The 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.
4. 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.