NFL Power Rankings 2012: Definitive Preseason Rankings

Geoff RatliffContributor IIIAugust 21, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 18: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets warmup before the preseason game against the New York Giants at Metlife Stadium on August 18, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Trying to evaluate an NFL team's regular prospects based on preseason results is a lot like using movie trailers to write movie reviews: Poor results are usually deadly accurate predictors of a team's season, while even the best preseason performances tell you very little about how good your favorite NFL team will be once the games start to matter (see the 2008 Lions who followed a 4-0 preseason with an 0-16 regular season).

That said, the NFL preseason still gives teams and their fans the best opportunity to evaluate rookies, work free agents into new systems, rearrange depth charts and figure out what issues still need to be addressed before the regular season starts—for most teams—on Sunday, September 9.

Now that NFL teams have played a couple of preseason games, we still have as many questions about the 32 franchises as we do answers.

We know that Ryan Tannehill—along with fellow top-10 NFL Draft picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III—will get a chance to prove himself in Week 1. But we still don't know if Kevin Kolb will ever pan out in Arizona.

We know that Terrell Owens has earned one last shot at salvaging his NFL career, while Chad Johnson may have prematurely ended his.

We know that Michael Vick is still as fragile as a china doll. But we're still waiting for Peyton Manning to take, and bounce back from, that first big hit.

We also know that the over/under on the number of games it takes before Tim Tebow becomes the starting quarterback for the New York Jets is moving up every day.

NFL teams still have plenty of position battles left to settle, injured players who have yet to heal and game-changing performers who have yet to end holdouts. But based on what we know after the first three weeks of the preseason, here are the most up-to-date NFL Power Rankings heading into the 2012 regular season.

1. New York Giants

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. New England Patriots

4. Green Bay Packers

5. Houston Texans

6. Baltimore Ravens

7. Philadelphia Eagles

8. Atlanta Falcons

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

10. Detroit Lions

11. Chicago Bears

12. Kansas City Chiefs

13. Denver Broncos

14. New Orleans Saints

15. Cincinnati Bengals


16. Dallas Cowboys

17. San Diego Chargers

18. Carolina Panthers

19. Arizona Cardinals

20. Buffalo Bills

21. Tennessee Titans

22. Seattle Seahawks

23. New York Jets

24. Oakland Raiders

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

26. Washington Redskins

27. St. Louis Rams

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

29. Miami Dolphins

30. Minnesota Vikings

31. Cleveland Browns

32. Indianapolis Colts