NFL Power Rankings: Every Team's Biggest Strength

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IOctober 24, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 21: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers prepares to throw a pass during the game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 21, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
David Welker/Getty Images

Every team in the NFL has something that every other team covets. 

Yes, its obvious that more teams strive to be like the Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers or any other top squad. But did you also know that the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars have elite strengths, too?

I'll prove it. 

Note: All following stats come from


1. Houston Texans (6-1)

There are plenty of different strengths on this team, but it's difficult not to go with the man, the myth, the legend:

J.J. Watt. 

The pride of Waukesha has already racked up 9.5 sacks and his Inspector Gadget arms have batted down 10 passes. As a result, the Texans rank fifth in the NFL in points allowed per game and second in yards allowed per play.

Those are impressive numbers considering Aaron Rodgers' footprints have trampled all over this defense. 


2. Atlanta Falcons (6-0)

The Falcons rank near the bottom of the league on both sides of the running game, yet they are still undefeated.

How exactly is that possible?

Well, Matt Ryan, who is playing at an MVP level (last game against Oakland not included), has a little something to do with that, as does arguably the best trio of pass catchers in the game. 


3. Chicago Bears (5-1)

The defense, which is first in the NFL in points allowed per game, is the obvious choice here, but even more so, the ability of the defense to make game-changing plays.

The Bears are first in the NFL in takeaways per game at 3.5 and first in defensive touchdowns with 0.8 per game.  

It's pretty easy to win when your defense is outscoring the opposition's offense. 


4. Green Bay Packers (4-3)

Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers and maybe a little bit of Aaron Rodgers.

The reigning MVP got off to a relatively slow start to the season, but over the last two games, he's turned back into the robot that makes the Packers offense impossible to stop. 


5. New York Giants (5-2)

This entire offense is an absolute juggernaut. 

Ahmad Bradshaw is averaging a healthy 4.7 yards per carry, but even when he's injured, Andre Brown and David Wilson have proven to be just as dangerous in his stead.

Then you have Eli Manning, who is as dominant as he is goofy-looking, throwing to Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. It's almost not even fair. 


6. San Francisco 49ers (4-2)

Frank Gore constantly showering in the Fountain of Youth is serving as a pretty dangerous weapon, but there's no point in naming anything besides this scary defense, which is first in the NFL in yards allowed per play. 


7. Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

The unexpected dominance of the defense has made the Vikings into a legitimate contender in the NFC, but if the thought of tackling Adrian Peterson doesn't completely frighten you, then you are either crazy or named Patrick Willis.

Or, in simpler terms: Adrian Peterson good. Adrian Peterson run over defenders. Adrian Peterson top Viking weapon. 


8. Seattle Seahawks (4-3)

Any time a secondary is nicknamed "Legion of Boom," you know it's dangerous. In fact, this secondary is so talented and so physical that I would be surprised if one of its members didn't pull out a WWE move sometime soon.

Oh, wait. 

I think he got the pinfall. 


9. New England Patriots (4-3)

Tom Brady is actually having a down year compared to his last two magnificent seasons. By "down year," I'm talking about 300 yards per game, 12 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 96.9 QB rating.

If that really has you disappointed with the Patriots QB, then you probably don't like cheap pizza.

It's freaking pizza. It's awesome no matter what. 


10. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

He may, at times, get ignored like the nerdy kid in high school, but there's no question that Ray Rice, who is arguably the best all-around back in this league, is Baltimore's most dangerous weapon. 


11. Denver Broncos (3-3)

Here's a scary thought: Even with all of those magical years in Indianapolis, Peyton Manning is on pace to have his second-best statistical season ever.

He's an early candidate for MVP and the sole reason why the Broncos should be feared every week. 


12. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

LeSean McCoy is getting ignored like he's Ray Rice's best friend, but when he gets the ball in his hands, he's more slippery than a fish in a jelly factory. Or something less weird.

The more Shady touches the football, the better the Eagles will fare. 


13. Washington Redskins (3-4)

Kai Forbath has really stepped in and done a great job for the Redskins' special teams unit. He's nailed all four of his kicks, including one from 50 and two from 40-49.

Oh yeah, and there's this other guy named Robert Griffin III who is pretty good, too.

Note to reader: If you missed the sarcasm, here: RGIII is already arguably the most dangerous weapon in the NFL. He is the cheese to Washington's macaroni.


