5. Seattle Seahawks
The additions of G Chance Warmack and tackle Brandon Shell should coincide with QB Russell Wilson spending less time running for his life. Carlos Hyde provides veteran depth at running back while WR Phillip Dorsett and the ageless Greg Olson (TE) give Wilson a couple more pieces to improve a Seahawks offense that averaged just over 21 points-per-game in their last 8 games (including playoffs).
6. Green Bay Packers
How does a team that finished last season 13-3 and in the NFC Championship game drop to sixth in the rankings? Subtract two starting defensive players via free agency and then make the focal point of your draft about finding a replacement for your franchise QB (Aaron Rodgers) instead of looking for pieces to help him.
7. Buffalo Bills
Losing DL Jordan Phillips (9.5 sacks) and Shaq Lawson (6.5 sacks) from a defense ranked second last season in points allowed (16.2 per game) should be somewhat offset by the addition of DL Mario Addison (9.5 sacks). Meanwhile, the Bills added to their 23rd ranked offense with the trade acquisition of Stefon Diggs and by drafting RB Devin Singletary.
If QB Josh Allen continues to take another step forward in his development as a passer, the Bills could dethrone the New England Patriots to win the AFC East this season.
8. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings may take a step back this season as the team suffers some “growing pains” transitioning from veterans to younger players. Unless WR Justin Jefferson is able to ‘hit the ground running’ as a rookie, the loss of Stefon Diggs will be felt on offense. On defense, cornerbacks Jeff Gladney (1st round) and Cameron Dantzler (3rd round) need to step up in a secondary that is among the youngest in the league.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 7-9 Bucs are the biggest ‘riser’ in these power rankings. Swapping out QB Tom Brady for former Buc Jameis Winston should not only make last year’s 3rd ranked offense more efficient but will almost certainly improve the 29th ranked Tampa Bay scoring defense too. If you remove the NFL record seven “pick 6” passes that Winston threw, the Bucs actually only allowed 20.63 pts per game (which would have been good for 12th last season.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Adding WR Ceedee Lamb to the offensive trifecta already in place can only help the offense. On the other side of the ball, losing CB Byron Jones, DE Robert Quinn, and DT Meliek Collins to free agency, and DT Gerald McCoy to injury will definitely have an effect on the defensive side of the ball.
With all that said, head coach Mike McCarthy is considered a major upgrade over Jason Garrett so Dallas will be a contender in the NFC East.