2010 NFL Week 1 Power Rankings, Final Season Predictions

Jonathan Bales@thecowboystimesAnalyst ISeptember 7, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 02:  A Dallas Cowboys cheerleader performs during a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Every Tuesday I will be posting my NFL Power Rankings.  Remember that these aren’t a projection of how teams will finish, but rather a list of where they are as of right now.

At the bottom of this particular set of power rankings are my predictions for how the season will turn out.  Remember that I do not subscribe to the theory that 50 percent of playoff teams from one year must miss the tournament the next.  That sort of thinking is no better than choosing a coin to come up heads simply because it has been tails 10 straight tosses (actually, it’s worse).

Yesterday, I also posted my 2010 fantasy football predictions.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for my bold Cowboys-only predictions.

-- READ: Top 50 Games to Watch in 2010 --

Week One Power Rankings 

1. New Orleans Saints

Until someone takes them down, New Orleans is the top dog.   They are explosive on offense, make plays on defense, and have one hell of a coach.  Expect a huge season from Reggie Bush.

2. Dallas Cowboys

A home Super Bowl?   Dallas is perhaps the league’s most talented team, but the Cowboys have to show they can step up when expectations are through the roof.

3. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers is the real deal.  If the Packers’ two-year old 3-4 defense gels this season, watch out.  This could be the Cowboys’ toughest opponent all year.

4. Indianapolis Colts

I don’t really like the Colts in 2010, but with Peyton Manning at quarterback, they are always going to be in the hunt.  They need to get the running game on track.

5. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens always draft well, but now they finally brought in a few play-making wide receivers to aid Joe Flacco.  If the offense can put up top-five points, they will be nearly impossible to beat, even with question marks at safety.

6. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are the Cowboys of the AFC: loaded with talent but yet to take that next step.

7. Minnesota Vikings

Brett Favre may be the most annoying player in the NFL right now.  It will hurt him a lot to not have Sidney Rice the first half of the season.

8. Houston Texans

Yes, the Houston Texans at No. 8.  This team has less holes than you might think.  If they can get even average play from their secondary (which is a big ‘if’), this team will be in the playoffs.

9. New York Jets

The Jets are this year’s sexy Super Bowl pick, but let’s slow down a bit.   While their defense is ridiculous, this is still a team with a second-year quarterback.

10. New England Patriots

The door may have closed for New England. Coach Belichick has had success with veterans in the past, but at a certain point you need youth.  They are only this high because of one man: Mr. Gisele Bundchen.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

Even with Big Ben suspended for four games, the Steelers are a good (not great) football team.  Dennis Dixon can hold down the fort for the first month of the season, and their defense will be much better than in ’09.

12. San Francisco 49ers

The Niners have been close to breaking out for a couple of years now.  The transition to a spread offense will help them immensely, although they won’t be in it as much as they were at the end of last season.  Still, they have to win a lot of close games because they don’t have much explosion on offense.

13. Cincinnati Bengals

I’ve come around a little on Cincy since my offseason power rankings, but like their most vocal player, they are too streaky.  Could they make the playoffs?  Yes. Will they advance far in them?  No.

14. Miami Dolphins

Chad Henne has the big arm necessary to get Brandon Marshall the ball.  This team will take big strides this season.

15. New York Giants

The Giants’ defense soured on them last season, yielding 40+ points in 10 games.  They made an obvious attempt to improve it through the draft, and they are one of a handful of teams in the NFC who confuse the hell out of me.

16. Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan will rebound in 2010, and the addition of cornerback Dunta Robinson will really help Atlanta.

17. Tennessee Titans

The Titans came on strong over the last half of the ’09 season, but they simply don’t have many weapons on offense other than Chris Johnson.  Their defense will keep them in games, but that can only take a team so far.

18. Philadelphia Eagles

Quarterback Kevin Kolb is obviously the key to Philly’s success.  I think he will put up pretty big numbers (including in the interception category).

19. Oakland Raiders

Mark it down: the Raiders will contend for the AFC West title.  The defense is solid, and Jason Campbell is light-years ahead of JaMarcus Russell.

20. Chicago Bears

New Bears' offensive coordinator Mike Martz always makes his offense perform better, but it is usually at the cost of the success of the defense.

21. Washington Redskins

A lot of people think the acquisition of Donovan McNabb will make Washington competitive again.  I don’t.

22. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are a sleeper in what could be a suddenly competitive AFC West.  They have a solid quarterback and a rejuvenated rushing attack.

23. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers’ defense is pretty awful, and their only big-play threat on offense is constantly double-teamed.

24. Denver Broncos

What is coach Josh McDaniels’ strategy in Denver?   If it is to alienate and rid himself of the team’s best players, then he should have won Coach of the Year last season.

25. Arizona Cardinals

The drop-off from Kurt Warner to Derek Anderson is huge.  Beanie Wells will have a monster season and the Cards are aided by playing in the NFC West, but will it be enough?

26. Detroit Lions

The Lions are finally on the right track.  After securing the offensive building blocks of the future, they are now concentrating on the defense.

27. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have finally secured their quarterback of the future.  Oh, now wait. . .

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

David Garrard is a stable quarterback and MJD is a beast, but the Jags’ defense (particularly their pass-rush) is atrocious.

29. Tampa Bay Bucs

The Bucs’ talent may actually be the worst team in the league, but at least they have Josh Freeman.

30. Cleveland Browns

And the award for the most awkward quarterback in the NFL goes to. . . .for the seventh straight year, Jake Delhomme!

31. St. Louis Rams

The Rams are probably worse than the Bills, but at least Sam Bradford gives fans hope.

32. Buffalo Bills

The Bills have a ton of holes on both offense and defense, so their first-rounder was a player at arguably their strongest position. Makes sense.


Final Standings Predictions


1.  Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
2.  New York Giants (9-7)
3.  Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
4.  Washington Redskins (7-9)

1.  Green Bay Packers (12-4)
2.  Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
3.  Chicago Bears (7-9)
4.  Detroit Lions (6-10)

1.  New Orleans Saints (11-5)
2.  Atlanta Falcons (9-7)
3.  Carolina Panthers (5-11)
4.  Tampa Bay Bucs (3-13)

1.  San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
2.  Arizona Cardinals (7-9)
3.  Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
4.  St. Louis Rams (2-14)


1. New York Jets (11-5)
2. Miami Dolphins (10-6)
3. New England Patriots (9-7)
4. Buffalo Bills (1-15)

1. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12)

1. Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
2. Houston Texans (9-7)
3. Tennessee Titans (8-8)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)

1. San Diego Chargers (11-5)
2. Oakland Raiders (10-6)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (8-8)
4. Denver Broncos (7-9)

NFC Playoffs
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. New Orleans Saints
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Minnesota Vikings
6. New York Giants

New Orleans over New York
Minnesota over San Francisco

Green Bay over Minnesota
Dallas over New Orleans

Green Bay over Dallas

AFC Playoffs
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. San Diego Chargers
4. New York Jets
5. Miami Dolphins
6. Oakland Raiders

San Diego over Oakland
Miami over New York

Indianapolis over Miami
Baltimore over San Diego

Baltimore over Indianapolis

Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay 27, Baltimore 21

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Coach of the Year:  Tom Cable, Oakland Raiders

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs

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