The Toro Times first NFL Power Rankings of 2016 ranks each team from 32 down to 1 as the NFL season is about to get underway
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San Francisco 49ers
This is a sad team. Their coach is bad. Their quarterbacks are bad. Their receivers are bad. Any questions?
John Fox is a good coach, but as long as Jay Cutler is playing quarterback, this offense will be up and down. The defense however, is just down right now.
Someone actually said new Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase helped Peyton Manning while they were in Denver together. Um, no. Manning helped Gase. No one knew him before Peyton, and they will probably only remember him for his disastrous stint in South Beach after Peyton.
Sep 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher looks to the referees during a challenge in the fourth quarter in the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 27-25. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams are home where they belong! They just won’t be good yet. Head coach Jeff Fisher‘s favorite day used to be July 9th (get it…7-9) but pretty soon it will probably be a day in March or April he is celebrating.
Robert Griffin III is an upgrade at quarterback, but can he stay healthy? They also should see a better passing game this season and head coach Hue Jackson was a good choice. They’re getting better, but there’s a whole lot left to fix.
Megatron is gone. The Lions said goodbye to receiver Calvin Johnson. They probably will be wishing head coach Jeff Caldwell were gone too before long.
Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford (7) warms up before action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings were dealt a tough blow losing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. They did themselves no favors in grabbing Sam Bradford to replace him. They sent a first round pick (which could have netted a young QB if Bridgewater can’t come back to form) for a first overall bust.
Bradford has a career losing record and his last two teams (Rams and Eagles) traded everything they had to pick one and two this season and get a real quarterback. Their only hope is Adrian Peterson going insane yet again on the field.
The Eagles deserve some kind of award for dumping off all Chip Kelly’s mistakes in one season. They deserve statues to be made of all their executives who were able to fleece the Vikings for two picks (including a first rounder) for career loser Sam Bradford.
Carson Wentz will have bumps and bruises in year one, but it’s better for the team to get him out there early on.
San Diego Chargers
The offense can put some points up in a hurry. The defense can give up points much quicker. Their poor defense outweighs their offense.
Sep 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh shakes hands with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) after their preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Ravens won, 23-14. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints
The Saints struggled mightily on defense last season. This year they have a better scheme, but the players aren’t a huge change. Quarterback Drew Brees also looks like he has lost a little zip on his passes.
Rex Ryan is the head coach. Rob Ryan is the defensive coordinator. How did they get ranked this high?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quarterback Jameis Winston looks like the real deal. The Bucs will be a better team in 2016, but they still have a long way to go thanks to many of their key players being so young. Give them another year or two and the tune will probably be different.
Aug 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) carries the ball on a 3-yard touchdown run during a NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
New York Giants
The Giants have looked awful in the preseason. They probably won’t look much better in the regular season because they’re not very good.
How does Tennessee climb this high? Going old school. They have a decent defense, but that group will be helped by the offense controlling the clock.
Running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are physical runners that will wear teams down. They can end up opening up a lot for second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Why in the world won’t they just start Paxton Lynch? Until they do this team will struggle.
Aug 25, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Dallas, 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Dak Prescott has a chance to become a legend in this league. If anyone else was filling in for Tony Romo they could be battling San Francisco for 32nd. He just seems to have the “it” factor and it’s hard not to believe in him.
What a difference a quarterback makes…right Texans fans?
Matt Ryan has taken a lot of heat lately. It’s not all his fault the Falcons have struggled though because he has to win in shootouts over and over thanks to their poor defense. They aren’t much better this year.
The Ravens stunk last season. They were 3-7 with a healthy Joe Flacco, but there’s no way he was really healthy. That losing record is an anomaly as it’s the first he has ever been a part of as a pro.
Sep 1, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) against the Cincinnati Bengals in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Colts won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Luck is overrated. He throws a lot of touchdowns and yards, but he also throws a lot of interceptions. The players around him aren’t very good either, which may be one of the issues in his interception struggles.
Defensively they still couldn’t stop a team if they were playing 11-on-10. General manager Ryan Grigson somehow keeps hanging onto his job, but I’m not sure how. Has anyone drug tested the owner? Oh…wait, my bad.
New York Jets
This team dodged a bullet. After winning ten games with Ryan Fitzpatrick, they almost turned things over to Geno Smith this season. That would have been terrible.
If Kirk Cousins keeps losing against teams with winning records this team will dip fast since they play a first-place schedule in 2016.
Aug 20, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns (88) and wide receiver Allen Robinson (15) celebrate after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
I think pretty much everyone on the Jaguars starting team was either a rookie or sophomore in 2015. That can lead to a lot of mistakes, but the growth these guys should show in 2016 will be phenomenal. Look for them to surpass Indy and battle the Texans for the AFC South title.
May be high for the Raiders? Well, they’re out to prove that theory wrong. Derek Carr has thrown 53 touchdown passes his first two seasons. They also have pass rushing stud Khalil Mack. This team is moving up and could challenge for the AFC West title.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have a tough defense that will get after any quarterback. On offense they have some great skill players, but they need Jamaal Charles healthy to climb higher in the top ten.
Aug 28, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Braxton Miller (13) and wide receiver Will Fuller (15) pose after a NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Here is the one all the Houston Texans fans were waiting for! Where does your beloved team fall, well right here at number eight is the answer.
What makes them move this high though is their new offense. Brock Osweiler is a legit NFL quarterback and Will Fuller has looked like a great pick as their first round choice. They also added Lamar Miller as an upgrade at running back.
Oh yeah, they also still have this guy named DeAndre Hopkins at receiver. He’s pretty good.
This is a team that relies on a veteran quarterback who is having a career resurgence. It keeps seeming like Carson Palmer should be done, but the Cards just keep winning. They will stay high until someone knocks them down a peg or two.
Andy Dalton is a really good quarterback but no one knows it. The reason is because most major sports outlets are busy praising everyone else and acting like the Bengals playoff woes are all on the Red Rifle.
This season could be different for the Bengals. They would have won that close playoff game with Dalton in last season rather than rookie A.J. McCarron. McCarron isn’t to blame because he played very well for the injured Dalton, but Andy is just better.
Aug 26, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Big Ben and Antonio Brown are amazing together. They will have to endure without running back Le’Veon Bell to start the season again, but they have the firepower on offense to manage just fine.
Green Bay Packers
Receiver Jordy Nelson is back which is good for the Packers. They went 10-6 without him, but never looked like themselves. This year should be different.
New England Patriots
No Brady? No problem. Last time Tom Brady missed time they went 11-5 with Matt Cassel under center. This season they just have to navigate four games with a much better backup in Jimmy Garoppolo. The AFC East crown is staying in New England yet again.
Aug 25, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Sean Lee (50) defends against Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the first half of an NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
This is simply a good team. They are well coached and have strong players all over the field. Losing running back Marshawn Lynch to retirement won’t sting too much because quarterback Russell Wilson showed what he can do when a team is placed on his shoulders last year.
Aug 20, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
The Panthers are the best team heading into 2016 despite losing to the Broncos in the Super Bowl. They return MVP Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly. They also will have wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin on the field after spending last year on the IR.