Posted on: September 8, 2009 9:47 pm

Before Week 1 Power Rankings

1.  New England Patriots- The Patriots enter this year as the team to beat.  The Steelers winning the Super Bowl has no bearing on this year.  Tom Brady coming back does, however.  In his limited preseason action, Tom Brady looked like the quarterback we all knew he was going to look like.  A minor shoulder injury sent Patriot fans into a frenzy, but Tom Brady is 100%.  Randy Moss and Wes Welker will have Pro Bowl years again, and the running game will just be another wrinkle in the Pats dynamic offense.  The defense has accomplished what they wanted to do.  They have gotten younger and faster.  The trade of Seymour was shocking and saddening, but Jarvis Green could start on most NFL teams.  Not to mention, Derrick Burgess could see some time at defensive end.  The parts are in place for another Super Bowl title, and anything short of that would be a disappointment for Bill Belichick.

2.  Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers looked solid all preseason, and haven't made any moves since the draft.  This is a team bringing back 21 of 22 starters that won the Super Bowl.  A repeat is very possible, as they have one of the easiest schedules in the league.  A major key to their success will be there run game, as they can't rely on that offensive line to protect Big Ben.  Rashard Mendenhall will be healthy this year, and will have to step up to take pressure off of fast Willie Parker.  The Steelers are focused, and know they are more than likely going to have to go through New England to repeat as Super Bowl champs.

3.  Minnesota Vikings- This team is scary good.  Adrian Peterson is virtually unstoppable, and their receiving core just got even faster with the addition of speedster Percy HarvinBrett Favre isn't the Brett Favre of old, but he will still put up great numbers in an exceptionally explosive offense.  The defense is top 5 as well, with the best defensive line in football that includes the William's Wall and Jared Allen.  The linebacking core is young and fast, and Antione Winfield is the best tackling corner in the league.  The Vikes are the team to beat in the NFC, and should represent their conference in the Super Bowl.

4.  San Diego Chargers- The Chargers seem to be entirely overhyped, but I think they will perform up to these lofty standards this year.  LT has declared his is back and ready wreck havoc on the league again, and Phillip Rivers is becoming a premier quarterback in this league.  The receiving core is extremely deep, with weapons such as Buster Davis, Chris Chambers, and Vincent Jackson.  Plus, they have All Pro tight end Antonio Gates.  The defense is pretty good too, even though Shawne Merriman may be facing a suspension.  This team will breeze through the AFC West, and only time will tell if they will perform in the playoffs.

5.  Philadelphia Eagles- This team continues to drop in my eyes.  First, they have all the loses on the defensive side of the ball.  Now, they have the Michael Vick factor.  Fans are going to want to see him on the field, but that means yanking Donovan McNabb off of the field for 10-12 plays a game.  McNabb is the franchise, and should be taking every single snap behind center.  If Vick comes in, he will disrupt the flow of Donovan McNabb, and the offense will struggle.  However, as I said before, I love what they did in the draft.  They have a ton of talent, and should battle it out with Minnesota for a birth in the Super Bowl.

6.  Baltimore Ravens- Joe Flacco is the real deal.  He will not experience a sophomore slump, and I think the Ravens will fall just short of taking down the Steelers in the North, but will still snatch a Wild Card spot.  Their defense will still be nasty, even though they lost Bart ScottDerrick Mason is a great number one option, as he is a tough, wily veteran who makes Flacco's job easy.  The running game also simplifies Flacco's job, and they have three capable running backs in McGahee, Ray Rice, and McClain.  A repeat appearence in the AFC championship game is a possibility.

7.  Green Bay Packers- This team is my big mover.  I have been so impressed with Aaron Rodgers this preseason, and they have a ton of weapons.  Greg Jennings is one of the best young wideouts in the game, and Donald Driver is that consistent possession receiver that always makes big plays.  Aaron Rodgers is a great young quarterback, and he will make this offense nearly unstoppable.  Plus, the defense has been upgraded through the draft.  BJ Raji, AJ Hawk, and the corner duo of Al Harris and Charles Woodson spearhead this young, fast defense.  The Pack suffered numerous injuries last year on defense, and all those players are healthy.  The Pack could win the NFC North, but it is going to be a dogfight.

8.  Tennessee Titans- This team just finds ways to win.  They aren't going to dazzle you, and really their only star on offense is Chris JohnsonKerry Collins IS just a game manager, but the offensive line is so solid that they allow him all day to throw.  They rely on the run game, and now that LenDale White has given up the Patron, he is slimmer and can handle a bigger load.  The defense is nasty like the Ravens, and they too rely on defense and the running game.  The Titans should win a tough AFC South, as they are best coached team in that division.

9.  Indianapolis Colts- This team is my big faller.  I just don't see it happening this year for Peyton and crew.  They just don't have enough offensive weapons to hang with the Pats or the Chargers, or to go up against the ferocious defenses of the Steelers, Ravens, or Titans.  Their defense is pretty bad, and their All Pro safety is always injured.  Peyton Manning's consectutive playoff appearences may end this year if a surprise team comes out of nowhere and steals the last Wild Card spot.  The loss of Tony Dungy really hurts this team, as well.

10.  Arizona Cardinals- Maybe the only offense in the NFL on par with the New England Patriots.  Larry Fitzgerald is an absolute freak, and Anquan Boldin could be most teams' number one option.  Kurt Warner can still get the job done, and Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells give the Cards a formidable young, one-two punch at tailback.  The defense is led by Darnell Dockett at defensive tackle and Adrian Wilson at safety.  I don't think this team will make it back to the Super Bowl, and I really wouldn't be shocked to see the Seattle Seahawks win this division.  However, as of now the Cards proved themselves, and on paper look like the best team in the NFC West.

