Updated: April 8
Cleveland Browns (3-13) - Previously: 32.
Johnny Manziel's NFL career is over, as he was more interested in alternating weekends pretending to be some dude named Billy in weekends and (allegedly) beating his ex-girlfriend. But hey, just like he told us right after he was drafted, "I'm just a normal kid." Yeah. That's what normal kids do.
Something no one has mentioned yet is that the Browns quit on Mike Pettine when he refused to plug Manziel in the lineup toward the end of the season. How horrible are these people that they'll only play hard for this douche:
The Browns should just blow the whole thing up and start from scratch.
April 8 Update: I'm beginning to think that Cleveland's front office reads this Web site, as it seemingly took my advice to "blow the whole thing up and start from scratch" to heart. The Browns lost all of their key free agents this offseason, while barely signing anyone in return. It's not the worst thing in the world, though. Of course, I have to say that because it's my own damn advice.
San Francisco 49ers (5-11) - Previously: 31.
As if the 49ers weren't enough of a joke, they went and hired Chip Kelly, which effectively guaranteed them a top-five draft pick for 2017. Of course, I don't need to tell sensible Niner fans this, who didn't even bother showing up to games, and understandably so. Just take a look at this as evidence:
Maybe Jim Harbaugh knew what he was doing when he didn't "honor" the stadium, or whatever it was he didn't do to earn his pink slip. Who the hell would want to "honor" that piece-of-crap stadium, especially knowing what sort of trust-fund douche bag built it?
April 8 Update: Trent Baalke's trademark move as general manager of the 49ers has been to downgrade everything on the roster, including the head coach. He went from the top-five Jim Harbaugh, to some pizza delivery guy, to Chip Kelly. Hey, with Jim Tomsula, the 49ers at least got lunch in 30 minutes or less. Kelly is just horrible in all regards.
At any rate, the downgrading continued when the 49ers lost Alex Boone and signed Zane Beadles, who was a Jacksonville Jaguars reject. That's how bad things have gotten in San Francisco. The Jaguars now send their bust signings there!
Miami Dolphins (6-10) - Previously: 25.
Remember last offseason when Dolphins owner Stephen Ross commanded Joe Philbin to report directly to him even though Philbin had no clue that bullying was going on in his own locker room? Good times. The Dolphins now have a new head coach, but things aren't looking any better because they're allegedly "all in" with Ryan Tannehill, who wasn't even allowed to audible last season because he didn't know how to diagnose defenses.
Yeah, things are looking bright for the Dolphins, all right.
April 8 Update: One day, Stephen Ross and 49ers owner Jed York should co-write a book called, How to Destroy an NFL Franchise in Five Easy Steps. It'll be a best-seller for sure, as any aspiring owner will learn what not to do. For instance, threatening a head coach who was just hired doesn't seem like a great move. Also, signing crappy, washed-up players who don't try hard isn't a winning formula either.
Tennessee Titans (3-13) - Previously: 30.
Marcus Mariota missed most of his rookie campaign, so 2015 can be thrown out. Of course, Mariota could be injury-prone going forward, so it might actually matter. It also doesn't help that the Titans retained Mike Mularkey. I guess the fact that he's on a 9-32 run as a head coach impressed the front office.
April 8 Update: The Titans have enjoyed a solid offseason, as their backfield improved tremendously when DeMarco Murray was acquired for next to nothing. Some of the other acquisitions like center Ben Jones and Rashad Johnson will help, too. I'd like to say that Tennessee is no longer one of the worst teams in the NFL, but any Mike Mularkey-coached squad has the potential to finish in last place.
Los Angeles Rams (7-9) - Previously: 18.
The Rams had a roller-coaster 2015 campaign. They looked great a couple of times, but were awful for a stretch when some of their defensive players were injured. They'll be better in 2016, though perhaps that just means that Jeff "Commander .500" Fisher will just live up to his nickname and have the Rams at 8-8 instead of 7-9.
