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2015 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots, Packers reign supreme in Week 1

Buckle up, because this is more than just a power rankings post. It's a power rankings post ... with sass. I bring the cheddar like a Green Bay Packers fan on his way to a Taco Tuesday event.

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Prepare for a rather long read. We're not just ranking the teams, we're also going to get a little preview of each team. We've been knee deep in Denver Broncos news and happenings that most of us are barely even aware the rest of the NFL exists. Time to change that.

This week's power rankings is slightly different than SB Nation's power rankings last week. That 4th preseason game pretty much changed everything here. We're talking ground breaking, league changing ... meh, I'm not sure where I was going with that. The good teams are still good and the bad ones bad.

Let's find out if the 18th ranked team should be ranked 20th or the 3rd ranked team should be 5th. These are important questions of our generation and I am really the only authority on the planet who can answer these age old questions.


New England Patriots

Yeah, that's right. Tom Brady and his big swinging Richard just punked the entire NFL. He cheated, got caught, then forced the NFL to let him off the hook. How can the New England Patriots not start off at the top? They just won a Super Bowl and is gloating in front of the entire league for cheating.

Oh and if that wasn't enough to send you into a fit of rage, they also have one of the youngest rosters with a slew of young defensive ends putting up some ridiculous Pro Football Focus grades. Seriously, I hate these guys. Stop being so good.


Green Bay Packers

Even with the loss of Jordy Nelson, the Green Bay Packers are ridiculously good. Aaron Rodgers had no business letting the Seattle Seahawks come back to win that game in the playoffs last year. That loss should leave a very bad taste in their mouths and we all know what a team can achieve when something like that happens. The Broncos went to the Super Bowl in 2013 after suffering a similar collapse the year before against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Packers are so confident they can survive the lose of Nelson, they kept just five wide receivers when they trimmed their roster down to 53. Unlike the Patriots, I like the Packers. I have ever since they lost to the Broncos in the Super Bowl. They will forever be tied to that glorious day. In case you want to remember what you felt that day, I'm pretty sure this play will remind you.


Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos don't need Peyton Manning. That's right. The Denver Broncos can win a Super Bowl without him and probably will in the near future. John Elway has assembled a defense unlike any we have seen in a long time. With 20 sacks in four preseason games and the kind of speed you'd expect from a more "finesse" defense. The Broncos defense isn't finesse. They are going to bust teams in the mouth for sixty minutes. I. Cannot. Wait.

As for the offense, all Manning has to do it score 20. Put up 20, that's all you have to do. This defense will take care of the rest. I think he does exactly that and the Broncos will ride all the way to home field advantage. Get your popcorn ready, because the Broncos are going to be fun to watch in 2015.


Seattle Seahawks

People might think I don't like the Seahawks because they beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl and they'd be right, but I also don't like the Seahawks because they are fluky. The win in ways that defy logic. It's almost Tebow-like in its unlikeliness. That style of play is going to run out of gas eventually. I've been saying that for two years now, so like many in denial, I'll keep saying the same thing until it becomes true. Please let it become true.

Russell Wilson got himself a new weapon in Jimmy Graham, but Wilson is a very streaky player and the two haven't seemed to develop much chemistry yet. Add that to rumblings that the Legion of Boom is waning, means the Seahawks won't have a defense that can bail its often inconsistent offense.

Please let it become true. Yes, I'm salty still. 43-8... Sad face.


Pittsburgh Steelers

My personal sleeper team in the AFC is the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Le'Veon Bell returning to full strength and Ben Roethlisberger with some elite wide receiver talent at his display, the Steelers are primed to be a serious contender in the AFC. We'll get to find out early what kind of stuff they are made of as they face the evil empire in Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 1.

