UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

NFL Power Rankings

2015 NFL Power Rankings

32. Washington Redskins

Since RG3’s injury, it seems as though nothing has gone right for the Redskins. It’s never a good sign when your head coach is on the hot seat before the season even starts.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have been desperately trying to get something going for what seems like an eternity. Sure, they made a big free agent acquisition in Julius Thomas, but they still have questions everywhere else.

30. Tennessee Titans

The Titans just really don’t have a great team on paper, and there is always growing pains to be expected with a rookie Quarterback. Despite all that, there is still reason to be excited for the future with Mariota.

29. Chicago Bears

The Bears appear to be taking a nosedive after how last season went. A few strong starts to the season in a row all followed by major let-downs will certainly bring down a franchise … well, that and overpaying Jay Cutler.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Very much in the same situation as the Titans, this team is young and unimpressive at the moment, but still should garner a lot of excitement with Jameis Winston under center.

27. Oakland Raiders

This is a team that could surprise me and finish better than expected but still nowhere near the playoffs. Derek Carr showed promise as a first year QB, and Amari Cooper looks to be a great player, but still not enough to get Oakland out of inferiority.

26. New York Jets

This team undoubtedly won the offseason. They brought back Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, and they brought Stevan Ridley and Brandon Marshall into the fold. There’s just one problem: they still have no Quarterback.

25. Cleveland Browns

The Browns gave us a good showing during the season last year, even taking over the AFC North at one point. However they have done nothing to insist they can either replicate it or improve on it. But hey, they still have Johnny Football.

24. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers made the playoffs the last two seasons, have a solid defense, and one of the best young QBs in the game. However this is a young team and the late preseason injury to top receiver Kelvin Benjamin could send them into a tailspin this season.

23. San Francisco 49ers

An offseason full of changes has turned a Superbowl contender into just another collection of wasted talent. Losing Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, and Justin Smith all at once while also losing one of the best coaches in the sport has suddenly made the future of the Niners foggy at best.

22. New York Giants

Clearly the better of the two NYC football teams, the Giants have a slight chance of contending. With Eli Manning, a QB who has been successful in the past, a good 1 2 punch at receiver, and a defense that finds a way to at least hold it’s own, the Giants could cause problems in the NFC East.

21. Atlanta Falcons

Call me crazy, but I think the Falcons are a lot better than people think. Matt Ryan has shown promise of being one of the best QBs in the NFL, a healthy Julio Jones is always a plus, and they haven’t really lost a whole lot from the playoff team they were a few years ago.

20. Houston Texans

The Texans are fairly unimpressive on offense outside of Deandre Hopkins and Arian Foster. However they boast an intimidating front 7. JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and the free-agent signing of Vince Wilfork is going to make it pretty scary for QBs who don’t like to move.

19. Minnesota Vikings

Even with Adrian Peterson returning for the Vikings, they still are unimpressive everywhere else. Teddy Bridgewater is still very raw only showing flashes of brilliance, and the defense has holes. Seemingly the only bright spots are Cordarrelle Patterson, Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, and possibly the addition of Mike Wallace.

18. New Orleans Saints

Expect the NFC South to be the league’s weakest division this season. The Saints are clearly in decline, especially with missing the playoffs last year. They still easily have the best QB in the division and one of the best in the league with Drew Brees but outside of that it’s pretty thin.

17. St. Louis Rams

This team at the moment is the middle of the pack, but expect them to do big things this season. Nick Foles is a great young QB, the defense is scary good, and with young studs all over the roster such as Tavon Austin and Todd Gurley, this team could break out.

16. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are a team that could have success any given season with the talent on the roster. Phillip Rivers has shown flashes of being an elite QB, the defense is formidable, a scary group of weapons for Rivers in Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, and Antonio Gates, and of course now they may have found a running back in Melvin Gordon.

15. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are still a contender in the deep NFC West, as they boast one of the best defenses in the game. That being said, they still boast a pretty weak offense.

14. Buffalo Bills

You can go back and forth on how the Bills will do this year. They’ve got really good defense, a coach who knows how to use it, and one of the best RBs in the game. However, their passing game is questionable, and in this league you need to be able to throw.

13. Philadelphia Eagles

Remember that great runningback the Bills got? Well this is where he came from, but Chip Kelly replaced him with the league’s leading rusher last season, Demarco Murray, so the Eagles won’t miss Lesean McCoy that much. However they did lose their quarterback and the defense isn’t what it once was. Still, they have a great coach and a chance to contend for the playoffs

12. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have been on the cusp of contention for the last few seasons. They have a young QB with a great arm who certainly has the potential to be great, they have an incredible defense now with Ndamukong Suh, and a good thing in the running game with Lamar Miller. Their passing game took a hit by losing Mike Wallace, but the additions of Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker could be huge, as they have a lot of upside.

11. Detroit Lions

The Lions still bring a great offense to the table. Matthew Stafford as QB, who can really throw the ball, and Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate catching them isn’t a bad combo, not to mention Reggie Bush is there when they need yards on the ground. Their defense took a hit by losing Suh, but it can certainly still hold it’s own. Expect Detroit to be in the hunt come December.

10. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs, if nothing else, can produce a great defense and a terrific home field environment that always gives them an edge. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali create a dangerous front seven, and Hussain Abdullah is a great player in the secondary. With a serviceable QB in Alex Smith, running game of Jamaal Charles, and the coaching of Andy Reid, I’d expect KC to bounce back.

9. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have a pretty good offense with Flacco, Smith, and Forsett, and the defense is obviously great. However they recently took a hit with the news that All Pro linebacker Terrell Suggs tore his ACL. I don’t know where that leaves the defense, but it should still be great.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell can no doubt get the job done on offense. The defense is the question, as the “Steel Curtain” seems to have become worn and tattered. Still a threat, but it may be time to redecorate in Pittsburgh soon.

7. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys shocked everyone with the success they had last season. Tony Romo stepped up, and the running game looked great. They lost DeMarco Murray, but their fantastic offensive line which made it possible is still intact, so expect the Cowboys to compete again.

6. Cincinnati Bengals  

It was tough going last year for the Bengals with all their injuries, but their team is still loaded with talent on both sides, so I’d say the AFC North is theirs to lose.

5. Denver Broncos

The invincible Peyton Manning showed signs of decline last year, and though he’s still elite, it does move the Broncos back a few spots. He still has Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, as well as that loaded defense, so he’ll be fine.

4. Green Bay

Before the season, the Packers would have been at the top of this list, but a late pre-season injury to Jordy Nelson hurts their chances a little bit. They still have Aaron Rodgers so a Superbowl is not out of reach.

3. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts already had a great roster, but they loaded up in the off season. They grabbed Andre Johnson and Frank Gore to improve the offense that already had Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton. The defense will only improve with time.

2. New England Patriots

The defending Superbowl Champions are always a threat to every other team in the NFL. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick just know how to win. As long as Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman stay healthy the offense is unstoppable. They lost key pieces on defense with Revis, Browner, and Wilfork but the defense always seems to be OK in New England.

1. Seattle Seahawks

The defending NFC Champions are, on paper, the best team in the game. Talented at seemingly every position on both sides of the ball. Expect Seattle to be right back in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy. There’s a good chance they’ll win it.