The Latest NFL Power Rankings That'll Be Laughed at Come February

Sam WoodsCorrespondent IJune 2, 2009

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 4:  An NFL playoff banner is on display as the Miami Dolphins host the Baltimore Ravens in an NFL Wildcard Playoff Game at Dolphins Stadium on January 4, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The biggest suicide mission on this website is making a list of who's good and who sucks. Yet, we all want to do it. This time, it’s my turn.

Let me start by saying that the first 21 or 22 teams on the list are definite contenders. That’s why I've made a ceiling and cellar ranks. This shows how high is realistic for a team to finish the regular season and how low they can fall.

Stuff like the whole team going down due to injuries could screw up the system, but whatever.

Here she goes....

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

As long as it’s before Week 1 and no major departures have taken place, the Super Bowl winner has to be No. 1.

Yes, I could see New England or the Giants and Eagles having better seasons. But for right now, they are first.

Bringing back a Super Bowl-winning team and having a solid draft is a recipe for more success.

Ceiling: Super Bowl winner

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Cellar: Second in division, fifth seed in the playoffs.

2. New England Patriots

Tom Brady is back with yet another solid all around offseason by Belichick. I don't have anything else to say besides that if Brady is truly back to form, it’s another bright season looking ahead for the Pats.

Ceiling: Super Bowl winner

Cellar: Brady goes down, yet they squeak into the playoffs at the No. 6 seed.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

With one of the best offseasons this year, the Eagles have positioned themselves with the potential for an incredibly entertaining battle with the Giants all year long. Their offense is nothing short of scary.

With his blind side (and pretty much everywhere else) on lockdown, McNabb will have a great time finding, not only Maclin and Jackson, but draftee Cornelius Ingram plus LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook. Their defense is still elite even after Brian Dawkins' departure.

Ceiling: Super Bowl winner

Cellar: another roller coaster season, coming in as a No. 5 or 6 seed.

4. New York Giants

Jerry Reese is one of the best GM's in all of sports. This offseason he bolstered an already stellar defense with Chris Canty, Michael Boley and Rocky Bernard.

Not only that, he adds big target receivers Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden along with first round talent OT William Beatty with the 29th pick in the second round.

Al Davis, Scott Pioli, Jerry Jones, please take notes—especially Davis and Pioli. Reese had a better draft with low, low picks than you did with top 10 or top five picks. See, this is why you always pick in the top 10 and he picks in the 20's and 30's.

Ceiling: Super Bowl winner

Cellar: No. 6 seed. I see Philly winning the division, but not New York missing the playoffs.

5. Baltimore Ravens

They didn't add a top receiver in the draft, but when you have Michael Oher staring you in the face at 23, I can't really complain when you take him. Flacco can still wing it, Magahee/McClain can still run it, and defense will keep them in games.....and score points......break bones.......I could go all day.

Ceiling: Super Bowl winner

Cellar: Six seed.

6. Indianapolis Colts

While I still see them winning the division, Tom Moore is gone. While it won't hurt them too bad, it will be noticed all season. The Colts may not dominate the regular season this year, but I still have them with an 11-5+ season. I know, terrible right?

Also, Polian quietly had a good draft. Look for Donald Brown to be a factor this year immediately.

Ceiling: Super Bowl loser

Cellar: Six seed.

7. Atlanta Falcons

True, Matt Ryan did not do as well as it may seem. True, he didn't have to. He just had to keep from embarrassing himself. True, he was a rookie and, true, he has the talent with potential to be much better.

New toy Tony Gonzalez is a legit threat to score every time he is thrown to. Add in Michael Turner and the beastly run game (who was as good as it may seem), and you have a prolific offense.

The defense isn't too shabby either. The DL will create a major pass rush as well as free up backers to make plays.

Ceiling: Super Bowl loser

Cellar: Six seed

8. San Diego Chargers

Let me make this clear. Yes, LaDainian Tomlinson is a great back. However, it matters little who is running behind that outstanding line, because you have to try to fail, to actually fail behind that wall.

Phillip Rivers is looking to prove his hot streak was no fluke, and has the weapons to do just that.

If Merriman does come back strong, eight might be a little low to put them. However, an interesting point needs to get more notice. The Bolts picked Larry English with their first pick, which is a point for concern. Maybe they're trying to stockpile at the position, but it may be more.

Ceiling: Super Bowl loser

Cellar: Four seed (division sucks)

9. Tennessee Titans

A team with some questions that need an answer. One, how does the DL perform without the rock in the middle? Two, how does Collins perform at age 36? And a statement: the Titans had a pretty easy schedule last year.

This year's is a lot better, so there might be a drop-off of two or three games.

Ceiling: Conference loser

Cellar: Miss the playoffs with an 8-8 record

10. Houston Texans

A team on the rise who finished 8-8 despite having no home games early on, their roster is littered with playmakers on offense and defense. However, something always happens that interferes with the Texans' plans for success.

If Matt Schaub can stay healthy and their stars keep improving (Andre Johnson is too scary to even think about), then they'll get their first winning record as well as a trip to the playoffs.

