Updated: May 5
Los Angeles Rams (4-12) - Previously: 32.
The Rams had a disturbing free agent period that saw them pay $39 million to Robert Woods. Their draft was pretty underwhelming as well. This all sounds horrible for the eight people who root for the Rams in Los Angeles, but it's actually a blessing in disguise, as they're front and center in the Suck for Sam Darnold sweepstakes.
New York Jets (5-11) - Previously: 31.
I don't know what I was more surprised about: Rich Eisen being shocked that Daniel Jeremiah referred to the Jets as having the worst roster in the NFL, or Deion Sanders believing that the Jets are trying to win now, which is what he told Jamal Adams in their interview. Jeremiah is right, and Sanders must have gotten confused, as the Jets have a legitimate chance to have the top choice in the 2018 NFL Draft. That said, I liked their 2017 draft class, so perhaps they can be somewhat competitive in 2018.
San Francisco 49ers (2-14) - Previously: 30.
I questioned the John Lynch hiring when it happened, but I'll admit when I'm wrong, and I was certainly wrong in this case. Lynch conned the Bears into trading up and then went on to make some very promising selections. I also liked that he was up at 3:30 a.m., making phone calls around the league. Perhaps that's how he tricked the Bears; he must have called Ryan Pace a billion times when he was asleep, so Pace wasn't thinking clearly when he made the deal. Good job, John.
Chicago Bears (3-13) - Previously: 29.
I labeled the Bears as an underrated team in my first power rankings of the offseason. Little did I know that the Bears were going to sign pedestrian quarterback Mike Glennon and give a combined $40 million to the trio of Marcus Cooper, Dion Sims and Markus Wheaton. I also didn't expect them to pull a Jaguars move, selecting an inferior quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky while passing on superior talents like Solomon Thomas and Jamal Adams.
The Bears aren't the worst team in the league because of their great interior offensive line and dynamic front seven. However, they are poorly run and won't ever reach their potential with Ryan Pace making stupid moves left and right.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) - Previously: 28.
It's clear that the Jaguars are run by a competent person now in Tom Coughlin because they avoided drafting an inferior quarterback over a superior talent for the third time this decade. Coughlin knows better than that, and I'm sure he's aware that there are much better quarterbacks available next year - check out my 2018 NFL Mock Draft - so he can replace Blake Bortles then.
The Jaguars did well in the draft, but they really need to work on their jokes. The whole, "Hey, Leonard Fournette, can you shave your beard before you come here? Just kidding" bit didn't work for me at all. There's also truth in every joke, so I'm wondering why the Jaguars actually want Fournette to shave his beard. My guess is that Coughlin is so old that he can no longer grow a beard, so he wanted to Scotch tape Fournette's beard onto his face. Just a theory, though.
Cleveland Browns (1-15) - Previously: 27.
I like what the Browns have done this offseason, outside of overpaying for Kenny Britt. They obtained two talented offensive linemen in Kevin Zeitler and J.C. Tretter, so if everyone stays healthy, they could sport one of the top offensive lines in the NFL. That will certainly make them competitive, and Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers were some nice play-makers to add to the defense. The Browns won't get to the playoffs, or anything, but I don't think 6-7 wins is out of the question. I'll probably have them going 4-12 or 5-11 in my season previews this summer.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) - Previously: 26.
The Bengals regressed last season because of injuries to some of their play-making offensive weapons. They're going to regress this season because they lost key members of their offensive line. Cincinnati's elite blocking was why the team frequently made the playoffs prior to 2016. With Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler gone, the Bengals almost certainly will not be playing in January. I did like their draft, but offensive line play is so important in the post-CBA NFL, and Cincinnati's blocking will be far worse in 2017.
Buffalo Bills (7-9) - Previously: 25.
The Bills continue to be completely incompetent. Not that their draft was bad, but they foolishly fired their entire scouting department afterward. Who does that? As Charlie Campbell reported in the NFL Draft Rumor Mill, teams believe the Bills will have a tough time putting together a capable scouting department in the near future. Buffalo appears as though it'll be 7-9 or so once again.
Baltimore Ravens (8-8) - Previously: 24.
I gave the Ravens one of the highest marks in my NFL Draft Team Grades, but that doesn't mean I'm optimistic about their chances in 2017. Thanks to Joe Flacco's albatross of a contract, they have serious roster issues that one great draft won't change.
Indianapolis Colts (8-8) - Previously: 21.
The Colts seem to be in capable hands with Chris Ballard. I liked their draft, but they still didn't address their offensive line. Andrew Luck will still be under siege throughout the 2017 campaign, so it'll be more of the same for Indianapolis. At least for now. I'll give Ballard another year to fix Luck's blocking unit, but until then, the Titans will be the favorites in the division.
Minnesota Vikings (8-8) - Previously: 23.
