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The NFL season kicks off Thursday night in Kansas City when the Chiefs raise another Super Bowl banner before hosting the upstart Detroit Lions.  We’ll finally have our Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays occupied once again and it will be GLORIOUS.

With that in mind, I figured I’d try my hand at NFL Power Rankings.  I did Colts win-loss predictions last week and that seemed to go well.

“Way too generous!”

“No chance they win that many!”

“Stop sucking on the Colts teat!” (is that even medically accurate?)

It was a grand total of six wins so let’s just relax a bit.  Anyway, power rankings of any sort are a bit silly.  Power rankings before a game has been played is really silly since we’re just basing any opinions off of last season’s failures or successes and off-season moves.  With that said, let’s give this a whirl.  Maybe this will be a weekly thing.  Maybe I’ll do it even if it sucks just to SPITE YOU.  Not you…the other person reading this.

1. Kansas City Chiefs – Who could have guessed the Kansas City Chiefs would be atop these rankings? (What’s that? Everyone?  Oh..) Yeah, it’s not surprising.  Patrick Mahomes continues to do things with ease that we’ve never seen before.  Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the league, even when he’s banged up.  The wide receivers didn’t suffer the drop off some thought with Tyreek Hill now in Miami.  The defensive unit gets a breath of fresh air with Purdue’s George Karlaftis in the mix.  Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes don’t show any signs of slowing down, which is trouble for the rest of the NFL and could mean a lot of playoff games in Arrowhead once again.

2. Buffalo Bills – At 13-3 last season, the Buffalo Bills ran away with the AFC East but got manhandled by the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional round of the playoffs.  Josh Allen and company look to rebound from that early exit and make their presence known across the league.  They’ve been selected as the team to knock off what looks to be a Chiefs dynasty in the making the last couple of seasons but to no avail.  Can they live up to those expectations?  Time will tell.  Top-five units on both sides of the ball should be a no-brainer given the star power.  What they do with all that talent is up to them.

3. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles were the kings of the NFC last season and gave the Chiefs a hell of a fight in the Super Bowl.  Not much has changed.  The Eagles should be flying high in the NFC and near the top of the league all season long.  Jalen Hurts took huge leaps last season, A.J. Brown leads a strong wide receiver group and despite the loss of Miles Sanders the running game should be solid with D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny.  An already potent defense got even beefier with the highly-touted rookie Jalen Carter.   No question about it, Nick Sirianni and the Eagles are the cream of the NFC crop.  That shouldn’t change.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow limping off of the practice field early into training camp gave every Bengals fan (and likely a lot of NFL fans) to hold their breath.  It looks like disaster has been averted for now.  Their offense is elite with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon and Orlando Brown and should make up for a defense that’s still finding itself.  The Bengals should be right in the mix for one of the top two spots in the AFC.

5. San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa just got paid and the 49ers look to build off last season’s 13-4 record.  The injury to Brock Purdy derailed San Francisco’s playoff run but now that he’s healthy the team should be one of the top-2 teams in the NFC along with the Eagles.  Christian McCaffery, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk should help Purdy build off his remarkable 2022 campaign and the defense could be the best in the entire NFL.  Barring a litany of injuries, the 49ers should be legit contenders.

6. Los Angeles Chargers – The Chargers might be too high here.  In all honesty, it’s put up or shut up time for Brandon Staley’s team.  Their 10-7 record looked good on paper but they were stunned by the Jaguars in the playoffs and it was the latest chapter in the Chargers’ history of disappointing playoff appearances.  Justin Herbert is one of the best young QBs in the league, Austin Ekeler (in what might be his swan song for the team) is one of the best backs in the league and their trio of receivers (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer) are a top-10 unit.  Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Derwin James and Asante Samuel Jr. are some of the top players in their positions and show that each level of the Chargers’ defense has a difference-maker.  Put it all together and it should make LA a contender even with Kansas City in the same division.  The Chargers have the looks of a contender, now they need to prove it.

7. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins SHOULD be fighting for the top spot in the AFC East with the Bills.  They SHOULD be one of the better teams in the AFC.  But a lot of that SHOULD relies on the health of Tua Tagovailoa.  I think anyone with any sort of conscience was uncomfortable watching Tua play last season after multiple concussions.  The hope is that he’s fully recovered and can play like he never missed a beat. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are one of the best wide receiver combos in the entire league.  Their defense, led by Bradley Chubb, should be more than serviceable.  Tua’s health was the point of discussion all off-season and will continue to be a storyline throughout Miami’s season.  If he stays healthy, the sky could be the limit for Miami.

8. New York Jets – Aaron Rodgers joins the Jets and suddenly their fans are feeling themselves in ways best left for behind closed doors.  If it feels like the entire off-season has been Jets overload, you are not alone.  The constant barrage of Jets coverage, Rodgers slurping and wild predictions are quickly making them public enemy No. 1 from other fan bases.  It’s been exhausting coverage before a ball has been kicked in the air but believe it or not, they might live up to the hype. Rodgers, if he still has something left in the tank, should be able to take Garrett Wilson to new heights.  The addition of Dalvin Cook to pair with Breece Hall poses a formidable tandem in the backfield and Sauce Gardner, Quinnen Williams and the defense should be a top-five unit if it all goes according to plan.  The only problem with the Jets?  The division they play in is loaded.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars? A top-10 team in the NFL?  Yeah, I think they might be.  Trevor Lawrence should take another step or two in climbing the quarterback ranks, the addition of Calvin Ridley alone should boost the offense.  Jacksonville’s defense is always tough and they seem to be on the right path with Doug Pederson at the helm. If he can get even more out of Lawrence and the offense the Jaguars are not just the overwhelming favorites in the dismal AFC South, they could be climbing the ranks in the entire league.

10. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens are a team that always seems to be in the hunt despite Lamar Jackson’s durability issues on an almost annual basis. Jackson has played in only 12 games the last two seasons and has played a full season in only one of his five seasons.  Jackson gets some much needed firepower offensively with the additions of Odell Beckham Jr and rookie Zay Flowers. The Ravens seem to always be a solid team but their rank in the AFC is starting to slip with other teams in the conference jumping ahead of them.

11. Dallas Cowboys – How ’bout them Cowboys?  Well, they’re coming off a solid 12-5 season, gave Tom Brady the final loss of his career, before seeing their playoff hopes end as well.  They’ve said goodbye to Ezekiel Elliott and added Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore (“This one for Mr. Gilmore”, if you’re nasty) and their defense should remain near the top of the league.  Dak Prescott and company will have to fight off the mighty Eagles for NFC East supremacy but they are a worthy contender in a contender-light NFC.

12. Detroit Lions – The Lions were the surprise team of 2022.  They aren’t sneaking up on anyone this season.  They’ve got the nation’s attention to the point that the league felt comfortable putting them in the opening game of the entire season against the Chiefs.  Dan Campbell’s coaching style might not be for everybody but it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t worked.  Jared Goff has Amon-Ra St. Brown and a pair of new running backs in David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs.  Aidan Hutchinson will look to take another step forward while C.J. Gardner-Johnson riles up opposing wide receivers.  The NFC North is there for the Lions’ taking as long as they don’t falter.

13. Seattle Seahawks – Geno Smith was one of the feel good stories of last season.  A career resurgence helped lead the team to a 9-8 record and a playoff appearance.  Can the good vibes continue in Seattle?  They certainly have the weapons in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Kenneth Walker and newcomer Jaxon Smith-Njigba.  The 49ers look like the rulers of the NFC West but the Seahawks can make them sweat.

14. Minnesota Vikings – Gone is Dalvin Cook but all that matters is Justin Jefferson is still in the building.  Kirk Cousins remains under center and the Vikings seem to be a coin flip team.  They have the talent, now can they take advantage of Aaron Rodgers leaving the division and try to spoil the hype surrounding the Lions?

