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NFL power rankings 2018, Week 1: Eagles start the year right where they left off

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The reigning Super Bowl champion Eagles kick off the 2018 NFL season in Philadelphia Thursday night with a game against the Falcons.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

fWe’re counting down the moments until the 2018 NFL season kicks off. After the long weekend, rosters are set (for the most part) and teams are preparing for their Week 1 matchups.

A new season is upon us and anything could happen. Seriously.

Who predicted the Eagles to win the Super Bowl before the season kicked off last year? Just about no one. Philly ranked 18th in our Week 1 Power Rankings last season. Part of what makes the NFL so exciting is teams can go from finishing in fourth place in their division one year to winning the Super Bowl the next.

Who’s on top?

Heading into the season, the Eagles remain at top of the power rankings and their Super Bowl opponent, the New England Patriots aren’t far behind. But we’re not giving the Patriots the No. 2 spot. After a tumultuous offseason, New England is ranked third, right behind the Vikings and the new quarterback in Minnesota, Kirk Cousins. The Vikings’ defense looks even more impressive this year than last and with Cousins under center there’s a lot to like about that team.

2017 playoff teams like the Rams, Jaguars, and Steelers rank closely behind those top three teams, and even with Le’Veon Bell’s hold out continuing, the Steelers are still among the AFC’s biggest threats​.

Bouncing back

Fresh off a massive contract extension, Aaron Rodgers will look to pick up where he left off before getting injured in Week 6 of the 2017 season. The Packers were 4-1 before Rodgers went down, leaving Brett Hundley to lead the team for the rest of the season. Free agent acquisition Jimmy Graham will look to become a new favorite target of Rodgers’ and their red zone connection is bound to become something defenses fear.

The Chargers take the 10th spot as a team that looks great on paper, but still needs to prove its ability on the field. Staying healthy will help this team go a long way as Philip Rivers looks to win a Super Bowl before the end of his career.

The 49ers are another team looking to go from being one of the NFL’s worst teams in 2017 (before the Jimmy Garoppolo trade) to being a contender in 2018. Losing Jerick McKinnon to a torn ACL was a big blow for the team, but they still have the weapons to field an impressive offense. (Alfred Morris could save the day!)

Climbing the ranks

The Bears traded for Khalil Mack on Friday, and a defense that had the potential to be among the NFL’s best now looks even better. Between Mack, Danny Trevathan, Kyle Fuller, and Adrian Amos, things are looking good for Chicago’s defense. But can Mitchell Trubisky and the offense match that potential?

Hopes are similarly high for the Chiefs and new starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has one of the biggest arms in the league​. There are a lot of playmakers in Kansas City, but the Chiefs’ problem may be the opposite of the Bears’. The Kansas City defense leaves a lot to be desired heading into the season.

Rounding out the bottom

After finally breaking their playoff drought last year, the Bills are looking like one of the NFL’s worst teams as Nathan Peterman was just named their starting quarterback. Also trending toward the bottom are the Buccaneers, Raiders, and Dolphins, as all three have a lot of questions to answer as the season begins. Can the Bucs win a game during Jameis Winston’s suspension? Is Jon Gruden still a capable head coach in his return to the NFL? Is Ryan Tannehill the franchise quarterback the Dolphins need? We’ll begin to find that out as the season gets underway.

The Browns — who host the Steelers this week — come in 28th on the ranking as they look to win a game for the first time Dec. 24, 2016, a matchup for which Robert Griffin III was the Cleveland quarterback. There’s nowhere to go but up for the Browns who have won one game in their last 32 attempts.

NFL Week 1 Power Rankings

Ranking Team Last Week
Ranking Team Last Week
1 Philadelphia Eagles --
2 Minnesota Vikings --
3 New England Patriots --
4 Los Angeles Rams --
5 Jacksonville Jaguars --
6 Pittsburgh Steelers --
7 Green Bay Packers --
8 New Orleans Saints --
9 Atlanta Falcons --
10 Los Angeles Chargers --
11 Carolina Panthers --
12 San Francisco 49ers --
13 Chicago Bears --
14 Kansas City Chiefs --
15 Tennessee Titans --
16 Houston Texans --
17 Baltimore Ravens --
18 New York Giants --
19 Cincinnati Bengals --
20 Detroit Lions --
21 Denver Broncos --
22 Dallas Cowboys --
23 Indianapolis Colts --
24 Seattle Seahawks --
25 Washington --
26 Arizona Cardinals --
27 New York Jets --
28 Cleveland Browns --
29 Tampa Bay Buccaneers --
30 Oakland Raiders --
31 Miami Dolphins --
32 Buffalo Bills --