Seattle Seahawks

NFL rankings: Seahawks look to be class of the league

The Seahawks have another talented roster and are expected to be Super Bowl contenders.
The Seahawks have another talented roster and are expected to be Super Bowl contenders. AP

1. Seattle Seahawks: Schedule front-loaded with winnable games gives Hawks chance for fast start they didn’t make last season.

2. Arizona Cardinals: Pay no attention to Cards’ sloppy play in contests that don’t count. They’re primed to excel in those that do.

3. New England Patriots: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who’ll start first four games as replacement for suspended Tom Brady, has not made anybody forget Tom Brady.

4. Green Bay Packers: Jordy Nelson’s return from knee injury that sidelined the Pro Bowl receiver in 2015 will jump start dead-battery offense.

5. Carolina Panthers: Emotional hangover always is a concern for Super Bowl losers, but Panthers have too much talent to significantly regress from 15-1 record.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Time for Bengals to break through after five consecutive first-round playoff defeats.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers: Offseason drama is growing wearisome.

8. Denver Broncos: Trevor Siemian will be first Northwestern University quarterback to start NFL season opener since Otto Graham, in 1955.

9. Kansas City Chiefs: Their regular season winning streak — 10 games — is league’s longest, by a margin of seven.

10. Minnesota Vikings: It’s all about the acoustics, boss. New $1.1 billion stadium should provide Vikes with same home-field advantage Seahawks enjoy at The Clink.

11. Oakland Raiders: Outscored in fourth quarter by 60 points last season, Raiders will be trouble once they figure out how how to finish.

12. Dallas Cowboys: Poise and smarts of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott can be traced to five-year college career at Mississippi State.

13. Baltimore Ravens: Ravens looking to rebound from 5-11 mark, their first losing season since John Harbaugh took over as head coach in 2008.

14. Indianapolis Colts: Quarterback Andrew Luck remains under siege, even though Colts spent half of their eight 2016 draft picks on offensive linemen.

15. New York Jets: Ryan Fitzpatrick set franchise record with 31 passing touchdowns in 2015, but, man, those three picks in the fourth quarter of the season finale, with a playoff berth at stake...

16. New York Giants: First-year NFL coach Ben McAdoo, who was born in 1977, succeeds Tom Coughlin, who was born in 1946.

17. Houston Texans: Quarterback Brock Osweiler converted seven career starts with Broncos into $72 million contract, with $21 million coming this season.

18. Washington Redskins: Kirk Cousins will be challenged to prove his crazy numbers from a year ago — 4,166 yards passing, a 69.8 percent completion rate, a franchise-record 29 touchdowns — weren’t a fluke.

19. Atlanta Falcons: After a 6-1 start under first-year head coach Dan Quinn, sluggish slog to 8-8 finish was a downer.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack will be in conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

21. Chicago Bears: John Fox needed only two years to turn losers into playoff teams at Carolina and Denver, but it’ll take a miracle for Fox to do the same with lackluster Bears.

22. New Orleans Saints: Saints’ fall from grace related to shoddy scouting between 2010 and 2014: Five draft classes produced four players still under contract.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Slim and trim quarterback Jameis Winston determined to join ranks of elite.

24. Buffalo Bills: Head coach Rex Ryan will be reunited with twin brother Rob — assistant head coach/defense — for first time since they served on 1995 staff their father Buddy put together in Arizona.

25. Miami Dolphins: With “quarterback whisperer” Adam Gase whispering in his ear, Ryan Tannehill could have breakthrough season.

26. Philadelphia Eagles: Rookie head coach Doug Pederson, a Ferndale High grad, is latest seedling from Mike Holmgren’s coaching tree.

27. Detroit Lions: Megatron has retired, but quarterback Matt Stafford still has plenty of weapons — and an offensive coordinator (Jim Bob Cooter) who knows how to use them.

28. San Diego Chargers: It took a mere 123 days for Chargers to agree on contract terms with defensive end Joey Bosa, their first-round draft choice.

29. Los Angeles Rams: Relocation of franchise from St. Louis relieves USC of the burden as only professional football team in Los Angeles.

30. Tennessee Titans: Since leading 2004 Bills to 9-7 record in his first season as head coach, Mike Mularkey is 9-32.

31. Cleveland Browns: Youth movement — 14 picks in last draft — might bode well for the future, but the present... not so much.

32. San Francisco 49ers: Positioned to select Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett as the No. 1 overall draft choice.

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