You've probably seen several lists like this, but I am going to give it a shot as well. I will rank the teams 1-32 by using last season's results as well as offseason acquisitions and losses.
Tier 1: Elite 5
1. New England Patriots
Although it may seem a bit cliche to put the Patriots at the top spot, I think its true. Sure, they violated NFL rules with Spygate and have had suspicious behavior, but ultimately, the Patriots put 11 guys on the field who want to win, point blank.
2. San Diego Chargers
With LaDainian Tomlinson on your team, you are always going to be in the hunt. The Chargers made the AFC Championship game last year after having half of their offense hurt. If they stay healthy, there is no doubt that they can excel.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Though Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, and Dwight Freeney are facing injury issues, this team has been legit longer than any of the other teams. Manning has been throwing to Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark for years.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Outside of the AFC's Big Three, the Cowboys rule the NFC. Although they are in the toughest division in the NFC, they have enough talent on their roster to be able to claim the number one seed again this year. But will they win a playoff game?
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Overshadowed by the Colts for the past years, the Jags have finally put together a squad that is dangerous. Nobody wants to play these guys. The question will be if they can improve on last season enough to boost them among the NFL's elite.
Tier 2: Making the Playoffs
6. New York Giants
After their shocking Super Bowl run last year, the Giants get enough respect to merit sixth. Offseason problems, such as Michael Strahan retiring and the unhappiness of Jeremy Shockey knock them out of the top five.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Rookie Rashard Mendenhall compliments Willie Parker very well at running back. Santonio Holmes is as good as they come as a deep threat. The defense continues to make plays. Now, can they win another Super Bowl?
8. Green Bay Packers
With or without Brett Favre, this team carries enough momentum from 2007 to do very well this year. The defense has done its job. Now, can Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre and Ryan Grant stay consistent throughout next season?
9. New Orleans Saints
The Saints already have a top ten offense, and with Jonathan Vilma and Rudy Gay, the defense could lift the Saints into the Super Bowl. Recovering from an underachieving 2007 season could be difficult.
10. Seattle Seahawks
They are in an easy division and have a strong defense, two things that help every team in the playoffs. If Matt Hasselbeck plays as well as he has the past few years then this team could actually be a surprise Super Bowl contender.
Tier 3: Fightin' for a Spot
11. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings solved the wide receiver problem (Bernard Berrian), added depth to the defensive line (Jared Allen) and have kept Adrian Peterson happy and healthy. Travaris Jackson will have to get it done for the Vikes to make any noise.
12. Cleveland Browns
2007's darlings, the Cleveland Browns, will have to stay consistent by getting good results from Derek Anderson. The Browns can make the playoffs, but they must play consistent. The defense will also have to improve.
13. Tennessee Titans
The Titans are a playoff team, even at number 13. Their defense is among the elite, and Vince Young has a new offensive coordinator. Although their draft was questionable, the Titans are still a strong contender in the loaded AFC.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jeff Garcia is 38 years old, but played very well last year. The Bucs also compete in a relatively easy division and were a playoff team last year. If the defense continues to perform, and the offense does well, they could make it again.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
One question: Can they stay healthy? Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook are among the best at their positions, but neither can seem to complete a season. Plus, they compete with the Giants and Cowboys regularly.
16. Washington Redskins
Although they acquired Jason Taylor, it may not be enough to lift them past 3rd in the NFC East due to its depth. Jason Campbell will have to perform and the young receivers will have to help him if the Redskins want to make the playoffs.
Tier 4: On the Verge
17. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers, overall, are a balanced team. The quarterback depth is questionable, and whether Jake Delhomme can recover from his surgery remains to be seen. Although, with John Fox at the helm, the team won't suffer badly.
18. Arizona Cardinals
The Edge is turning 30, and Kurt Warner is among the NFL's oldest quarterbacks. However, they are in a relatively weak division, and could see good results since their wide receivers are so strong.
19. Buffalo Bills
Good news Bills! You are second in the AFC East! Though the statement isn't saying much, the Bills could make the playoffs if they defeat the Jets and Dolphins as they should. Trent Edwards could be a good quarterback with time.
20. Denver Broncos
Jay Cutler is a strong quarterback and should be a good long-term investment for the Broncos. Although, Brandon Marshall will have to stay out of trouble and Selvin Young will have to produce on the ground for them to do well.
21. Houston Texans
Unfortunately for the Texans, they are in the AFC's toughest division, and may suffer six losses within divisional play. Until the Colts, Jaguars, or Titans slow down, the Texans could be doomed in last place for a while.
22. New York Jets
The Jets had a very ugly 2007 season after making the playoffs in '06. However, after vastly enhancing their offensive line, Thomas Jones and Chad Pennington could be more productive. Expect a better season from the "Mangenius".
Tier 5: Maybe Next Year
23. Oakland Raiders
Give the Raiders one more season and then they could possibly challenge San Diego for the AFC West title. For now, the Raiders need to develop JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden and buff up the defense.
24. St. Louis Rams
Although they had a disastrous 2007 season, the Rams could be decent this year. Orlando Pace, their left tackle, is finally healthy, which could keep Marc Bulger off his butt. Expect a 7-9 or 6-10 season from this squad.
25. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens took a step backwards this offseason with Steve McNair retiring. Their defensive unit is also aging. It is essential that Baltimore picks the correct quarterback this offseason, because the Ravens' window is closing quickly.
26. Chicago Bears
Rex Grossman is not exactly the best option at quarterback in the league but will have to do since the Bears didn't draft a quarterback or trade for one this offseason. Matt Forte will have to perform for the Bears to survive.
27. Cincinnati Bengals
Personally, Marvin Lewis has lost any luster he has as a coach. His team has defensive problems and the team as a whole has committed several crime. Carson Palmer will have to rally the unit if they want to avoid the bottom five.
Tier 6: The Bottom 5
28. Detroit Lions
This team is really unpredictable. The receivers are talented and Jon Kitna seems like a decent quarterback. The running game lost Kevin Jones to the Bears, however. I don't think they will be on top of the league anytime soon.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
Herm Edwards is a very skilled coach and is now forced to rebuild his team. Brodie Croyle is probably the worst quarterback in the NFL that is a starter, but the draft saw the Chiefs add numerous skilled rookies that will require some time to develop.
30. San Fransisco 49ers
Mike Martz goes from number 28 to 30, but has potentially a better team. Alex Smith is the second worst quarterback in the league and has a lot to prove after last season. Don't expect a good season for now though.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan may begin starting immediately, but he will need time to develop. He has Roddy White and Michael Turner, but he won't be fantastic immediately. Expect another bad season from the Falcons.
32. Miami Dolphins
If Miami had any hopes of keeping Jason Taylor, those dreams are now diminished. Fortunately, Bill Parcells is in town, so the Dolphins may only have to suffer one more year of horrific play.
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