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2014 NFL power rankings: Seahawks, Broncos back on top

The new NFL season is right around the corner. That means it's the perfect time to roll out our weekly power rankings.

"I liked your Sports Illustrated cover, Russ."
"I liked your Sports Illustrated cover, Russ."
Kevin C. Cox

SB Nation 2014 College Football Guide

The NFL is back (almost), and that can mean only one thing: ARBITRARILY RANKING TEAMS! We turned to our network of NFL team blogs to vote on the inaugural 2014 power rankings. They know as much about the league as anyone, so this list is a good barometer for where things stand with opening night only days away.

We also added a set of bonus rankings, the Absurd Power Rankings. This week's edition of the Absurd Power Rankings is based on "Dumb Wins," the number of times a team has won a game since 2000 without scoring an offensive touchdown.

1. Seattle Seahawks

The last two Super Bowl winners failed to make the playoffs the following the season. Pete Carroll's smile wards off any hex, curse or spell, that and a roster so deep it hardly seems fair. The 2014 version of the Seahawks might be better with a full season from Percy Harvin and Russell Wilson ready to do more with the offense.

Absurd Power Ranking: 20. The Seahawks have just two Dumb Wins, which, as you'll see, is not an impressive achievement. On the plus side, both those victories were in road games, and we have to respect Seattle for forcing an away crowd to watch its team Dumb Lose.

2. Denver Broncos

Tony Gonzalez thinks the Broncos will go 16-0 in the regular season AND win the Super Bowl. So there's that. The undefeated part seems a little harder to swallow than the Super Bowl champions part. With a healthy Peyton Manning and major roster upgrades in the offseason, the Broncos really are that good.

Absurd Power Ranking: 28. Only one Dumb Win since the start of the 2000 season, and that was in overtime. Don't make the fans wait around beyond fourth quarters for a Dumb Win. They've probably got stuff to do.

3. San Francisco 49ers

August has been a rough month for the 49ers. The starting offense sputtered its way through the exhibition season, mustering six points in the first three games. Even more concerning is the looming suspension for Aldon Smith. Combined that with Alex Boone's holdout and Navorro Bowman expected to miss two months, it means Jim Harbaugh's team will be tested in the early part of the season.

Absurd Power Ranking: 15. Just three Dumb Wins, all of which came in seasons where the Niners finished below .500. Football's about versatility, and if you can only win dumb with a bad team, well, you're just limiting yourself unnecessarily.

4. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers was our in-house pick to win the MVP award. After missing seven games last year, he looks like he's back with a vengeance. If Dom Capers' revamped defense can hold up its end of the bargain, Green Bay could finally get back to the big game.

Absurd Power Ranking: 8. Four Dumb Wins since 2000, but Aaron Rodgers only started one of them. The other three belong to Brett Favre, because nothing says Dumb Win like Brett Favre throwing a ton of passes, not leading a single touchdown drive, and then fist pumping like an idiot when his team winds up on top anyways.

5. New Orleans Saints

It was too easy to write off the Saints defense last year, and look how that worked out. Breakout seasons from Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan paced a group that limited opponents to just 19 points per game. This year, they spent big to get safety Jairus Byrd and spent most of their draft picks on defenders. New Orleans' defense might finally get more headlines than Drew Brees and the offense.

Absurd Power Ranking: 31(tied). No Dumb Wins in the last 14 seasons = bottom of the league according to this highly scientific ranking.

6. New England Patriots

Yes, Tom Brady is still very good, ageless even. But the Patriots playoff hopes hinge squarely on a secondary featuring Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

Absurd Power Ranking: 10. The 2003 Patriots achieved the rare feat of picking up two Dumb Wins in a single season -- and then they WON THE SUPER BOWL. There should be a law against that, but there isn't, and that's why Bill Belichick is a champion.

