For a while, it looked like the NFL season was never going to happen. First, we watched a virtual draft from Roger Goodells’ million-dollar basement. Then virtual free-agency went into effect and for some reason, Nick Foles was signed by the Bears to backup Mitch Trubisky.
Tom Brady divorced the Patriots and joined a Tampa Bay retirement community and convinced Gronk to join him for early-bird dinners. Then the NFL did away with all 2020 preseason games. This was followed by Cam Newton being signed by the Patriots and Bill Belichick publicly saying positives things about his quarterback.
Trying to predict NFL power rankings week 1 is always difficult, but not having at least a few preseason games to look at makes this first power ranking of the season more of a hunch than anything else. Sure, I looked at last year’s performance, offseason signings, and team depth, but the reality is we really just don’t have a sense yet how the top teams are going to perform.
Top 10 Power Rankings Week 1
10: Minnesota Vikings – The Vikes have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball and while they might not be deep enough to win the Super Bowl they are clearly the team to beat in the NFC North this year. The Packers fall back to reality because of a weak draft and a terrible job by management signing free agents. If you own one of those publicly issued shares of Packers stock, now is the time to sell.
9: San Francisco 49ers – Sorry 49ers fans but you walked away from Emmanuel Sanders, Matt Breida, and traded away DeForest Buckner. Plus, we really don’t have a sense yet how shell shocked Jimmy G still is from missing a wide-open Super Bowl-winning touchdown pass. Injuries are another factor that pushed the 49ers to the back end of the top 10.
8: Tennessee Titans – It’s amazing how many people are overlooking the Titans. Strategically the Titans enter Week 1 with one of the best defenses and a running game that prevents the team from having to rely to heavily on Ryan Tannehills’ arm.
7: Tampa Bay Bucs – Yes Tom Brady is the starting QB and yes they just signed Leonard Fournette. The team is made up of a collection of outstanding wide receivers and their defense is the real deal. At this point, we just don’t know if Brady can still throw the deep ball, or will the Bucs offense turn into something way too predictable.
6: Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen is really one of the most exciting young QB’s in the NFL and let’s just say he has a big arm. Adding Stephon Diggs to the wide receiver core will open things up even more for the Bills. Some questions on defense, but the Bills for the most part had a really good offseason and should win the AFC East unless Bill Belichick out game plans the rest of the NFL which is a legit possibility.
5. Los Angeles Rams – I pretty much guarantee that I’m the only person in North America who put the Rams into their top 5 power rankings. But here’s why: Sean McVay is entering his 4th season as head coach of the Rams and the worst record he posted came last year at 9-7. Jared Goff for the first time in his NFL career looks like a veteran QB who the Rams can absolutely rely on. The team made the wise decision to part ways with Todd Gurley who had clearly lost a few steps. The defense is anchored by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey…enough said.
4. New Orleans Saints – The Saints should be the favorite to win it all out of the NFC, but organizationally they’ve had some issues handling player contracts correctly. Plus Drew Brees seems to be heading down the backside of “Career Mountain.” Still, the offense has a ton of weapons and the defense is solid enough to force a considerable amount of turnovers. The Saints will not find themselves in low scoring games which doesn’t bother them as they enter the season with such a potent offense.
3. Baltimore Ravens – How can you not love Lamar Jacksons game. The Ravens look strong on both sides of the field and will certainly react to what happened against the Titans in the playoffs by starting the season out with believe it or not a more conservative offensive approach.
2. Dallas Cowboys – Parting ways with the NFC version of Marvin Lewis was a great move by the Cowboys. New head coach Mike McCarthy, went 125-77-2 in the regular season in his 13 seasons as Packers head coach and won a Super Bowl. McCarthy for the first time in his coaching career will actually be backed by an organization that is willing to spend money to make money. Take Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, an improved offensive line and sprinkle in rookie slot WR CeeDee Lamb and you have one of the most explosive offenses in the game. On paper, this is a championship-caliber team.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Anyone that doesn’t have the Chiefs first in their week 1 power rankings must have missed the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. Yes, this is a new season, but the Chiefs actually improved themselves in the offseason, and at least for week 1 deserve the top spot. Plus, that kid Patrick Mahomes is going to be pretty good someday.