As for the move, it was a pretty terrible one. Not that staying in St. Louis was much of an option because of the dwindling fan base, but Los Angeles will offer even less support. Moving to Portland, San Antonio or Oklahoma City would've been much better for the team in terms of generating a home-field advantage, but Stan Kroenke only cares about two things: Making as much money as possible, and maintaining his porno stache:
April 8 Update: The Rams have a plan. And that plan is to start Case Keenum, run the ball and play good defense. The problem is that Keenum isn't any good, while the defense lost four key members this offseason, including two stud defensive backs. My guess is that the Rams will be pursuing a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft, where they will be selecting early.
New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Previously: 26.
If it weren't for the 49ers, the Saints might have the worst overall roster in the NFL. Their defense absolutely blows, while their top offensive play-maker, outside of Brandin Cooks, is either Willie Snead or Ben Watson. Drew Brees has single-handedly been keeping this team afloat, but he won't be able to do that much longer. He turned 37 in January, so he'll continue to decline. New Orleans, consequently, may have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft at some point in the next few years.
April 8 Update: The Saints used to be perennial Super Bowl contenders, but those days are long gone, thanks to some horrible mismanagement. Things seem worse than ever, as the trio of James Laurinaitis, Josh Hill and Coby Fleener are set to make a combined $53 million over an average of 3.7 years. The problem? All three players are terrible! I'd feel bad for Drew Brees, but he's a dude my girlfriend finds attractive, so he can suck it.
Atlanta Falcons (8-8) - Previously: 27.
The Falcons finished 8-8, but they were atrocious down the stretch, nearly falling to the Titans, and then losing to the 49ers and Buccaneers twice. Some of their early wins were bogus as well, so their record could've been much worse. Many will expect them to rebound because of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but the truth is that Ryan hasn't been very good since 2012, and the front office isn't helping him by failing to find upgrades around him. In fact, Hollywood is even making a movie about it:
April 8 Update: The Falcons gave Mohamed Sanu a $32.5 million contract. Brandon LaFell earned about $2 million from the Bengals. Yet, they're pretty much the same player. That's how some recent offseasons have gone for Atlanta. The team managed to make a serious upgrade by signing Alex Mack, but I don't think it was enough.
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) - Previously: 29.
The Jaguars appear to be moving in the right direction. Blake Bortles threw a ton of touchdowns last year, Allen Robinson has emerged as a top-flight receiver, and the stadium pool even has a hot lifeguard now. Things haven't been this promising in Jacksonville in years.
Unfortunately, it may all end poorly. The owner stupidly gave the coaching staff an ultimatum, which seldom works. Meanwhile, general manager David Caldwell is so incredibly stubborn that he probably thinks that Luke Joeckel is a good player. Joeckel could single-handedly end Jacksonville's 2016 campaign by getting Bortles hurt.
April 8 Update: The Jaguars added some talented players to their roster this offseason, but overspent for many of them. For example, what was the Chris Ivory contract all about? Giving $32.5 million to a worn-down back is like purchasing a pack of gum for 10 grand - and not even getting Fruit Stripe! We're talking melted, spearmint Trident. Disgusting.
That said, the Jaguars will be better than they were in 2015, which is the good news. I think they have the potential to finish 8-8, which would be quite the accomplishment for this franchise.
Detroit Lions (7-9) - Previously: 19.
The Lions finished on an incredible hot streak to close out the 2015 campaign. Unfortunately, Calvin Johnson announced his retirement. You'd think he could have stuck it out one more year so that Detroit could continue its great momentum and perhaps win a playoff game for the first time in countless decades, but then reports surfaced that Johnson's body was breaking down, so perhaps he wouldn't have been effective at all next year. It'd be cool if Johnson took a year off and then returned, but I remember the same speculation about Barry Sanders when he hung up his cleats.
April 8 Update: You know those t-shirts that say, "I went to so-and-so and all I got was this crappy t-shirt?" The Lions might as well print shirts that say, "Calvin Johnson retired, and all we got was this crappy receiver," referring to Marvin Jones, of course. Jones was overpaid, Megatron wasn't replaced, and Isa Abdul-Quddus leaving will hurt. Add all that to the fact that the offensive and lines haven't been addressed, and it seems like Detroit could be in for a very long season.
Chicago Bears (6-10) - Previously: 28.
The Bears could easily finish with the league's worst record. In fact, I have them selecting No. 1 overall in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft, taking Deshaun Watson.
