Where Should NFL Teams Rank Heading Into The Season?

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This morning I saw an article on Bleacher Report titled “NFL Power Rankings: B/R’s Expert Consensus Rank for Each Team.” Of course I looked through the rankings for each team. I was mostly interested in seeing where my team (Dallas Cowboys) rank, but I also wanted to see where these experts ranked the other 31 teams in the NFL.

For the majority of the teams I wasn’t surprised at where their ranking falls. For example, the Dallas Cowboys are ranked tied for 14th. That makes complete sense to me because we don’t know how they’re going to be. They’ve made a lot of changes by losing key players, but they’ll also have Ezekiel Elliott back for a full season with an offensive line that looks to be much better. Then there’s teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who rank dead last. I made a post earlier this year about my record predictions for each team after the NFL Draft, and I had the Buccaneers as the worst team too.

While a lot these rankings made sense to me, there were some teams I felt should either be ranked higher or lower than they are. Below you’ll find the rankings from the Bleacher Report experts. I’ve bolded the names of a few teams throughout the rankings. Those are the teams I feel like are in the wrong spot. I’m going to make my case for these teams to either be ranked higher or lower against the case of these experts. So if you would please move with me down below these rankings, I’ll tell you why.

1. Minnesota Vikings

T2. Los Angeles Rams

T2. Philadelphia Eagles

4. New Orleans Saints

5. New England Patriots

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

7. Atlanta Falcons

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

9. Green Bay Packers

10. Los Angeles Chargers

11. Tennessee Titans

12. Kansas City Chiefs

13. Carolina Panthers

T14. Dallas Cowboys

T14. Houston Texans

16. San Francisco 49ers

17. Detroit Lions

18. Denver Broncos

19. New York Giants

20. Chicago Bears

21. Baltimore Ravens

22. Seattle Seahawks

23. Washington Redskins

24. Oakland Raiders

25. Cincinnati Bengals

26. Buffalo Bills

27. Indianapolis Colts

28. Cleveland Browns

T29. Arizona Cardinals

T29. Miami Dolphins

31. New York Jets

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

MINNESOTA VIKINGS, LOS ANGELES RAMS, AND PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

All three of these teams are ranked right next to each other. You could put any of them at any of those top three spots and most people would be okay with it, but I don’t like it. I hate the Eagles, but they should be number one. They’re the defending Super Bowl champions and it appears they only got better this offseason. Carson Wentz probably would have been the league MVP last year if he didn’t get hurt, and now all reports are that he’s back and looking like himself again. The Eagles added to a defensive line that was already the strength of this team, making them even more dangerous for opposing quarterbacks.

The Rams and Vikings have made some good moves this offseason also, but when it really comes down to it, who has the best quarterback? The Philadelphia Eagles do. Minnesota replaced Case Keenum with Kirk Cousins, who wasn’t really any better than Keenum was a year ago. The weapons Cousins has with the Vikings might be better, but I don’t see it making that much of a difference. The Rams have made some fantastic moves, but their best player (Aaron Donald) currently isn’t showing up for training camp because of a contract situation. That’s a huge blow to the Rams. This is also a team who lost in the first round of the playoffs last year to the Falcons, who are ranked four spots below them. All of these teams will be good. I expect them to be some of the best teams in the NFL, but the Eagles deserve the top spot until proven otherwise.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, TENNESSE TITANS, AND KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The Chargers didn’t make the playoffs last year and rank 10th in the NFL. The Titans and Chiefs are ranked 11th and 12th and barley got into the playoffs. My problem here is the Carolina Panthers being ranked below these three teams. Carolina has one of the better defensive units in the NFL. I don’t believe this Panthers team would lose to the Titans, Chiefs, or Chargers. If I had to pick one team to beat them, I’d pick the Chargers, but I still think the Panthers should be ranked higher. I think the Chargers should be right around where they’re ranked, but not better than the Panthers.

Tennessee had one of the worst defensive units in the NFL last season. They barely got into the playoffs. They’re almost in the top 10 in the NFL according to these rankings, which I don’t see happening. Kansas City had one of the best quarterbacks last season, but then shipped him off to the Redskins. We don’t know what Mahomes will be yet. Is he better than Cam already? I don’t think so. He’s got nice weapons, but let’s wait until he plays some games first. This team also got rid of their best corner, which will probably hurt them defensively. I’d even make the case teams like the Cowboys and 49ers should be ranked higher than the Titans and Chiefs right now.

NEW YORK GIANTS

This Giants team was one of the worst in the NFL last season, but they had a lot of things go wrong. Their receivers group was supposed to be feared around the league, but they battled injuries the entire season. Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham both went down. They had offensive line problems and they haven’t had a dynamic running back in a long time. Well those problems have been addressed.

Marshall is no longer with the team, but Beckham is back. He’s one of the best receivers in the NFL. The offensive line looks to be a lot better, which will give Manning a lot more time to throw the ball. Oh, and they drafted Saquon Barkley, who everyone projects to be the best rookie running back. The way the rookie running backs have been playing the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if Barkley led the NFL in rushing yards this season. I think 19th is too low for the Giants. I’d rank them over the Broncos and Lions. I might even put them over the Titans.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AND CLEVELAND BROWNS

Why were the Colts so bad last year? Well their defense was the worst, but the offense didn’t really help them out much. Andrew Luck is back and should have a huge impact on this team if he’s healthy. Luck is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Having him will drastically improve this offense, which in turn will help out the defense. They’re ranked 27th, but I’d put them at least over the Bills and Bengals right now.

I’d also move the Browns over the Bills and Bengals. This isn’t going to be the 0-16 team we saw last season. They have a much better quarterback group, a much better receivers group, and I feel like better position groups all around for the most part. There are a few positions groups which lost some guys, but overall I feel this team is much much better than they were a season ago.

NEW YORK JETS

I’m not really sure why the Jets are ranked 31st. Is it because of the possibility of Sam Darnold starting? I don’t know. I think a lot of people forget this Jets team was pretty competitive last season. They came close to beating several teams, including the Patriots. If a few plays had gone their way, they probably would have had at least two or three more wins. It’s not like they were getting walked all over every game. I’d put the Jets above the Dolphins for sure. Miami lost several of their best players. That’s not a way to get better. I’d probably put the Jets over the Bills and Bengals also. I think those two teams should be ranked lower than they are.

 

So there’s my reasoning for moving some teams up or down in these rankings heading into the NFL season. What do you guys think? Who should be ranked higher and who should be lower?

Carson Wentz” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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