With the preseason starting today I thought it would be a good idea if we took a look at the upcoming season. Here is preview of the top 10 teams in the NFL this year and I also ranked them to make things extra spicy. This will be part of a three-day series, I will do 10 teams a day. At the end I will also share my predictions for the playoffs and Super Bowl.
1. Green Bay Packers: Yeah, I'm sure I'll get criticized for putting the defending champions as the No. 1 team heading into the season. However they did win the Super Bowl last year and I don't see why they cant do it again. Aaron Rodgers finally took that step from good to great last year. The kid is going to have a great career.
They drafted a young offensive lineman and also took RB Alexander Green out of Hawaii to help out a diminished running back corps. In my opinion, the Packers could easily repeat if they stay healthy.
2. Philadelphia Eagles: I don't think Philly signed enough talented players this offseason. They went from a good team to a great one. Signing CB Nnamdi Asomugha was huge. By the way they also dealt their backup quarterback for one of the best young corners in game in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They also bolstered their backfield with the signing of veteran Ronnie Brown.
The Eagles are a big threat this season, they're going to be a tough team to beat.
3. New England Patriots: I read today on ESPN that John Clayton said he wished that the HBO show "Hard Knocks" was back for this year. He would have loved to see Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth with the Patriots on TV. He will get to see New England on TV plenty this year as they come into this season looking as good as ever, with a high-powered offense that features Mr. MVP Tom Brady.
They also have a running back that I couldn't name until about the seventh week of the season. Brady is that good. The Patriots always scare me.
4. New York Jets: Am I really the only person that sees Derrick Mason as a good replacement for Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith? Clearly I am the only person who was been watching the guy that leads his former franchise, Baltimore, in career receptions. I know the guy is old, but he is still a very talented receiver if he can stay healthy.
We all know about the Jets defense and how unbeatable it is. I expect the Jets to beat out the Patriots this season, but then again don't they say that every year? Hopefully Mark Sanchez can take another step in the right direction this year, which would land them in the Super Bowl.
5. Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta learned last season that being the best NFL team (fine, maybe it was New England) doesn't really reward you with anything at all.
This team got a lot better this offseason and they already had the best record in the NFC last last year. They added sixth-overall pick Julio Jones, as if Matt Ryan needed someone else to throw the ball too. They also signed DE Ray Edwards to a five-year, $30 million deal. They have some new competition in Philly and get a shot at the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season in Green Bay.
6. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens definitely made some very interesting moves this offseason.
They went out and signed veteran running back Ricky Williams to add to an already talented backfield. Anquan Boldin will be returning for his second season in purple and I would expect Raven fans to have high expectations this year.
Baltimore's offense seems to improve every year, maybe it will be enough to beat the Steelers this season. We are all aware of how good their defense is, but the secondary could be a problem. Hopefully first-round pick CB Jimmy Smith can help that. In the end the teams success is based on Joe Flacco.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh is always one of those teams that has a fantastic defense. That always gives you a chance, especially if LB James Harrison can ever shut his mouth.
They added DE Cameron Heyward out of Ohio State with their first-round selection. QB Ben Roethlisberger didn't have to do it all alone last year with the emergence of RB Rashard Mendenhall. The Steelers will definitely have a shot if they can find a way to get into the playoffs in a very tough AFC this year.
8. New Orleans Saints: Any team that has Drew Brees as their quarterback gets an automatic bid to be in the top 10 in the NFL.
The defense, however, is a concern for this Saints team. It is a team that is starting to age so they are really going to play hard this year I think. They snagged a Heisman-winner RB Mark Ingram in the second round, along with DE Cameron Jordan to help what was a mediocre pass rush last season.
Don't be surprised if the trickster coach Sean Payton can guide the Saints to another Super Bowl ring.
9. Indianapolis Colts: The Peyton Manning-Reggie Wayne show will spill into this season in what will be a hit-or-miss AFC South. The Colts always seem to take care of business when it really matters, which is why they have been on top for so long. They added solid depth in the first two rounds, selecting offensive lineman to protect their Pro Bowl quarterback.
Lets see if Indy can put it together another time to help Manning hoist his second Lombardi trophy.
10. Chicago Bears: Before you start laughing (Jay Cutler stopped caring a while ago) this was a Chicago team that was one win away from the Super Bowl last season.
They made several moves on offense to help out Mr. Cutler, which includes signing RB Marion Barber, former seventh-overall pick WR Roy Williams and grabbed 314-pound tackle Gabe Carimi in the the draft to get Cutler a little protection.
The Bears will also have one of the best defenses in the NFL again this season with Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher leading the way. This doesn't mean I wont stop making Jay Cutler jokes though.
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