The second full week of the NFL preseason is under way, and as training camps are winding down, we now have a good look at where teams are starting to stand in regard to the rest of the league.
Teams continue to move up and down the power rankings, and there are bound to be teams that will surprise as well as disappoint once the regular season officially begins. The beauty of the NFL is that it feels like almost every team has a chance once Week 1 kicks off.
These rankings are based off the overall expectations for the 2013 season mixed in with some small observations of what we've seen so far in preseason.
So, where do all 32 teams rank at the moment? Let's take a look.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
As much as I want to say that this team has improved, the Jaguars still have so much to work on. Bringing in Gus Bradley and David Caldwell were both good moves by the team, but Blaine Gabbert under center is a real concern, and this team needs a good quarterback to succeed.
Rookies like Denard Robinson and Tracy "Ace" Sanders will provide some excitement in 2013, but they will need time to develop. Playing the NFC West and AFC West won't make things any easier, which is why Jacksonville earns the bottom spot in the rankings.
31. Oakland Raiders
The quarterback situation in Oakland has been a mess forever, and it looks like this team could be relying on Matt Flynn as the starter. Starting left tackle Jared Veldheer will also miss a lot of time after partially tearing his triceps, which hurts the team's chances of winning games early on.
The team has a lack of weapons, and Darren McFadden has been disappointing. Something is going to need to click for this offense to be a threat this year.
30. New York Jets
When the Jets are still considering Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback, you know things aren't going well with the open competition. Head coach Rex Ryan seems to be stubborn about choosing his starter, and he has the hottest seat of any head coach in the league.
Both sides of the ball are looking to rebuild, and there are a lot of question marks all over the board. Unless Geno Smith earns the job, blows everyone away and plays lights out, this is going to be a bad team.
29. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo seems to have another quarterback competition with no appealing options. Kevin Kolb has yet to break out like many thought he would. E.J. Manuel looked good in his first preseason game, but he will miss the rest of the preseason, according to the Bills' Twitter account.
C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson will be big weapons on offense, but the uncertainty at quarterback and the defense make it hard to buy into the improvements this offseason.
28. Tennessee Titans
In theory, Jake Locker has all of the tools to succeed in 2013. He has a revamped offensive line, a motivated running back in Chris Johnson and some talented wide receivers in Nate Washington and Kenny Britt.
Unfortunately, he has yet to prove himself.
This will be the season that the Titans will likely make the decision on whether to stick with him or look for someone else to take over the franchise. I don't think he gets it done, and this team will struggle to win to start the year.
27. Philadelphia Eagles
The new offense under Chip Kelly has looked intriguing through the first two preseason games. There have been plenty of bubble screens, and both Michael Vick and Nick Foles have been doing a lot with the read-option. It's possible that the offense works, but there are still too many questions about how well it will be executed.
The defense is still questionable, and that will keep the Eagles from being successful this season. If the preseason game against the New England Patriots was any indicator, teams have the chance to run all over them.
26. Kansas City Chiefs
There's a good possibility that the Chiefs have a big turnaround after getting the No. 1 overall pick last season, but at the moment they stay near the bottom of the list.
New head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith could turn this team around. Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles are both productive weapons on offense, and the defense looks promising. Still, it's hard to turn it around so quickly in this league, but Kansas City will show signs of improvement.
25. Arizona Cardinals
The offense was ugly for the Cardinals in 2012, but that could change with Carson Palmer under center and Bruce Arians calling the shots. Andrew Luck may have had some growing pains in Arians' vertical passing game, but the game plan seems to fit Palmer perfectly.
The questions about the tun defense are still in question after the Cards allowed 137 yards per game on the ground last year. Jerraud Powers and Tyrann Mathieu could bolster the secondary, but the rest of this defense needs to play better.
24. Carolina Panthers
Can Cam Newton continue to be an electric player? The Panthers will need to rely on him to carry the team and take another step forward in his third season to make a run in the NFC South.
Star Lotulelei will bring the dominating presence they need on the inside of the defensive line to make this a significantly better defense. Players like Luke Kuechly and Captain Munnerlyn make this a defense that deserves some respect.
This team cannot afford to have another slow start like last year. This can be a playoff-caliber team, but the Panthers just need to play like they did in the second half of 2012.
