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Preseason Power Rankings

Posted Sep 7, 2017

Sky Sports' Neil Reynolds ranks the NFL teams from 1 to 32!

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1.       New England Patriots

The loss of Julian Edelman stings quite considerably, but the best did indeed get even better during the offseason and here is your early season Super Bowl favourite.

2.       Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers went on an another-worldly run at the end of 2016. There is no reason to believe he won’t be in the same kind of form in 2017 and that makes the Packers a title contender.

3.       Seattle Seahawks

The offensive line could be a horror show but the defense – featuring eight Pro Bowlers – is going to be beastly. A healthy Russell Wilson also makes Seattle dangerous.

4.       Atlanta Falcons

There are concerns over how Atlanta deals with that devastating Super Bowl loss, but those worries can be allayed when you start to think of all the offensive weaponry at their disposal.

5.       Pittsburgh Steelers

The most serious contenders to the Patriots in the AFC come in the form of the talent-laden Steelers. The early worries centre around Le’Veon Bell being able to handle a full load at RB.

6.       New York Giants

Eli Manning has another new toy to play with and the receiver trio of Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard could be special. The defense is pretty decent, too.

7.       Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr is back to lead one of the most potent attacks in the NFL. For the Raiders to rise higher on this list and to truly contend, their defense has to hold up its end of the bargain.

8.       Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs often have a label of being a team that wins, but rarely excites. That could all change in 2017 if Tyreek Hill is given a more expansive role on offense.

9.       Minnesota Vikings

Sam Bradford has another season under his belt at QB and the defense is one of the best in the league. The Vikings are hungry to get off to a fast start after falling away at the end of 2016.

10.   Arizona Cardinals

The 2016 season was a massive disappointment to a Cardinals team that still believes it can contend. I also happen to believe this team can get back into the playoff picture in 2017.

11.   Miami Dolphins

No opening day game for the Dolphins due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma. But when they do finally get their season up and running, I think Miami can compete for a wild card spot.

12.   Dallas Cowboys

Too many questions at the moment to place the Cowboys any higher. How long will Ezekiel Elliott be able to play? Did they lose too much on defense? Those are two pretty big ones.

13.   Tennessee Titans

The return of Marcus Mariota will be lauded in Nashville. This is a talented club that is fun to watch. If they find some consistency, which was lacking in 2016, the playoffs beckon.

14.   Washington Redskins

The whole ‘offseason of dysfunction’ storyline is always a fun one to write about. But the truth is that this is still a solid team led by a back-to-back 4,000-yard quarterback in Kirk Cousins.

15.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If Jameis Winston – who I happen to think is the real deal – can cut down on some interceptions and if the defense starts how it finished in 2016, this might be Tampa’s lowest spot for a while.

16.   Denver Broncos

I have some concerns over the offensive line and is Trevor Siemian really the long-term answer at quarterback. Shane Ray’s pass-rushing prowess will be missed on the defensive side of the ball.

17.   Detroit Lions

The Lions upgraded their offensive line in the offseason but they must find another way to ease the load on Matthew Stafford’s well-paid shoulders. And that means running the football.

18.   Houston Texans

Until the Texans get a long-term and productive answer at quarterback, they are destined to be a 9-7 club at best. The defense gives them a shot but the sooner Deshaun Watson gets in, the better.

19.   New Orleans Saints

I have a sneaky feeling that the Saints, with the legendary Drew Brees at the helm, will climb a lot higher in these rankings. But a perennially unproductive defense keeps them down here for now.

20.   Cincinnati Bengals

How the speedy John Ross is integrated into the offense will be fascinating to watch. This is still a dangerous offense but the line up front worries me. An outside bet for the playoffs, for me.

21.   Philadelphia Eagles

I feel like I’m being harsh on the Eagles because there is a lot to like about this team and the continued growth of Carson Wentz. But some teams have to earn a high spot in the rankings.

22.   Baltimore Ravens

Where to start with my worries. The lack of a star running back, too many injuries across the board and Joe Flacco has a bad back. But the defense is dominant and the Ravens are always competitive.

23.   Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton must find a way to get Christian McCaffrey involved in the passing game. But first, Cam needs to get fully healthy and until that happens, the Panthers will reside in the 20s.

24.   Los Angeles Chargers

This is a super-sneaky dark horse team that always has a chance with Philip Rivers at the helm. But why oh why do the Chargers – who now play in LA – always have so many damaging injuries?

25.   Cleveland Browns

Pass me the Cleveland Browns Kool Aid! I was in Cleveland over the summer and I’m buying what Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson are selling. And I also like the look of rookie QB DeShone Kizer.

26.   San Francisco 49ers

The word ‘genius’ was used a lot when discussing Kyle Shanahan and he will earn that moniker if he makes the Niners competitive again. I think he and John Lynch can get it done… in time.

27.   Indianapolis Colts

There is a good chance that this is the lowest the Colts will rank all season. But it’s hard to grade them higher with Scott Tolzien at quarterback and center Ryan Kelly sidelined through injury.

28.   Buffalo Bills

The Bills haven’t gone full-on tank mode like a certain team in their division, but they have jettisoned enough talent to write them off as playoff possibilities.

29.   Chicago Bears

How long can Mike Glennon hold off Mitch Trubisky at quarterback in the Windy City? Another relevant question would be… who the hell is going to catch their passes?

30.   Jacksonville Jaguars

Another positive offseason for the Jags must finally be followed up by winning. That is the bottom line. Tom Coughlin is serving Blake Bortles drinks in The Last Chance Saloon.

31.   Los Angeles Rams

I still have major doubts over the long-term viability of Jared Goff at quarterback. But I do believe Sean McVay can get this team on track… once he has signed Kirk Cousins next March!

32.   New York Jets

The Jets claim they are not tanking on 2017, yet they have off-loaded veterans who started a total of 123 games last term. It could be a long and painful season for the green half of New York.

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Submit your question now! Neil Reynolds answers your questions about American Football and the NFL, whether it’s about the strategies, schedules or the rules behind America’s most popular sports league. Neil has covered NFL since 1991 and is current co-host of Sky Sports’ American football coverage and the Inside the Huddle podcast.

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