Patriots and Chiefs atop our first regular-season rankings, but after that NFC heavyweights abound
Rank / Team / The Skinny
1 Patriots – There seemingly was even less annual hand-wringing over their supposedly imminent fall.
2 Chiefs – If “Shady” is still the real McCoy, Andy Reid will rediscover him in this offense.
3 Eagles – NFL’s best roster still needs a healthy Carson Wentz for a full season.
4 Saints – Drew Brees gets benefit of the doubt after rough Dec./Jan. with support that may be stronger.
5 Bears – All kicker analysis by paralysis was because there aren’t a lot of additional issues.
6 Chargers – Red flags in form of James/Okung injuries, Gordon holdout a bit disconcerting.
7Rams – Did NFL figure out McVay offense? Probably not. But Gurley’s knee, O-line turnover new questions.
8Texans – Tunsil isn’t cure-all and Houston’s future resources thin, but strong favorite in suddenly turbulent South.
9Seahawks – Hard not to admire the shrewd offseason plan to quickly overhaul defensive front.
10Browns – Would be higher based on talent alone, but let’s see what Freddie Kitchens can do.
11 Cowboys – Like the Texans, Dallas much better on paper with Zeke back, but at what cost?
12 Vikings – How fast can new O-line jell? Asking for friend concerned with Kirk Cousins’ safety.
13 Steelers – Our biggest internal divide: Ranking the Steelers after their internal divides.
14 Packers – Will the real Aaron Rodgers please stand up? If so, they’re contenders again.
15 Falcons – If young stars return to full health, they’re dangerous. If not, DQ’s job security will be.
16 Colts – After Frank Reich watched Nick Foles’ miracle work, enter Jacoby Brissett.
17 Ravens – Defense likely to take a step back, making Lamar’s step forward the key.
18 Panthers – With Cam’s uncertain health, very difficult team to get a bead on.
19 Jaguars – If division suddenly up for grabs, have talented Jaguars matured enough to seize it?
20 Titans – Marcus Mariota is the least desirable quarterback in a division with two new ones.
21 Broncos – We have zero doubts about what Vic will do on “D” but seriously doubt Joe Flacco is offense’s answer.
22 49ers – Exciting upgrades up front on “D” but not enough to mask secondary deficiencies.
23 Jets – In a different division, we’d be more bullish but still expect a big jump from Darnold.
24 Bills – We like Buffalo’s roster better than Gang Green’s but much prefer Darnold to Allen.
25 Giants – If Eli surprises, Big Blue likely will, too, but we’re on Daniel Jones watch.
26 Lions – They spent a ton and Stafford should steady, but the division is simply loaded.
27 Raiders – More talented? No question. Can Gruden harness it? We’re not seeing it.
28 Buccaneers – Big-strike offense with poor O-line and reckless QB ... and that’s the good unit.
29 Bengals – After 16 years of Lewis, will they have same patience as Taylor inherits a rebuild?
30 Washington – With an awful QB incubator, they might be doing Haskins a favor starting Case.
31 Cardinals – They’ll be fun to watch but this looked like NFL’s worst roster in preseason until ...
32 Dolphins – Fitting that they’re the NFL’s most obvious tank job yet, right?