NFL Power Rankings: Last 2 Super Bowl Champions Find Themselves on Top

Tim Kelly
August 20, 2019 - 10:42 am

Week 2 of the NFL preseason is in the books. Here's a look at RADIO.COM Sports' latest NFL power rankings.

1. New England Patriots

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are entering their 20th season together. The Patriots are the defending Super Bowl Champions and have appeared in eight consecutive AFC Championship games. To pick any other team here would be overthinking things.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

While it's fair to be skeptical about Carson Wentz's ability to stay healthy throughout the course of a full season, the Eagles made major improvements around him. DeSean Jackson, still a burner, is back and will help an offense that lacked a deep threat in 2019. The Eagles acquired veteran running back Jordan Howard from the Chicago Bears, while also drafting Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Miles Sanders in the second round. Wentz should be an MVP candidate with the offense around him, and the Eagles should compete for their second title in three years.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

You get the sense that as long as Patrick Mahomes - the reigning NFL MVP - is healthy, the Chiefs are going to be a Super Bowl contender. Had they won the coin toss in overtime of the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs may have won a title in Mahomes' first year as the starter. Though the circumstances that led to Tyreek Hill's continued availability are questionable (to say the least), he's one of the sport's best offensive weapons and could help Andy Reid finally win his first Super Bowl title.

4. Los Angeles Rams

Even after about as poor of a Super Bowl showing as you could imagine, the Rams return one of the better head coaches in the league in Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for more than 4,600 yards in 2018. The Rams will also enter the 2019 season with a healthy Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp, which should make them an even better offense than the one that won the NFC title last season.

Philip Rivers is entering his 16th NFL season.
Philip Rivers is entering his 16th NFL season. Photo credit (David Butler II/USA Today Images)

5. Los Angeles Chargers

2019 will be the 16th NFL season for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who is eighth in NFL history in passing yards. The only thing missing from what would otherwise be a slam-dunk Hall of Fame resume is a Super Bowl title (or heck, even a Super Bowl appearance.) But there's no time like the present for the Chargers, who even without Melvin Gordon should have a strong running game with Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. If they're going to make a playoff run, it's crucial for the Chargers to edge out the Chiefs in the AFC West, which would likely secure them a bye and whatever type of home field advantage there is at Dignity Health Sports Park.

6. New Orleans Saints

The Saints last two seasons have ended in heart-breaking fashion, which is the type of thing that can carry over into another season. But while Drew Brees did appear to slow down in the second-half of the 2018 season, he still had one of the best seasons of his career, has an elite running back in Alvin Kamara and a top-five head coach in Sean Payton.

7. Chicago Bears

How the Bears have handled the kicking position in response to Cody Parkey's season-ending double doink is a little disconcerting, but Khalil Mack led a top-five defense in 2018 and Matt Nagy emerged as one of the game's better playcallers in his first year as a head coach. Had the Bears drafted Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL Draft - rather than trading up for Mitchell Trubisky - they would probably be the Super Bowl favorites.

8. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys could theoretically contend for the NFC title, but a few things are working against them. First of all, they appear to be the second-most talented team in their division, which could mean their path through the postseason will be on the road. Additionally, while there's a lot to like about rookie running back Tony Pollard, Ezekiel Elliott is one of the three best running backs in the NFL. It's unclear if and when his holdout will end, which makes it difficult to get overly giddy about the Cowboys.

9. Houston Texans

While the major headline surrounding the Texans this preseason has pertained to their GM-less front office potentially weighing trading Jadeveon Clowney, there's still a ton to like about Bill O'Brien's team. That starts at quarterback, with Deshaun Watson, who, unlike last year, had a healthy offseason. While the team's offensive line remains a work in progress, they added Duke Johnson to Lamar Miller and rookie Buddy Howell in the backfield. They also still employ DeAndre Hopkins, who is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL.

Russell Wilson is a five-time Pro-Bowler.
Russell Wilson is a five-time Pro-Bowler. Photo credit (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today Images)

10. Seattle Seahawks

The Sehawks started 4-5 in 2018, a season where many expected them to take a step back. However, Russell Wilson led the team to six wins in their final seven games and a playoff berth. Even in what should be an improved division, the Seahawks have an elite quarterback, an elite head coach and continue to have one of the best home field advantages in sports. It's hard to bet against them returning to the postseason.

11. Cleveland Browns

Until the Browns escape the stigma of being the Browns, there will always be part of you that wonders if things won't go up in flames. But Baker Mayfield appeared to change the "Factory of Sadness" culture in his rookie season. The Browns acquired Odell Beckham Jr. to add to an offense that already included Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Nick Chubb. Star running back Kareem Hunt will also join them in the second-half of the season after he serves his eight-game suspension. The Browns haven't made the playoffs since 2002, but that streak could be snapped this season.

