The off-season is almost over. The first preseason game is only a couple weeks away, and soon football will be back to take over our lives. In honor of this, we’ve prepared the pre-preseason power rankings. Which team is the best? How about the worst? Only one way to find out.
Pre-Preseason Power Rankings
32. New York Jets
Without a shadow of a doubt, the New York Jets have the worst roster in the NFL. Even if they had a cupcake schedule, that would’ve been enough for them to be the worst team in the NFL, but they weren’t that lucky. The Jets have to play against the AFC West, the NFC South, and those pesky New England Patriots. The Jets will be lucky if they win a game this year. Don’t fret, Jets fans. At least the draft will be fun for you next year.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Is Kirk Cousins a San Francisco 49er yet? No? Then don’t get your hopes up for this team. John Lynch fleeced the Chicago Bears, picking up several draft picks, but this team just isn’t there yet. They were one of the worst squads on both sides of the ball last year, and they just didn’t do enough to fix it yet. Miss Jim Harbaugh yet?
30. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are a funny team. On one hand, they improved dramatically this off-season. Myles Garrett, Caleb Brantley, Larry Ogunjobi, and David Njoku are good picks, but they might not have done enough yet. Jabrill Peppers and DeShone Kizer might be good pickups, and they might not. The Browns should be better in 2017, but how much better is up to the likes of Brock Osweiler and company. Good luck, Dawg Pound.
29. Chicago Bears
Why in the world did the Chicago Bears give up an arm and a leg to draft Mitch Trubisky? Supposedly, the 49ers weren’t negotiating with anyone else, so the Bears were bidding against themselves for a raw quarterback prospect with 13 collegiate starts. And even then, they’re paying Mike Glennon $14,000,000 for one season. This team has some pieces, but unless players like Kevin White make dramatic improvements, they’ll be the worst team in the NFC North.
28. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams are a team full of question marks. Will Jared Goff become a franchise quarterback? Will Todd Gurley get any help from the offense? Is Cooper Kupp the answer at receiver? The Rams have a chance to improve this year, but they have to do it. They have plenty of potential, but it has to transform into production.
27. Los Angeles Chargers
Staying in Los Angeles, the Chargers are much of the same. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry, Jason Verrett, Jatavis Brown, Joey Bosa, there’s no shortage of talent on this team. They just have to get it together. They blew so many winnable games last year, and in a division like the AFC West, you just can’t get away with it.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the potential to make some noise this year, but it’s going to take a lot of things going right. Blake Bortles has to turn the ball over less, Leonard Fournette has to be a workhorse, and all of these pieces on a talented defense need to come together. Of all the bad teams, the Jaguars have the best chance of shocking the world.
25. Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins are stuck. They can’t decide if Kirk Cousins is the answer or not, and it’s easy to see why. His numbers are good, but not great, and he wants to be paid like he’s great. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are gone, and it’ll be interesting to see if Terrelle Pryor can fill their shoes.
24. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are going to be the victims of a very tough schedule. They’ve got talent with Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy, and Sammy Watkins, but it’s not always enough, and it won’t be enough against an impossibly loaded schedule. They’ll be lucky to sniff .500 this year.
23. Indianapolis Colts
Despite the fact that Archie Manning never wore a Colts jersey, his legacy is tied to the franchise. John Elway refused to play for the Baltimore Colts, because he didn’t want to be the next Archie Manning, and Archie’s son, Peyton is the greatest in the history of the franchise. The legacy continues with Andrew Luck, who could be the NFL’s best quarterback, but the team refuses to give him help. Look forward to another year where the young passer desperately tries to carry the team by himself.
22. New Orleans Saints
This off-season, the New Orleans Saints made sure the offense was a priority. They added future hall of fame back, Adrian Peterson, as well as offensive lineman, Ryan Ramcyzk. Unfortunately, offense wasn’t really a problem. Drew Brees is making a habit out of 5,000-yard passing seasons anyway. It was their defense that caused problems, and with the exception of corner Marshon Lattimore, they mostly ignored it. Look forward to more shootouts for the Saints in 2017.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are a young squad, and they had some growing pains in 2016. Carson Wentz has shown a ton of potential, even though his Eagles didn’t give him much to work with. This off-season, they went out and added Alshon Jeffrey, LeGarrette Blount, and Torrey Smith. There aren’t any excuses for the young passer now, he’s got a lot to prove in 2017.
20. Minnesota Vikings
For a moment in 2016, the Minnesota Vikings looked like an elite team. Despite the fact that they lost Teddy Bridgewater before the season started, the team started 5-0. However, they ended up only winning eight games, and it turned out that Sam Bradford just wasn’t enough. Question marks still surround the quarterback position, and in a division they share with Aaron Rodgers, the Vikings will have to score more points.
19. Cincinnati Bengals
After five straight seasons where the Bengals made the playoffs, they stumbled in 2016. Andy Dalton was mediocre, they failed to have a 1,000 yard rusher, and A.J. Green was limited by injuries. Their pass rush was middle of the pack, though they did pick off a ton of passes. People have started to speculate that the offense can’t run like it used to without Hue Jackson calling the plays, and in a competitive AFC North, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bengals hold up.
18. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are in for a rough time. The AFC East plays the NFC South and the AFC West, and the Miami Dolphins just aren’t that good. Jay Ajayi had a breakout season, but that’s about all they did. They scraped to a playoff spot, and were subsequently humiliated by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
17. Detroit Lions
It might be upsetting to see the Detroit Lions so low on this list, especially considering they were a playoff team last season. However, when you look a little closer at the team, they weren’t all that. They didn’t beat anyone worth beating, and they obviously weren’t on the Seattle Seahawks’ level when they met in the playoffs. With a tough schedule, Calvin Johnson won’t be proved wrong in 2017.