23. Cleveland Browns
Brandon Weeden has been the star of the preseason, but as everyone knows, the preseason doesn't count. As he approaches 30, Weeden needs to show that he can be a franchise quarterback now rather than later.
The offense is promising, and the defense added pieces like Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo. The AFC North is a competitive division, but the Browns are looking to surprise some people and make a run at the division title.
22. Detroit Lions
You can rip on Matthew Stafford all you want, but no one can deny that the Lions have arguably the best defensive line in the NFL. With Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ziggy Ansah, the intimidation factor is at an all-time high in Detroit.
That being said, the defense was average last year, and the offense needs to find some balance. Reggie Bush will be a welcome addition to the team, bu the offensive line will suffer with the loss of Gosder Cherilus.
The Lions are a talented team, but with three other contenders in the NFC North, they still have some work to do before they can think about another playoff spot.
21. San Diego Chargers
This team could have an absolute breakout season or just tank. That's how inconsistent San Diego can be. Philip Rivers can be brilliant or terrible, and there will be a lot of games that will hinge on that fact.
The offense has a few weapons, but much like Rivers, they can be inconsistent. The defense got some nice additions in Dwight Freeney, Derek Cox and Manti Te'o who could make this defense even better.
They say that defenses win championships, and the Chargers will hope that's the case.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Much like the Chargers, a lot depends on an inconsistent quarterback for the Buccaneers with Josh Freeman. At times, he can be a Pro Bowl talent, but he makes a few big mental errors at other times that end up costing the team a game.
The offense is talented with names like Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson. The defense is getting a makeover in the secondary with Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson that will improve the pass defense, which was awful last year.
It's doubtful that the Bucs can beat out the Atlanta Falcons, but they could turn some heads this year.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers
This team has been great for nearly a decade, but things are not looking good this offseason. Ben Roethlisberger is a big injury risk at quarterback, and the defense is slowing down with age.
There are a number of questions on offense. Wide receivers are dropping like flies, the offensive line seems to always have injury concerns, and Heath Miller is on the preseason PUP list.
At the end of the day, the Steelers are starting to fade away. Big Ben may not be done yet, but he needs to prove that he can stay healthy to give his team a shot at a playoff run.
18. St. Louis Rams
A lot of attention is being paid to the Rams offense. Sam Bradford now has a real weapon in Tavon Austin, and Jared Cook could be a valuable safety blanket. Bringing in Jake Long helps the offensive line even more.
What is being overlooked, however, is how good this defense could be.
The front seven could be outstanding for the Rams. Chris Long, James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree make this a scary defense on paper, and that's without mentioning the smack-talking Cortland Finnegan at cornerback.
17. New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton is back for a full season, and that will make a big difference in how this team plays.
The defensive play was horrible last year, but that could change. The Saints have a number of talented defensive players, but they need to come together as a unit to help the defense earn some respect.
Drew Brees is going to keep doing what he does, and the offense will be fine. The defense must turn around if the Saints want to get a playoff spot.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Bringing in Travis Frederick to help the offensive line may have been a head-scratcher at the time, but it's looking like a great pick right now. The offense could be explosive with some excellent receivers and DeMarco Murray behind Tony Romo.
As long as the offense clicks and the defense can slightly improve, Dallas is a contender in the NFC East. However, a lot of things need to go right for a team that's been a disappointment year after year over the past decade.
15. Miami Dolphins
There have been so many bad seasons for the Dolphins in recent memory, but now they have the tools to not only earn a playoff spot but maybe even challenge the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
Ryan Tannehill was underrated as a passer last year, and bringing in Mike Wallace will only help him even more. There are still some questions on defense, but a number of offseason improvements make this team a contender in the AFC.
14. New York Giants
It seems like everyone gives up on this team year after year. Every year we write them off, and then they play like crazy and make Super Bowl runs.
Eli Manning has weapons, but the defense could be taking a step back. There are a number of big holes on a defense that struggled last year, and that could spell trouble for a team in contention for the NFC East title.
13. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck showed that he is the future of the position in the league, but turnovers cost the team last year. A new offensive coordinator in Pep Hamilton could help out with that.
