The Ever-Changing 2010 NFL Supremacy Rankings: May Edition
This is the first installment of a multi-part series running until the beginning of the 2010 NFL season.
This list is a projected ranking of all 32 teams and their records in the 2010 season.
These rankings will probably be 100 percent wrong by the end of the 2010 season, mostly since it is only May. But nevertheless, it's fun to speculate.
Keep in mind while viewing this article that some division winners will be ranked below non-division winners, because the rankings here are based solely on projected W-L records.
32. Buffalo Bills (2-14) Fourth in the AFC East
The most important position in the NFL is quarterback, and the Bills have three. Just none worth mentioning.
They drafted a potential star in C.J. Spiller, but without a worthwhile quarterback to complement him, this offense will struggle.
Throw in a defense that has problems of its own, and the Bills will be picking No. 1 in 2011.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14) Fourth in the NFC South
The Bucs added some worthwhile talent in this year's draft with two big defensive tackles, and a potential steal in WR Mike Williams.
But that still doesn't change the fact that they have a slew of inexperienced quarterbacks almost certain to struggle, a defense that has lost almost all of its former stars without replacement, and a head coach whose NFL resume is shorter than Arizona's tolerance for immigrants.
It's safe to say that Tampa will struggle.
30. St. Louis Rams (3-13) Fourth in the NFC West
The Rams got the pick of the draft in Sam Bradford, but he won't fix things right away.
Marc Bulger was not a horrible quarterback, so the position was not the reason for the Rams' demise. In fact, I believe the quarterback position has gotten worse.
Yes, Bradford may be better than Bulger down the road, but as a rookie who hasn't played in over a year, Bradford will struggle.
Still, Steve Spagnuolo will have the defense playing better and Steven Jackson is a beast, bumping the Rams up to No. 30.
29. Cleveland Browns (4-12) Fourth in the AFC North
Having Mike Holmgren instantly makes the Browns relevant. Surely in a few years they will be considered contenders.
Key word: few years.
As Holmgren starts the Browns on their first steps in "rebuilding," winning will not be the first thing to come in the process.
Look for Holmgren to do some great things for the franchise, but success will take time.
28. Detroit Lions (4-12) Fourth in the NFC North
The Lions are making some very good moves in an effort to turn their franchise around.
They have signed a lot of big name talent and had some very good looking draft picks.
Not to mention Matthew Stafford and Calvin "Megatron" Johnson could prove to be one of the elite duos in the not so distant future.
But still, it will take them more than a year to "click" and find themselves, so 2010 will be another disappointment.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) Fourth in the AFC South
The Jaguars have a top five running back in Maurice Jones-Drew and a Pro Bowl quarterback in David Garrard. After them, the talent drops dramatically.
So far, they have brought in DE Aaron Kampman to help with their pass rush but beyond that, they've not done much.
With a less-than-great draft, the Jags look to be on the bottom looking up.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (5-11) Fourth in the AFC West
The Kansas City Chiefs look to build Matt Cassel's performance back to his days in New England. But let's face it, Brian Brohm could flourish in the Patriots' offense.
Nothing against Cassel, but Dwayne Bowe is no Randy Moss and KC has no one to compare to Wes Welker.
The Chiefs drafted what could be the 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year in Eric Berry, who looks to become their best defensive player in the near future.
Jamaal Charles is primed to have a breakout season but right now, the Chiefs just don't have enough to contend.
25. Oakland Raiders (5-11) Third in the AFC West
The Oakland Raiders will finally make it out of the bottom of the AFC West and move up into third.
Jason Campbell is an instant upgrade over JaMarcus Russell, but frankly, that's no big feat.
Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the NFL's elite defenders, and paired with Richard Seymour and Rolando McClain, the defense looks to be improved.
The Raiders may be relevant in a couple years, but just not this year.
24. Arizona Cardinals (6-10) Third in the NFC West
The departures of Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, and Karlos Dansby have left this team in a bad position.
Matt Leinart has yet to prove himself and won't be able to replicate what Warner has done there.
They still have the best receiver in the game in Larry Fitzgerald, but his production will be cut off substantially without an elite quarterback.
The Cardinals have taken a big step backwards and look to be rebuilding for years to come.
23. Chicago Bears (6-10) Third in the NFC North
You can't say the Bears haven't made an effort to compete with Minnesota and Green Bay.
They've brought in Jay Cutler, Julius Peppers, Brandon Manumaleuna, and Chester Taylor. They even threw in Mike Martz as offensive coordinator to maximize Cutler's talent.
But an aging defense and lack of a reliable wide receiver still have the Bears trapped in the shadows of the Vikings and Packers.
22. Washington Redskins (6-10) Fourth in the NFC East
The Redskins have instantly upgraded their quarterback position by acquiring top 10 quarterback Donovan McNabb. They also have a potential rushing powerhouse with Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, and Willie Parker.
But they are also in the NFC East, arguably the best division in football. They will make things interesting and could shake things up in the East, but they will ultimately fall short.