16. Arizona Cardinals
It is baffling that the Arizona Cardinals were as bad as they were last year. When you look at the roster, they’re absolutely stacked. Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, David Johnson, Chandler Jones, Tyrann Mathieu, and Patrick Peterson couldn’t beat the New England Patriots with Jimmy Garoppolo under center? Bizarre. Maybe with Bruce Arians fully recovered, the team can get back on track in 2017.
15. Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco perfectly epitomizes his team. He could be great, making a deep playoff run and contending for the Super Bowl. However, he could also be perfectly mediocre. Will Jeremy Maclin be enough to replace Steve Smith? Will Tony Jefferson be enough to repair their broken secondary? It remains to be seen.
14. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos have one of the NFL’s elite defenses. Von Miller and company helped Denver win nine games last year, even with Trevor Siemian at quarterback. So why aren’t they higher? Because they still have Trevor Siemian at quarterback. They’ve got a miserably tough schedule, and their defense just isn’t good enough to carry Siemian to the post-season.
13. Carolina Panthers
Two years ago, Cam Newton was the MVP, Luke Kuechly was the NFL’s best defensive player, and they were the NFC Champions. Last year? Not so much. Kuechly was injured, Newton was mediocre, and the team struggled to make an impact. People have said that Newton’s 2016 was an aberration, but in all reality, that’s how he played in every year but 2015. The Panthers have all the talent in the world, but it remains to be seen if they can put it together in 2017.
12. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans are a team that could be legitimate AFC contenders or one of the worst teams in the NFL. That seems like a huge swing, but it really isn’t. There are plenty of questions surrounding this team. Will Marcus Mariota rebound from injury? Will the off-season acquisitions save that defense? The Titans have a great offensive line, but can DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry keep pounding the rock? We’ll see.
11. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans had the NFL’s best defense last year, and they didn’t even have J.J. Watt on the field. With the return of a healthy Watt, this defense could be insane. However, they still lack offensive firepower. Maybe Deshaun Watson will surprise everyone, but if not, their defense will have to carry them.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a squad that has been improving slowly but surely, and could be a force in 2017. Jameis Winston is a solid quarterback, and he’ll have Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Cameron Brate to throw to this year. Add a defense starring Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, and they could make some real noise this season.
9. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs had an iffy off-season. They traded a lot for Patrick Mahomes, who probably won’t see the field this year, and lost key players like Dontari Poe and Jeremy Maclin. They didn’t improve in a division where every other team did. This could spell trouble. However, Justin Houston, Eric Berry, and the defense are still formidable, and Tyreek Hill‘s evolution could be fun to watch.
8. Dallas Cowboys
A lot of people are really high on the Dallas Cowboys, and it’s easy to see why. Dak Prescott made a ton of noise last year, Dez Bryant actually caught passes, and Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing. They could, and should be good again in 2017. However, if you look at Dallas’ defense, there are some problems. Suspensions and an inexperienced secondary could cause some serious problems against the NFC’s better teams.
7. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks are a funny team. On one hand, they have all the tools to be real Super Bowl contenders. However, there have been rumors about a rift forming between the offense and the defense. If there are no problems in the locker room, this squad has all the potential in the world this year.
6. New York Giants
When the New York Jets released Brandon Marshall, it was greeted with an exhausted sigh. After all, Marshall had played for four teams at that point, and he’d never left a team on good terms. However, when he signed with the New York Giants, it made headlines. The idea of Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. on the same offense? Eli Manning is a lucky man. However, it will be interesting to see if those egos can co-exist.
5. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have been the talk of the off-season. Whether it was Derek Carr making bank, Marshawn Lynch coming out of retirement, or Marquette King‘s Instagram shenanigans, the Raiders have been the talk of the town. Did Reggie McKenzie do enough to help the defense? Will Khalil Mack be enough to make the Raiders contenders? Is Jack Del Rio a good enough coach to get them over the hump? Only one way to find out.
4. Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are a strange team. With Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Martellus Bennett, and company, they have an elite offense. However, their defense leaves a lot to be desired outside of Clay Matthews and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. However, the NFC North is a joke of a division, and Rodgers’ offense will likely carry them to the playoffs yet again.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
When healthy, the Pittsburgh Steelers are ridiculously talented on paper. Go online and play Madden right now, most people use the Steelers. They’re the Golden State of NFL teams. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Ryan Shazier, T.J. Watt, James Harrison, and others make the Steelers a perennial contender.
2. Atlanta Falcons
For the first fifty or so minutes of the Super Bowl, it really felt like the Atlanta Falcons were finally going to get that elusive Lombardi Trophy. Matt Ryan would’ve solidified his position as an elite quarterback, and a new powerhouse would be born in the NFL. Instead, they gave up the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history and the next team on this list added their fifth Lombardi. Still, Julio Jones and Vic Beasley are still in the house, so the Falcons will probably be fine.
1. New England Patriots
As the reigning, defending Super Bowl champions, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots would’ve had a stranglehold on the number one spot. Throw in the fact that they’ve only gotten better this off-season, and there’s no question. The Patriots were one of the NFL’s most dominant teams last season, and this off-season, they added Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, Kony Ealy, Dwayne Allen, and Lawrence Guy. This Patriots team has the fans talking like it’s 2007, and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone can beat them.
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