NFL Preseason Power Rankings 2015

NFL Preseason Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings: Football is Coming!

With OTAs under way and mini camps just around the corner, it seems fitting to unveil our initial NFL Preseason Power Rankings for the upcoming 2015-16 season. As the rosters continue to take shape and injuries come and go, we might see these rankings fluctuate in the coming weeks. With that said, it’s never too early to start the power ranking debate.

Please feel free to voice your opinion in our comment section below, as I’m sure there will be 31 fanbases angry their squad was not named the top overall team on my list.

So without further adieu, here’s how they rank:

1. Seattle Seahawks

2014 Record: 12-4 (NFC Champs)

The Hawks are a bad play call away from being the 2-time defending Super Bowl champs. Playing with a chip on their shoulders, a healthier Hawks team with a newly-acquired, dynamic offensive weapon in Jimmy Graham, is the clear cut favorite to win the Super Bowl in 2015.

2. Dallas Cowboys

2014 Record: 12-4

Cowboys fans saw their Super Bowl hopes slip right out of Dez Bryant’s hands. Their best team in over a decade returns an All-Pro offensive line, QB and WR and adds some rookie defensive talent that should make a big impact if they can avoid controversy off the field. If I was a gambling man, this would be my pick to take home the Lombardi Trophy.

3. Green Bay Packers

2014 Record: 12-4

Losing to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship took a colossal collapse last year. Green Bay proved to be lacking the experience and poise necessary to win a Super Bowl title. A year later, returning many of the same players, including its star-studded receivers with new contracts, expect an Aaron Rodgers led squad to compete for another championship.

4. New England Patriots

2014 Record: 12-4 (Super Bowl Champs)

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There’s no reason to count the champs out of it. Even if Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension is upheld, expect Belichick to find ways to compete with the teams the Patriots play in that span. Don’t forget, the Pats were 2-2 last year with everybody writing them off and ended up doing pretty well. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Given the success of Patriot backup QBs in the last two decades, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them start well despite the adversity either. The loss of Revis bumps them down a few notches on my list, but in a weak AFC conference, there’s no question the Pats are the favorite again.

5. Indianapolis Colts

2014 Record: 11-5

Luck and the Colts continue to improve, but the team’s management continues to make some questionable moves. Drafting Phillip Dorsett #1 for an already potent offense, neglecting a defense that gets shredded each January by New England and an offensive line that always has Luck on the run, was a questionable move to say the least. As long as the Patriot empire rules, the Colts will remain second best in the AFC.

6. Denver Broncos

2014 Record: 12-4

The Broncos hope Gary Kubiak’s run-heavy offense can keep Peyton’s arm fresh, but its hard not to question how much juice #18 has left in the tank. The loss of Julius Thomas can’t help his cause either. Expect the Broncos to contend, but expect them to fall short again.

7. Arizona Cardinals

2014 Record: 11-5

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If not for major injuries to not one, but two quarterbacks, the Cardinals were the mid-season favorite to dethrone the Seahawks in the NFC. Armed with one of the league’s best defenses and a respectable offensive attack, it will be interesting to see just how far a healthy, Carson Palmer led squad can go.

8. Baltimore Ravens

2014 Record: 10-6

Outside of Seattle, no team had New England on the ropes more so than Baltimore. An errant pass from Flacco did the Ravens in, but they remain a threat to contend in 2015. With Kubiak gone, it will be interesting to see how Baltimore’s offense takes shape this season. The Ravens are hoping their young talent on defense takes strides this year as well.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

2014 Record: 11-5

Pittsburgh lost a lot on defense this offseason. Mike Tomlin has to put his faith in a lot of young, inexperienced players on defense, which probably has Steeler fans feeling pretty uneasy about 2015. As long as Ben, Bell and Brown are on the other side of the ball though, Pittsburgh will stay relevant.

