Offseason Power Rankings

When the NFL calender turns to the all-important month of June, it can only mean two things. NFL stars are looking for more money by sitting out "voluntary" OTA's and we are doing our semi-meaningless power rankings. Last year at this time we had the eventual Super Bowl champion Saints at the number 12 position, which was a lot higher than most publications rated them.



1. New Orleans Saints- We have to put the champs on top until they're defeated. For the record, we don't believe they make it to the postseason this year.

2. Dallas Cowboys- Love the selection of Dez Bryant in the draft to give quarterback Tony Romo yet another weapon. There are obvious question marks on the offensive line and safety positions, but the Cowboys are as solid as anyone and could be the most talented team in the NFL.

3. Green Bay Packers- Aaron Rodgers is proving himself to be an elite quarterback, and Brian Bulaga should greatly help their porous offensive line. This is Year Two of Dom Capers 3-4 defense and they will be past the adjustment period.

4. Minnesota Vikings- If (when) Brett Favre returns, the Vikings will be just as loaded as the team that nearly went to the Super Bowl back in January.

5. Indianapolis Colts- They have Peyton Manning and you don't. That proves to be absolute money in the regular season. The return of a healthy Bob Sanders makes the reigning AFC champs defense that much better.

6. San Diego Chargers- We'd love to put the Chargers higher, but with the uncertainty of Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson's contract situations, San Diego will remain in the six-hole.

7. Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens had another stellar draft and their defense should return to the form that made them a legitimate title contender. Add in the fact that Joe Flacco is in his third season and Baltimore should have great balance on offense.

8. Atlanta Falcons- Matt Ryan is entering his third year, and the team spent a large portion of their draft on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Smith finally has the weapons he needs to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

9. Houston Texans- Yes the Houston Texans. These guys are as talented as any team in the NFL and if they can keep Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Schaub healthy for 16 games, they will appear in the franchise's first playoff game.

10. Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins have been in the process of building a contender ever since Bill Parcells arrived in 2007, and they now have the quarterback, offensive line, playmaking linebackers, and possibly the best wide receiver in the game.

11. New York Jets- The Jets have loaded up their defense with talented stars, and they get defensive tackle Kris Jenkins back from injury. Mark Sanchez has another weapon in Santonio Holmes and their offense should be more balanced in 2010.

12. New England Patriots- Not much separates the Patriots from the rest of the contenders in the AFC East. New York and Miami may have more talented rosters, but they don't have Tom Brady. Brady will keep the Pats competitive.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers will have to navigate through a tough opening quarter of the season without Ben Roethlisberger, but they have a healthy Troy Polamalu back and he will make the difference once again on a stellar defense.

14. San Francisco 49ers- The Niners are very solid on defense, but Alex Smith is a huge question mark. Still, San Francisco plays in arguably the worst division in the NFL and they should be the best in the NFC West.

15. Cincinnati Bengals- Last year's AFC North title wasn't a fluke, but the Bengals were clearly fading down the stretch and it's not likely that they can out-duel both the Steelers and Ravens two years in a row.

16. Washington Redskins- The Redskins overhauled the roster and coaching staff this offseason and it may lead to a wildcard berth. Donovan McNabb will be ultra-motivated and their defense should be solid, with or without Albert Haynesworth.

17. New York Giants- The Giants need to find a way to rebuild their defense and having a very aggravated Osi Umenyiora and a very raw Jason Pierre-Paul may not be the immediate answer. Eli Manning will have to win some shoot-outs.

18. Chicago Bears- Quarterback Jay Cutler has tons of ability, but his weapons are suspect and the offensive line will be even more of a question mark in Mike Martz's system. The defense needs to experience a rebirth with pricey free agent acquisition Julius Peppers.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jaguars are a young team with the right attitude that's improving. The defense should be considerably better, but their ceiling is very limited with quarterback David Garrard.

20. Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles are talented, but will be starting a virtual rookie in Kevin Kolb at quarterback. Kolb's learning curve will keep the Eagles out of the playoffs in a very tough division.

21. Tennessee Titans- If the Titans can solve the contract issue with 2,000 yard running back Chris Johnson, they can compete with most teams offensively. The defense doesn't appear to have enough playmakers to hang in a pass-happy AFC.

22. Oakland Raiders- The Raiders seem to be loaded on defense and the acquisition of quarterback Jason Campbell should give the team a presence in the huddle, something they haven't had since Rich Gannon commanded the ship. Still, history tells us not to get too excited about the most dysfunctional franchise in football over the last decade.

23. Denver Broncos- Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels jettisoned wide receiver Brandon Marshall and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, two of the main reasons why Denver won eight games a year ago. Denver has holes all over the field and not even the great Tim Tebow will help that.

24. Arizona Cardinals- The Cardinals experienced a nightmarish offseason as they lost quarterback Kurt Warner, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Antrel Rolle. It's impossible to justify the Cards winning their third consecutive NFC West title without all of those key components.

25. Seattle Seahawks- New head coach Pete Carroll has flipped the roster and although their draft was good, it's tough to believe that rookies will fix their offensive line and defensive problems immediately.

26. Detroit Lions- The Lions appear to be heading in the right direction under head coach Jim Schwartz, who has infused an attitude of toughness and confidence in his young team. Still, they are just two years removed from the worst season in NFL history and you don't rebuild that bad of a roster immediately.

27. Cleveland Browns- If Jake Delhomme is the temporary answer, then I'm not sure what the question is. Cleveland will have problems moving the ball offensively, but their defense should be improved, especially in the secondary.

28. Buffalo Bills- The Bills are transitioning to a 3-4 defense, and although they have the anchor in rookie Torell Troup, players like Marcus Stroud and Kyle Williams will have to adjust to playing new positions. Buffalo will go as far as their quarterback takes them, and a competition between Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm and Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't going to excite many in upstate New York.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs are piecing together what appears to be a solid nucleus of young players, but there are simply too many question marks all over the field to imagine them winning even seven games. Josh Freeman must progress considerably to keep the Bucs out of last place in the NFC South.

30. Carolina Panthers- The Panthers are a team with a lame-duck head coach in John Fox and no proven answer at quarterback. Sure, they can run the football, but for Carolina to experience any kind of success, the quarterbacks will have to beat the cover-one consistently.

31. Kansas City Chiefs- Charlie Weiss should get the most out of Matt Cassel, but we don't believe that will be much considering the lack of weapons around him. The Chiefs are too young on defense and have a real lack of depth at most positions.

32. St. Louis Rams- The Rams will find a win or two on their schedule this season, but don't ask me where. St. Louis has lost 34 of their last 36 games and their roster doesn't appear to be considerably better right now than it was even a year ago when they went 1-15.


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