NFL Power Rankings: Final Grades Heading into Week 1

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 08:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up before their preseason NFL game against the Denver Broncos at Candlestick Park on August 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL regular season is already upon us, and the excitement surrounding Week 1 has fans from all 32 franchises trying to find out where their teams stand.

As the season officially begins, this is how the power rankings shake out.


1. San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers will lean heavily on quarterback Colin Kaepernick this season. With one of the best defensive units in the league (fourth overall against the pass and rush), though, the third-year QB won’t be under unnecessary pressure.

That’s the perfect formula for a championship run.

Final Preseason Grade: A+


2. Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons defense is still a question mark, but there is no doubt that the franchise will be explosive offensively. Matt Ryan has a new contract and will be at his best, and with Julio Jones and Roddy White as two of the best receivers in the league, fans should expect serious success in 2013.

Final Preseason Grade: A+


3. Green Bay Packers

Another team with a questionable defense and a dangerous offense is the Green Bay Packers.

If Aaron Rodgers can regain the form that made him a Super Bowl champion and the most dangerous player in the NFL, the Packers will be serious contenders.

Final Preseason Grade: A+


4. Denver Broncos

The suspension of defensive end Von Miller will hurt the Denver Broncos, but in a lackluster AFC West and with a bona fide legend in Peyton Manning under center, the organization has plenty of ammunition to be a top team.

Final Preseason Grade: A+


5. Baltimore Ravens

Despite major turnover on offense and defense this offseason (linebacker Ray Lewis retired, and wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to San Francisco), the Baltimore Ravens will contend for a second straight Super Bowl led by the new leader of the team, QB Joe Flacco.

Final Preseason Grade: A


6. Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks were one of the best teams in the league last season, but with many rookies entering their second seasons—including starting quarterback Russell Wilson—there are questions that must be answered on the field before the franchise takes the jump into the upper echelon.

Final Preseason Grade: A


7. New England Patriots

Tom Brady will have fewer targets this season after Wes Welker signed with the Denver Broncos, but an impressive class of undrafted free agents and a stellar defensive unit proves that the New England Patriots will win the NFC East and could make a deep playoff run.

Final Preseason Grade: A-


8. Houston Texans

Led by the rushing of Arian Foster and their zone-blocking schemes, the Houston Texans are one of the most fundamentally sound offensive units in the AFC.

Add in a tremendous defense led by end J.J. Watt, and this is a well-rounded team that could win the Super Bowl if healthy.

Final Preseason Grade: A-


9. Indianapolis Colts

There are questions about how sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck adapts to his second year in the NFL, but as long as he plays the way he did in 2012, the Indianapolis Colts will be a force in the AFC wild-card hunt.

Final Preseason Grade: A-


10. New York Giants

The New York Giants may have questions in the secondary and in the rushing attack, but with Eli Manning under center and players with Super Bowl pedigrees throughout the roster, the NFC East will be a battle between New York and Washington.

Big Blue gets the edge.

Final Preseason Grade: B+


11. New Orleans Saints

Head coach Sean Payton is back from a year-long suspension, and his relationship with QB Drew Brees should yield huge results. The New Orleans Saints were awful on defense in 2012, but the offensive unit could be the best in the NFL.

Final Preseason Grade: B+


12. Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have many talented players, but there are concerns that it all won't come together on the field.

But with a good mixture of experience and youth on both sides of the ball, expect the Bengals to be a real force in the AFC.

Final Preseason Grade: B+


13. Washington Redskins

The health of QB Robert Griffin III will be the gauge of how well the Washington Redskins perform this season. Assuming he rounds into shape as he recovers from surgery and stays healthy throughout the year, the Redskins will be dangerous.

Final Preseason Grade: B


14. Kansas City Chiefs

Head coach Andy Reid had plenty of talent to work with when he took over the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, and that will be reflected by the team playing strong and coming close to making the playoffs.

