Way-too-early 2018 NFL Power Rankings

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Way-too-early NFL Power Rankings for 2018 (1:40)

The 2017 NFL season may have just ended, but ESPN's NFL Nation already has you covered for next season by ranking every team for 2018. (1:40)

The Philadelphia Eagles have finally won a Super Bowl. Are they primed to make another deep run -- with Carson Wentz -- in 2018?

The ESPN power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- is already looking ahead to next season with a way-too-early edition of NFL Power Rankings. Here's how we think the league will stack up in 2018.

Note: These rankings are based on which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would be favored against lower-ranked teams. ESPN Stats & Information's John McTigue contributed the following information.

1. New England Patriots

2017 record: 13-3

They lost the Super Bowl, but why bet against a return? Tom Brady doesn't appear close to retiring, and unless Bill Belichick decides to hang up his sleeveless sweatshirt, the Patriots are the default No. 1 team heading into the 2018 season. The quarterback-coach duo has been to more Super Bowls (eight) since 2001 than 28 franchises have appeared in.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 record: 13-3

The Eagles won the Super Bowl without Carson Wentz, proving just how deep this roster is beyond the quarterback. A few key contributors are pending free agents -- Patrick Robinson, Corey Graham and LeGarrette Blount -- but if Wentz returns and can continue to play at a high level (he led the league in Total QBR in 2017), the sky is the limit for Philly. Why No. 2? We need to see Wentz back healthy.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 record: 13-3

The Steelers are 39-17 (.696) over the past five seasons when Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown all play. Bell is a pending free agent, but if he returns, there's no reason to expect the Steelers to take a step backward from their 2017 season.

4. Minnesota Vikings

2017 record: 13-3

Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater are all expected to be unrestricted free agents this offseason. So despite Keenum finishing with an 11-3 record as the starter, second in Total QBR (69.5) and helping the Vikings reach the NFC Championship Game, he might not even be back in Minnesota next season. Even if he's not, the Vikings should be in good shape: Both Bradford and Bridgewater have winning records under Mike Zimmer.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 record: 10-6

Aaron Colvin and Paul Posluszny are the two biggest pending free agents from a Jaguars defense that ranked second in points and yards allowed this season, and they played the 10th- and 12th-most snaps among Jacksonville defenders. The quarterback situation could change, but with a defense that good returning nearly intact, Jacksonville could prove 2017 was no fluke.

6. New Orleans Saints

2017 record: 11-5

The Saints went 11-5 this past season and had a team that featured the second-most snaps from rookies. Those rookies -- which included Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore -- could continue to improve and make an impact in 2018. And assuming Drew Brees does return (he's a pending free agent), the Saints could be the team to beat in the NFC.

7. Atlanta Falcons

2017 record: 10-6

The Falcons' offense lost some of its luster in 2017. Matt Ryan didn't have a single three-touchdown game, and finished with half as many 30-yard pass plays as he did a season ago. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is slated to return in 2018 and no major pieces on offense are expected to leave, so perhaps a full year of experience under Sarkisian's system will do some good.

8. Green Bay Packers

2017 record: 7-9

The Packers went 3-6 without Aaron Rodgers and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Now the Packers have a new general manager, a new offensive coordinator and a new defensive coordinator. They've made some big changes already this offseason, but as long as Rodgers returns, they should contend.

9. Los Angeles Rams

2017 record: 11-5

The Rams will retain most of the NFL's top-scoring offense but could have some work cut out if they can't keep their defense together. Connor Barwin, Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner and Nickell Robey-Coleman will all be free agents, and all four ranked in the top nine in snaps played among Rams defenders.

10. Carolina Panthers

2017 record: 11-5

The Panthers' decision to spend a first-round pick on Christian McCaffrey paid off. He led the team in scrimmage yards and receptions. The team might have to use another high pick on offense in 2018 after jettisoning Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo. Devin Funchess was the only Panthers wide receiver with at least 500 receiving yards in 2017.

11. Seattle Seahawks

2017 record: 9-7

The Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Russell Wilson will be back and Pete Carroll is slated to return, which gives Seattle a fighting chance. But Jimmy Graham is a pending free agent, and the turmoil surrounding Seattle's defense could mean the end of the Legion of Boom.

12. Kansas City Chiefs

2017 record: 10-6

A career year from Alex Smith still didn't change the Chiefs' playoff luck. And with Smith being dealt to the Redskins, it looks as if it'll be Patrick Mahomes' time in 2018. He won his Week 17 start, becoming the first quarterback drafted by Kansas City to win a game for the Chiefs since Todd Blackledge.

13. Dallas Cowboys

2017 record: 9-7

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will each be entering their third season, and the only free agents on the offensive line are at left guard. So the offense should be ready to go in 2018. The defense, however, could see some changes as the top two pass-rushers -- DeMarcus Lawrence (unrestricted) and David Irving (restricted) -- will both be free agents.

14. San Francisco 49ers

2017 record: 6-10

Jimmy Garoppolo was 5-0 as a starter in San Francisco, and 7-0 in his career. So assuming the Niners come to an agreement with him this offseason, they could find themselves back in the playoff picture.

15. Houston Texans

2017 record: 4-12

The prospect of a full season with Deshaun Watson has to be exciting for Texans fans. They were 21 points better per game with him as their starting quarterback in 2017 than any other QB. They also could see healthy returns from the likes of J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing and Whitney Mercilus to shore up the defense.

16. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 9-7

The Chargers just missed the playoffs, but they also gave up their fewest points in a season since 1992. They don't have many big free agents, so if Philip Rivers can continue to limit turnovers and the defense can continue to keep opponents in check, Los Angeles could be back in contention.

17. Tennessee Titans

2017 record: 9-7

The Titans won a playoff game despite being outscored in the 2017 regular season. Marcus Mariota is coming off a down year -- with 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions -- but as we saw in the playoffs, the Heisman Trophy-winning backfield of Mariota and Derrick Henry could be primed to run wild in 2018.

18. Oakland Raiders

2017 record: 6-10

The last time Jon Gruden coached the Raiders, they went 10-6 and were arguably a "Tuck Rule" away from a Super Bowl appearance. A lot has changed in Oakland since then, but Gruden will have a 27-year-old quarterback to work with in Derek Carr. Gruden's youngest starters in his first stint with the Raiders were 31-year-olds Jeff George and Donald Hollas.

19. Baltimore Ravens

2017 record: 9-7

The Ravens finished with a winning record on the backs of their defense, which has no unrestricted free agents who played in 2017. Baltimore's shortcomings were on offense, with Joe Flacco coming off a career-low season in Total QBR (43). The Ravens' top three receivers last season were all 29 or older, so if they want to get the most out of Flacco, they'll need a youth movement on offense.

20. Detroit Lions

2017 record: 9-7

The Lions finished 21st in points allowed, but they'll have to open their checkbooks to retain the players who kept their scoring defense that low. Ezekiel Ansah (sack leader), Tahir Whitehead (leading tackler), D.J. Hayden (second in pass breakups) and Haloti Ngata will all be unrestricted free agents this offseason.

21. Buffalo Bills

2017 record: 9-7

The Bills spent most of last offseason shedding key pieces from their roster, so it will be interesting to see what they do this offseason after ending their playoff drought. The biggest question mark is Tyrod Taylor, who despite having a winning record and the 13th-best Total QBR over the past three seasons (right behind Russell Wilson), could find himself out of a job.

22. Washington Redskins

2017 record: 7-9

After back-to-back franchise tags, the Redskins moved on from Kirk Cousins with the trade for Alex Smith. Cousins threw for more touchdowns than Smith did in 2017, but since 2011, only three quarterbacks -- Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers -- have a better winning percentage as a starter than Smith.

23. Denver Broncos

2017 record: 5-11

The Broncos still have a strong defense and pretty much every key contributor is scheduled to return in 2018. But until they figure out the quarterback situation, it will be difficult to take Denver seriously as a contender. The Broncos rank 29th as a team in Total QBR over the past two seasons.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 record: 5-11

The Buccaneers were the lone NFC South team to not make the 2017 playoffs. Most of the key pieces on offense -- Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard -- will be back, and they'd like to improve on the 20.9 points per game the offense averaged last season.

25. Indianapolis Colts

2017 record: 4-12

It would be easy to write off Indianapolis' 2017 season to the loss of Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett's throwing for only 13 touchdowns in 16 games also didn't help. But the Colts also had the league's worst defense, according to FPI. So unless the unit gets better, a healthy Luck might not mean a big improvement in 2018.

26. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 8-8

The Cardinals overcame major injuries to David Johnson, Carson Palmer and along the offensive line. But they'll have even more obstacles to overcome this offseason. First up for new head coach Steve Wilks? Picking a quarterback. The Cardinals currently have none signed for the 2018 season.

27. Miami Dolphins

2017 record: 6-10

The Dolphins have had only one winning season since finishing 11-5 in 2008, and have had between six and eight wins every other year. Ryan Tannehill will be back in 2018, but with a career 37-40 record as a starter, that might not mean too much for Miami.

28. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 7-9

The Bengals spoiled the playoff hopes of the Lions and Ravens in the last two weeks of the 2017 season. They also brought back head coach Marvin Lewis, which could spoil their own in 2018. Lewis has seven postseason appearances over 15 seasons in Cincinnati, including five straight from 2011 to 2015, but he's 0-7 in those games.

29. New York Jets

2017 record: 5-11

The Jets surpassed expectations in 2017, and Josh McCown surprised with his quality of play. But where does that leave them now? They still don't have a long-term plan at quarterback and have the No. 6 pick in the 2018 draft, which could be too late to draft one of the top quarterback prospects.

30. New York Giants

2017 record: 3-13

The Giants ranked 31st in points scored and 27th in points allowed this past season, so there probably isn't any quick fix via the draft or free agency that would lead to an immediate turnaround. They could use the No. 2 pick to draft Eli Manning's heir. If they do, 2018 could be another long season for fans.

31. Chicago Bears

2017 record: 5-11

The Bears' success next season will rest on the development of Mitchell Trubisky and the talent they put around him. Trubisky posted the second-worst Total QBR (29.2) and averaged only 183 passing yards per game in 2017, but he did so with Kendall Wright and Dontrelle Inman as his top two receivers. New pass-catchers could equal new life for the offense.

32. Cleveland Browns

2017 record: 0-16

After going 0-16 in 2008, the Lions went 2-14 in 2009, but had high hopes after nabbing Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick. The 2017 Browns went 0-16 but own the No. 1 and 4 picks in the draft in addition to having a lot of cap space. A franchise quarterback and influx of talent could be headed to Cleveland this offseason. Wins might not be far behind.