NFL Preview 2010: Power Ranking All 32 NFL Teams
The NFL isn't like college where the rankings are all that matter, but knowing where you stand heading into the season is still pretty important in my mind. And, even if it's not, it's still interesting for readers to find out how good their team looks heading into the season.
This year is going to be a great one. There's a lot of headline stories coming into it, and a lot that I cannot wait to see how it plays out on the football field.
I'm so excited that I just had to do something, since it's Monday and there's no NFL games on tonight. So, without further ado, here is my top NFL team power rankings.
32. St. Louis Rams
Starting a rookie quarterback was pretty successful for the Falcons, Ravens, and Jets recently, but the difference between them and this year's Rams is the talent around the rookie.
All three of the mentioned teams had a pretty good offensive line, offensive weapons, and a good defense. The Rams don't have any of those. I look for Sam Bradford to get sacked at the very least, five times a game.
The good news is, they can get more weapons to help him out with the first pick of next year's draft.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are not necessarily the worst team in the NFL, but at the looks of their schedule, their record is going to be pretty bad.
In the NFC South, they play the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers all twice. That could very possibly be six losses right there. One, thing I did notice though is the last game of the year is against a Saints team that probably won't play their starters very long, which should get them a cheap win.
However, I still don't see them getting much better from last year so they won't be very good.
30. Buffalo Bills
Can the average football fan even name the starting quarterback for the Bills? With T.O. and Josh Reed gone, the Bills have lost offensive tools and still don't have a good enough leader under center to get them anywhere.
Their draft pick in C.J. Spiller could be the only bright spot for them this season in his rookie year. He is definitely a very talented runner.
29. Detroit Lions
With a year under Matt Stafford's belt now, he can only get better. The offense should improve on last year's performance because of his improvement.
As for the defense, Ndamokung Suh will also help out the run game, and will plug a huge hole on the line. While I still don't see them being able to contend in their division, I do think they will be a little bit better than last year.
28. Cleveland Browns
The defense won't be the problem for the Browns this season, but the offense definitely will.
I look at it kind of like a garage sale. Jake Delhomme wasn't good enough for Carolina, so a team that's rebuilding will just pick him up for now. That situation's kind of like having an old stereo that you don't use and selling it to a guy to use before he buys a new iPod.
If the Browns are going to do anything this season, Josh Cribbs will have to score all the points on kickoff returns. He better be ready to make some tackles after interceptions too.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
I still haven't bought the whole Matt Cassel plan. He didn't start at all in college, and then he shows up with one decent season for the Patriots and now is expected to turn around the Chiefs.
That does not make any sense to me. If the Chiefs ever want to get better, they're going to have to find a new quarterback. Cassel doesn't seem like the kind of guy who can turn them around.
I mean, he was behind Matt Leinart. What has he done?
26. Oakland Raiders
Jason Campbell is definitely an improvement to Jamarcus Russell, the World's laziest quarterback. I heard a story somewhere that the Raiders gave Russell a blank CD and told him to take it home and study it.
The next day he returned and said he watched a lot of it and took notes. On a blank CD.
However, the Raiders will improve on last season. Campbell is a lot better and this is Darren McFadden's last chance to avoid the same fate as Russell. He could be in for a good season as well, now finally having a good quarterback to work with.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
Offensively, they could still be pretty solid. Maurice Jones-Drew will be the consistent factor that will run a lot this season.
However, if David Garrard wants to keep starting on this team, he better step his game up this season. That will also go for the whole team. If he doesn't play well, neither will the Jaguars.
On defense, there are also a lot of question marks. The front four and linebackers are all a huge question coming into the season. That is never a good sign.
In all, the defense won't hold up and it's not going to be a very good season for Jaguar fans.
24. Seattle Seahawks
It seems like Matt Hasselbeck has been there forever. Well, I guess he has been there for a while.
With him as a veteran leader, it will make Pete Carroll's job a lot easier in his first year. I don't even think Carroll cares, he just wanted out of USC before all the Reggie Bush stuff came up.
However, all kidding aside, this team will be decent. With the loss of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, there must be another wideout who has stepped up in camp. Rookie Golden Tate could be just that person. His electric speed will be great for yards after the catch.
The Seahawks will be all right, but won't be anything special.
