Matt Tabeek's Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings: Patriots, Falcons begin season 1-2


A lot has happened since NFL games last counted – the combine, the draft, free agency, minicamps, training camp and the preseason. But none of that matters anymore.

Week 1 of the 2017 regular season is finally here and it officially kicks off on Thursday night, when the Chiefs and Patriots square off up in Foxborough.

The regular season wouldn't be complete with some power rankings, and we've got you covered there, too. So, without further ado, my wildly important preseason power rankings.

RankTeamCommentLast Week


PatriotsHow did the defending champs get even better during the offseason? Adding Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore and re-signing Don't'a Hightower is how. The loss of Julian Edleman hurts, but then they traded for Phillip Dorsett. Wow.--2.


FalconsThey return the core of their record-setting offense and revamped their defensive front, adding Dontari Poe, Jack Crawford and drafting Takkarist McKinley. No hangovers here. Next.--3.


PackersAaron Rodgers always makes them a threat and adding Martellus Bennett helps. But will the defensive additions be enough to challenge Atlanta? We'll find out Sept. 17.--4.


SteelersBig Ben, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell make the offense as scary as any in the league. If T.J. Watt is as good as advertised, watch out.--5.


SeahawksI had the Seahawks a few spots lower until they traded for Sheldon Richardson. Is there a more intimidating D than Seattle's right now? Didn't think so.--6.


CowboysDak Prescott still has weapons around him and a great wall in front of him, so I doubt he regresses. Defense? Big D might stand for demise and this unit in the end--7.


ChiefsThe Chiefs finished 2016 with a 10-2 run. They're a very good team, but the decision to draft Patrick Mahomes makes you wonder about Alex Smith.--8.


GiantsLots a talent on defense and at offensive skill positions for Big Blue, but did they do enough to bolster that offensive line?--9.


RaidersI predicted the Raiders would win 12 games last season, and they did. I'm not so sure they can do it again.--10.


BuccaneersLove the additions of DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard on offense. The defense is solid – watch out for Noah Spence. It'll all come down to Jameis. Can he take the next step?--11.


CardinalsI really liked this team a year ago, and they finished 7-8-1. I still like this team, but wonder how much Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald have left.--12.


LionsI'm a big fan of Matthew Stafford and he flourished under OC Jim Bob Cooter, even without Megatron. But does he have enough around him? I don't see it.--13.


DolphinsLosing Ryan Tannehill hurt this team and I have my reservations about Jay Cutler. If he can plan like he did in 2015 under Adam Gase, the Fins could be dangerous.--14.


EaglesIf they can give Carson Wentz time in the pocket, he'll hurt teams. But that's still a big if at this point. I like the addition of Alshon Jeffery.--15.


SaintsDrew Brees is still slinging it at a high level and Adrian Peterson wants to 'stick it' to the Vikings. This is an older team with an average defense.--16.


BroncosThey still have Von Miller and a formidable defense, but need to figure out the QB situation. John Elway has managed that situation well … until now.--17.


PanthersThey needed to address the offensive line because Cam Newton took a beating last year, but did they do enough? Christian McCaffrey will be fun to watch.--18.


RavensThe big question in Baltimore is how will Joe Flacco play after being sidelined for more than a month with a back injury. We're all about to find out.--19.


VikingsTheir defense was stout for most of last season after injuries decimated their offense. They're still the third-best team in NFC North though.--20.


BengalsThis team peaked a couple of years ago and its talent level has been on the decline, mainly due to free agency and age. Joe Mixon should provide a spark.--21.


TexansLots of questions here about the all-important quarterback position. Love the defensive front though – J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney are two of the best.--22.


ChargersI could see them jumping quite a bit. I'm a big fan of Philip Rivers and believe Joey Bosa is the real deal. But still too many questions with the surrounding cast.--23.


TitansHow will the 'exotic smashmouth' offense fare in Year 2? Something tells me that opposing defensive coordinators will find a way. The Titans' receivers aren't scaring anyone.--24.


RedskinsThis team is a mess. Is Su'a Cravens retiring? Does Kirk Cousins really want to be there? Is Terrelle Pryor the answer at receiver?--25.


RamsLoved the addition of Wade Phillips, a.k.a. Mr. Fix-it, as the defensive coordinator and I think this team has talent, but it'll be tough sledding in the NFC West.--26.


BearsThe whole QB situation – stemming back to the draft – seems like more of a distraction for a team that just lost its top receiver to injury. Jordan Howard is a bright spot though.--27.


ColtsWhat is going on with Andrew Luck? The beatings have taken a toll on his body and now they're scurrying (see trade for Jacoby Brissett). Scott Tolzien is the starter for now. Good luck.--28.


JaguarsBlake Bortles doesn't look like the long-term answer here. Is it Chad Henne? Who knows. There's lots of talent on this team though. At some point it has to show, right?--29.


BrownsAnother year, another new starting quarterback for the Browns. Let's hope DeShone Kizer finally slams that revolving door shut.--30.


BillsWhy did they trade Sammy Watkins again? Can't wait for those Jets-Bills games this year, how about you?--31.


49ersQuick: Who's the 49ers backup QB? OK, who's the starting quarterback? That's what I thought. This roster has a ton of holes to fill.--32.


JetsThe 49ers quarterbacks probably look pretty good to Jets fans at this point.--

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