1. New Orleans Saints: The defending champs deserve the honor of starting the season where they left off: on top.
2. Indianapolis Colts: The defending AFC Champs should be penciled in for another double digit win season.
3. Green Bay Packers: A lot of people are catching on to the idea that this might be the team to beat in the NFC North.
4. Dallas Cowboys: The enticement of playing Super Bowl 45 in their home stadium should be plenty of motivation for this team.
5. Baltimore Ravens: Does T.J. Houshmanzadeh make this offense even more potent and possibly make this the most complete team in the AFC?
6. New York Jets: The sophomore jinx seems to be creeping into Mark Sanchez and that could be a problem for a team that’s built to win now.
7. Minnesota Vikings: They definitely don’t look like a Super Bowl contender with the way Brett Favre continues to hobble on that ankle.
8. Cincinnati Bengals: Now that they have help for the running game, they will be a team to contend with toward the end of the season.
9. Atlanta Falcons: After an off year, Matt Ryan looks to rebound and lead the Falcons back to the playoffs.
10. New England Patriots: This might be the last opportunity for the current group of players with questions about Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Logan Mankins.
11. San Diego Chargers: Relying on a rookie running back to carry a bunch of the workload might backfire on San Diego.
12. San Francisco 49ers: This might be the team to rule the roost in the NFC West with an improved defense and QB Alex Smith finally looking like an NFL QB.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers: If they can survive the first month of the season without Ben Roethlisberger, they could potentially make a run at the playoffs.
14. New York Giants: The defense should be improved from last year, but can the offense be productive without proven playmakers?
15. Houston Texans: While the Texans may be improved, their record may not show it playing the league’s toughest schedule.
16. Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson can run for 3,000 yards, but if Tennessee doesn’t have a passing game, they’ll struggle.
17. Philadelphia Eagles: Expect some growing pains with all of the young talent on offense, especially Kevin Kolb, who gets his first shot as the starter.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: The Patriots of the Midwest should continue to improve, but a lot of the pressure will be on QB Matt Cassel to produce.
19. Miami Dolphins: Having Ronnie Brown healthy for the entire season will the big key if Miami wants to make a run at a playoff spot.
20. Arizona Cardinals: The problems at the QB position will manifest themselves as the season goes along ending Arizona’s two year division title run.
21. Chicago Bears: The Mike Martz/Jay Cutler partnership will be the big talking point because if it doesn’t work, how long will Martz be there?
22. Washington Redskins: From injuries to players in the doghouse, this is a bad start for a team that needs to get out of the blocks quickly.
23. Oakland Raiders: There might be something of a plan in Raider Nation finally, but things have to really well for them to finish at 8-8.
24. Detroit Lions: This franchise is starting to put the 0-16 season in the rear view mirror and could improve on the strides made last season.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll is rebuilding the franchise from the ground up and that will probably take a couple of years.
26. Buffalo Bills: With no significant upgrades at the positions they need most, Chan Gailey is already behind the chains before the season starts.
27. Denver Broncos: For a team beset by injury problems from the get-go, this could be a long, cold season in the Rocky Mountains.
28. Carolina Panthers: It would take a minor miracle for the Panthers to have a winning record and for John Fox to keep his job.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: See the Carolina Panthers and take out John Fox’s name and insert Jack Del Rio’s.
30. Cleveland Browns: This might be Mike Holmgren’s biggest challenge ever and even his football prowess might not prove to be enough.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It looks like it will be another year of painful learning for young head coach Raheem Brooks.
32. St. Louis Rams: For a franchise that has won only six games the last three seasons they’re going to have to earthier way off the bottom.
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