23. Chicago Bears
Personally, I don't think Jay Cutler is ever going to be good, and his offense will struggle because of that. He has some weapons around him, but he continues to make terrible decisions and bad throws, which lead to more and more interceptions.
Plus, to add to that, Brian Urlacher is out again, and the defense just isn't the same without him.
The Bears are in for another long year and will be until they find someone who can throw less than 20 interceptions a year.
22. Carolina Panthers
Eventually this season, I think Jimmy Clausen will be the under center on this team. Matt Moore performed pretty well last year, but I don't see that keeping up. Clausen is definitely the guy for the future.
If they didn't have this quarterback situation, I think they'd be a lot better. However, if Moore proves me wrong and does play really well, they can be a playoff contending team.
I don't think that will happen though.
21. Denver Broncos
(Aren't you glad there's not a picture of Tim Tebow up there?)
Everyone seems to be dismissing Kyle Orton as the starter on this team with Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow behind him. So, I think he's going to come out with the best season of his career.
Still though, their defense isn't good enough to support the offense when Orton struggles, especially with Elvis Dumervil out of the picture with his injury.
20. Arizona Cardinals
The team definitely will not be the same without Kurt Warner. I can't begin to explain what he did for this franchise. With everything he did, I actually kind of expected Matt Leinart to be better after being under him.
That's a joke.
Derek Anderson fits the role much better than Leinart did, and while they probably won't be in the playoffs, they will be better with Anderson rather than Leinart.
19. New York Giants
Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs are so much better than they showed last season. The Giants have the talent to go to the playoffs, if it all falls into the right place.
The most important thing that I see is the prevention of injury. The injury bug hurt them a lot last year and to be successful, they have to stay healthy this year.
They can be the team that started off 5-0 rather than the team that ended up missing the playoffs.
18. Tennessee Titans
Chris Johnson will still be a playmaker, but Vince Young isn't enough to lead them to the playoffs. When I think about it, Chris Johnson had what will be the best season of his career last year, and they still couldn't make the postseason.
Young won't be any better than he was a year ago, so neither will the Titans. Chris Johnson is still a steal for Fantasy Football, though.
17. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers come into the season looking pretty solid. Alex Smith missed some time last year and still managed to throw for over 2,000 yards. Michael Crabtree will actually play the whole season this year, and the defense is a pretty good one.
Mike Singletary is doing a great job in San Fran and I look for that to continue as the time keeps moving. They will be better this year and can compete for a playoff spot, if it all falls into place.
16. Washington Redskins
Like Jason Campbell is a huge improvement for the Raiders, Donovan McNabb is the same for the Redskins. There's a lot that's up in the air about the 'Skins, but they have the ability to be a really good team.
With Mike Shanahan now at the head of this team, and leading the new 3-4 defense, they have the chance to improve on that side of the ball this season as well. Albert Haynesworth really needs to prove that he is worth that huge contract though.
If all goes like it's supposed to, Washington can be a playoff team as well.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Whether you agree or disagree with the decision to cut two games off of Ben Roethlisberger's suspension, you have to agree that it changes things for the Steelers season. However, usually when there's distractions off the field, the season doesn't end well.
That, and the fact that I don't see Troy Polamalu coming back and being the same player he used to be. The defense just won't be the same.
14. Miami Dolphins
With the addition of Brandon Marshall on offense, it will only help them score a lot more points. Chad Henne will now have a sure-fire target to look for. Marshall will help him out a lot.
On defense, they also added linebacker Karlos Dansby, who had over 100 tackles last season.
I guess that both sports in Miami were out making huge additions to their teams this off-season.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
I still don't understand why the Eagles would trade the guy who's lead them to all those NFC Championships, and dump him for a guy who's never done anything in the NFL.
However, they must know something that we don't like the Packers did with Aaron Rodgers.
One thing is for sure, though, Kevin Kolb will be put up against Donovan McNabb all season. He better hope against hope that he's better or Eagles fans will quickly turn against him.
12. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are definitely on their way up. Matt Ryan will continue to grow and improve on his game, which will only make the team better.
Probably not this year, but soon enough the Falcons will be legitimate NFC title contenders. They just need to continue growing.
