NFL

Breaking Down Which NFL Teams Are Over- and Underrated

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons calls out a play against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter of their season opener on September 9, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Amelia AhlgrenContributor IIISeptember 11, 2012

With NFL Week 2 on the horizon, overeager fans and pundits are already proclaiming teams dead or declaring them Super Bowl champs.

Here are four teams that are either widely over- or underrated on various power rankings heading into next Sunday.

 

Atlanta Falcons: Underrated

The Atlanta Falcons are a top-three team, but somehow they are never listed atop the power rankings with the other NFL elite. This, despite the fact that the Falcons are equipped with endless weapons on offense.

Matt Ryan is entering the prime of his career, and he's lethal.

Ryan benefits from an explosive Julio Jones, a wise-but-not-slowed Tony Gonzalez and a fearless Roddy White. Oh, and the Falcons can run the ball as well.

On defense, the loss of Brent Grimes hurts them, but Atlanta will still be effective in the secondary.

Asante Samuel may not have the step, but he has the smarts, and Dunta Robinson is just plain punishing.

It could easily be Falcons vs. 49ers in the NFC Championship.

 

New York Giants: Underrated

This story has already been written for the Giants, season after season: They suffer a Week 1 loss, and already pundits are worried and rivals are relieved.

If you haven't learned by now, you cannot write off the reigning Super Bowl champs.

New York played its season opener with a limited Hakeem Nicks and an uncharacteristically shaky Victor Cruz. Nicks will soon be back to 100 percent, and Cruz's hands should be surer going forward.

The Giants also suffered an onslaught of injuries on D, allowing Tony Romo to hog the ball for 34 minutes, thereby shortchanging Eli Manning's time of possession.

Week 1 aside, this team could still take the NFC East.

 

Philadelphia Eagles: Overrated

Speaking of the NFC East, a lot of people still think the Eagles are the team to beat in that division.

And just like last year, the Eagles are great in theory, but not in practice.

Despite their fantastic Week 1 comeback, Philly almost lost to a Cleveland Browns team that ditched Colt McCoy in favor of 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden.

Weeden threw for an embarrassing 118 yards on 35 attempts. He handed Philadelphia's defense four picks and a fumble.

How the Eagles had to come back to win this one is baffling.

Michael Vick was worrisome, throwing four interceptions on the day. If the Eagles had dropped this one, it would have been a loss at their own hands, plain and simple.

 

Green Bay Packers: Overrated

As long as Aaron Rodgers remains on this team, power rankings will continue to list the Packers as a top-three contender. This team will make the playoffs, sure, and they certainly have a shot at the Super Bowl, but they are unquestionably overhyped.

The Packers play one-dimensional football. They have an aerial attack, but that's about it.

Green Bay's run game is so irrelevant that the team started a waning Cedric Benson against last season's No. 1-ranked run defense. Unsurprisingly, Benson gained just 18 yards on nine touches.

Green Bay's work-in-progress defense looked as porous as ever, letting up 30 points.

This team is nowhere near as balanced as the 49ers or the Falcons. They'll be a fearsome contender, but there are stronger teams over which to drool.

The Packers could easily fall into an 0-2 hole against a solid Bears team in Week 2.

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