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NFL Power Rankings 2017

Xavier Clark, Staff Writer

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  1. New England Patriots- The reigning Super Bowl Champions definitely have the talent to defend the Lombardi Trophy. Even into his forties, Tom Brady continues to shred defenses with ease. Although Brady lost his top WR Julian Edelman in week 3 of the preseason, they made a splash in the offseason by adding WR Brandin Cooks. If TE Rob Gronkowski can stay healthy there is no stopping the Patriot’s offense. On the other side of the ball they upgraded their secondary by acquiring cornerback Stephon Gilmore from the Bills. It should be interesting to see if the Patriots front seven can stop the run.          
  2.  Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons were one half away from being Super Bowl Champions last year, and they reload with lots of talent. However, as the reigning MVP, Matt Ryan is surrounded with explosive playmakers including Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman. However, their defense is the team’s weakness, as they were absolutely torched in the second half of the Super Bowl. Look for DE Vic Beasley to have another breakout year terrorizing opposing Quarterbacks.       
  3. Green Bay Packers-  The Packers will once again look to own the NFC North, as they have for many years. Aaron Rodgers paired with his talented receivers will be a scary sight for opposing defences. GM Ted Thompson acquired veteran TE Martellus Bennett via free agency and look for him to click well with Rodgers. On the defensive side of the ball the Packers will be led by SS Haha Clinton-Dix and ILB Clay Matthews. However, the Packers do lack a quality defensive linemen who can rush the passer.
  4. Seattle Seahawks- Seattle is destined to make a deep run in the playoffs, as they have for years. Many of Seattle’s impact players were plagued with injuries last year including QB Russell Wilson, RB Thomas Rawls, TE Jimmy Graham, FS Earl Thomas and SS Kam Chancellor. Seattle has one of the biggest home field advantages, but last year they looked like a whole different team on the road. Seattle returns this year with a healthy Legion of Boom, which will give opposing offenses problems.  
  5. Oakland Raiders- The Oakland Raiders took an earlier exit than expected in last year’s playoffs. One of the main factors in this early exit was QB Derek Carr went down with a broken Fibula in a week 16 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Before this, the Raiders had one of the most explosive offenses in the league. They made a splash in the offseason by acquiring RB Marshawn Lynch who will be running behind one of the best offensive lines in the game. On the defensive side of the ball the Raiders will be led by last years Defensive Player of the Year, Kahlil Mack. However, the biggest question is the Raiders secondary, who was very unreliable last year.
  6. Dallas Cowboys- Despite losing in the first round of the playoffs, the expectation for the Cowboys is Superbowl or bust. Dallas got incredible contribution last year out of their two rookies, RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott. The two took the league by storm by gashing defenses. Adding Veterans like WR Dez Bryant, WR Cole Beasley and TE Jason Witten into the mix gives Prescott many weapons. However, Elliott will have to serve a six game suspension due to domestic violence issues.      
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steeler’s explosive offense can carry this team deep into the playoffs. The three B’s, QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown are the best trio in the NFL. After serving a year long suspension for marijuana, WR Martavis Bryant will return and should be the X factor on offense. However, their secondary is their achilles heel as they were torched all year by opposing offenses.      
  8.  Kansas City Chiefs- Kansas City is led by a strong defense with one of the best secondaries in the game. Both CB Marcus Peters and SS Eric Berry were elected to the pro-bowl last year and should continue their success this year. The Chiefs will go as far as their offense takes them. Other than WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce their offense simply lacks playmakers. To make matters worse their starting running Spencer Ware tore his PCL in a preseason game and will be out for the year.     
  9. New York Giants- This offseason the Giants surrounded Eli Manning with even more weapons. In free agency, the Giants grabbed veteran WR Brandon Marshall to line up opposite of Odell Beckham. They also drafted TE Evan Engram from Ole Miss. Their biggest concern is their offensive line, who were not able to develop a consistent running game last year. The defense does not lack any playmakers in their secondary, look for SS Landon Collins and CB Janoris Jenkins to have another breakout year.      
  10. Tennessee Titans- The Tennessee Titans will make lots of noise in the subpar AFC South. The Titans have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, so they are looking to secure an early playoff spot. Third year QB Marcus Mariota is surrounded with talent, including RB DeMarco Murray, WR Eric Decker, 5th overall pick WR Corey Davis, and TE Delanie Walker. The Titans will have one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL. The Titans have a very underrated defense, who will face below average offenses.
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NFL Power Rankings 2017