Seahawks.NET Power Rankings - 7/5/06

For the second straight year, Seahawks.NET's Dylan Johnson will provide weekly NFL Power Rankings through the preseason, regular season and postseason. In his first Rankings of the new season, Dylan takes a pre-camp look at the NFL's best to worst.

Ranking
Team
Commentary
1 With the NFL's highest scoring offense in 2005, only losing one starter (albeit a very important one in Steve Hutchinson) and with the defense adding Julian Peterson and hoping for the return of Ken Hamlin, the Seahawks start the season on the top of the heap.
2 Big Ben's injuries are the story here, and if he doesn't heal as quickly as projected, the Steelers' prospects drop quickly.
3 The Panthers were exposed in the NFC Championship Game, but only due to injury. If the backfield can stay healthy this year, they'll pose a strong challenge to the incumbent NFC Champion Seahawks.
4 The Broncos have been on the verge of the big season for several years now, but seem to completely fall apart in the postseason. Since this is preseason, they're one of the favorites to contend.
5 The loss of Egerinn only makes this team MORE dependent on Peyton Manning. That's a bad thing, just ask Dan "No Rings" Marino.
6 The Bengals will rise dramatically IF Carson Palmer returns from his surgeries intact. Otherwise, they'll settle into the middle of the pack again.
7 The Bears were everyone's Cinderella heading into the postseason, but their total lack of offense killed them, as it almost always does in the postseason. I don't see much improvement on that side of the ball, but they're the team to beat in what could be NFL's weakest division.
8 Washington, once again, is trying to buy a great team instead of letting a great team develop. It hasn't worked over the last 4 years, why should it now? Well, for one, the Redskins boast the best WR corps in the NFL with Brandon Lloyd, Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle-El.
9 The Pats' dynasty may have ended, but they're still a very capable team in an average division. Translation: they'll make the Playoffs where they're always a threat to go the distance.
10 The Jags were a few pieces short of big year last year, and they've tried to plug the holes. I'm not convinced they're found the right personnel yet.
11 The offense is top-notch even with a QB who's still trying to find himself. If Eli clicks this year, the Giants will be a top 3 offense. The question is can the secondary keep up with the likes of Terrell Owens and Brandon Lloyd? The Giants' defensive backfield was a weak spot last year and they got much older in free agency with 3 veterans added to the fold. Depth is the key to solid secondary and Giants don't have it.
12 Injuries decimated this team last year. History tells us it doesn't happen two years in a row, although the ream's age is a concern. The WR corps displays a lot of #2 talent with no clear #1, but at least the team shored up holes in the defensive line via free agency and the draft.
13 Starting over with another young QB will prevent a serious postseason's run this year. Still, the Bolts are very talented on both sides of the ball and will improve over the course of the season.
14 Tampa is a very tough team to gauge, due in large part to questions surrounding the passing game. If any amount of cohesion is achieved, Tampa will contend.
15 The Vikings committed to improving the running game in the off-season picking up Steve Hutchinson, Chester Taylor and Tony Richardson, which should pay immediate dividends in the NFC North.
16 Kansas City has a new head coach who has underachieved as much as the Chiefs have in the postseason. I expect both to come out of the gate hot and then tank it in the second half of the season.
17 Despite some big off-season acquisitions, the Cowboys have a shaky offensive line, and with Drew Bledsoe under center, that will spell disaster in the long run.
18 Miami is building a great team, but they're not there yet. Duante Culpepper is a big gamble as he was having a very poor year before going down with a knee injury last fall. The secondary has been completely overhauled, and has gotten younger, usually a good sign.
19 Steve McNair is a huge upgrade at the QB position, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy since winning his MVP. As fioes McNair, so goes the Ravens.
20 Arizona may be the most improved team in the NFL, but their horrendous offensive line will conspire to keep them mediocre.
21 The Browns signed two new starting O-linemen to help protect young Charlie Frye who is eagerly awaiting having Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow Jr. back this year.
22 The Bills' defense will improve over the debacle that was last year (29th overall) but the offense is filled with players who have not shown any sign of reaching their potential.
23 Don't believe the hype. Atlanta will not make a serious run at the Lombardi trophy until Mike Vick can at least rate in the top half of NFL starting QB's instead of hovering in the low twenties with guys who get fired or replaced for underperforming.
24 With a new head coach and a new system, the Rams will improve over last year's disappointments, but not enough to challenge for a Playoff spot.
25 The Titans' offensive outlook is stronger than last year, but still not strong enough to merit climbing into the Top 20.
26 Jon Kitna can sling the ball, and with a Mike Martz vertical offense and the wealth of underachievers at WR, the Lions could make some noise a weak NFC North.
27 The departure of Brooks and the addition of Bush automatically push the Saints up the ladder, but a team this snake bitten won't start in the upper echelons of my Power Rankings until they show me something good.
28 The Jets drafted very well and in positions that will have a positive long term impact. This year, however, is all about rebuilding and finding the new core players of the future. While that will lead to some upsets, the Jets will still be picking in first half hour of the 2007 Draft.
29 Like Ali stepping into the ring after multiple retirements, this year is going to be very painful for Brett Farve fans.
30 The Texans seem utterly incapable of understanding that a horrendous offensive line absolutely guarantees failure. Not to mention that Mario Williams seems destined to be the answer to the question "Who was drafted before Reggie Bush?".
31 When Aaron Brooks is the answer, the question is too gruesome to even ponder.
32 San Francisco is simply the least talented team in the NFL. They may be able to rise above the bottom rung but managing more than 6 wins would be a miracle.

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