21. Carolina Panthers (7-9) Third in the NFC South
The Panthers decided to part ways with their struggling, former Super Bowl quarterback and turn to Matt Moore. They've also ensured a backup plan when they brought in Notre Dame phenom Jimmy Clausen.
The Panthers have an elite receiver in Steve Smith, and one of the best running back tandems in the NFL.
But their defense is lackluster with the departure of Julius Peppers.
The Panthers will be decent this year but won't be able to compete with the Falcons and defending Super Bowl Champion Saints.
20. Seattle Seahawks (7-9) Second in the NFC West
Yes, a 7-9 season will warrant enough for a second-place bid in the dismal NFC West.
The Seahawks have brought in college coaching guru Pete Carroll to replace a possible Hall of Fame coach in Mike Holmgren.
Carroll looks to return Matt Hasselbeck to his former elite status and create a Super Bowl contender.
But that goal looks to be in the distance as he attempts to rebuild this franchise in his own image.
19. Tennesee Titans (7-9) Third in the AFC South
Tennessee has one of the two best running backs in the league, Chris Johnson, and a quarterback who only knows winning, Vince Young.
Last year, after a very poor start, the Titans went on a mean winning streak to almost make the playoffs.
This year the Titans look to be dangerous, but face very tough competition with the Texans and Colts.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) Third in the NFC East
The Eagles have taken a huge gamble by letting go of Donovan McNabb, and turning to who they hope to be the next Aaron Rodgers, Kevin Kolb.
He may be good this year, but just not McNabb good. Their offensive weapons and capable defense keep them in contention this year, but they will fall short in a grueling NFC East.
17. Denver Broncos (8-8) Second in the AFC West
Denver let go of arguably their best player in Brandon Marshall this offseason, and in an attempt to replace him, they drafted Demaryius Thomas.
I'm not sure how well all that will go, but they have a capable quarterback in Kyle Orton, and a defense that surprised most last year.
Tim Tebow probably won't be much of a factor outside of a couple direct snap touchdowns on the goal line, just enough to throw ESPN into a frenzy.
I see the Broncos staying even with their second straight 8-8 season.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8) Tied for Second in the AFC North
Cincinnati surprised everyone last year when they swept their division and won the AFC North to reach the playoffs.
This was largely due to the surprising resurgence that everyone was waiting for from Cedric Benson.
In the draft this year they gave Carson Palmer a new toy in Jermaine Gresham, and bolstered their defense with DE Carlos Dunlap.
They also have a very underrated secondary that can shut down the best of them.
That being said, I think last year's success was somewhat of a fluke and the Bengals take a step back this year.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) Tied for Second in the AFC North
Ben Roethlisberger couldn't keep his hands off a girl (allegedly) for the second time (allegedly) and got himself suspended for six games.
This is no doubt a huge blow for the Steelers, but it may become much worse.
If the Steelers actually succeed without Ben, then that may be the out that Mr. Rooney uses to let him go.
This spells trouble and uncertainty in Pittsburgh, but the rest of the team is good enough to get them to an 8-8 season.
14. Miami Dolphins (9-7) Thirrd in the AFC East
The Dolphins took a big blow on defense when they lost Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, but they dramatically upgraded their offense by acquiring Brandon Marshall.
A now legitimate passing threat coupled with that ridiculously effective Wildcat offense gives this team a chance to scare a lot of teams.
13. New York Giants (9-7) Second in the NFC East
The Giants defense is not what it used to be, but they hope they found the next Michael Strahan with the addition of South Florida freak Jason Pierre-Paul.
Last year, the Giants team was littered with offensive questions after losing Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, but had a pleasant surprise when their young guns stepped up to run with the best.
The Giants look to give the NFC East crown an admirable run, but will barely be outdone by their rivals, the Dallas Cowboys.
12. Atlanta Falcons (10-6) Second in the NFC South
Atlanta came into the offseason looking to address two key areas: the offensive line and defense.
Holding true to those needs, Atlanta drafted four defensive players and two offensive linemen. They also added Dunta Robinson to upgrade the cornerback position.
These additions should surely help Matt Ryan and Michael Turner compete with the Saints.
But we're talking about the Saints...
11. San Francisco (10-6) First in the NFC West
With Kurt Warner (and half of the team, for that matter) gone from Arizona, San Francisco is the favorite to take the NFC West crown.
With an offense that features the likes of Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis, and a defense that was very good last year, the 49ers look to be all but a lock for the playoffs.
The biggest question for them is if Alex Smith can live up to his No. 1 overall draft pick expectations. Luckily for him, the rest of his team is good enough to make up for it if he doesn't.
10. Dallas Cowboys (10-6) First in the NFC East
The Cowboys will play much better than a 10-6 record, but being in the NFC East, they will get beaten up but still hobble out on top.
The Cowboys haven't done too much this offseason, but that's not always a bad thing. As the old saying goes, "Don't fix what ain't broke."
Tony Romo has established himself among the top of the quarterback echelon and now has a new toy to play with, WR Dez Bryant.
The Cowboys' defense last year was also very good, allowing the second fewest points in the league.
The Cowboys are definitely a lock for the 2010 postseason.
