NFL Power Rankings: Super Bowl champion Eagles still the team to beat after free agency, draft
It won't be easy to defend their Super Bowl title in a stacked NFC, but the Eagles have earned the No. 1 ranking
After the money flurry of free agency followed by the draft, you can bet the front offices for all 32 NFL teams now think they are better than they were a year ago.
That's true for some, but it won't play out for others.
After all the moves, one thing is the same as it was after the 2017 season: The Philadelphia Eagles remain the best team in the league.
The team that won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback, without their starting left tackle and starting middle linebacker, has improved from the group that beat New England. Not only will they have those players back, led by the return of Carson Wentz, but they've also added some talented players to the mix, which is why they sit at No 1 in my latest Power Rankings.
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Howie Roseman, the Eagles' general manager, has done a masterful job this offseason of making his team better. He's added some defensive help up front in Haloti Ngata and Michael Bennett, and then added a nice pass-catching tight end in the draft in Dallas Goedert to replace Trey Burton as the primary backup to Zach Ertz.
But the reason the Eagles will be better is simply getting Wentz back. Nick Foles did a nice job in leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl victory, but he isn't Wentz. The Eagles are much better with a healthy Wentz – even if the Eagles fans might not feel that way once he struggles for a quarter or so this season.
The Eagles are the targeted team now, but I think coach Doug Pederson will do a great job of having them focused come the open of the regular season. They dealt with a lot last year overcoming the major injuries, which might have crippled other teams, so they seemingly can handle anything thrown at them.
The other good thing is Pederson insists he won't change his aggressive approach, which I love.
So it's still the rest of the NFL still looking up at the Eagles. The bad news for the Eagles is the NFC is brutal.
The NFC is clearly the elite of the two conferences, and these power ranking show that. Of the top-10 teams, seven are NFC teams. Any of those seven are capable of winning it all.
The New England Patriots are the class of the of the AFC, but the Jacksonville Jaguars, who led the Patriots late in the AFC Championship Game only to blow the lead, might be ready to take over that title.
As it sits now, though, none of the other teams look as good as the Eagles.
|1||Eagles||The entire summer should be about getting Carson Wentz healthy. If that happens, they could be repeat champions.||--||13-3-0|
|2||Patriots||Forget all that dissension talk. As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are around, they are the team to beat in the AFC.||--||13-3-0|
|3||Jaguars||They have few weaknesses, but that means it's all on Blake Bortles. If he plays like he did in the postseason, they could be the AFC Super Bowl team.||1||10-6-0|
|4||Vikings||They signed Kirk Cousins at quarterback, which should make them a better team. But there's a lot of pressure on Cousins to be the guy who gets them to the Super Bowl.||3||13-3-0|
|5||Saints||They were close last year, and I think they will be even better in 2018. The defense will take another step forward with young players growing up even more.||--||11-5-0|
|6||Steelers||With Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell playing together, they are always a Super Bowl threat. But did they get that much better this offseason?||3||13-3-0|
|7||Packers||They added some much-needed defensive help in the draft, especially on the corner, which will help Aaron Rodgers and the offense.||1||7-9-0|
|8||Rams||They are all-in on this season with the moves they made this spring. I think a big issue remains: Can they rush from the edge?||--||11-5-0|
|9||Falcons||The Falcons gave Matt Ryan a new mega-deal, so the pressure is up on this team and him to get back to the Super Bowl. The talent is there.||--||10-6-0|
|10||Panthers||They had a good draft to upgrade in key spots, so look for them to again push for a division title. Cam Newton was given some much-needed help in the passing game in first-round receiver D.J. Moore.||2||11-5-0|
|11||Chargers||They were close to being a playoff team a year ago, and I think it happens for them this year. I think they are the AFC West's best team.||5||9-7-0|
|12||Titans||It's all about improvement by Marcus Mariota for this group. New coach Mike Vrabel will be more aggressive on offense than Mike Mularkey, which should help.||5||9-7-0|
|13||Chiefs||If Patrick Mahomes is as good as expected they could be a lot higher on this list. But it's hard to gauge a first-year starter - even though I think he has a real chance to be special.||--||10-6-0|
|14||Raiders||Jon Gruden is back, but there are still a lot of issues on this roster. Can he overcome them?||6||6-10-0|
|15||Buccaneers||They added some nice defensive pieces this offseason that will help. It's time for Jameis Winston to get this team to the playoffs.||13||5-11-0|
|16||Texans||The return to health of J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Deshaun Watson makes this a much better team than a year ago. That's a lot of talent returning.||5||4-12-0|
|17||Cardinals||Sam Bradford will likely open the season as the starter, but how long before Josh Rosen takes over?||8||8-8-0|
|18||Cowboys||They will look like a different team with no Dez Bryant or Jason Witten. The good news is there is no suspension pending for Ezekiel Elliott this year.||4||9-7-0|
|19||Seahawks||This team is trending in the wrong direction. It's all about Russell Wilson now with the defense a shell of what it has been.||9||9-7-0|
|20||Lions||New coach Matt Patricia will bring a Patriots mentality to the Lions, which is a good thing. But they are the third team in their division.||5||9-7-0|
|21||Ravens||They added some nice pieces this spring, but are they enough? Will drafting Lamar Jackson put even more of a spotlight on Joe Flacco?||3||9-7-0|
|22||49ers||They are trending up, but I think it's next year when they really compete for a division title. Let's see Jimmy Garappolo in a full season or work first.||2||6-10-0|
|23||Dolphins||They've had a lot of change, but that might be a good thing. They are still committed to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Should they be?||1||6-10-0|
|24||Bills||The quarterback situation means this team is headed backwards this season. How long until Josh Allen plays?||5||9-7-0|
|25||Redskins||They will battle with the Giants and Cowboys to be the second best team in the division. I can't see much more than that.||4||7-9-0|
|26||Bengals||This looks like a big proving year for Andy Dalton and gang. At some point, this group has to win a playoff game.||3||7-9-0|
|27||Broncos||They had a good draft, and they still have some quality veterans, so it's all about Case Keenum at quarterback. Can he lead them to the playoffs?||1||5-11-0|
|28||Bears||I expect big growth from Mitchell Trubisky, and they had a good draft. But, like the 49ers, they are a year away.||1||5-11-0|
|29||Colts||If Andrew Luck is totally healthy they will be in the mix in the division. But we just don't know.||--||4-12-0|
|30||Giants||Adding Saquon Barkley as a running back and Nate Solder and Will Hernandez up front will help Eli Manning. But are they ready to be a playoff team?||--||3-13-0|
|31||Browns||They will be better than a year ago, but how much better? And how long do they wait to play Baker Mayfield, the first overall pick?||1||0-16-0|
|32||Jets||When does Sam Darnold take over as the starter? I think it's soon, which means this will be a step-back season.||1||5-11-0|
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