The power rankings for the 2009-2010 season follow.
The teams were judged based mainly on results from last season, and off season additions, mainly draft picks.
This is of course comes with a great margin of error, as no name teams from one season, can make playoff runs the next. The Miami Dolphins rebounding from a 1-15 season are a prime example.
I would love for you to comment on what you think!
This team was bad, but they have Jamarcus Russell, who isn’t a bust yet. They could have shored up their defensive line by drafting Brian Orackpo, or even strengthened their line backing unit by drafting Larry English, Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing or Rey Maualuga. Instead, they go ahead and draft wide receiver and speedster Darius Heyward-Bey.
Not even the most talented receiver in the draft, I might add. They went with pure speed over route running and catching ability, by passing on Jeremy Maclin and Michael Crabtree. The Raiders could have improved themselves, but failed miserably.
They are heading in the right direction. Matthew Stafford seems to be a QB who can make all the right decisions and the tough throws.
Then again, so was Joey Harrington.
The Lions should let Stafford sit out for at least some of the season, so he isn’t thrown into a horrible situation, where he will be lying on his back half the time thanks to a weak offensive line.
They have Frank Gore, but that’s about it. Mike Singletary has yet to prove himself as a coach, while the Niner defense is very unproven. Until San Fran finds a quarterback, they will not contend with most NFL teams.
The Chiefs got Matt Cassell, and drafted Tyson Jackson out of LSU. The two will help the team win, but not enough. Cassell was made better last year because he was throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker. With the Chiefs, Matt has no wide receiver other than Dwayne Bowe, especially with the absence of Tony Gonzalez.
This team is pretty bad. They have one of the, if not the worst defensive units in the league, and their running game is deteriorating as their backs age. Carson Palmer is a great quarterback, but will have trouble finding people to throw to. Chad Ochocinco is a great wide out, but he will be double covered by most teams, and the Bengals don't have much of a #2 without TJ Houshmenzadeh. Laverneus Coles is a good wide receiver, but not great. The Bengals simply have too many questions on defense to win. Also, many of their players (including possible #3 WR Chris Henry) have been in trouble with the law.
Seattle has no running game to speak of, an okay (at best) defensive unit, a good QB, and okay wide receivers. T.J. Houshmenzadeh is obviously their biggest threat, but teams will realize that doubling Housh and maybe even shading him with a third defender will be a possibility, given that Seattle doesn’t really have a #2.
If they can stay healthy, they’ll be an okay team. They are very weak defensively, and they still haven’t found someone who they know can replace Orlando Pace. Jason Smith could fill the void, and James Laurinitis will help defensively, but the Rams have more questions than answers. Steven Jackson is a great RB, and Marc Bulger is a good QB. Unfortunately, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce are no longer options as wide receivers.
With a good draft, the Broncos should have been able to compete. Unfortunately, Jay Cutler left and the Broncos were left with Kyle Orton. Orton is an okay QB, but not nearly as good as Cutler.
The Broncos had major defensive issues, but still went offensive in the draft as they took RB Knowshon Moreno. Moreno looks to have great upside, but the Broncos fell into the trap of drafting talent rather than need.
The Broncos have a weak D, and I doubt if Josh McDaniels can coach the defensive into the postseason; he was an offensive coordinator.
This team over achieved last year. Their best player far and away is wide receiver Andre Johnson. After him, they don’t have much of a unit. Matt Schuab is a decent quarterback, but their running game is weak, and their defense is average.
Brian Cushing was a good pick, and will help out big time. If Mario Williams and Demeco Ryans put up big seasons for Houston, then they could be more of a threat, but until then, Houston will not be a good team.
Eric Mangini played the draft very well, understanding his biggest need was center. He drafted Alex Mack, who played well in college.
Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn have both played, and have both showed glimpses of talent. Braylon Edwards is a solid target, so they will have someone to throw to.
With Eric Mangini coaching, the defense should be stronger. Overall, the Browns can be a good team.
This team has great upside, but if their quarterbacks can’t produce, they won’t go anywhere. Josh Freeman could be a long term answer at quarterback, but that is uncertain.
The defense is quite good, with Will Allen and Gaines Adams (who still has time to make a name for himself) as well as Ronde Barber. Barber is well out of his prime, as is most of the Bucs’ defense. They can be good, but again, it depends on quarterback play.
They now have a quarterback. Jay Cutler will provide the Bears stability in a position which they have been searching for for years. Unfortunately, the Bears D isn’t nearly as strong as it used to be, and in overall defense failed to break the top 10 last season.