10. Miami Dolphins

2014 Record: 8-8

Tannehill has shown signs of progression each year, but hasn’t been able to connect on the deep ball at a high percentage. Adding Kenny Stills might solve that problem, as nobody is better at chasing the long ball down. Stills provides a deep threat that should make Miami’s offense much more dynamic. The addition of Ndamukong Suh will bolster the team’s defensive production as well. Expect Miami to be a legitimate threat in the AFC. This could be the year New England finally has some competition in the AFC East.

11. Detroit Lions

2014 Record: 11-5

The Lions made significant strides in 2014, but the loss of Suh cannot be overlooked. It’s hard to really measure the impact he had in statistics, but the attention he garners and the opportunities that attention creates for others, cannot be valued. Don’t expect Detroit to repeat as the #1 run defense or as a legitimate NFC contender.

12. Cincinnati Bengals

2014 Record: 10-5-1

There’s no better spot for Cincinnati than #12. They’ll make the playoffs, but they’ll be the worst team there. Dalton and Lewis continually prove they’re not winners on the big stage. Management should have started to think about a new future years ago.

13. Houston Texans

2014 Record: 9-7

By September, we’ll believe in Ryan Mallett, fall in love with J.J. Watt and Deandre Hopkins and contemplate taking on Arian Foster’s vegan diet. All thanks to Hard Knocks. HBO series aside, there’s a lot to like about this young, Texan squad. They were on the cusp of the playoffs last season. With another offseason to prepare and more experience, this team might have what it takes to make a playoff push.

14. Carolina Panthers

2014 Record: 7-8-1

The Panthers suffered the NFC South hangover every anticipated for them last year, falling to 7-8-1. But remarkably, that was enough to win their division. After a playoff victory over a banged up Cardinals team and a respectable effort against the Seahawks, the Panthers seem to be the early favorite in the NFC South. Wouldn’t be surprised if this divisional race was a battle of mediocrity once again though.

15. Kansas City Chiefs

2014 Record: 9-7

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Hard to back a team that threw ZERO touchdowns to a wide receiver for an entire season, but Andy Reid has proven his mistake-free offense, centered around running the ball and finding tight ends can be effective. With that said, the Chiefs defense needs to bounce back if this team has any hopes of making a playoff run. The Chiefs went from second best in the NFL in takeaways (36) in 2013 to a league worst (13) in 2014.

16. Buffalo Bills

2014 Record: 9-7

Rex Ryan finds himself in very familiar territory. He’s got one of the best defenses in the game. He’s got the league’s biggest void at quarterback. And he still finds himself firmly supplanted in the shadow Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots cast over the AFC East.

17. San Diego Chargers

2014 Record: 9-7

As long as Philip Rivers performs at the level he has, the Chargers will remain on the cusp of playoff contention. But it will be difficult to compete with Denver and Kansas City for the AFC West crown. The Chargers hope Melvin Gordon provides a spark in the running game the Chargers have been missing. Not sure they’re quite right defensively to really compete though.

18. Philadelphia Eagles

2014 Record: 10-6

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Chip Kelly made some questionable moves this offseason. The Eagles parted ways with almost all of their impact players on offense and are expected to hand the offensive reigns to a guy that hasn’t been able to stay on the field, in Sam Bradford. They say geniuses look crazy before they show their true genius, but I it’s hard not to wonder if Kelly’s stubbornness is getting the best of him. He’s convinced his system works, yet we haven’t seen it produce a championship at any level. Reminds me of Mike D’Antoni’s NBA tenure with the Suns, Knicks and Lakers.

19. New York Giants

2014 Record: 6-10

We didn’t even make it to OTAs before the Giants lost a key cog in its 2015 wheel. The loss of Will Beatty cancels out any positive changes the Giants made to its offensive line this offseason. The Giants have statistically been the most injured team the last few years. It’s a shame, because the two years they’ve been healthy in the last eight, they won the Super Bowl. If Cruz can get back to health, McAdoo might be able to counter the banged up offensive line problem with some quick plays to Beckham, Cruz and Vereen. But considering Steve Spagnuolo still has his hands full with an inconsistent, injury-prone defense, it’ll be hard to see the Giants really contending in 2015.