Fortunately for the Broncos, this bodes well to face an immobile QB in the playoffs when your defense has elite pass rushers all along the line. Until then, however, the Steelers will need to run quite the gauntlet to even get there with games at the Patriots, Ravens, Bengals, Seahawks and Chiefs. They also get to face the Broncos, Colts, Ravens and Bengals at home. That's over half a season against playoff caliber teams. Good luck with that.


Indianapolis Colts

Hammering home my point about the Steelers, the Indianapolis Colts face the Patriots, Broncos and Steelers as teams that I would consider playoff caliber. There might be a sleeper playoff team on their schedule, but it is still nothing compared to what Pittsburgh faces. The Colts will have no problem wrapping up the AFC South division, but all bets are off come playoff time.

I would rank the Colts higher, but I think they are terribly run franchise who drafts poorly and doesn't seem to find much talent. Without Andrew Luck, this is a 4-win team. The cup cake schedule should move them in position to compete for home field advantage, but they'll find disappointment in the playoffs against a more well-rounded team - perhaps even a revenge game against the Broncos is in the cards.


Baltimore Ravens

If there is a team in the AFC North that can legitimately match the Steelers blow for blow, it would be the Baltimore Ravens. Yeah so much for that whole "Bengals are going to take over the AFC North" nonsense from a year or so ago. The reason is defense. The Ravens boast several players on defense who ranked in the Top 5 of their position in the league in 2014, so that tells me there is talent on that side of the ball.

The sketchy part of this Top 10 power ranking is going to be on offense. Joe Flacco isn't a guy I'm betting the farm on and his top wide receiver, Steve Smith Sr, is like 300 years old. Still, the Ravens specialize in smash mouth football. I think that will end up being good enough for ten wins in 2015. No repeat of this crap, though, please.


Arizona Cardinals

It's hard to put the Arizona Cardinals in the top 10, purely based on the fact that they are the Arizona Cardinals. I think my mom wasn't even born yet the last time they were a perennial powerhouse football team and I'm quickly approaching 40 years old. That said, the Cardinals are a scrappy football team and I like scrappy football teams. They may not be good enough to topple the Seahawks, but they are certainly good enough to get into the playoffs in what appears to be a weak NFC.

What killed my enthusiasm for the Cardinals is that they traded (yes, traded) for Matt Barkley to be their backup quarterback. First, Tim Tebow outplayed Barkley, which is really all that you need to know. But if you need a second reason, try that they could have had a number of third string quarterbacks for free a day later. Very dumb move by an otherwise good football team.


Philadelphia Eagles

Everyone and their mother is high on the Philadelphia Eagles for some reason. I mean why? Their starting quarterback is freaking Sam Bradford. And they are one Sam Bradford knee injury away from Mark Sanchez throwing pick sixes for them. I put them in the top 10 only because they should be a good team based on talent at other positions, but quarterback is so freaking important to winning games. I just don't know. I think Tebow might have worked for them.

That said, they have enough running backs to basically run an NFL offense that doesn't use a so-called quarterback. Maybe that's been the plan all along! The Eagles snagged Demarco MurrayRyan Mathews and Darren Sproles. He even tried to pick up Frank Gore. Seriously, stop hoarding all of the running backs Chip Kelly. Jerk.


Kansas City Chiefs

Oh the Kansas City Chiefs. To troll or not to troll, that is the question. If you are a Chiefs fan who has read my power rankings before, you probably know the answer. They predict an 11-win season, but I made sure to vote "8 or less" in their poll. You should too. :)

Defensively, the Chiefs should be above average and sound - especially with Eric Berry returning from a bout with cancer. Offensively, they added some talent at wide receiver, but Alex Smith has already destroyed one good wide out in Dwayne Bowe, so I'm not sure if the talent will translate to offensive production. If the "glass man" Jamaal Charles can stay healthy, then perhaps a 9 or 10 win season is in the cards. A playoff berth will likely end with Chiefs fans looking like this for the 24th or 25th consecutive year.


