After a long six months without football, we are finally set for some real on-the-field action as the Hall of Fame Game is set for this Thursday. What better time to unveil the first Power Rankings of the season?

The two teams who squared off in Super Bowl 52 occupy the top two spots in the rankings. And deservedly so. The Eagles, coming off their first Super Bowl win in franchise history have largely kept their team intact and will welcome back Carson Wentz from a season-ending injury. As for the Patriots, well, they are the Patriots and despite all the prognostication of doom-and-gloom, they are still the team to beat in the AFC as long as Tom Brady is under center and Bill Belichick is on the sidelines.

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The rest of the top 10 features playoff teams from the year before with the exception of the Green Bay Packers. With the addition of Jimmy Graham and the return of Aaron Rodgers, it’s not too far-fetched to think they will be neck-and-neck with the Vikings in the North. In addition, one other playoff team from a year ago plummetted all the way to the bottom.

Without further adieu…

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Ranking Team LW
1 The defending Super Bowl Champions welcome back Carson Wentz and add Michael Bennett to their defense. They are right where they should be.
2 Don’t believe everything you hear, the Patriots have retooled and are flush with talent. They also have the reigning MVP coming off a 505-yard Super Bowl performance.
3 Speaking of loaded, the Rams have loaded up this offseason with additions like Aqib Talib, Brandin Cooks, and Ndamukong Suh. However, it will all be for not if Aaron Donald doesn’t show.
4 Case Keenum led the Vikings to within a game of the Super Bowl. Can Kirk Cousins be the key to a trip to Atlanta in February?
5 We know the Jaguars have a Super Bowl caliber defense. The real question is whether or not Blake Bortles is the man behind center to get the job done. Tom Coughlin and the front office seem to think so.
6 Another year, another Le’Veon Bell contract squabble. Will it finally catch up with the Steelers or will they control the North for yet another season?
7 Last year, the Saints hit a home run in the draft and transformed their defense overnight. Can they capitalize on Drew Brees’ final few seasons?
8 Now a full season removed from their Super Bowl 51 collapse, the Falcons are set the open a brand new stadium. One that will host the Super Bowl in February. Will Matt Ryan and the Falcons make a return trip?
9 The Packers may not be the most sure-bet in the NFC this year. Especially with Aaron Rodgers returning from a season-ending injury. However, they may have the highest ceiling for the very same reason.
10 The Titans bolstered both their offense and defense with the addition of Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis. It likely won’t be enough to overtake the Jaguars but they will be competing for a wildcard birth again.
11 The Panthers go as Cam Newton goes. With that said, Newton has taken a bevy of hits over the years and the Panthers have to do a better job of keeping Cam upright.
12 DeShaun Watson got out to an electrifying start before his season was cut short. His return along with J.J. Watt suiting up again should make this a dangerous team in the AFC.
13 The big question for the Chargers is whether or not they can stay healthy? They have already lost Hunter Henry and Jason Verrett but are still plenty talented to win the West.
14 Going from Kirk Cousins to Alex Smith is neither an upgrade or a downgrade for the Redskins. What may be the best thing going for them is that they are going through a distraction-free offseason for the first time in a long while.
15 Jason Witten retired. Dez Bryant was released. However, they are set for a full season of Ezekiel Elliot and no court drama for the foreseeable future. One has to figure they would improve on their 9-7 record from a year ago.
16 First-year head coach, Matt Patricia is inheriting a pretty good team with an elite quarterback in Matthew Stafford. However, they will likely be fighting for a wildcard spot at best in the ultra-competitive NFC.
17 Jimmy Garappolo took the 49ers by storm after his mid-season trade from the Patriots. Now, the honeymoon period is over and it’s time to produce.
18 How long until Lamar Jackson takes the job from Joe Flacco? Since winning Super Bowl 47, Flacco’s play has dipped significantly with no end in sight.
19 The return of Odell Beckham Jr. and the additions of Nate Solder and Saquon Barkley should make last year’s 3-13 season a distant memory. But it
20 With Alex Smith off to the Nation’s Capital, this is officially Patrick Mahomes team. Can the second-year signal-caller lead this talented team?
21 Will a blast from the past be the biggest factor in a turnaround season for the Raiders? Mark Davis is betting $100 million on Jon Gruden doing just that. Getting Khalil Mack to camp will make things much easier for Gruden.
22 Case Keenum under center is certainly an upgrade. However, the Broncos issues extend beyond just quarterback play.
23 After living the Jay Cutler-experience in 2017, the Dolphins will welcome back Ryan Tannehill. Can Davante Parker fill the void left by Jarvis Landry?
24 The ‘Legion of Boom’ is no more with only Earl Thomas remaining. And that may not be true by the time the season kicks off as he is holding out.
25 Can Mitchell Trubisky be the guy for the Bears? The hope for Bears fans is that he takes a similar leap Jared Goff made from year one to year two.
26 The Bengals were not a really good team last year and not much has changed. After flirting with retirement last year, how much longer will Marvin Lewis coach this team? For that matter, how much longer will Andy Dalton be taking snaps under center?
27 Can Sam Darnold finally be the Jets answer at quarterback? We likely won’t know this season. The good thing is he finally signed his rookie deal so he can get to camp.
28 If Sam Bradford can stay healthy, the Cardinals could find themselves right in the mix in the NFC West. If not, they will have to rely on a highly touted rookie, Josh Rosen. A healthy David Johnson is key either way.
29 It can’t get much worse than 1-31 the last two seasons. If it does, well, at least they tried. This offseason has seen them draft Baker Mayfield, sign Tyrod Taylor, and acquire Jarvis Landry from the Dolphins. They have plenty of talent. Let’s see if they can put it all together.
30 The good news? Andrew Luck looks ready to return to the field. The bad news? They still may be the fourth best team in their division.
31 This is a make-or-break season for head coach Dirk Koetter and quarterback Jameis Winston. With that said, it has not started well with Winston slated to miss the first three games due to suspension.
32 Fortunately, the Bills made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Unfortunately, they lost two of their best lineman, their quarterback, and may have a dicey situation on their hands with LeSean McCoy. Time will tell.

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