NFL Pre-Season Power Rankings

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Published: September 1, 2012

NFL Pre-Season Power RankingsNFL Power Rankings

Ranking NFL teams based on off-season acquisitions and preseason football seems hardly fair, yet every NFL power rankings board needs a starting off point.

1. Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers were one of the best teams in the NFL last season. Expect Aaron Rodgers to lead this team to a fantastic season and expect a rejuvenated defense this season with additional pass rusher DE Jerel Worthy.

2. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were a catch away from the Super Bowl and are still one of the more dominant teams in the NFL. Joe Flacco believes he is the best quarterback in the NFL we’ll see if he lives up to his own hype.

3. Houston Texans

The Houston Texans may have been a starting quarterback away from the Super Bowl. The Texans still have one of the best running back combinations in the NFL. If Matt Schaub can stay healthy this year, expect the Texans to make a deep playoff run.

4. New York Giants

The Giants won the Super bowl. This projection is definitely the more optimistic possibility for the team with the hardest schedule in the NFL in 2012. The Giants will either be boom or bust this season. If the Giants can play at the level they did during their Super Bowl run, they are the team to beat in the NFL.

5. New England Patriots

“You are either first or last” Not quite in football Vin Diesel, but the Pats failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity in the Super Bowl. Expect Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots to play the easiest schedule with vigor and make a deep playoff run.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

Big Ben was hobbled last year with leg injuries and this team relied on a phenomenal defense. Expect an offensive rejuvenation with a fresher Big Ben and two bona fide starting wide receivers in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown.

7. Chicago Bears

The Bears were headed to the playoffs before Cutler’s injury. Add legitimate receivers for Cutler, get rid of Mike Martz’s 7 step drops, and add a reliable defense and the Bears are dangerous.

8. Denver Broncos

The Broncos had a great defense in 2011. It helped the Broncos succeed under Tim Tebow. Add Peyton Manning and the Broncos suddenly become pre-season Super Bowl Contenders. The real question is whether or not Peyton can return to pre-injury form.

9. New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints underwent one of the most tumultuous and turbulent off seasons in the NFL. While some starters are suspended or gone and head coach Sean Payton is suspended, the core group is still here. Do not expect them to flounder. Expect Jimmy Graham to push Rob Gronkowski (NE) for the top statistics in the tight end position.

10. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers were a surprisingly good team last year. Their defense made up for some of their inadequacies on offense. This year they have added key playmakers like: Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, and their draft picks to spur an offensive renovation with the game manager, quarterback Alex Smith.

11. Buffalo Bills

Their projection was ridiculously high but I truly feel that if they can stay healthy, they are an elite offense and defense (with the addition of DE Mario Williams) in the NFL. Even if they cannot notch 14 wins I think they will still be within 3 wins of this projection. Expect a big year all around.

12. Philadelphia Eagles

The “Dream Team” expectations last year were overrated but this year the Eagles are underrated. Michael Vick will play all 16 games this year. Count it. His upside is enough to propel him and the Eagles into the playoff conversation.

13. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs were injured on numerous levels last year and still fielded a good team. Jamaal Charles (RB) and Cassel (QB) are coming back. Expect at least 3 more wins this year.

14. Detroit Lions

The Lions are a good team but they were dependent on Stafford’s health (I’m not sure it will hold up) and a degree of discipline within the team. The offseason was rough with drug charges filed against key player, Nick Fairley, DT and problems with young receiver Titus Young. Expect a winning season but not much more than that.

15. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons had a good season but were crushed by the Giants in the post season. If they are to take the next step forward, Matt Ryan (QB) must take the next step in his development. Expect Julio Jones to have a monster year with Ryan throwing more deep passes this year.

16. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers had a down year last year. Expect first round draft pick, Melvin Ingram, to generate a better pass rush. Also, expect a better year from (QB) Philip Rivers. They may make a push into the post season but that will depend more on the rest of the AFC than the Chargers themselves.

17. Tennessee Titans

The Titans could push for playoff spot this year but with Jake Locker acting as the starting quarterback expect some growing pains. In a year from now, Locker, Kendall Wright (WR) and Jared Cook (TE) will be on their way to stardom.

18. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys could push into the playoff conversation but they will need another strong year from Romo, Demarco Murray (RB) to come back to pre-injury form and 1st round pick Morris Claiborne (CB) to help solidify the pass defense. Skepticism abounds.

19. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are a good team with QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green but they play with the competitive Steelers and Ravens. They must play exceed expectations to reach the playoffs again this year.

20. Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll and the Seahawks are running an up tempo offense with rookie QB Russell Wilson. After a stellar preseason it is hard to say what kind of result the Seahawks will have this year but there is reason to be optimistic for the future of the franchise if the rookie QB won the starting job.

21. Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton and the Panthers took advantage of easy defenses the first weeks after the NFL lockout. While he did throw some interceptions he made up for it by being a goal line running back. Cam and the Panthers will make progress but expect a lot of that to be on how well the defense

22. Washington Redskins

The Redskins will be a rejuvenated team with RGIII (QB). The days of Grossman are finally over! Redskins fans enjoy the first year. Your franchise quarterback will evolve into one of the best in the league.

23. Indianapolis Colts

Same as for the Redskins. Andrew Luck is the premier rookie QB. Expect some growing pains but you will someday but rewarded with playoff berths and Super Bowls.

24. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are in a bind. They have one of the best WRs in the game in Larry Fitzgerald but no quarterback since Kurt Warner has been able to take advantage. Until the desert duo quarterback situation has been resolved between Kolb and Skelton, do not expect much from the Cardinals.

25. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders traded a fortune of draft picks to obtain Carson Palmer. They were underwhelming and mingled with obscurity along with the rest of the AFC West last year, but if Palmer and running back D. McFadden (if he can stay healthy) can play up to potential the Raiders could make a run in the AFC.

26. New York Jets

TEBOW TIME! Seriously? I know all he does is win games… Cough cough… Skip Bayless… but he needs to win the starting QB position first. The Jets will struggle with this time-share at the QB position. No Rex Ryan Super Bowl promises this year…and for good reason.

27.Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers added premium talent with WR Vincent Jackson and G Jahri Evans. Will Josh Freeman live up to his potential from two years ago? Perhaps, but we will have to see it to believe it.

28. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins ditched trash talking Chad Johnson, the WR formerly known as Ochocinco, and installed first round draft pick Ryan Tannehill as starting QB. After losing Brandon Marshall to the Bears who will be the primary receiver for this rookie quarterback?

29. Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson was injured at the end of last season. Don’t expect the star running back to bounce back immediately. Additionally, Christian Ponder still needs more time to develop as a quarterback.

30. St. Louis Rams

The Rams did not make significant moves this offseason but they have a wealth of draft picks for the future. If Sam Bradford can build some success this season, the Rams will be in a premium position for the future.

31. Cleveland Browns

Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson are now the faces of this franchise. Expect an “ok” outing their first year but temper expectations away from playoffs. They still play in the AFC North with three vastly superior teams.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

I’m calling it! The Jaguars are going 0-16 this year. Enjoy it Jacksonville, soon the Jags might be moving across the Atlantic to London.

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