Training camps don’t start for a while still and a lot will change between now and the start of the 2018 season. However, it is never too early to do a power rankings list and project the best and worst case scenario for each NFL team.

  1. Minnesota Vikings
  • Best Case: The offensive line holds up and can protect Kirk Cousins well enough for him to play at a MVP level. The offense plays as well as the defense does and the Vikings win Super Bowl LIII.
  • Worst Case: Cousins struggles behind a banged up offensive line without much depth. Dalvin Cook can’t return to his form early on as a rookie and the defense takes a step back; leaving the team struggling to fight for a playoff spot.
  1. Philadelphia Eagles
  • Best Case: Carson Wentz is 100% healthy come Week 1 and the offense picks up where it left off last season, while the defense takes another step forward; mainly at cornerback. The Eagles repeat as Super Bowl champions.
  • Worst Case: Wentz has to start the year on the PUP list and Nick Foles plays like he did during regular season verse the postseason for the first six games. After a bad start, the Eagles can’t make up the playoff ground and miss the postseason.
  1. Los Angles Rams
  • Best Case: All the offseason moves pay off and Todd Gurley has another MVP like season, while leading the league in total offensive yards and the Rams win Super Bowl LIII.
  • Worst Case: Aaron Donald’s contract situation is a distraction in training camp and other players get frustrated with the situation. Some of the big time offseason additions turn out to be flops leaving the team to finish third in its division.
  1. New England Patriots
  • Best Case: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s relationship is as good as ever and the team shakes off the Super Bowl LII loss. Brady has another MVP like season as the offensive line, mainly left tackle, holds up and they win Super Bowl LIII.
  • Worst Case: Brady decides two days before the season starts that he is fed up with Belichick and decides to retire. The Patriots become the first team to win a division title with six wins, as the Dolphins, Jets and Bills are still awful.
  1. Green Bay Packers
  • Best Case: Aaron Rodgers returns from his collarbone injury and wins his third MVP award as Davante Adams fills the number one wide receiver role easily and catches 16 touchdowns. The offense makes up for the poor defense and they get to the NFC championship game.
  • Worst Case: Adams struggles to fill Jordy Nelson’s shoes, while he is off helping the Raiders win the AFC west. The defense and offensive line play so poorly that even Rodgers can’t overcome it, leaving the team to finish around .500.
  1. Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Best Case: The killer B’s of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell all have great seasons. JuJu Smith-Schuster takes the next step in his development and the defense rallies to play well without Ryan Shazier. The Steelers finish with the top seed in the AFC and win Super Bowl LIII.
  • Worst Case: Roethlisberger gets injured and misses several games, Brown and Smith-Schuster struggle to perform without him and Bell mails in the season just trying to avoid getting hurt before cashing in during free agency. The defense can’t make up for the struggling offense and the Steelers finish third in the division for the first time since 2012.
  1. Los Angles Chargers
  • Best Case: The team avoids the injury bug and Philip Rivers has an MVP like season as Keenan Allen and Mike Williams each score eight plus touchdowns. The team overcomes the loss of Hunter Henry as Antonio Gates comes back for one more season and win the AFC West title and secure a bye week in the playoffs.
  • Worst Case: Like every other year, the injury bug bites the Chargers. Allen and Melvin Gordon can’t stay healthy, neither of the Williams can step up into the number one receiver role and the defense takes a step back. The Chargers choke away a few games and struggle to win five games.
  1. Atlanta Falcons
  • Best Case: Matt Ryan plays like he did in 2016 and the Falcons offense takes another step forward with the development of young guys like Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper. The defense plays well around Vic Beasley, as he returns to his 2016 form when he was named First Team All Pro. The Falcons make it to the NFC championship game.
  • Worst Case: Julio Jones gets hurt early in the season and misses serious time. Neither Ridley or Mohamed Sanu can produce enough to make up for the loss. Ryan struggles worse than he did last season and the defense can’t pick up the slack; leaving the team to finish around 5-11 and with a top 10 draft pick.
  1. Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Best Case: Blake Bortles builds off a solid 2017 season and Leonard Fournette improves his 3.9 yards per carry thanks to the free agent signing of Andrew Norwell. The defense plays as well as they did last year and the Jaguars reach the AFC championship game again.
  • Worst Case: Fournette is hit with injuries, Bortles regresses now that he has a long-term deal and the defense doesn’t produce the same impact with sacks and touchdowns. The AFC South turns out to be too tough for them and they finish last in the division.
