NFL Power Rankings 2013: Breaking Down Each Team on Verge of Season
There is not a team in the NFL without holes. That makes power ranking the 32 franchises a little difficult.
That, however, is all part of the fun of the NFL.
While there is a gulf between the best and worst teams, the journey for parity in the league has largely worked. Needless to say, I have no doubt that my power ranking in Week 17 will look wildly different from this one.
There are just way too many variables in the NFL for anything else to be the case. Still, I have my pecking order set, as all that separates us from the regular season is one preseason game that will have close to no resemblance to the real deal.
Have a look at my power rankings, in which I'll mark a few more notable selections in italics.
Langford's Preseason Power Rankings
32. Oakland Raiders
After keeping plenty of holdovers from the old regime in the first year of the Reggie McKenzie/Dennis Allen era, it's like this is the first true year of the rebuilding process.
That's been my biggest complaint with McKenzie. He should have done more house cleaning last season. At any rate, it's left this year's Raiders thin on talent—most notably in the trenches.
The offensive line was in decent shape, until left tackle Jared Veldheer was lost for considerable time with a torn triceps. Meanwhile, the defensive line is largely comprised of injury-prone borderline starters that will be overmatched.
Defensive end Lamarr Houston has a shot at developing into a quality player, but he is not enough to carry the whole unit.
Terrelle Pryor has to start at quarterback. The Raiders must see what they have.
Still, while Pryor has a bright future, he isn't working with much on offense, and he will have his share of growing pains.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars beefed up their logo, but not much else. This franchise is still hoping Blaine Gabbert, who has a broken thumb, will prove to be the answer. He won't.
30. New York Jets
I'm thoroughly excited about watching the Jets this year. The football will be painful at times, but it is definitely going to be entertaining.
Just don't expect much offense from Gang Green. It is going to be painfully difficult for the Jets to put points on the board.
29. Buffalo Bills
Jeff Tuel is in line to start at quarterback for the Bills in Week 1. Things are not going well for the Bills.
The offense is not without hope if it can get a quarterback to stay healthy and resemble an NFL starter.
28. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are trying to get Philip Rivers back on track. The problem is that he is working with a largely unproven group of receivers that can't manage to stay healthy.
On top of that, San Diego still looks to have a below-average offensive line.
27. Tennessee Titans
The Titans will bring back a revamped running game that sets up for Chris Johnson to have a big year. However, the passing game is highly suspect, and the defense is still a work in progress.
26. Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald finally got a quarterback that knows how to sling the pigskin.
However, the problem is that Carson Palmer doesn't always sling it to the right team. He also can't hold on to it while getting hit.
25. Kansas City Chiefs
Here we are at No. 25, and we're already talking about our third AFC West team. The Chiefs are not without potential, but there are question marks.
Most notable is Alex Smith at quarterback.
He is going to be asked to do a lot more for Andy Reid than he was when we last saw him in action for the 49ers.
24. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have shown flashes on offense under first-year coach Chip Kelly. However, this team is still weak along the offensive line, and it will be a rebuilding year.
23. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins did a nice job of giving second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill some new weapons in the passing game. However, he isn't going to have much time to get it to them. It will be interesting to see if his career will survive the lack of protection.
22. Detroit Lions
The Lions will have to hope their talented defensive line mounts a viscous pass rush. Otherwise, this defense will be victimized.
Offensively, the Lions still lack balance. Reggie Bush is a nice option, but Detroit won't have the ability to take games over with the run.
21. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have the potential to make a playoff run. However, they will need Cam Newton to evolve into a consistent force.
He will be under a new system, and his decision-making will be key.
20. Cleveland Browns
This is a big year for the Browns. They have a solid, up-and-coming defense, and Brandon Weeden must mature into a quality starter before he has to retire.
I think the Browns will have a solid season but suffer too many close losses to make the postseason.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a woeful finish to the year, Tampa Bay's defense should be improved. However, not enough to carry this team.
That leaves a lot on the shoulders of Josh Freeman. He hasn't proven that he is up to the challenge.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
With an improving offensive line, the Steelers will have a reliable run game, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will enjoy a little more time.
Still, the Steelers lack explosiveness on offense, and this defense is no longer dominant enough to destroy teams.
17. St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams are a team to watch. This team is good in the trenches, and that is always a basis for success.
For this team to make a real playoff push, quarterback Sam Bradford to take the next step.
16. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have their winning combo back, with Sean Payton back on the sideline and Drew Brees in the pocket.
While the defense is more complete than last year, that is saying absolutely nothing.
15. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys will have an explosive offense, but the terrible interior of the offensive line will prevent it from being consistent.
On defense, the Cowboys pass defense will be greatly improved, and this will be a competitive and fun team.
14. New York Giants
I'm not expecting a lot from the Giants this year, but that seems to be when this team is at its best.
If the Giants are going to overachieve once again, they will have to be able to pressure the quarterback with their down linemen.
13. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is going to have a big year. The Colts will be improved on the offensive line, and Luck has solid weapons. However, this defense is still going to struggle to keep opponents out of the end zone.
12. Washington Redskins
Total Access: RGIII rehabs on his new documentary "Will To Win" tonight on ESPN.... http://t.co/ZmFBWbuw1o— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 27, 2013
This is crucial for Washington. The Redskins offense has a nice running game, but the success ultimately hinges on Griffin. The dimensions he brings to this offense leave defenses scrambling to keep up.
Last year, Griffin won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award after posting a quarterback rating of 102.4 while throwing 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions. If he is rolling like that, the Redskins will have a chance in every game.
The defense has looked improved in the preseason, and in its last contest, it held the Bills to just 155 yards.
If things break right for the Redskins, they could make a deep run.
11. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have big potential. After a strong draft and offseason, this team should be better than last year.
However, I'm not convinced Adrian Peterson will be able to produce at the insane level he did last year, and I am convinced that Christian Ponder is not the answer at quarterback.
10. Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler will finally enjoy a little comfort in the pocket with an improved offensive line, and the defense will once again be strong. Cutler just needs to find the consistency that's always alluded him.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have a fierce defense and explosive options on offense. This team will need Andy Dalton to take the next step in his development to make a Super Bowl run, but the Bengals will be a factor with their defense.
8. Houston Texans
Matt Schaub has another weapon on offense with rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and the defense remains stout.
However, postseason success has alluded this franchise, and I can't pick them to make a deep run.
7. Baltimore Ravens
The defending Super Bowl champions went under a lot of changes this offseason. They did a nice job of restocking their roster but lost too much talent to defend their title.
6. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is not going to enjoy a lot of time in the pocket, but he doesn't need much to pick defenses apart.
Meanwhile, on defense, the Packers have looked improved in the preseason, and they will be tough to beat all year.
5. New England Patriots
The Patriots are going to look different this year without Wes Welker running under defenses catching pass after pass from Tom Brady.
However, it's not like Brady is going to have a hard time finding completions. He might not have too quite as much, though.
The Patriots will be stronger on the offensive line, and the addition of LeGarrette Blount will be a nice physical option in the run game.
This is going to be one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL. Defensively, Brandon Spikes and Chandler Jones will give the Patriots a big pass rush, which will help their improving secondary.
It is going to be another strong year in New England.
4. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have the fiercest secondary in the NFL. They also have budding superstar Russell Wilson on offense and a strong run game.
The sky is the limit for this group, especially if Percy Harvin can return to the field this year.
3. Denver Broncos
Denver also enjoys playing in a weak division.
2. Atlanta Falcons
1. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are ready to build on what they did last year, and considering that they were one play away from winning the Super Bowl, that foreshadows big things.
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