Chicago was absolutely terrible to close out the 2015 campaign. They lost to the 49ers and were blown out at Minnesota. Jay Cutler seemed to have some life earlier in the year, but he was back to #yolo mode, and I expect him to be that way again in 2016 with Adam Gase gone.
April 8 Update: I've had the Bears choosing No. 1 overall in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft for quite some time, but that won't be the case after all of the upgrades they've made this offseason. I don't think it'll be enough to get them into the playoffs because, well, Jay Cutler, but they'll definitely compete for eight or nine wins.
San Diego Chargers (4-12) - Previously: 20.
The worst thing the Chargers could have done this offseason, besides move to Los Angeles, was stay in San Diego. The fans have already given up on them, meaning most of their home games will have mostly empty seats. Dean Spanos can only hope that the Dolphins are on the home slate once more so that Miami fans show up and cheer on his players during their final curtain call again. I still can't get over how pathetic that was.
The Chargers effectively have 16 road games, so reaching the playoffs will be difficult for them. I won't say they have no chance, as their offense will be potent if their offensive line holds up, but they're definitely going to need some help.
April 8 Update: The Chargers have made some nice moves this offseason, so if the offensive line can actually stay healthy and protect Philip Rivers, the team should be able to make a playoff push this season. Of course, it would help if someone informed the people of San Diego that a professional team still exists there because no NFL team has ever won the Super Bowl playing 16 road games in the regular season.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) - Previously: 22.
The Eagles have a coach who is actually familiar with NFL concepts for the first time since 2012, so that's the good news. The bad news is that Philadelphia has nothing at quarterback and possesses some major holes on the roster, particularly on the offensive line and in the secondary.
Regardless of what the Eagles do this offseason, however, it should be considered a success because they fired Chip Kelly, who was an abomination of a coach. Kelly also said some strange things, such as this when he first arrived into Philly: "Were from Philadelphia and we fight." Uhh... you're not from Philly... you're from Minnesota, dude.
April 8 Update: I can't believe the Eagles were able to purge the roster of all of Chip Kelly's failed moves. Well, nearly all of them, as Sam Bradford is still the starting quarterback. In other words, Chase Daniel better be good because he'll be starting numerous games this season for sure.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10) - Previously: 21.
Jameis Winston had a solid rookie campaign, but is he going to be like Cam Newton and evolve into an MVP candidate, or Vince Young and devolve into a terrible quarterback who ruins teams by making "dream team" announcements? Wait, what's that? You have a problem with that comparison? Because I likened Winston to either Newton or Young? Sorry, that was incredibly insensitive of me. Next time I'll choose quarterbacks who played in the north rather than the south in college. I'm just a horrible human being, what can I say?
All kidding aside, Winston appears to be on the Newton path right now, but Young looked great early on as well. I just worry about Winston getting into trouble in the crazy Tampa environment that corrupted Josh Freeman. See? A northern college quarterback!
April 8 Update: The Buccaneers signed Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes and Daryl Smith this offseason. In other words, they'd be looking pretty good if this were 2012. All joking aside, Grimes and Smith are no longer the players they once were, but they, along with Ayers, will provide some much-needed veteran leadership for a team that appears to be trending upward.
New York Giants (6-10) - Previously: 23.
Eli Manning isn't having the best offseason. First, they canned his Hall of Fame head coach for no particular reason. Then, he observed as his brother ruined all of his glory...
That's going to make the next family dinner super awkward.
At any rate, the Giants don't really have much going for them outside of Eli to Odell Beckham Jr. The offensive line is a big concern, while the defense features some very significant impending free agents.
April 8 Update: The Giants added three flashy names this offseason: Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins. Building through free agency hardly works, however, and the front office hasn't addressed Eli Manning's poor pass protection, though fixing the offensive line during the draft remains a possibility. Still, the Giants spent a ton of money, and I don't think it has put them over the top.
Washington Redskins (9-7) - Previously: 17.
Kirk Cousins made a huge leap last season, and he deserves all the credit for that. Despite that, however, the Redskins are lower than many might expect in these power rankings, including some poster in the comment boards named Walter Is A Moron, who told me he was going to laugh at me when Washington would beat Green Bay in the playoffs. Oops.