Just Missed
NY Giants
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 23, 2009 9:41 pm

NFL Power Rankings- Preseason Week 2

1. New England Patriots-
The Pats made arguably one of the biggest off-season moves by acquiring Derrick Burgess from the Raiders.  Brady is getting back into the flow of the game, and he seems to be coming along nicely.  Add the hard running of Fred Taylor, and the continuing dominance of Randy Moss and Wes Welker, this offense looks to be back to 2007 form.  The defense has improved drastically from last year.  The secondary got much younger, and all indication is Darius Butler is an absolute stud.  Patrick Chung is a hard hitter, and FA pick up Brandon McGowan is looking really good. 

2. Pittsburgh Steelers-
The Steelers are basically the same team from last year.  All they really added was Ziggy Hood from Mizzou in the draft, and they lost their 3rd wide receiver in Nate Washington and their nickleback in Bryant McFadden.  Big Ben has an achilles injury, and if that offensive line doesn't start blocking for him, he is going to be in the infirmary.  The defense is still sick, but perfect offense will always beat perfect defense.  That is why New England gets the edge right now.

3. Minnesota Vikings-
Yes, the Vikings are the best team in the NFC.  And it isn't just because they have Brett Favre now.  They have the best running back in the game, a top 15 wide receiver in Bernard Berrian, and they added the gifted athlete Percy Harvin out of Florida in the draft.  As of now, both William's twins are not suspended for using a banned diuretic, so they have the best defensive line in the NFL.  They lose Darren Sharper, but Madieu Williams is an up and coming safety, and Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin are two very talented corners.  Throw in E.J. Henderson who is back from injury, and this is the team to beat in the NFC.

4. Indianapolis Colts-
The Colts are still a dominate team.  As long as Peyton is behind center, they are good for at least 11 wins.  Losing Marvin won't hurt too much, but losing Dungy will.  He is one of the best coaches ever, and Jim Caldwell can't just come in and pick up where Dungy left off in terms of chemistry and being a mentor.  Manning does still have Wayne, Clark, and Gonzo as weapons, and the rookie Donald Brown was a steal at the end of the first round.  The defense struggles against the run, but they beefed up the defensive line, and still have all-world safety Bob Sanders.

5. Philadelphia Eagles-
Philly was originally the third best team in my mind going into training camp.  However, with the death of Jim Johnson, and the loss of Stewart Bradley and rookie Cornelius Ingram for the year, the Eagles have taken a fall.  Plus, they looked dreadful in their first preseason game against the Pats.  The signing of Mike Vick bolsters them very slightly, as he can't even think about playing until Week 6.  I do really like their draft though, with Shady McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, who are two studs and absolute steals from the draft.  The defense took a ton of hits, though, first with B-Dawk going to Denver, then the death of Jim Johnson (RIP), and then the loss of Stewart Bradley, their middle linebacker.

6. San Diego Chargers-
It is a risk putting this team this high, but they have so much talent it is hard to ignore them.  Phillip Rivers has a plethora of weapons, including (an aging) LT, Darren Sproles, Chris Chambers, Vincent Jackson, and Antonio Gates.  The defense isn't too bad either.  However, San Diego always seems to play below their potential.  In the worst division in football, San Diego should breeze through to a division title.  Don't look for them to win too much else though, as history has them pegged as perenial underachievers.

7. Tennessee Titans-
This is a team that gets the job done, even without having as much talent as the elite teams in the NFL.  Kerry Collins is a jourenyman quarterback who is only asked to manage the game.  The running tandem of LenDale White and Chris Johnson is dynamite, but the offensive line should get alot of that credit.  The defense is tenacious and nasty, but losing the big man in the middle may hurt them more than fans want to believe.  Jeff Fisher is a top 5 coach in the NFL, and knows how to get the most out of his players.

8. Baltimore Ravens-
This is the second year for sophomore coach John Harbaugh and sophomore quarterback Joe Flacco.  Both will try to avoid the sophomore slump, and I think they will.  The Ravens have one of the deepest backfields in the game, with McGahee, Rice, and McClain, and not losing Derrick Mason will be HUGE for them.  LJ Smith comes over from Philly, which may signal the end of Todd Heap's career as a Raven.  The defense is still nasty, and as long as Ray Lewis is in the middle of it, they will be a tough bunch to score on. 

9. Dallas Cowboys-
Again, may be a shocker to some of you.  But the Cowboys have all the talent in the world.  And, since it is the early part of the season, you can bet that Tony Romo is going to be on top of his game.  Losing T.O.'s production is tough, but Roy Williams is ready to step up.  Miles Austin is a very underrated player, and Patrick Crayton is a solid option in the passing game.  Jason Witten is the best tight end in football, and the offensive line will be fully healthy.  Plus, the three-headed monster at running back will wear down opposing defenses.  The defense got a little better as well, adding Pro-Bowler Keith Brooking, defensive end Igor Olshansky, and losing Anthony Henry and Roy Williams.  The secondary is thin, but the front 7 is dominate.  DeMarcus Ware is officialy unblocable.

10. Atlanta Falcons-
Matt Ryan is the real deal.  And to repay him, the Falcons went out and got him the greatest tight end to ever play in the NFL, Tony Gonzelez.  Add that to Roddy White, and Michael "the Burner" Turner, and that is a formidable offense.  The defensive is solid, not spectacular, but look for the Falcons to build on their Wild-Card berth and win the NFC South.
Category: NFL
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