The Vikings desperately needed offensive line help, so they paid big bucks to Riley Reiff to be their left tackle, and they also signed Mike Remmers. The good news is that they obtained a top-15 player from the 2017 NFL Draft in the second round, snatching Dalvin Cook off the board. Here's an article on why Dalvin Cook Slipped in the NFL Draft. It's a good thing that happened for Minnesota, but I still don't trust the shaky blocking.
New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Previously: 14.
The Saints had a golden opportunity to add numerous defensive talents to their roster, but they used a first-round pick on an injury-prone tackle and a second-day selection on a running back after signing Adrian Peterson. Assuming the Saints struggle immensely once again on defense, they'll only have themselves to blame.
Houston Texans (9-7) - Previously: 18.
The Texans missed out on both Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, so they panicked and traded next year's first-round pick for Deshaun Watson. Teams we've spoken to had Watson as a third-round prospect, so I hated the move, especially considering the 2018 NFL Draft is stacked. If Watson is anything like Dak Prescott, the trade will end up as a great one, but there's more of a chance Watson is a horrible hybrid of Vince Young and Tim Tebow - two players who were awesome in the clutch in college, but didn't have good pro careers for one reason or another.
New York Giants (10-6) - Previously: 15.
I still stand by the Giants being overrated. In fact, I think they're even more overrated after signing Brandon Marshall, who struggled last year. Marshall isn't what he used to be, and I wonder if he'll hurt the locker room at all. I mean, you have one receiver who marries kicking nets, and you have another receiver who trips on McDonald's bags. You can't possibly have two of these guys on one team, right?
The draft didn't help matters. The Giants reached for a tight end and failed to upgrade the offensive line. Plus, there's a chance that Eli Manning could be suspended as a result of the memorabilia fraud allegations. The good news is that Evan Engram is really good at determining the difference between near mint and mint, so he'll be able to assist Eli with any eBay orders.
Miami Dolphins (10-6) - Previously: 16.
The Dolphins signed players to some dubious contracts this offseason, including Andre Branch (3 years, $27 million) and Lawrence Timmons (2 years, $12 million). Doing so did not improve their roster at all. However, I liked their draft, so I think they can still compete for a playoff spot if their offensive line stays healthy, which did not happen last year.
Denver Broncos (9-7) - Previously: 19.
The Broncos lost DeMarcus Ware this offseason, but the bigger deal is that they added Garett Bolles and Ronald Leary to help an awful offensive line. The blocking unit still isn't very good, and quarterback could still be an issue if Paxton Lynch doesn't progress. Then again, if Lynch makes a big jump in 2017, the playoffs could be possible again for Denver.
Washington Redskins (8-7-1) - Previously: 22.
I can't believe Jonathan Allen fell to the Redskins at No. 17 overall. He, Ryan Anderson and Fabian Moreau should be able to improve the defense. That would be great if the Kirk Cousins situation wasn't hanging over the team. The Redskins could make a run at the playoffs again, but they could also suffer as a result of distractions.
Carolina Panthers (6-10) - Previously: 20.
The Panthers added a ton of offensive weapons in the draft for Cam Newton. Things seem promising for 2017, but will Newton be ready for the season? And what about Kelvin Benjamin, and his supposed weight of 280 pounds? The Panthers have denied that Benjamin is 280 pounds, so perhaps he's 281.
Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1) - Previously: 17.
Overrated NFL Team: I've seen the Cardinals slotted as high as No. 5 in some power rankings. I think that's crazy. They lost way too many important players in free agency, namely Calais Campbell, Kevin Minter and Tony Jefferson. Their defense clearly won't be as good next year, while their offense is also sketchy because Carson Palmer, who was just average in 2016, is a year older and could continue to regress. Haason Reddick and Budda Baker were potential great draft picks, so unless they both contribute at a high level right away, the Cardinals could struggle again this upcoming season.
Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) - Previously: 13.
I've seen the Chargers in the top 10 of some power rankings, which is more optimistic than where I stand. San Diego (I refuse to acknowledge them as Los Angeles) is a good team when things are going right, but when has that been the case? The Chargers are always nursing tons of injuries, and things are just seemingly getting worse because they signed Russell Okung, who tends to be hurt more often than not. That said, perhaps things will change as far as the offense is concerned, given that the Chargers drafted Mike Williams and a couple of talented guards.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) - Previously: 10.
The Buccaneers have added some big names this offseason, including DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. This might be a positive, but it could also hurt Tampa. The team is going to have high expectations now with these fancy additions, and big expectations often means big failures for unproven teams.
Detroit Lions (9-7) - Previously: 9.