20. New Orleans Saints

2014 Record: 7-9

The Saints lost their most dynamic player on offense (Graham) and appear to be rebuilding for the future. Brees and company had their window, won a Super Bowl and now seem to be trending downward for the time being.

21. St. Louis Rams

2014 Record: 6-10

St. Louis boasts a quality defense and has a ton of young talent on offense. Quarterback health has been an issue in years past, but the Rams are hoping Nick Foles can turn things around for them. This is a team that has given Seattle problems in the past. In any other division, the Rams might have made noise the last few years. With the Niners on the rebuild and Foles at the helm, St. Louis could be a sleeper team in 2015.

22. Minnesota Vikings

2014 Record: 7-9

With Adrian Peterson committed to the Vikings, this team needs to be taken seriously. Teddy Bridgewater will see wider passing lanes and Peterson should be dominant as ever after a year of rest. With Green Bay and Detroit carrying much more experience at QB its hard to see the Vikings making a playoff push, but they could be knocking on the door in December.

23. New York Jets

2014 Record: 4-12

The Jets have the pieces to provide Todd Bowles with an even better defense this year. But until they resolve their QB questions, it’ll be hard to outperform their increasingly competitive division.

24. San Francisco 49ers

2014 Record: 8-8

Still trying to process the aftermath of the Harbaugh departure. It’s hard to believe a team as good as it was the last 4 years could fall so far so fast. Expectations are much lower than they were a year ago in San Fran.

25. Atlanta Falcons

2014 Record: 6-10

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The Falcons couldn’t shake their offensive and defensive line struggles in 2014. Vic Beasley adds a pass-rushing threat and their O-Line stands to be more healthy in 2015. With that said, the Falcons still seem to lack the mental and physical toughness it takes to be really successful in this league.

26. Chicago Bears

2014 Record: 5-11

The Bears have all the offensive talent in the world, so it was very surprising to see them go offensive on three of their first four draft picks. Chicago’s defense was absolutely torched last season. With Cutler’s questionable decision-making slowing down their offensive threats and a defense that still leaves much to be desired, it could be a rough year for the Bears.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2014 Record: 2-14

Infamous Jameis could very well bring a bright future to Tampa, but there’s typically a significant learning curve to overcome for rookie QBs. Expect Winston, a proven winner, to lead the Bucs to a few extra wins this season, but it could be a year or two before we see any major leaps.

28. Cleveland Browns

2014 Record: 7-9

With 12 picks in the 2015 draft, the Browns should have a huge influx of young talent. Sonny Weaver would be proud. Cleveland fans may want to put their championship stock in the Cavs though for now as the quarterback situation remains a huge issue.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

2014 Record: 3-13

Adding Julius Thomas and a slew of young wide receivers puts the pressure on Blake Bortles to perform. The pieces are there. He needs to show us what he’s made of. The Jags defense should be relatively formidable under Gus Bradley’s scheme. It’s up to Blake to show the Jags if they landed their franchise QB.

30. Oakland Raiders

2014 Record: 3-13

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Oakland was kind enough to go out and get Derek Carr a legitimate weapon in Amari Cooper. The Raiders aren’t a threat to contend, but they could play spoiler to the hopes of teams that underestimate them by the end of the year.

31. Washington Redskins

2014 Record: 4-12

There are positive reports from OTAs about RGIII, but he hasn’t proven he can stay healthy. In a loaded division, with a weak defense, the Redskins should be looking at a top pick again next year.

32. Tennessee Titans

2014 Record: 2-14

With the right system in place, there’s hope for Marcus Mariota. He had the luxury of throwing to a ton of wide open guys in Chip Kelly’s Oregon system though. The windows will be much smaller in the pros. Hard to imagine Marcus making instant reformations in Tennessee.

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