The Tiers of the NFL

One thing I love about the NFL is the any-given-Sunday parity. This year, however, seems different; it seems like a few teams are well and truly a cut above to the point that certain other teams have no chance of beating them; alas, this has more to do with a couple teams looking like they're on the verge of historic badness rather than any team being the next 2007 Patriots.

So I thought it'd be fun to look at which tier — I have five — each teams falls in:

Super Bowl Contenders: Bills, Dolphins, Chiefs, Eagles, Lions, 49ers

These six teams are so very clearly the cream of the crop I would be shocked if the teams in the Super Bowl weren't two of these six. In fact, I'll take it one step further: I predict all six of these teams will make the Super Bowl LVIII.

Really Good, Probably Will Make the Playoffs: Ravens, Chargers, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Seahawks

Again, this seems fairly indisputable unless you think the wheels are going to fall off the Bucs and Baker Mayfield. Maybe you could argue the Chargers don't belong here, either, but Justin Herbert is still elite and they were a tad unlucky in their losses.

Thoroughly Average: Patriots, Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Colts, Texans, Jaguars, Titans, Packers, Vikings, Falcons, Saints, Rams, Cardinals, Commanders

That's right, the Cardinals are all the way up here. Joshua Dobbs is actually a capable quarterback. They have a tough schedule, but they have already slain the Cowboys. The Giants loss was ... oy, but they didn't embarrass themselves in their other games. They seem to be improving, as well.

I have no problem putting the Bengals here, too. Surely Joe Burrow will bounce back at least somewhat assuming his nagging injuries clear up. I still believe enough in Bill Belichick to suspect they will finish around .500 at least, and the entire AFC South, the most boring division in football, is here because they are all 2-2.

Bad, But Saved From Being in the Lowest Tier By Some Historically-Bad Teams: Jets, Raiders, Giants, Panthers

I'm not ranking teams within the tiers, but if I was, the Jets would indeed be at the top. This is because, despite how brutal he is otherwise, Zach Wilson occasionally puts together a good game: see Week 1 and Week 4.

Historically Bad Teams: Broncos, Bears

Sorry, but I'm so excited by these teams' badness that I'm about to use a few all-caps words.

After the Broncos historic 70-20 loss to the Dolphins, I engaged in a little schadenfreude and browsed some Broncos message boards. They were predicting that, owing to how incredibly bad the Broncos defense was, they were going to make even Justin Fields look like Joe Montana.

And THEY DID! Fields had the best game of his career! And the Bears STILL LOST! It's just so hilarious. I do not think either of these teams will win a game the rest of the season.

Also, if the Dolphins beat the Broncos by 50 and lost to the Bills by 28, does that mean that the Bills would beat the Broncos by 78? Yes. It does mean that, 100%. That game will be on Monday Night Football in mid-November, so clear your calendar for this record-breaking beatdown.

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