The Redskins are probably overrated heading into 2016. They battled a super easy schedule down the stretch this past season, and despite that, they still managed to outscore the opposition by just nine total points for the entire year. That shows that they were a bit of a fraud.
April 8 Update: Everything has pretty much been status quo for the Redskins this offseason, save for the departure of Robert Griffin. This can be seen as a good thing, given that the Redskins won the division last year. However, I don't think that's really the case because the other three NFC East teams will be better, particularly the Cowboys if Tony Romo can stay on the field.
New York Jets (10-6) - Previously: 14.
The poor Jets won 10 games, but didn't qualify for the playoffs, as Ryan Fitzpatrick finally blew up in their faces. Not that there's anything wrong with that? Sorry, that sounded kind of dirty.
New York is still stuck in the same position it was last year. The team is solid, but has no chance to advance deep into the postseason as long as Fitzpatrick is at the helm.
April 8 Update: I like what the Jets have done this offseason, as they've signed a number of cheap, but talented players. Of course, most people don't have this opinion because of the quarterback situation. "ZOMG WUT R THEY GUNNA DO WITOUT RYAN FITPATCHUK!?!?!?" Who the hell cares? Fitzpatrick is as sub par as it gets. There's a reason no one is willing to offer him any sort of substantial money. The Jets, by being patient, can either find an upgrade or retain Fitzpatrick relatively cheaply.
Buffalo Bills (8-8) - Previously: 13.
On our podcast, Matvei said he liked the Bills as a dark-horse Super Bowl contender, citing the similarities between them and the Panthers last year. I could see the Bills making a run, but they really need to cut down on the stupid penalties because they absolutely murdered themselves in some games last year. Tyrod Taylor's durability is also an issue.
The Bills winning would be nice, as it would give Buffalo its first Super Bowl champion since Jim Kelly and company won four in a row in the early 90s. Oh, wait, that pre-Super Bowl CBS feature wasn't accurate?
April 8 Update: Nothing has really changed for the Bills this offseason, save for the departure of Mario Williams, which is really addition by multiplication. Or is it subtraction by division? I don't know, I give up. You get the point. Buffalo should have a solid 2016 campaign, but the team still hasn't done enough to put it over the top in terms of catching the Patriots.
Baltimore Ravens (5-11) - Previously: 12.
The Ravens had so many injuries in 2015, it was ridiculous. They instantly had no chance because they had no depth as a result of Joe Flacco's contract. I'd like to say things will work out differently for them in 2016, but unless Flacco stops being selfish and makes things easier for his team, depth issues will continue to arise. However, if the Ravens stay healthy, they can certainly make another deep playoff push.
April 8 Update: Signing Eric Weddle was great, but the Ravens lost more than they gained this offseason, as they said goodbye to one of the league's best guards (Kelechi Osemele) and a very talented safety (Will Hill). Baltimore should still be a solid team, provided it doesn't sustain too many injuries. Thanks to Joe Flacco's albatross of a contract, the Ravens just aren't as deep as they used to be.
Denver Broncos (12-4) - Previously: 7.
Winning two units on the Broncos was nice, but this was the best part about Denver prevailing:
Wow. Wade with a shot at Cam! I'm not even sure what the hell Wade means, but that was totally savage.
At any rate, the Broncos are relatively low on these power rankings despite their Super Bowl victory because they have so many talented free agents. It's going to be tough to retain everyone, and the defense will be worse as a result.
April 8 Update: This may seem very low for a Super Bowl winner, and it's not an overreaction to the quarterbacking situation. Yes, Mark Sanchez is an abomination, but so was Peyton Manning last year. The difference will be in terms of what Denver lost. Evan Mathis, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan all departing is absolutely huge. The Broncos won't be able to win playing unbelievable defense once again, meaning it'll need someone better than Sanchez (or Colin Kaepernick) under center.
Indianapolis Colts (8-8) - Previously: 10.
The Colts are definitely a possible Super Bowl contender in 2016. That may sound odd, given that they just went 8-8, but Andrew Luck was playing through an injury when he was on the field. If he stays healthy, and if incompetent general manager Ryan Grigson finally improves the offensive line, Indianapolis should be able to win the division pretty easily, earning it at least one home playoff game. Luck has done well as a host - unless, of course, his coach tries some stupid Swinging Gate play...