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Tomlin’s streak of never finishing below .500 was in jeopardy last season but the Steelers found a way and even finished a game above .500.  Kenny Pickett is still a work in progress but the rest of the Steelers look ready to get back in the playoff picture.  George Pickens could be the steal of the draft, Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Allen Robinson on the offense and don’t sleep on T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick on the defense.

16. Cleveland Browns – The Browns gave up a haul and a lot of money for Deshaun Watson. He was mediocre last season and it showed with their 7-10 record at the bottom of the AFC East.  They’ve got the horses on both sides of the ball.  Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, Myles Garrett, Za’Darius Smith, etc.  Can they put it together?  Maybe.  But they need Watson to return to form on the field.

17. New York Giants – The Giants defense looks like it can cause some havoc this season.  The offense outside of Saquon Barkley?  I’m not sure.  I’ve never been a big Daniel Jones fan.  I thought he was decent last season but he never did anything that puts him in the “win because of” category.  Maybe Brian Daboll will get even more out of him in 2023.  I don’t love his passing options though.  The additions of Darren Waller and Parris Campbell are good but Isaiah Hodgins and Darius Slayton leave a lot to be desired.

18. Las Vegas Raiders – Jimmy Garoppolo is getting another shot at being a starting QB in the league and it could very well be his last chance.  The injury bug seemingly bites him every season and it’s always a multi-week or months situation.  The Raiders are hoping that isn’t the case and he can find magic with Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs and Hunter Renfrow. The defense should be solid but the AFC West is going to be a dog fight.

19. New Orleans Saints – The Saints are another team in a bit of a transition.  Derek Carr is now under center, Alvin Kamara is suspended for the first three games of the season and the Saints are hoping Michael Thomas can rebound.  The Saints SHOULD be in the mix in the NFC South given the state of the other three teams all going through resets of their own.

20. Green Bay Packers – I’m showing my unbiased opinion here because I’d really like to rank the Packers at 35th behind the likes of the Montreal Alouettes, Birmingham Stallions and Austin Sound.  But I’m a professional as you can see.  I don’t know what Jordan Love will be but obviously the Packers fall back a bit with the departure of Aaron (barf) Rodgers.  Did you see that? I’m such a professional I continued writing despite puking.  Call me a hater, call me whatever but I can’t fathom that the Packers are going to fall into back-to-back-to-back really good quarterbacks.  It seems mathematically impossible and they definitely could use a bit of a reality check that every other franchise has dealt with at the position.  Can we please move on now?

21. Tennessee Titans – This is a spot that could be completely wrong in either direction.  I don’t think the Titans are going to be overly good this season.  Ryan Tannehill seems to be nearing the end of his career, Malik Willis doesn’t look promising and I’m just hoping I don’t have to drink multiple cups of mayo coffee if the Titans turn to Will Levis at some point.  However, Mike Vrabel has a track record of getting the most out of his players and regularly being in the mix as the season goes on.

22. Chicago Bears – I’m sure I’m going to get crapped on for having the Bears this high coming off the worst record in football.  I’ll take it.  I can handle it.  I’m a big boy.  But I like what the Bears did in the off-season.  The addition of D.J Moore should be a huge help to Justin Fields’ development.  The departure of David Montgomery means a three-headed monster of D’Onta Foreman, Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson in the backfield while Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis join Cole Kmet at tight end.  They’ve beefed up defensively with Yannick Ngakoue (Ya need Ngakoue, after all), Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards.  I will be utterly disappointed if Fields and the Bears don’t take big leaps in 2023 after all of their additions.

23. Los Angeles Rams – Matthew Stafford did not look good last season.  Sean McVay was possibly going to step away and the Rams look like a shell of what they once were.  Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donal remain but outside of those two guys it’s a bunch of question marks.  They sold off draft picks to win their Super Bowl and it looks like the fallout is only just beginning.

