NFL Preseason Power Rankings

With the NFL preseason underway, we take a look at where each team stands in our power rankings.

ben-roethlisberger-aaron-rodgers-tom-brady-matt-ryan-dak-prescott


  1. New England Patriots

    patsThe reigning super bowl champions got even stronger, by most accounts, this offseason. The Patriots are aiming for their 9th consecutive AFC East title and seem poised to make another Super Bowl run. Tom Brady and crew. The return of Rob Gronkowski is monumental, along with the acquisitions of WR Brandin Cooks, TE Dwayne Allen, LB David Harris and CB Stephon Gilmore. Until they show otherwise, never doubt Bill Belichick,


  2. Atlanta Falcons

    falconsThe Falcons remain essentially intact from last year. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman lead a potent offense with blowout potential every game. The defense — already touting reigning NFL sack leader Vic Beasley — should be improved with a healthy Desmond Trufant and more experienced Keanu Neal / Deion Jones / De’Vondre Campbell. The additions of Duke Riley and Dontari Poe will pay dividends as well. Also, will Freeman’s contract issues get ugly? With everyone from NFL.com to Yahoo hanging onto the situation, it may become a distraction.


  3. Pittsburgh Steelers

    steelersThe Pittsburgh offense is as dangerous as any in the league. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and a top-3 offensive line will give defensive coordinators fits. On defense, a young unit appears ready to take the next step into championship level competence. Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt, Bud Dupree and Artie Burns comprise a young, talented core of defenders. Is it enough to overtake New England in the AFC? Only time and performance will tell.


  4. Seattle Seahawks

    seahawksThe Seahawks are always right there in NFL contention, generally after slow starts. If they can get off to a good start in 2017, gaining home-field in the playoffs, they’d increase their title chances. The continued development of Russell Wilson is vital, as is improvement along the offensive line. The defense, led by The Legion of Boom,  should be as stout as ever, with Earl Thomas returning from a broken leg.


  5. Oakland Raiders

    raidersQuarterback Derek Carr’s broken leg ruined promising playoff hopes in Oakland last season. Carr is back to lead an exciting offense, along with receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. The big story is the addition of un-retired Marshawn Lynch at running back. The defense is sprearheaded by all-world pass rusher Khalil Mack and safety Reggie Nelson. Jack Del Rio looks to lead the Silver and Black back to the promised land.


  6. Dallas Cowboys

    cowboysDallas had a lot of things go right in 2016. From rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to a generally underwhelming NFC East, the Cowboys caught a few breaks. Now, however, they’ll be donning targets every week. Can last year’s rookies duplicated the success? Can the defense rely on young players to step up at key positions? We shall see. The one constant in Dallas is that big, dominant offensive line, led by all-pros Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.


  7. Green Bay Packers

    packersThe Packers are one of the more enigmatic teams in the league. Aaron Rodgers is the dominant force that keeps the team afloat during rough patches. WR Jordy Nelson should be fully healthy now, and the addition of TE Martellus Bennett should be key. The defense enters the season with some vital questions to answer at nose tackle, pass rusher and cornerback. Safeties HaHa Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett are the glue of this unit.


  8. New York Giants

    giantsWeapons are abound for Eli Manning, in receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shephard and rookie TE Evan Engram. The offensive line must improve, as does Paul Perkins and the running game. On defense, the line is a strength as usual. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon are terrors off the edge. while Damon “Snacks” Harrison is a rock in the middle. The defensive backfield may be even more impressive, with coners Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and safety Landon Collins are solid on the backend.



  9. Kansas City Chiefs

    chiefsThe Chiefs continue to be one of the more undervalued teams in football. That’s likely a direct reflection of quarterback Alex Smith. He leads a steady, if unspectacular, offense. Second-year speedster Tyreek Hill is the antithesis of that bland ideology and will brood excitement in Kansas City. TE Travis Kelce is as good as any at his position in the NFL. The defense is stout, especially off the edges with Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Tamba Hali.


  10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    bucsThe first surprise of the top-10! Jameis Winston is one of the best young QBs in the league and the Bucs have done a great job putting pieces around him. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson should be lethal at receiver, while rookie TE O.J. Howard adds a new dimension. Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander lead an ascending young defense.


