Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

The monotonous preseason chatter is finally behind us. The NFL regular season will finally begin on Thursday, Sept. 7 when the Detroit Lions visit the Kansas City Chiefs. Study the NFL Preseason Power Rankings from 97.5 The Fanatic before kickoff.

Philadelphia Eagles Outlook

The top spot didn’t go to the defending Super Bowl champions. Full-season projections determine the preseason rankings. While performance during the 2022 season plays a major factor in projections, it doesn’t fully determine it.

Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles enter the season enter the season in the top spot after a heartbreaking loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. Their free agent losses won’t weigh on them as long as younger players are able to fulfill expectations set by an organization with a strong track record of evaluating talent.

The AFC is the stronger conference, especially at the quarterback position. The Eagles could see an easier road back to the Super Bowl out of the NFC. The Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers, and the rest of the field will certainly have a thing or two to say about that.

NFL Preseason Power Rankings: Week 1 Outlook

The Chiefs will raise another banner at Arrowhead Stadium against a team desperate to be taken seriously in the NFL landscape once again.

The first Monday Night Football matchup of the season will feature a similar dynamic. The Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs in four consecutive seasons and five of the past six. Meanwhile, the New York Jets look to break through into contention. 

Best Matchup- 1 pm Game Wave

The best Sunday on the sports calendar will feature two historic franchises clashing when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening wave of games. 

Best Matchup- 4 pm Game Wave

The Miami Dolphins visit the Los Angeles Chargers in a battle of teams looking to join the top powers of the AFC.

  • 1. Philadelphia Eagles

    Jalen Hurts

    But they lost the Super Bowl last year.

    The Eagles had the most loaded roster in the NFL in 2022. Howie Roseman somehow kept their key pieces intact and added tremendous talent on defense in the draft. No team in the NFL can confidently claim to be better than the Philadelphia Eagles.

  • 2. Kansas City Chiefs

    Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs

    The Chiefs don’t have the depth at every position that the Eagles and some other top-tier teams have. However, look no further than three of the top 10 players in the NFL Top 100. Any team with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones will be at the top of the league standings.

  • 3. Cincinnati Bengals

    Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals

    Zac Taylor has quietly put together one of the most impressive NFL coaching jobs of the past four seasons. The Bengals look poised for a long stretch as Super Bowl contenders with Joe Burrow under center.

  • 4. Dallas Cowboys

    Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys

    The addition of Brandin Cooks gives Dak Prescott another good option in the passing game as he tries to bounce back from a disappointing season as the NFL’s co-leader in interceptions. Micah Parsons also leads one of the most potent defenses in the league. Can Mike McCarthy put it all together?

  • 5. San Francisco 49ers

    Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers

    It’s the same story as last year. The roster is loaded at most positions, but there’s a major question mark at the game’s most important position. Brock Purdy will need to prove he’s a full-time NFL starter. They also haven’t taken care of a lingering issue with Joey Bosa, arguably their best player who has held out waiting for a new contract.

  • 6. Buffalo Bills

    Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills

    The talk about the new powers of the AFC led by star quarterbacks seems like a given at this point. However, Mahomes and Burrow have led their respective teams to more success than Josh Allen has. Sean McDermott looks to take the team over the hump in a season when he’ll have to manage as a head coach and a defensive play-caller.

  • 7. Miami Dolphins

    Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins

    On offense, their talent on the outside with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle will be difficult to stop. They also acquired six-time Pro Bowler Jalen Ramsey for a reasonable price. If Tua Tagovailoa stays healthy, he is looking at the most favorable position of his career.

  • 8. Jacksonille Jaguars

    Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars

    The Jaguars caught fire down the stretch last season to overtake the Titans as the kings of the AFC South. They enter the 2023 season as the division favorites over three teams seemingly on the downturn. Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence have the opportunity to grow as a head coach/quarterback tandem that provides the type of long-term stability that’s never existed for the franchise.

  • 9. New York Jets

    Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets

    They’re the hot preseason pick after Hard Knocks. The addition of Aaron Rodgers will always draw attention, but can the Jets escape their past as a futile franchise? Budding stars Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson entering their second seasons will certainly help.

  • 10. Los Angeles Chargers

    Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers

    Justin Herbert has the physical tools, and he looks the part as one of the next great quarterbacks in the NFL. However, the former Oregon Duck and the rest of the organization must recover from a massive collapse in the AFC Wild Card Round coupled with a mindless and emotional outburst by Joey Bosa.

  • 11. New Orleans Saints

    Derek Carr of the New Orleans Saints

    The NFC South doesn’t look like a powerhouse division. One team needs to emerge, and the Saints look like the most likely. They finished in the top 10 in most major defensive categories in 2022, and the addition of Derek Carr should help them improve on offense.

  • 12. Seattle Seahawks

    Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks

    The 2022 Seahawks played like they had a weight lifted off their shoulders in 2022 without Russell Wilson. Rookies Tariq Woolen and Kenneth Walker III quickly jumped into roles as key contributors. If Geno Smith can replicate his unexpected breakout season, the Seahawks could contend for a playoff spot once again.

  • 13. Pittsburgh Steelers

    Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Steelers haven’t finished under .500 since 2003. Another year of experience for Kenny Pickett should help keep them in the mix for a playoff berth, especially if T.J. Watt can return to the level of a Defensive Player of the Year after playing just 10 games in 2022.

  • 14. Green Bay Packers

    Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers

    The 2022 Seahawks benefitted from a weight lifted off their shoulders after Russel Wilson left for Denver. They also laid out a good blueprint for the 2023 Packers. Jordan Love could benefit from the fresh start, and the NFC North will have at least one breakout team this season. Will it be Green Bay?

