NFL Power Rankings – Week 1: Who starts out on top?

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 09: Derek Carr
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 09: Derek Carr /
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NFL Power Rankings

The Miami Dolphins were a playoff team last season and want to return there in 2017. However, they will have to do that without their starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill who was lost for the season with an ACL injury. The Dolphins signed retired quarterback Jay Cutler because of his familiarity with head coach Adam Gase and his offense from their time with the Chicago Bears. Cutler should do well with the weapons he has at wide receiver in Jarvis Landry and the emerging DeVante Parker and running back Jay Ajayi could have a big year as well. But offense aside, the performance of the Dolphins defense will determine whether or not they return to the playoffs.. . . Miami Dolphins. 18. team. 59

. . Carolina Panthers. 17. team. 87. The Carolina Panthers suffered a Super Bowl slump last season. After going 15-1 in 2016 they fell to 6-10 in 2017. Injuries played a huge part of this drop as quarterback Cam Newton was banged up for most of the season and could not duplicate his MVP level of play from the season prior. Newton had offseason shoulder surgery and played only one series in the preseason. He might be a bit rusty to start the season but the Panthers need Newton to do a better job of taking less punishment and getting the ball to his check down receivers. If Cam Newton can stay healthy, the Panthers chances improve in competing for a playoff spot. They need MLB Luke Kuechly to have a healthy season too.

NFL Power Rankings
NFL Power Rankings /