ClanRam 2011 NFL Power Rankings: Preseason
Itís that time again. The NFL season is just around the corner; no really, it starts tomorrow night. So what better way to kick things off than the Clanís own power rankings of all 32 teams in the league? This is going to probably change quite a bit after Week One as teams win some close games and lose some that they had no business dropping. But until the games are played, why not take a look at an early ranking of the leagueís best and worst?
PRE-SEASON POWER RANKINGS
1. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are the defending Super Bowl champions and are finally getting healthy. Itís going to be tough to knock them off the top spot.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
I like Mendenhallís chances of putting up big numbers this year, Mike Wallace has officially emerged, and the defense is always a strong force to be reckoned with.
3. New Orleans Saints
The addition of some new blood in the backfield and tight end, combined with improvements along the defensive line, will make New Orleans one of the top teams in the league.
4. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons were criticized for trading so much for Julio Jones, but he appears poised to help take their offense to the next level. The additions of Ray Edwards and Dunta Robinson should be key as well.
5. New England Patriots
Itís hard to ever count out the Patriots, but Iím not as high as some are on them this year. While I think theyíll score point, I worry about aspects of their linebacker and DB units.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
The ďDream TeamĒ is certainly full of talent, but not without flaws. Still, if youíre a team with offensive line weaknesses, then having Michael Vick as your quarterback is probably a best case scenario.
7. Baltimore Ravens
I like the additions of Lee Evans and Torrey Smith to the offense, and Ray Rice is a stud. However, how long before the age starts to show in areas of that defense?
8. New York Jets
The Jets are still one of the top teams in the AFC, but I donít know that theyíve made enough improvements to finish any better than they did last season.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo is back and Dez Bryant has a year under his belt. If the offensive line hold up, then Dallas should be contending for a playoff spot.
10. Houston Texans
The Texans are dangerous on offense, and have added some talent on defense (Joseph, Watt, Manning). If theyíre ever going to overtake the Colts, this is the year.
11. Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler canít have another 50+ sack season, but the Bears have done little to improve the talent around him. The Bears could be vulnerable this year after an impressive 2010 campaign.
12. Indianapolis Colts
Can the Colts win without Peyton? Thatís going to be the question, and Iím not sure Kerry Collins is going to be able to get it done despite some of the talent he has to work with.
13. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers arenít short on talent, but simply donít seem as if theyíll ever put it together. Itís hard to count out a team with one of the leagueís most talented quarterbacks, though.
14. St. Louis Rams
Underrated offseason acquisitions across the roster should help propel the Rams to the top of the NFC West and into the playoff picture in 2011.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa is moving in the right direction. They have a quarterback and have skill position players around him. The devotion to their defensive line could pay dividends.
16. New York Giants
The questions in the secondary prevent me from ranking this team higher, but Eli has weapons around him and the New York pass rush should be deadly on Sundays.
17. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City hasnít looked particularly sharp this preseason and may find themselves yielding the AFC West title this season.
18. Detroit Lions
If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, Detroit should give people problems on Sundays. Their defensive line is downright scary, but their backfield leaves something to be desired.
19. Arizona Cardinals
Kevin Kolb is a bit of a question mark, but heís the Cardinalsí best option at quarterback since Kurt Warner. As long as he can heave the ball to Fitz, theyíll threaten.
20. Denver Broncos
Iím intrigued by what the Broncos are doing, with a two-back running attack and a shift to the 4-3 scheme. It could blow up in their faces, but I think theyíll pull off some surprise wins.
21. Tennessee Titans
Aside from Chris Johnsonís return, thereís not a lot to be optimistic about in Tennessee. Defensive improvements should keep them in games, but can Hasselbeck lead them to victory?
22. Cleveland Browns
I like what Pat Shurmur is doing in Cleveland, and I think Colt McCoy is an ideal fit for his offense. The Browns may have some trouble transitioning to the 4-3 this season, though.
23. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are just about in rebuilding mode as they groom Christian Ponder to be their guy. But with Adrian Peterson and some players on defense, donít count Minnesota out completely.
24. Miami Dolphins
I donít have much faith in a team that thinks Reggie Bush can be an every-down Ďback. The lack of a solid quarterback hurts the Dolphinsí chances as well.
25. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders are assembling some pieces, but not enough in my opinion to contend in their division. Questions remain at quarterback and along the offensive line.
26. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo won four games last year, and Iím not sure theyíre going to win many more this time around. They have some potential on defense, however.
27. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are a mess, and it starts at quarterback. Donít be surprised if theyíre in the market for a new signal caller after Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst fail to impress.
28. Washington Redskins
Speaking of teams with quarterback problems, Sexy Rex Grossman as a starter? Defensive improvements are nice, but I doubt Washington escapes the bottom of the NFC East.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
With David Garrard gone, the Jags will bide their time with Luke McCown until Blaine Gabbertt is ready to take over. Consider this a rebuilding year, and pity Maurice Jones-Drew.
30. San Francisco *****
First-year head coach Jim Harbaugh has his work cut out for him, especially with the quarterbacks he has on the roster. The defense could contend, but Alex Smith will continue to bring this team down.
31. Carolina Panthers
The only reason Carolina isnít my last-ranked team is because they devoted big money to keeping their impact free agents, and I like the addition of Greg Olsen in an offense that makes heavy use of the tight end.
32. Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton hasnít been very impressive, which means itíll be hard for A.J. Green to emerge. Cincyís defensive backfield is weaker, so expect a rough year ahead.