Ceiling: Second round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 8-8 or 7-9ish.

11. Seattle Seahawks

The only thing the 4-12 record means is that the Hawks got the best player in the draft, Aaron Curry.

Everyone is healthy again and Tim Ruskell orchestrated one of the best offseasons in the NFL. Matt Hasselback now has TJ Houshmandzadeh, John Carlson, Deion Branch, and Darius Butler to throw to.

The defense has its questions (mainly health-related) but should return to being one of the best on turf, led by Patrick Kerney, Marcus Trufant and the best linebacker corps in the league (Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill and Aaron Curry).

Bottom line, they need to stay healthy and keep from underachieving.

Ceiling: Second round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 7-9 record.

12. Chicago Bears

There is one big question brewing in Chi-town. How will the whole Cutler thing work? Jay Cutler likes to win high scoring games by throwing the ball.

However, the Bears operate by playing team football—running the ball and stopping teams on defense. If the two sides can mesh, this is a dangerous football team.

Ceiling: Second round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 6-10 record with problems and no first round pick.

13. Carolina Panthers

Delhomme may or may not bounce back from a mediocre (at best) season. However he has every reason to. He can throw the ball to Steve Smith all day or fall back on one of the best backfields in the league right now in Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.

It'll also be interesting to how this Julius Peppers thing plays out.

Ceiling: Conference loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 7-9 record

14. Arizona Cardinals

While still the best team out west, they have their set of questions.

Does the defense play like regular season D or playoff D? Does Kurt Warner defy the laws of aging again? Where does Anquan Boldin end up?

If Warner can stay like he is, he'll have another fun year with Boldin, Breaston, Fitzgerald, along with new toy Beanie Wells. Like the Seahawks, they have their questions, yet have big reasons for hope.

While everyone will be paying attention to the Eagles-Giants battle, don't forget about the left coast.

Ceiling: Second round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 7-9 record

15. New Orleans Saints

First thing's first. Tip your hat to Drew Brees and his remarkable season. It's unlikely he duplicates it, but he will put up numbers that make fantasy owners drool.

The offense is in pretty good shape.

The defense can be either good or bad and no one will be surprised. It starts and ends with the DL, keeping players off Vilma and creating plays for Bullocks and Jenkins

Ceiling: First round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs 7-9 record

16. Washington Redskins

While the rest of the defense is nothing to get too excited over, the line looks to be outstanding. With Haynesworth commanding double teams, it should speed up the learning process for Brian Orakpo and create one-on-one matchups for him and Andre Carter.

Consistency is the key for both offense and defense. Although, if I were Jim Zorn, I'd want to see Clinton Portis get the ball more often. It brings more of that consistency and keeps the offense on the field.

Ceiling: First round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 6-10 record

17. Miami Dolphins

The Tuna has built a solid team all around. They can run the ball, take care of the ball and stop people relatively well while creating turnovers.

I just can't see the Dolphins getting anywhere with Chad Pennington at QB. A weak arm is mostly to blame, but he just flat out does not strike fear into any defender.

Ceiling: First round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs 6-10 record

18. Green Bay Packers

Everything comes down to how this switch to the 3-4 will work out. If everything goes smoothly, they are a top defense. If not, they're worse than last year. 

I expect Aaron Rodgers to continue his good play. Maybe he can get some help from someone not named Greg Jennings, who by the way is one of the best receivers in the league.

If the defense and offense comes through, this team is back to 2007 form.

Ceiling: Conference loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs 4-12 record

19. Minnesota Vikings

The reason the Vikings are so low is because they just don't seem to get that if you have the likes of Tarvarias Jackson and Sage Rosenfels leading your team, you are going nowhere!

Yes, they made the playoffs but the Bears are stronger this year and the Packers can improve by five or six wins pretty easily.

Watch out for the Ken and Pat Williams situation and how it works out. Losing your leader on defense and not having one on offense is a recipe for disaster.

P.S. Brett Favre has become way too erratic to bring the Vikings any farther into the promised land.

Ceiling: First round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 6-10 record

20. New York Jets

Same as the Vikings, only they try to fix said problem.

The only problem with the solution to the problem is, Mark Sanchez will not be Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco. He had little playing time in college and has a No. 2 receiver as his No. 1.

The hope that Jets fans have to cling onto is Rex Ryan. He is the man behind the dominating Ravens D. Last year, the Ravens proved that you don't need a legitimate passing game to contend.

Only, the AFC East has more competition.

Ceiling: First round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 5-11 record

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Some people including me see this team as a potential winner in '09, maybe even sneaking into the playoffs. Their defense was not bad last year and did adequate with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the charge.

Well, Carson Palmer is back and has Andre Smith protecting him with some hope on defense.

Ceiling: First round loser

Cellar: Miss playoffs, 6-10 record

22. San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco will most likely play the role of spoiler this year to Arizona and Seattle. They'll bring an East coast, smash-mouth style to a predominately West coast division.

I love what Singletary is doing. It just won't pay dividends quite yet.