  1. New Orleans Saints
  • Best Case: Alvin Kamara comes off his Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign and keeps up the great play. He handles the full time starter role while Mark Ingram is suspended. The defense plays better than last year while Drew Brees can play an easier role during the regular season and then lead them in the playoffs; potentially all the way to Super Bowl LIII.
  • Worst Case: The defense shows to be a one year wonder. Marshon Lattimore gets hit with injuries while Marcus Davenport struggles as a rookie and has no impact. Drew Brees struggles to match his 2016 form and the Saints finish last in the division.
  1. Carolina Panthers
  • Best Case: Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey have great seasons under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The defense stays healthy and Luke Kuechly is in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. With a balanced offense and defense, the Panthers win the NFC South and earn a first round bye.
  • Worst Case: The loss of Andrew Norwell in free agency turns out to be an issue and the running game struggles. McCaffrey is unable to handle the feature running back role and Newton struggles with his passing accuracy as the defense can’t make up for the offense; leaving the team to finish last in the NFC South and with a top 10 draft pick.
  1. Houston Texans
  • Best Case: Deshaun Watson is 100% Week 1 and plays like he did last season. DeAndre Hopkins leads the NFL in every receiving category. Will Fuller stays healthy and keeps double teams off of Hopkins. J.J. Watt and the defense stays healthy and return to their old form.
  • Worst Case: The six starts we saw from Watson last season was a total fluke and he struggles. Hopkins has a regression season; similar to 2016. Watt can’t stay healthy or the injuries have taken its toll and he is past his dominate years. The offensive line becomes an issue and the team easily finishes last in the division and could land a top five draft pick.
  1. Tennessee Titans
  • Best Case: Corey Davis has a breakout sophomore season and Marcus Mariota takes a huge step forward in his development. The 1-2 punch of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis stay healthy for 16 games and lead the league as a tandem in rushing yards. The defense takes a huge step forward with the addition of Malcolm Butler, Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry. With everything in place, the Titans could win the AFC South and reach the AFC Championship game.
  • Worst Case: Injuries hit Davis, Henry and Lewis which puts too much on Mariota’s plate causing him to struggle. The defense is unable to stop any opposing offense despite a talented secondary. With Mariota unable to carry the injured and under preforming team, the Titans finish last in the division and end up with a top five pick.
  1. Denver Broncos
  • Best Case: The defense returns to its 2016 form and the “No Fly Zone” has a reemergence. The running back duo of Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker plays like the Vikings running back duo last season, taking pressure off Case Keenum and allowing him to play similarly as he did last year. The team wins the AFC West and gets a top two seed in the playoffs.
  • Worst Case: Keenum turns out to be an one year wonder and flops as the starter. The team turns to Paxton Lynch and has the same result. The defense lacks the same swagger without Aqib Talib and struggles even worst than last season. The running game is non-existent and the Broncos finish last in the division and land a top five pick.
  1. San Francisco 49ers
  • Best Case: Jimmy Garoppolo makes the Patriots look like fools for trading him and he turns into a MVP candidate in his first full season in San Francisco. The defense takes a huge step forward led by a healthy Richard Sherman. Jerick McKinnon turns into the perfect weapon in Kyle Shanahan’s offense and the team contends for the division title and easily locks up a Wildcard spot.
  • Worst Case: Sherman never fully recovers from his Achilles injury, Reuben Foster gets hurt again and the defense struggles. It turns out that McKinnon can’t handle the workload of a feature back and the entire offense is put on Garoppolo’s shoulders. Unable to carry the team by himself, Garoppolo struggles and the team regresses, finishing third in the division and out of the playoff picture by early December.
  1. Dallas Cowboys
  • Best Case: Ezekiel Elliott turns back into the 2016 version behind an improved offensive line and leads the league in rushing. Dak Prescott plays well despite lacking a true number one wide receiver and a reliable tight end. Michael Gallup contends for Offensive Rookie of the Year and the defense plays solid enough for the Cowboys to win the NFC East title and make it to the second round of the playoffs.
  • Worst Case: Prescott struggles similarly to last season. Opposing teams stack the box with nine guys and take Elliott out games. The wide receivers can’t separate from one-on-one coverage and the defense falls flat on its face. The Cowboys win just enough games to miss out on a top 10 draft pick but still finish last in the division.
