The SQ NFL Power Rankings: Week 1

   RK (LW)

1 (1)


New England Patriots

Well, Tom Brady is back, and he's essentially taking over the same offense he led to a Super Bowl win. The real difference from last season's Patriots squad is going to be the totally different defense: Darrelle Revis took his talents back to the Jets, Vince Wilfork signed with the Texans, and Brandon Browner signed with the Saints. I don't expect the Patriots to be able to stop most teams, but I don't expect many teams to stop the Patriots either. I mean, they do have Gronk. (Tyrell W)

2 (2)


Seattle Seahawks

Adding Jimmy Graham was the biggest change on the offensive side of the ball for Seattle, and Graham's role on the offense remains a huge question mark that will have to be addressed as the season moves along. Defensively, the core remains the same, but will the production continue? (Bobby E)

3 (3)


Green Bay Packers

Even without Jordy Nelson in the lineup, the Packers are still a Super Bowl contender. Anytime you have Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback, you have a chance to win. If the offensive line can protect Rodgers and the defense can create turnovers, the Pack will be bringing the Lombardi trophy back home. (Dan R)

4 (9)


Indianapolis Colts

The Colts offense only got better this offseason with the additions of Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, and Philip Dorsett. The big concern is whether the defensive line has enough depth now that Arthur Jones is out for the season. (Josh C)

5 (5)


Denver Broncos

We'll learn a lot about the Broncos during their first three games (v. BAL, @ KC, @DET). This may the Broncos' last season as a Super Bowl contender for some time, so Manning, C.J. Anderson, and the Denver defense must start quickly. (Dominic K)

6 (4)


Dallas Cowboys

Losing Murray will hurt, but this team was a catch away from a rematch with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. The offensive and defensive lines will be great, with help on the way when Greg Hardy returns. This team is still loaded, and the playoffs are definitely there for the taking. (Austin T)

7 (14)


Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia's crazy offseason will finally be put to the test, as Chip Kelly shipped out LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, but brought in DeMarco Murray and Sam Bradford. The Eagles are taking a huge gamble on Bradford's health, but could have one of the top offenses in the league yet again. (Austin T)

8 (7)


Pittsburgh Steelers

Gone is former DC Dick LeBeau, the mastermind behind a decade of defensive dominance in Pittsburgh. His protege Keith Butler moves up from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator, and is unlikely to stray away from the foundation LeBeau cemented. Star RB Le'Veon Bell's two-game suspension should be no more than a blip on the radar for a high-powered offensive attack, as QB Ben Roethlisberger should have no issue building off last year's seventh-best scoring offense. A young defense will be the key for a first-year coordinator, and expect to see the Steelers improve on that side of the ball as the year goes on. (Nick C)

9 (13)


Baltimore Ravens

Though Joe Flacco looked comfortable in Gary Kubiak's offense, new OC Marc Trestman has vowed he won't change much in terms of scheme and balancing runs with play-action pass. The Ravens defense gets Jimmy Smith back, and added veterans CB Kyle Arrington and S Kendrick Lewis in an attempt to limit bigger downfield plays. Overall, Baltimore is as sound a football team as any in the NFL, and a playoff berth is once again a strong possibility. (Nick C)

10 (8)


Cincinnati Bengals

QB Andy Dalton got paid top-dollar this offseason (six-year/$96M), meaning his 0-4 postseason record will need a bump in the win column in order to serve what has been one of the NFL's most consistent franchises since 2011. Expanded roles for RB Jeremy Hill and TE Tyler Eifert should help ease Dalton's burden. An aging secondary may prove costly, but young CB Dre Kirkpatrick showed flashes of the first-round talent the Bengals have hoped to see since 2012. Like the Ravens and Steelers, the Bengals just don't have any discernible holes to keep them out of playoff discussion. (Nick C)

11 (11)


Arizona Cardinals

The running game has to be the biggest question mark heading into the season for Arizona. Will Andre Ellington be able to lead the Cardinals, or will Carson Palmer have to throw 40 times again? (Bobby E)

12 (17)


Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins hit the jackpot this offseason by signing Ndamukong Suh to a six-year/$114 million deal, making him the highest pai d defensive player in NFL history. The Dolphins also bolstered the offense by giving QB Ryan Tannehill more options by signing Greg Jennings and Jordan Cameron. Additionally, the Dolphins traded for wide receiver Kenny Stills and drafted DeVante Parker. Parker has been injured during the preseason, but I expect him to replace the departed Mike Wallace as Tannehill's primary red zone target once he returns. (Tyrell W)

13 (15)


Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have upgraded at WR by acquiring Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant, and their defense figures to be stingy again. But the Chiefs have a brutal early-season schedule, making their Week 1 game at Houston a must-win. (Dominic K)

14 (26)


Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have by far the biggest increase in their power ranking, and for good reason. Adrian Peterson having a year off should put scare into opposing defenses' eyes, and the evolution of Teddy Bridewater has become apparent. If the defense can find its rhythm, Minnesota can give the Packers a run for the NFC North title. (Dan R)

15 (10)


San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers figure to be in playoff contention deep into December once more. I don't think the Bolts can compete for a division title, but the offense has major potential now that Melvin Gordon has a functional line to run behind. (Dominic K)

