodgers. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. But I think he's had two games when Rodgers has been hurt that Love has come in and started. I know for a fact one of them was against the Chiefs, because I watched that game. And he looks pretty good to me. I thought I saw some stuff there that they could work with. The weapons around Rodgers were never good, but Rodgers found a way. I don't know if Love can find a way like three-time MVP, first ballot Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers can. Because Jordan Love, whether you like him as a prospect or not, he's not that. He's not Aaron Rodgers. He could be, if maybe he's just some incredible superstar one day, he could be Aaron Rodgers. But he's not Aaron Rodgers right now. And right now the Packers don't have the weapons around Jordan Love. And Jordan Love can't just find a way. He's not Aaron Rodgers. So they need to build some weapons around Love, which they refused to do in the draft when they took Lucas Van Ness over Jackson Smith and Jay Pa. They took Jaden Reed in the second round, but in the first round they keep refusing to invest high draft capital in receivers. And the ugly truth for the Green Bay Packers is they don't have Aaron Rodgers anymore. They need to start getting some more pieces around Jordan Love. And they don't have that right now. Plus Aaron Jones is aging in the backfield. Obviously A.J. Dillon's probably the heir apparent there, so not a big deal there. But need more weapons for me to move him up here past 22. At 21, Las Vegas Raiders. Jimmy Garoppolo, everybody, is the quarterback out in Las Vegas. And whether you like him or you hate him, he's probably a bit of an upgrade over Derrick Carr. Obviously I have the Saints at 27 and the Raiders at 21. Do the Raiders probably have a better overall team around their quarterback than the Saints do right now? Yes. The Saints' defense is aging. It's not as good as it was. And whether you love Chris Olave and Michael Thomas, they're probably not Devontae Adams and Jacoby Myers and all the other weapons there. So I mean, actually that's a good topic of discussion. Chris Olave and Michael Thomas versus Devontae Adams and Jacoby Myers, they're actually pretty equal to me. That's a good discussion. But whether you like Garoppolo or not, they're just a better team. They're not a team that could probably compete this year, but they are a better team than New Orleans Saints are set up with with Derrick Carr, and that's just a fact in my opinion. And coming in at number 20, we have a team in a similar situation, the Los Angeles Rams. Like the Raiders, they have a number one receiver that's just probably a generational player. Like the Raiders, they have a quarterback that's aging and is a little questionable. Like the Raiders, their defensive cornerstones are getting older. So the Raiders and the Rams are very similar in my eyes, and that's why I have them ranked back-to-back at 21 and 20. The Rams are just slightly higher because they have Aaron Donalds and they have Cooper Kupp. Those two could possibly be the two best players in the entire NFL. They could be. If you break it down, there is a legitimate argument that the Rams have the two best players in the entire National Football League. The issue is they don't have anybody around those two players. There's also an argument that the Rams have the best head coach in the entire NFL. But they just don't have any other players besides Aaron Donalds and Cooper Kupp, and of course, the coach Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, Izzy Walsh, Izzy not Walsh, we'll have to see. He could be the fourth member of that elite group if he has a bounce back year this year. Cam Akers could enter there. I liked what I saw from him last year recovering from the Achilles. He has another offseason to recover. So it's an interesting situation with the Rams. Will they be more like last year's Rams or will they be more like the Super Bowl Rams? We'll have to see. Coming in at number 19, a younger team here, the Chicago Bears come in at number 19. And this is probably a Justin Fields ranking more than it is a Bears team ranking. So they still have a lot of work to do. They selected Darnell Wright at number 10, which I think was a good move. I think getting a tackle for Justin Fields, getting some protection was a good decision. Should it have been Darnell Wright? That's a discussion for another time. I'm not super high on Darnell Wright as a prospect. But they made some moves to protect Justin Fields, which is what I thought they should do this offseason. I'm taking Broderick Jones. I liked him a little more as a prospect than Darnell Wright. But the Bears did what I wanted them to do. They got a receiver for Fields and they got a lineman for Fields. That's what I wanted them to do this offseason. Not all this splash talk about getting some big, defensive, generational talent. Obviously that's great, but you need to help your quarterback out so he's not running for 120 yards a game because he has to to move the offense and then getting hurt. You don't want that if you're a Bears fan. You might say, oh, Justin Fields is a great runner. You don't want him to get injured. You saw what the Ravens have done with Lamar Jackson. They've given him a good offensive line