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Way-Too-Early NFL Power Rankings

With the 2017 – 2018 season ending almost two months ago, the NFL draft is less than a month away. Teams are planning who to draft. Here is how the teams in the league stack up before the drafting starts.
32. The Cleveland Browns
There is much excitement for the Browns this upcoming season. The team repeatedly scrambles to improve themselves, working year in and year out to win at least one game. This year may be different, but until they can win more than one game in two seasons, they’ll be higher on the list.
31. The New York Giants
Everybody expected the Giants to make a run for the Super Bowl last year, and found themselves watching a disastrous season instead. It seems that the Giants are a boom or bust type of team, and with questions about the offensive line, the return of some players, the regression of Eli Manning, and other topics, this doesn’t look like the coming year will be successful.
30. The Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are hoping for David Johnson to make a comeback and be the superstar they believe he is. Without his appearance, Sam Bradford may have to do it all for the Cardinals. If time can tell, Bradford has proven that he cannot be the guy they depend on.
29. The New York Jets
The Jets were grounded last year and may stay grounded this year. Without many off-season moves, and questions of who the quarterback will be for the upcoming season, their place in the same division as the Patriots and other better teams leads fans to question why they are where they are in the rankings.
28. The Denver Broncos
The Broncos might be listed too law for the type of defense they have had. Unfortunately, ever since the retirement of Peyton Manning, the team has had trouble playing competitively in the league. With Case Keenan coming into town, we’ll see if last year was a fluke or not.
27. The Cincinnati Bengals
The once-mighty Bengals have slipped and slipped down the rankings in the past years due to poor play and undisciplined football. Dalton hasn’t been the Pro-Bowl quarterback he once was. It’s hard to see if the Bengals can improve and become who they were a few years ago.
26. The Miami Dolphins
It seems that Adam Gase’s reign began as the team exiled many fan favorites, such as Jarvis Landry and Jay Ajayi, during the last season. The team added players to hopefully replace the departed players. With Ryan Tannehill returning, there is a lot of uncertainty in the air. Being in a division with Tom Brady and the Patriots also doesn’t help.
25. The Tennessee Titans
Last year, the Titans reached the playoffs. The team has the potential to be a consistent playoff team again, but without many free-agent additions this year and the rest of the division becoming tougher, the Titans might be the odd team out.
24. The Baltimore Ravens
Similar to the Titans, the Ravens can be a playoff team. Unfortunately, many other teams have made moves that can help better them, while the Ravens have not. With Flacco regressing since his Super Bowl win, the team appears likely to regress as well.
23. The Indianapolis Colts
The curious case of the Colts remains as fans question Andrew Luck’s health. With Luck playing, the team is among the Top 10, but without him, the team looks lost. If he comes back the way he was before, the Colts will be tough. However, without the certainty of who is playing center next year, the Colts will have to compete for a top pick in next year’s draft.
22. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have skillful players on their offense, but they always fall short. Being in what is possibly the toughest division in football doesn’t help their chances. Even still, they have trouble playing competitively outside the division. The Buccaneers need to find a way to beat the rest of the division, in order to move up in the rankings.
21. The Buffalo Bills
The Bills made the playoffs last year because they had a lot of help. They crawled into that spot. The team is searching desperately for a franchise quarterback in this upcoming draft. Until the question of who will fill the position is answered, we’ll have to wait and see if the Bills can reach the playoffs for a second straight year.
20. The Chicago Bears
The Bears are young and inexperienced. Now that Mitchell Trubisky will have a full year to prepare as the starter, the Bears will be more competitive. It’ll take a few more years for the team to develop, but until then, the NFC remains overcrowded.
19. The Detroit Lions
Every year, there is speculation that the Lions will make some noise in the NFC, but end up short. This team is competitive, but with the Vikings making the moves they have and the return of Aaron Rodgers, it doesn’t make it easier for the team to make a sound.
18. The Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr and the Raiders took a massive step in the wrong direction last season. With the return of Jon Gruden, people are wondering if Carr and the other offensive players can fulfill Gruden’s complicated offense. Those questions leave them where they are in the rankings.