14. Miami Dolphins (3-3)

The defense. Not only is it second in the NFL at stopping the run, but it's first in the league in stopping teams from converting third downs. 


15. San Diego Chargers (3-3)

Ryan Mathews is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and is quickly establishing himself as one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league. 

That, and the more he has the ball, the less Philip Rivers has the ball, which is always a good thing. 


16. Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

The Cowboys are weird. They seemingly have talent all over the field, but they simply don't dominate any aspect of the game.

Tony Romo has been doing his best Philip Rivers imitation, Dez Bryant's babysitters are clearly buttering his hands up before the game (read: drops), Miles Austin and DeMarco Murray can't stay healthy and the defense, in terms of yards allowed per play, is average.

Still though, you have to believe Romo and this passing offense, which at times can be impossible to stop, is without a doubt Dallas' best weapon.  


17. St. Louis Rams (3-4)

The defense, which, ranks 10th in points allowed per game, yards allowed per game, points allowed per play, yards allowed per play and touchdowns allowed per game, has been a pleasant surprise under Jeff Fisher. 


18. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)

There are a lot of holes on this team, but as long as Ben Roethlisberger is airing it out 40 times per game to Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace, the Steelers will constantly be competitive. 


19. New York Jets (3-4)

Surprisingly enough, the biggest strength of this team without Darrelle Revis is still the pass defense.

Opposing quarterbacks are completing just 56.17 percent of their passes for just 6.4 yards per pass as the Jets have shut down nearly every team through the air. 


20. Detroit Lions (2-4)

Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson is still a connection that no one, except maybe Peanut Tillman, wants to try to stop.

The Lions have struggled putting the ball in the endzone, but there's no question they can move the ball as well as any team in this league. 


21. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)

How long before A.J. Green garners the nickname Optimus Prime? He is quickly establishing himself as Calvin Johnson's main competition for most dangerous wide receiver in the league.


22. New Orleans Saints (2-4)

Drew Brees. 'Nuff said. 


23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)

Vincent Jackson has quietly made this pass offense very dangerous, but it's hard to get better than a unit that is ranked No. 1 in the league.  

That would be the Bucs' rush defense. 


24. Indianapolis Colts (3-3)

Andrew Luck is just a rookie, and as such, has shown small bouts of inconsistency. But if Luck was still nerding it up at Stanford, there's no question the Colts would be 1-5 or 0-6 at this point. 


25. Arizona Cardinals (4-3)

The Cardinals have taken significant steps back in the past weeks, but their defense is still an elite unit, especially against the pass.

Arizona is fifth in the NFL in yards per pass allowed and third in opponents' completion percentage. 

The lack of any resemblance of an offensive line has brought the Cards down, but at least they have something to build around. 


26. Tennessee Titans (3-4)

This offense, whether being led by Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker, is an underrated unit. 

Chris Johnson has shown signs of being the explosive player he once was in the past four weeks and the receiving corps has four legitimate weapons. 


27. Buffalo Bills (3-4)

The two-headed running attack of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller is one of the most productive in the game. 


28. Oakland Raiders (2-4)

The offensive line has produced as many holes as a brick, and Darren McFadden has struggled because running through bricks is hard, but there's no question the young running back is their most dangerous weapon.

Sooner or later, McFadden is going to put up some large numbers and we'll all say, "Oh yeah, that's who that is."


29. Carolina Panthers (1-5)

How quickly a Robert Griffin III makes us all forget.

Cam Newton is putting up very similar numbers to last season, yet the talk around him has subsided very quickly. He's still one of the most electric players in the game. 


30. Cleveland Browns (1-6)

I'm still under the impression that Trent Richardson is the best weapon on this team. 

But while he's sidelined with an injury and/or not getting room to run, I'll go with the Brandon Weeden-to-Josh Gordon connection, which has looked dominant the past three weeks.

Never thought I'd say those words. 


31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)

Poor Jamaal Charles. The dynamic back is one of the most exciting, productive players in the league, but his talents are being wasted in Kansas City. 


32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)


Hold on. It will come to me. Maybe...

Yeah, sure. The Jaguars are a well-disciplined team. Blaine Gabbert is fifth in the NFL in interception percentage and Jacksonville is fifth in the NFL in penalties per game. 



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