NFL Power Rankings 2016: Appraising All 32 Teams Before Week 1

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2016

Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls leaps in the air after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

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
RankTeam2016 Predicted Record
1Seattle Seahawks13-3
2New England Patriots12-4
3Pittsburgh Steelers11-5
4Arizona Cardinals11-5
5Carolina Panthers11-5
6Green Bay Packers11-5
7Kansas City Chiefs11-5
8Cincinnati Bengals10-6
9Dallas Cowboys10-6
10Denver Broncos10-6
11New York Giants9-7
12San Diego Chargers9-7
13Oakland Raiders9-7
14Minnesota Vikings8-8
15Indianapolis Colts8-8
16Houston Texans8-8
17New York Jets8-8
18Jacksonville Jaguars8-8
19Philadelphia Eagles8-8
20Buffalo Bills7-9
21Baltimore Ravens7-9
22Miami Dolphins7-9
23Washington Redskins7-9
24Atlanta Falcons7-9
25New Orleans Saints6-10
26Los Angeles Rams6-10
27Tampa Bay Buccaneers6-10
28Chicago Bears6-10
29Detroit Lions5-11
30Tennessee Titans4-12
31Cleveland Browns4-12
32San Francisco 49ers3-13

Breaking Down the Top Team

Seattle Seahawks

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/yvxMH6io1z

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/XOTOt9YPL4

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
YearPts. AllowedNFL RankPass Yds. AllowedNFL RankRush Yds. AllowedNFL 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. 


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