NFL Power Rankings: Pre-training camp edition

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Jun 17, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) high-fives a teammate during mini camp at Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

26. Houston Texans

I have mixed feeling about the Texans this season. On one hand, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on the same team with proven defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel now in the mix should make Houston very troublesome for opposing offenses. However, Ryan Fitzpatrick as your opening day QB with his top target Andre Johnson holding out and demanding a trade makes me scared for their offense. They need to get Johnson in camp and hope that they can make just enough plays on offense to be competitive. If not, despite the improved defense, they may have a chance to draft their next QB with the first overall pick in next year’s draft.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The best addition that the Bucs made this offseason was hiring Lovie Smith as their head coach. I think he’ll bring some much needed stability to the team and I think their defensive personnel is suited for his Tampa-2 system. The question will be if they can get good enough QB play out of either veteran Josh McCown or second year man Mike Glennon to take advantage of their two freakishly gifted WRs, Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans. If they do get good QB play this could be a team to watch.

24. Atlanta Falcons

While getting Julio Jones back healthy will be the most obvious difference for the Falcons, it’s the added muscle in the trenches that may have the biggest impact. Atlanta added top pick Jake Matthews at OT and the solid free agent Jon Asamoah at guard to help stabilize a problematic offensive line. On the defensive side of the ball they brought in Tyson Jackson, Paul Soliai, and Ra’Shede Hageman. That’s a whole lot of added bulk on the defensive line that was much needed. While I’m not ready to forecast a jump back to the playoffs yet, this is a team that could rise up these rankings if their new pieces gel quickly.

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