2009 NFC Pre-Season Power Rankings

Cameron MasonContributor IAugust 9, 2009

NFC East

1. New York Giants: The Giants have one of the best defenses in the NFC as they have the pass rushing and run stopping capabilities within their front seven. Although they may have lost a piece of their three-headed monster running game and a dominant receiver, Eli Manning still has the weapons around him to be successful. He must manage the clock well for a successful season.

2. Philadelphia Eagles: With major additions through subtraction within free agency, trades and the draft during the offseason the Eagles made key improvements to the defense and the offense. Jeremy Maclin will multiply the quickness of Deshawn Jackson, leaving the Giants as their conference roadblock.

3. Washington Redskins: Many doubt the talent of Jason Campbell believing there is a quarterback problem in the nation’s capital. However, with the addition of Albert Haynesworth and other defensive weapons the Skins have the offensive power to be competitive within the division.  

4. Dallas Cowboys: The “Big D” may have dismissed and released character issues such as T.O. and Greg Ellis from their clubhouse, but unless Marion Barber and a healthy Felix Jones can assist Tony Romo in pushing the offense the Cowboys will be left without any popcorn popping.


NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers: With the new talented pieces added to go with the newly installed 3-4 defensive scheme, the Packers improve substantially from 2008. Last season Aaron Rodgers showed he could be an above average quarterback producing good stats and look for him to sling the ball more against a mediocre schedule.

2. Minnesota Vikings: Although the Vikings already have a quarterback competition brewing between Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, the fate of the Vikings could depend on an undecided Brett Farve. But look for the strong running game lead by Adrian Peterson and a solid defense to continue to be the anchor of the Viking team as they look for another playoff birth.

3. Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler already is bringing a lost dimension of the offense to Chicago in a passing game, but the question is who will be the key to catching the long bomb of Cutler? Also, the dominant Bears defense of the past must emerge in order to give the Bears a remote chance.

4. Detroit Lions: The Lions will finally get some wins with the accurate passing of Matt Stafford and acrobatic receiving ability of Calvin Johnson. The Lions’ defense will still be a growing concern for as there are little dominant pieces.


NFC South

1. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons obviously believed the rumors of a weak defense as all of their draft picks went to the "X" side of the ball. Michael “the Burner” Turner and Jerious Norwood will assist Matt Ryan in his second season in winning the division once again.

2. New Orleans Saints: With Reggie Bush coming off of injury, Pierre Thomas must assist Drew Brews in outscoring the opposition, because the Saints defense is still lacking in the ability to make big plays.

3. Carolina Panthers: The main factor for the Panthers success is if Jake Delhomme can throw to the team wearing the correct jersey. The two-headed backfield of Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will make stellar plays, and the improved defense can make for an interesting finish for the season.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: New coach Raheem Morris seems to have learned from Jon Gruden, as Morris is collecting quarterbacks within his stable. Until the starting quarterback situation is resolved, the Buccaneers are in for another long season.


NFC West

1. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals passing game is too potent for any team within the NFC West to compete, not to mention they added an inside running back in Beanie Wells and the defensive should improve from their conference championship state.

2.  Seattle Seahawks: If Matt Hasselbeck can stay healthy throughout the season, the new addition of T.J. Houshmanzadeh can reap the benefits. The Seahawks must improve their running game and their defense and rookie linebacker Aaron Curry can definitely assist in the later.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Under the military discipline role of Mike Singletary the team can gain a winning hunger and attitude. Under the veteran leadership of Isaac Bruce, rookie Michael Crabtree could bring a dynamic piece to the passing game.

4. St. Louis Rams: The offensive line did improve but both sides of the ball have too many holes. Steven Jackson will have to lead the offense down the field as this looks to be Marc Bulger’s final season under center in the St. Louis.