The NFL season is here and who doesn’t love power rankings? (Spoiler alert, my #1 team is not St. Louis.)
32. Philadelphia Eagles
GM Howie Roseman must be a big NBA and NHL fan, because he’s introducing tanking to the NFL with his Eagles. The defense should improve, but trading Eric Rowe doesn’t help. With no weapons on offense to support their FCS product rookie quarterback, this could be the worst offense in recent memory.
31. San Francisco 49ers
The 9ers are a shell of what they were three years ago. This will be rock bottom for them. Blaine Gabbert, Carlos Hyde, and Torrey Smith as you’re go to offensive players is hilariously bad. Chip Kelly will be a huge improvement over press conference farter Jim Tomsula who may have been the worst head coach in NFL history. There just isn’t enough talent on this roster to compete with the likes of Arizona and Seattle in the division.
30. Cleveland Browns
LeBron James can’t save all the Cleveland sports teams. There is a chance the Browns can be decent this year, but they would need RG3 to return to his rookie season glory. They would also need Josh Gordon to come back from suspension and be the beast he was in 2013. Without those things, this is a pretty weak offense, and a below average defense.
29. Detroit Lions
Same old Lions? For a few years it looked like the Lions had escaped the NFL’s basement, they look like they’ll be falling right back down. Matt Stafford is solid. A receiving core of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Anquan Boldin is solid. That’s about it. A subpar running back core, offensive line, and defense have the Lions eyeing the top of the 2017 draft.
28. Chicago Bears
Poor Jay Cutler. One of the league’s underappreciated quarterbacks has little help around him. Like the Lions this team should throw the ball a lot, but mostly because they’ll be down in games.
27. Los Angeles Rams
Will this be the year that Jeff Fisher gets fired, this time for good? Case Keenum as the starting quarter back points to that as a very real possibility.
26. San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers is a stud, but he’s behind a god awful offensive line. It’d be nice to have some help from Melvin Gordon, but that’s going to be hard running behind that line and playing from behind.
25. Miami Dolphins
I’ll never be a believer in the Dolphins or Ryan Tannehill until I see something different. All I’ve seen to this point is that he can’t get it done.
24. Baltimore Ravens
On offense the Ravens have a bunch of guys. Just guys. They have five backup level wide receivers, and four backup level running backs, none of which have clearly stood out. The real question is, is Joe Flacco elite?
23. Dallas Cowboys
I have the Cowboys lower than most, and I’m in the right. I don’t believe Dak Prescott will be much better than what they trotted out at quarterback last season, and they still have the same below average defense. Yes their offensive line is amazing and Zeke Elliott looks great, but it’s going to be hard to run the ball if your defense can’t stop anything.
22. Atlanta Falcons
A very boring team in my eyes this season outside of Julio Jones. Worst team in the NFC South.
21. New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees will throw for 5,000 yards, but this is still one of the worst defenses of all time. There will be a lot of shootouts with this team at least.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston won’t just look better this year because he’s in better shape, I’m predicting a huge jump for him. Last year was a very good start for him, this year he will ascend to be a top ten quarterback now that he has pass happy coach Dirk Koetter. The Bucs still have issues on the offensive line and on defense which will prevent them from challenging Carolina for the division.
19. Tennessee Titans
Like Winston, Mariota will see a jump this year and he now has help out of the backfield. Going from Bishop Sankey and David Cobb, to DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry cannot be understated. This has the potential to be one of the most dangerous rushing attacks in the league with run heavy Mike Mularkey as head coach.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have brought in a lot of talent on defense this offseason and added a stable running back in Chris Ivory to complement T.J. Yeldon. They’re a talented young team, but they’ll need a year to grow together before they can challenge for the playoffs.
17. New York Giants
This may be a little high for the Giants, but I believe that Ben Mcadoo will bring out the best in Eli Manning and the Giants will be formidable passing the ball. If they can have an above average defense this year, they’ll win the division.