24. New England Patriots – I’m not a big Mac Jones guy.  I don’t really love the aged skill guys on the Patriots offense, what to make of their defense and while I don’t think Bill Belichick should be on the hot seat I also don’t know how much he has left to give to a franchise that he’s put so much into over the last two decades.  It sure seems the Patriots could be facing some real changes at key positions if this season goes sideways.  They’re also the weakest team in the toughest division in football this season.

25. Carolina Panthers – Frank Reich is at the helm and the Panthers took a huge swing in the off-season as they sent the 9th overall pick, the 61st overall pick, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and wide receiver D.J. Moore to the Bears for the opportunity to select Bryce Young with the No.1 overall pick in the draft.  The Panthers surrounded their rookie with veterans like Miles Sanders, Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark and others to help get the most out of their rookie QB and the Panthers defense is led by Brian Burns, one of the more under the radar linebackers in the league.  The NFC South is up for grabs.  We’ll see if the Panthers can surprise some people.

26. Atlanta Falcons – Can Bijan Robinson live up to the hype?  Falcons fans hope so.  In a day in age when running backs are being devalued across the league, the Falcons used the 8th overall pick in the draft to select the dynamic back out of Texas.  Desmond Ridder, Kyle Pitts and Drake London all need to take steps forward for the offense.  I really like what the Falcons have done on the defensive side though.  Defense and Falcons don’t usually mix but this unit could be pretty tough for opposing offenses.

27. Washington Commanders – The season may not matter for Commanders fans.  They already won their Super Bowl this year with Dan Snyder finally being ousted as owner and Josh Harris sliding in to take over the franchise.  I’m not sure he can do much wrong in fans’ eyes this season.  Going to bat with Sam Howell under center doesn’t exactly scream excitement.  But I think fans know this is the beginning of a much needed facelift that is going to take some time. Defense and Terry McLaurin should be solid for Washington though.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tom Brady is gone and Baker Mayfield now enters from stage right.  Call me crazy but I don’t think Baker’s going to be tossing the Lombardi between boats like Brady and Gronk were a couple of seasons ago.  I still like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin but this also seems like a team ready for a reset and I could see one or both of those guys being trade pieces near the deadline if things go south in the Bay like I think they will.

29. Indianapolis Colts – Given last season’s debacle the Colts were always going to start near the bottom of these power rankings.  They’ve made improvements.  Obviously, the drafting of Anthony Richardson is a huge upgrade over the decrepit statues the Colts have rolled with the last few seasons.  The offensive line is still a major concern in my eyes.  Their secondary is very unproven and without Jonathan Taylor it’ll be interesting to see how much of a load the running game can take off of Richardson’s plate.  If he’s forced to run a lot then this could be a really trying season for the quarterback the Colts have put all of their future and hopes into.

30. Denver Broncos – Russell Wilson was horrendous last season and the Broncos not only traded a ton to get him but they also backed up a Brinks truck and paid him a ton of money.  Can Sean Payton fix him?  They better hope so or fans will be consuming more gummies than the Albanese candy factory produces in order to forget this season.  For now, they’re near the bottom until Russ starts cooking again.

31. Houston Texans – The Texans are still recovering from the Deshaun Watson debacle and they are trying to get competitive quickly with their ballsy draft strategy of selecting QB C.J. Stroud and trading up to select Will Anderson.  Dameon Pierce is a solid back and we’ll see how much Robert Woods and their wide receivers have left in the tank.  Much like the Colts, they’ll be a work in progress all season long.

32. Arizona Cardinals – This shouldn’t be all that surprising.  The Cardinals on paper look like the worst team in the league and they don’t seem overly secretive that they are looking towards 2024.  J.J. Watt has retired, DeAndre Hopkins is with the Titans, no one knows when Kyler Murray will be back.  Arizona is beautiful but the product on the football field is likely to be ugly.


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