2014 NFL Power Rankings: Breaking Down Spots 23-27
The final week of the 2014 NFL preseason is almost here, as Thursday night brings a full slate of games. Every team will be playing their final non-regular season game of the year and we’ll just be days away from the start of the 2014 season.
As intense as that sounds, we still have some time to kill. What better way to do that then to take a look at each NFL team and size them up? I’ve already dissected the projected bottom five teams for 2014, so it’s on we go in a look at the 2014 NFL Power Rankings. Here are the next five teams in the countdown, ranking spots 23-27:
27. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota has done a lot of good to improve their team. Success usually starts from the top, and they clearly understand that, as they improved both sides of the ball from a coaching perspective by making Mike Zimmer their head coach and bringing in Norv Turner to run the offense. The Vikes also beefed up a bad secondary and nabbed future franchise passer Teddy Bridgewater in the draft. All signs point to this team improving, but there still isn’t a foundation here for a true competitor.
26. Tennessee Titans
Teams that start over naturally either are going to go up or down. The Titans have the makings of one that could see a minor spike in wins, especially considering their division is pretty weak. With that said, new head coach Ken Whisenhunt still has a lot of things to figure out – like if quarterback Jake Locker is the answer and if his defense can get better. Tennessee’s 2014 success is likely hinged to Locker finally “getting it” and until that happens, we can’t bank on this team making much noise.
25. Washington Redskins
Jay Gruden takes over a team with a ton of weapons but no real direction. Their defense looks to be a lot nastier as defensive coordinator Jim Haslett finally has full control. Their impending success starts and ends with the seemingly erratic Robert Griffin III, however. Just how well he grasps Jay Gruden’s pass-happy system early on will be an indicator of how far Washington can go. Judging off of last year only, however, it may not be very far.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
See the trend being created here? The Bucs are the fourth straight team in these power rankings with a new coach, new system and a lot of questions. They have the talent to be a real force on both sides of the ball, while any team led by Lovie Smith certainly has a chance. Their success will start and end with veteran journeyman Josh McCown and whether or not he can pick up where he left off as a backup in Chicago last year.
23. New York Jets
This may be Rex Ryan’s last stand with the Jets, as he badly needs a return to the playoffs (if not much more) to save his head coaching life. Geno Smith may be a roadblock to keep that from happening, but Ryan’s own defense could strangely spell his fate. The Jets still have a ton of talent on defense, but their secondary has been decimated by injuries and free agency losses. How their pass defense holds up may be the deciding factor in just how good Gang Green is in 2014.
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