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Best Case: Mike Evans has a bounce back season, similar to his performance in 2016 and the offense comes together around him. Jameis Winston has a break out season as all his weapons play well around him. Ronald Jones contends for the rookie rushing leader and the defense improves after signing several free agents on that side of the ball. The Buccaneers contend for the NFC South title but more likely end up with a Wildcard spot.
  • Worst Case: Jones is unable to carry the workload as the feature back and the running game is once again a non factor. Winston struggles to pick up the slack and Evans regresses even more now that he just signed a long-term deal this offseason. The majority of the free agency moves on defense turn out to be busts and the Buccaneers finish last in the division and land a top 10 draft pick.
  1. Chicago Bears
  • Best Case: All the offseason additions on offense work out and Mitchell Trubisky takes the next step forward in his development. The offense turns into a top 10 unit and the defense builds off there performance from last season. If both things click, the Bears will be fighting for a playoff spot in the final week of the season.
  • Worst Case: Allen Robinson isn’t the same receiver he was before tearing his ACL last season and Trubisky struggles in his second season. Kyle Fuller takes a step back after landing a big contract or gets hurt again. After an offseason with a lot of expectation the Bears could end up 4-12 and with a top five draft pick.
  1. Oakland Raiders
  • Best Case: John Gruden comes back with a bang and turns Derek Carr back into his MVP level of 2016. Jordy Nelson has something left in the tank and Amari Cooper finally breaks out. Khalil Mack leads an over achieving defense and the Raiders win the AFC West.
  • Worst Case: Mack holds out all of training camp with a contract disputes and struggles to get in game form early in the season. Carr struggles once again and the team has long-term concerns about their quarterback. Nelson has nothing left in the tank, the Raiders finish last in the division and head to Las Vegas with several big questions marks.
  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  • Best Case: Pat Mahomes turns out be to a star and the group of him, Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins lead the league in scoring. The defense plays well enough behind a healthy Justin Houston and the Chiefs contend for the AFC West title.
  • Worst Case: The defense is one of the worst in the league. Mahomes and the offense struggle to score enough points to keep them in games. Hunt takes a step back after leading the league in rushing yards and the Chiefs finish last in the division.
  1. Detroit Lions
  • Best Case: New head coach Matt Patricia gets the defense to out play there talent. Kerryon Johnson finally gives the team a running back who can rush for more than 100 yards in a game. The trio of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay give Matthew Stafford his best passing trio ever.
  • Worst Case: The running game doesn’t improve at all. The defense can’t get consistent pass rush on the opposing quarterback as Ziggy Ansah struggles with injuries and regression. Stafford is forced to carry the team again but in a much improved division, he can’t do it alone and the Lions easily finish in last place.
  1. Washington Redskins
  • Best Case: Alex Smith improves on his good 2017 season while Derrius Guice leads all rookies in rushing yards and touchdowns. Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson all have strong seasons. The defense drastically improves verse the run and the team hits 10 wins; possibly winning the division title.
  • Worst Case: Guice struggles early on and the team struggles to run the ball. Smith takes a major step back after downgrading in his supporting cast. The offensive line gets hit with injuries once again, the defense doesn’t improve against the run and the Redskins struggle to get five wins.
  1. Seattle Seahawks
  • Best Case: Despite losing Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, Russell Wilson has an MVP-esque season. Rashaad Penny fixes the Seahawks running game problems. The offensive line plays half decent and the defense over preforms. If all that comes together, the Seahawks will be in the Wildcard race come Week 17.
  • Worst Case: The offense falls completely on Russell Wilson’s shoulders; so much so he can’t handle it. The defense shows to have more holes than Swiss cheese. The Seahawks’ well below average roster shows and the team finishes last in the division with a top 10 draft pick.
  1. Baltimore Ravens
  • Best Case: The drafting of Lamar Jackson lights a fire under Joe Flacco and he has his best season of his career. Michael Crabtree and John Brown both have bounce back seasons. The defense keeps up its good play from last season and the Ravens push the Steelers for the division title.
  • Worst Case: Flacco has another poor season, the team turns to Jackson way too soon and the offense is a mess. The defense gets hit with injuries and old age play. John Harbaugh is fired after the season and the Ravens finish last in the division.
  1. New York Giants
  • Best Case: With a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley, Eli Manning has a great season. The offensive line drastically improves with Nate Solder and Will Hernandez. The defense over performs and the Giants contend for the NFC East title but have to settle for a Wildcard spot.
