Football is back! We're just two days away from the 2017 NFL regular season kickoff game on Thursday night. The Kansas City Chiefs will face the New England Patriots in Foxboro to open the new year.
Now that the NFL season is back, so is everyone's most favorite activity: NFL Power Rankings. Oh yes, it's that time of year to see where all 32 teams rank for the first time. Let's dive right in.
BLG's WEEK 1 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - New England Patriots - Pretty obvious, right? There’s some thought the defending Super Bowl LI champions are realistically chasing 19-0 this year after making a lot of trades (such as for Brandin Cooks) and roster upgrades this offseason. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are still on top and everyone’s trying to knock them off.
2 - Atlanta Falcons - More than six months later, still pretty hard to believe the Falcons blew that 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. I wouldn’t ever want to go through that. Maybe Atlanta can redeem themselves this year. They did so well on offense last year (33.8 points scored per game) that there’s reason for optimism. It remains to be seen how things hold up with Kyle Shanahan gone.
3 - Seattle Seahawks - Seattle still has an insanely strong home field advantage, Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, and a strong defense. There’s no question they’re still among the top teams in the NFC.
4 - Green Bay Packers - The Packers got off to a 4-6 start last year before finishing out the season on a six-game win streak. Then they knocked off the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Turns out that Aaron Rodgers guy is still pretty great.
5 - Pittsburgh Steelers - Le’Veon Bell is back in time for the season, which is great news for the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s offense should be dangerous yet again.
6 - Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs have had a lot of regular season success since Andy Reid arrived in KC but haven’t been able to get over the hump in the playoffs. Sounds familiar.
7 - Dallas Cowboys - There’s so much uncertainty with the Cowboys given the Ezekiel Elliott situation. If he misses a full six games due to suspension, that’s a huge loss for Dallas. Even if Zeke doesn’t miss time, the Cowboys have had a number of players get suspended/injured/arrested this offseason. It’s hard to imagine them going 13-3 again. The Cowboys seem poised to take some kind of step back in 2017.
8 - Oakland Raiders - The addition of Beast Mode makes this Raiders team even more fun. We’ll see just how effective he is after spending time away in retirement.
9 - Arizona Cardinals - Why are the Cardinals ranked so high after going 7-8-1 last year? Well, Arizona did have the league’s seventh best point differential in 2016. Bruce Arians is still a good head coach, as much as I don’t like to admit it, and Carson Palmer had a good preseason. I do wonder how Palmer, who turns 38 in December, will hold up over the season.
10 - Tennessee Titans - This is the year the Titans rise up and take the AFC South. Tennessee has a bright young quarterback in Marcus Mariota (should of kept). The team has done a nice job of surrounding him with a strong offensive line, a reliable running game, and new offensive weapons such as Corey Davis.
11 - New York Giants - Yes, the Giants had a really good defense last year. Yes, the Giants added some more weapons to their offense this year. But why should I care about that so much when they still don’t have a good offensive line? Eli Manning turns 37 in January and I’m pretty sure his best football is behind him.
12 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This Bucs team seems like it’s on the rise after going 9-7 last year and just missing the playoffs. Tampa Bay made some big offensive additions this offseason by signing DeSean Jackson and drafting O.J. Howard. Those are great assets for Jameis Winston.
13 - Philadelphia Eagles - Lucky No. 13 for your Philadelphia Eagles. I’m bullish on the Birds as an above average team despite the fact they went 7-9 last year. The Eagles had the ninth best point differential in 2016 and they’re likely to take a step forward this year. The Eagles actually surrounded Carson Wentz with some weapons. As a result, the second-year passer looked great during training camp and the preseason games. On defense, Philadelphia’s pass rush figures to cause trouble for the offenses that they’ll face. This Eagles roster isn’t without concerns (see: the running game), but it’s improved from last year. The Eagles will push for a playoff spot this season.