7. Philadelphia Eagles

Systems theory in action. The media flipped the narrative on Chip Kelly as fast as he runs the Eagles offense. Speaking of that offense, will they still be as productive without DeSean Jackson?

Absurd Power Ranking: 30. Have not enjoyed a Dumb Win since Week 13 of the 2002 season, and are unlikely to do so under this coaching regime. This is why you don't hire some college yutz who doesn't know how to win without offense.

8. Indianapolis Colts

Someone finally informed the Colts coaching staff that Andrew Luck is a very good quarterback, and they plan to throw the ball a lot more in 2014. They'll need to lean on Luck and an impressive cast of receivers this year, because the roster still has some big holes.

Absurd Power Ranking: 25. Both of their Dumb Wins came over Cleveland, which is cheating.

9. Chicago Bears

We know this offense can score points in bunches. It was the defense that cost Chicago an NFC North title. They spent big bucks in free agency and a ton of draft capital to improve that unit. Will it be enough for a playoff run in Marc Trestman's second season at the helm?

Absurd Power Ranking: 6. Three of their four Dumb Wins came under the guidance of Lovie Smith, so get pumped, Bucs fans!

10. Cincinnati Bengals

Can Hue Jackson coax a more consistent season out of Andy Dalton? Will the defense survive the transition from Mike Zimmer to coordinator Paul Guenther? And if they do, can the Bengals win their first playoff game since 1990? Marvin Lewis' future depends on it.

Absurd Power Ranking: 4. Tied with the Steelers (five Dumb Wins) but get the nod because two of theirs came against Pittsburgh, while the Steelers only have one such win against the Bengals. If that's not a reason to give Marvin Lewis an extension, then what wait I was just joking Mike Brown.

11. San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers stole our hearts all over again last year with his giant bolo ties and passing prowess. There's no reason to think he can't do it all over again. Remember, only Seattle gave the Broncos a bigger headache in 2013.

Absurd Power Ranking: 31(tied). See the New Orleans Saints entry.

12. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens look like a much better team in 2014, mostly because the offense isn't completely devoid of weapons or blockers like it was last season. Gary Kubiak could do wonders for Joe Flacco, too. The biggest question is whether the Ravens have enough help in the secondary.

Absurd Power Ranking: 1. Since 2000, the Ravens have racked up ELEVEN Dumb Wins. It's time for Baltimore to stop ignoring that success and start embracing it as a strategy -- punt whenever you're not in field-goal range, even on first down, let the defense hold, and then wait for a turnover or return to get you into kicking position. It'll do wonders for Joe Flacco's interception problems.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers

This looks like the first year in a long time that Ben Roethlisberger won't be running for his life behind an injury-riddled offensive line. That could mean very good things for the Steelers offense. More importantly, the Steelers defense looks like its old self thanks to an infusion of young talent like Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt.

Absurd Power Ranking: 5. In one of the Dumb wins, the Steelers finished with 21 net passing yards on 17 attempts. That means they would have had to throw the ball 243 times to break the 300 yard mark.

14. Atlanta Falcons

Injuries have already taken a heavy toll, with Sean Weatherspoon and Sam Baker done before the season even begins. Most concerning is that it the Falcons really didn't do anything to improve on the meager 32 sacks they collected last season.

Absurd Power Ranking: 27. The Falcons have but a single Dumb Win this century, a 6-3 victory where they turned the ball over four times. It's not as fun when you're TRYING to win dumb, guys.

15. Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City has a much tougher schedule this season, one that includes games against all four NFC West teams. That will put a questionable offensive line in the spotlight as the Chiefs try to prove their 11-5 record last season was no fluke.

Absurd Power Ranking: 16. Last year, against the Jeff Tuel Buffalo Bills, the Chiefs:

- scored no touchdowns on offense
- gave up 470 yards on defense
- never registered a sack on Tuel

And still won. This Win is so Dumb it has broken mathematics.