16. New York Jets
The Jets have a good team. They also have the hardest schedule I’ve ever seen. Their first six games are against the Bengals, @Bills, @Chiefs, vs. Seahawks, @Steelers, @Cardinals. All honesty they could be 1-5 or 0-6 to start the year. If they can escape with 3 or 4 wins, this is a playoff team.
15. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is the second most talented quarterback in the league, but he has a garbage product surrounding him. It’s as if the Colts management just find elite quarterbacks, and decide to go on vacation for a decade.
14. Washington Redskins
I believe in Captain Kirk. He led the NFL in completion percentage last season. The Skins have a solid o-line, and a decent enough defense to win the weak NFC East.
13. Buffalo Bills
In the hunt. Miss the playoffs. That first phrase should be trademarked by the Bills. I see Tyrod have a great season, but the Bills will find a way to lose games they shouldn’t.
12. Minnesota Vikings
This is exactly where I’d have the Vikings if Bridgewater was healthy. Simple fact is of all the teams to lose their starting quarterback, this is the one where it matters the least. Minnesota asks their quarterback to do less than any team in the league. Minnesota had the least amount of pass attempts in the league last year and Bridgewater had 14 touchdowns. I’m sure Sam “Sleeves McGee” Bradford can replicate that.
11. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders are pretty good. They’ll be great in the AFC by default, considering this is a weak conference overall. Derek Carr is a great young quarterback, and now he should have a solid defense to make the team balanced.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
Even though Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant got suspended, Bell will be back by week four, and Antonio Brown is really all they need at wide receiver. Go ahead and double cover him, he’ll still be open. Never count against Big Ben.
9. Houston Texans
This was a playoff team with Brian Hoyer, they should be better with the Brocket Man. Don’t undersell the addition of Lamar Miller, who is a vast improvement over the committee Houston used last year. Will Fuller and Braxton Miller are just added toys that the Brock Lobster can use.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Great roster, they’ll make the playoffs, they’ll lose in the playoffs until proven other wise. Not much else to say.
7. Denver Broncos
I’m not expecting a major drop off from Denver. Yes they lost a few players on defense, but that won’t cut their win total in half. As for quarterback, if they didn’t have the worst quarterbacking in the league last year, they were close. Therefore, Trevor Siemian is either going to be the same, with a slight chance of being better.
6. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are a very good team. Alex Smith is playing some of the best football of his career. The defense in Kansas City still features Justin Houston and Tamba Hali as elite pass rushers. Jamaal Charles should get to 100% fairly soon, and than there’s only New England that can stop them.
5. Green Bay Packers
You haven’t done a great job building a team when you have the best QB of all time and you’re not ranked 1st. Jordy Nelson and Shreddy Lacy should take this offense back to first in the league, but a below average defense, and a bad coach Mike McCarthy are holding them back.
4. New England Patriots
Tom Brady will be back week five, and from that point forward New England will be the best team in the AFC. Just can’t bet against Brady and Belicheck.
3. Seattle Seahawks
Of all teams to have a dumpster fire for an offensive line, it’s the Seahawks. Russell Wilson’s escapability is the best in the league. Beastmode is gone, but we are going to witness “The Awakening” of “The Truth”. Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls will pick up the slack at running back and not miss a beat. This is still an elite defense that can carry them if need be.
2. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers lost Josh Norman in the offseason and that will hurt them a little bit, but that’s basically saying they’ll be 13-3 instead of 15-1. Outside their secondary this is still a Super Bowl contender.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is the best team in the NFL, and my Super Bowl pick. I’ll admit I’m a little worried about Carson Palmer after that disaster in the playoffs last year, but he should come back to form. David Johnson will emerge as the most talented running back in the league, yes even over Todd Gurley. The defense is elite as well, but they need to find a way to cover receiving backs better than last year. They were torched on screens and dump offs at times.