Sunday, January 29, 2023

NFL Week 1 Power Rankings: Bills have all the makings of a Super Bowl champion; Packers among top competition

NFL Week 1 Power Rankings: Bills have all the makings of a Super Bowl champion; Packers among top competition

Pete Prisco believes this is the year the Bills will finally win their first Super Bowl title


When I spoke with Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen this summer, he exuded confidence, almost giving off that I-know-I-am-a-star feel, which he is, but that tells us he thinks he has arrived.

That’s because he has, but this confidence seemed to be more than just about himself. Allen knows his Bills team is really good.

Potentially special, in fact.

The Bills showed in their playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in January — I promise I won’t use the phrase “13 seconds” that much anymore — that they can play with anybody on the big stage. There were questions before that game whether they could do so — especially for Allen, despite his MVP-type season in 2021.

The Bills seem to have gained a ton of swagger from that gut-wrenching loss, which is rare, but that’s the feel you get from the Bills after spending time around the team.

They now know. That’s a big difference from thinking it.

That’s half the battle for teams to get over the playoff hump. Combine that belief with their talent, and that’s why the Bills will win it all this season. The Bills were my pick last season to win the Super Bowl, but the closing seconds in the loss to the Chiefs prevented that chance from becoming a reality. I still think if they win that game they go on to win it all.

As it is, they head into the season as the favorite in Vegas to do so this season. The Bills also open at the top of my Power Rankings, one spot ahead of the Green Bay Packers, who are my pick to win the NFC.

The Packers will be a different team this time around. They will still get the big plays from Aaron Rodgers, but the offense might not be as prolific without receiver Davante Adams. But that’s fine. The defense could be dominant.

Barring injuries, they have the best secondary in the league and have a young pass-rush star in Rashan Gary. They could end up as a top-3 defense, maybe even tops, which would give Rodgers time to adapt to his young receiving group. Don’t worry about Rodgers.

A Packers-Bills Super Bowl might not be the big-market gem the NFL usually craves, but it would bring a lot of intrigue, the young-gun passer in Allen against that defense and the future Hall of Fame player in Rodgers on the other side.

Bills will win it. For their sake, let’s hope they spent this offseason working on their pooch and mortar kicks to make sure 13 seconds never happens again.

Biggest Movers







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The only concern right now is corner with Tre’Davious White down for four weeks. But their pass rush should be good enough to compensate. We know the offense will score a ton. 1 0-0-0

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For once, the talk entering the season is all about their defense. If that unit stays healthy, it can be dominant, which has been rare in the Aaron Rodgers era. 2 0-0-0

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They have to get creative to replace Tyreek Hill on offense, but Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes will make it work just fine. The question is whether the pass rush is good enough. 0-0-0

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They are again loaded with stars, but they are now the hunted. That’s a tough road to navigate. Matthew Stafford’s elbow has to be concerning. 3 0-0-0

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With the offensive line improved, that side of the ball with Joe Burrow will be even better. The defense really came on late last season, which should carry over. They are the best team in their division. 1 0-0-0

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The defense will carry this team to the postseason. It will be a nasty group. They just have to hope Jameis Winston doesn’t turn it over. 16 0-0-0

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The injuries on the offensive line are concerning. The interior could be a problem, which isn’t good for immobile Tom Brady. But they are still a talented team with the GOAT. 2 0-0-0

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Yes, this might seem high. But the roster is loaded and I believe Jalen Hurts will take a big step forward this season. They are the team to beat in the NFC East. 3 0-0-0

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Getting Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson in free agency will make this defense so much better. The offense with Justin Herbert will again be dynamic. Let’s hope Brandon Staley learned from some of his fourth-down shenanigans last season. 2 0-0-0

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This season is all about Trey Lance. Does he last the season as the starter with Jimmy Garappolo now back? If he doesn’t, that won’t be a good look for the front office. 1 0-0-0

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Matt Ryan is in as the quarterback, which is an upgrade over Carson Wentz. They will still be run heavy with Jonathan Taylor, but Ryan can make the big plays. They are the team to beat in the AFC South. 3 0-0-0

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New coach Kevin O’Connell has a different style from Mike Zimmer, which players say is refreshing. The defense has to be better than a year ago because the offense should be explosive. 8 0-0-0

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Josh McDaniels will be a better coach the second time as the head man, which is a good thing for this team. They have playmakers on offense, but the line is a question and the defense has some as well. 4 0-0-0

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They appear to be the second team in the AFC South behind the Colts heading into the season. Losing pass rusher Harold Landry with a torn ACL is a big hit, but their season will be decided by how much better they can throw the ball. 2 0-0-0

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The Tyron Smith injury is not good for the Cowboys and their playoff chances. They do have talent on both sides of the ball, but that loss will challenge Dak Prescott and the offense. 3 0-0-0

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The Lamar Jackson contract situation isn’t a good thing heading into the season. They also have major questions at receiver and pass rusher. 6 0-0-0

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They went out and traded to get Russell Wilson to make a real Super Bowl push. But I still see them as the fourth team in the division. 9 0-0-0

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Tua, Tua, Tua. This season is all about quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins raved about him this preseason. Now it counts. We shall see. 5 0-0-0

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The coach, general manager and quarterback all have new big contracts. That puts the pressure on all of them. Kyler Murray, who has the mega-deal, has to be better down the stretch than he’s been the last two seasons. 0-0-0

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Carson Wentz is with his third team in three years. That’s never a good thing. But the Commanders believe in him. Does anybody else? 7 0-0-0

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With Jacoby Brissett playing for the suspended Deshaun Watson, they are an uncertainty for sure. They have talent, but it’s up to Brissett to keep this team afloat until Watson is back. 6 0-0-0

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Bill Belichick will truly be challenged to get this team to the playoffs. They struggled in the preseason, but that doesn’t matter. A lack of talent does. 4 0-0-0

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It’s going to be Kenny Pickett time sooner rather than later. And it should be. It’s hard to believe they are so far down on this list as we head into the season. 2 0-0-0

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It’s all about Baker Mayfield at quarterback. They made the move to go get him, which was the smart thing to do. If he plays well they could be a playoff team. 6 0-0-0

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Look for Trevor Lawrence to take a big step forward this season. But it will be the defense that really shows improvement and makes them a tough out each week. 1 0-0-0

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They will be better than most expect. Davis Mills will be one of the surprise players in the league this year. 5 0-0-0

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Dan Campbell has this team heading in the right direction. They will beat some good teams this year, but watch out in 2023. 1 0-0-0

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This season is all about Daniel Jones. If he’s good, they will be higher on this list later in the season. If he isn’t, he will be on another team next year. 3 0-0-0

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With Zach Wilson down with an injury, it means it’s Joe Flacco time for a bit. They won’t win a lot of games this year anyway, but Wilson needs the work. 0-0-0

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Justin Fields faces big challenges in trying to take the next step as a second-year quarterback. They haven’t exactly helped him a ton with what’s around him. 3 0-0-0

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They have major problems at the quarterback position – and many others. They will be feisty, but they are young and rebuilding. 7 0-0-0

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They lack talent in so many areas. This is a complete rebuild, which will make for a long, long season. 0-0-0

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