12. Indianapolis Colts

If Andrew Luck was completely healthy, the Colts probably would have found their way into the top seven of this list. But given his injury history, it's impossible not to be worried he won't be ready to start the season. Jacoby Brissett may be the best back-up quarterback in football, but he's not Luck. The Colts open up in Los Angeles against the Chargers, before traveling to Tennessee in Week 2 and welcoming the Falcons to Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 3. While the Colts could be an elite team with a healthy Luck, things could get late early if he's not ready to start the season.

13. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers might be the most talented quarterback in NFL history. Even at age 35 and coming off of a 6-9-1 season, it's hard to think that the Packers won't have a say in the NFC playoff race. How Rodgers and new head coach Matt LaFleur click in the early going will be a heavily-discussed storyline.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

While former Steelers Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell have been major storylines this preseason, Mike Tomlin's squad has had a quiet summer. Ben Roethlisberger is back for his 16th season, and there's a lot to like about the new faces of his skill position group. James Conner averaged 4.5 yards-per-carry in 2018, tight end Vance McDonald broke out for 610 receiving yards in 2018 and JuJu Smith-Schuster has 2,343 receiving yards in his first two NFL seasons. While the Ravens are the defending AFC North Champions, the Steelers may pose the biggest threat to the Browns in 2019.

Adam Thielen had 1,373 receiving yards in 2019.
Adam Thielen had 1,373 receiving yards in 2019. Photo credit (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today Images)

15. Minnesota Vikings

If the Vikings had defeated the Bears in Week 17, they, not the Eagles, would have won the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. Instead, they lost 24-10 to a Bears team whose spot in the playoffs was already secure. Kirk Cousins threw for just 132 yards in a win-and-get-in game. The story has been the same for the Vikings for most of the Mike Zimmer era - they'll have an elite defense, but their ability to make a playoff run will come down to having their quarterback be able to go toe-to-toe with Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff in the postseason.

16. Baltimore Ravens

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has been awfully confident this offseason about how his offense will look with second-year pro Lamar Jackson under center. However, color the rest of the league skeptical about Jackson's ability to hold up throughout the course of a full season with his playing style. Additionally, while the Ravens rode the No. 1 defense in the NFL to the postseason last year, they lost C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle and Za'Darius Smith in free-agency, so there's reason to think that unit will take a step back in 2019.

17. Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan threw for 35 touchdowns, just seven interceptions and nearly 5,000 yards in 2018. And the Falcons went 7-9. The went just 4-4 at home in 2018, had the 28th ranked defensive unit and the 27th ranked rushing offense. Three years after blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, Dan Quinn's squad feels likely to be around .500 in 2019.

18. New York Jets

While much of the preseason attention in New York has been dedicated to Giants rookie Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold has gone 9/12 for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Jets first two preseason games. The second-year quarterback figures to take a major step forward under first-year head coach Adam Gase, especially considering the team added two-time All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell this offseason.

19. Carolina Panthers

Believe it or not, Cam Newton turned 30 in May. But Newton is entering his ninth NFL season, and while he did win the 2015 NFL MVP, it's been hard to predict what type of player Newton will be from season to season and week to week. While Ron Rivera hopes that wide receivers Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore will take major steps forward in 2019, Christian McCaffery is one of the most valuable offensive weapons in the sport, which gives the Panthers hope that they will have their best offense since 2015, when they went 15-1.

Former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is the Jaguars new starting quarterback.
Former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is the Jaguars new starting quarterback. Photo credit (Douglas DeFelice/USA Today Images)

20. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars may be the hardest team to evaluate in the NFL. Two years ago, they led the Patriots at halftime of the AFC Championship Game, before going 5-11 last year. Though he's entering just his third NFL season, it's unclear how much Leonard Fournette has left physically. Nick Foles will almost certainly be an upgrade over Blake Bortles at quarterback, but he's never started more than 11 games in a season. In perhaps the hardest division to predict in the NFL, the Jaguars could go either way in 2019.

21. Tennessee Titans

Quietly, the Titans have gone 9-7 three straight seasons. But the Jaguars figure to be better in 2019. DeShaun Watson is entering the 2019 season healthy for the Houston Texans. And assuming Andrew Luck doesn't miss any extended period of time - or perhaps any regular season games at all - the Colts feel like a good bet to return to the postseason. The Titans aren't a bad team, but in a contract year for Marcus Mariota, they may bear the brunt of playing in a very competitive division.

