Football fans, rejoice. The 2016 NFL regular season is just five days away when the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos meet the team they beat for the title, the Carolina Panthers, on Thursday night.
The rest of the league will start their respective seasons on Sunday, as Week 1 always provides a sense of promise regardless of what kind of talent each roster possesses.
For those wearing rose-tinted glasses when looking at their teams, here are my power rankings for every team heading into Week 1:
|2016 NFL Power Rankings: Before Week 1|
|Rank||Team||2016 Predicted Record|
|2||New England Patriots||12-4|
|6||Green Bay Packers||11-5|
|7||Kansas City Chiefs||11-5|
|11||New York Giants||9-7|
|12||San Diego Chargers||9-7|
|17||New York Jets||8-8|
|25||New Orleans Saints||6-10|
|26||Los Angeles Rams||6-10|
|27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6-10|
|32||San Francisco 49ers||3-13|
Breaking Down the Top Team
When you're looking for the most well-rounded team in the NFL, it's hard not to classify the Seattle Seahawks as that.
They have an elite quarterback in Russell Wilson, a budding star in wide receiver Doug Baldwin and a once-premier tight end in Jimmy Graham who is nearing a clean bill of health after tearing a patellar tendon in November.
On top of that, second-year man Tyler Lockett has shown flashes of creating a dangerous one-two punch with Baldwin on the outside, via the NFL:
2 defenders closing in? It really doesn't matter for @DangeRussWilson & @TDLockett12. #MINvsSEA https://t.co/yvxMH6io1z2016-8-19 02:21:22
While there might be questions raised about the backfield after the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Rawls looks like he's going to be the No. 1 man after overcoming a broken ankle suffered in December.
On Wednesday, head coach Pete Carroll told ESPN.com's Sheil Kapadia that "there's no question that he looks to be able to play in the opener."
Rawls showed what he was capable of last year, leading the league with a 5.6 yards-per-carry mark on his way to 830 yards and four rushing touchdowns in 13 games.
The NFL took a look back at his ability to blend agility and hard-nosed running, making him such a tough rusher to try and stop:
Same uniform. Same running style. 69-yard HARD TD run. Just call Thomas Rawls #BabyBeastMode #SEAvsCIN http://t.co/XOTOt9YPL42015-10-11 18:55:39
With an offense that looks solid heading toward 2016, the defense is expected to be among the best in the league once again.
Since 2012, Seattle's Legion of Boom has allowed the least amount points every season:
|Seattle Seahawks Defensive Domination|
|Year||Pts. Allowed||NFL Rank||Pass Yds. Allowed||NFL Rank||Rush Yds. Allowed||NFL Rank|
All the big names, weather it be Michael Bennett or Kam Chancellor or Richard Sherman or Earl Thomas, will be back. And with that experience on hand, the Seahawks will surely be a tough side to score against for a fifth straight season.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.