It feels like forever since that Malcolm Butler interception sent the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to New England, but the NFL is finally back tonight as the Steelers head to the Patriots for the season opener.
What better way to kick off the season than with some power rankings?
The five of us are going to combine our rankings each week this season to give what I’m sure some will describe as the greatest power rankings of all time*. All rankers were carefully selected** to give us the best possible rankings.
Without further ado, here are the inaugural rankings…
*They probably will not
**First people to volunteer
If they can’t get a deal worked out with Kam Chancellor it would obviously be a big loss but if any team can cope with that it’s the Seahawks. I think they will get something worked out though. Adding Jimmy Graham will help both Wilson and Lynch. Dave G
The loss of Jordy Nelson knocks them down a spot, but Aaron Rodgers would lead this team to the playoffs with his eyes shut. Dave M
Sure they have no cornerbacks, but while Brady and Belichick are around, they remain the class of the AFC. Dave M
Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, I can’t name a better QB/WR/RB tandem, but the defence might be shaky. Dave M
I think they will cruise to the #1 seed but will they be able to stop a team running all over them once again in January? Dave G
It comes down to one thing for this team – Can Manning still do it and even if he can, how long is his body going to hold up? Dave M
If Sam Bradford can stay healthy then I think the Eagles could go all the way this year. That is a very big if. Dave G
Despite having few out-and-out megastars, the Ravens always seem to put up a fight, something which helps in the rough and tumble of the AFC North. Dave M
Last season was built from a strong running game and taking the pressure off of Romo. I’m not convinced that the Cowboys will see anything like the success of last season if they are forced into throwing the ball. Dave G
Last season showed just how important Carson Palmer is to this team. He isn’t getting any younger and it could be tough for him coming off the second big knee injury of his career. Dave G
Philadelphia-lite, Bill Lazor’s offense takes this team to the postseason. And maybe saves Joe Philbin again! Dave M
Feels like a make or break season for this team. There is a lot of talent on this team but it has felt that way for a few years. If Stafford can’t get over some of the issues of the past couple of seasons then the Lions could be forced to make some big calls before next season. Dave G
Underrated defence, and an underrated offense. Watch for the inevitable overcorrection as Alex Smith throws to his WRs with reckless abandon. Dave M
A team with a lot of hype coming into the season. It looks like they have found their franchise QB with Bridgewater and the return of Peterson will help him a lot. There is a lot to like about this team but I think it may just be one season too soon. Dave G
A contract year for A.J. Green could see him put up huge numbers. Lots and lots of talent on both sides of the ball but is there anybody who actually thinks Andy Dalton can lead this team to a Super Bowl? Dave G
Tyrod Taylor is the great unknown, but if he was that good, he would have played before now. Outside of QB, they are better than most. Rex Ryan will make a monster of the Defence. Dave M
Need Keenan Allen to regain his 2013 form and for Melvin Gordon to dispel the Wisconsin RB form book. Dave M
A team that could be the dark horse in the NFC. The offence should put up huge numbers and we’ve seen before what can happen if Eli gets to the playoffs. Dave G
Headed to LA, and to another average season. Dave M
It seems almost impossible that Watt isn’t named the defensive player of the year once again. Deandre Hopkins looks set for a big year as the #1 WR. If Foster was going to be playing all 16 games then I could see them sneaking into the wildcards, but as it is, I think it’s another season without playoff football in Houston. Dave G
Julio Jones might be my favourite player in the league. Matt Ryan has become a little underrated in the last year or so and it feels like people have forgotten that he is a very good quarterback. The change at head coach was needed for this team and I think they win a poor division. Dave G
The addition of Max Unger is one of the more undervalued moves of the summer. Unger made Lynch better in Seattle, watch him do the same to Ingram in Nola. And he’ll help keep Drew Brees healthy. Dave M
One example of losing your starting QB and the team improving. Chan Gailey got Fitzpatrick a big contract in Buffalo, a 6-10 season seems like it would keep everyone employed for another year. Dave M
Before the Benjamin injury I had the Panthers down as winning this division once again. Without him I think it is going to be a long season in Carolina. Once you get past Olsen it is hard to see who is going to catch the ball for the Panthers. I am a big Cam fan but he can’t do it on his own. This could finally be the end for Riverboat Ron. Dave G
Poor old San Francisco. Three straight NFC title games, a trip to the Super bowl and now retirement central. Not what you need when you have Seattle in your Division. Dave M
Derek Carr got a lot of praise last season but honestly, I’m not really sure why. He was ok but not great. Khalil Mack looks like a monster and if anybody is going to come close to Watt for DPOTY then it may be him. Dave G
Could this finally be the year they win six games? The loss of Julius Thomas for the first five hurts them though. Bradley and Co will be on a short leash. Dave M
It’s difficult to see the Bears ending this season with anything but a top 10 pick in next year’s draft. Could they use that pick to finally put an end to the Jay Cutler era in Chicago? Dave G
They are not going to playoff contenders, so this season is going to be all about Mariota and how he performs. Dave G
Literally had to rack my brains to remember who their QB is. Now have a go at naming one of their WRs. They’re not going to get close to enough points to unleash that fearsome D. Dave M
Winston has some excited, but they may have the worst O-line in football. Still, will probably win a couple more games than last year thanks to the weak Division. Dave M
The only consensus pick. Even Browns fans think this team is an embarrassment. Dave G
I also asked each ranker to make a few predictions for the season.
So there they are, the first set of power rankings of the season. Feel free to comment and tell us we are idiots and your team should be 10 spots higher.
I am aiming to have these up each week on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.
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