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NFL Power Rankings 2019: How League Stacks Up Heading into Week 3 of Preseason

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2019

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

Who is the best overall team in the NFL? It's a question that is asked pretty much daily, and depending on who you ask, you're likely to get varying answers.

If you're weighing top-to-bottom talent, teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles may lead the list. If you're looking for excitement, the Kansas City Chiefs may be your choice. Proven production? It's hard to pick against the New England Patriots, who happen to be the reigning Super Bowl champions.

With the 2019 NFL preseason over halfway complete, we're going to examine teams as they're currently constructed. Based on what we saw last season, what we've seen so far in the preseason and what has transpired during the offseason, we'll rank all 32 teams from best to worst.

Yes, there's a bit of guesswork involved here, as final roster cuts are still a week away. For now, though, this is how the NFL's team stack up.

        

NFL Preseason Power Rankings, Week 3

1. New England Patriots

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. Los Angeles Rams

4. New Orleans Saints

5. Philadelphia Eagles

6. Los Angeles Chargers

7. Chicago Bears

8. Dallas Cowboys

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

10. Atlanta Falcons

11. Baltimore Ravens

12. Indianapolis Colts

13. Seattle Seahawks

14. Houston Texans

15. Green Bay Packers

16. Cleveland Browns

17. Minnesota Vikings

18. Carolina Panthers

19. Jacksonville Jaguars

20. Tennessee Titans

21. Detroit Lions

22. San Francisco 49ers

23. Buffalo Bills

24. New York Jets

25. Denver Broncos

26. Oakland Raiders

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

28. Cincinnati Bengals

29. Washington Redskins

30. New York Giants

31. Arizona Cardinals

32. Miami Dolphins

       

1. New England Patriots

Heading into 2019, it's hard not to keep the Patriots at the top of the mountain. Yes, there are reasons to believe they will take a step back this season—and the retirement of Rob Gronkowski is high on the list. However, they always seem to find a way to climb back into the title picture.

What's interesting about New England this year is the fact it's changing the identity of the offense yet again. Though Tom Brady was still pulling the trigger at quarterback, the Patriots became more of a running team in 2018.

With backs such as Sony Michel, James White and rookie Damien Harris on the roster, the Patriots should run plenty again in 2019. However, they may also spend a fair amount of time chucking the ball deep. The addition of rookie first-round pick N'Keal Harry and the pending return of Josh Gordon could give them one of the best wide receiver groups in the entire league.

While the Patriots have not clarified what they plan to do with Gordon yet, he has been conditionally reinstated by the NFL.

"Gordon has the ability to make this the most dangerous group of targets Brady has ever had," NFL Network's Nate Burleson recently said on Good Morning Football.

Until the Patriots actually hit that proverbial cliff, they're going to remain kings of the mountain.

        

12. Indianapolis Colts

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

As an overall team, the Indianapolis Colts deserve to be ranked higher than 12th. They were a playoff team in 2018, and they've added weapons like Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell to the offense.

The problem for Indianapolis is that, as of right now, Jacoby Brissett is the starting quarterback.

Now, Brissett is a capable signal-caller, as he proved during the 2017 season. However, he is not an elite quarterback. Andrew Luck is, but he's dealing with a lower-leg injury and may not be ready for Week 1.

According to ESPN's Mike Wells, Luck has only practiced three times since April. That's a huge issue if the Colts are planning to start him in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Therefore, the Colts have to be ranked with Brissett as the starting quarterback, and this places them at the bottom end of potential playoff contenders. They're not getting dropped too far, though, because Luck will presumably be back at some point.

The question is whether he will return in time to spark a postseason run.

       

32. Miami Dolphins

Jason Behnken/Associated Press

The beauty of the NFL preseason is that it provides hope for all 32 franchises. Every team can believe it has a shot at the playoffs—well, almost every team. If there's one franchise that doesn't have its sights set on the postseason this year, it's the Miami Dolphins.

No one is going to publicly admit it, but the Dolphins appear to be tanking in 2019. At the very least, they're looking to sort out their quarterback situation more than they're trying to win.

This is why journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick has been battling for the starting quarterback job with second-year man Josh Rosen. If Miami was all-in on the 2018 first-round pick, it would hand him the job; if it was trying to win, it would have never traded for the 22-year-old in the first place.

Instead, the Dolphins seem content to see what they have in Rosen while also steering the franchise toward a top-10 draft pick in 2020. This is not the worst course of action in the long-term. The Cleveland Browns did something similar en route to landing Baker Mayfield at the top of the 2018 draft.

Now, the Browns appear to be a franchise on the rise. This could be Miami in a year or two. For now, though, they're perhaps the least threatening team in the entire league.