A new season is upon us, and many questions await being answered.
With Brett Favre retired, who will be the new face of the NFL? Is it possible that two faces can be "the face" of the NFL (see picture above)? Will the Patriots march through their schedule they way they did last season? How long will it be before we stop hearing the word "spygate" every week? Can the Giants make it back to the big stage to defend their championship? Can the Oakland Raiders finally turn things around and become a force to be reckoned with?
I could go on and on. Maybe we should have a Roundtable Discussion here on Bleacher Report to outline some of these questions, and try to answer them prematurely. That's always fun.
But that's for another day. Today, I'm talking power rankings.
(Rank) (Team) (Last Season's Record)
1. New England Patriots (16-0) - I know, a lot of you will scold me for putting the Patriots over the Giants. You may even call me a homer if you've checked my profile and realized my allegiance towards the Pats. Frankly, I don't really care. These guys rolled through their schedule last year, and had arguably the best offense of all time.
They lost Asante Samuel, but they also gained Tank Williams, Victor Hobson and Jerod Mayo. I believe that this years defense will be faster and stronger than last year. Additionally, look for Richard Seymour to bounce back after having a somewhat off year. The front seven should be very disruptive.
2. San Diego Chargers (11-5) - It'd be hard to put any other team here. Since I've already discounted the idea of having the reigning Super Bowl Champions in the top spot, I might as well put them where they really belong, and number two is not that spot.
San Diego gave Indianapolis fits all of last season, so with Indy being one of my top teams it seems logical to place the Chargers here at the number two spot. If they can avoid the injury issues they had last season, expect the Chargers to have a big year.
3. Indianapolis Colts (13-3) - You could put Peyton Manning on the Dolphins and they would immediately be a top ten team in my rankings. Coupled with the fancy running of Joseph Addai, and a defense led by Bob Sanders ... these guys aren't going anywhere. I'm looking forward to that traditional week nine battle.
4. Dallas Cowboys (13-3) - Tony Romo is continuing to mature as a quarterback, and this team is on the verge of becoming something special. For the sake of their fans, I hope that we don't start to see character issues this season.
5. New York Giants (10-6) - I tore Eli Manning apart all of last season. What can I say? I didn't believe he had it in him.
He proved me wrong.
Not to mention, the Giants defense was unbelievable in the Super Bowl. If they can perform like that every week, they have a real chance to defend their title in Tampa.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5) - The Jags will quickly learn where they stand this season, facing the Titans, Bills, Colts, Texans, Steelers and Broncos in the first six weeks. If they can enter the bye week with a winning record, plan on seeing them in the playoffs.
7. Green Bay Packers (13-3) - The only regret Brett Favre might have, is leaving this team when it's just starting to get good. Aaron Rodgers should have no trouble driving this bus.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) - The addition of Rashard Mendenhall gives the Steelers one of the best RB combos in the league. There's no visible reason why Pittsburgh can't return to dominance this year.
9. Minnesota Vikings (8-8) - Yep, that's right. I've got the Vikings in my top ten. These guys had a heck of a run (no pun intended) at the end of last season, and I think that was just what they needed to build the confidence required to be an elite NFC team. They had arguably the best draft... all they need is to settle on a quarterback.
10. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) - Julius Jones and TJ Duckett should give Seattle a new identity on offense. They will continue their leadership of the NFC West this year.
11. Cleveland Browns (10-6) - Coming off of a season in which the Browns caught everyone by surprise... now is the time to cement the label of AFC contender. The offense will make noise ... can the defense offer some help?
12. Tennessee Titans (10-6) - Vince Young will continue to grow this season, and the Titans will be in the hunt come December.
13. Buffalo Bills (7-9) - You're probably wondering how in the world I have Buffalo this high. Keep in mind that a lot of the Bills' losses last year were very close games, including a game in which they almost defeated the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. If they can figure out a way to turn those 1-2-3 point losses into wins, they will have gone from mediocre to playoff contenders.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) - Not much has changed with this team from last season, but it'll be business as usual in Tampa Bay. Maybe they'll feed off the Devil Rays' aura.
15. Houston Texans (8-8) - It's hard to get better in a division such as theirs, but last season they gained the respect of many. I'm sure they'll be looking to improve on that this year.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) - I wonder if they'll ever figure out that a healthy Donovan McNabb at the beginning of each season is the problem, not the solution. This team performs better for Jeff Garcia and AJ Feely. Still, this talent filled roster will win games.
17. New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Not sure what happened last year, but I will consider it a fluke until further notice.
18. Washington Redskins (9-7) - Washington always catches me off-guard. When I expect them to do well, they flounder. When I write them off, they win games nobody would have thought possible. I imagine this season will be no different.
19. New York Jets (4-12) - The Jets spent a lot of money this offseason. Can China Dollington lead this team all the way to through 'til Christmas this year? Should he even be the starter?
20. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) - These guys really should be higher on my list, talent-wise. I just have a funny feeling it will be another .500 season for the Cards.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) - Carson Palmer alone keeps these guys out of the depths of my power rankings. All of the off-field issues will have this team way too distracted to do well. Something needs to be done, and I'm quite surprised that Chad Johnson has yet to get his wish.
22. Baltimore Ravens (5-11) - Lots of questions to be answered in Baltimore. I'm sure we'll know a lot more about this team in October than we do now. One thing's for sure ... defense won't be a problem.
23. Carolina Panthers (7-9) - The fact that Jake Delhomme will be back has boosted the cats in my rankings. Otherwise, they would be near the bottom.
24. Chicago Bears (7-9) - Rex Grossman is the starting quarterback.
25. Denver Broncos (7-9) - The Broncos might fall even further than this... and fast. Watch out for the team right below them...
26. Oakland Raiders (4-12) - Don't be surprised when Lane Kiffin is smiling on the front page of the SF Chronicle or the Oakland Tribune more Mondays than not. He's rebuilding what was once a very respectable franchise, and he's doing it quickly.
27. Detroit Lions (7-9) - Ten wins, eh Jon? Try again...
28. St. Louis Rams (3-13) - Nobody expected the Rams to be that horrible last year, but it's hard to think they'll do much better. They have the ingredients ... but do they have the cookbook?
29. San Francisco 49ers (5-11) - Having Martz on the staff will help this organization to move the football on offense, but they might want to re-evaluate the whole Alex Smith thing. They're going nowhere with him under center.
30. Miami Dolphins (1-15) - The Dolphins have wiped the board and are starting fresh. They've got a few quarterbacks to choose from, and I think that the new staff will do a better job of managing that project.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) - It may be a while before we see this team turning things around. Who's there quarterback again?
32. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) - Initiate Disaster Recovery Mode.
'Til next time...
Chris Radez is a columnist at Bleacher Report, and he is one of the founders of TheScoreBoards Sports Forums. You can reach Chris by commenting on this article, leaving a note on his BR profile page, or by sending him a note at TSB, where he lives under the moniker NEsince92.