Rant Sports’ Way Too Early 2014 NFL Power Rankings
2014 NFL Power Rankings: Post Super Bowl Edition
Much to the dismay of fans across the country, the 2013 NFL season is officially over. Super Bowl 48 went down this past weekend from New York and now we're left with a seven month gap between the next relevant NFL game.
The cool thing about the NFL these days is that the free agency period and pre-draft period both act as their own seasons. Players and teams around the league are already restructuring contracts and beginning talks of new contracts. Then here in a couple weeks, the free agent market officially opens and all you know what breaks loose.
It's crazy to think what kind of impact just one big name free agent signing can make on a team. When Wes Welker decided to leave New England and join the Broncos last year, many like myself dubbed them as Super Bowl favorites right away. As it turns out, they did in fact make it to the big game. They came up short, but the Welker signing still proved to be huge. It took an already really good team and made them great.
But after the Broncos got beatdown in SB 48, all the talk has been about a dynasty in Seattle. It's certainly not crazy talk, either. There's no team better built to win multiple championships right now than the Seahawks. With the league's best defense in place, a great head coach and a rising star at QB -- the sky is the limit in Seattle.
So it's pretty obvious who the No. 1 team heading in to next year is going to be, but who are the other top teams? In this slideshow we'll list all 32 of them, in what is admittedly a 'way too early' NFL power ranking for 2014:
32. Cleveland Browns
Without a true starting QB in place and yet another new head coach running the show, the Browns could be really bad in 2014.
31. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders are rumored to be interested in Matt Schaub at QB. If that's the case, Oakland won't be doing much of anything (yet again) in 2014.
30. Buffalo Bills
The Bills took a few small steps in the right direction in 2013, but we still don't know how good EJ Manuel can be. If he has a great sophomore campaign, the Bills will be in business. If not, they'll remain near the bottom of the league.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars seem to be headed in the right direction with Gus Bradley running the show, but they still don't have a QB.
28. Washington Redskins
The Redskins could easily rebound in 2014 with a healthy RG3 under center, but they could just as easily lose 12 games.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lovie Smith > Greg Schiano. The Bucs at least have their head coaching situation in a much better place this year. Can Smith completely turn things around in Tampa?
26. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings seem to have made a couple great hires with Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner this offseason, but they still don't have a franchise QB in place. Will they acquire one in the draft?
25. Houston Texans
The Texans got the best college coach on the market this year with Bill O'Brien. I'm confident he'll turn things around very quickly in Houston. Especially when you consider that the Texans own the first pick in the draft.
24. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons took a crap in 2013. There's really no way to sugar coat it, they just flat out failed their fan base. I think they'll be back in the mix in 2014 after a few tweaks, though.
23. Detroit Lions
The Lions were no doubt one of the biggest disappointments in 2013. They failed down the stretch and as a result, they've got a new head coach running the show. Can Jim Caldwell fix the many issues in Detroit?
22. New York Giants
It's hard to believe that the Giants will be bad two years in a row. But maybe this is the end for Tom Coughlin in the Big Apple?
21. Tennessee Titans
Ken Whisenhunt will take over a team that underachieved in 2013. If Jake Locker can actually stay healthy for an entire season (big if), the Titans could be in business.
20. New York Jets
You can make an argument that Rex Ryan was the true coach of the year in 2013. He didn't have anything to work with on offense, but yet the Jets still managed to finish 8-8. With a few moves in free agency and a solid draft, the Jets could easily make the playoffs in 2014.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers
When are the Steelers not in the playoff mix? They'll be there yet again in 2014, but there's nothing about this team the way it's currently constructed that screams 'legitimate contender'.
18. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins were a big enigma in 2013. One week they could hang with good teams, the next they were getting owned by a middle of the road team. Will 2014 bring more consistency with it? If nothing else, it's likely to bring a lot less drama to South Beach.
17. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys will be a middle of the road team until further notice. Take that to the bank.
16. St. Louis Rams
Depending on how their next few months go, the Rams could be in business in 2014. There's a lot of young talent on both sides of the ball and we all know that Jeff Fisher is a great coach.
15. Cincinnati Bengals
Will the Bengals ever get over the hump? It's seeming more and more unlikely with each passing year. I don't see any reason at this moment in time to think that 2014 is going to be the year when they finally break through.
14. Baltimore Ravens
After having their 2012 Super Bowl roster completely decimated, the Ravens did alright in 2013. After a few more moves this offseason, I believe they'll be right back in the thick of the AFC race in 2014.
13. Chicago Bears
The Bears had multiple chances to win the NFC North in 2013, but they just couldn't get the job done. Why? Their once great defense is now terrible.
12. Arizona Cardinals
If the Cardinals had played in any other division last season, they would have probably made the playoffs. But they play in the NFC West and that won't be changing anytime soon.
11. San Diego Chargers
Did any team show more heart than San Diego did in the playoffs? They've got a good thing going with Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers.
10. Philadelphia Eagles
Chip Kelly showed that he can coach in the NFL this past season. I believe it's just the start of good things to come in Philly.
9. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs rode their defense to a 9-0 start in 2013, but then the wheels fell off in the closing weeks of the season. After another heartbreaking playoff loss in the Wild Card round, many are wondering if the Chiefs will ever break through.
8. New Orleans Saints
The Saints were much improved in 2013, but it's clear that Drew Brees needs some new weapons.
7. Carolina Panthers
Carolina surprised everybody by earning the No. 2 seed in the 2014 playoffs. Was it a fluke? I don't think so. The Panthers are here to stay for awhile.
6. New England Patriots
There's just no reason to think that the Patriots won't be in contention again in 2014. Their system is proven and as long as Brady and Belichick are running the show, the Pats will be right there in the AFC.
5. Green Bay Packers
Injuries hurt the Packers more than opposing teams did in 2013. If they didn't have so many key players go down, who knows how their season would have gone. I think they'll be back and nearly better than ever in 2014.
4. Indianapolis Colts
No one is going to want to play the Colts in 2014. No one.
3. Denver Broncos
If Peyton comes back, the Broncos will be back in the playoffs. Will they be able to climb the mountain in 2014? Only if their defense improves.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Some are now calling the NFC championship game the true Super Bowl from this past season. The 49ers are good -- real good.
1. Seattle Seahawks
I just don't see a scenario where the Seahawks aren't back in the playoffs fighting for back-to-back titles in 2014-15. Too much talent on both sides of the ball.