NFL Power Rankings for the 2009-2010 Season

Akash ACorrespondent IJune 2, 2009

32. Oakland Raiders: This team was bad, but they JaMarcus Russell, who isn’t a bust yet. They could have shored up their defensive line by drafting Brian Orakpo, 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 Darrius Heyward-Bey. Not even the most talented 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.

31. Detroit Lions: 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.

30. San Fransisco 49ers: 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.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs got Matt Cassel, 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.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: 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 No. 2 without TJ Houshmandzadeh. A lot of their players (including possible No. 2 WR Chris Henry) have been in trouble with the law.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Seattle has no running game to speak of, an okay (at best) defensive unit, a good QB, and okay wide receivers. T.J. Houshmandzadeh 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 No. 2.

26. St. Louis Rams: 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 Laurinaitis 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.

25. Denver Broncos: 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.

24. Houston Texans: The 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 Schaub 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.

23. Cleveland Browns: 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.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 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.

21. Chicago Bears: 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.

20. Dallas Cowboys: 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.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags don’t really have a quarterback, and their defense is old. They are okay at stopping the run (Mike Peters still has some left in the tank). 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.

18. New York Jets: 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.

17. Washington Redskins: 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 two-back. Defensively, the Skins will be helped out by the draft of Brian Orakpow, who was the top defensive lineman in the draft.

16. Buffalo Bills: 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.

15. New Orleans Saints: 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.

14. Miami Dolphins: 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 RB, 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.

13. Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson is now one of the best RB’s 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 quited 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.

12. New York Giants: They have a very good running game in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, and 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.

11. San Diego Chargers: 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, LaDainian 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.

10. Baltimore Ravens: 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.

9. Indianapolis Colts: 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 No. 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.

8. Green Bay Packers: 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, but lack key players at running back and cornerback who can make big plays.

7. Tennessee Titans: Kerry Collins can still make the throws he needs to, and Chris Johnson is a dominating running back. Their defense is a powerful run stopping unit, held together by Albert Haynesworth. 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.

6. Philadelphia Eagles: They have all the necessary tools to be a great team. A great QB, a strong running game and good wide outs. Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb are still good players, and Kevin Curtis is a pretty good wide receiver.

Defensively, they have Asante Samuels, as well as Sheldon Brown. LeSean McCoy has a bright future as an NFL running back, and if he starts off on the right foot, the Eagles will go deep into the playoffs.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Kurt Warner will be back, and he has the best wide receiving tandem in the league at his disposal, in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Tim Hightower is an okay running back, and the Cards have a very strong defense, led by safety Adrian Wilson.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan is a great QB, and will be better than last year, as will his targets including Roddy White. The Addition of Tony Gonzalez will only help the offense, and they have a very strong running game, thanks to Michael Turner.

3. Carolina Panthers: Great running game, great passing game and great defense. Julius Peppers can still make huge plays on D, while Felix Jones and Jonathan Stewart produce a nasty running attack.

Jake Delhomme is a very good QB, and when you have Steve Smith to throw to, you are helped out big time. If the Panthers can get on a roll going into the playoffs, they could go deep into the playoffs, and they are my pick to win the NFC.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers: Best defense in the league, and a great offense. Any time you win a Super Bowl, your team has to be pretty darn good, and the Steelers are just that.

Big Ben leads an offense attack which can punch you in the nose with a run from Mewelde Moore, Rashard Mendenhall or Willie Parker, or air out a deep bomb to Hines Ward or Santonio Holmes.

The Steelers defense is as powerful as the offense, shown by the defeat of one of the best passing attacks in the league lsat year in the Arizona Cardinals.

1. New England Patriots: Tom Brady is back, and he has Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk each possess certain skills which complement each other, giving New England an offense which can air it out as well as any team better than any team in the NFL, while still play smash mouth football.

Defensively, New England has one of the best D lines in the league, thanks to Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour and Ty Warren, while their secondary has been greatly improved in the draft.

Darius Butler was widely considered a top CB, and Pat Chung is a smart, hard hitting safety. The Pats have a mixed linebacking unit. Jerod Mayo is a beast, as is Adalius Thomas (who still has gas left in his tank).

Tedy Bruschi plays smart, and the other OLB position will be filled by Shawn Crable, who is spoken very highly of by the New England coaching staff. The Pats’ only real uncertainty is at LOLB (where Crable will most likely play).

It was hard to decide between Pittsburgh and New England here, but I just felt that because the Pats have a top  defensive unit and the best offense in the league, they could beat the Steelers. The Patriots are deep too, and barring an injury situation similar to last year, I expect the Pats to win the SB.



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