[Editor’s note: Every Tuesday during the season, PFT posts a top-to-bottom list of all teams in the league. This week’s opening effort comes a day early, with yet another money-back guarantee. To all of the fans of the teams in the second half of the rankings, keep two things in mind: (1) someone had to be there; and (2) this list and a dollar will buy you a newspaper, if they actually still sell newspapers.]
1. Broncos (0-0): The defending champion gets two things: A regular-season home opener on Thursday night (unless the local baseball team is in town) and the top spot in the initial PFT power rankings until they lose. Which could happen very, very soon.
2. Panthers (0-0): Three straight division titles, a 15-1 regular season in 2015, the reigning league MVP, and a general sense that the team isn’t getting nearly enough respect.
3. Patriots (0-0): Even without Tom Brady for four weeks and the Broncos clutching the latest Lombardi Trophy, the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC.
4. Seahawks (0-0): They got better last year after Marshawn Lynch was injured. Now that he’s gone for good, they may be as good as they were in 2013.
5. Cardinals (0-0): “All or Nothing” ultimately ended up in “nothing” last year. Whether they get the “all” in 2016 depends on whether they get “anything” out of Carson Palmer when it counts.
6. Steelers (0-0): The defense quietly has improved to the point where not having Martavis Bryant for a year or Le’Veon Bell for three weeks doesn’t really matter.
7. Packers (0-0): Yes, they would have been higher if they hadn’t dumped Josh Sitton on Saturday.
8. Bengals (0-0): If Andy Dalton runs his ass to the sideline, the Bengals may be riding to their first playoff win since the week before they destroyed Bo Jackson’s hip.
9. Washington (0-0): Coach Jay Gruden used his team’s placement on this list at No. 32 last year as motivation. This year, he’ll have to find motivation somewhere else.
10. Chiefs (0-0): With all the talk about the Broncos fading and the Raiders rising, the Chiefs get lost in the shuffle. They won’t once the games begin.
11. Vikings (0-0): Whether the Sam Bradford trade becomes Herschel Walker Part II or the Second Coming of Randall Cunningham remains to be seen. The rest of the roster is good enough to keep the team on the fringes of the top 10, for now.
12. Raiders (0-0): Expectations for 2016 may be a bit high, but the Raiders are on the verge of bringing a much-needed Darth Vader vibe back to the NFL, allowing the league office to perhaps stop being the primary villain in the nation’s ultimate reality show.
13. Texans (0-0): The division is tightening up; as long as Brock Osweiler doesn’t, they should win the division.
14. Cowboys (0-0): Dak Prescott will soon learn the difference between preseason and regular-season games.
15. Colts (0-0): Andrew Luck currently is closer to Archie than Peyton on the Manning scale, and Luck can thank the organization for that.
16. Ravens (0-0): If they can stay healthy, they can get back to the playoffs and give the Patriots all they can handle, again.
17. Jets (0-0): The Jets surely hope that, when it’s time for Ryan Fitzpatrick to perform in the clutch, he’ll perform better than their offseason contract offers to him suggest.
18. Jaguars (0-0): How will the franchise respond to the sudden weight of outside expectations and not-so-subtle internal mandates? We’re about to find out when the Packers roll into town.
19. Dolphins (0-0): The Dolphins are on the right track. The question is how long it will take to get to the destination.
20. Buccaneers (0-0): Few teams in the 20s ever have a realistic chance to get all the way to the Super Bowl. This one does.
21. Rams (0-0): The Climb to 7-9 begins, with the latest evidence of the same-old outcome coming from the failure of the No. 1 overall pick to be higher than No. 3 on the depth chart.
22. Saints (0-0): The Saints love being off the radar this year. They definitely are, at least for now. It may not last long.
23. Lions (0-0): If Calvin Johnson truly is a Hall of Famer (he’s not), not having him will be anything but a good thing for the Lions.
24. Falcons (0-0): Someone has to be in the fourth spot in the most wide-open division in football. And the Falcons could still find a way to win the thing.
25. Bears (0-0): The defense will be better in Year Two of the John Fox regime, but it’s hard to think the offense will be as good with Adam Gase and Matt Forte gone.
26. Titans (0-0): To get respect, a team has to earn it. Lately, the Titans haven’t. They have a great chance to starting doing it with the Vikings coming to town to start the season.
27. Giants (0-0): Am I convinced that firing Tom Coughlin, keeping everyone else, and promoting Ben McAdoo will make the team better? The placement of the team says it all.
28. 49ers (0-0): The Colin Kaepernick situation has become a nice distraction from the rest-of-the-roster situation.
29. Bills (0-0): It’s always better to easily overcome a low bar set by someone else that to run under a high bar set by yourself.
30. Chargers (0-0): If you climb out of this hole by November and more people vote for the hotel tax, you can thank us.
31. Eagles (0-0): Fly, Eagles, fly. Right into a window, given the decision to start the season with a former FBS quarterback who already has bad ribs.
32. Browns (0-0): Someone has to be in this spot, even when everyone is 0-0. Some think the Browns secretly hope to be in this spot when the season ends, so that they can land DeShaun Watson.