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Aug 21, 2014

NFL 2014 Mid Pre-Season Power Rankings

By on 11:41 AM

Pre-Season should do nothing to sway opinions on power rankings, unless of course it involves injuries. After our first Power Rankings came out before preseason started [link here], we've decided to throw another list out there. After all, you can't get enough of football this time of year.

1. Denver Broncos (13-3) - The Broncos did nothing to hurt they're offense this offseason. Emmanuel Sanders will play just as well as Decker once did. Ball will be back for the regular season, too. The defense, however, improved. DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward are huge additions that will help the defense tremendously. Danny Trevathan's injury will hurt, but Von Miller's health is key, and right now it's just fine. Peyton will make the Broncos thrive.

2. New Orleans Saints (11-5) - Remember, Drew Brees is still throwing passes in New Orleans. Jimmy Graham is ready and fully committed to the team. Rookie Brandon Cooks will play all over the place. Rob Ryan's presence helped turn the abysmal New Orleans' defense into top-notch last season, and there's no reason they shouldn't improve in year two. Watch New Orleans climb to the top of the NFC in 2014.

3. San Francisco 49ers (12-4) - The 49ers made their third straight appearance to the NFC Championship last season, even after losing in Super Bowl 47 the year before. Jim Harbaugh will man San Fran into pulling off another playoff appearance, and then the clutch of Mr. Kaepernick and the fierce defense will help with the rest. Expect nothing worse than another 12-4 season in Frisco this year.

4. Seattle Seahawks (13-3) - Seattle had some secondary losses this offseason as well as some lost wideouts. Those blows won't contribute too badly to a poor season as the aggressive atmosphere is still very much alive in Seattle. Russell Wilson will continue to manage the offense and Lynch will help out in the run game. Pete Carroll will make sure the defense functions at it's usual level, and the rest is up to fate.

5. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) - As long as Andrew Luck's in town, Indy will thrive. The receiving corps got better after the loss of DHB, and then Hakeem Nicks came to town. Allen's return on top of Nicks' presence will give Luck a variety of targets, and Trent Richardson should improve. The defense is still improving while the young coaching staff is getting experience under their belts. One more thing: Indy defeated Super Bowl teams Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks last year in the regular season. Just keep that in mind.

6. New England Patriots (12-4) - Two names will keep the Patriots as a playoff lock -- Belichick and Brady. Gronk's health is essential to the offense, and the run game seems to be coming on strong. The defense lost Talib at corner, but the addition of Revis covers that loss. Watch for another strong season in New England with Brady leading the show.

7. Chicago Bears (8-8) - Maybe the strongest receiving group in the game, backed up by a good offensive line and a proven running back, Chicago's potential in 2014 is high and mighty. Trestman's brain and Cutler's arm should add the finishing touches to their nearly invincible offense, and the defense should take a big step forward from last year. Expect Chicago to climb to the top of their division this season.

8. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) - You read that right. Falcons at #8 after a 4-12 record in 2013. The NFC South is known for division turn-arounds (something along the lines of worst-to-first), and Atlanta has potential to make that jump. Last year, Atlanta was plagued with fluke injuries that absolutely killed their season. Julio Jones is back, though. Matt Ryan is still throwing passes. The team is healthy. It's easy to forget that Atlanta was a popular favorite to top off the NFC with a Super Bowl appearance last year. Although it didn't happen, the only thing holding them back from doing that this year is the discouraging record they have to look at from 2013 -- and that should give them some motive.

9. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) - Aaron Rodgers is back and healthy. Randall Cobb is too. Jordy Nelson's still his old self. The defense has its flaws, but that shouldn't stop Green Bay from pulling off a playoff appearance -- it hasn't stopped them before. Rodgers' health is the key to it all.

10. Carolina Panthers (12-4) - Cam Newton's still young and improving, and so is Kuechly. The defense will remain its fierce self, but the only question is the wide receiver options. Carolina lost everybody. Kelvin Benjamin should help in that aspect, but he's a rookie. Expect a struggle at first, but Carolina should find a way to win the way they usually do. And they'll make another great run in 2014.

11. San Diego Chargers (9-7) - San Diego went on fire last year, and Phillip Rivers was the guy responsible. He absolutely tore it up, and there's no reason he'll do any worse this year. Keenan Allen has a year under his belt, and the addition of Donald Brown will help take some pressure off of Ryan Mathews.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) - A lot of people question if Foles' is legit, but remember that he's not the only threat in Philly. LeSean McCoy still takes the carries, and catches, for that matter. Chip Kelly is entering his second year of coaching the Eagles and should show improvement. And if improvement is better than 10-6, Philadelphia's on a good track.

13. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) - Andy Dalton, Giovanni Bernard, A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert make up a pretty young offense. Then you have the improving defense. Cincy's on good ground. The only problem would be that of Jay Gruden's departure from the role of offensive coordinator, but that shouldn't be too much of a blow.

14. Washington Redskins (3-13) - Washington will benefit from the addition of Jay Gruden and DeSean Jackson. RG3 shouldn't repeat last year's awful performance. Alfred Morris is still young with a fresh motor. They also have an opportunity to shine in an inconsistent division.

15. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) - Kansas City showed their vulnerability down the stretch of last season after putting up a surprising start. The schedule doesn't look too friendly in Kansas City either, and Dwayne Bowe's struggles only hurt. Jamaal Charles is still a threat and the defense is in tact, so don't expect a complete drop-off. Just remember the division the Chiefs play in.

16. St. Louis Rams (7-9) - St. Louis has a surprising team. The defense has shown to be very solid. Sam Bradford should benefit from a young, improving offense. The division is tough, but so are the Rams. That's why they pulled off some crazy wins last season, and that's why they should again this year.

17. Houston Texans (2-14) - The Texans are prone to rebound in 2014. What happened last year was fluke. Similarly to Atlanta, Houston's 2013 season was expected to take them to a playoff appearance. What they earned from last year's failure was Jadeveon Clowney. That should set the defense in stone for years to come, and a bounce-back season this year is more than likely.

18. Miami Dolphins (8-8) - Despite being in a weak conference, Miami almost pulled off a playoff appearance last season. Ryan Tannehill's success, especially for being on a mediocre team, is nothing to take for granted. While the team is improving, so is Tannehill.

19. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) - Baltimore's offseason struggles should only contribute to more struggles throughout the season. Although the team added some players this offseason, they've lost many from suspensions and such. Don't expect a complete rebound from Baltimore's mediocrity of 2013.

20. New York Giants (7-9) - The Giants lost a few in free agency this year, but also gained some players in both the draft and free agency. Don't expect anything great to come from 2014, but Eli Manning's still in town, and so is Coughlin. And when Coughlin's on the hot seat, he thrives.

21. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) - Adrian Peterson will continue his beast mode this season, and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been showing impressive stuff lately. Expect both to relieve pressure off the other, and don't be surprised if Minnesota nears a winning season in 2014.

22. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) - Dallas suffered the loss of DC Rob Ryan last year, big time. The loss of DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee shouldn't help either. The offense shows promise, but how much can an offense do without a defense? Don't expect anything great out of Dallas this year, unless they fix their defensive woes.

23. Buffalo Bills (6-10) - Buffalo improved in the run game last year after putting up league-leading rushing yards between C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. Expect a second year with the new coach to be helpful, too. Also remember Buffalo's draft selection of Sammy Watkins. He'll help the passing game immediately.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) - Pittsburgh's latest fall of running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount [article here] won't help their causes at all. Emmanuel Sanders is gone. There isn't really much upside in Pittsburgh this year. Who knows, though. Maybe they'll pull off their famous bounce-back season in 2014.

25. Arizona Cardinals (10-6) - Arizona plays in the toughest division in football, and the age of Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are discouraging. Darnell Dockett is lost for the season. Bruce Arians brings a year of experience to the table, but don't get too excited with Arizona.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) - Lovie Smith is the new coach. Doug Martin is back. A mediocre QB has finally come. Mike Evans is in town. Vincent Jackson still has some years left. Expect something good in Tampa Bay's future, just don't expect it to come year one.

27. Detroit Lions (7-9) - Megatron and Stafford have chemistry, and the addition of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron should help, but Detroit has to prove themselves before making a high ranking. They've just disappointed year after year.

28. Cleveland Browns (4-12) - Cleveland has a couple things going for them -- the hype, and the hype. Johnny Manziel's presence is the key to that; however, he still hasn't been crowned "starting QB" yet. Cleveland's offense has looked sloppy thus far in preseason, and they'd need drastic improvement to pull off a better season than last year.

29. Tennessee Titans (7-9) - Jake Locker has something to prove in 2014, and after rookie RB Bishop Sankey joined the club, the Titans may have a future to be excited about. They just need a lot more improvement than that before becoming a good team.

30. New York Jets (8-8) - Geno Smith has a year under his belt, and the team made some offseason moves, but nothing has shown to be proof of a strong season coming up in New York.

31. Oakland Raiders (4-12) - Khalil Mack's the only going for their defense. Some offensive improvements may help, but considering the Raiders' divisional opponents, it's unlikely.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) - Last, but not least, the Jaguars end the power rankings with an appearance at the bottom. They've done very little this offseason, although rookie quarterback Blake Bortles may help. Jacksonville seems to be the favorite for being #32 in the league this year.

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