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2017 NFL Preseason Power Rankings

The NFL’s regular season is around the corner, how do all 32 teams stack up against each other?

During the NFL’s preseason, we’ve seen teams trade key players and are about to see nearly half of every teams current roster cut in half. But without putting too much mind into the wins and losses into the preseason match-ups, we can rank all 32 teams before week one of the regular season.

32. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are at square one in their rebuild. A rookie head coach in Kyle Shanahan, a rookie GM in John Lynch and a soon to be flipped roster. The talent on the field just doesn’t match up to the rest of the NFL right now. The 49ers can turn around their fate quickly if they played their cards right. Former Pro Bowl safety and Super Bowl XXXVII winner is going into his first season with a fresh start and full control of this franchise. Along with coach Kyle Shanahan, I believe that this young team can turn the direction of the franchise around quickly.

31. Chicago Bears

After losing arguably their best player, the Chicago Bears did not exactly put themselves to be winners this 2017 season. Letting Alshon Jeffrey walk, signing Mike Glennon and trading up to grab UNC’s Mitchell Trubisky were the headliners of the Bears offseason. But with two quarterbacks who have little-to-no experience in the NFL, and not much top-tier talent on either side of the ball, I think the Bears are in for another three win season.

30. Los Angeles Rams

Sammy Watkins is now a feeling like a star in LA. After the team traded for the stand out receiver from Buffalo, it gave second-year QB Jared Goff a real solid weapon, if he can stay healthy. Along with Aaron Donald not positively playing in the season opener, this team has problems bigger than most do. The team did hire the NFL’s youngest head coach ever in Sean McVay at age 30 after firing John Fisher. I believe that the Rams will be in for another top draft pick this season.

29. Los Angeles Chargers

This newly acquired LA team has a bunch of weapons on offense, and has a high ceiling to where they could end up. But with great competition in the AFC West, Philip Rivers perhaps may have to leave the NFL on a low note. Melvin Gordon is now coming into his own, along with Keenan Allen returning, and as always, Antonio Gates is a threat anytime on the field. Rookie head coach Anthony Lynn has a project at hand when it comes to facing the best of the best this 2017 season.

26. New York Jets

A defense with potential is all the Jets have in their favor at this point. Journeyman Josh McCown will take the lead at quarterback for the Jets, and with very few weapons offensively, this team is destined to have a top draft pick in the 2018 draft. They simply didn’t improve their roster from their 5-11 season in 2016. Losing key pieces to the organization, in Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold, and Ryan Clady, just to start the list. Nonetheless, it will be another down year for Todd Bowles and the New York Jets.

27. Cleveland Browns

At least Cleveland has had LeBron the past few years, because the Browns have been bad. But you can now see an upward trend in Cleveland’s roster. Adding two quarterbacks who I feel can heavily improve their offense is a major plus, along with the additions through the draft, I believe this team is on the upward trend. Now it’s time to put wins on the calendar in 2017.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have had a young talented core for roughly three seasons now, but it doesn’t translate onto the field of play. Early first-round pick, Blake Bortles, was supposed to be the answer at quarterback for years to come, but unfortunately, he hasn’t arrived yet for Jacksonville. Head coach Doug Marrone has now made the preseason an open battle for the starting QB job between Bortles and Chad Henne.

With a talented defense on paper, and rookie running back Leonard Fournette, the Jaguars look to make a push in a division that is very takable for any of the teams in the division.

 

25. Buffalo Bills

With a new head coach comes major changes. That’s exactly what happened once Sean McDermott walked through the door. Trading away both Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby before week one of the regular season, it was a bold move that told the rest of the NFL they’re building up their assets for the future. I believe McDermott knows Tyrod Taylor isn’t bringing a championship home to Buffalo, and is building for years to come, so that this franchise can see the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades.

24. Washington Redskins

QB Kirk Cousins is back in a Redskins uniform for one more season, and his success will be key for his team this season. The addition of WR Terrelle Pryor will suppress the losses of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, but still can’t make up for the duos talent. But coming off of a pretty decent year and the team signing a few big name players, the team didn’t do enough to compete with the rest of their division. Washington is arguably in the hardest division in football and must face top-tier tCarseams week-in and week-out. I believe they’ll go quarterback in round one of the next NFL draft as next years class is full of young talent at QB.

23. New Orleans Saints

For Drew Brees and his offense, there is promise as always. But after trading top receiver, Brandin Cooks, to New England, Brees’ weapons on the outside are now limited. Of course, the quest of future hall-of-famer, Adrian Peterson, now continues in New Orleans. It will be very interesting to see how a veteran like A.P. can come back and solidify himself in the NFC South, while trying to push his new organization into the playoffs. The defense is the main worry for this team, as always. Another bottom-tier year for the Saints’ defense in 2016. A playoff push is only going to occur if the defense plays their part.

22. Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz is now the Eagles key of success going forward. The North Dakota State product caught a handful of attention after his success last season. The offense acquired two big pieces in their offense, in LeGarrette Blount and Alshon Jeffrey. The two should have a very positive effect to the team’s success. Their 7-9 was a disappointment after their 4-0 start, but with some minor changes and some gelling between the newcomers. The team has a shot to win eight games, but the Cowboys and Giants both will be too far to reach for the young team.

21. Minnesota Vikings

The loss of Teddy Bridgewater killed the hope of a remarkable season last season. Although, it’s a possibility he returns this season, Sam Bradford is still at the helm, and perhaps the veteran can make something happen for this team. Their first season since Adrian Peterson departed, the team has playoff hopes and it’s an argument for most Minnesota fans, but nothing is promising enough on either sides of the ball for the team to surely make a push.

20. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati has fallen off of the top of the AFC. After the AJ Green injury, alongside a three-game losing streak following a tie last year, the team showed who they really were. I believe Marvin Lewis is attempting to spark things up, drafting lightning-quick receiver, John Ross, and college star, Joe Mixon at running back. The Bengals fell into the below-average realm in terms of their defense as well. LB Vontaze Burfict will sit the first five weeks of the season due to an illegal hit in the second preseason game of 2017, a huge blow for the defense.

19. Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco stays afloat as a good NFL quarterback but nothing pops out about his game anymore while looking at his game. He’s been inconsistent, but has proven he can be a great QB for Baltimore. Now that the team is without WR Steve Smith Sr., they’ll rely on  Mike Wallace and newly-acquired Jeremy Maclin to help Flacco. The Ravens defense steadily remains in the top ten discussions, but I believe Flacco and the offense will have to outperform themselves for the Ravens to make that playoff push that John Harbaugh craves.

18. Carolina Panthers

This Panthers offense has the potential to explode like they did in their Superbowl 50 run, only two years ago. The inconsistency of Cam Newton is what hurt the team last year and what must change in order for the team to compete with the rest of the NFC South. The former MVP simply has to adjust his mechanics, because his fundamentals got away from him at times during 2016. First-round draft pick Christian McCaffrey will definitely improve the offenses efficiency, as I believe Ron Rivera will give McCaffrey a nice workload in his rookie season. The Panthers have a high ceiling, but I see their season playing out like last year.

17. Tennessee Titans

This organization is trending upwards. Marcus Mariota must stay healthy, and the defense must improve, but this is a team who could very well make a playoff run. The biggest concern is the pass defense. They gave up the third-most passing yards last year, but was backed up by a very good front-seven on the defense. Offensively, the team has weapons in Delanie Walker, DeMarco Murray, Eric Decker and rookie Corey Davis. That should be more than enough to see an incline in Mariota’s game this year.

16. Miami Dolphins

When the Dolphins fall short of expectations this year, many fans will look directly to the season-ending injury of Ryan Tannehill. The team had very high expectations, and still do, for the 2017 season after making the playoff last year. With both sides of the ball finally falling into place, the team lost their main man.

“But Jay Cutler had some of his best years under coach Adam Gase”

Very true. But this isn’t prime Jay Cutler anymore, and although I do see this team pushing for the playoffs, they’re no match to beat any playoff-contending AFC team in a wild card weekend match-up.

15. Denver Broncos

Year one under new head coach Vance Joseph may not be a usual feel for Broncos fans. Missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011 last year, Joseph takes over a team with a solid defense and a questionable offense. Time will tell, but the team needs to find the long-term option at QB. Although the team has major upside as always, I see this team nearly missing the playoffs due to the toughness of their division, alongside the offensive question marks.

14. Detroit Lions

The Lions snuck into the playoffs, traveling to Seattle, only to lose in the first round. Improvements have been made during a very well-played offseason by the Lions, as the team hopes they can see the Matthew Stafford that they did a year ago. Taking talented-LB Jerrad Davis 21st-overall, the team just needs their defense to hold their own and let Stafford do what he did last season.

13. Indianapolis Colts

Many question marks are raised when talking about Indianapolis, but the upside on the team gives them so much potential. Enough that the Colts can compete with the defensive juggernauts in Houston. Andrew Luck can carry this team with a low amount of NFL talent on his side of the football. The defense seeks improvement, but are surely the teams biggest weakness, ranking 27th in both rushing and passing defenses. The front office went defense for the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, headlined by Ohio State safety Malik Hooker who can change the mindset of a defense who seeks for improvement.

12. Houston Texans

Tom Savage will be the starter for Houston during week one, but his leash won’t be long as fans crave to see rookie Deshaun Watson in action. The team made the playoffs last year by playing the best defensive football there was, and that was without franchise-star JJ Watt. With him back in full-force, and a new face at QB, I believe that hopes are high in Houston.