April 8 Update: The Colts haven't fixed their offensive line yet, but they haven't really done anything in free agency. They still have the draft, but if Andrew Luck's blocking isn't fixed, Mike Martz is going to have a field day selling the quarterback's organs on the black market.
Houston Texans (9-7) - Previously: 24.
It's never a good sign when your team's star offensive player shouts at the coaching staff, "Get him off the field!" when referring to his quarterback. Then again, I can't really blame DeAndre Hopkins, as Brian Hoyer put together one of the worst playoff performances from a quarterback in NFL history.
I don't know what the Texans can do about the position. They won too many games to be in contention for one of the top signal-callers, and Christian Hackenberg is going to be a disaster. Perhaps they can tank in order to land Deshaun Watson? He's No. 1 in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft, so they'll effectively have to copy the 76ers' strategy.
April 8 Update: I don't understand why everyone criticized the Texans for paying Brock Osweiler so much. In a vacuum, is he worth $72 million over four years? Of course not, but think about the state of the NFL and Houston's situation. The Texans were already a playoff team with some of the worst quarterbacking in the league. Even if Osweiler is just mediocre, it could really put Houston over the top.
Dallas Cowboys (4-12) - Previously: 16.
The Cowboys had the worst luck I've ever seen from any team. In addition to their numerous injuries, they blew huge leads and lost overtime coin tosses in two games in which they were missing key defensive players and consequently couldn't stop the opposing offense.
The good news is that Tony Romo has went through a procedure to help him stay healthy, which could allow Dallas win the division in 2016. The bad news is that Romo is practicing his version of dabbing just in case:
April 8 Update: Tony Romo has apparently taken some prevantive care for his collar bone to ensure that it doesn't break again going forward. I was able to hack into Romo's eBay account, and I saw that he ordered 50 bottles of Elmer's Glue and 20 rolls of Scotch Tape, so hopefully the two in conjuction will work.
In all seriousness, if Romo can stay healthy, the Cowboys will be the NFC East favorites. Think about how many close games they had last year with Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden under center.
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) - Previously: 15.
The Chiefs lucked out with one of the easiest second-half schedules of all time, and they struggled to beat bad teams toward the end, such as the Browns and Chargers. Thus, they predictably folded when they had to battle a real squad in the playoffs.
That said, there are two bits of good news for the Chiefs heading into 2016. The first is that the Broncos will decline because of all of their impending free agents. The second is that if Alex Smith continues to be mediocre, Kansas City can try out this guy at quarterback:
April 8 Update: Sometimes winning in free agency doesn't require spending tons of money on big names like the Giants did this offseason. Often, successful teams add a bargain piece or two, all while re-signing key members of the roster. That's exactly what the Chiefs did this offseason, losing only Jeff Allen and Sean Smith. They managed to compensate for the Allen loss by bringing in Mitchell Schwartz, and they were already deep at defensive back, so I like their chances of being competitive again in 2016.
Oakland Raiders (7-9) - Previously: 11.
I mentioned on the podcast that I love the Raiders as a dark-horse team to compete for the Super Bowl in 2016. They looked good for long stretches of last season, but struggled a bit at the end when Amari Cooper was hurt. With Derek Carr and Cooper in their third and second years, respectively, I think this team is ready to take off and be competitive with everyone, especially considering that the Broncos and Bengals are two top AFC teams bound to decline because of all of their impending free agents.
The other piece of good news is that the Raiders will remain in Oakland despite Mark Davis trying to do stupid things like move the team to Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Of course, this can't be too shocking, as a man with a Captain Kangaroo haircut can't be trusted to make good decisions.
April 8 Update: Anyone want to hop onto the bandwagon with me for a Raiders' appearance in Super Bowl LI? I thought they would be legitimate playoff contenders prior to free agency. They thrived in the open market, signing an elite guard (Kelechi Osemele), a talented, versatile linebacker (Bruce Irvin), a solid cornerback (Sean Smith) and a replacement for Charles Woodson (Reggie Nelson). Unless Derek Carr regresses, Oakland is definitely a sleeper to make a deep playoff push.
Minnesota Vikings (11-5) - Previously: 9.