and he now has some good weapons so he doesn't have to use his legs and risk getting hurt because Lamar hasn't played a full season in a hot minute. So that's what the Bears have done this offseason and I like it. Coming in at number 18, we have the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota is a very interesting team. They're very hard to predict or project because obviously you don't know what their team's going to look like. They just traded Cedarius Smith. They might move on from Dalvin Cook. They might move on from some other veterans. We don't know how Kirk Cousins will play at this point as a seasoned veteran with a capital S. So we don't know how he'll be. This is Justin Jefferson's team at this point. Justin Jefferson is the only big time playmaker left on offense if they do move Dalvin Cook and the defense has never been very good. So Minnesota, they're a tough team to stat out. I'm at number 18 right now in my power rankings. They could go down a lot. They could go up a little bit. Probably not a lot, but they could go up a little bit. They could go down a lot. So it just depends on what lineup they roll into with the regular season in September. So TBD on the Vikings. The last team we're going to talk about today, number 17, we have the Atlanta Falcons. Now this is a skeptic ranking. There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Falcons' organization right now because we don't know how Desmond Ritter is going to play. But regardless of how Desmond Ritter plays, they have a great team around their quarterback. They made so many moves to get splash receivers. They drafted B. John Robinson. They're getting Kyle Pitts back from injury. They have Drake London. They've made some big moves to keep their best offensive linemen in Chris Lindstrom. And it's a great situation around Ritter. If Ritter plays great, they're a great team this year. If he plays bad, they're a mediocre team this year. Because we saw how the Jets were last year. They finished 7-10 with a fantastic defense and some good weapons and a good line. But they still finished 7-10 because they had quarterback problems. So if Ritter is not it, the Falcons are going to be this year's Jets. Good weapons around their quarterback, good offensive line, good defense, bad quarterback. If Ritter is it, watch out for the Atlanta Falcons. That is the first half of our Power Ranking. Again, next week we will do numbers 1-16, going all the way up to number 1. I'm going to take a quick break and then we'll get back with the quick question to wrap this thing up. And we're back here. And I have a question today from Jared. It's a short question, but still a fun and very important question. What are you doing sports-wise to entertain yourself over the football offseason? There's a couple of ways I can answer this. A, starting a podcast about football. But that is not the way you have to entertain yourself sports-wise over the offseason. Obviously, you can stay into football, which I highly recommend doing. Follow free agency, the draft, trades, predictions. All that kind of stuff keeps you in on football. I also recommend getting into some fantasy. You can do some redraft leagues as we get closer to the season, those draft starts. You can do best ball leagues pretty much whenever you want. You can get into a dynasty league, which is really active over the offseason. You can get into fantasy. Or you can get into another sport, which is kind of what I've accidentally done. I've gotten really into the NBA since football finished. I'm kind of following some baseball, and I hate baseball. But I've been kind of following the Orioles. I've been watching games. They bore me too much. But I've been following the Orioles, and I've been watching a lot of basketball. We're into conference finals right now, so basketball playoffs are really heating up. So you can watch that. I know we're in Stanley Cup playoff for hockey. I don't really watch hockey at all, but I know that's going on. I know we have the NBA draft coming up, if you care about that. As I said, NBA, pretty cool. And there's probably a bunch of other sports that I don't even know are happening. I know it's PGA Championship Week in golf. So there's a bunch of things going on that you can watch to appease your sports needs. Or you can just keep following football just intently through fantasy or predictions or just following the sport. Or you can do both, like I have. So those are just some quick and easy ways to stay into sports during the football offseason when you're just a football person. That's going to wrap it up for me, guys. I hope you guys enjoyed today's episode. Again, next week, we will get into 16 all the way leading up to one on the power ranking. And the following week, coming out somewhere in that June 4th through 6th range, the Q&A episode. Submit your questions now. Better now than do it later and you forget and you don't have your question answered on the show with a shout-out to you with your first name. So make sure to put your question and your first name. And if you want, you can throw your city in there. So just make sure that you submit those questions pretty soon so we can get that show out again somewhere in that window. So I hope you guys enjoyed today's episode and I'll see you guys next time.