1. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 1)
Indy’s first test of the season could be a tough one as they have no idea what kind of offense Buffalo will roll out with Tyrod Taylor under center. We will get to see just how good the Colts’ offense can be right off the bat with a battle against Rex Ryan’s new Bills.
2. New England Patriots (Last week: 2)
The Pats stay here in part because I messed up and didn’t finish the power rankings before last night’s game. The run defense looked atrocious but it won’t matter much if Brady, Edelman and Gronkowski play like they did last night.
3. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 3)
The Packers get a nice easy start to their season. Aaron Rodgers threw for 617 yards and 10 touchdowns last season against the Bears, while completing 72.7 percent of his passes. Even without Jordy Nelson, Rodgers should bully Chicago again.
4. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 4)
This offensive line flat out scares me and facing a group as good as the Rams front four week 1 is not what Seattle needs. This is baptism by fire for this offensive line. The Seahawks are also without All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor which will certainly come as a major blow.
5. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 6)
Dallas added another running back to its stable by trading for Christine Michael. The former Texas A&M star will give the ‘Boys an insurance policy and a good change of pace back. It will be fun to see him get the ball behind this road grading offensive line.
6. Denver Broncos (Last week: 5)
The Broncos drop just because Dallas got better. Cutting Montee Ball was for the best unfortunately. How Denver comes out week 1 against the Ravens will be a big indicator for how their season will go.
7. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 7)
In games Carson Palmer started for the Cardinals last season, they were undefeated. This Arizona team is a legitimate Super Bowl contender with Bruce Arians at the helm. They will be even more of one if Andre Ellington stays healthy.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 8)
While their are still some question marks surrounding this Chiefs team, there are probably even more surrounding division rival Denver. I would not be surprised if Kansas City led the AFC West at season’s end.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 9)
Putting this high-octane offense against the worst passing defense in the league a season ago should be a recipe for a win week 1 for Philly. What will be more telling is how the defense holds up against Atlanta’s offense.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 10)
Pittsburgh’s defense looked lost and confused for good chunks of last night. Leaving All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski wide open in the middle of the field probably wasn’t part of the game plan but it happened on a number of occasions. The running game looked good though with DeAngelo Williams flashing his speed last night.
11. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 12)
I am much higher on the Vikings than most people who don’t live in Minnesota. However, I saw a lot of promise from this young squad in the preseason. If they can win 7 games without Adrian Peterson, I am willing to bet they can win 10 with him.
12. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 13)
DeVante Parker might be back in the fold earlier than expected. That is really good news for Ryan Tannehill as he has the best supporting cast of his young career. With Suh clogging the middle now on defense as well, Miami should be at the edge of the playoff picture all year.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 11)
The Bengals resigned A.J. Green this morning and now have over $200 million committed to their inconsistent signal caller Andy Dalton and the oft-injured Green. Cincy needs for these investments to start paying off if they have any chance of making it past the wildcard round this year.
14. Detroit Lions (Last week: 15)
I am interested to see which Matthew Stafford shows up on Sunday. The one that can’t win big games or the one that shreds teams through the air. Against the Chargers, I think we are going to see the later in a convincing Detroit win.
15. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 16)
I will be honest here. I really don’t like the Baltimore Ravens in 2015. They have no proven receivers outside of Steve Smith Sr. He can only do so much for this team. Joe Flacco better hope the Ravens ground game is as good as it was a season ago or he is in for a very long season.
16. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 13)
San Diego had a rough preseason running the ball. They finished with an abysmal 3.1 yards per carry, which tied them with Browns for 26th in the league. That includes Melvin Gordon, who picked up 45 yards on 20 carries. Phillip Rivers might still be looking for help on the offense.
17. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 17)
Rex Ryan actually won his only game against Andrew Luck in the latter’s rookie year. Luck has grown a lot since then but Ryan has a way for flustering quarterbacks. It wouldn’t shock me if he found a way to get after Luck this weekend and kept the game closer than most expect.
18. Houston Texans (Last week: 18)
Last week I picked on Houston for not running the ball well without Arian Foster. With reports that the Pro Bowl running back could be back after only two or three weeks of the regular season, the Texans have a much better chance at making a playoff push.
19. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 19)
Atlanta’s reworked defense is going to be tested early and often against the Eagles. It will be a real test for rookie head coach Dan Quinn to get it to hold up for all four quarters.
20. New York Jets (Last week: 20)
New York has struggled at finding a good quarterback to start for them since anyone can remember. Thankfully for them, they are playing the one team who probably has a worse quarterback situation. The Jets’ defense should feast on Cleveland’s lack of skill players in week 1.
21. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 21)
Giving Brees a lot of time in the pocket will be useful but outside of Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston, the skills players are a bunch of unknowns. The crazy thing is, the Saints are in as good of a position as any to win the NFC South this year.
22. New York Giants (Last week: 22)
The Giants finally paid Eli. Now he can focus on football. Victor Cruz is officially out week 1 but the Giants have become pretty adept to playing without him. Now if the offensive line and make shift secondary can hold, New York might have a chance of walking out of Dallas with a win.
23. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 25)
Todd Gurley will officially miss week 1 but once he is on the field, St. Louis has a deep and talented backfield. If they can find any form of consistency in the passing game against the Seahawks on Sunday, there is a chance that the Rams defense can do enough to get the win.
24. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 24)
The Panthers locked up Luke Keuchley for the foreseeable future. Now all they need is a to find a wide receiver who can catch the ball from Cam Newton for the foreseeable future. Carolina will struggle to move the ball and could be upset on the road in Jacksonville.
25. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 23)
I got a little too over zealous last week moving the Browns up to 23 with thoughts they could sign Robert Griffin III. Dropping them back down is good. Sunday will likely start another long season for Cleveland where the most I can see them winning is a handful of games.
26. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 26)
Remember two years ago when San Francisco was in the NFC championship game only a year after losing to the Ravens in the Super Bowl. That seems like a lifetime ago and most of that group that helped them to that success is gone. The 49ers are in desperate need of some new leaders on this team.
27. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 28)
There is a little bit of hope in Oakland for the first time in what seems like years. The Raiders are making the right moves and are slowly beginning to develop a young nucleus to build this team around. The results won’t come in 2015 though.
28. Chicago Bears (Last week: 27)
With rumors that Alshon Jeffery could miss week 1, the Bears’ chances of even mounting a push against the Packers are even slimmer. Chicago hasn’t beaten Green Bay at Soldier Field since 2010. And they will likely have to wait until at least next year to even think about breaking that streak.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 29)
Julius Thomas had a successful surgery and should be back for week 4. Unfortunately, that means the Jaguars are rolling out a very inexperienced receiving core. Pair that with a sophomore quarterback and a rookie running back, this Jacksonville squad has a lot of growing up to do this season and they have to do it fast.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 30)
Tampa Bay has a great chance to start the season with a win as the top two picks face off week one. Jameis Winston against Marcus Mariota will one day be a great matchup to watch. For now though, this is two teams fighting to avoid being in the NFL cellar.
31. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 31)
The same that was said for the Bucs can be said for the Titans. Adding Browns castoff Terrance West could be a solid move for Tennessee but this team is still a few years away from competing in the AFC South.
32. Washington (Last week: 32)
They deserve to be at the bottom. With the way they handle personnel decisions and the obvious lack of cohesion between the coaching staff and management, Washington is a mess. They have some great skill position players but an inconsistent line and a backup quarterback mean that Washington is in for a rough season.