16 (6)


Detroit Lions

The Lions have the biggest drop in ranking out of all 32 teams. Losing the big man in the middle in Suh definitely hurts Detroit. But, if Calvin Johnson can stay healthy and the dual threat of Bell and Abdullah can perform, then the sky's the limit for the Lions. (Dan R)

17 (16)


Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons, at 17, are our highest-ranked team in the NFC South. They've turned the backfield over to a pair of younglings, including rookie starter Tevin Coleman, who hopefully can help Matt Ryan out despite a projected poor offensive line. (Cory R)

18 (12)


Houston Texans

Houston proved last year that a defensive superstar can only take you so far when your QB play is mediocre at best. The biggest challenge facing the Texans in 2015 will be getting consistent QB play. Without it, Houston fans will be waiting at least another year for a return to the playoffs. (Josh C)

19 (21)


New York Giants

There's no denying that Eli Manning has not fit well into Ben McAdoo's system over the past few years. But add in a healthy Odell Beckham Jr, and Eli is suddenly closer to Peyton. The defense still has many question marks, but the Giants could be rising up our rankings very soon. (Austin T)

20 (20)


Buffalo Bills

Rex Ryan has a plan and sticks to it no matter what. Build a fantastic defense, rely on a strong running game, put your faith in a suspect QB and make lots of headlines in the media. The Bills made a big splash in trading for LeSean McCoy in the offseason. If McCoy can return to his 2013 form where he rushed for 1,607 yards, then the Bills can compete for second place in the division. Plus, I trust McCoy running the ball more than I trust Tyrod Taylor throwing it. (Tyrell W)

21 (23)


New Orleans Saints

Look below the Saints in the rankings, and it's slim picking in terms of QB play. Set to establish the run with Mark Ingram even more this season, Drew Brees may see less of the national spotlight than he's accustomed to. (Cory R)

22 (24)


St. Louis Rams

Take it how you want it, but the Rams now have Nick Foles under center. With Todd Gurley being eased back onto the field, is St. Louis looking to take another year "off" before making a playoff run next season? (Bobby E)

23 (18)


Carolina Panthers

The NFC South champs for a second consecutive season (albeit with a 7-8-1 finish last year), these Panthers again will be putting their offensive deficiencies all on Cam's shoulders, with a somehow worse receiving corps and backfield than he had last year. (Cory R)

24 (25)


Chicago Bears

The Bears start their season off against their hated rivals the Packers, who have owned them the past few years. The entire defense, as well as the offensive line, are huge question marks coming into the season. Can first year coach John Fox right the ship and bring back tradition for the Bears? (Dan R)

25 (19)


San Francisco 49ers

In the last couple of years, San Francisco has done a perfect 180, leading the team to the bottom fourth of SQ's league rankings. Can Colin Kaepernick turn the team around, or is he far from that elite status? Can the 49ers defense exist with its key losses? (Bobby E)

26 (29)


New York Jets

Maybe Geno Smith getting sucker-punched was the best thing that could have happened for the Jets offense. The offense in the preseason seemed to not have too much trouble moving the ball with Ryan Fitzpatrick taking snaps under center. I don't expect Fitzpatrick's luck to last, because outside of Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the rest of the o-line are not reliable. If the Jets expect to make any noise this season, they will have to be led by their defense. (Tyrell W)

27 (28)


Oakland Raiders

Like their divisional peers, the Raiders made upgrades at the WR position with Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Unlike those peers, the Raiders will be lucky to win six games. (Dominic K)

28 (22)


Cleveland Browns

Starting Josh McCown at quarterback is the safe move for head coach Mike Pettine, but McCown's limitations as a passer will hold back an offense that lacks any punch at the skill positions. The Browns defense will continue to thrive, even more so with rookie DT Danny Shelton, but Cleveland's hopeless offensive attack is likely to take another step back. Expect Johnny Manziel to be given the keys to a Browns team that falls out of playoff contention early in the year. (Nick C)

29 (31)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Instead of starting the season off with McCown, they've got the No. 1 pick in Jameis Winston to go with an impressive duo of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson at wideout. Suddenly intriguing, can the Bucs become relevant again? (Cory R)

30 (30)


Jacksonville Jaguars

There were times during the preseason when Blake Bortles and the Jaguars offense clicked. Whether that will translate to the regular season remains to be seen. Until they prove otherwise, the Jags will remain near the bottom of our power rankings. (Josh C)

31 (32)


Tennessee Titans

A new era for Tennessee began in May when the Titans selected Marcus Mariota instead of trading the No. 2 pick for a large return. Now that they have their guy, will the Titans finally turn the corner, or will the turmoil continue in Tennessee? (Josh C)

32 (27)


Washington Redskins

Was there any team that had a worse offseason than Washington? Jay Gruden obliterated RGIII in the preseason, RGIII told everyone that he has to believe he is the best quarterback in the league, Dan Snyder didn't support releasing RGIII, then Snyder did, and then finally RGIII was benched in favor of Kirk Cousins, a quarterback with a 2-7 record as a starter. This is the side show folks, move along. (Austin T)

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