16. Arizona Cardinals

Can the upstart Cardinals finally get around the 49ers and the Seahawks in the league's toughest division? They'll have to do it without Daryl Washington (suspension) and Darnell Dockett (injury) on defense. However, the secondary is very good, and Bruce Arians has the offense looking like it could score a ton of points. Don't sleep on this group.

Absurd Power Ranking: 12. The Cardinals have three Dumb Wins, but their most recent one, in 2010 against the Saints, is a masterpiece. The Arizona defense scored three touchdowns on turnover returns; on those returns, the scoring defenders gained a total of 57 yards. The Arizona offense ran the ball 24 times. And gained 41 yards.

17. Carolina Panthers

Riverboat Ron has his work cut out for him this year after losing the team's top three wide receivers. Rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin assumes the top spot on the depth chart, and they still have those pricey running backs and Cam Newton.

Absurd Power Ranking: 22. The most recent Dumb Win for the Panthers took place in 2003 against the Bucs. Each team had at least 15 penalties, and the two combined for 288 penalty yards. Outstandingly dumb, fellas.

18. Detroit Lions

Jim Caldwell turned his pitch for the head coaching job into a seminar on how to fix Matthew Stafford. It worked. The Lions also brought in some talent so that the offense isn't just Calvin Johnson, which could go a long way toward "fixing" whatever's wrong with the quarterback.

Absurd Power Ranking: 3. Detroit's scored at least one offensive touchdown in every game Matt Stafford has started. Bench him for Dan Orlovsky and watch the Dumb Win total skyrocket.

19. New York Giants

The Giants are betting big that Ben McAdoo's West Coast system is just what Eli Manning needs to bounce back from a nightmare season. If the early returns are any indication, it could be a long year for Big Blue.

Absurd Power Ranking: 14. Most of the teams on this list have had ample opportunities to pick up a Dumb Win thanks to a lack of offense, but the Giants aren't one of them -- they've scored on the ground or through the air in all but 15 of their games since 2000. So getting three Dumb Wins out of those 15 Dumb Win Opportunities is really pretty efficient.

20. St. Louis Rams

Losing Sam Bradford for the season was a huge blow to the Rams' playoff hopes this season. But this team is built on the premise of playing an aggressive style of defense behind Robert Quinn and running the ball. That part hasn't changed. Will it be enough for the Rams to surprise.

Absurd Power Ranking: 17. Take heart, St. Louis. You can OWN the Dumb Wins column this year.

21. Dallas Cowboys

It's not clear what exactly the Cowboys are going to do on defense. Sean Lee is out for the season. Demarcus Lawrence has a broken foot, and Orlando Scandrick is suspended for four games. They still have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, which is good for something. Dallas is also one backache away from Brandon Weeden.

Absurd Power Ranking: 18. Highest ranked of any team with less than three Dumb Wins, because the Cowboys got both of theirs against Washington. Dumb Wins are much more amusing when they come at the expense of a division rival.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Greg Schiano is gone, taking with him all the hilarity of Greg Schiano coaching a football team. OK, it wasn't hilarious for the fans and most of the players. Lovie Smith feels like a natural fit, a homecoming of sorts. And this time, he remembered to bring an offense.

Absurd Power Ranking: 2. The Bucs and Lions both have six Dumb Wins in the last 14 seasons, but Tampa's pulled the feat off more recently, in 2006 over the Eagles. Please ask Jon Gruden about this game if you run into him at Hooters.

23. New York Jets

This could be the year that Rex Ryan can't count on his defense to stake his team to at least six wins. It might be the weakest secondary he's ever had in New York. If Michael Vick's mentoring of Geno Smith pays off, the Jets offense might finally be able to carry its weight.

Absurd Power Ranking: 23(tied). It kind of seems like all the wins are dumb these days, no?

24. Washington NFL team

Semi-official team spokesperson Joe Theismann was ready to pull the plug on RG3 and send Kirk Cousins into the starting lineup. That seems drastic. But there is legitimate concern as to whether RG3 can catch up to expectations after a rough preseason.

