Austin Montgomery's pre-Week 1 NFL Power Rankings
Wake up degenerates! Football season is back. The NFL kicks off the 2022-2023 season with the defending Super Bowl champions hosting the Buffalo Bills. I’m really excited and have been dying for football season. Similar to many of you, life has been crazy over the past few months. I’m glad I get to partake in the weekly escape of betting NFL football on Sundays with all of you. Along with my weekly NFL picks, I will be writing this power rankings column, so you guys can fully see my complete perspective while handicapping these teams. This column will go out every other Sunday, (or Monday if the MNF contest has implications on the rankings).
We have a new betting partner at AT Online, Betfred Sportsbook - where if you're in Arizona, Colorado or Iowa, you can bet $50 on any game this weekend and get $250 via Betfred.
Below is my Top 10 heading into the season, with title odds presented by Betfred
Without further ado here are the rankings.
1. Buffalo Bills (+550): The Bills are the consensus preseason favorite to win the Super Bowl. They are a 2.5-point favorite on the road against the Super Bowl champion Rams tonight. They had a heartbreaking loss in the divisional playoff round. This year, I think the road to sunny Arizona will go through snowy blizzards of Buffalo in January. The Bills have the most complete team. They added Von Miller to the best scoring defense in the league last season. They should get a healthy Tre'Davious White in October. Josh Allen is going to go scorched earth on NFL defenses all year long. The Bills are my preseason favorite and should dominate the regular season.
2. Los Angeles Rams (+1100): The opening game features the top two teams in my power ratings. The Rams have a solid chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Aaron Donald is back after considering retirement. He is still the best defensive player in all of football. Running back Cam Akers will be back for a full season giving the Rams more balance on the offensive side of the ball. Allen Robinson and Bobby Wagner were huge offseason pickups. There is worry about QB Matt Stafford’s elbow tendonitis. But the QB has been optimistic it won’t limit him much. Until I see regression with my own eyes, I have the Rams slotted at number two.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (+950): The biggest question about the Chiefs is how they are going to replace Tyreek Hill on offense. Hill averaged over 1,100 yards over his six seasons in KC. The Chiefs added JUJU Smith, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and drafted Ky Moore in the second round. With the creativity of Andy Reid and brilliance of Patrick Mahomes; the Chiefs will be just fine. Mahomes is a QB who will make everyone better. KC will also have a better running game adding Ronald Jones to the fold. Trey Smith and Creed Humphrey received all rookie honors last year. The O-Line unit will be the anchor of the offense. You won’t see me doubting the Chiefs with Mahomes under center.
4. Los Angeles Chargers (+1400): My bias may be showing here. Essentially, Justin Herbert practically guarantees a top-five offense, while his rookie contract allowed the team to spend big on defense to improve the No. 26 unit by DVOA. Adding J.C. Jackson and Khali Mack are huge gets for Brandon Staley’s defensive scheme. He didn’t have a corner to limit a team's primary option. He now has that in Jackson, and Mack is a perfect complement to Joey Bosa’s pass rush on the strong side. Expect LA to make huge strides on the defensive side of the football.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+750): Tom Brady took a vacation during training camp. Half of his offensive line is hurt. But at the end of the day, they still have the GOAT. He has the top 5 weapons arsenal in the league. The defense should be the best team against the run, and the young secondary should make strides again this year. There is a reason, despite all the adversity, Tampa still has the second best odds in the Betfred Sportsbook.
6. Green Bay Packers (+1200): I know you're screaming at your computer, "Wait Austin, did you not pay attention all offseason, they traded Davante Adams. AaRon Rodgers has no one to throw to." I know that what the Packers lost in Adams, they make up for what they did on the defensive side of the ball during the draft. Rahsan Gary is a sneaky defensive player of the year candidate. Kenny Clark is one of the best nose tackles in the NFL. They are going to get opposing offenses off the field. A healthy Jaire Alexander will be important. Last year’s rookie Eric Stokes is prime to make significant strides in his sophomore campaign.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (+2000): I don’t remember ranking the Super Bowl runner ups this low. Remember, Cincy entered the postseason as a four seed last year, and the organization hadn’t won a playoff game in several decades before last year’s run. They are the best team in the AFC North. Star QB Joe Burrow is only going to get better. Cincy did addressed the offensive line this offseason. The defense made huge strides last year ranking 26th in DVOA going into the year, and they finished outside the top ten. Bringing back safety Jessie Bates was a huge offseason win. I don’t expect a big drop off from last year’s AFC champs.
8. San Francisco 49ers (+1600): This season is all about Trey Lance. Does he last the season as the starter with Jimmy Garoppolo now back? If he doesn't, that won't be a good look for the front office. Everywhere else this team is stacked. Small questions in the secondary, but they have an elite O-Line and front seven on the defensive of the ball. They have some of the best playmakers in Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. If Trey Lance is a star, San Francisco can be the best team in the league. If he is bad, how far can their existing talent carry them?
9. Dallas Cowboys: Dallas ranked second overall in DVOA heading into the postseason. Look how that turned out. Out of all the teams here, Dallas is the only team that got worse this offseason. They lost primary target Amari Cooper and just lost Tyron Smith to injury. That being said, they still have the best two players in their division with Dak Prescott and Micah Parsons. Another NFC East title is likely, but is this team capable of going beyond that? I’m not so sure.
10. Baltimore Ravens: The Lamar Jackson contract situation isn't a good thing heading into the season. I think Lamar is going to have a breakout year. The Lamar Jackson contract situation isn't a good thing heading into the season. This team should bounce back. The Ravens had more injuries than anyone in the NFL last season and still nearly made the
playoffs. Rookie Kyle Hamiltion is my preseason defensive rookie of the year, he will be a day one impact player. Expect the Ravens to dominate the ground game once again.
Just missed the cut: Broncos, Eagles, Colts, Vikings
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