Ceiling: Second place, 8-8

Cellar: Third place, 6-10

23. Dallas Cowboys

An already inconsistent defense lost Chris Canty and no Keith Brooking does not make up for that. Wade Phillips is hugely overrated and the passing game will come and go as well.

About the only thing that saves this team from third or fourth place is their running game. While the duo of Marion Barber and Felix Jones is a dusey, it’s not enough.

Ceiling: Miss playoffs, 9-7 record

Cellar: 5-11

24. Oakland Raiders

Oh Crazy Al, how we thought we knew you. We thought we had you pegged that you were going to take the faster Jeremy Maclin over Michael Crabtree. How we thought we finally deciphered your ways.

But in order to bury everyone's head in their hands yet again, you picked Darrius Heyward-Bay, a second round talent, with the No. 7 overall pick. You sly dog, you.

Jokes aside, Oakland is given enough credit. While they won't be winning Super Bowls or probably not even winning their division, I see them in second place. Their running game is solid and they are a better overall team than Denver or Kansas City this year.

If the team buys into Cable's ways and plays like a team, good things are in this teams future. Yep, that's right. The Raiders don't have to wait out Al's life in order to win.

Ceiling: Second place, 8-8 record

Cellar: Third place, 5-11

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

I still think David Garrard can still put together a nice season and Jones-Drew is a capable running back.

However the defense comes and goes. Even if all the off-the-field stuff goes away, I don't think this team has what it takes to really compete with the likes of the AFC South.

Ceiling: Fourth place, 7-9 record

Cellar: 4-12

26. Buffalo Bills

First they hinder Trent Edwards’s development by bringing in TO. Then they get rid of his blind side protector in Jason Peters.

So now, Trent gets his spine twisted and his skull damaged during the game. Then, he has to deal with Owens blasting him for not getting him the ball. And now that Terrell is there, the media is all over Edwards when he fails.

Oh, and Marshawn Lynch might be suspended.

Things were looking good in Buffalo. Now, not so much. Even if the TO thing does pan out and someone steps up at LT, they still can't touch their division rivals, mainly New England.

Ceiling: 7-9 record

Cellar: 4-12

27. Denver Broncos

How can disciples of Belichick fail so miserably all the time? McDaniels traded an actually talented QB for one that works in a system that doesn't exist in Denver and won't exist.

They had a terrible draft and signed a bunch of old defensive players, somehow forgetting how bad his DL was. 

All the while, they had a chance to draft an excellent pass rusher that has the work ethic of a madman—shoving a giant middle finger to the fan base and trading what looks to be a top ten pick for a nickel corner because he's afraid of Heyward-Bay.

Well Broncos fans, you may now see your future thrive in Chicago and Seattle.

Ceiling: 5-11 record

Cellar 2-14

28. St Louis Rams

The Rams had a very good draft all around but the big pick being Jason Smith out of Baylor. Although he doesn't start at LT right away, that'll be his spot for a decade or so.

Steven Jackson is still a very capable runner and the defense is getting better. This rebuilding project will take longer than this year. So Rams fans, just cling to the hope for the future when watching this years team.

Ceiling: 4-12

Cellar: 2-14

29. Cleveland Browns

Another team that’s going nowhere.

They have an unproven QB with a receiver that has the case of the dropsees. Meanwhile, management wants out, there's no running game and a mediocre line.

Their defense has some bright spots in Shaun Rodgers and Kamerion Wimbley, but they are below average overall.

Also, Mangini is completely inept as evidenced last year and on draft day. To top it all off, they have to play the Steelers and Ravens twice each.

Ceiling: 4-12

Cellar: 2-14

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Like the Rams, these guys are on the right track. But it's just not going to happen this year.

Josh Freeman was a huge reach and will need time to develop. The defense is changing and there might be a little bit of a learning curve there as well.

Once again, I like what’s going on in Tampa. It's just this year is not going to be your year.

At least you'll have a buddy to ride it out with. Try to stay from the likes of Cleveland, Denver, Oakland, and Kansas City—they're bad influences.

Ceiling: 4-12

Cellar: 2-14

31. Kansas City Chiefs

Scott Pioli and Josh McDaniels are the latest examples on why you don't hire Belichick disciples.

Pioli whiffed the best defensive player in the draft, traded for Matt Cassell, who—like Pioli himself—will never see success outside New England, and switched to the 3-4 despite Glenn Dorsey not fitting that scheme at all.

One move I like is the hiring of Todd Haley. That'll bring some good things to KC.

Ceiling: 3-13

Cellar: 1-15

32. Detroit Lions

I'm kind of moot on the things going on in Detroit.

I doubt they go 0-16 again, but I think it was a mistake to add Pettigrew with the 20th pick. While he gives Stafford another weapon, Michael Oher and Will Beatty were still on the board.

Beatty ended being on it for the 33rd pick too. Now the Lions are handcuffed into bringing in a LT of the future next year instead of DE or some defensive leader.

For Detroit's sake, I really hope they know what they're doing. The lovable losers of football have their work cut out for them, along with another looooooong season.

Ceiling: 3-13

Cellar: 0-16

So that's it. I might have more on this some other time. But for now, I am done. Any advice, comments, etc. is more than welcome.

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