2013 NFL Power Rankings: San Francisco 49ers Earn Top Spot For Week 1
2013 NFL Power Rankings: Week 1
With the regular season set to get underway in just a few days--the time is finally here for the 2013 NFL Power Rankings for Week 1.
It's always difficult to get through the four weeks of preseason, but football fans no longer have to wait as the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will square off against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night in a rematch of one of the most exciting playoff games from last January. Both of these teams are certainly talented enough to make a run at the Super Bowl once again this season, but there are plenty of talented teams capable of making a run as well.
The San Francisco 49ers will be anxious to make a run after falling just short against the Ravens last February. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots look to get things going after having one of the craziest offseasons from all of the drama surrounding Aaron Hernandez and the uncertainty of Rob Gronkowski as he continues to recover from his surgeries. Even the Seattle Seahawks are being considered as one of the Super Bowl favorites thanks to a stellar defense and one of the biggest surprises from last year in Russell Wilson.
One of the best things about Week 1 is all 32 teams head into their first games with the same record as anything is possible once the season gets underway. Without wasting any more time, here's a look at the 2013 NFL Power Rankings for Week 1.
32. New York Jets
When considering all of the questionable moves made during the offseason, it should be no surprise to see the New York Jets at the bottom of the list to start off the 2013 season. Nobody knows what to expect when it comes to Mark Sanchez's future with the organization and Geno Smith has looked anything but impressive during the preseason.
Don't be surprised if this team wins four games at most during the regular season and earn a high draft pick in 2014.
31. Buffalo Bills
Once again, the Buffalo Bills look like they could be in for a long season as their quarterback situation is a mess once again. The E.J. Manuel era may not get off to the type of start they were hoping for, but it will hopefully be good for the rookie to gain that early experience.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars
Unfortunately, the Jacksonville Jaguars could be in for another long year in 2013, but it will certainly be interesting to see how some of their key players perform. Not only could this be Blaine Gabbert's final chance to prove himself as a starting quarterback, but Maurice Jones-Drew will need a big season if he wants to earn a big pay day with his next contract.
29. Oakland Raiders
Just when Matt Flynn thought he would finally earn the starting job at quarterback after missing out last season, the Oakland Raiders announce their plans to start Terrelle Pryor instead. Pryor may have looked impressive at times during the preseason, but whether or not he'll be able to produce with a weak offensive line will be the main question heading into Week 1.
28. Cleveland Browns
The potential is certainly there, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Cleveland Browns went through another rebuilding season--especially since they play in one of the toughest divisions in football. Still, it will be interesting to see how well Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden perform in their second season and whether or not they can help this squad surprise a few teams.
27. San Diego Chargers
The injury bug has not been a fan of the San Diego Chargers during the preseason and this team will most likely be in for another struggling season. Think about it--who exactly can Philip Rivers rely on when it comes to this offense?
26. Philadelphia Eagles
Chip Kelly's offense has the potential to work wonders for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, but if the preseason is any indication of what to expect--the defense is going to be a mess. If this team is going to have any shot at winning the NFC East, DeSean Jackson will need to have the best season of his career considering Jeremy Maclin is out for the year with a torn ACL.
25. Miami Dolphins
Many believe the Miami Dolphins have the talent to compete with the New England Patriots for the AFC East title, but that doesn't mean it will happen. This team still has a lot to prove, but they certainly made the right move by signing Mike Wallace during the offseason to provide Ryan Tannehill with another offensive weapon.
24. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals showed potential at the beginning of the 2012 season when they started off with a 4-0 record, but they only went on to win once for the rest of the season. This team will most likely struggle at times throughout the regular season, but a solid defense and the addition of Carson Palmer to make Larry Fitzgerald happy could help this team surprise some people in 2013.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin was one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 season from a fantasy perspective and owners hope he can avoid a sophomore slump this year. Still, how far the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go this season will rely on the shoulders of quarterback Josh Freeman--who has no excuse but to produce with weapons like Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson.
22. Kansas City Chiefs
Despite last year's two-win season, keep in mind how many Pro Bowlers (five) the Kansas City Chiefs had and the upgrade they made at quarterback with Alex Smith. The division may be the Denver Broncos to lose at this point, but the Chiefs' offense has the potential to make some noise in 2013.
21. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans are one of those teams where nobody really knows what to expect from them in 2013, but the key factors for this team's success will obviously fall on the shoulders of Jake Locker and Chris Johnson. While the Titans have been patient with Locker at quarterback, Johnson looks to finally live up to the hefty contract he signed a couple of years ago and emerge as one of the league's top running backs once again.
20. Detroit Lions
Expectations were high after the Detroit Lions reached the playoffs during the 2011 season, but a four-win season in 2012 make it seem like they could finish at the bottom of the division once again this year. Hopefully a healthy Matthew Stafford--who has combined for 10,000+ passing yards over the last two years--along with some impressive weapons on the defensive side of the ball can help Detroit compete in the NFC North this year, but it certainly won't be easy.
19. Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins certainly can win the NFC East for the second-straight season, but all of that will depend on the status of Robert Griffin III. There's a good chance the quarterback will be a bit rusty after not playing in any of the preseason games due to a torn ACL suffered during the playoffs last year, but if Griffin can return to that dominant level of his--the Redskins will move up this list in no time.
18. St. Louis Rams
There's no more excuses for Sam Bradford on offense now that he has a rookie with extremely high potential in Tavon Austin. The St. Louis Rams are another one of those teams where nobody really knows what to expect, but don't sleep on them in the NFC West--especially now that Jeff Fisher has one year as head coach under his belt.