Detroit Lions

I am convinced the Detroit Lions is what the Denver Broncos would have become had they kept Mike Shanahan and Jay Cutler. A barely above-average team that should be a lot better than they are based on talent-level. Perennial under-achievers. Mathew Stafford should be an elite quarterback, but he makes stupid decisions too often. That keeps him a few spots above where Cutler is on that eliteness level.

Still, I think the Lions somehow stumble to a 10-win season for a nice little one and done in the playoffs. I don't really see them challenging the Packers for NFC North supremacy.


Cincinnati Bengals

By all accounts, the Cincinnati Bengals could have the most talented team in the AFC North. Yet, I have them third best in that division due to a simple fact that John Elway recognized last season that caused him to fire John Fox. the Bengals lack killer instinct. Andy Dalton wilts under pressure and the rest of the team wilts with him.

Still, talent alone should get the Bengals all the way into position to sneak in as the 6th seed or choke and be bounced out of playoff contention. At the very least they should win 9 games.


Dallas Cowboys

Guess who's not buying into the Dallas Cowboys hype? This guy. Everyone and their mother is fawning all over that offensive line, but they have Darren McFadden competing for the starting running back job. Yeah, let's test this "best offensive line in football" theory to the max on a washed up running back from Oakland. They seemed content to let it ride, so I let it fall. Their power ranking that is.

Somehow the Cowboys won 12 games last season, mostly on the back of Demarco "Spay Tan" Murray who was sent packing this offseason. They have a defense that is suspect, but Tony Romo should be able to put up pretty good numbers in the passing game. The NFC East is going to come down to the wire and I really see it as a three team race to the finish, which I'll get into later when we reach the New York Giants.


Atlanta Falcons

This should be the year the Atlanta Falcons turn the corner finally and it will be interesting to see how new head coach Dan Quinn does with that defense. Was his success in Seattle a fluke?  Matt Ryan should be efficient most of the time, but the real question is whether their young stable of running backs will be efficient.

It seems as though every year for the last two, I have ranked the Falcons highly before the season only to have them crap the bed by the end of it. I went conservatively optimistic for them this year, but I really feel as though they could be an NFC powerhouse if they stop crapping the bed. Maybe the fresh blood from a new coaching staff is exactly what they needed to regain some continence.


Buffalo Bills

What about those Buffalo Bills? Aside from obvious jokes about women's feet and Rex Ryan, the Bills also have a record of being a losing organization. I certainly like their defense, but with Marcell Dareus whining for a new contract and the Bills apparently desperate to try and placate him the defense could end up with a huge contract with a player that is more interested in money than playing at an elite level. We have seen this before from "stud" defensive tackles.

The good news is, Ryan axed Matt Cassel in favor of Tyrod Taylor. Why is that good news? Because Rex Ryan has learned that starting a limited, immobile quarterback is a recipe for getting yourself fired. At the very least, the Bills should be exciting and fun to watch. We'll just have to wait and see if they are Top 15 worthy.


New York Giants

Here is my bold prediction in 2015. Eli Manning is going to have a monster year and the New York Giants are a team I think could steal the NFC East title away from the two media darlings. The Giants offense is poised to be quite productive this year and they put this offense together flying well under everyone's radar. They are definitely my favorite sleeper pick.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants finally have some playmakers that will help shore things up defensively. Now for a little disclaimer: Like the judge that ruled in favor of Tom Brady, I too have a fantasy football team. Except mine has Eli Manning this year.  But I assure you, that did not factor into my decision to name them my sleeper pick of 2015.


San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers with Philip Rivers can beat any team in the NFL on any given Sunday. They scare me more than the Alex Smith led Chiefs ever will, but I rank them low overall due to consistency. The Chargers play up to their level of opponent, meaning they play bad against bad teams and good against good teams. That's a recipe for mediocrity in the NFL and that's where I put the Chargers.

