NFL Power Rankings Heading Into Week One
The 2009 NFL Season is almost upon us! I know you are all as excited as I am.
So without further ado, I present to you my beginning-of-the-season power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers - I am not sure how good the Steelers will be this year, but their defense is still top-notch so I have no choice but to give the defending champs the nod at No. 1.
2. New England Patriots - This offense will be close to its 2007 form assuming Tom Brady is able to stay healthy. Look for Moss and Welker to have big years again.
3. San Diego Chargers - This team came on strong at the end of last season. The consensus is that Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league, so look for LT to be very motivated and turn in one last dominant season.
4. Atlanta Falcons - This team went from very good, to very very good. Adding Tony Gonzalez is huge for this team. Their defense could still use some work, but adding an offensive weapon for Matt Ryan, and a good blocker for Michael Turner, this offense will be scary.
5. Green Bay Packers - This team is one of the most talented in the entire league. They switched to a 3-4 defense under Dom Capers. Don't be surprised if they play deep into January.
6. Baltimore Ravens - The defense isn't getting any younger, but it also doesn't seem to be getting any worse. They will need to rely on their 3-headed monster at running back for their offense to put up points.
7. Philadelphia Eagles - If this team incorporates Michael Vick into their offense in the right way, they could be very scary. No team in the league can potentially put three guys on the field at once that are as athletic as McNabb, Vick, and DeSean Jackson. Not to mention, that Westbrook guy is pretty good too.
8. New York Giants - The Giants wide receivers are going to have to step up. The defense is still one of the best in the league. Expect them to challenge Philly for the division.
9. Arizona Cardinals - The Cinderella team of 2008, don't expect them to repeat. Their offense is still one of the most potent in the league, but Boldin still isn't happy and that defense just isn't that great.
10. Minnesota Vikings - Many people think the Vikings can reach the Super Bowl. I disagree. They have a great D and a great running game. I just don't think the rest of the offense is enough.
11. Houston Texans - This team is kind of a combination of Green Bay and Arizona to me. Very talented on offense, but not a stellar defense. Nonetheless, I am predicting the Texans will win their first division title since moving to Houston.
12. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts defense is a little shaky, and their offense lost Marvin Harrison. Not a huge problem as they still have Wayne, Clark, and young wideout Anthony Gonzalez. This team will still put up decent points, but nothing like we have seen in the past.
13. New Orleans Saints - By my calculations, the Saints should score approximately 743,292 points this year. Okay, I kid but their offense is going to be extremely good. Unfortunately, their defense is extremely bad. But on the bright side, they should play a lot of exciting games.
14. Tennessee Titans - When will Vince Young become the starter? I am guessing before the midway point of the season. Still a great defense and a good ground game, but I don't expect Tennessee to be on the same level as last year.
15. Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. They are great, but that is not nearly enough on offense. The defense is still very good, but unless they can hold opponents to 13 or less every week, this team may struggle more than they think.
16. Dallas Cowboys - T.O. is gone, and I believe Dallas' playoff hopes went with him. Romo and Witten will put up great fantasy numbers, and they have the best trio of running backs in the league, but I don't see that being enough to get them a wildcard berth.
17. Carolina Panthers - Steve Smith is a stud. DeAngelo Williams is a freak. Julius Peppers is a flat-out beast. Unfortunately, the other 50 players on the team aren't really anything special.
18. Seattle Seahawks - This may be too high for the Seahawks, but their defense isn't terrible, and they added a great wideout in TJ Houshmandzadeh. I still believe they are probably looking at an 8-8 season at best.
19. Buffalo Bills - I fully expect this team to rise almost into the top 10 at some point. Getting Marshawn Lynch back will help. They have a top-5 combo at WR with TO and Lee Evans. I think this team could surprise a lot of people.
20. Cincinnati Bengals - If Palmer can finally stay healthy, the Bengals will surprise many people. It won't be an 11-5 type of surprise, but a .500 season would be a good start for this team. And besides, who doesn't love watching a guy with a last name that translates to 'EightFive?'
21. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez is going to be a very good quarterback. Unfortunately, his first season isn't going to go as well as he would like. This team lacks talent at the WR position and Thomas Jones will not repeat his solid season from last year.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I can never get a good read on the Bucs. If I think they will be good, they suck. If I think they will struggle, they win five straight. So I have good news Bucs fans: I think they will really struggle this year.
23. Washington Redskins - Santana Moss is still one of the most underrated wide receivers in the league, and Clinton Portis is still one of the hardest working backs. This team has the potential to compete for the division, but I just don't think they have quite enough talent overall.
24. Miami Dolphins - I am a little shocked I have them this "high." I do not expect much from the Dolphins this season. If they have any success, it will ride on the legs of Ronnie Brown. Watch for Ted Ginn to potentially have a break-out season at wide receiver.
25. St. Louis Rams - This team was bad last year. In fact that's putting it nicely. But when healthy Steven Jackson is a top-5 running back. Whether that's enough to keep them from the NFC West cellar, I'm not sure.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars - This team has a very average quarterback and extremely below average wideouts (sorry Torry Holt). They have a great running back in MJD, but he is now a full-time back and I'm not sure he can carry the load all season.
27. Oakland Raiders - Being ranked 27 out of 32 is no accomplishment. However, when you're the Oakland Raiders it sure seems like it. They have been number 31 or 32 for the past few seasons. Their defense is underrated and their running game isn't bad. If Jamarcus Russell can even reach some of his potential, they could fight for the second spot in the AFC West. (In fairness, it might only take about 6 wins to do so)
28. Kansas City Chiefs - They upgraded at quarterback, but downgraded at tight end. They still have a very good back in Larry Johnson, and a very talented receiver in Dwayne Bowe, but the defense leaves something to be desired.
29. Cleveland Browns - Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson? It doesn't much matter because their defense stinks and beyond Braylon Edwards they have almost no talent on offense.
30. Denver Broncos - No Jay Cutler. An angry Brandon Marshall for their best case scenario. A bad defense. I know Denver seems to turn out a 1,000 yard runner every year, but this team is going nowhere and they're going there fast. Going to be a long year for new head coach Josh McDaniels.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Frank Gore is still a stud. Vernon Davis has yet to reach any of his potential. No matter what, I don't see this team being any good. The only good thing is they play in a pretty weak division which could give them a few cheap W's.
32. Detroit Lions - No, they won't go 0-16 this year folks. But it is possible they will be 0-6 right out of the gates. I would be shocked if this team wins more than four games. However, watching Stafford to Johnson all year should be very entertaining.
There you have it. I am one of millions that create power rankings at some point. You may disagree with some of my choices but there's one thing we can all agree on...ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!
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