NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where Every Team Stands Going Into Week 1

The NFL season is back.

Once again the league is defined by parity. There are four clear-cut favourites, more than a dozen mid-tier contenders, and only a handful of truly bad teams.

We put together our first power rankings of 2014 using a combination of past results, 2013 DVOA (an advanced stat from Football Outsiders that measure’s every team’s efficiency), offseason moves, and our own intuition.

1. Seattle Seahawks

2013 record: 13-3

2013 DVOA: 1st

One thing to know: They lost a lot of depth. Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Brandon Browner, Golden Tate, Breno Giacomini, and Walter Thurmond are all gone.

2. Denver Broncos

2013 record: 13-3

2013 DVOA: 2nd

One thing to know: Despite the 13-3 record, Denver was one of the most-injured teams in the league last year. Five defensive starters missed the Super Bowl.

3. New Orleans Saints

2013 record: 11-5

2013 DVOA: 4th

One thing to know: They went from 32nd in defensive efficiency in 2012 to 10th last year. Free agent signing Jairus Byrd should help them improve again in 2014.

4. New England Patriots

2013 record: 12-4

2013 DVOA: 5th

One thing to know: This should be Bill Belichick's best secondary in years with the offseason additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

5. Green Bay Packers

2013 record: 8-7-1

2013 DVOA: 20th

One thing to know: Hoping for a natural improvement with Aaron Rodgers healthy, Green Bay kept its roster virtually the same from last year. James Jones is the only significant loss.

6. Cincinnati Bengals

2013 record: 11-5

2013 DVOA: 9th

One thing to know: The defence should be great again. It returns almost everyone from the unit that finished fourth against the pass in 2013, and adds cornerback Darqueze Dennard.

7. San Francisco 49ers

2013 record: 12-4

2013 DVOA: 7th

One thing to know: Aldon Smith and and Navarro Bowman are both out for the first six weeks of the season. San Francisco plays the Bears, Eagles, Cardinals, and Chiefs during that period.

8. Indianapolis Colts

2013 record: 11-5

2013 DVOA: 13th

One thing to know: The Trent Richardson trade left Indy with only five draft picks in 2014, only two of which were in the top 150.

9. Arizona Cardinals

2013 record: 10-6

2013 DVOA: 10th

One thing to know: The defence finished 2nd in efficiency 2013, and should be just as good if it can overcome the loss of Karlos Dansby.

10. Philadelphia Eagles

2013 record: 10-6

2013 DVOA: 8th

One thing to know: Philly had freakishly good injury luck last year.

11. Atlanta Falcons

2013 record: 4-12

2013 DVOA: 25th

One thing to know: With a wealth of players at skill positions, Atlanta spent $US80 million and a first-round pick this summer on offensive and defensive linemen.

12. San Diego Chargers

2013 record: 9-7

2013 DVOA: 12th

One thing to know: San Diego managed to win nine regular season games and one playoff game with a defence that ranked dead-last in DVOA.

13. Kansas City Chiefs

2013 record: 11-5

2013 DVOA: 6th

One thing to know: The Chiefs lost a ton to free agency. Three starting offensive lineman are gone, as are defensive end Tyson Jackson and running back Dexter McCluster.

14. Chicago Bears

2013 record: 8-8

2013 DVOA: 11th

One thing to know: Chicago finished last against the rush in 2013.

15. Detroit Lions

2013 record: 7-9

2013 DVOA: 16th

One thing to know: Nick Fairley is reportedly in shape, which could be significant for a defence that had trouble getting to the quarterback and finished 20th against the pass in 2013.

16. Houston Texans

2013 record: 2-14

2013 DVOA: 30th

One thing to know: Houston played the toughest schedule in the AFC in 2013.

17. Baltimore Ravens

2013 record: 8-8

2013 DVOA: 23rd

One thing to know: After hiring and firing an ex-head coach as offensive coordinator in 2013 (Jim Caldwell), Baltimore has done the same thing this year with Gary Kubiak.

18. St. Louis Rams

2013 record: 7-9

2013 DVOA: 14th

One thing to know: They have the best defensive line in the NFL, which is a big reason why Michael Sam didn't make the team.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers

2013 record: 8-8

2013 DVOA: 15th

One thing to know: The defence has quietly slipped in the last few years, from 7th in 2011 to 13th in 2012 to 19th in 2013.

20. New York Jets

2013 record: 8-8

2013 DVOA: 24th

One thing to know: Out of 45 eligible quarterbacks, Geno Smith finished 43rd in DYAR in 2013, above only Brandon Weeden and Terrelle Pryor.

21. Miami Dolphins

2013 record: 8-8

2013 DVOA: 22nd

One thing to know: The offensive line, which might have been the worst in the league last year, got upgraded significantly with free agent Branden Albert.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2013 record: 4-12

2013 DVOA: 19th

One thing to know: With a top-10 defence, even average quarterback play will improve the win-loss record dramatically.

23. New York Giants

2013 record: 7-9

2013 DVOA: 27th

One thing to know: Eli Manning tends to throw a lot of inceptions, but interceptions are a notoriously chance-driven stat, and the likelihood of him throwing 27 again is low.

24. Tennessee Titans

2013 record: 7-9

2013 DVOA: 21st

One thing to know: Wide receiver might be the most glaring weakness, with the group looking thin behind Kendall Wright.

25. Dallas Cowboys

2013 record: 8-8

2013 DVOA: 17th

One thing to know: The team's most important defensive player, Sean Lee, is out for a year. Keep in mind that Dallas finished 30th in defensive DVOA in 2013.

26. Washington Redskins

2013 record: 3-13

2013 DVOA: 29th

One thing to know: For whatever it's worth, Robert Griffin III had a rough preseason, throwing two interceptions and zero TDs on 13-of-20 passing.

27. Minnesota Vikings

2013 record: 5-10-1

2013 DVOA: 26th

One thing to know: They added Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr, and Captain Munnerlyn to a defence that finished 30th against the pass in 2013.

28. Carolina Panthers

2013 record: 12-4

2013 DVOA: 3rd

One thing to know: Carolina was decimated by retirements, cuts, and free agency departures this summer. They lost three lineman, its three top receivers, a corner, and a safety.

29. Buffalo Bills

2013 record: 6-10

2013 DVOA: 18th

One thing to know: Kiko Alonso, one of the team's best players, is out for the year.

30. Cleveland Browns

2013 record: 4-12

2013 DVOA: 28th

One thing to know: The weapons around Brian Hoyer/Johnny Manziel are suddenly looking sparse with the Josh Gordon suspension. Miles Austin in their No. 1 receiver.

31. Oakland Raiders

2013 record: 4-12

2013 DVOA: 31st

One thing to know: Derek Carr beat out Matt Schaub for the starting job a few months after Oakland gave away a sixth-round pick for Schaub.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

2013 record: 4-12

2013 DVOA: 32rd

One thing to know: Blake Bortles, who looked good in the preseason, will start his career on the bench.

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