9. Houston Texans (11-5) Second in the AFC South
If the Texans can get their running game under control, their offense looks to be one of the most potent in the NFL.
Matt Schaub is a stud, Andre Johnson is a freak, and Mario Williams is looking more and more like a genius alternative to Reggie Bush.
It's just too bad they are featured in a division with a dynasty at the top, and a team with a 2,000-yard rusher lurking.
They have enough power to make a run in the playoffs, but not to topple the Colts.
8. New England Patriots (11-5) Second in the AFC East
The Patriots have been on the downturn for a couple of years now, but it's hard to count out a team with Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and a coach like Bill Belichick.
The Pats had a league high 12 draft picks this year and you can be sure they will turn at least a couple into solid contributors.
Although they didn't look like the Patriots of old last year, they still had the No. 3 passing offense, and their defense was in the top 10-15 in most categories.
I see the Patriots putting together an 11-5 season, but that won't be enough to win the best division in the AFC.
7. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) First in the AFC North
The Baltimore Ravens have the tools to go very far this year.
Joe Flacco has proved he has what it takes to run with the best, and to compliment him is one of the NFL's biggest up-and-comers, Ray Rice.
Their defense has been ranked towards the top every year for a while now and while still very capable, they are aging. To combat this, they brought in some very promising talent with Sergio Kindle and Terrance Cody.
With the rest of their division littered with questions, the Ravens are primed to take the division title.
6. New Orleans Saints (12-4) First in the NFC South
Now before everyone gets all upset about the Saints being No. 6, let me explain.
In a league that changes so dramatically, it is rare that a team makes it back to the Super Bowl in consecutive years.
And even though the Saints have roughly the same team as last year, the competition this year will be tougher; therefore the No. 6 ranking.
The Saints will still win their division this year, although the Falcons will definitely give them a run. And they will surely make a deep run into the playoffs.
5. Indianapolis Colts (12-4) First in the AFC South
For an explanation of why the Colts are ranked No. 5, see the previous slide, although I do think the Colts have a better chance of making it back to the Super Bowl than the Saints do.
Four-time MVP Peyton Manning has already established himself as a league legend, and just the mere fact that he is on the team gives the Colts an automatic Top Five bid.
Like the Saints, the Colts are returning this year with roughly the same team, but again, the competition will be tougher. With the Texans and Titans nipping at their heels, the Colts will have a hard road back to the Big Game.
4. Minnesota Vikings (12-4) Second in the NFC North
The picture to the left is the ONLY reason the Vikings are ranked fourth. If this man is not with the Vikings next year, they have little chance of breaking the Top 10.
Without Favre, the lack of a quality quarterback on the roster will give the Vikings a tough road. With Favre, the Vikings have a much better shot.
Adrian Peterson is one of the best in the business and, aside from his fumbling, he and Favre make a very dangerous duo.
With Favre, the Vikings could do very well, but will finally be outdone by the only team better than them in the NFC (see last slide).
3. San Diego Chargers (12-4) First in the AFC West
Philip Rivers is definitely the real deal and with three receivers over 6'4", this passing attack will be very dangerous.
Surprisingly, in a backfield that featured LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles, the Chargers' rushing attack ranked 31st out of 32. The Chargers hope to improve on that with the arrival of hometown favorite, Ryan Mathews.
If the Chargers' rushing attack is merely half as bad as last year, the Chargers will be a very dangerous team.
The Chargers will easily dominate the lackluster AFC West and cruise deep into the playoffs, but will be outdone again for the second straight year by...
2. New York Jets (13-3) First in the AFC East
...the New York Jets.
The Jets will be the best team in the AFC because of one reason, their defense.
The Jets' defense was ranked No. 1 overall in the league last year and now features the likes of Jason Taylor and Antonio Cromartie. With phenom cornerback Darrelle Revis, this defense looks to be even better than last year.
Not to mention rushing legend LaDainian Tomlinson is now part of the No. 1 rushing team in the league.
Mark Sanchez will be the Jets' biggest question this season and if he can just limit his turnovers, the rest of the team will cruise.
I predict a Super Bowl bid for the Jets this year.
1. Green Bay Packers (13-3) First in the NFC North
This bid may seem high, but I assure you, the Packers will be VERY dangerous this year. The Packers are No. 1 because they have a legitimate shot at winning it all.
This is the year Aaron Rodgers proves he is worth being ranked among the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys of the league, and he will have help.
The Packers have one of the deepest receiving corps in the league with Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and the next elite TE of this decade, Jermichael Finley.
Aaron Rodgers and these receivers will tear teams to pieces this season and little will be done to slow them down.
The Pack also have a surprisingly productive rushing attack with Ryan Grant. He has amassed 1,200 yards for two consecutive seasons and shows no signs of slowing.
Their defense will help them put away teams this year. Last year, in a transition year, the defense was ranked No. 2 overall and first at stopping the run.
In the second year of the new 3-4 system, the Packers look to improve and be even more productive. Having the reigning defensive MVP on your team doesn't hurt either.
The Packers are my Super Bowl pick for this year and with all the talent on this team, it's not hard to see why.