Final Preseason Grade: B


15. St. Louis Rams

Jeff Fisher’s rebuilding process in St. Louis will finally begin to take form this season.

Led by QB Sam Bradford, expect the team to be a more cohesive unit and one that stuns the rest of the NFC in all three facets of the game.

Final Preseason Grade: B


16. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have undergone some roster overhaul, and how it turns out on the field is a huge question mark.

As long as Ben Roethlisberger is standing, though, the Steelers have a chance to win.

Final Preseason Grade: B


17. Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall have a great chemistry together, and they will once again make the offense an explosive unit. The biggest issues for Chicago will be on the defensive side of the ball as the team rebuilds.

Final Preseason Grade: B


18. Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo is always a viable threat to have a huge offensive season, but with injury concerns across the depth chart, how effective the Dallas Cowboys will be in 2013 will have a direct relation to how healthy the team stays.

Final Preseason Grade: B-


19. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions still don’t have the secondary needed to be one of the top teams in the league, but with Matthew Stafford under center and Calvin Johnson out wide, there is always a chance that the Lions steal the show and win the division.

Final Preseason Grade: B-


20. Minnesota Vikings

There is an abundance of talent on the Minnesota Vikings, but with a lackluster quarterback in Christian Ponder calling the shots, this is not an ideal situation for anyone on the offensive unit.

Final Preseason Grade: B-


21. Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins have added several key pieces to the offense and the defense, but with a lack of continuity, the expectations for the franchise should be low in 2013.

Final Preseason Grade: C+


22. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers are hoping that Cam Newton evolves into the dual-threat star he was in his rookie season, but with a lack of depth on defense and injuries already playing a role on offense, this could be a long year for Carolina.

Final Preseason Grade: C+


23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added cornerback Darrelle Revis to a defense that needed an upgrade.

With Doug Martin running the ball, the franchise should be strong, but the only possible question mark will be how quarterback Josh Freeman continues to develop.

Final Preseason Grade: C+


24. Philadelphia Eagles

The most polarizing team of the 2013 season is the Philadelphia Eagles.

With a new head coach in Chip Kelly bringing a college football mindset to the NFL, the team has a chance to be flat-out terrible or one of the surprises of the year.

Final Preseason Grade: C


25. San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers still have Philip Rivers under center, but with a new offensive scheme being implemented under new head coach Mike McCoy, there will be some growing pains.

Final Preseason Grade: C


26. Arizona Cardinals

Arizona made wholesale changes on offense by adding Carson Palmer under center. While the Cardinals should expect big things from the offense, the defense could take a step back, as the franchise lost a few pieces in the secondary.

Final Preseason Grade: C-


27. Cleveland Browns

The addition of Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator will give the Cleveland Browns an incredibly dynamic offense led by QB Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson.

Too bad the defense has minimal depth beyond a few star players.

Final Preseason Grade: C-


28. Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have an improving defense, but with Kevin Kolb dealing with a concussion and first-round pick EJ Manuel suffering a knee injury, the questions on offense overshadow any improvements made on defense.

Final Preseason Grade: D


29. Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans are an unknown this season. While the talent is there to have a solid team, every player must be pulling for the same cause and fighting for a playoff berth.

With so many overwhelming personalities, this could be a real mess.

Final Preseason Grade: D


30. New York Jets

With turmoil at quarterback between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, Chris Ivory listed as the starting running back and a lackluster defense, the table has been set for the New York Jets to fail and for Rex Ryan to be fired midseason.

Final Preseason Grade: F


31. Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders have a quarterback battle between Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor brewing, and that is not a good sign.

Add in the injury concerns surrounding running back Darren McFadden, and this could be an ugly season in Oakland.

Final Preseason Grade: F


32. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a few very talented players, but with clear voids at vital positions, the Jacksonville Jaguars will once again be one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Signing Tim Tebow should be an option at this point.

Final Preseason Grade: F