  11. Detroit Lions

    lionsAnother mild surprise here. Matthew Stafford is vastly underrated and conducts a very fluid offense. His offensive teammates, Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, Eric Ebron and Ameer Abdullah are solid, but undervalued as well. On defense, pass rusher Ziggy Ansah is looking for a bounceback season, as is aging defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Rookie linebacker Jarad Davis should be a stud immediately.


  12. Tennessee Titans

    titansAs Marcus Mariota continues his maturation at QB, the Titans’s hopes improve right along. Receivers Corey Davis (draft) and Eric Decker (free agency) were added in the offseason to add firepower. Running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are perfect fits in this offense. And the offensive line is one of the best in football. The defense will be they, as lots of pieces will need to come together in a hurry to be successful.


  13. Denver Broncos

    broncosThe Broncos are hoping Paxton Lynch takes the reigns at QB and never looks back. Though ideal, it’s unlikely at this point. So, the defense and running game will carry this team as far as it goes. That being said, injuries have sapped a strength of this defense (pass rush) in training camp. Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett are both inactive now. Also, DeMarcus Ware retired after the 2016 season. But, there is still the ever-dangerous Von Miller. The No Fly Zone, consisting of Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby and T.J. Ward will have to pick up the slack on the backend.


  14. Houston Texans

    texansQuarterback has been a persistent issue in Houston for years. Deshaun Watson is just a rookie, but will battle Tom Savage for the starting gig. Whoever wins will be asked to manage the games at best, especially early on. The defense has a shot to be legitimately great, with the return of J.J. Watt. He, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus form the nucleus of a suffocating defense that can carry this team to the playoffs.


  15. Carolina Panthers

    panthersThe Panthers are hoping for a return to form from the 2015 Super Bowl run, as 2016 was horrific from the start. Truth is, they are probably some where in the middle. Cam Newton’s recovery from shoulder surgery is obviously huge, as is Kelvin Benjamin’s conditioning. Rookie Christian McCaffrey will add a new dimension to the offense. The defense looks to rebound from a subpar 2016 as well. Kawann Short, Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis welcome Julius Peppers back to Carolina help accomplish that feat.


  16. Minnesota Vikings

    vikingsThe Vikings came crashing back to earth after a fast start in 2016. Sam Bradford has to be better, plain and simple. But it’s not all on him. The offensive line must improve, along with the running game. On defense, Minnesota is deep and talented across the board. Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes are all stellar when on top of their respective games.


  17. Indianapolis Colts

    coltsYou can probably go back to the previews on the Colts for the past three seasons and it will read like this one. They have to do a better job of protecting Andrew Luck on offense and must stop the run better on defense. Apparently, that’s easier said than done. Luck’s status for the season opener is up in the air due to shoulder surgery recovery. Chuck Pagano must get better results in 2017 if he wants to remain head coach in Indy.


  18. Baltimore Ravens

    ravensThe Ravens have been snakebitten in training camp, with a laundry list of injuries to deal with. Joe Flacco (back), Crockett Gilmore (knee), Maurice Canady (knee), Darren Waller (suspended), Kenneth Dixon (knee) and Dennis Pitta (hip) will each miss significant — if not all — portions of the foreseeable future. As hopeful as John Harbaugh was heading into camp, the Ravens chances look equally as bleak at the moment.


  19. Arizona Cardinals

    cardsArizona has talent all over the roster. However, the biggest question marks are at vital positions. Up first is quarterback, where Carson Palmer struggled mightily in 2016. His return to form is a must if the Cards look to return to prominence. Next up, any receiver not named Larry Fitzgerald needs to step it up. Lastly, is cornerback. Patrick Peterson is among the league’s best, but across from him is not so promising. Injuries in camp have sapped all of the players vying for the spot.


  20. Miami Dolphins

    dolphinsFirst off, much of this hinges on the health of quarterback, Ryan Tannehill’s knee. With differing reports from PFT, ESPN, Bleacher Report, etc, on the seriousness of his training camp knee injury, I’ll defer until we have definitive results. Either way, if he misses much time, the Dolphins are sunk. Tragic, considering how much hope their was heading into camp.


