NFL Power Rankings 2012: Teams That Will Rise Next Season
You know what they say—every season brings new challenges.
While some powerhouses should remain on top, others will inevitably fall and be overtaken by bounce-back teams.
It happens every year, and 2012 won't be any different.
The New York Giants, the defending champions, are obviously sitting pretty right now, but what about the new contenders in the NFL?
Here's a look at some teams I see rising next season, complete with power rankings below.
With the talent on this team, most experts can't imagine Philadelphia going 8-8 again.
The Eagles won four games in a row to close out last season, while going 5-1 against NFC East foes.
The defense improved in the second half of the season, even though the first half was a disaster. I expect the Eagles to have a good defense this year.
I knew from the start that the Eagles needed time to gel last season; I just didn't know how long it would take. After a season together, this group can go about being a winning team and tighten up just enough to make those close losses a thing of the past.
The Eagles lost five games by seven points or less last season, including three by four points or less.
The Broncos now have one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, and a revamped pass defense as well.
Denver brought in cornerbacks Drayton Florence and Tracy Porter this offseason, as well as safety Mike Adams. With Champ Bailey locking down the other side of the field, the defense stands to be much improved.
Who will rise the most next season?
If you look at the Bears' overall record last season (8-8), it doesn't do the team justice. When Caleb Hanie took over for injured starting quarterback Jay Cutler, everything went downhill.
The fact of the matter is, the Bears had just rattled off five straight victories and were 7-3 when Cutler went down. Lovie Smith's men ended up losing five of their last six games after that.
The Bears still have a solid defense, particularly when the offense helps out, and an offensive line that should be better with second-year pro Gabe Carimi coming back from injury.
NFL Power Rankings
|1. New York Giants|
|2. Green Bay Packers|
|3. New England Patriots|
|4. San Francisco 49ers|
|5. Baltimore Ravens|
|6. Houston Texans|
|7. Pittsburgh Steelers|
|8. New Orleans Saints|
|9. Atlanta Falcons|
|10. Philadelphia Eagles|
|11. Detroit Lions|
|12. Cincinnati Bengals|
|13. Dallas Cowboys|
|14. Chicago Bears|
|15. Denver Broncos|
|16. San Diego Chargers|
|17. Buffalo Bills|
|18. New York Jets|
|19. Arizona Cardinals|
|20. Kansas City Chiefs|
|21. Tennessee Titans|
|22. Carolina Panthers|
|23. Seattle Seahawks|
|24. Oakland Raiders|
|25. Washington Redskins|
|26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|27. Miami Dolphins|
|28. St. Louis Rams|
|29. Jacksonville Jaguars|
|30. Cleveland Browns|
|31. Minnesota Vikings|
|32. Indianapolis Colts|
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