Article by: Justin Imler and Kevin Eagleson
It’s almost that time… FOOTBALL SEASON. Training Camps will be opening across the league this week so it’s time for our official Heated Sports preseason NFL power rankings for the 2019 season. I had NFL expert Kevin Eagleson help me out, and together, we ended up deciding on the list below. The list was mutual, then we both divided up the analysis for each team, with Kevin analyzing the odd placements, and myself taking care of the even placements. Be sure to check out where your team stands in our rankings, and let us know your thoughts!
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes just threw 50 touchdowns last season and is the best quarterback in the league. The Chiefs defense was their weakness, but they addressed that with additions of Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu. The Mahomes-lead offense will continue to be electric, and their defense appears to be improving.
2. New Orleans Saints
The Saints were one pass interference call away from appearing in the Big Dance last season. Expect Drew Brees to come out taking names this time around. He has a lot of young offensive weapons at his disposal in WR Michael Thomas, RB Alvin Kamara, and newly acquired TE Jared Cook, and he’ll bring out the best in all of them.
3. New England Patriots
Another year, and Brady and Belichick are still in New England. The Patriots simply know how to win, even without Gronk and an aging Brady, a strong run game and elite defense will secure this team a top position in the league yet again.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Philly is primed for yet another Super Bowl run this season. With one of the best offensive and defensive lines in football, a healthy Carson Wentz, and now Jordan Howard at RB, be prepared for this year’s Philadelphia team to be even more dangerous than ever.
5. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have one of the most well-rounded rosters in the league. With Philip Rivers playing as well as ever, LA is a major threat in the AFC. However, with all of the drama surrounding star RB Melvin Gordon, let's see if his holdout will go into the regular season, and if it has an effect on this Chargers team.
6. Los Angeles Rams
After coming up short in Super Bowl LIII, the Rams are back and ready to change the script this season. Every single Rams fan is praying that star RB Todd Gurley will be back at 100%, and if so, he’ll continue to be one of the best backs in football. Either way, Jared Goff has another year under his belt, with receivers Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, and Cooper Kupp all returning as well. They also have this guy named Aaron Donald on the defensive side of the ball, and I heard he's pretty good too.
7. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts surprised everyone last year after making the playoffs. Andrew Luck proved he is still one of the league's best quarterbacks and he now has additional weapons with Devin Funchess, Parris Campbell, and a healthy Jack Doyle. While the offense is loaded, the defense is no joke as well, as their youthful defenders will only continue to get better.
8. Dallas Cowboys
Last year's NFC East champs have been the talk of the NFL lately. With offensive weapons Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Zeke Elliot all needing to be paid sooner rather than later. All these guys will be out trying to prove their worth behind one of the top offensive lines in football. Look for Dallas to continue to win games behind their new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and to compete with Philadelphia for this year’s NFC East crown.
9. Chicago Bears
The Bears retained most of their key defensive players and the unit which should still be the most dominant in the league. Matt Nagy has an upgrade at running back after drafting David Montgomery and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will look to take a step forward in his third NFL season.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
I promise, my fully unbiased pick for the AFC North this season is the Pittsburgh Steelers, but barely. Yes, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are both gone, but guess what, WR Juju Smith-Schuster and RB James Conner were both pro-bowlers last season. Juju must prove himself now that he is the number one guy, but I’m not worried. QB Ben Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards last season and I expect him to keep slinging the ball in a much more balanced offense. On the defensive side of the ball however Pittsburgh had some pretty gaping holes at the ILB and CB positions entering the offseason which they addressed via the draft and free agency. Watch out for this very talented, and drama free, Pittsburgh team in 2019.
11. Cleveland Browns
After having one of the most active off-seasons in the league (highlighted by the addition of OBJ), the Browns have arguably the best roster in football. If the coaching and chemistry is there, Baker Mayfield and the Browns will be dangerous.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Two players, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. Two superstars, one on each side of the ball. Both guys have taken this Seattle team in the post season the last several years, when almost everyone counted them out, including myself. I will not be doing that this time around, expect Seattle to be a dangerous team yet again, especially at home with the Sixth Man behind them.
13. Green Bay Packers
Last year’s Packers were disappointing to say the least. However, a healthy Aaron Rodgers and an improving defense should result in a more successful season in Green Bay. The Packers' run game also looks promising with Aaron Jones poised for a breakout season.
14. Baltimore Ravens
Three AFC North teams within five spots of one another, that’s how close this division will be this season. With some NFL experience under his belt, all eyes are on Lamar Jackson to see if he can step up and develop as a true NFL quarterback. After falling short to the Chargers in last year’s Wild Card Round, and losing defensive talent in CJ Mosely, Za’Darius Smith, Eric Weddle, and Terrell Suggs, the Ravens have picked themselves back up quite nicely. Getting star free agent Earl Thomas, and 1st round draft pick WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, will benefit both sides of the ball quite nicely heading into 2019 and beyond.
15. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings defense is top-tier. Their offense is no joke either, featuring Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Kyle Rudolph. Unfortunately, if Kirk Cousins is their Quarterback, the Vikings will never reach their full potential.
16. Houston Texans
Another playoff team last season, the Houston Texans are primed to redeem themselves after an early exit. QB Desean Watson is back, with another year of experience under his belt, and finally has a healthy dynamic duo at WR in Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller V. I’m excited for the Texans, but questions at RB and their secondary are cause for concern. Not to mention the sudden emergence of the Indianapolis Colts as the pretty clear favorite to take the AFC South.
17. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are another team coming off a disappointing season. Besides the loss of Tevin Coleman, they brought back all their key offensive players. Atlanta has possibly the best receivers in the game, but their run game will rely on the health of Devonta Freeman. With some of their top defenders returning from injury, the Falcons will almost certainly improve in 2019.
18. Denver Broncos
The 2019 Denver Broncos are a very different team than they were a year ago, most notably with the addition of former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco now at QB. To go along with Flacco, Denver has second year RB Phillip Lyndsay, coming off a pro bowl appearance, and a very talented WR core consisting of veteran Emmanuel Sanders, and young potential stars in DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton. Also, the defensive duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will be a problem for opposing offensive lines every week.
19. New York Jets
The Jets had two of the biggest off-season signings in all of free agency. They added superstars on both sides of the ball with running back Le’Veon Bell and linebacker CJ Mosley. Their new additions will improve the entire team and make year two for Sam Darnold much easier.
20. San Francisco 49ers
A lot of people have high hopes for the 49ers this season, but people forget the division that they are in. The NFC West is STACKED, with the LA Rams and Seattle Seahawks running the division for years, and most likely will continue to lead in 2019 as well. The Niners are a young and exciting team to say the least, but we’re all still waiting to see what a full healthy season of Jimmy Garoppolo looks like. I’d consider San Francisco a low level team with the potential to make some noise in the NFC.
21. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are a solid team, but the uncertainty surrounding Cam Newton and the passing attack is the reason they fall in the bottom half of the rankings. Ever since a shoulder injury and treatment last season, Newton has looked like a different quarterback. His throwing motion looks off and he rarely went deep. After losing Funchess, the Panthers need one of their young receivers to step up. There’s a chance Christian McCaffery is going to have to carry this team.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
Super Bowl hero Nick Foles has found a new home in Jacksonville, and has brought a new energy to hopefully revive this team after a very disappointing 2018 season. Expect the defense to still be dangerous, but the lack of weapons around Foles is a major concern, and something they’ll desperately need if they want to compete with the Texans and Colts for the AFC South title.
23. Tennessee Titans
The Titans secondary has been simply awful. Marcus Mariota seems unable to take a step forward and truly become a franchise quarterback. As a result, their passing game is incredibly weak, and Tennessee will be forced to rely on Derrick Henry, who showed flashes of greatness last season.
24. Oakland Raiders
THEEEE RAIDERS… are going to be interesting. A lot of personalities in one locker room can really go downhill fast. This year’s subject of HBO’s Hard Knocks will be one of the media’s main focuses this NFL season, no matter how they perform. This is very much a prove-it year for HC John Gruden, as he has the star QB and WR, plus a pile of young talent, now it is time to see what he does with it.
25. Buffalo Bills
The Bills have a very strong defense and have successfully surrounded their quarterback Josh Allen with some real weapons. The team is still relatively young, and in a tough division, but don’t be surprised if the Bills put together a successful season.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is a team that can’t seem to get out of their rut. The hiring of head coach Bruce Arians is a step in the right direction in my opinion, but I am not a believer in Jameis Winston. Yes, they have Mike Evans, and two talented TEs in OJ Howard and Cameron Brate, but that’s about it. Tampa has a lot more changes to make before they can become a real competitor.
27. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona conducted one of the most active off-seasons in the league, and their roster looks completely different. They went all in to grab their quarterback in Kyler Murray #1 overall, but it is simply too early to expect a lot from this team. The Cardinals are very well set up for the future and their time will come, just not yet.
28. Detroit Lions
The Lions have been falling deeper and deeper into a hole ever since overpaying for franchise QB Matthew Stafford. I am however a believer in 2nd year HC Matt Patricia, but the Lions still have a lot of work to do. They have however added a few weapons around Stafford in 1st round pick TE TJ Hockenson, and WR Danny Amendola. The offensive pieces seem to be coming into place, especially with Kerryon Johnson emerging as a solid young RB, but they still have some work to do in a very competitive NFC.
29. Washington Redskins
Whether it’s Case Keenum or Dwayne Haskins, the Redskins offense isn’t exactly scary. The running back duo of Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson should be solid, but their receivers are almost non-existent. The Skins have a solid defense, but it won’t be enough to carry the team to a successful season in 2019.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, the Bengals have some above average offensive pieces in Joe Mixon, AJ Green, and Tyler Boyd. However, their defense needs a total makeover after placing last in the league in almost every major defensive category last season. I like the hire of Zac Taylor as their new head coach, as the team held onto Marvin Lewis about five years too long in my opinion.
31. Miami Dolphins
Barely edging the Giants out for second-worst team in the league, there is not a lot to be excited about in Miami. The Dolphins have few playmakers on defense, and even fewer weapons on offense. Quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen will almost certainly struggle to produce on such a weak offense this coming season.
32. New York Giants
Last, but certainly not least, the New York football Giants. Yes, Saquon Barkley is a stud, but if the aging Eli Manning is running the show, this franchise will not be able to get where it wants to go. They believe that Daniel Jones is their guy, and they better hope they were right.
Thanks for checking out our official preseason NFL Power Rankings! We will be adjusting these rankings after each week of the regular season. Be sure to tell us where we went right, and more importantly, where we went wrong. A lot of these teams were moved around before finalizing their positions, so we’d love to hear what you guys think!