17. Carolina Panthers
Will this finally be the year the Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers get over the hump and be playoff contenders? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain--which is the Panthers won't win if their star quarterback doesn't receive help from other members on offense.
16. Chicago Bears
This team faces plenty of pressure after their second-half collapse last year that resulted in them falling short of the playoffs--especially with Jay Cutler playing in a contract year. Plus, it will be interesting to see how the Chicago Bears function on defense without Brian Urlacher after the two sides parted ways during the offseason.
15. Minnesota Vikings
As long as Adrian Peterson is healthy, the Minnesota Vikings will always be considered one of the most dangerous teams in football. It may be difficult for Peterson to top the numbers he displayed last year, but at least the Vikings earned another offensive weapon in Greg Jennings this offseason.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are usually strong contenders at the beginning of each season, but things could be different this year. It will certainly be interesting to see how Ben Roethlisberger and company perform on offense after Mike Wallace bolted for the Miami Dolphins during the offseason.
Still, this is Big Ben we're talking about here--a quarterback who always seems capable of overcoming the odds to help the Steelers win.
13. Dallas Cowboys
Year after year, the question always seems to be whether or not the Dallas Cowboys will be one of the top teams in the NFC. If Dez Bryant can play at the high level he did in the second half of last year in 2013, the Cowboys could certainly be one of the most dangerous teams in the NFC--assuming Tony Romo manages to stay healthy.
12. New Orleans Saints
Things will certainly be different for the New Orleans Saints this year now that Sean Payton is allowed back on the sidelines after serving a suspension last year. The Atlanta Falcons may have finished with the best record in the NFC during the regular season in 2012, but as long as Drew Brees is healthy--this team always has the potential to be a strong contender in the conference.
11. Indianapolis Colts
As one of the biggest surprise teams to reach the playoffs last year, it will certainly be interesting to see if Andrew Luck can live up to the pressure of not being a one-hit wonder in his second season. Who knows--the Indianapolis Colts could easily emerge as the team to beat in the AFC South if they can manage to overtake the Houston Texans.
10. New York Giants
With all of the uncertainty surrounding the NFC East, the New York Giants should be considered favorites at the beginning of the season. Thank goodness the Giants were able to work things out with Victor Cruz when they did so Eli Manning doesn't have to worry about one of his favorite targets being unhappy throughout the regular season.
9. Green Bay Packers
If the Green Bay Packers are going to compete in the NFC this year, they're going to need to see some improvement on the defensive side of the ball. On the bright side, at least having Aaron Rodgers under center will always make the Packers contenders and even if Greg Jennings is no longer around--this team still has plenty of weapons on offense.
8. New England Patriots
When it comes to an interesting offseason, it's safe to say nobody tops the New England Patriots considering all of the drama surrounding Aaron Hernandez to the mystery surrounding whether or not Rob Gronkowski will be able to return to his dominant playing form.
Despite all of this, the Patriots at least have the advantage of playing in a weaker division in the AFC East and as long as Tom Brady stays healthy--this team should be just fine.
7. Baltimore Ravens
They may be the defending Super Bowl champions, but the Baltimore Ravens lost plenty of key players this offseason. Even if Joe Flacco did look impressive during the team's playoff run last year, the man has yet to throw for 4,000 yards or more than 25 touchdowns in a single season--which has everyone wondering whether he deserves that hefty contract he received after winning the Super Bowl.
6. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans have gotten over the hump in each of the last two seasons with playoff appearances, but they're still looking to emerge as one of the top two seeds in the AFC. Unfortunately, how far this team goes in 2013 may rely on the health status of running back Arian Foster--so keep an eye on this situation.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Who would have thought the Cincinnati Bengals were being hyped up as one of the top teams to beat in the AFC heading into the 2013 season? This team may have plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball to do so, but keep in mind how the Bengals have struggled in both playoff appearances over the last two years.
When considering Marvin Lewis has yet to win a playoff game as head coach of the Bengals--there's a lot of pressure on him to come through this season. At least Lewis can rely on having one of the league's up-and-coming wide receivers in A.J. Green--who will hopefully have his best season yet this year.
4. Seattle Seahawks
After their playoff run last year, it's difficult not to pick the Seattle Seahawks as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl heading into the regular season. This team certainly has something special in Russell Wilson and with one of the league's top defenses--there's no question Seattle could be the team to beat once January rolls around.
3. Atlanta Falcons
How frustrated and motivated do you think the Atlanta Falcons will be heading into 2013 with the way things turned out in the NFC Championship last season? The Falcons were already loaded with plenty of talent on offense, but the addition of Steven Jackson in the backfield makes this team even more dangerous--which is why it wouldn't be a surprise to see them emerge as one of the top teams in the NFC once again.
2. Denver Broncos
Just like the Falcons, the Denver Broncos have a bad taste in their mouth from how their postseason ended last January. This team would have been No. 1, but the defense could take a hit over the first six games playing without Von Miller--who will be serving a suspension from the league.
Oh well--at least the addition of Wes Welker should make Peyton Manning even more dangerous at quarterback.
1. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers proved last season why they should be considered one of the teams to beat in the NFC once again and as crazy as it sounds--there's no reason why this squad can't return to the Super Bowl this year. Once again, this team is loaded with lots of talent on both sides of the ball and even without Michael Crabtree--the passing game should be just fine with players like Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin.
Plus, if last year is any indication of what to expect from Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback could be in for a monster season during his first full year as the starter.