By Bryan Dietzler
The 2017 NFL season is just about here, finally. After a long wait, training camps are starting up, and football fans are happy to see players take the field once again. Pretty soon we will have regular season football, and our Sunday’s will be spent watching the game we love.
It’s time to get back to evaluating every team in the NFL and where they stand. My last power poll was a few weeks ago, and even though some time has passed, not much has changed. It will start changing when injuries start to happen, and players get cut. Yes, folks, the NFL season is almost here, and it’s time to get excited.
The following is a little bit shorter version of my NFL power rankings for the end of July and the start of August. Like I said, not much has changed but consider this the start of the power poll season and hopes for a consistent go of it for the rest of the season.
So sit back and see where your favorite team ranks. Comments are certainly welcome.
- New England Patriots-(LM 1) Not much has changed here. The Patriots are still the team to beat and will be well into the season.
- Atlanta Falcons-(LM 2) Still the top team in the NFC but they can be beaten. I predict that they will fall off a bit in 2017.
- Green Bay Packers-(LM 4) I moved the Packers up a spot as I think that they are poised for a big year. But any one key injury can knock this team back a step. Still the best in the NFC North, for now.
- Oakland Raiders-(LM 3) Could the Raiders be one of the NFL’s best teams? Right now, they are, but they have the potential to stumble. Can Derek Carr lead them to the Super Bowl?
- Dallas Cowboys-(LM 6) I am moving the Cowboys up a notch in this poll. I think they have a great chance of being the top team in the NFC next season. Let’s just hope that Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott don’t have sophomore slumps.
- Pittsburgh Steelers-(LM 5) This could be Big Ben’s last hurrah, or at least close to it. Will the Steelers want to help him go out on top?
- Tennessee Titans-(LM 7)-I think that the Titans are going to be a pretty good team in 2017. The pieces are finally in place for a playoff run, and this team is ready for one.
- Seattle Seahawks-(LM 8) Seattle should always be included in any discussion about playoffs. I suspect they make it there again but have an early exit.
- Kansas City Chiefs-(LM 9) Keep an eye on the quarterback situation this season. If Alex Smith stumbles, Patrick Mahomes will be in. Can they make the playoffs with him under center?
- Philadelphia Eagles-(LM 10) This team has a lot of talent, and I think they are playoff bound in 2017. They will be 2017’s surprise team.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers-(LM 11) There are people who laugh at the fact I have the Bucs ranked so high, but with a few adjustments, this team could win a lot of games this season. I think they have a shot at making the playoffs.
- Arizona Cardinals-(LM 13) I think that Arizona gets back on track this season and does some good things. They will play hard in 2017.
- Detroit Lions-(LM 12) I am still a little skeptical about the Lions, but they might do something good this year. They are just hard to predict.
- Washington Redskins-(LM 14) The Redskins have some nice talent but need to put it together. Can they do it before Kirk Cousins gets away in free agency?
- Miami Dolphins-(LM 15) Miami didn’t look that bad last year and should be better this year. Can they make the playoffs for the second year in a row?
- Carolina Panthers-(LM 16) I think that Carolina can regain some of what they lost last year following their run to the Super Bowl the previous year. But they won’t be able to overtake the Falcons.
- Los Angeles Chargers-(LM 17) This may be Phillip Rivers last season, and his teammates may try hard to get him into the playoffs. Can they do get him (and them) there?
- New York Giants-(LM 18) Could this be the start of the end of Eli Manning’s NFL career. Will he go out on top?
- Denver Broncos-(LM 20) I am going to slide the Broncos up a little. I think they get back to winning more games this season despite their problems at quarterback.
- Indianapolis Colts-(LM 21) I like the Colts to bounce back and make a possible playoff run this season. They will have to contend with a stronger Titans team but should be competitive.
- Baltimore Ravens-(LM 26) The Ravens are my biggest mover in this poll. I think that they will have a nice season in 2017 but will just miss the playoffs. They are a talented team that is missing a few pieces. (How will the Joe Flacco injury affect them?)
- New Orleans Saints-(LM 22) Even with their shiny new toy Adrian Peterson, the Saints are going to struggle. Will this be Drew Brees’ last year in a Saint’s uniform?
- Houston Texans-(LM 19) I have moved the Texans down a bit. I think that they are going to struggle to pass the ball next year. Could DeShaun Watson be the starter by the end of the season?
- Cincinnati Bengals-(LM 23) I think that the Bengals have some rebuilding and retooling to do to get back to the playoffs. The question is, if they don’t will Marvin Lewis get the ax?
- Minnesota Vikings-(LM 24) The Vikings could go several different ways this season, but I think they will be stuck near the bottom. They still have improvements to make that won’t be made in 2017.
- Buffalo Bills-(LM 25) The Bills are a tough team to figure out, but they won’t get too far next year. Expect another down year for them.
- Jacksonville Jaguars-(LM 27) Isn’t it about time the talent on this team stepped up and helped win more games? Maybe they will start to put it all together in 2017.
- Chicago Bears-(LM 28) I am not allowing my personal feelings to come into play here being that I am a Bears fan. They will start here but move up, slightly, as the season goes on.
- Cleveland Browns-(LM 29) I guarantee you that the Browns will not be the worst team in the NFL this season. This is the year they will start to rise from the depths and work their way towards being a contender.
- Los Angeles Rams-(LM 31) The Rams are going to stay stagnant in 2017 but will start moving forwards in 2018.
- San Francisco 49ers-(LM 32) I am moving these guys up one spot because no one will be worse than the New York Jets in 2017.
- New York Jets-(LM 30) The Jets need a lot of help, and it will be a while before they get the help they need.