11. New England Patriots
Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, and Randy Moss is still Randy Moss but their team is aging very quickly. All year long, people will be questioning the age of the Patriots and how explosive they can still be.
Wes Welker is coming back from an injury, and probably won't be back to form until half way through the season.
The defense is still going to be pretty good, and the Pats are still going to be good, but not as successful as the recent past.
10. Houston Texans
Do I expect them to win their division over the Colts? Heck no. However, they are really becoming a good team to compete with Indianapolis.
Their Week one game will be a good one, and it could set the tone for the rest of the season if Houston can come away with the win.
Matt Schaub is becoming a really good quarterback leading this team, and could have them in the playoffs come January.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
I'm really excited to watch T.O. and Ochocinco play together on the same field, and on the same team. There's no doubt in my mind that it will be a show every single Sunday.
With those two as two explosive receivers to throw to, Carson Palmer should have a pretty successful season this year. If he can stay healthy, they can be on their way to another playoff appearance, and maybe make it deeper this time around.
8. San Diego Chargers
There's no doubt that they're defense is going to be good. They always are.
Also, Philip Rivers will be his normal self as well. I'm anxious to see how Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles can fill in for LaDainian Tomlinson. It's going to be pretty interesting to see how all that plays out.
They'll still be a playoff team no matter what, but if Matthews doesn't perform like he's supposed to, they won't go anywhere beyond that.
7. Baltimore Ravens
There's never any doubt about how good the Ravens D will be. That's a given.
Their offense though will be great this year as well. Actually Baltimore is my early pick to get to the Super Bowl this year from the AFC.
With Joe Flacco still improving, having Anquan Boldin to throw to will make him even better. Then, there's still always Ray Rice.
6. Green Bay Packers
I guess the Packers' front office did see something really special about Aaron Rodgers. He hasn't filled Brett Favre's shoes completely, but he is doing a great job.
This year, he'll again lead a very high-powered offense to the playoffs. If the defense can stay strong, they could be on their way to a much more successful season than that.
5. Dallas Cowboys
If Tony Romo can stay away from golf and girlfriends, and keep his head in football, he can put together a good season. They're again the favorites in their division, and should ride their way to the playoffs.
The defense is good and this off-season we actually know about Miles Austin. He and Tony Romo are geared for a lot of success this year, and for good reason.
This is actually the first year I've been confident in what the Cowboys are going to do. I hope that doesn't come back and bite me in the butt.
4. Minnesota Vikings
I don't see Brett Favre having as successful a season as last year. There's no way a guy over 40 can have two fantastic seasons like that in a row.
Still, he has Adrian Peterson to hand it off to whenever they need it. As long as Peterson can hold on to the ball this season, he'll have another good one.
And, on defense, they're lead by Jared Allen, who will be the leader on a top NFC defense.
3. New York Jets
I'm actually not one of those people who think the Jets are really overrated. I like the way they play and think it will continue to be successful.
They're grind it out style makes it easy for Mark Sanchez to come right in. He doesn't have to be a star, he just has to avoid mistakes.
The defense and the run game will carry this team to a very successful season, and perhaps a Super Bowl. This team is not overrated, they're very talented.
Don't be surprised if you see them playing in the Super Bowl.
2. Indianapolis Colts
I actually went back and forth between putting them at No. 1 or No. 2. The Colts won't be hit by the "Super Bowl Losers Curse" because they still have Peyton Manning.
As long as Manning is in a Colts' uniform, count on at least 12 wins a season, and a playoff appearance.
With all the weapons he has, he's going to again put up some of the best numbers in the NFL and will lead to the Colts to around 13 or 14 wins and a first-round bye.
The defense for the Colts is good as well, and might shock a lot of people. Bob Sanders is back, but he has to stay healthy this time.
The Colts are going to be great again. That shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone, though.
1. New Orleans Saints
There will be no Super Bowl hangover. Drew Brees and Sean Payton are way too good for that, and will show it again this year.
Like I said, I debated putting them at No. 2 behind the Colts, but I had to put the Super Bowl champs first.
The high-powered offense will again be the strength of the team, who will again win somewhere around 12 to 14 games.
They will be in contention for another Super Bowl run, and could come away with another ring. Wow, imagine how crazy New Orleans would be if that happened.
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