11. Arizona Cardinals

A major disappointment in 2016, a popular Superbowl favorite at the beginning of the season ended up going 7-8-1. With Carson Palmer coming back for perhaps his final year, alongside Larry Fitzgerald and a defense determined to get back to the top of the heap, I see this team making waves in 2017, a big threat to Seattle. Running back David Johnson is also a key piece to success. Although, the team has holes, because there is a reason the team only won seven games last year. They must build on what went wrong last year and return back to the playoffs in 2017.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The HBO-stars are in store for a high-scoring season, improving their offense dramatically by adding star wide out DeSean Jackson and highly coveted rookie tight end O.J. Howard. The defense had sparks of greatness last season during their five-game win-streak, but need to become more consistent in order to make the playoff push so many people believe the team is capable of. Jameis Winston is going into his third season with expectations through the roof. With all eyes on them, I think now is the time the Buccaneers deliver what they’ve been in-store for ever since Winston walked through the doors.

9. Seattle Seahawks

Another year, another playoff appearance for a young star in Russell Wilson. Although Wilson has had a good surrounding cast every year in the league, I think people take too much credit away from him for that. This team is going to return back to the playoffs and have a legitimate shot at winning the NFC. The running game is what is really holding them back, and by signing Eddie Lacy, it shows the team is aware of the issue and addressing it.

8. New York Giants

All-around firepower is what this team has, both offensively and defensively. The Giants are in-store for a big year if they can stay healthy. After their big offseason a year ago, which panned out very well for them, the front office backed it up with yet another year of acquisitions and improvement to their personnel. They now have a dual-threat at receiver that’s as good as it gets, in Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. Although the running game isn’t the best, I think the Giants have potential to explode this season.

7. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs lost to a visiting Steelers team last year, that left them in disappointment following a 12-4 season. We’re ready to see what this team can do again, and although I think they can take the AFC West, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the team flopped. Andy Reid has completely changed the name of the franchise and has turned Arrowhead stadium into a fortress not many teams walk away with a win from. QB Alex Smith is running out of time to show the world he can win a championship. As for the defense, they’re as solid as ever. The time is now for this aging team.

6. Green Bay Packers

We’ll see Green Bay back deep into the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers is proving he’s amongst some of the most talented quarterbacks of all time, plus his team looked as good as ever last season. Plain and simple, this team wasn’t in the Superbowl because Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense was scorching hot that day. A few minor kinks that coach McCarthy can get out and I see this team fighting for the same spot they were fighting for a year ago.

5. Atlanta Falcons

MVP Matt Ryan turned in a career year and now has the entire football world under the impression he’s elite, which for the most part is true, but there are still aspects he must work on. Although I don’t believe the Falcons are taking home the Lombardi trophy this season, I do believe they’ll make major waves once again, forcing teams to switch their focus solely on the offense and Julio Jones. For Atlanta, they did give up the 27th most points per game defensively, which will need to improve if this team wants any part in that deep playoff run they could have.

4. Oakland Raiders

Clearly, the Raiders were in for a deep run in the AFC playoffs until Derek Carr went down with a season-ending injury. With him back, this team is as dangerous as anyone. With Marshawn Lynch behind Carr, the Raiders now look to destroy their opponents on both sides of the ball, which is very possible. Coach Jack Del Rio sees optimism in all his players as the Raiders look to take down the current dynasty in the NFL known as the New England Patriots.

3. Dallas Cowboys

“Ezekiel Elliot is suspended, the Cowboys season is over!”

I’ve seen that far too much. The Cowboys are arguably the best team in the NFC, with a young core, who I see being a very good football team for a very long time. Although, Elliot is missing time, the team will be able to cope without him and win games, though it won’t be easy. If Prescott continues what he started and the Cowboys defense can repeat what they did last season, which was stellar, the Cowboys will be deep into the playoffs again.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s year-in and year-out for Big Ben and the Steelers. Owning one of the greatest three-headed monsters of all time in Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown, this team needs to keep it at the basics, and let their talent speak for themselves. Coach Mike Tomlin knows what it’ll take for the team to hoist the trophy, I believe it can be done.

1. New England Patriots

The GOAT! Tom Brady won his fifth Superbowl last season solidifying his case as the greatest of all time. For this season, all could end in a very similar fashion. Although the Patriots were the champions, you can see improvements to their team. A low blow in the preseason is the loss of Julian Edelman. With the addition of Brandin Cooks, it looks like his role just improved due to that injury. Another key addition is star CB Stephon Gilmore. The New England Patriots are the overwhelming favorite to win this season’s Superbowl, and their mine too.

 

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