The Colts were probably the busiest team this offseason, bringing in a number of free agents. In fact, eight or nine new faces could find themselves in starting roles by Week 1.
This is a much more talented team than last year, but Indy is unlikely to win as many games. Whatever happens, Luck is primed to take a big step forward in 2013.
12. Minnesota Vikings
When you have the reigning MVP in Adrian Peterson, chances are you're going to be a solid football team.
Christian Ponder will likely have just one more season to prove himself as the starting quarterback, but now he has a few weapons. Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson will give Ponder a chance to shine if he can make the throws. If not, this team could struggle to beat out the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
It may sound strange, but the Bengals have a chance to win the AFC North this year.
Andy Dalton has shown flashes of greatness, but they've only been that. A.J. Green is a terrific player who will be accompanied by Tyler Eifert and Mohamed Sanu to give Dalton Some options. The defense is one of the most underrated in the league, with great players like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.
This is a team that's been building for a while, and Cincinnati seems to be ready to take the next step.
10. Chicago Bears
The Bears have some questions to answer this year. They need to find out if Jay Cutler can stay healthy and be productive, but they also must find out who can step up without Brian Urlacher on defense.
Someone needs to get open besides Brandon Marshall on offense. Alshon Jeffery has a chance at being the No. 2 guy, but Cutler has a lack of capable targets.
There's a good chance the Bears make the playoffs, but this team needs to answer some questions if it wants to go to the Super Bowl.
9. Washington Redskins
So much depends on Robert Griffin III coming back and playing at a high level for this team. Mike Jones from The Washington Post reported that head coach Mike Shanahan continues to be cautious with the young quarterback.
The NFC East is up for grabs. The Redskins understand that. Kirk Cousins could step in and be good enough, but this team needs RG3 to be elite.
8. New England Patriots
So many weapons from last season are gone on offense, but Tom Brady is still there, and he will make plays no matter who he throws to. Players like Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson can be productive players in this offense.
Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches in the league, and he will find ways to win. If the defense is good enough and Tom Brady is under center, the Patriots always have a shot.
7. Baltimore Ravens
Even after losing so many players, the Ravens have found ways to fill in the holes.
The defense lost so much talent, but guys like Elvis Dumervil, Haloti Ngata and Lardarius Webb will make sure that this is still one of the top defenses in the league.
Joe Flacco just got paid, and now it's time for him to show that he's the real deal and lead this team to another deep run.
6. Houston Texans
Adrian Peterson may have been the MVP, but the argument could be made that J.J. Watt is the best player in the league.
There's so much talent on this team, but Matt Schaub is the concern. He's been a productive quarterback, but he's struggled at times, particularly late in the regular season and in the playoffs.
This team needs a deep playoff run to quiet the critics. Until then, the Texans will be criticized often.
5. Green Bay Packers
Bringing in Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin could finally make this a balanced offense with a reliable running game. The defense added Datone Jones, and Nick Perry is returning from injury.
Green Bay is certainly a contender in the NFC this year, and although the Packers were torched by the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs, they can match up with almost any team in the NFL.
4. Seattle Seahawks
This is such a deep team with a rising young star in Russell Wilson. No one would be surprised if this team won the Super Bowl.
A balanced offense with a great back in Marshawn Lynch and a stifling defense with guys like Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner make this a strong team all-around. There will be some competition in their own division, but the Seahawks have a shot.
3. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons keep getting closer and closer to the Super Bowl. This year is as good as any for them to finally break through.
The offense got yet another weapon with Steven Jackson, and the defense got a big lift with Osi Umenyiora. There were few key departures, and this team added some great pieces.
The window for a Super Bowl title is closing fast for the Falcons. This could be their last year to win one, so Matt Ryan and company will be doing whatever it takes to reach that goal.
2. Denver Broncos
When you have Peyton Manning, everything is going to be all right.
The defense has plenty of players who can make plays. Manning will do what it takes to get to the Super Bowl to cap off an incredible career.
1. San Francisco 49ers
It's hard not to have these guys as the best team in the NFL right now.
There were few holes on this team heading into the year, and San Francisco addressed a big one by drafting Eric Reid. Losing Michael Crabtree is bad, but Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis can help share the burden in the passing game.
A truly complete team, the 49ers are the Super Bowl favorites to start the season.
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