22. San Francisco 49ers

It's hard to find evaluators that don't believe Kyle Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds in the sport. But the 49ers went 4-12 in 2018 after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3. When "Jimmy G." has played in his career, he's been excellent (unless you count Week 2 of the preseason). But 2019 will be a prove-it year in terms of his ability to stay healthy thoughout the course of a full NFL season.

23. Detroit Lions

The Lions added Danny Amendola and C.J. Anderson - both of whom have extensive playoff experience - to an offense that already included Kerryon Johnson, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay around quarterback Matthew Stafford. If Darrell Bevell - the former Seahawks offensive coordinator, who takes over in the same role for the Lions - can get the most out of this offense, the Lions could find their way into the Wild Card race.

24. Buffalo Bills

Second-year quarterback Josh Allen will look to take a step forward in the air in his second season, after rushing for 631 yards as a rookie, but throwing two more interceptions than touchdowns. If that happens, and the Bills can capture one more really good season out of either Frank Gore or LeSean McCoy, they have a defensive unit that was ranked No. 2 overall in 2018 to lean on.

The Bengals are counting on Joe Mixon taking a major step forward in 2019.
The Bengals are counting on Joe Mixon taking a major step forward in 2019. Photo credit (Aaron Doster/USA Today Images)

25. Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon averaged 4.9 yards-per-carry and rushed for 1,168 yards in 2018, his second NFL season. The 23-year-old should be one of the better backs in the NFL in 2019. First-year head coach Zac Taylor seemingly has his work cut out with most of the rest of the team, including a defense that ranked 32nd a year ago.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It's put up or shut up time for former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston, who is in the final year of his rookie deal. After a one-year retirement, Bruce Arians is back in the NFL and tasked with getting the most out of an offense that isn't short on talent, as it features Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Chris Godwin and Peyton Barber. But with uncertainty at the quarterback position - and a defense that wasn't particularly effective at defending the run or pass a season ago - there's a good chance the Bucs will end up in the basement of the NFC South.

27. Denver Broncos

John Elway said this offseason that he believes new Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco, who is 34, is entering his prime. With all due respect to Elway, he may be the only person that believes that. Beyond second-year running back Phillip Lindsay, Emmanuel Sanders, less than a year removed from tearing his Achilles, may be Flacco's best weapon. In a division that features Patrick Mahomes and Philip Rivers, first-year head coach Vic Fangio will be tasked with helping a traditional powerhouse defense return to its dominance after slipping to 22nd in 2018.

28. New York Giants

Daniel Jones has given Giants fans something to be excited about this preseason, but come Week 1, 38-year-old Eli Manning will be under center for the Giants. He'll have Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram at his disposal, though the rest of his offense has seemingly become devoid of talent rather quickly. The Giants defense also ranked 24th in the NFL a season ago. Barkely, a Hall of Fame talent, will be fun to watch. The rest of the Giants team should be watched with viewer discretion.

29. Arizona Cardinals

The first preseason of the Kyler Murray-Kliff Kingsbury era has been a mixed bag. Murray's athleticism is off-the-charts, though it remains to be seen how the 5'10 (??) quarterback and Kingsbury's air raid offense will fare in the NFL. It would go a long way in taking pressure off of the duo if former All-Pro running back David Johnson had a bounce-back season after averaging just 3.6 yards-per-carry in 2018.

Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson is entering his second season with the Redskins.
Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson is entering his second season with the Redskins. Photo credit (Douglas DeFelice/USA Today Images)

30. Washington Redskins

Perhaps this is an oversimplification, but the Redskins were one of a few teams that played some of their best players in Week 2 of the preseason, and it's hard to shake the fact that the most notable players on the field were Case Keenum, 34-year-old Adrian Peterson and 35-year-old Vernon Davis. Jordan Reed flashes elite talent a few times a season, but the 29-year-old tight end has played just 19 of a possible 32 games over the past two seasons. The good news is that Dwayne Haskins, the team's first-round pick in 2019, played well in relief of Keenum in the team's second preseason game.

31. Miami Dolphins

While it probably made sense for the Dolphins to move forward from Ryan Tannehill - who they traded to the Tennessee Titans - there's a very real chance they don't improve at the quarterback position in 2019. It appears that journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick could win the starting job over Josh Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick in last year's NFL Draft. First-year head coach Brian Flores has quite a bit on his plate.

32. Oakland Raiders

If you add a Hall of Fame caliber receiver, that alone should keep you from coming in dead last in power rankings. But between Antonio Brown's helmet issue and his burned feet, it doesn't feel like this relationship is going to end well, even if Brown is on the field in Week 1. This will be the Raiders final season in Oakland, but Jon Gruden is under contract for eight more seasons after 2019.