17. The Washington Redskins
Letting Kirk Cousins go and bringing in Alex Smith to replace him is a smart move. For the past couple of years, the team has had trouble finding an identity on offense. Maybe with Smith and company, they will solidify that. Even still, in the crowded NFC East it’s hard to see the Redskins discovering their identity until it’s too late.
16. The Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have many questions to answer. They looked for youthful players as they shipped out Alex Smith in favor of Patrick Mahomes. The team has many skilled players, such as Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill, who will need to help guide Mahomes as they strive for their first playoff victory at home in years.
15. The San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers hype is real to many, as Jimmy Garoppolo joins the team and they work with a young defense. Until he has played a full season as a starting quarterback, though, there are questions remaining about the team.
14. The Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys will always be a dangerous team in the unpredictable NFC East so long as they have Ezekiol Elliot. The team is young and in need of help with their defense. If Dak Prescott can return to the potential he showed during his rookie season and the team betters their defense, the Cowboys have a shot of beating out the Eagles for the division.
13. The Seattle Seahawks
With the legion of boom dismembered, this team now becomes Russell Wilson’s team. Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but the Seahawks have made few moves while their opponents have made many. If the team succeeds next year, it will be all thanks to Wilson.
12. The Houston Texans
Before Deshaun Watson tore his ACL, he seemed to be a lock for Rookie of the Year and MVP. The question now is whether he’ll come back better than he was. The Texans have been waiting for a quarterback of his talents to take them over the hump, and this year, Watson and company are going to surprise many.
11. The Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are unpredictable. One game, they are great; the next, they are terrible. However, starting 0 – 4 and finishing 9 – 7 says a lot about what this team is capable of. The upcoming challenge for the Chargers is to prove that they can remain consistent and challenge the Chiefs for the division.
10. The Green Bay Packers
It is hard not to put the Packers higher on the rankings, but the release of Jordy Nelson and the return of Aaron Rodgers after his second collarbone injury leaves uncertainty about the identity of the team. No matter what, Rodgers can carry this team, but there are other teams that are more talented.
9. The Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars’ defense made history last year. Hopefully the team can repeat their success this year, and hopefully Blake Bortles can look like Big Ben. If Bortles can make that leap, this team is ready to make the next step.
8. The Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan may be the most underrated quarterback in the NFL. He’s a gunslinger, but he always puts his team in a position to win. Being in a division with the Saints and the Panthers is tough, but it’s still hard to count out the Falcons.
7. The Carolina Panthers
Jonathan Stewart’s release may hur the Panthers’ running game, but the team has released productive players before, and they still produce very well. With the defense team that they have had since Luke Kuechley was drafted, this team will always be a Top 10 team.
6. The Pittsburgh Steelers
With Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’veon Bell on the roster, the Steelers will always be a contender. The AFC have two formidable, experienced teams, and the Steelers are one of them.
5. The New Orleans Saints
Similar to the Vikings, the Saints caught everybody off guard last year. Drew Brees and company are looking to bounce back from the heartbreak loss last year in the divisional round. With the backfield that they have, the offense for the Saints might be too much for opposing teams to handle.
4. The Minnesota Vikings
With the addition of Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson, the Vikings are poised to be serious threats in the NFC. Last year, the team was a game away from reaching the Super Bowl, with a backup quarterback and running back. With Dalvin Cook coming back from injury, this team looks dangerous.
3. The New England Patriots
After losing the Super Bowl and trading Brandin Cooks, the Patriots are still the offensive juggernauts as Tom Brady returns. Even after rumors of Rob Gronkowski being traded away, this team is posed to return to the Super Bowl, or at least get close to it.
2. The Los Angeles Rams
After adding Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Brandin Cooks to their rosters, the Rams are going all in after their successful 2017 season. Having Suh and Aaron Donald alongside each other will wreak havoc for opposing quarterbacks.
1. The Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are the reigning champions, and while they may have lost some players, they have acquired players like Mike Wallace, Michael Bennett, and Daryl Whorley. With Carson Wentz returning from his injury and Carson Wentz looking like he’ll return unless he is traded on draft day, this team looks like they’ll be the face of the NFC this season.
Featured image taken from CBC.com.