  21. Los Angeles Chargers

    CHARGERSSpeaking of injuries! The Chargers have been one of the most unfortunate teams in the NFL over the past three seasons. And it has started again in camp. Projected rookie starters WR Mike Williams has back issues and OG  Forrest Lamp tore an ACL. This has become familiar territory for Phillip Rivers and crew. Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry and Keenan Allen (who is returning from a torn ACL) will try to keep it together. On defense, Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa lead a strong unit.


  22. Jacksonville Jaguars

    jagsBlake Borles has become one of the more polarizing players in the NFL, and one of the more talked about. If he can return to his 2015 form, the Jags would be highly appreciative. Rookie RB Leonard Fournette could have an Ezekiel-Elliott-like effect on this offense. The defense is loaded on paper, but they don’t play football games on paper. They play them inside our televisions.


  23. New Orleans Saints

    saintsThe big news currently is the arrival of Adrian Peterson. He has looked rejuvenated in camp and will offer major benefits to the offense. Of course, Drew Brees is still around, slinging the rock as usual. Expect big things from second-year receiver Michael Thomas. On defense, it’s quite a different story. Cameron Jordan leads a defensive unit that is still trying to find it’s way after several years of rebuilding.


  24. Buffalo Bills

    billsOn offense, as LeSean McCoy goes, so do the Bills. Expect more of his magic during 2017. QB Tyrod Taylor is solid, but needs to generate more big plays as a passer. A healthy Sammy Watkins would help that cause. The defense, led by Marcel Dareus, Jerry Hughes and Ronald Darby, looks to rebound after a subpar 2016.


  25. Philadelphia Eagles

    eaglesThe Eagles and quarterback Carson Wentz started off hot in 2016, then things fell apart. With added weapons on offense (Alshon Jeffery, Torry Smith and LaGarrette Blount), the Eagles hope to right the ship quickly. The defense must improve against the pass substantially. Newly acquired Timmy Jernigan next to Fletcher Cox at DT should generate some pressure.

  26. Cleveland Browns

    brownsCleveland has probably not been this high on a preseason list in a decade. With rookie QB DeShone Kizer shining so far in camp, the Browns lay hope that he’s the one the franchise has been searching for. First overall pick Myles Garrett should be a force from day one.


  27. Chicago Bears

    bearsLike most teams near the bottom of this list, the Bears have serious questions at quarterback. Free agent acquisition Mike Glennon will battle rookie Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job. Either way, it’s Trubisky’s job in the future.


  28. Cincinnati Bengals

    bengalsThe Bengals playoff window with the current core appears to be closing swiftly. A.J. Green is A.J. Green and Andy Dalton is still a reputable QB, but the offensive line is in transition. Ideally, rookie running back Joe Mixon adds some spark to the running game. On defense, Vontaze Burfict and Geno Atkins lead a solid bunch. But, they always leave you wanting more.


  29. Los Angeles Rams

    ramsIf second-year quarterback Jared Goff doesn’t show marked improvement, 2017 will look much like 2016 for the Rams. That means every defense will focus on Todd Gurley from snap to whistle. All-everything defensive lineman Aaron Donald is a camp holdout, but a deal is expected to get done soon. Hopefully so, because the defense will take this team as far as it can go.


  30. Washington

    skinsThings are a bit of a mess in the nation’s capital, as there is still uncertainty surrounding the future of QB Kirk Cousins. Top receiver Terrell Pryor is on a one-year deal. And stud tight end Jordan Reed is nursing an injury. The offensive line remains a strength, however. Defensively, there are holes and question marks all over the place. Josh Norman and Ryan Kerrigan look to change things.


  31. San Francisco 49ers

    ninersNot much to offer here. The Niners are just not very good. Brian Hoyer is the quarterback…he’s a nice guy. Head coach called plays in the Super Bowl last year, so there’s that.


  32. New York Jets

    jetsIs there anything positive I could say here that you’d actually believe?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s