Preseason NFL Power Rankings
1. Dallas Cowboys: Do they play anyone? Ever? Okay so their overall schedule is alright, but there's only so much they have to do to win the NFC... they're here even though the next three teams are all better than they are because of the conference they're in. And, by the way, they could probably beat some of those really elite teams on a given day.
2. New England Patriots: I don't think I need to defend this pick too much. They won't go 16-0 again- that's basically impossible, and I was upset that they lost because it means that I'll never see a 19-0 team before I die (I'm in college). Still, the NFC East doesn't have anything close.
3. Indianapolis Colts: They're still the Colts, and they still have Manning. They can beat anybody, especially with Freeney to screw things up for the other team on defense.
4. San Diego Chargers: This team is flat-out elite. The difference between the Chargers and the Pats/Colts is that their superstar is a RB, not a QB. And that, my friends, puts them below the Pats/Colts.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: They've got to play in Indy's division, but what a great team they have... great moves to get Harvey and Groves in the draft, even if they mortgaged the future to do it. They want to win NOW and I respect that.
6. New York Giants: After the top 5, there's a significant drop-off to #6. This team is missing one last element to put them with the elite- just because they got hot come playoff time doesn't mean they were elite for the rest of the season.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rough schedule to deal with, but Mendenhall and Parker will grind away at opposing teams' defenses 'til the Ravens have a good QB this season. The defense is solid, as always. The Steelers are better than the Giants on paper... but so is their competition, as I mentioned a second ago.
8. Seattle Seahawks: Both the offensive and defensive units are good, not great, but that'll be enough to win them some games, especially in the weaker NFC.
9. Philadelphia Eagles: With McNabb healthy and Samuel added to the defense, they should make some noise. How much noise remains to be seen, but I wouldn't want to play them this year.
10. Green Bay Packers: No Brett Favre, but they've still got a solid D and Rodgers has spent so long in Green Bay that he won't be a true rookie QB, even if he is by the stat sheet.
11. New Orleans Saints: A bit of a risk here, but I think Sedrick Ellis will be a rare 1st-year monster at DT, and that's exactly what the doctor ordered. Put 'em in the playoffs.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Look for another monster year out of Adrian Peterson, but that won't be enough to make the Vikings an elite team. They'll have to wait another 2 years or so.
13. Cleveland Browns: They're close- they proved it last year. But I don't know if Shaun Rogers is enough to help that defense, and they've got to play Pittsburgh twice.
14. Buffalo Bills: Big wide receiver to play with Lee Evans? Check. Running back to carry them to some wins? Check. Still a year or two from the playoffs? ...also, Check.
15. Tennessee Titans: ANY wide receiver for Vince Young to throw to? Bueller? Bueller? ...sorry boys, dumb move. Alge Crumpler will help, but you needed someone to stretch the defense, and not from the RB position.
16. Houston Texans: Tough luck- you're right in the middle of the league rankings and all of your division rivals are ahead of you. Ah well, just get Mario Williams to sit on top of their QBs for a while?
17. Chicago Bears: Rex Grossman won't help their chances... but the defense will. They'll be okay... just not great, unfortunately for them.
18. Carolina Panthers: Look for Jonathan Stewart to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Look for Jeff Otah to help pave the way. Look for them both to disappear in big games, as rookies tend to do.
19. Arizona Cardinals: Look for Matt Leinart to have a party in the endzone and get mobbed by all his groupie girlfriends from USC. It's not TOO far of a drive... and unfortunately, some of his dancing might have to come after the game is over.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: They're aging too fast for the front office to keep up with them. Still, they're hardly in a strong division and might surprise a few teams with all their experience- just not with any consistency.
21. Washington Redskins: Zorn's philosophy won't gel with this defense-first team, even with all those second-round picks on offense. Next year they'll be better, unless Snyder signs Manny Ramirez to hit the opposition with his bat.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Like Tampa, aging too fast to be redeemed. I disagree with their decision to pick a QB in the first round... but it signals the beginning of a new era. Maybe that's a good thing.
23. Denver Broncos: Cutler isn't as bad as everyone says he is, but he isn't exactly good, either. At least Champ Bailey & co. will make some plays on defense, though...
24. St. Louis Rams: Chris Long should help, and paired with Carriker he'll make some noise. But they're still missing a many more pieces over the next few years- just not as many as other teams.
25. Detroit Lions: Wanted: Defense. They still don't have it; Kitna's gonna have to wait another few years to be a contender. More likely, he'll retire before that famous promise comes true.
26. Oakland Raiders: When I sat down to write this article, I originally figured that the Raiders would fall just below the middle of the league. But I kept comparing them to other teams, and those other teams can all stop the run. They've got a solid offense which will be even better this season. But really... you passed up Dorsey for McFadden?
27. Kansas City Chiefs: When you have to trade away the reigning sack king of the league at age 26, you know something's wrong. Even though they had a great draft, they're still missing some pieces.
The bottom five teams in the league get nicknames. Do not worry, when the season comes around I'll make fun of your team, too, if they get here.
28. Cincinnati Convicts: Fantastic! Your best WR is talking about a trade, and you still lack a defense even if he comes back. Great way to start the year.
29. San Francisco Miners: What are they mining for, you ask? Success of any kind! They won't find it from Alex Smith, that's for sure... Hey, maybe they should just clone Patrick Willis. 10 times. At least then they'd have a good defense?
30. Miami Heat: Even though they have Dwayne Wade... wait a minute, I'm talking about the wrong sport! Luckily, it still fits- these teams have about the same winning percentage. In the future, the Parcells move will pay off- just not yet.
31. Atlanta Eagles: They'd have more luck winning if they put Matt Ryan's team- the WHOLE team- on the field with him. At least I didn't have to make a Vick joke; I'm fresh out of those: Ryan was a good pick, but they're still in trouble.
32. New York Victims:...of SpyGate. Hey, Patriots! Don't bother spying on the worst team in the league! Seriously, Ferguson wasn't anything close to what they expected and the 10-6 team of two years ago accomplished that feat with smoke and mirrors.
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