Absurd Power Ranking: 11. All three Dumb Wins for Washington have been in home openers (2005, 2009, 2010). Imagine waiting all offseason to see your team, showing up at the stadium for the first home game, and then watching a Dumb Win. No amount of brushing can get that terrible taste out of your mouth.

25. Houston Texans

The Texans can go as far as Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt can take them. Will that be enough to stay competitive in the AFC South?

Absurd Power Ranking: 29. Last snagged a Dumb Win in Week 14 of the 2002 season, but I feel confident that the Fitzpatrick/Keenum/Random Hot Dog Vendor Given A Helmet quarterback rotation will change that.

26. Minnesota Vikings

Matt Cassel gets the starting nod for Week 1, but he's only keeping the seat warm for Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings should be much better off once that happens.

Absurd Power Ranking: 19. Their 24-21 victory over the Giants in 2005 was a sneaky Dumb Win, because this is how the Vikings scored their points: interception return, kick return, punt return, field goal. The offense should have given their game checks to the defense.

27. Miami Dolphins

Miami had to make changes after last season, so they hired a new offensive coordinator. It actually might be a shrewd move. Bill Lazor helped Chip Kelly do great things in Philadelphia last year. The uptempo approach might be exactly what Ryan Tannehill needs to get over the hump.

Absurd Power Ranking: 26. The highest ranking given to a team with just one Dumb Win, because they did it against Baltimore, holder of the Dumb Win patent.

28. Cleveland Browns

Mike Pettine got the coaching job by being the last man standing, part of the fallout from the great purge of '13. It already feels like he could be the next one-year wonder unless the Browns can pull it together long enough to get Johnny Manziel ready to start and Josh Gordon through his suspension.

Absurd Power Ranking: 7. A lack of offensive touchdowns doesn't necessarily have to mean scoreboard disaster; some wins come thanks to defensive scores, big kick returns, or field goals in bunches. These are the scores of the four Dumb Wins the Browns have since 2000 without the offense scoring: 6-3, 6-3, 8-0, 9-7. I don't know whether to be impressed or sad.

29. Tennessee Titans

Ken Whisenhunt has the makings of something interesting in the Music City. It all depends on what The Whiz can do with Jake Locker. If that doesn't work, the Titans will have to wait another year to fix their quarterback situation.

Absurd Power Ranking: 9. As many Dumb Wins (four) as the Browns, Packers and Bears, but they haven't picked one up since 2006. Surely this is just because they haven't had the opportunity thank to consistent offensive success, right? Um. Ummmmmmmmmm.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars

Anyone else get the feeling the Jaguars aren't getting enough credit this year? Obviously it's a long way back to the playoffs, but the arrow is definitely pointing up thanks to some smart leadership and coaching from Gus Bradley. They need to get the offensive line figured out because the world is ready for Blake Bortles.

Absurd Power Ranking: 21. The Jags have two Dumb Wins since 2000, and both were during a night game. It's good to own your dumbness in front of a national television audience. Shows character.

31. Buffalo Bills

EJ Manuel doesn't look to be any further along than he was last season, when knee injuries short circuited his rookie year. It's going to be hard justify trading away next year's first-round pick for Sammy Watkins if the Bills don't have a quarterback capable of utilizing his talent.

Absurd Power Ranking: 23 (tied). See the Jets entry above.

32. Oakland Raiders

Dennis Allen is committed to Matt Schaub as his Week 1 starter, even with tendinitis in his elbow. Derek Carr might not be completely ready to take over, but at least he has a future. It's looks like another long season in Oakland.

Absurd Power Ranking: 13. What's impressive about Oakland's three Dumb Wins is that they've all come under different coaches -- Jon Gruden, Art Shell and Dennis Allen. It's almost as if the Raiders are terribly doomed no matter who's in charge!