What I wrote in my initial offseason power rankings last year: "I like the Vikings to challenge for a playoff spot next year. They finished the year on a 5-4 streak, and their losses - two of which came against Green Bay and Detroit - were by an average of 3.8 points. Teddy Bridgewater made great strides in the second half of the season, and I don't see why he would suddenly decline."
Well, it's nice to be right about something for a change. I still like the Vikings a lot, and Teddy Bridgewater's performance against the Seahawks in sub-zero conditions only makes me more confident in him and the team's chances.
April 8 Update: The Vikings have seemingly shored up their lone glaring liability, which was their offensive line. They signed Andre Smith and Alex Boone, both of whom will help fix the blocking. If Minnesota drafts well - and I don't see why it wouldn't - it'll be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Some may question Teddy Bridgewater because of his stats, but he didn't have to do all that much last year. The Vikings have an amazing defense and a great running game, and they kind of remind me of last year's Broncos when Brock Osweiler was under center.
Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) - Previously: 8.
Another year, another one-and-done performance in the playoffs. This year's collapse was especially crazy. The Bengals had the game in hand, yet just threw it away. It was absolutely ridiculous.
Tough times might be coming for the Bengals. They have so many prominent free agents that it might be difficult to win the division again. The players with expiring contracts include: Reggie Nelson, George Iloka, Leon Hall, Pacman Jones, Andre Smith and Marvin Jones. The secondary has been an incredible strength for Cincinnati, but it doesn't seem like that'll be the case anymore.
April 8 Update: Don't overreact to the Bengals not signing anyone this offseason besides Karlos Dansby and Brandon LaFell because that has been their M.O. for a very long time. The important thing is that Cincinnati didn't really lose anyone, save for Marvin Jones, Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson, all of whom can be replaced in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Bengals should continue to be one of the best teams in the NFL, meaning they'll reach the playoffs once again and choke in the opening round.
New England Patriots (12-4) - Previously: 4.
The Patriots' decision to neglect the offensive line really backfired late last season. You have to wonder what would've happened had Bill Belichick not opted to trade Logan Mankins for Tim Wright. Belichick has done many brilliant things during his tenure, but that may have been his worst move ever.
New England should be strong again in 2016. Exactly how strong will be on Tom Brady, who will turn 39. Brady has done a great job of keeping his body in great shape, but he will decline at some point. Plus, Brady still has to worry about the whole deflated balls thing. And by that, I mean this:
April 8 Update: I don't like the Chandler Jones trade one bit. I've seen some Patriot fans defend it by claiming that Chandler "always wears down." Whatever the hell that means. In truth, they'd all love to have Jones on the roster right now, and his absence will hurt. It reminds me of the Logan Mankins swap for that crappy tight end. Had Mankins been on the roster last year, the Patriots probably would've won the Super Bowl again.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) - Previously: 6.
The Packers have three goals this offseason to reach the Super Bowl, which is a possibility:
1. Find better depth on the offensive line just in case Aaron Rodgers' blockers get hurt again.
2. Address the linebacking corps, which has been weak for a few years now.
3. Get Eddie Lacy to lose 80 pounds.
The Packers have already begun No. 3, via this tactic:
April 8 Update: Turns out that the Eddie Lacy cheeseburger string worked! Just take a look at a recent picture:
Wow! It's like an entire human being popped out of his stomach! The Packers should totally trademark this cheeseburger string.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) - Previously: 3.
The Steelers might have been the best team in the NFL this past season. They should've beaten the Broncos without Antonio Brown, and they would've gotten Brown back for the AFC Championship at New England, which they definitely could've won.
Pittsburgh's challenge will be staying healthy. Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell have shown some durability issues, but if they can stay on the field, the Steelers will have a decent shot at winning the Super Bowl.
April 8 Update: The Steelers have pretty much remained the same this offseason, losing two key players (Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Boykin) and gaining one in return (Ladarius Green). The first-round pick will probably balance this, meaning Pittsburgh will remain one of the top teams in the NFL. Thus, it's all about whether or not Ben Roethlisberger and his top weapons can stay healthy for a change.
Seattle Seahawks (10-6) - Previously: 2.
