I realize it is way too early to be ranking teams. However, you can still have an idea of what teams should be contenders and what team should be looking ahead to next year already.
1. New England Patriots
The defending Super Bowl Champions do what they do every offseason. Lose big name players (Gronk, Flowers, etc.) then replace them with cheaper players (Bennet, Harry, etc.). So many people say every year that it is the ending to the Patriots dynasty. I will believe it when I see it.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs were a couple of plays away from making the Super Bowl where they would have had a real chance to win it all. Like many AFC teams, Brady stood in their way. It looks like Hill will still be playing and their defense has improved with the addition of Mathieu and Clark.
3. Los Angeles Rams
The Gurley situation concerns me a lot and is a big blow to the Rams offense. I am not sure if they can be as dynamic next year without Gurley getting 20+ carries a game. Saying that, they are still a very talented team and made it to the Super Bowl last season.
4. Chicago Bears
The Bears should be real contenders this season. That defense will be a nightmare for offenses, and Trubisky will only get better under HC Matt Nagy.
5. Los Angeles Chargers
I was a big fan of the Chargers last season, but they once again collapsed in the playoffs. Their roster is one of the best in the league. If they can put it all together, they have a real chance this year.
6. Indianapolis Colts
Much like the Chargers, the Colts have a problem in the playoffs. The Colts needed to give Luck another weapon, and they did just that with Parris Campbell and Devin Funchess.
7. New Orleans Saints
Many have the Saints as a top three team, but I expect them to fall off this season. They never looked like the same team after the loss to the Cowboys last year, and Brees is another year older.
8. Philadelphia Eagles
If Wentz can stay healthy, the Eagles will be the team to beat in the NFC East, especially with the addition of Jordan Howard.
9. Cleveland Browns
Some have already marked the Browns as Super Bowl bound. I will say hold on to that for now. The Browns should focus on winning their division and making the playoffs first. Their roster, however, can compete with anyone in the league.
10. Baltimore Ravens
I am pretty high on the reigning AFC North champs. They lost a lot of good players but also drafted and signed good players. If Lamar can improve in the passing game, him, Hollywood, and Ingram will be a lethal trio.
11. Houston Texans
If Watson can stay upright this season, the Texans can be a real threat. Their defense did take a hit with Mathieu leaving and who knows what Clowney will do with his contract situation.
12. Dallas Cowboys
This may be the last year the Cowboys have a chance to be great. If they decide to pay Dak top dollar, it will be challenging to maintain a team this talented on both sides of the ball.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are an interesting team. They lost AB, and now Juju has to step up. After missing the playoffs, they are hoping to make a strong comeback with the addition of talented rookie LB Devin Bush.
14. Seattle Seahawks
Many saw the Seahawks as a rebuilding team last year, but Wilson and Pete Carol had other plans. Baldwin retired, but they drafted DK Metcalf to fill his shoes.
15. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are a difficult team to rank. With Rodgers under center, they will always be a threat, but how good of an HC will Matt Lafleur be?
16. Carolina Panthers
If the Saints do fall off, the Panthers have a chance to win their division and sneak into the playoffs. One player to watch for them is DJ Moore. I loved him coming out of college, and he showed he could be a threat in the second half of his rookie year.
17. Washington Redskins
I’ve seen a lot of power rankings with the Redskins at the bottom. The explanation always falls on Haskins being a project. While I don’t believe Haskins will throw for 50 TDs his rookie year. I think he can have an immediate impact. The Skins roster also isn’t as bad as many think.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Just two seasons ago the Vikings were in the NFC Championship. Now, they will just try to make the playoffs. I am not a Cousins fan, and I doubt he will ever make the Vikings a contender.
19. San Fransisco 49ers
The 49ers have a lot of talent, but that does not always translate to success. Garoppolo’s play will be the main factor in their success. In the three games he played, his completion percentage was less than 60% and had 7 TDs along with 5 INTs and 2 fumbles. Not the best stats, but he still has a lot of potential.
20. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have yet to recover from their Super Bowl nightmare. Matt Ryan quietly played phenomenal last season finishing with 35 TDs and a 108.1 passer rating. Their defense needs to improve after giving up 384.5 yds per game.
21. New York Jets
If everything comes together, I genuinely believe the Jets could sneak into a wildcard spot. Bell will significantly help the offense. Mosley, Adams, and Williams could make a scary defense. Adam Gase can make this team a contender in the future.
22. Tennesse Titans
I don’t expect the Titans to be a threat this year. I am not a Mariota fan; he and Henrey are way too inconsistent. Their defense will be the only reason they find success.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars will have to prove themselves before I rank them any higher. They have a lot of potential, but that potential fell flat last season. While Foles is an upgrade from Bortles, the Jags need that running game to get back to where it was two years ago.
24. Buffalo Bills
The Bills are still stuck in rebuild mode. Their receiving core is lackluster, McCoy’s age showed a lot last season, and their defense is not scaring anyone
25. Detriot Lions
The Lions have potential on offense with first-round pick Hockenson, but I do not trust HC Patricia to become a great coach after just one season.
26. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have a lot of question marks. Is Kyler their QB of the future? How will Kingsbury transition as an NFL HC? Will Vance Joseph help the defense get their act together? Too many question marks to be ranked higher than 26.
27. Denver Broncos
The Broncos are relying on Joe Flacco to fix their problems. Quick tip, he won’t. They drafted Lock to develop under Flacco, but I’m not sure if Lock will ever be a QB that can lead a team to a Super Bowl.
28. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders will be entertaining to watch, just not on the football field. They have way too much drama to be successful. On top of that, they were selected to be on Hard Knocks. HBO is just throwing gasoline into a fire. I’m sure they’ll have high ratings though.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Many think Bruce Arians will turn Winston into a pro bowl caliber QB. I think Winston is too far gone at this point. He may be the most inconsistent QB in the NFL. On top of that, the Bucs just aren’t very good.
30. New York Giants
99% of people have the Giants as the worst team in the league, and I completely understand. However, they have no pressure at all, and they still have Barkley who will shred defenses. I don’t believe the Giants will be the worst team in the league by the end of the season.
31. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals can never catch a break. Their first-round draft pick is already done for the season, and Dalton is still unproven. They’re the only team not competing for the AFC North crown.
32. Miami Dolphins
No if, ands, or buts about it, the Dolphins are in rebuild mode and aren’t afraid to admit it. They are going to take a chance on Rosen in which they only had to give up a second and fifth round pick. That’s not a lot when possibly finding your franchise QB. If he doesn’t work out, then they will most likely have first dibs on what will be a very strong QB class in next years draft.