Now that Training Camp has opened and is in full swing I decided it is time to dish out my first edition of power rankings for this upcoming season in what I hope I can continue through the whole season.
These rankings are based on their performance last year, and my expectations/thoughts for them this year.
1. New England Patriots. (11-5)
The last time Tom Brady was healthy, the Patriots went 16-0. I'm not saying they will do it again, but they look just as good and added Fred Taylor to help the running game.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers. (12-4)
Defending Super Bowl Champions. They still look good on both sides of the field as well.
3. New York Giants. (12-4)
Many have overlooked the importance of Osi Umenyiora coming back on defense, which looks great. Brandon Jacobs, Eli Manning and the rest of the offense should be able to fair well even with the inexperience of the wide receivers.
4. Philadelphia Eagles. (9-6-1)
Donovan McNabb isn't getting any younger, and this season could be his last true run at the title. After getting hot and going to the NFC Championship game last year the Eagles will try to get that extra step farther and take a close NFC East from the Giants.
5. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
Some people aren't big believers in Matt Ryan and the Falcons, but I think they can do great things this year. With the addition of Tony Gonzales to the offense, Matt Ryan could be even more effective then he was in his rookie season. The only question at the moment is with WR Roddy White, who is holding out at training camp.
6. Indianapolis Colts. (12-4)
I've questioned how this team will do without Tony Dungy or Marvin Harrison, but I think they can put in another solid season. It will be a close division fight between them and Tennessee
7. Tennessee Titans (13-3)
The team boasting the NFL's best record last year, the Titans should be good this season regardless of whether Vince Young has to step in or not. The rushing game with Chris Johnson and LenDale White should be very good again this year.
8. San Diego Chargers (8-8)
After squeaking into the playoffs last year, they play in a very easy division this year with the Broncos not looking as good, the Raiders looking the same, and the Chiefs getting better, but not ready to contend with LT, Phillip Rivers and the Chargers. This is their division to lose.
9. Carolina Panthers (12-4)
The playoffs didn't go well for Jake Delhomme and the Panthers last year, but they will be back and ready to fight for a tough NFC South with the Falcons. The rushing attack of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart should help this offense alot this year, even though we could see a huge decline from Williams last season.
10. Chicago Bears (9-7)
The addition of Jay Cutler will do just enough to help these Bears take the NFC North from the Minnesota Vikings. Some like to think that Cutler's production came from Brandon Marshall, but I think that Cutler was more important to Marshall's success. Expect a big step-up from Devin Hester in the receiving game this year.
11. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
Adrian Peterson could have a huge year this year. And by huge, we are talking 2,000 yards and an MVP award. I also think, unlike most people, that Tavaris Jackson will put together a decent season.
12. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
I think many people will start to notice that Joe Flacco wasn't all that great last year. The defense will be worse, but will still be able to carry this team to second place in the AFC North.
13. Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
The team that represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last year, should be around the same as last year, even though their running game is something to worry about with Tim Hightower and Chris "Beanie" Wells.
14. New York Jets (9-7)
I think the Jets could have a fairly good season this year. The defense should get significantly better with Rex Ryan and Bart Scott coming over from the Ravens.
15. New Orleans Saints (8-8)
16. Houston Texans (8-8)
The Texans look solid all around this year. The offense continues to get better, with Steve Slaton looking to have another great year and one of the top WR's in Andre Johnson.
17. Green Bay Packers (6-10)
With Aaron Rodgers heading into his second season, things may start to get better this year. The defense is also looking to improve from a less than stellar season last year.
18. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
The Bills are my surprise team this year. I really believe they could turn some heads with Terrell Owens catching passes and Marshawn Lynch once he gets back from his suspension.
19. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
It's convenient that T.O's old team is ranked one below his new team, but I do see the Cowboys taking a step down, not up without Owens this year. Jason Witten and Roy Williams will be good targets for Owens, but Williams won't have close to the impact that Owens did on this offense.
20. San Fransisco 49'ers (7-9)
I'm a fan of what Mike Singeltary is doing in San Fransisco. In his first full season as a coach though, he has virtually no QB. There isn't much expectation for who wins the QB battle between Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. And as of right now, rookie WR Michael Crabtree is in no rush to play.
21. Miami Dolphins (11-5)
Can Chad Pennington repeat what he did last year? Hard to decide, as he really hasn't been consistent over his career.
22. Washington Redskins (8-8)
I really like the running game of the Redskins lead by Clinton Portis, but besides that the team isn't all that great. I do think Albert Haynesworth will help on defense, but the offense won't get far in the passing game with Jason Cambell.
23. Denver Broncos (8-8)
The Broncos did get a pretty big pickup with Brian Dawkins for the defense, but Denver is quickly falling apart. No more Mike Shanahan, no more Jay Culter, and maybe soon there will be no Brandon Marshall. The Jay Cutler for Kyle Orton trade will hurt them alot more then it will help.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)
With no more Fred Taylor, this is Maurice Jones-Drew backfield. Jones-Drew will be a solid running back and the Jags will likely end where they did last year in this tough division.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14)
With the addition of Matt Cassell, the team will be better but not by much. Cassell may have been a product of Bill Belicheck's genius and being able to throw to Randy Moss. He won't have a Randy Moss in Kansas City.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1)
The focus point of HBO's "Hard Knocks" series this year, they have a healthy Carson Palmer coming back. If they weren't playing in such a tough division, I would say the Bengals could have a pretty good season.
27. Cleveland Browns (4-12)
They are in a rebuilding process in Cleveland. New coach, new GM, and I think a new QB in Brady Quinn.
28. Seattle Seahawks (4-12)
Jim Mora Jr. is taking over the team this year after Mike Holmgren's retirement. Matt Hasselbeck will be back from injury and will have a new wide receiver in TJ Houshmanzadeh.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)
The QB situation is a little unsolved. The job will probably go to Byron Leftwich or Luke McCown.
30. Oakland Raiders (5-11)
Right now, not taking Michael Crabtree is looking like one of Al Davis' better decisions. The difference between a decent year and an average year could be who they start at QB.
31. St. Louis Rams (2-14)
They brought in Steve Spagnoulo to coach and I know what he can do with this defense. The offense will revolve around Stephen Jackson, and even though he is good he can't carry the whole team.
32. Detroit Lions (0-16)
What else can be said? They went 0-16 last year, and will probably only come up with one or two wins this year.
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