NFL Power Rankings Week 1: Initial Outlook After Chiefs vs. Patriots

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 07:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots gestures during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on September 7, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The NFL certainly knew what it was doing when it put the Kansas City Chiefs against the New England Patriots to open the 2017 season.

Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium to start the season against a team hoping to dethrone him in the AFC while commissioner Roger Goodell watches on writes itself. 

And it did—the Chiefs pulled off the upset, signaling everything fans thought they might know about the 2017 campaign could turn out to be bunk. 

Result in hand, let's take an updated look at power rankings ahead of what should be quite the debut week for the league.


2017 NFL Power Rankings and Super Bowl Odds

1Kansas City Chiefs
2New England Patriots
3Atlanta Falcons
4Oakland Raiders
5Pittsburgh Steelers
6Dallas Cowboys
7Seattle Seahawks
8Green Bay Packers
9Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10Tennessee Titans
11New York Giants
12Philadelphia Eagles
13Detroit Lions
14Cincinnati Bengals
15Denver Broncos
16Washington Redskins
17Baltimore Ravens
18Miami Dolphins
19Indianapolis Colts
20Los Angeles Chargers
21Carolina Panthers
22Arizona Cardinals
23Houston Texans
24Minnesota Vikings
25New Orleans Saints
26Chicago Bears
27Jacksonville Jaguars
28Los Angeles Rams
29Buffalo Bills
30Cleveland Browns
31San Francisco 49ers
32New York Jets
author's opinion, odds via OddsShark.


New York Giants

The New York Giants might be the quietest of the potential serious contenders this year.  

As usual, the New York offense looks stacked on paper. Eli Manning, fresh off completing 63 percent of his passes for 4,027 yards and 26 touchdowns against 16 interceptions, still has Odell Beckham Jr. on the field. 

Except it isn't just Beckham this time. The Giants added Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard is still a dangerous weapon. Rookie tight end Evan Engram, a hybrid wideout-tight end prospect, figures to play a big role right out of the gates as well. 

He's certainly looking to carve out his niche as soon as possible. 

"Just another big playmaker," Engram said when discussing his role, according to ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan. "We have a lot of them. There is the middle of the field that requires a guy to come in there and eat. I think that is where I can be really successful."

Defense, of course, is a big talking point surrounding the Giants as well. Jason Pierre-Paul and Vernon Olivier form one of the nastiest edge-rushing combos in the league, and Janoris Jenkins teaming with the likes of Landon Collins should give the rest of the NFC East problems. 

Speaking of the NFC East, the Giants swept the Dallas Cowboys a year ago. New York still needs to prove itself after an embarrassing exit from the playoffs last year, but the on-paper outlook slots them in a respectable position. 


New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints feel like a team that could swing heavily in either direction straight out of the blocks. 

Drew Brees and the Saints have finished 7-9 three years in a row and counting, so underwhelming in the face of even modest projections wouldn't be something new for the team. 

Still, it is hard to ignore the work the Saints put in this offseason while going all-in around Brees. The team added field-stretching speed with Ted Ginn this offseason and decided to complement Mark Ingram with Adrian Peterson. Keep in mind Ingram bruised his way to 1,043 yards and six touchdowns on a 5.1 per-carry average while also catching 46 of his 57 targets. 

On the defensive side of things, the Saints still have elite presence Cameron Jordan up front and added high-profile rookie defensive back Marshon Lattimore to a secondary already boasting Kenny Vaccaro. 

Offense will still carry the Saints provided Brees still plays for the team, though. And great as Ingram was last year, hype continues to build around the arrival of Peterson, who wants to come out swinging against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 and has a Super Bowl on the mind, too.

"In my mind, we're starting and ending the season in Minnesota," Peterson said, according to the Star Tribune's Mark Craig. "Of course I want to stick it to them. I want to stick it to everyone we play. But going back to Minnesota, playing the Vikings? Yeah, I want to stick it to them."

Hindsight will treat any power rankings with a raised eyebrow when it comes to the Saints because they are so difficult to nail down. Brees remains elite and the front office keeps adding around him, though three rough years in a row speak to the inherent rebuilding hurdles. At the least, the Saints are one of the most interesting teams in the league to watch this season. 


Denver Broncos

Speaking of teams capable of taking a big swing in either direction, let's chat about the Denver Broncos.

As usual, the defense will look to carry the Broncos. Former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller remains one of the best in the business at getting after quarterbacks, and defensive back Chris Harris remains one of the most criminally underrated players in the league. All of this takes place in front of a deep bit of trench play. 

It's the offense that makes questioning the Broncos so easy. 

Denver started Trevor Siemian a year ago, and he completed all of 59.5 percent of his passes for 3,401 yards and 18 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both hardly surpassed the 1,000-yard mark while combining for 10 touchdowns. 

This year? Siemian remains the starter, but the Broncos brought back embattled Brock Osweiler for depth purposes. And starting rookie left tackle Garett Bolles, by at least one metric, struggled during the preseason, according to Pro Football Focus: 

Pro Football Focus @PFF

How all the rookie OTs fared in the preseason https://t.co/3FgR4sGet4

The Broncos aren't doomed by any means, not with a Miller-led defense of such high quality. But fans know all too well what a team with so-so quarterback play can and can't do. 

Meaning, much of Denver's upward or downward moving in the power rankings over the next few weeks will come down to Siemian. 


Stats courtesy of NFL.com


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