The NFL offseason is all but over as we’re a little over one month away from the start of training camp. Teams hope they have made the right player moves in free agency and the draft, but also can gain some inspiration from the Philadelphia Eagles. Their Super Bowl LII championship run came out of nowhere. This type of success gives other teams the confidence to make a similar surge in the NFL Power Rankings.
Here are five teams ready to jump to top of the NFL Power Rankings:
The Atlanta Falcons are poised to build on their successful, but inconsistent 2017 season. It saw them make the playoffs, but the Falcons season ended in Philadelphia after the offense couldn’t convert a first-and-goal scoring opportunity in the final minutes of the game. Quarterback Matt Ryan and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian are in the second year of their marriage, and they must show the offense can capitalize against opposing defenses each week. 2018 should continue to be the Matt Ryan and Julio Jones Show, but the Pro Bowl quarterback must use the other pieces of a potent offense to move up on the walterfootball.com NFL Power Rankings.
Los Angeles Rams
No NFL team has a better trio of young stars than the Los Angeles Rams, who have running back Todd Gurley, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and quarterback Jared Goff. Together, this group has just scratched the surface of their potential in becoming perennial contenders for the NFC West divisional crown. To take that next step and move up in the standings, it’s depended upon having all three players remain healthy for the coming season. The defensive unit loss some key personnel via trades to gain much needed salary cap space. It may take a few regular season games before the Rams hit their stride on the field. It’s clear that head coach Sean McVay needs better production from his receiving unit, and the acquisition of Brandin Cooks from the New England Patriots could be a real boon for an inconsistent passing game.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers are tired of playing second fiddle in their home city and seem ready to contend for a Super Bowl berth, let’s not ignore the fact that the Chargers won six of their final seven games under first-year head coach Anthony Lynn. The offense is in the capable hands of veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who is focused on making one last run to capture a Super Bowl title. On defense, the Chargers have two young pass-rushers (defensive end Joey Bosa and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram) who create havoc in the opponent’s backfield, but the offense still has one big problem area they must solve before becoming a true contender. The coaching staff must find another receiving option for Rivers after tight end Hunter Henry tore his ACL on the first day of OTAs. If no replacement is found, then the success of offense relies on the legs of running back Melvin Gordon.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers finished the regular season with a five-game winning streak, and became the most-talked about team in the NFL. The Niners luck changed when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was inserted into the starting lineup after being acquired in a mid-season trade with the New England Patriots. The offense should be quite good, especially after signing running back Jerick McKinnon in free agency. He should make an immediate impact in the passing game. The feeling in Northern California is the Niners have turned the corner and are ready to contend for a NFC West crown.
The Tennessee Titans were the only playoff team to make a coaching change this offseason, and their ability to make a return appearance in the postseason will be dependent upon first-year head coach Mike Vrabel lowering quarterback Marcus Mariota’s turnover ratio. The goal must be to make Mariota more efficient, but not less aggressive in the pocket. The talent is there to get positive results, now the Titans must execute on the field to move up the standings.