  • 15. Baltimore Ravens

    Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens

    The health of Lamar Jackson comes up in just about every conversation surrounding the Ravens. The contract drama is behind him, and the selection of Zay Flowers provides another receiving option to pair with Mark Andrews.

  • 16. Detroit Lions

    Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions

    Adam Schefter questioned the preseason darlings of the NFL during an appearance on The John Kincade Show. Is it really fair to expect much from a franchise with one playoff win during the Super Bowl era? They’re in a similar position as the Jets with a chance to begin a new era, but they have a long way to go after narrowly missing the playoffs last year.

  • 17. New York Giants

    Daniel Jones of the New York Giants

    Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley will both return to the same backfield despite questions throughout the offseason. The addition of Darren Waller makes them more formidable, but neither the offense nor the defense was one of the top units in the league in a surprise 9-7-1 season in 2022. It’ll take drastic improvement for Big Blue to take another step into the top tier of the NFC, especially with a 3-16 record since 2014 against the reigning conference champion Eagles.

  • 18. Denver Broncos

    Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos

    The Nathaniel Hackett nightmare is over, and his replacement Sean Payton has one of the best track records of any NFL head coach. The Broncos can’t depend on a coach snapping his fingers to reverse a disastrous 5-12 season. Patrick Surtain II and Justin Simmons are strong anchors of a defense that could help this team prove they’re poised for a big improvement based on merit, whereas the hype now is only based on a scapegoat.

  • 19. Minnesota Vikings

    Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings

    What goes up must come down in the NFL. The Vikings finished 13-4 with a record 11 wins in one-score games. All four of their losses came by 11 or more points, and a loss to the Giants in the NFC Wild Card Round proved that it wasn’t because of a clutch gene that could carry them in big games.

  • 20. New England Patriots

    Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots

    Does Bill Belichick have the magic left to build the Pats back into a Super Bowl contender without Tom Brady under center? A crowded field of contenders in the AFC East will make that much more difficult.

  • 21. Washington Commanders

    Joshua Harris of the Washington Commanders

    There’s optimism surrounding a new era under Joshua Harris and a new ownership group. However, the departure of Daniel Snyder doesn’t change an immediate weakness as Sam Howell will continue the revolving door of starting quarterbacks in the nation’s capital.

  • 22. Tennessee Titans

    Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans

    The strength of Derrick Henry in the running game and a good head coach like Mike Vrabel should keep the Titans out of the league basement this season. Unless Will Levis (or Malik Willis) emerges to take the league by storm, it’s difficult to see them contending for a playoff spot. 

  • 23. Las Vegas Raiders

    Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders

    Davante Adams looked forward to a reunion with his college quarterback Derek Carr when the All-Pro moved to Vegas during the 2022 offseason. Carr is in New Orleans, and Adams is looking at a roster without much standout talent beyond Maxx Crosby.

  • 24. Los Angeles Rams

    Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams

    Super Bowl LVI happened 18 months ago. It probably feels like a lifetime ago for Sean McVay. The Rams fell hard last season with a disappointing 5-12 record. They’ll look to their accomplished young head coach to right the ship in a tough situation. Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp will likely play more than nine games each this season, but trading Jalen Ramsey doesn’t indicate the best direction of a franchise that might’ve peaked.

  • 25. Chicago Bears

    Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears

    Justin Fields looks poised to take another step forward. Fans in Chicago haven’t had much to cheer about, and they can hope for a breakout season in a division looking for a new perennial power. The Bears don’t have the track record to be NFC North favorites, but neither do any of the teams they’ll compete with.

  • 26. Atlanta Falcons

    Bijan Robinson of the Atlanta Falcons

    The decision to draft Bijan Robinson with the eighth-overall pick could help the Falcons in an immediate sense regardless of the potentially negative long-term impact. The quarterback situation with Desmond Ridder doesn’t look favorable, however. Nice pieces like Grady Jarrett and Chris Lindstrom don’t look like enough to carry them into contention.

  • 27. Cleveland Browns

    Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns

    The momentum Kevin Stefanski built in a breakout 11-5 season in 2020 is gone. The criticism of the Deshaun Watson trade centered mostly around questionable integrity, but was it even wise from a football standpoint?

  • 28. Carolina Panthers

    Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers

    The adjustment to a rookie starting quarterback won’t be smooth (because it barely ever is). The Panthers have a long road ahead in a rebuild.

  • 29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The retirement of Tom Brady leaves Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers in a tough spot just two seasons removed from a Super Bowl. Baker Mayfield just doesn’t look like a starting quarterback who can lead a team to the postseason, even in one of the league’s weaker divisions.

  • 30. Indianapolis Colts

    Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts

    The Colts finished a tumultuous 2023 season with a 4-12-1 record. The new head coach/quarterback combo of Shane Steichen and Anthony Richardson has a lot to fix before they can contend for a playoff spot. Drama off the field surrounding Jonathan Taylor isn’t exactly helping the outlook.

  • 31. Houston Texans

    Will Anderson Jr. of the Houston Texans

    The Texans haven’t had legitimate stability in recent seasons. They hope a fresh start with building blocks like C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. under new head coach DeMeco Ryans will change that, but it won’t happen overnight.

  • 32. Ariziona Cardinals

    Jonathan Gannon of the Arizona Cardinals

    Jonathan Gannon inherits an absolute mess from Kliff Kingsbury. Kyler Murray might not suit up for a good portion of the season, and any optimism in Arizona probably surrounds the hope for two top picks (their own and Houston’s first-rounder) in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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