Schrock's Power Rankings: Where Bears stand after start of preseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The NFL returned over the past week with a host of sloppy and meaningless preseason games.
Man, it was fun.
The Bears’ backups proved better than the Chiefs’ backups, giving Matt Eberflus his first unofficial win as head coach.
Elsewhere, Trey Lance flashed for the 49ers, Zach Wilson got injured, and the Broncos’ second-string offense got booed.
Yeah, I’m thinking we’re back.
With a lot of exhibition games in the books along with two-to-three weeks of training camp, it’s a good time to take stock of where each team sits midway through August.
So, here’s our still-too-early Power Rankings as Week 1 approaches.
32. Houston Texans: I’m not sure if Davis Mills is the Texans’ long-term answer at quarterback. What I do know is that Dameon Pierce is a freaking wrecking ball of a back. A lot of teams will be upset they passed on him.
31. Atlanta Falcons: How many times has Ryan Pace asked Terry Fontenot to try and trade for Roquan Smith and Teven Jenkins?
30. Seattle Seahawks: In typical Drew Lock fashion, the Seahawks quarterback put on a show against the Steelers’ backups but fumbled in the red zone when he had a chance to put an exclamation point on a stellar outing. Still, Pete Carroll has to give Lock some first-team reps at some point.
29. Chicago Bears: The Bears’ offense has been clunky and disjointed early on, thanks to a rotating offensive line and a host of wide receiver injuries. Justin Fields and rookie Jaquan Brisker starred in the preseason opener, but the Bears have a lot of work to do.
28. New York Giants: It’s going to be looooooong season for Brian Daboll.
27. New York Jets: The Jets got good news about Zach Wilson’s preseason knee injury. Still, anytime not on the field can hurt the young quarterback’s development. The Jets plan to contend for a playoff spot. If Wilson is out for an extended period, is a call to the 49ers for Jimmy G in order?
26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Urban Meyer remains at his chophouse and not running things in Duval. Jags are 1-0.
25. Detroit Lions: The Lions are rebuilding the right way, shoring up key positions while working with a place-holder quarterback. If this season ends with them having hit on Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams (for what we get to see), and they get a top-four pick, Detroit could be in business.
24. Carolina Panthers: Baker Mayfield is just better than Sam Darnold. Motion to dismiss the quarterback competition granted.
23. Washington Commanders: I just can’t buy a team with Carson Wentz under center as a legitimate contender. Not going to happen.
22. Cleveland Browns: In what might be his only NFL action for a while, Deshaun Watson got an earful from the Duval faithful. If Watson’s suspension is raised on appeal, the Browns are going to be in trouble.
21. New England Patriots: It turns out having Joe Judge and Matt Patricia as your offensive brain trust might not be a good idea. Who knew?
20. Tennessee Titans: My big bet of the 2022 season is that the Titans are going to fall off a cliff. Mike Vrabel’s manhood should be safe for another season.
19. New Orleans Saints: Andy Dalton went 5-for-5 during his lone series as the Saints’ starting QB with Jameis Winston out. Somewhere, Matt Nagy is smiling.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Trubisky Truthers have marked their territory in Steel City, but here comes Kenny “Two Gloves” Pickett. The rookie went 13-for-15 for 95 yards and two touchdowns in his debut. In other Steelers rookie news, George Pickens looks like the real deal. Tough look for any team that needed a wide receiver. *stares at Bears roster*
17. Minnesota Vikings: We didn’t get to see Kirk Cousins in Kevin O’Connell’s offense because the quarterback missed the game with COVID-19. Guess that plexiglass hasn’t arrived yet.
16. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys led the NFL in penalties last season. So naturally, head coach Mike McCarthy made discipline an emphasis in camp. The result? The Cowboys had 17 accepted penalties in their first preseason game. Jerry won’t like that.
15. Miami Dolphins: I’m not a card-carrying member of TuaAnon, but I do believe in Mike McDaniel. A talented, unique offensive mind who will get the best out of every one of his players. Bet on him in South Beach.
14. Arizona Cardinals: Kliff Kingsbury had Kyler Murray call plays during the Cardinals’ preseason game. Perhaps this is their answer to their late-season offensive struggles.
13. Indianapolis Colts: The Colts’ Matt Ryan-led offense managed just three points in four possessions during the veteran’s Indy debut. However, star running back Jonathan Taylor didn’t play because Frank Reich has a working frontal lobe. We’ll reserve judgment on the Colts until the rushing champ returns.
12. Denver Broncos: Want to know how high the expectations are in Denver? The home crowd booed the Broncos’ offense after a 29-yard, three-first-down opening quarter in which only one starter played. Hope Russ is cooking up something good.
11. Las Vegas Raiders: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Raiders have some troubling offensive line issues.
10. Baltimore Ravens: Any talk of the Ravens not paying Lamar Jackson because they have Tyler Huntley is certifiable and I won’t entertain it.
9. Philadelphia Eagles: Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis look like damn good players. Turns out the “Draft the Georgia defenders” plan was a good one.
8. San Francisco 49ers: The Trey Lance-Kyle Shanahan combo likely will be lethal at some point. The good news for the Bears is they get the 49ers in Week 1. The bad news? The defense doesn’t look close to ready.
7. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow returned after missing three weeks due to an appendectomy. As long as No. 9 is good to go, the Bengals will be in the thick of things.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: All eyes are on Tom Brady after the legendary quarterback decided to step away from camp for personal reasons. Until he returns, the Bucs are on the back burner.
5. Los Angeles Chargers: Brandon Staley isn’t going to play Justin Herbert in the preseason. Smart move. Can’t have the soon-to-be MVP getting dinged up playing an exhibition.
4. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers didn’t invite Luke Getsy on his vision quest, which seems rude. Perhaps if he’d been more inclusive, they would have scored more than 10 points in their playoff flop against the 49ers.
3. Buffalo Bills: I get the Bills are the Super Bowl favorites, but I don’t feel like we’re spending enough time talking about Ken Dorsey being a first-time play-caller. Are we sure they won’t miss a beat?
2. Los Angeles Rams: Allen Robinson has made it through the quarterback wilderness and is ready to show out in Los Angeles. Shield your eyes, Bears fans.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes diced up the Bears’ starting defense in one series at Soldier Field, then he took a seat. Still got it.