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Power Rankings

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Neil Reynolds' Power Rankings

Who tops the Power Rankings after the preseason?

The Vikings are my preseason tip to win it all. The defense is elite, they have quality skill position players and a quarterback with three straight 4,000-yard seasons under his belt.

A very good offseason for the Rams got even better with the late-summer contract extension signing of superstar defender Aaron Donald. This team is ready to make some noise.

The Super Bowl champs had to overcome plenty of adversity in 2017 and must do so again with Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery sidelined early. This is still a true contender.

I think the Falcons can be top dogs in the NFC South. The offense has multiple weapons and an MVP-calibre QB in Matt Ryan, while the defense is fast and to be feared.

My leading AFC team is the Jags and I believe their defense and running game can carry them all the way to the Super Bowl. I'd feel even better if the passing game did more than "just enough."

There is no Mark Ingram for the first month so how Alvin Kamara carries the load will be key. It feels like the Saints are all-in for a Super Bowl run and their talent level is very high indeed.

Now the games are beginning, let's find out if the cracks are beginning to appear in Fortress Foxboro. Tom Brady gives this team a chance every week but there could be trouble in paradise.

The return of Aaron Rodgers makes the Packers immediate contenders. His connection with tight end Jimmy Graham will be fun to watch. Who plays defense effectively will be of greater importance

The Patrick Mahomes era is about to begin and I would feel a lot better about this team's Super Bowl chances if they could play a little D. They will definitely be a fun watch, though.

10. *Pittsburgh Steelers*

This Le'Veon Bell stuff is getting serious and some of the comments coming from his offensive linemen are worrying. That's a major black mark on a team with genuine title ambitions.

11. *Los Angeles Chargers*

Don't be surprised to see LA's 'other' team make a serious run in 2018. The Chargers boast an elite QB, elite pass rushers x 2 and an elite corner. Now, they just need a little bit of good luck.

12. *Houston Texans*

The jury may be out on how effectively JJ Watt can return from injury but there has been a shift in Houston and the Texans will go as far as Deshaun Watson can carry them.

13. *Tennessee Titans*

Mike Vrabel will bring some attitude to a Titans team that is now loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. Anything less than a return to the AFC playoffs will be deemed a disappointment.

14. *Baltimore Ravens*

Joe Flacco is clinging to his starting job by his fingertips but could be saved by an improved receiving corps and a solid ground attack. The D is traditionally one of the best around.

15. *San Francisco 49ers*

The loss of running back Jerick McKinnon is a real blow and the defense is still a work in progress, but a full season of Jimmy Garoppolo at QB is enough to excite the Niner Nation.

16. *Carolina Panthers*

There has not been much buzz around the Panthers this offseason but this was an 11-win team a year ago. British defensive end Efe Obada is one of the Cinderella stories of the summer.

17. *Chicago Bears*

I was already pretty intrigued by the Bears after they surrounded Mitch Trubisky with more offensive talent. The trade for Khalil Mack has well and truly caught my attention.

18. *Detroit Lions*

The Lions are another team without much buzz. But they do have a genuine star quarterback in Matthew Stafford. Imagine how good they could be if they were able to run the football.

19. *New York Giants*

A fit-again Odell Beckham Jr., an improved offensive line and Saquon Barkley is enough to have Big Blue fans dreaming of a playoff return. The NFC is loaded but the Giants are on the right track.

20. *Washington Redskins*

The Redskins were decimated by injuries a year ago but they should prove to be a dangerous opponent most weeks in 2018. How Alex Smith fares at QB will be critical.

21. *Cincinnati Bengals*

The offensive line is improved and Joe Mixon could become one of the league's leading rushers. But do you really trust Andy Dalton to take this team on a deep playoff run? I don't.

22. *Dallas Cowboys*

I'm fine with a changing of the guard, to a degree, and it's right that this is now a team belonging to Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. But who is going to catch the passes in 2018?

23. *Denver Broncos*

The Broncos have the weapons to rise up these rankings pretty quickly, especially if Case Keenum settles at QB. The defense is very good and keep an eye on rookie WR Courtland Sutton.

24. *Seattle Seahawks*

Seattle have always been a competitive bunch under Pete Carroll but they have lost so much and so quickly in this offseason. The presence of Russell Wilson means a disastrous season will be avoided.

25. *Miami Dolphins*

Not many are predicting good things for the Dolphins and I'm not sure what to make of them. They're pretty non-descript right now but Adam Gase's men seem ready to prove us all wrong.

26. *New York Jets*

Sam Darnold will likely take his lumps early in his rookie year and will need to lean on the running game and defense. The Jets will have their moments, but I cannot see them contending in 2018.

27. *Arizona Cardinals*

The return of David Johnson is a massive boost to the Cardinals but it feels like they have fallen quite a way from the time when they were making deep playoff runs. Their future is somewhat cloudy.

28. *Tampa Bay Buccaneers*

Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three weeks of the year and it's not nearly the disaster it might be for some other teams. That tells you everything you need to know about his status.

29. *Cleveland Browns*

I have a sneaky feeling the Browns are going to climb this chart quickly and impressively. Tyrod Taylor is going to avoid turnovers and this club can win at least seven games.

30. *Buffalo Bills*

Anyone fancy a game on Buffalo's offensive line? The first five fans onto the field get to start. Okay, it's not quite that bad but it is the reason that Josh Allen is being kept on the bench.

31. *Oakland Raiders*

What is going on with the Silver and Black? I find it hard to believe this is part of the master plan. Khalil Mack was a generational player and you do not let those guys leave the building.

Once I see Andrew Luck get through a game and in one piece, I might begin to raise the Colts up these rankings. But, stop me if you've heard this before, I'm worried about his offensive line.

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