Underrated NFL Team: I'll be the first to say it - the Lions have a legitimate shot to go to the Super Bowl this year. And no, I don't mean that the players will buy tickets and attend the game in the stands. I think they could be playing in February. And no, I don't mean playing outside in the snow with their kids. The Lions, who were 9-4 last season before a rash of injuries crushed them, have enjoyed an excellent offseason. They signed two talented blockers, and it now looks like they have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL. They picked up a great defensive team leader in Jarrad Davis and a formerly considered first-round talent in Jalen Tabor through the draft to help their defense.
Dallas Cowboys (13-3) - Previously: 11.
Overrated NFL Team: The Cowboys were definitely legitimate in 2016, but I think they'll take a step backward this upcoming season. They lost two members of their fantastic offensive line, while three key players in their secondary have departed as well. Things won't go as smoothly for the Cowboys in 2017, as either Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott seems destined to have a sophomore slump.
Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) - Previously: 12.
All of Alex Smith's friendsbiased TV analysts with a clue opinion came to Alex Smith's defense following the Patrick Mahomes trade, but the deal was necessary if the Chiefs ever want to compete for a Super Bowl. Smith doesn't have what it takes to win multiple games in the playoffs. Mahomes, meanwhile, has unbelievable potential. He has Brett Favre upside, but needs to be coached up because he's raw. Andy Reid is great with quarterbacks, so I think there's a good chance he gets the most out of Mahomes.
Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) - Previously: 8.
The Seahawks made a number of positive trades down to pick up lots of draft picks. It was impressing maneuvering, but I'm wondering if they wouldn't have been better served dealing up for Garett Bolles. Seattle is a stellar offensive lineman away from reaching the Super Bowl again, and Bolles, if he pans out, would offer Russell Wilson the vast improved protection he desperately needs.
Tennessee Titans (9-7) - Previously: 6.
The Titans reached for Corey Davis, but they at least obtained some much-needed weapons for Marcus Mariota. I love the Titans' chances of winning the divsion and perhaps getting as far as the AFC Championship. Their offensive line, running game and front seven were already awesome, and now, they have offensive weapons and an improved secondary.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) - Previously: 5.
Underrated NFL Team: In my previous update, I wrote: "If the Eagles nail their draft, they could go 11-5 or even 12-4, and they're my early pick to win the NFC East. They were practically undefeated with Lane Johnson on the field last year. Now, Carson Wentz has more experience, and he has two talented receivers to throw to. The defense, meanwhile, figures to be better. The only important player who departed was Bennie Logan, who had a down 2016 season. Chris Long and Patrick Robinson will help, as will any players Philadelphia obtains in the 2017 NFL Draft."
Well, the Eagles had a solid draft. They're severely underrated right now - I saw that someone had them at No. 20 in their power rankings - but they'll be great in 2017, and if Sidney Jones recovers, a Super Bowl is very realistic in 2018.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) - Previously: 4.
I had the Packers atop my power rankings in my first update, but they lost two offensive linemen (T.J. Lang, J.C. Tretter) and a key member of their secondary in Micah Hyde. I still think Green Bay is one of the better teams in the NFC - the Kevin King pick could help - but I don't think the Packers are overwhelming favorites to reach the Super Bowl now.
Atlanta Falcons (11-5) - Previously: 7.
As long as Matt Ryan and his offensive line happen to be healthy, the Falcons will continue to be one of the better teams in the NFL. They signed a few players to horrible contracts in the offseason, but didn't really lose anyone outside of their fullback, so they should be 11-5 or better once again, barring injuries, or Takkarist McKinely drawing 594,615 personal fouls per game.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) - Previously: 3.
The Steelers didn't really change their roster very much in free agency. Jarvis Jones and Lawrence Timmons are gone, but they struggled in 2016. They've been replaced by the lackluster duo of Tyson Alualu and Coty Sensabaugh. However, the T.J. Watt pick was a promising one. Meanwhile, Martavis Bryant was reinstated, though he's hardly worth trusting. Counting on Bryant being available for all 16 games is like giving out your information to the Prince of Somalia, whose parents were assassinated, and now he trusts you to smuggle millions of dollars into the United States or him.
Oakland Raiders (12-4) - Previously: 2.
If it's not the Patriots, I expect the Raiders to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. They didn't make a big splash in free agency, but they added Jared Cook and Cordarrelle Patterson to improve their offense and special teams, respectively. Gareon Conley, if exonerated, is a great addition to the defense. The important thing is keeping Derek Carr healthy, and Oakland has the offensive line to do that. Then again, the Raiders could've said the same thing last year.
New England Patriots (14-2) - Previously: 1.
The Patriots made so many moves this offseason, you'd think they just lost the Super Bowl rather than won it. I'm sure Tom Brady will enjoy the new weapons (Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen), while the defense will be better with Kony Ealy and Stephon Gilmore. Assuming some desperate Bills fan doesn't sneak Cheetos into Brady's OCD diet, the Patriots will be the favorite to win Super Bowl LII.