2015 NFL Power Rankings Week 1

marshawn-lynch-seattleThe 2015 NFL season is officially underway, with the New England Patriots securing a 28-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. This game has a little impact on our Week 1 power rankings, but not much because the Steelers were playing at Foxborough and without suspended running back Le’Veon Bell and wideout Martavis Bryant. That said, here’s a look at how teams rank going into the first Sunday of the season.

1. Seattle Seahawks (12-4 last season) – Most of Seattle’s dominating defense is back from the unit that’s allowed the fewest NFL points for the past three seasons. The offense gets a little better thanks to the edition of TE Jimmy Graham, who finally gives Russell Wilson a true No. 1 option.

2. New England Patriots (12-4 last season) – The Pats have a brutal first seven games, but they survived the first one against the Steelers. An away game against division-rival Buffalo is up next.

3. Green Bay Packers (12-4 last season) – It’s tough telling how Green Bay will fare after the loss of Jordy Nelson (ACL). But with Aaron Rodgers at QB, a Super Bowl run is never out of the question.

frank-gore-colts4. Indianapolis Colts (11-5 last season) – Indy keeps improving every year under Andrew Luck, making the AFC Championship last season. They only get better with the addition of WR Andre Johnson and RB Frank Gore.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5 last season) – Tough first loss for what should be a very explosive Pittsburgh Steelers offense; especially when they get Bell and Bryant back on the field.

6. Dallas Cowboys (12-4 last season) – Dallas still has a pretty complete team, but how much will they miss DeMarco Murray running the ball? Furthermore, can anybody emerge from their RB committee?

7. Denver Broncos (12-4 last season) – The Broncos have the tools to go deep into the playoffs. But Peyton Manning has to play better down the stretch after throwing 12 interceptions in his final 10 games last season.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6 last season) – So many moving parts in the offseason make the Eagles difficult to peg. If QB Sam Bradford and three running backs who’ve all gained 1,000 yards in a season can stay healthy, this offense could be the league’s best all around.

Carson Palmer9. Arizona Cardinals (11-5 last season) – Arizona owed a large part of its 6-0 start last season to QB Carson Palmer’s play. But when he hurt his knee, they were just 5-6 down the stretch.

10. Baltimore Ravens (10-6 last season) – Another good defense for the Ravens anchored by Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. But the offense has a lot of questions to answer at receiver.

11. Kansas City Chiefs (9-7 last season) – Largely the same good Chiefs team is back, with the addition of explosive receiver Jeremy Maclin.

12. Miami Dolphins (8-8 last season) – It’s not unfathomable to think that Miami could challenge the Patriots for the AFC East title, especially with DT Ndamukong Suh on board.

13. Detroit Lions (11-5 last season) – The Lions picked up DT Haloti Ngata who’s a pretty good run stuffer. But losing Suh to the Dolphins has to be a blow given that he’s easily the best defensive tackle in the game.

14. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1 last season) – Cincinnati has made the playoffs four straight years, and that shouldn’t change in 2015.

drew-brees15. New Orleans Saints (7-9 last season) – There are already injuries on defense, but Drew Brees and Co. could take advantage of another weak NFC South.

16. Minnesota Vikings (7-9 last season) – Teddy Bridgewater looks like the Vikings QB of the future, and now he gets to play with Adrian Peterson for a full year.

17. Buffalo Bills (9-7 last season) – Buffalo looks good at most positions, however, journeyman Tyrod Taylor at QB is a question mark.

18. San Diego Chargers (9-7 last season) – San Diego hasn’t won 10 games since 2009; can they break this streak?

19. New York Giants (6-10 last season) – Will the Giants’ stacked offense be enough to overcome a bruised defense?

julio-jones-falcons20. Atlanta Falcons (6-10 last season) – An upgraded defense could help the Falcons contend in the NFC South.

21. Carolina Panthers (7-8-1 last season) – Kelvin Benjamin loss (ACL) might ground Panthers’ offense this year.

22. Houston Texans (9-7 last season) – Not even J.J. Watt can carry a team with Brian Hoyer at QB.

23. St. Louis Rams (6-10 last season) – The defense keeps getting better, but the offense will flounder until first-round RB Todd Gurley can play.

24. Chicago Bears (5-11 last season) – Don’t blame Jay Cutler if things go wrong this year; blame the defense.

25. San Francisco (8-8 last season) – Too many free-agent losses/retirements for San Francisco to be competitive this season.

