2016 NFL Power Rankings: Week 1

Rejoice, as another NFL season is upon us! If you're a Dolphins fan like me, you're already looking forward to the draft, but if you're a lucky fan of another team besides Miami, the new season brings hope abound!

Here is my first set of Power Rankings for the season. enjoy!


1. New England Patriots. Even without Tom Brady for the first four weeks of the season, you can write another 12 wins in Sharpee. The culture is so strong in New England even the Matt Cassel's of the world can succeed. It also helps that the defense is one of the better in the league. New England is clearly the class of the AFC.

2. Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have the best roster in football and I continue to sing my praises as Bruce Arians as a top three coach, but Carson Palmer will need to show he has enough left during his age 36 season. The playoffs are about quarterbacks, and Palmer was miserable last post season.

3. Carolina Panthers. The bad? A weak secondary and offensive line that was exposed during the Super Bowl. The good? Nearly everything else, including a deveastating passing attack and perhaps the best defensive front seven in football.

4. Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are not as deep as previous seasons, but they still have a great coaching staff, one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a very talented defense. The lack of a running game last year meant Russell Wilson was able to showcase his tremendous passing ability.

5. Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals had their best season since the late 80's Super Bowl team, but without Andy Dalton, suffered yet another early playoff loss. The roster is set up for another great regular season, but until the advances in the post season, Dalton and Marvin Lewis will have more critics than fans.

6. Green Bay Packers. As long as Aaron Rodgers is upright and the defense is at least average, the Packers will be Super Bowl contenders. Those are always two big "if's", however. The personnel has not really improved.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers. Todd Haley was a miserable head coach, but he is very good at what he does as a coordinator. The Steelers are an elite passing team, and if LeVeon Bell can manage to not suspend himself every year, could have the best running game in football as well.

8. Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid remains one of the best regular season coaches in NFL history. He did a good job overcoming the loss of Jamaal Charles (again). This team relies on a deep running game and an attacking defense. The division is theirs for the taking, but I do not see Alex Smith winning any important playoff games soon.

9. Minnesota Vikings. At least General Manager Rick Spielman admitted he got hosed in the Sam Bradford trade. Bradford should be a decent game manager in a run first, West Coast offense. The Vikings were and still are playoff, but not Super Bowl, contenders.

10. Houston Texans. The Texans managed to win 9 games last year with the worst quarterback situation in football. Brock Osweiler is far from an All Pro, but he should help solidify the position. Houston is all about running the ball and playing defense.

11. New York Jets. Brandon Marshall may wear out his welcome quickly, but he sure can produce. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back and a defense strong everywhere except pass rush, this team could push for a playoff spot.

12. Denver Broncos. All of the talk is about quarterback, but Peyton Manning played like a third stringer throughout most of the season. Denver should be more concerned with free agent losses on defense and a leaky offensive line.

13. Oakland Raiders. During my final 2014 NFL Mock Draft, I penned Khalil Mack to the Houston Texans first overall. Mack has shown that he deserved that recognition, and is already one of the best players in the NFL. The Raiders have drafted well and are in position to reach the playoffs for the first time in almost 15 years.

14. New York Giants. Eli Manning has quietly put together back to back great seasons after a miserable 2013. He should put forth another solid season, and Giants fans hope the pricey additions on defense will get this team back to the playoffs.

15. Baltimore Ravens. Health is the biggest key in Baltimore, after injury after injury ruined their 2015. The Ravens still have depth issues, especially along the offensive line and in the back seven on defense.

16. Washington Redskins. Kirk Cousins has plenty of motivation to put together a huge year, and he certainly has the pieces around him to succeed on offense.

17. Indianapolis Colts. Prior to last year, Andrew Luck camoflauged how bad the post-Peyton Manning years have been personnel wise. Without Luck, the team sputtered. With a poor defense and the inibility to block on offense, it could be a tough year for the NFL's richest man.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars. Gus Bradley is out of excuses. Years of top five picks have the roster deep, young and talented. There are blue chippers on both sides of the ball, but it is up to the coaching staff to put it all together.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. All things considered, Jameis Winston had a very good rookie campaign. With Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin and Charles Sims, the offense should be very good. The defense? Well, not so much.

20. Dallas Cowboys. The Dak Prescott era begins earlier than Cowboys fans hoped, but he is set up to succeed with Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL's top offensive line. The worry continues to be an already suspect defense that has been further decimated by suspensions.

21. Chicago Bears. John Fox seems to get more from less, and the Bears could slightly surprise this year. Not enough to get into the playoffs, but the passing game could be pretty good.

22. Atlanta Falcons. Yes, I also forgot the Falcons started 5-0 last year. The once vaunted passing attack has lost Roddy White and Tony Gonzales in recent years, and Matt Ryan is past his prime. Julio Jones is the most powerful offensive weapon in football, however.

23. Miami Dolphins. As a Dolphins fan, I like the Adam Gase hire, but the front office made some absolutely puzzling moves, including letting Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller go. Hard to tell what direction this team is heading, except the top ten of the draft.

24. New Orleans Saints. Same story for the Saints. The offense should be just fine, but a defense that was historically bad in 2015 did not get much better.

25. Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles held onto Sam Bradford and were able to fleece a desperate Minnesota team. Philadelphia has a very good defensive front seven, but are too young on offense to make a playoff push.

26. Tennessee Titans. The Titans have worked hard to build a solid offensive line and deep running game. That is fine and dandy, but if Tennessee gets behind, they might not have the passing attack neccessary to win games.

27. Buffalo Bills. The Bills are already dealing with a ton of injuries and suspensions. The jury is out on Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy. This team has some talent, but not enough to make it work.

28. Los Angeles Rams. The Rams were smart to gamble on the quarterback. A terrible pre-season does not a bust make, but it's extremely discouraging that Jared Goff will start his career as a healthy scratch. Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald better be ready to carry a bad team.

29. San Diego Chargers. Years of bad drafting and poor player development have put the Chargers in a tough spot. Even worse, the front office is in a holding pattern while the franchise gets the San Diego/Los Angeles situation figured out.

30. Detroit Lions. Few teams can withstand the losses of Ndumakong Suh and Calvin Johnson during two off-seasons, let alone a team that is not that talented to begin with.

31. Cleveland Browns. The Browns reboot more than Spider Man, but I think the latest effort could pay off in time. The cupboard is bare for 2016, however, and Browns fans will have to wait for the draft, where Cleveland owns a ton of early picks.

32. San Francisco 49ers. Colin Kaepernick drama aside, it's hard to imagine that Blaine Gabbert is still a starting quarterback in 2016. It has been a rapid and terrifying fall from grace since their 2012 Super Bowl appearance.

Jonathan Carrano

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