X

NFL Power Rankings 2019: Examining the Best Teams Before Start of Regular Season

Jake RillAnalyst IAugust 12, 2019

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) warms up before an NFL preseason football game against the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Bill Feig/Associated Press

August is an exciting time of year for football fans, because every team is in the same spot—optimistic about the start of a new season, hoping this could be a year that ends with a Super Bowl victory.

Realistically, some NFL teams are more likely to have that happen than others. It's clear which teams are early favorites and which ones will likely be near the bottom of the standings.

Nonetheless, anything could happen during the 16-game regular season, and there could be some surprise teams among the 12 that make the NFL playoffs.

Here's a look at how the teams in the NFL currently stack up, followed by a closer breakdown of the top three teams at this point.

       

Power Rankings

1. New Orleans Saints

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. New England Patriots

4. Los Angeles Chargers

5. Los Angeles Rams

6. Indianapolis Colts

7. Chicago Bears

8. Philadelphia Eagles

9. Cleveland Browns

10. Dallas Cowboys

11. Houston Texans

12. Green Bay Packers

13. Atlanta Falcons

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

15. Baltimore Ravens

16. Minnesota Vikings

17. Seattle Seahawks

18. Carolina Panthers

19. San Francisco 49ers

20. Jacksonville Jaguars

21. Tennessee Titans

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

23. Denver Broncos

24. Detroit Lions

25. Buffalo Bills

26. Washington Redskins

27. Oakland Raiders

28. New York Jets

29. Arizona Cardinals

30. New York Giants

31. Miami Dolphins

32. Cincinnati Bengals

      

Top Three Teams

1. New Orleans Saints

Butch Dill/Associated Press

Like most years, the Saints' offense is poised for a big season. Drew Brees is back and showing no signs of slowing down, and he's got several big weapons to utilize, including running back Alvin Kamara, wide receiver Michael Thomas and tight end Jared Cook, who was signed during the offseason.

Kamara should get more carries with Mark Ingram no longer on the team, but Latavius Murray is a solid No. 2 back to mix in with Kamara.

The key to New Orleans' success could be its defense. Last year, the Saints ranked 14th in the NFL in both yards allowed per game and points allowed per game. With guys who are continuing to develop, it's possible they'll improve in both those stats this season.

The Saints had the best regular-season record in the NFL last season at 13-3, and they nearly made the Super Bowl, losing to the Los Angeles Rams in overtime in the NFC Championship Game (with a controversial non-defensive pass interference call that left New Orleans fans unhappy).

This year, the Saints are going to score a lot of points, and they're going to have another strong campaign.

       

2. Kansas City Chiefs

Ed Zurga/Associated Press

In his first season as the Chiefs' starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes won NFL MVP and became only the second player to throw 50 touchdown passes and accumulate 5,000 passing yards in a season. And he did it in an electrifying way, often extending plays with his legs and successfully making unbelievable sidearm throws.

While it's reasonable to think NFL defenses may have better game plans to try to stop Mahomes, his talent should continue to shine, especially on a Kansas City offense that also features wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce.

But the concern surrounds the Chiefs' defense, which ranked 31st in the NFL last season with 6,488 yards allowed. They'll likely need to play better for the team to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Steve Spagnuolo has taken over as Kansas City's defense coordinator, implementing a new 4-3 scheme. It also added to its struggling secondary, signing safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Bashaud Breeland.

Either way, the Chiefs' offense is strong enough for them to again be one of the best teams in the NFL this year. If their defense plays better, it could end up being a special season.

      

3. New England Patriots

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

When will the Patriots no longer be a Super Bowl contender? Likely not until after Tom Brady has retired.

But that's not this year, as Brady will look to lead New England to back-to-back championships and aims to win his seventh career Super Bowl.

The Patriots lost some key pieces of their offense in Chris Hogan (free agency) and Rob Gronkowski (retirement), but they still have some standout players, such as veteran wide receiver Julian Edelman and running backs Sony Michel and James White. So, Brady should have no problem generating plenty of offense with this group.

New England should be strong defensively as well, especially with the addition of defensive end Michael Bennett to complement nine returning starters from last year.

On paper, some teams may look stronger than the Pats. But as history has proved, never count out New England in the Brady/Bill Belichick era.