Through 64 games, every team has played at least three times. The Jets and 49ers were caught out with a Week 4 bye, but Week 5’s Thursday night clash between the Rams and Seahawks coincided with the 2019 season’s official one-quarter mark.
Through 64 games, it is time to revisit my Super Bowl tier list.
Here is my preseason Super Bowl tiers article. It features terrible counting and the lack of a certain team from Seattle.
Tier 6: Playoffs would be a shocker
Teams (6): New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, and Arizona Cardinals
These six squads have an abysmal 0-22-1 record through four weeks. Of the six, only the Broncos were not in my original bottom tier of teams. Of the 92 teams who have started 0-4 since 1990, one only has made the playoffs. To have a realistic shot at the playoffs, a team in this tier would likely have to win 10 of their final 12 games. The odds are slim. Better luck next year.
With all due respect to the Jets, their 0-3 record translates into a playoff spot just 2.9% of the time since 1990 (four out of 140).
Tier 5: Playoffs are unlikely, but it would not be unheard of
Teams (4): Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons
These teams are a combined 6-10. Oddly enough, none of these teams started in the fifth tier. The Giants began in tier six, but a pair of Daniel Jones starts have resulted in a pair of wins, and the Giants are no longer at the bottom. The Raiders have jumped up a tier due to them being a fairly competent team through four weeks. The Steelers have fallen one tier due to the injury to Ben Roethlisberger and accompanying 1-3 start. For the Falcons, they have been incredibly disappointing. The Steelers and Falcons opened the season with postseason ambition, but they are trending in the wrong direction as other teams in their divisions have been playing much better.
Tier 4: A deep playoff run is unlikely
Teams (11): Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers
Originally consisting of the Steelers, Browns, and Texans, tier four has grown massively with spreading mediocrity and rampant 2-2 teams. The only non-2-2 teams in the tier are the 3-1 Bills and 2-1-1 Lions. The Bills have been great defensively, but the offense has been shaky at best with Josh Allen fluctuating between turning the ball over and being a decent quarterback. The Lions were moments away from moving to 3-0-1, but a loss to the Chiefs keeps the Lions moving into the top three tiers. Despite beating a pair of 2018 playoff teams, the Lions have not made a statement as one of the best teams in the league. The jury is still out on the Bills and Lions moving forward.
The Ravens and Browns are fairly slotted in the same tier after the Browns slapped the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 4. Both teams are in a dogfight for the AFC North. While the Browns currently hold the advantage, it should come down to the wire.
The entire AFC South is present in this tier. All four teams are 2-2. Each team has had its moments of being good, but each has mixed good and poor performances. The teams are even, and it will take a few more weeks to see if any team can jump ahead of the others.
The Vikings, Panthers, and Buccaneers represent the NFC. It has been a mixed bag for all three as the Vikings and Panthers have had poor quarterback play accompanied by their great defenses. In Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers have been undone by a trio of Jameis Winston pick-sixes and a missed field goal.
Tier 3: They could win a game or two in the playoffs, but the Super Bowl is a goal for another season
Teams (3): Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers
The Chargers and Eagles stand at 2-2. The 49ers are 3-0. The Chargers and Eagles have been ravaged by injuries, but they persist as threats to make the playoffs. For the Niners, they have yet to beat a good team, but they have played quite well through three games.
Tier 2: They could make the Super Bowl
Teams (6): Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks
By my estimation, these are the six best teams in the NFC. One could argue for the Eagles or 49ers to replace one of these teams, but these teams are the cream of the NFC crop. Each team has a good defense and an offense that can make plays. Except for the Bears, all of the teams have a plus at quarterback. All six teams were 3-1 entering Week 5, but the Seahawks have now moved to 4-1 while the Rams fell to 3-2 after Thursday Night Football. The playoff picture is not set in stone, but these six are likely candidates to be the six in the playoffs.
Tier 1: Your Super Bowl champion will be one of these teams
Teams (2): New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs
You can write it in concrete: the Patriots and Chiefs will meet in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots have the NFL’s best defense, and the Chiefs have the NFL’s best offense. The winner between the Patriots and Chiefs will be favored in the Super Bowl. While comments like these seem bold, the Patriots and Chiefs are borderline unbeatable.