The Panthers swept the Seahawks in 2015, but Seattle has the personnel to beat them, especially if it doesn't have to play at 1 p.m. on the East Coast again. The Seahawks finished the year on a very strong note, and they only have a couple of significant free agents to re-sign. Plus, Thomas Rawls will be back to negate the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, which earned a very low Disaster Grade.
April 8 Update: I don't like some of the re-signings the Seahawks made this offseason, and losing Russell Okung and Bruce Irvin will hurt. However, all of that probably won't matter because they'll likely kill it in the draft, like they always do. Seattle will once again be in the Super Bowl mix.
Carolina Panthers (15-1) - Previously: 1.
Would you say that Cam Newton was butt hurt after the Super Bowl loss? If so, this picture seems so much more appropriate:
Things won't be as easy for the Panthers in 2016, as they'll probably have to battle some tough opponents who can rush the passer. Fortunately, they'll be getting Kelvin Benjamin back, and with so few major free agents, they can focus on fixing the offensive line.
At any rate, there's something I need to get to before I conclude these power rankings:
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Cam Newton: Derek, it's the final game. It's all come down to this. All you have to do is spike Denver's Gatorade bucket so that the defensive players get drunk and don't sack me seven times.
Derek Anderson: No worries, Cam. I put my best man on the job.
Cam Newton: Your best man? Don't tell me you let Johnny Manziel handle your duties.
Derek Anderson: Not Johnny Manziel. Billy Manziel. He's not Johnny Manziel because he has blond hair. Here he is! Billy, did you spike the Gatorade?
Billy Manziel: Yeahahah mmananann I spspsikkee thhree Gatotorasddee andndn I drrirink soemmee mmyysselelff hahaha hic!
Derek Anderson: I knew you'd get the job done! Great work, Billy!
Cam Newton: Whoa... whoa... I don't feel right. I... whoa... I whwhooa... I... wait did you sspoike our Gattorade?
Derek Anderson: I told Billy to spike he Denver Gatorades. You did thats, right Billy?
April 8 Update: David Gettleman really doesn't get much credit. In fact, some people might be reading this and thinking, "Who the f*** is this Gentleman guy you're talking about?" He's the general manager of the Panthers, and he once again did a masterful job. I don't understand how he managed re-sign Charles Johnson and add Brandon Boykin so cheaply. I've moved the Cardinals into the No. 1 spot, but the Panthers remain one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LI.
Arizona Cardinals (13-3) - Previously: 5.
Arizona fans better hope that Carson Palmer was legitimately affected by his finger injury in the playoffs. If not, he'll need to be known as the biggest choker since Aurora Snow. Wait, she still does porn, right?
The Cardinals once again figure to be one of the top teams in the NFL, but I'm not sure they can be picked to go the distance based on how horrible Palmer was this past postseason.
April 8 Update: The Cardinals could be the best team in the NFL. They were already in the running, yet they added one of the top guards in the NFL (Evan Mathis), a stellar pass-rusher (Chandler Jones) and a decent safety (Tyvon Branch). If Carson Palmer can stay healthy for a change, Arizona will be the favorite to win it all.
@jsemmens I've been to the Big Board in the past, but it's still an inefficient way of going about a mock. Not to mention, reports and the people writing them change, no? I come to Walt's site because I used to like his insight on every player. Now, it's simply team needs and a very limited amount of actual analysis. You definitely need SOME amount of explanation behind a pick with regards to team need, but you need much more of the player evaluation angle. Any dummy can write why a particular team "needs" a specific position; it takes a pretty good eye to understand what player needs to fill it. Again, just my 2 cents.
@dawg66 I see where you're coming from. I really do. But I'm sure as a Browns fan you can understand, they have needs EVERYWHERE. You aren't gonna win a super bowl unless you have a QB. Case in point pretty much every super bowl winning quarterback ever. Second, yes you have Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman. Terrelle Pryor is a slot receiver which is gonna get you nowhere unless you play for New England. Corey Coleman has yet to prove a damn thing. Mike Williams, however, just took down Alabama pretty much BY HIMSELF. It's the right range for him and I'm positive Huge Jackson wouldn't pass over him at this point, meaning pre-combine and interviews.
Here's my mock based on team need, prospect value and prevailing opinion as well as some ideas of my own. Please let me know about the team(s) that you follow more closely, and any picks that you agree or disagree with. Please comment, and feel free to rate.