26. Cleveland Browns (7-9 last season) – With Josh McCown, Browns trot out their 23rd starting quarterback since 1999.

27. New York Jets (4-12 last season) – Secondary upgrades make this a scary defense, but QB again remains a huge problem.

khalil-mack-raiders28. Oakland Raiders (3-13 last season) – LB Khalil Mack and QB Derek Carr can be stars of the future for a franchise that’s still rebuilding.

29. Tennessee Titans (2-14 last season) – It would have been nice if Marcus Mariota started his career with decent weapons.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14 last season) – Jameis Winston has good receivers to throw to; there’s just not enough else here.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14 last season) – The offense should be vastly better than the unit that’s ranked last in points scored for two straight seasons.

32. Washington Redskins (4-12 last season) – RGIII drama dominates the perpetually toxic situation in Washington.

6 NFL Players set to Shock You in 2015

Ben Roethlisberger, Pernell McPheePro football is about as much of a team sport as you’ll find, with all 11 positions playing an important part. However, this doesn’t mean that 1-2 players can’t make a huge difference on their team and help carry them to victory. So if you’re looking for a few special players in the 2015 NFL season, here are five that could help you win some big bets – along with one that might disappoint you.

1. Ben Roethlisberger will have his Best Season yet

While Ben Roethlisberger had some very good seasons numbers-wise, he’d never put up top-3 quarterback production. This all changed last season, though, with Big Ben throwing for 4,952 yards, 32 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions. Expect even bigger stats from the 33-year-old as all of his weapons return, including Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell. The latter should get plenty of carries, but Pittsburgh is now a passing team and we should expect over 5,000 passing yards and 40 TDs from Roethlisberger.

2. Andre Johnson will find the End Zone at least 10 times

andre-johnson-coltsAndre Johnson is one of the best wide receivers ever to play the game. But what’s amazing about him is that, despite four different seasons where he’s topped 1,400 receiving yards, Johnson has never had 10 touchdowns. But now he comes to the Indianapolis Colts, where Andrew Luck is fresh off a 40-TD season and primed to throw for even more in 2015. Johnson (34) may have lost some of his speed, but he’s still good enough to be a strong second option for Indy after coming off a year where he caught 85 passes for 936 yards.

3. Eli Manning is going to be Really Good

It was hard to have much faith in Eli Manning after the 2013 campaign, where he tossed a horrific 18 TDs against 27 interceptions. But he bounced back last year after tallying 4,410 yards, 30 TDs and 14 INTs – despite the team finishing just 6-10. We can’t guarantee the Giants will rise up to make the postseason, but you can expect Manning to do even better in 2015. Not only does he have Odell Beckham Jr., who can catch pretty much anything, but he also gets Shane Vereen, the perfect backfield outlet. Add a healthy Victor Cruz to the mix and you have lots of weapons for Eli.

4. Justin Forsett does even Better in 2015

justin-forsett-superdomeNot since his rookie year in 2009 had Justin Forsett even come close to accumulating 1,000 yards from scrimmage (969 in ’09). That’s why it was such a surprise to see small, 5’8″, 195-pounder become the feature back for the Baltimore Ravens last season. The eight-year veteran racked up over 1,500 yards from scrimmage, with 1,263 of them coming on the ground. With new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman in town, expect Forsett to get an even heavier workload this season – heavy enough to break 2,000 total yards if he stays healthy enough.

5. John Brown will put up Top Receiver Numbers

Judging from the numbers (696 receiving yards, 5 TDs), John Brown had a mildly successful rookie year. However, it’s the highlight-reel plays that he consistently made when Arizona’s quarterback situation was shaky that showed he has even more potential. Carson Palmer is healthy again and ready to stabilize the QB situation, which means that Brown should be ready for an even better campaign this year. Don’t be surprised to see him put up over 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

6. Jimmy Graham will see his Stats drop

Our last shocker is not a good thing. It’s very possible that Jimmy Graham, who will be playing in Seattle away from his long-time QB Drew Brees, will put up the least-impressive campaign of his career outside of his rookie year. 2014 saw Graham rack up 889 receiving yards and 10 TDs, which is actually a down year for him. But things won’t get any better in Seattle, where the star tight end is playing on a team that ranked dead last in pass attempts. The good news is that when Seattle isn’t generating impressive rushing stats, the pass will be open.