2014 NFL power rankings

Bob Glauber

2014 preseason NFL power rankings

Newsday football columnist Bob Glauber brings order to the NFL with his weekly power rankings.
(Updates every Tuesday around lunch time during the season.)

Rank Change Team Last year Comments
1. - Seahawks 13-3 Could we be seeing first NFL dynasty since Patriots of early 2000s?
2. - 49ers 12-4 The NFC’s best equipped team to unseat the defending champs.
3. - Broncos 13-3 Window still open for Peyton Manning, but who knows for how much longer? It’s why John Elway went nuts in adding defensive players in the offseason, hoping this will be the year.
4. - Patriots 12-4 Tom Brady still plenty good enough to win a championship. Question is whether there’s enough around him to give him a chance.
5. - Packers 8-7-1 Offense is never the issue when Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback. The issue is whether Julius Peppers has enough gas – and motivation – left for a deep playoff run.
6. - Saints 11-5 Drew Brees-to-Jimmy Graham is now a more permanent combination with Graham re-upping in New Orleans. Bigger issue now is whether Rob Ryan’s defense can continue its dramatic improvement from last year.
7. - Ravens 8-8 Ray Rice's uncertainty still looms, but a year removed from a Super Bowl title run, Ravens remain a contending team in a very tough conference.
8. - Colts 11-5 Major steps forward last year for Andrew Luck, and a signature performance in his comeback playoff win over the Chiefs. Colts thinking they now can go deeper into the playoffs.
9. - Eagles 10-6 Chip Kelly overcame plenty of skepticism with last year’s NFC East title. Dumping DeSean Jackson will test his system even further.
10. - Panthers 12-4 We’ll find out if Cam Newton can overcome the team's major transition at wide receiver. He’s plenty good enough to do it.
11. - Chargers 9-7 A surprise playoff run for San Diego in 2013, but some significant roster reinforcement with the addition of running back Donald Brown and cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and rookie Jason Verrett get the Chargers closer to the Broncos.
12. - Falcons 4-12 Off year in Atlanta, or the start of a decline? Go with the off year theory.
13. - Buccaneers 4-12 Coach Lovie Smith could be presiding over one of the most improved teams of 2014, especially if quarterback Josh McCown plays like he did last year in Chicago.
14. - Chiefs 11-5 Teams that take a quantum leap forward like the Chiefs did with a new coach in Year 1 often take a step back in Year 2. Suspect the Chiefs will be part of that trend.
15. - Steelers 8-8 Defense starting to transition to younger players, and Ben Roethlisberger remains among the NFL’s top quarterbacks. Had it not been for a disastrous start last year, Steelers would have been in the playoffs.
16. - Bengals 11-5 Andy Dalton looked alternately terrific and pedestrian last year, ending with a playoff clunker against the Chargers. New offensive coordinator Hue Jackson thinks he can turn Dalton into a star. We’ll see.
17. - Jets 8-8 Big issue is whether Geno Smith is the answer at quarterback. He got some help with addition of wide receiver Eric Decker and rookie tight end Jace Amaro, but any prolonged struggles will give Michael Vick a shot. Young secondary will be tested, but defense overall is improved from a year ago. Wild card is the best path to the playoffs.
18. - Giants 7-9 Major roster overhaul for the Giants, and a new offense for Eli Manning. Not much expected from Giants, but staying afloat in first half of the season is only way to set up second-half run.
19. - Cardinals 10-6 Everything went just about perfectly for Bruce Arians in his first year as head coach. Tough division, though, and maybe a slight step back.
20. - Bears 8-8 Jay Cutler hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2009. His health will determine how far the Bears can go.
21. - Washington 3-13 New coach Jay Gruden has his work cut out, but RGIII looks as healthy as ever, which is a must for the offense to work. Bigger questions on a defense that was brutal last year.
22. - Rams 7-9 Make or break year for Sam Bradford.
23. - Cowboys 8-8 Just don’t see how this defense will give Tony Romo’s offense a chance this year.
24. - Vikings 5-10-1 Mike Zimmer finally gets his chance as a head coach, but this will take some time, especially with the quarterback position so unsettled. The sooner Teddy Bridgewater gets on the field, the better.
25. - Lions 7-9 Plenty of talent to work with for new coach Jim Caldwell, whose first order of business is cutting down on Matthew Stafford’s mistakes.
26. - Texans 2-14 Ryan Fitzpatrick gets his shot to run the Texans’ offense, which figures to eventually get Andre Johnson back in the fold. Defense is the big strength with this team now that Jadeveon Clowney joins star defensive lineman J.J. Watt. This team can’t be worse than last year.
27. - Dolphins 8-8 Nearly wholesale changes on the offensive line and a new offensive coordinator will be a challenge for Ryan Tannehill. Solid defense, but this could be a long year for embattled head coach Joe Philbin.
28. - Titans 7-9 Ken Whisenhunt takes over with a mediocre roster and plenty of uncertainty at quarterback. Could be Jake Locker’s last season in Tennessee.
29. - Jaguars 4-12 Jags showed modest improvement in the second half of last season, and the addition of quarterback Blake Bortles will help … eventually.
30. - Raiders 4-12 Wholesale changes on both sides of the ball, with quarterback Matt Schaub getting another chance after flaming out in Houston.
31. - Bills 6-10 Bills GM Doug Whaley believes he has the makings of a playoff team, but not in a division still dominated by the Patriots and not without injured linebacker Kiko Alonso.
32. - Browns 4-12 This season and this franchise are all about when Johnny Manziel gets on the field. No guarantee when it happens, and no guarantee he’ll be any better than the other failed quarterbacks in Cleveland.
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