They no longer have a premier wide receiver, so Tony Romo will be hesitant when throwing. They don’t have a prime back, and their defense is average. The Cowboys were good for the last few years, but they will not be too big of a threat this year.
The Jags don’t really have a quarterback, and their defense is old. They are okay at stopping the run (Reggie Nelson seems to be a solid safety so far).
Their strength is at running back, where they have Maurice Jones-Drew. Fred Taylor left to go to New England, so Jones-Drew will be tested. The O line for the Jags will be helped by the draft of OT Eugene Monroe, someone who should help the Jags control the trenches offensively.
The Jets drafted Mark Sanchez out of USC, who has great potential and awesome leadership skills. Their defense is very strong, with Kerry Rhodes leading the unit.
Their offensive line should be strong, held together by Alan Faneca. I am hesitant to put New York any higher because you can never be certain what you’ll get with rookie QB. Joey Harrington is a prime example.
Jason Campbell is not a great quarterback by any stretch of the imagination. Clinton Portis is well out of his prime, but can still get the job done.
He will be helped by Ladell Betts, who is a great 2-back. Defensively, the Skins will be helped out by the draft of Brian Orakpo, who was the top defensive lineman in the draft.
Trent Edwards is a young quarterback who should improve and he will be helped by the addition of Terrell Owens.
TO has had success throughout his career in his first season with a team. Throw Lee Evans into the equation and the Bills have a solid receiving tandem.
They also have RB Marshawn Lynch, who if not in trouble with the law poses a threat to defenses.
Aaron Schobel is one of the best defensive lineman in the game, and anchors a very consistent Bills D.
The Saints have Drew Brees, who is obviously one of the best QB’s in the league. He has Marques Colston to throw at, and he is a great option.
Reggie Bush can still prove himself to be a solid player, while Deuce Mcallister can still put up decent numbers.
Unfortunately, the Saints defense is pretty weak. Jonathan Vilma is not nearly as good as he used to be, but can still make tackles.
The Dolphins were a major surprise last year, but they were helped by the absence of Tom Brady when playing New England.
Ronnie Brown is a sensational running back, and Chad Pennington proved he could still make precise throws he used to be known for.
The Dolphins will be better than they were last year, but they will not have as good of a record, thanks to the strong AFC east division.
Adrian Peterson is now the best RB in the league. He is an amazing player and defenses will have a helluva lot of trouble bringing him down.
Unfortunately, the Vikings haven’t quite worked out their quarterback situation, and they can’t hand the ball to Adrian every play.
Defensively, the Vikings have a great line, led by sack master Jared Allen.
They have a very good running game in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. If the running game can get going, Eli Manning will play well, because is very effective off the play action.
Unfortunately, Manning does not have a true #1 receiver to throw to now that Plaxico Burress is gone, and he is not a good enough QB to mask that.
Without Shawne Merriman last season, the Charger defense was very weak. This year he’ll be back, and the unit should be much better. Philip Rivers is a great quarterback, and he will be throwing to Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson, who are two good receivers. However, LaDanian Tomlinson is not as good as he used to be, and seems to be running out of gas, and Darren Sproles hasn’t shown he can be an every down runner. Charger’s former FB Lorenzo Neal’s absence will continue to show its effect.
Led by rookie QB, the Ravens offense was surprisingly good. Willis McGahee led the ground attack, while Flacco put together a solid rookie campaign.
Defensively, the Ravens are still one of the best, featuring Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.
The Colts no longer have Marvin Harrison or Tony Dungy, and Bob Sanders is one year older. Peyton Manning will be content throwing to Reggie Wayne, but a legitimate #2 WR has yet to reveal himself.
Without Dungy, the Colts will not be as good as they were with him, and it will be obvious when they play. Joseph Addai is a pretty good running back, but the Colts’ defense is too weak to compete with powerful, smash mouth teams, especially without Bob Sanders.
They drafted NT B.J. Raji out of Boston College. He is a monster inside, and will wreak havoc against most offensive lines.
Aaron Rodgers proved he was worthy of playing in the NFL, and he has Greg Jennings to throw to. Overall, the Packers will be a very strong team, and they have key players at corner back who can make big plays.
Kerry Collins can still make the throws he needs to, and Chris Johnson is a dominating running back.
The Titans will not be as good as they were last season, but they will still be a force, and I think make the playoffs because the Colts are without coach Tony Dungy.
For the top 6 teams, visit http://newenglandsportsonline.com/blog/?p=155. This is NESO'S TAKE ON SPORTS.