*Power rankings are coming in from around the country as the regular season gets underway: *
On Thursday night, the defending champion New England Patriots will raise their Super Bowl banner before kicking off the 2017 NFL season.
A year from now, the 31 other teams hope to be in that position, including the Giants, who are coming off an 11-5 season and a playoff appearance. Now the drive for their fifth Lombardi Trophy begins.
But who will the major contenders be this season?
Here’s a look at power rankings for Week 1:
*NFC East: *No. 3 Giants, No. 7 Cowboys, No. 16 Redskins, No. 22 Eagles
*NFL Top 5: *Patriots, Seahawks, Giants, Steelers, Raiders.
*Comments: *“Nothing has really changed since last year with the New York Giants defense. It's still awesome. The Giants still possess one of the league's best secondaries and one of the league's best front fours.” – Chris Simms
NFC East: *No. 6 Cowboys, No. 7 Giants, No. 17 Eagles, No. 21 Redskins *
*NFL Top 5: *Patriots, Steelers, Falcons, Packers, Seahawks
*Comments: *“Jason Pierre-Paul looked great this preseason. Based on that and how he was playing last season before suffering a core muscle injury, JPP isn’t the worst pick to win defensive player of the year.” -- Frank Schwab
*NFC East: *No. 7 Cowboys, No. 8 Giants, No. 14 Eagles, No. 17 Redskins
*NFL Top 5: *Patriots, Steelers, Falcons, Packers, Raiders
*Comments: *“The ankle injury suffered by WR Odell Beckham Jr. during a preseason game complicates things. The Giants must have Beckham in the lineup and at something close to full speed for this offense, which was underwhelming last season, to function at a level high enough for this team to be a top contender. The defense must maintain last season’s level while Coach Ben McAdoo and QB Eli Manning find a way to make the offense more productive. That is unlikely to happen if Beckham is slowed for any significant portion of the season. Will the Cowboys-Giants opener be played without both (Ezekiel) Elliott and Beckham?” -- Mark Maske
*NFC East: *No. 3 Cowboys, No. 9 Giants, No. 23 Eagles, No. 27 Redskins
*NFL Top 5: *Patriots, Seahawks, Cowboys, Steelers, Raiders
*Comments: *“Defense has become their backbone again, stacked from the front to the secondary. But they will be stuck in near-NFC content if Eli Manning can't find his passing mojo, even with Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram in the mix.” -- Vinnie Iyer
NFC East: *No. 6 Cowboys, No. 10 Giants, No. 19 Eagles, No. 22 Redskins *
*NFL Top 5: *Patriots, Falcons, Seahawks, Steelers, Packers
*Comments: *“All three starting receivers had an injury scare in August, though none greater than Odell Beckham's sprained ankle. The offense still depends on him, but the attack's new diversity could be a key for playoff aspirations.” – USA TODAY staff
NFC East: No. 7 Giants, No. 8 Cowboys, No. 17 Redskins, No. 19 Eagles
NFL Top 5: Patriots, Seahawks, Falcons, Packers, Steelers
Comments: “Don't think you'll be seeing much drop-off from Big Blue's defensive unit this season. I've already staked my claim on Janoris Jenkins, and Landon Collins could very well be the top safety in pro football. Teams are gonna suck trying to run up the middle on this group again. Concerns, you ask? Odell Beckham Jr. being healthy for the opener against Dallas, Brandon Marshall's stunted preseason, the run game. Especially the run game. Someone has to emerge, right? Or rather, be submerged behind that offensive line.” -- Elliot Harrison