The calendar has finally turned to August, which means preseason football is almost upon us.
Every NFL team has now reported to camp, and we now have just one week to wait before live football is on our TV again. The Hall of Fame Game between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts will kick things off Sunday, August 7, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
In anticipation of that game and the rest of the preseason slate getting underway, here's a look at the preseason power rankings, followed by a breakdown of a few notable teams:
|Preseason NFL Power Rankings|
|3||New England Patriots||12-4|
|4||Green Bay Packers||12-4|
|12||Kansas City Chiefs||9-7|
|14||New York Giants||9-7|
|16||New York Jets||8-8|
|18||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8-8|
|22||New Orleans Saints||6-10|
|26||Los Angeles Rams||5-11|
|29||San Diego Chargers||4-12|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||4-12|
1. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are far from locks to win the NFC this year, as the Arizona Cardinals made all the necessary moves this offseason to close the gap. But given the Panthers' schedule, it's difficult not to consider them the heavy favorites to wrap up the No. 1 seed once again in 2016.
|Week 12||at OAK|
|Week 13||at SEA|
The Panthers were 7-1 in the NFC South last season, and their division rivals did little to close the substantial gap.
If Carolina can win its Week 1 Super Bowl rematch against the Denver Broncos, the schedule could allow for it to cruise into its Week 8 showdown with Arizona with an unblemished record.
6. Denver Broncos
A No. 6 ranking is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, but it is a shockingly low ranking for a defending Super Bowl champion.
A case can certainly be made that Denver remains the AFC favorite despite losing Peyton Manning to retirement. After all, Manning looked like a liability more than an asset many times throughout the 2015 season.
However, until Mark Sanchez or Trevor Siemian take the field, it's tough to give either quarterback the benefit of the doubt. At a minimum, Manning impacted the game with his audibles, which may take some time for Sanchez or Siemian to replicate in Denver.
|Week 3||at CIN|
Unfortunately for the Broncos, they dive right into the meat of their schedule. Their new quarterback will be tested with three consecutive games against potential playoff teams right out of the gate.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have slowly been adding young talent, and this may finally be the year they turn the corner.
The Jaguars' success will rely heavily on the continued development of quarterback Blake Bortles, but a favorable schedule could allow for them to improve their record even with only marginal improvements in performance.
|Week 15||at HOU|
Jacksonville's eight road games will be against teams that finished a combined 56-72 a season ago, with only the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs posting winning records.
The health of young players such as linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. will also factor prominently in the Jaguars' ability to rise up the rankings in the AFC.
31. Detroit Lions
Most Lions fans probably aren't anticipating a playoff run this year, but despite low expectations, this could potentially develop into one of the most important years in recent Lions history.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford is only under contract through the 2017 season, which means the team will be closely examining his play in an effort to determine if a long-term extension should be discussed.
|Week 15||at NYG|
|Week 16||at DAL|
If the Lions fall near the bottom of the league, as expected, the team could also be enticed by one of the top quarterbacks in next year's NFL draft.
So while it may not be the most exciting year in Lions history, the results of this season could play a significant role in shaping the franchise's foreseeable future.