Talent-wise they are also mediocre and they spent another first round pick on a running back, Melvin Gordon out of Wisconsin, that appears to be struggling badly already. To which I can only say:


Minnesota Vikings

Here's the first team on this list where I will even listen to the possibility that I might be wrong. That's right, I'm perfect in almost every way, but when it comes to the Minnesota Vikings I have no idea what team we're going to see. Are we going to see Adrian Peterson in F-U mode all year or will he be disgruntled and force his way out? Will Teddy Bridgewater become an elite quarterback? How good will their defense be?

I need about four regular season games to answer all of these questions, so I'm either going to be right to start them out here or I'll be inching them up the list fairly rapidly through the first month of the season. Their roster certainly looks intriguing, but I need to see them in live game action before gracing them with my written approval.


Miami Dolphins

If you are a Miami Dolphins fan, just stop. You're team isn't that good and no, you won't be challenging the Patriots for AFC East supremacy. In fact, you won't even be challenging the AFC for that sixth playoff spot. The Dolphins have holes on the offensive line and at linebacker and the secondary, so how they could even be considered a playoff-caliber team is beyond me.

Extreme negativity aside, the Dolphins do have a chance to push their way towards a .500 finish. To get there, however, they need to beat a whole host of cup cakes early in the season. If they can start 6-0, then they should be able to steal two more of their final 10 games. Yes, the schedule is that brutal. Patriots x2, Bills, Eagles, Cowboys, Jets, Ravens, Giants, Chargers, and Colts. Maybe 3, but does anyone think they actually start 6-0?


New Orleans Saints

For Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, their season rests entirely on whether Brees can still play at an elite level. They have a ton of offensive weapons even after losing Jimmy Graham, but the fact that they kept five running backs on their roster compared to just four wide receivers is telling.

The defensive side of the ball is a different story. The middle of the line is in pretty bad shape and it's going to cause problems defending against the run, but I suspect Saints fans are going to see a lot of this in 2015.


Carolina Panthers

How good will this team be? Nobody really knows, even the experts. I noticed Cam Newton was consistently ranked as a top tier fantasy option, but he was not consistently taken with the top tier fantasy quarterbacks ranked much lower. Consistency matters and Newton hasn't been all that consistent in his career. The offense will go as Cam goes.

The defense should continue to be stalwart with Luke Kuechly anchoring the interior of the defense. The Panthers might have the second best group of linebackers in the NFL. Second to the Broncos, of course. Kuechly, Thomas Davis and first round rookie Shaq Thompson appear to be set to dominate the middle of the defense this year.


St. Louis Rams

I think Jeff Fisher teams, because they play kind of dirty. I like dirty. I don't like cheaters though, but dirty I'm okay with. The only time I don't like dirty is when the scumbag is sending his dirty players after a Hall of Fame quarterback. That's where I draw the line, but only if its my Hall of Fame quarterback.

That said, the St. Louis Rams are rolling into the season with Nick Foles as their quarterback. The sky is most definitely not the limit. However, with their defense the Rams could find their way in the middle of the pack, provided Foles takes care of the football when games are tight.


Houston Texans

I was so out of touch with the rest of the NFL that I didn't even know who was going to be starting quarterback for the Houston Texans in 2015. When I found out it was Brian Hoyer, well, let's just say that is why the Texans are way down here towards the bottom of the league.

Still, their defense should continue to be impressive with J.J. Watt and the biggest break the Texans got is the fact that Arian Foster will be back much earlier than expected. They will need to rely on stout defense and a good running game to compete in the AFC South, but I'm not optimistic.


San Francisco 49ers

Every now and then an offseason is so terrible that it can only start out one way. Ladies and gentlemen, here are your 2015 San Francisco 49ers.


Chicago Bears

John Fox took his nonchalant style to the Chicago Bears where he'll get to coach an equally nonchalant Jay Cutler. I am sure this marriage will produce multiple Super Bowls for the Windy City. The Bears have not been able to stay healthy at key positions in years' past, which will probably again limit their ceiling in 2015.