  • Worst Case: Beckham’s contract situation drags on into the season and becomes a huge distraction. The offensive line doesn’t take a step forward and limits Barkley’s impact in the running game. Manning shows to have nothing left in the tank and the Giants finish 5-11 and with a top 10 pick.
  1. Arizona Cardinals
  • Best Case: David Johnson returns 100% from his wrist injury and has a season similar to his 2016 campaign. Larry Fitzgerald leads a young receiver group that out performs expectations. The defense plays better under a 4-3 front and Sam Bradford stays healthy for most of the season.
  • Worst Case: Father Time finally comes for Fitzgerald and the rest of the receiver group isn’t able to pick up the slack. Defenses focus on and take Johnson out of the gameplan. Bradford gets hurt before the season starts and Josh Rosen struggles as a rookie. The team finishes with four wins and a top five draft pick.
  1. Cincinnati Bengals
  • Best Case: After improving the offensive line in the offseason, Joe Mixon has a bounce back year after a disappointing rookie season. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green improve under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The defense takes the next step forward and the Bengals push for a Wildcard spot.
  • Worst Case: The offensive line improvements turn out to be flops, Mixon struggles to stay healthy and Dalton takes another step backwards. Green starts to see his production decline and the defense plays inconsistent. The team falls apart early in the season and they limp to the finish line with a 4-12 record.
  1. Indianapolis Colts
  • Best Case: Andrew Luck starts Week 1 with no issues throwing and looks like his 2016 self. T.Y. Hilton has a career year and the running game is solid behind an improved offensive line. The defense plays decent enough that Luck only has to score 30 points a game to win instead of 40 and the Colts fight for a Wildcard spot up until Week 17.
  • Worst Case: Luck suffers a setback and doesn’t start the season as Colts come out of the gate winless in the games without him. By the time he is ready the Colts are 0-6 or 1-5 and decide the season is lost. The Colts could end up with the first overall pick if Luck doesn’t play again this year.
  1. Miami Dolphins
  • Best Case: Ryan Tannehill has a career year after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola replace Jarvis Landry’s production. DeVante Parker finally turns into a number one wide receiver, the defense plays better without Ndamukong Suh and the team wins contends for a Wildcard spot.
  • Worst Case: The offense struggles without Landry. Parker has another underwhelming season. Kenyan Drake gets hurt and the running game struggles. The defense underperforms and the team quits on head coach Adam Gase before mid-season; resulting in his firing as the team ends up with the number one overall draft pick.
  1. Cleveland Browns
  • Best Case: All the offseason moves pay off and Tyrod Taylor leads a Browns offense that ranks top 10 in the league. The defense takes a huge step forward behind Myles Garrett. Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon both finish in the top 10 in receiving yards. The team wins eight games and Hue Jackson can avoid jumping in anymore lakes.
  • Worst Case: Taylor struggles as the starting quarterback and Baker Mayfield has to play despite not being ready. Gordon fails a drug test and is suspended again. Landry regresses after a career year, Garrett can’t stay healthy and the defense struggles. Jackson gets fired before mid-season but the Browns hopefully win one game this year.
  1. New York Jets
  • Best Case: Either Sam Darnold is ready to start Week 1 or Teddy Bridgewater bounces back from that terrible knee injury and leads an underwhelming offense. The defense takes the next step forward behind Jamal Adams and the Jets push for seven wins.
  • Worst Case: Bridgewater isn’t healthy or is traded prior to the start of the season, Josh McCown gets hurt early in the season and Darnold struggles all year long. The below average weapons on offense underperform and the defense can’t pick up the slack. Todd Bowles loses his job and the Jets end up with the number one draft pick.
  1. Buffalo Bills
  • Best Case: Josh Allen surprises everyone and plays well as a rookie. Kelvin Benjamin keeps his weight down and has a season similar to his rookie year. The defense takes a step forward behind Tremaine Edmunds and the Bills win seven games.
  • Worst Case: None of the quarterbacks on the roster have any success with this below average offense. LeSean McCoy, who turns 30 in July, hits the wall and is washed up. Edmunds struggles as a 20 year old rookie and the defense is the worst in the league. The Bills are clearly in a rebuilding mode and easily land the top pick in the draft.

About The Author Mike Fanelli

Mike is a former journalism major who spent all four years in high school working for the school newspaper. At 25 years old, he is happy to write for Breaking Football as it gives him a platform to get his sports opinions out there.