2014 NFL Power Rankings: Breaking Down the Bottom 5
The 2014 NFL season kicks off in just nine days, as the Green Bay Packers take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in a Thursday night game. That’s not too far off, but in some ways it’s still too long.
That’s good, though, as it allows us some time to completely digest what we’ve seen during the preseason, as well as injuries, schematic changes and major roster moves. There were some pretty bad teams a year ago, and until we see serious progress, most of them have to be expected to be about just as bad.
Let’s see which ones stay stuck at the bottom of the barrel as we kick start our 2014 NFL Power Rankings by breaking down the five worst NFL teams entering the 2014 season:
32. Oakland Raiders
Oakland is relying on Matt Schaub, Maurice Jones-Drew and James Jones to turn their fortunes around in 2014. While MJD did show a little life last week with a nice run, it’s just not likely this trio puts the Raiders back in contention. Their division has three solid teams (and one elite one) and beyond that they have a brutal schedule, as well. We’ll probably see a lot of Derek Carr this year, and even that might not be such a good thing initially. It’s very likely going to be another long year for the silver and black.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
I actually love what the Jaguars have done. They’ve built up a solid defense, added a mashing running back in Toby Gerhart and drafted some excellent talent at quarterback and wide receiver. But they’re still not there. Chad Henne looks to be the guy again for most of the year, while even an impressive Blake Bortles is still a rookie.
The bright side here is that the AFC South is not a tough division and the Jags really play until the final whistle blows. I think a jump up is possible, but there are still too many questions. Look for them to be competitive, but to struggle with closing out wins.
30. Houston Texans
Houston is starting from scratch at quarterback and head coach. Arian Foster will hope to keep the offense pinned together with his surgically repaired back, while the Texans’ best player other than him on offense is a 33-year old wide receiver who wants out of town.
It’s tough to hate on a defense that boasts J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing and Jadeveon Clowney (so I won’t), but there are a ton of question marks that truly start and end with Ryan Fitzpatrick. With no threat under center, this team can only make so much progress a year after floundering to a 2-14 record.
29. Cleveland Browns
Johnny Football hasn’t arrived just yet (he’s Johnny Clipboard for the moment) and until he does the Browns should stay grounded. It’s true that Brian Hoyer is more experienced and perhaps more poised, but he’s as average as it gets. Cleveland’s running game is a toss up, while Josh Gordon is probably going to be suspended for at least half the year.
Their defense could be amazing, but it may not mean much with a first year head coach and shaky passing attack. Perhaps Johnny Manziel takes over before mid-season and rights the ship. Then again, by then it will probably be too late.
28. Buffalo Bills
Several other teams could contend for this fifth and final spot, but I simply have zero faith in E.J. Manuel. He’s still raw, erratic and inaccurate. Until we see something consistently good out of him, this predictable, run-heavy offense should struggle. Losing stud inside linebacker Kiko Alonso could crush a rising defense, too. From top to bottom, a once promising Bills team should disappoint again in 2014.
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