14 - Detroit Lions - The Lions are almost the opposite of the 2016 Eagles. Instead of being unlucky in close games, they were the fortunate ones. Detroit had the 12th worst point differential in the league last year. I think they’re much more likely to take a step back or stay the same rather than improve.
15 - Baltimore Ravens - Not sure where to put the Ravens. Baltimore went 8-8 last year. They could be better this year, but Joe Flacco missing most of the offseason isn’t encouraging. Baltimore still has a good defense, so who knows.
16 - Minnesota Vikings - This is the perfect ranking for the Vikings because it’s right in the middle of the rankings: mediocrity. Sam Bradford is going to checkdown all the way to an 8-8 season ... which would mark a career high in wins for him.
17 - Denver Broncos - I’m skeptical of the Broncos. Trevor Siemian just doesn’t do much for me. I also think Denver’s defense might start to fall off, even if just a little bit. It’s not easy to sustain the kind of success they’ve had. The loss of Wade Phillips will only make it more difficult.
18 - Miami Dolphins - Jay Cutler played his best football under Adam Gase so the Dolphins have that going for them. They also still have a lot of talent on that defensive line. The Dolphins have no shot to win the AFC East but maybe they can push for a wild card spot yet again.
19 - New Orleans Saints - The Saints still have Drew Brees so the offense should still be pretty good. The absence of Willie Snead early in the season (three game suspension) and Brandin Cooks (traded away) might hurt early on. I’ll also refuse to believe their defense is any good until I see it first.
20 - Washington Redskins - Washington actually made some decent personnel moves despite their front office dysfunction this offseason. It’s still hard to feel great about this team’s outlook when Kirk Cousins is virtually guaranteed to be gone after this year. It doesn’t help that Cousins lost two of his best weapons in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon.
21 - Cincinnati Bengals - Marvin Lewis is on the hot seat. He really needs to have a good season haha who am I kidding he’ll be in Cincy forever.
22 - Carolina Panthers - One of the hardest teams to figure out. The 2015 NFC Champions could very easily bounce back in 2017. Or they could suck again this year, I don’t know. Wait and see mode.
23 - Houston Texans - How could I rank the nine-win Texans so low? It’s quite simple: they’re not good. Only six teams ranked worse in point differential last season. The Texans are starting “Tom Savage” at quarterback.
24 - Los Angeles Chargers - I really believe the Chargers aren’t going to have any kind of significant home field advantage this year. I don’t think fans will be missing all that much. Plagued by the injury bug in 2016, the Chargers are already dealing with significant injuries before the season has started.
25 - Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff was incredibly bad as a rookie. He’s still young so there’s clearly room for improvement. Personally, I’m not counting on big things from him. The only reason the Rams aren’t ranked lower is because of their defense. With that said, Aaron Donald is holding out, so maybe I have LA too high here.
26 - Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck is out for at least the first week of the season. It sounds like he could miss several games. The Colts are poised for a bad year.
27 - San Francisco 49ers - I’m intrigued by the Kyle Shanahan 49ers. I don’t think they’ll be great or anything given their quarterback situation, but I do think they can be less bad.
28 - Buffalo Bills - Are the Bills tanking? They’re certainly not going all out to win. I really think Tyrod Taylor’s time as a starter will only last for so long before Nathan Peterman takes over.
29 - Cleveland Browns - DeShone Kizer has shown a lot more promise than anything other Browns quarterback lately, which isn’t saying much at all. The Browns are still the Browns until they prove otherwise, but there’s some more talent on this roster than other bottom teams.
30 - Chicago Bears - You can throw Mike Glennon’s career stats at me all you want (and some random Oregon beat writer who hates Carson Wentz did that to me) but I don’t care. The Bears QB situation isn’t good. Mitch Trubisky might eventually be something, but for now the Bears still aren’t good.
31 - Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars benched Blake Bortles in the preseason ... only to name him their Week 1 starter. This team is pretty depressing.
32 - New York Jets - The Jets have assembled the worst group of quarterbacks in the NFL. Tanking.