COED's First Official Power Rankings For The 2017 NFL Season

The NFL season starts on September 7, a day that is equivalent to Christmas morning for football enthusiasts. Whether you have a specific franchise that you loyally support or are simply a well-versed fantasy football junkie, the NFL season is always overloaded with intrigue in terms of the unforeseeable success and failures of various teams. While it’s way too early to crown a Super Bowl Champion, there are a select few NFL franchises that appear to have the requisite assets to compete throughout the entirety of the season.

5. Oakland Raiders

Assuming quarterback Derek Carr can remain healthy, the Raiders will not only be the favorites to win the AFC West, they could also become a trendy Super Bowl pick. Their offensive line is one of the most stout in the league, they have one of the best young receivers in Amari Cooper and their defensive line is led by a fearless pass rusher in Khalil Mack. While their secondary left a lot to be desired last year, the Raiders utilized their first two draft picks to acquire a pair of physical defensive backs in Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu. Even if the latter aspect of the Raiders defense is only slightly better than last season, the effectiveness of their passing game should be more than enough to garner them double-digit wins this year.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

Based off their offense alone, the Steelers are deep and talented enough to make it back to the AFC Championship game. However, when you combine the Steelers’ gifted offensive abilities with their young defensive line, this is a team that may have all of the pieces to compete for a Super Bowl Championship. While none of the Steelers draft picks were particularly noteworthy, the Steelers first round pick of T.J. Watt could be an intriguing piece as an underrated pass rusher and third round pick James Conner could emerge early on as the second running back behind Le’Veon Bell, giving the Steelers even more youthful talent on offense. Even if the Steelers draft picks don’t have impressive rookie showings, this team is already poised to be great throughout the duration of the season.

3. Dallas Cowboys

Out of all of the teams in the NFL, the Cowboys arguably have the most devastating and effective one-two punch in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. Aside from these two notable playmakers, the Cowboys have some proven receiving options in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. While not elite, Cole Beasley was an effective weapon as a slot receiver and had his most productive season in terms of receiving yards (833 yards, career high) and touchdowns (5 TD’s, tied for career high). However, in order for the Cowboys to be considered as the Super Bowl favorite coming out of the NFC, the consistency on defense has to be better. Unfortunately, the Cowboys already thin secondary was picked apart in free agency (the loss of Brandon Carr to the Ravens was particularly disheartening), and their defensive line was inconsistent, particularly at rushing the quarterback. On the plus side, the Cowboys were tenacious in acquiring as many talented defensive rookies as they could (used seven of their nine picks on defense). The latter combined with the long awaited debut of last years second round pick of linebacker Jaylon Smith could be enough to keep the Cowboys respectable on defense while their offense overwhelms the opposition.

2. Green Bay Packers

As long as quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on the field, the Green Bay Packers will rarely be the underdog against any opponent they’re matched up against. Similar to Tom Brady, Rodgers has the uncanny ability to make average receivers look like elite playmakers, especially in the playoffs. The addition of tight end Martellus Bennett makes the Packers already elite receiving corps even more dynamic. However, the Achilles heel of the Packers in recent years has been their porous defense. This was especially apparent in the NFC Championship game when the Atlanta Falcons easily picked apart the Packers secondary en route to 44-21 rout. Still, the Packers did beef up their defense overall as they used their first four draft picks on defensive players (Kevin King could be the breakout player of the Packers draft class when he is healthy). If the Packers can simply put out an adequate defense on the field, Rodgers and his trio of elite receivers will do the rest.

1. New England Patriots

Was there ever any doubt that the Super Bowl Champions would be at the top of this list? Unlike most Super Bowl winners, the Patriots seemingly got stronger during the offseason as they traded their top two picks to acquire wideout Brandin Cooks and defensive lineman Kony Ealy respectively. Even with the few draft picks they had, the Patriots drafted two young offensive lineman to protect Brady and acquired two intriguing playmakers in free agency in tight end Dwayne Allen and running back Mike Gillislee. For any team, these would be great acquisitions, but for a team that is the reigning Super Bowl Champions it just seems flat-out unfair….and we have not even talked about the returning playmakers that were vital to the Patriots last season. While it is not a forgone conclusion that the Patriots will repeat as Super Bowl Champions, they more than deserve to be the unquestionable favorites to win it all again considering how aggressive they were in acquiring intriguing assets in the off season.


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