Number 1: Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks had a very good offseason. They did not go out and make any offseason signings, however, they were able to keep their core group of players together. They also had what appears to be a good draft. Their main priority headed into the draft was to continue to upgrade their offense, and they were able to do so by drafting wide receivers Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood.
Number 2: Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos were the team that won free agency. They brought in a ton of star power to add to their already loaded roster. They might have gotten a beat down in last year’s Super Bowl, however, that should not affect them moving forward. The biggest thing is they were easily able to replace the pieces that they lost in the offseason.
Number 3: San Francisco 49’ers
In my Pre-Free Agency Power Rankings I stated that the San Francisco 49’ers needed to add some youth to their secondary and they were able to do just that in the draft. The 49’ers had an incredible twelve picks and as a result, they were able to bring in four players to their secondary (three corners and a safety). Not only were they able to add some youth to their defense, but they also traded a fourth round pick to the Buffalo Bills for wide receiver Stevie Johnson. I’m not one for bold predictions, but I think we’re going to see a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship.
Number 4: New England Patriots
Every year the New England Patriots find a way to win. Normally, Tom Brady is the reason to their success. While I know he will add a large contribution to the team this year, their defense is what is going to put them over the top. They were able to bring in two very good cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. If the defensive line can bounce back and remain healthy, New England will be the most complete team in the AFC.
Number 5: Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck has another year as a starter under his belt, and I fully expect this team to contend in the AFC. They added Hakeem Nicks to their offense and if he can stay healthy and Trent Richardson can produce, this team will be very dangerous. They have seven offensive starters coming back from injury next year as well. Dark-horse pick.
Number 6: Green Bay Packers
Forget that they finished off last season with a 8-7-1 record. They did not have one of, if not, the best quarterback in the game for half of the season. Even without Aaron Rodgers this team was still able to find a way to make the playoffs. That’s saying something. With Rodgers now back and healthy, this team should be able to easily win their division.
Number 7: Arizona Cardinals
Despite just missing out on the playoffs, I think we can all agree that right next to Carolina, Arizona was the surprise team in the NFL. They we’re able to finish 10-6 and they we’re the only team to win in Seattle. That’s a pretty good season if you ask me. With Arizona having one of the best defenses in the National Football League, quarterback Carson Palmer does not have to put up crazy numbers. What he does need to do is cut back on the interceptions – throwing twenty-two last season.
Number 8: New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints had a pretty good draft, as they were able to get their hands on a very very fast wide receiver in Brandin Cooks. This is a great move for an offense that is constantly having trouble staying healthy. Not to mention, this pick will open up the field for Jimmy Graham A LOT.
Number 9: St. Louis Rams
Yes, the St. Louis Rams are my number nine team. Keep the hate coming. Will they make the playoffs, maybe? With their defense, it is certainly a possibility. This team went 7-9 last season with Kellen Clemens as their starting quarterback. St. Louis also had possibly the best draft out of any team in the NFL and with a healthy Sam Bradford (who was on a tear before he got hurt, pun intended), this team has the potential to be very good heading into next year.
Number 10: Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton will have some serious issues heading into this season. He lost his starting left tackle and his entire group of wide receivers. Kelvin Benjamin better be able to come in day one and be Carolina’s leading receiver, because if not, this team is going to have some serious problems on the offensive side of the ball.
Number 11: Cincinnati Bengals
Last season ended in disappointment yet again for the Cincinnati Bengals. This could very well be Andy Dalton’s final shot at success in Cincinnati. Will he be able to pull it together and get this team out of the first round in the playoffs? We’ll just have to wait and see. I will say this, they did very a very good job by selecting Darqueze Dennard and Jeremy Hill in the draft.
Number 12: Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles fans finally have something to get excited about again – Nick Foles. Foles is coming off an absolute monster first season in which he threw for twenty-seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. The Eagles also added Darren Sproles to spell LeSean McCoy and Jordan Matthews to replace DeSean Jackson. That’s a good looking offense right there.
Number 13: Chicago Bears
The Bears were able to lock up Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall for at least another three year’s together. Despite these extensions, the real positive to take away from this offseason was their ability to revamp their defensive line. That was clearly their biggest weakness last season, so what do they do? They went out and brought in five defensive ends and drafted two defensive tackles. Nice job, Emery.
Number 14: Kansas City Chiefs
Headed into this season the biggest problem for Kansas City is going to be their offensive line. They lost three starters, replacing two of them with sixth round draft picks. While this team still has a butt-load of talent, a combination of an average offensive line and a really tough schedule is going to hold them back. After their playoff disaster, they need to prove to me that they are legitimate. I have faith.
Number 15: Pittsburgh Steelers
Coming off a very strong run to close off the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers look to be in a good place heading into this one. They boosted their front seven and we’re able to lock up Troy Polamolu and Heath Miller. They also brought in Lance Moore and LeGarrette Blount to improve their offense. The AFC North is going to be up for grabs.
Number 16: New York Jets
They might not have the best offense in the NFL, but man, this defense is going to be scary good. I absolutely love the addition of Calvin Pryor to the secondary. He is the exact type of player that Rex Ryan loves to have. Unfortunately, due to the lack of weapons, their offense is going to hold them back tremendously.