I actually like the talent level and perhaps dumping Marc Trestman and bringing in a players coach like Fox will translate into a couple of solid seasons from the Bears. For now, however, I'll put them at the floor because I'm still angry at Fox for quitting on the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round last year.


Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns named Josh McCown their starting quarterback, but how many losses until we see Johnny Manziel back on the field? He is the devil's version of Tim Tebow and like Tim Tebow, I want to see more. Looking over their offensive roster, I don't think we'll be seeing many points scored from the Browns. I would talk up their offensive line, but it appears their offensive line coach has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home. Yikes...

On the defensive side of the ball, the Browns should be good enough to keep things a low scoring affair, but like last year we'll probably see them give way to the pressure of an offense that is just flat out terrible. That's got to be tough. To know you have a good unit, but having to lose game after game because the other side of the ball can't get anything done.

Bring me Johnny Football.


Jacksonville Jaguars

After several years near the bottom of the league, the Jacksonville Jaguars might finally be on the verge of breaking free from the pits of despair. They have talent on offense and on defense, but I just don't think they have a mentally tough team. That lack of toughness only got worse once Julius Thomas was signed.

Speaking of Julius Thomas. There's this guy named Ronnie Lott. He too had an injured pinkie. He was going to miss 2-3 weeks, so he told his pinkie to go to hell. I'm not saying you should amputate your finger, but I would recommend not letting that little digit keep you out of game action for half the season.


Washington Redskins

Benching Robert Griffin III was the best decision the Washington Redskins have made this year and caused me to bump them up a few spots from near the bottom. Kirk Cousins can play in this league, but the Redskins seemed to ready to give up on him last year. If he gets a fair shake, the Redskins could be moving their way up these rankings over time.

Still, I suspect the Redskins won't rise too much with the holes they have on their roster. Even so, a six win season should be considered a success for a franchise that has been woefully bad in recent years. The RGIII saga definitely needs to come to an end at some point.


Oakland Raiders

In an ultimate jerk move, I purposefully kept the Oakland Raiders down here at the bottom. Jack Del Rio, after screwing the Broncos out of the playoffs in 2014, landed his "dream job" with the Oakland Raiders. Based on Raiders recent history, he'll be looking for his next "dream job" in about two years.

The Raiders should be better this year, but I also think that every year and they suck every year. I also find it hilarious that Raiders fans seem to want to pick up Montee Ball. Please do. And I can't wait to see Del Rio's sad face when the Broncos destroy his dreams this year.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I really don't understand why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a bad football team. On paper they should be at least as good as some of the mediocre teams out there, but they just can't seem to turn the corner. The roster is young and there is definitely talent there, so maybe it just needs time to develop.

Jameis Winston figures to be the starter. He has offensive weapons on the outside in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, but that didn't produce much in 2014. However, it's a new year. This team should win 6+ games, but we'll have to wait see about that.


Tennessee Titans

The Tenessee Titans were terrible in 2014 and look ready to duplicate that effort again in 2015. They are trying though, so they get an A for effort. Picking up Terrance West in a trade with the Cleveland Browns and now reportedly looking at bringing in Jonas Gray, the Titans want to run the football. That's good, because they can't throw it.

On defense, they are not much better. They snatched up former-Bronco Steven Johnson to backup the starters there. Wesley Woodyard should be a good mentor for the young linebacker. Overall, the Titans are still in rebuilding mode.


New York Jets

Ah, the New York Jets. This team is getting way to much love from the rest of the NFL. SB Nation ranked them 26th and that is much too high. The Jets have limited offensive weapons and an overrated defense. If they win more than five games I'll be shocked. No. Amazed.

Their elite quarterback, Geno Smith, has a broken jaw thanks to him not paying his debts. But when he returns, he figures to make the Jets even worse. Most of those five wins better come early.