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The wait for football through the dog days of summer can feel interminable. Fear not. There are a mere 74 days remaining until the Hall of Fame Game between the Packers and Colts kicks off the preseason.
With the draft in the rearview and OTAs underway, now is as good a time as any to check out how all 32 teams stack up. Here’s our first set of 2016 Power Rankings.
1. Arizona Cardinals
• The 12 quarterbacks with the most to prove in the 2016 season
2. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers dropped one of the surprises of the off-season when they told Josh Norman they’d like to see other people (been there, Josh). Norman was in the Defensive Player of the Year mix for most of last season, but the defending NFC champs can overcome his absence thanks to a deep group of DTs, a remarkably athletic linebacking corps and an offense that could be even better than it was in racking up a league-best 500 points last season.
3. New England Patriots
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
• LeVeon Bell: Teams try to injure me on purpose
5. Denver Broncos
Denver produced two 1,000-yard receivers last season, so it’s not like the defending champs punted on first down and waited for the defense to score. But the Peyton Manning/Brock Osweiler combo did come with obvious limitations. Will a Mark Sanchez/Paxton Lynch 1-2 punch put even more pressure on the defense?
6. Minnesota Vikings
• JACOBS: Perks of a 22-week NFL season